Archive for Blocks in the News


Blocked In My Job Search

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Preface: Dear BlockBusters,

I asked my friend and colleague, currently out of work, to share her job seeking adventures with us through the filters of our seven villains. While she masterfully covers up frustration with a smile, she knows the Killer villain is at work. We’d love to hear how your villains have sabotaged your job search.


Out of work for two years has done nothing for my credit rating or self esteem. I’ve volunteered and networked, neither of which did anything to land a job, never mind advance my career.

Finally a major advertising agency in Los Angeles came calling. Yes, I’ve heard the rumors, ageism is alive and well in southern California. I went to the interview with a slight chip on my shoulder which I tried to counter with enthusiasm that came across as simply weird energy. As I interviewed for the position of administrative assistant my speech sounded canned with a monotone that screamed, “I don’t want this job but need the money.” I even did a follow-up PowerPoint presentation of my dog to show I had the chops. “Nope, sorry,” was the answer.

But when a Human Resources gal at yet another large ad agency in Los Angeles called saying I had been recommended, the doubts and frustration melted away. “I’m not too old!” and did a Sally Fields (You like me, you really like me.) The departing assistant gave it to me straight. “These two guys are really cool,” with a look that said, “and you are not.” At the end she went to see if she “could find” the HR gal who, no surprise here, turned out to be busy. Wait for it, here it comes, yes that’s right I got the big “Nope, sorry.”

I am now the official quota filler being passed around HR departments, keeping them in compliance with fair hiring standards. “Hey, we loved her, we just found someone better suited for this position.”

Out of all the villains arguing in my head, which one was responsible for making me feel aged out and burned out? The Killer villain took two steps forward, sporting a huge grin.

“Give up, roll over and play dead because life as you know it is over,” whispered the Killer in my ear. How long had he been living in me, causing me to operate from a deficit when presenting myself and my skills? And here’s the thing, nothing in those jobs delighted or inspired me, and I admit the possibility I would have been a lonely worker there, or worse yet, bored. My time is valuable, and if time is on the downhill side of noon, I must be about the business of defining my continuing career life. Next time I’ll take sturdy stock of my skills, present them in a confident manner, ask more questions to see if I even want to be there. This time I was too busy resuscitating my gasping ego that the KILLER VILLAIN had already attacked before I even showed up.

Editor’s note: The Killer thrives by attaching you to old versions of yourself, when what you need to get a job is to embrace who you are now. Present what an employer needs with appropriate confidence, enthusiasm and knowledge and the Killer’s arsenal of ageism and countless other “ism’s” will be depleted.

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A weekend of horrible random acts forces the question – is it random? Are we helpless victims of fate? The 9.0 earthquake in Japan on Friday, March 11, 2011 may have taken as many as 10,000 victims. None of them woke up Friday morning knowing it was their last day.

Why? Why does the higher power allow such suffering?

A bus bringing gamblers home to Los Angeles from Las Vegas is bumped by a tractor/trailer and topples over, it’s entire roof sheered off by a street sign – 14 die

We are all stunned as we watch and wonder, “There but for the grace of God go I?”

A few months ago, a well known publicist, Ronni Chasen, was shot in the chest 5 times when driving home from the premiere of the movie Burlesque. I knew Ronnie, slightly, my husband knew her well –we’re both close friends with her brother.

Under cover of night this horrible murder happened in Beverly Hills and to this day there are no clues released that make sense to anyone. From gang initiation to a car jacking gone wrong, angry nut job tooling through Beverly Hills looking for a fight, or perhaps someone in town got the short shrift in their career due to some real or perceived slight from Ronni or her people.

Things like this just don’t happen for no good reason. Or do they?

Accidents, natural disasters, murder…Why?

I don’t have the answers. Who does?

I look at my seven villains and conclude that we must at least have control of them within ourselves. We cannot let the saboteur, killer, mugger, bandit, monster, lost love, or sorceress win? If each one of us wages our own battle to become heroic, aren’t we more prepared for what life brings?

Countless heroes will be born from the tragedy in Japan.

Will a hero be born because of Ronni’s murder? I don’t know. I do know that her murder changed me in some tiny way, however.

I am determined to be part of the chain of people who come together to heal, to survive to find answers for the unanswerable. Perhaps it starts with each one of us putting out more good energy than bad to form a tsunami of human goodness, spirit and love.

Please help make this a discussion and send me your thoughts.

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Block: Begging
BlockBuster: Ask for a Hand not a Handout

A Friend and client of mine recently sent me this email: “I was just on the subway and as it was approaching my stop a woman came on my car and announced to the train that she is struggling financially and is trying to raise her 12 year old son and that she has just recently been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She said she has been trying to get a job but as of yet no one has accepted her application. The train was pulling up to my stop as she finished her speech so I was able to hand her a $5 bill as I exited the train with tears in my eyes.”

