Video blog

We need to remember the good things.

Economy, Politics, War, Pestilence, Cancer. Wonderful words to start of a blog. I think that each one of us can think specific things that are bad in the world. In fact if I asked you to name 5 things you could come up with 5 independent of mine above. It is easy to remember the tough times. What we need to do is remember the good times. There have been and still are good times.

I have had great things happen to me. I can always remember good things in my life, a birth of a child, marriage to my wife. Watching the Denver Broncos win the Super Bowl, twice even,  🙂 . Hanging out with my family  in Jackson Hole, at a restaurant, and playing on the grass with all of the kids in the extended family.  Going to a concert with my wife. Great times. Nothing can take these experiences from me. I cherish them.

But what about real life. What about today? It’s up to you.

My wife and I set our evenings by the activities of our kids or needs of our church. We have football practice, soccer practice, cub scouts, sports games, church activities for the kids.  Friday night is date night though, thank heavens. A night alone with my wife without the kids.  In all of the hustle and bustle of our family sometimes things slip through the cracks.

This past couple of weeks our basement has flooded twice. So when the rain threatened again a couple of weeks ago I decided to stay home to make sure my home didn’t float away.  After I worked outside to fix the drainage and tons of prayers from my family the basement was safe. We had a great day that day.  I could have focused on the rain or the loss of work by my working from home.  I didn’t, I was so happy my home didn’t flood. We can choose which way we see things, positive or negative.

Later on that afternoon my kids came home and my oldest son tried to get a drink out of the faucet. Guess what no water. I had forgotten to pay the water bill. By this time it was 5pm. I called and got the bill paid but they couldn’t get the water on until the next morning. Nice. Really nice. In the end all I could do was laugh. If that is the worst that happens I can live with that. I am sorry that is happened but my basement was dry.  That is a great thing.

In the end there are many people with worse things that happen to them. I have good health, a family that loves me and employment. There are several things to be thankful for.  Sit down and try to write 5 bad things as quickly as you can. Next write down 5 good things, see which one takes longer.

We have great medicine, travel availability, connectivity and opportunities. Man the opportunities are outstanding. 

 Have a great day today and if I don’t see you tomorrow have a great day tomorrow. I know I will because I can remember all of the good things that have happened to me in my life.

Funny and not so funny ways to not get hired – Interviewing Mistakes

Recruiters, HR people and anyone who has ever interviewed some has been apart of Interviewing Mistakes. I gathered a list of interviewing backfires that I was involved with.

– Showing up to psych test wearing jean cut offs and a tank top. (Just a side note jean cut offs are not allowed anywhere, sorry if that offends any Florida Gator fans. 🙂 )

– A candidate is interviewing with a hiring manger and when he was asked about a time he had to work with difficult people at work what did he do. The candidate replies ” Well we had a #$%@& in our office and everyone hated her but I was able to get along with her. ”

– Lying on your resume. Big no no. When a candidate was asked specific questions about certain technologies on his resume. The candidate admits well they had it at the office but he never used it.

– You send a thank you note with the wrong company attached to the note.

– I was interviewing a potential candidate and I asked a questions only to be told ” You already asked that before.”

– When you are asked to tell the Hiring Manager about a time that you used your specific experience, like what is in your resume, to solve a problem. After about 5 minutes you reply ” I don’t think I have any experience like that.”

– I had a candidate who had an interview and brought her kids to the interview and made them wait in the waiting area.

– A Customer Service Representative was asked about her customer service skills replies “I do not like to talk to people.”

– A candidate comes to the interview wearing so much perfume the Hiring Manager had to seek medical treatment from the fumes. A note on wearing perfume in interviews was sent to the recruiting company shortly there after.

I am sure that given the chance to talk or dress differently they would definitely choose differently. Sometimes nerves get the best of us.

If you have your own story please send it to me.

The proof is in the Flowers not the Pudding



I am hardly the Zen master. I do not have the time to sit, ponder and hum to myself. Though I wouldn’t turn it down for a few minutes of peace. I had a profound moment planting my daisies, snapdragon and tulips.