The story is made even more poignant when you know that my friend also has Multiple Sclerosis, as do I – and like all people with chronic or life-threatening illnesses, we wonder what will happen to us if our money or insurance runs out.

How many of us now look at others forced to beg, borrow, and hopefully not steal, and feel panic wondering if “There but for the grace of God go I?”

I could relate story after story of hard working people who have been laid off and shocked at the amount of time that has gone by in a fruitless job search – long enough to bankrupt their hard earned plans and bank accounts. People who have never needed a handout now find themselves in precarious, embarrassing, humiliating, demoralizing situations.

I wrote the following back to my friend: “You are not and will never be a VICTIM. This woman, God bless her, is a victim. How could her speech have been different? What could she have said to possibly generate a job? How could she have left that subway with people wanting to give her a hand, not a handout? Just some questions and food for thought.”

I’m all for gratitude and reminders and giving love, support and even loans — but just remember, it’s just a few steps from Victim to Hero. What we need to do as a country is make more paths available to take those forced to flounder in victimhood and put them on the pathway to their own heroic journeys.

I would love your thoughts and comments on how we can give a hand and not a handout.

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Back To School Villains

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September is Back To School month, and believe me, students take a lot more than supplies back to school with them, they also take villains. So, let’s help our kids disarm the villains.

Saboteur: This is the chain complainer. I don’t like school. Everybody else had a better summer. They don’t like me. It’s not fair. It’s not my fault. The teacher doesn’t notice me. See if you can help by instilling some trust in your child. This will be a good year. Expect the best and it will come. Just the right friends will show up. You’ll learn exactly what is intended for you. Concentrate on drawing good things to you by envisioning what you want, not what you might complain into being.

Pirate/Bandit: This is the student who firmly believes he or she is not enough – everybody else has all the luck, gets the grades, learns faster, is smarter, is more talented, is better looking, is more athletic…

Instill the " I am enough” mantra in these children. We are not all the same. I am enough for what I am supposed to do. I must stop worrying about all the stuff everyone else has and notice how grateful I am for all that I have.

Killer: This is the student who has no self-confidence. Someone has run them down enough that they are separated from their heart power which is their ability to believe in themselves. The quickest way to solve this problem is to let your child know that whatever or whomever hurt them or gave them the false idea that they are not terrific is in the past and must be released. This is a new school year full of new promise and loads of new opportunities.

Mugger: This villain runs wild in adolescence when sexual confusion, shyness and uncertainty abound. Don’t be mugged by the popular crowd. Find your own popularity. Don’t pine over the impossible to get pretty girl or star athlete, find someone special for you, not someone based on other’s expectations, but on your very own scale of compatibility. Kids can be mean. Don’t give bullys the power to lower the ceiling on you!

Lost Love: This villain overpowers you with fear and takes away your ability to love just about anything. Make a list of all the things you don’t love anymore and destroy it. Face the year with an open heart and anticipation of who and what you are going to find to love. Loving promotes more love. Fear promotes isolation.

Monster: A class, a particular boy or girl, a subject, a sport, a teacher – students can build any of these things into MONSTERS – feeling helpless and hopeless in their grip. The answer here is to face the monster like an adventure hero and take away its power. Confront and conquer. Most often we find the big, bad monster is much smaller than we thought.

Sorceress: How many students face the unknown and say to themselves, “If this happens, then I’ll be successful…” The solution is to forget about “if” which exists somewhere in the unknowable future and concentrate on what is, what is present and what is true. Leave disappointments behind and don’t let the future drag you out of enjoying what is happening each wonderful day – right at this very moment. We live in a world of teasers, predictions and fear mongering. Ignore them all and make your own GOOD NEWS.

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July 6, 2010

Block: Dependence
Buster: Independence

Declare Your Independence from a Block Today

In my opinion, which I’m free to express because of the 4th of July, I believe the day is worth celebrating all month – make that all year! It was on the 4th of July in 1776 that a group of men "broadcast" a proposition about the nature and the rights of human beings. Propelled by the words of Thomas Jefferson, these men felt they were enunciating truths that would hold for all time, and, indeed we seek to embody its aspirations to this day, not only in the United States of America, but increasingly throughout the rest of the world.

I know you know the words. "That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed."

These words can be applied in so many ways – as a group of citizens joined together by the country we love – and individually as we seek to live out best lives.

I often challenge my clients to declare their independence over whatever is oppressing them at this time of year. Is it a chemical, weight, lack of confidence, worry, laziness, health, love or lack thereof, greed, jealousy?

Whatever it is, find the inspiration to write your own Declaration of Independence. I’ll start:

I, Judith Parker Harris, declare my independence from the misconceptions of others and vow to live the best life I can for myself, my family, my community and my world. I will not be constrained by worry or vanity as I seek the highest good, give of my talent, nurture with my heart and remain thoughtful of those with whom I share this planet.

Your turn! Feel free to share your Declaration of Independence on my Blog.

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