After college a few buddies and I started a landscape company to be an additional services to the pest company that was already up and running. We were strictly a commercial landscape company. The part I really loved about the landscaping side of the business was the planting of the flowers. I think it was interesting depending on the shade, soil, water availability, and so on, that decided what flowers you put with other flowers.

I was racing the clock. The forecast had mentioned rain and I had wanted to get in my flowers to reap the benefits of the rain. I had to work and in fact I enlisted several kids in the family to help in the process. I chose my flowers and had laid them out to see how they looked together. I asked for feedback and after the positive feedback I made the appropriate changes. Next came the tough part, the work. I had to plant those pansies, snapdragons, and tulips. I had planted tulip before and told my 6 and 2 yr old to plant them with the pointy side down. I proceeded to plant, fertilize and pine straw all of the flowers. I was happy and tired to see the my had work done. As I was cleaning up I noticed that I had planted the tulip upside down. That meant that if I wanted to have 120 tulips come up in the spring I had to go back and change the tulip to point up not down. They may have still flowered but after all of my work I was not going to take that chance.

So you ask where was my Zen moment.

Patience young padawan (Jedi).

I had to go back and try to find all of the tulip. I found many but not all of them. I did find several not adequately covered. I did run into obstacles in the form of a snake under a rock I was moving to about bulbs. I tried to catch him but he got away under the pinestraw. I was a little more careful after that.

The Zen moment after I was proudly surveying the beds all nicely snug and prepared for the rain.

In the end all it took to have flowers was 6 flats of flowers, 120 tulip bulbs, 4 bale of pine straw and a lot of work. The key part was the work. If I would have purchased the flowers, fertilizer and pinestraw and kept it in my garage nothing would have happened. Any one thing by itself did not make the project work. The work brought all of the different aspects together and let them work.

I ran into obstacles in the fact I put my tulips in upside down. I broke my spade handle and had to just use the metal stub only to dig the holes. Don’t forget the snake. At any point I could have stopped and could have had an excuse but that doesn’t bring the flowers.

All of this work is great but there will be additional work  to do in the form of weeding, a little watering and more fertilizer but the end product will be worth it.

It all came down to the work and the proof will be in the flowers all winter and spring. The same goes for your networking, job search or other goals.







Advice – Diamonds in the rough

I had an impromptu meeting with my HR manager today about a colleague I needed to speak with. She started to give me advice on how to talk to them and what to say.  I was thinking in my head I know how to talk to people does she really need to take me through the play by play on how I should talk to my colleague.

I will tell my wife that I am going to talk to someone about something that involves both us. Indefinitely she tells me what to say and how to approach the situation.

Even my kids get in the act as I will talk to my kids friends and they will tell me not to ask this or that.

Who hasn’t received unsolicited advice from someone outside of our family.

I get tired of people always “giving” me advice.


This morning I had an epiphany. I tell people what to do and say all of the time.  I tell my kids what to do all of the time. Not because I want to boss them. I tell them because I have gone through certain experience that allow me to see the broader picture and I can see where they are headed. And yes they blow me off at times. Though sometimes things happen and now they are ready to listen.

So I thought my HR manger knows this person in question for 10+ years and she has worked with them for almost the same amount of time. It will probably be smart of me to listen. Yes, I said “me” and “listen” in the same sentence. Alarms are going off somewhere.

In my work life I tell people what hiring manager are looking for and what questions to ask. Most people tell me okay, sure, I understand or some similar things to denote they are listening. Whether they listen and follow through in the interview is a different story.

I had a potential candidate who when I started to go through my interview prep with him he cut me off.  He said ” I know how to interview.” I persisted knowing he did not have the information I had. He cut me off  again and said “I am good, yep I understand.” For those of you who can’t see where this going you really have problems. Serious problems. GUESS WHAT, he bombed the interview.  He was unprepared. He hadn’t done his homework on the company and the open position. Imagine that. I had information that was very important to his situation.

Soooo maybe not all advice is bad. It may turn out to be a diamond in the rough. Take a look at who is telling you advice.  A few minutes maybe save you some problems later on.


Matt Cheek

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