3 Great Lessons From The Worst Job I’ve Ever Had

The worst job I’ve ever had actually turned out to be great because it taught me some valuable lessons. I love to learn, although I prefer it not be the hard way. One of my missions in life is to empower career changers and military veterans with useful knowledge and information about careering. You don’t have to learn the hard way (if you haven’t already). Here are 3 great lessons from the worst job I’ve ever had:

  1. A Higher Salary does not mean an employer grants you greater responsibility or more trust. Instead, it can mean that an employer will demand more of your time and energy, outside of the norm, because they feel entitled. I learned this lesson especially during my Paternity Leave when my wife was about to deliver our second child. My work phone was called literally every day for non-emergencies, and I was penalized for not answering every beckoning call. Also, I went from being the senior site leader at my previous job with my own office and with great trust and respect from my higher ups to being a regional leader in title only, since I then became relegated to working at a desk in an open floor layout where I was micromanaged and treated more like an hourly administrative assistant. I’ll stop there with my venting, and get to the point: consider every aspect of compensation before accepting a job offer (i.e. workspace, paid time off, education benefits, freebies and discounts, etc.).
  2. If you’re promised things during the interview process, such as being able to work from home whenever it’s not essential to be at the corporate office, then be sure to GET IT IN WRITING before you sign and accept the job offer. Sometimes, very rarely, employers will use a “bait and switch” approach to getting you onboard. Whether intentional or not, this scenario points to a serious lack of integrity. When you’re hired, you’re expected to do exactly what you said you could do during the interviews. Empower yourself by expecting an employer to do exactly as they said also, and hold them accountable because you will surely be held accountable if you don’t deliver.
  3. Read company reviews online from legit sources like Glassdoor. If most of the reviews are negative, especially pertaining to overall company culture, and definitely when the negative reviews spring from multiple locations across the country, then you may want to just decline the offer and move on to something different. Working in a toxic company culture for an obviously negative organization is not worth the stress and headaches, regardless of the amount of money.


GRIT.GRIND.GROW! Podcast Episode-003: Grind by the Numbers for Profitable Growth

Octavia Conner is a profit acceleration specialist, accountant, business consultant, speaker and best-selling author of “Say YES To Profits: 3 Methods for Building the Profitable, Successful Business of Your Dreams”. She specializes in helping entrepreneurs who struggle with cash flow accelerate their revenue, plug money leaks and maximize business profits faster, smarter and consistently. Tune-in to hear about her journey to success and how her story and skills are relevant to your grind and growth.



Special Guest: Octavia “The Profit Maximizer” Conner

Website: www.OctaviaConner.com & www.SayYesToProfits.com

Twitter: @STEMstudioFX

Facebook: www.facebook.com/OctaviaConner

Email: support@sayyestoprofits.com

Productivity Tools Shared:

  1. All Clients CRM – http://www.allclients.com/
  2. Intuit QuickBooks – https://quickbooks.intuit.com/

Business Promo:

Brave City Military Maintenance Professionals (www.bravecity.co)

Article Shared:

Black Enterprise: “5 Reality Checks You Must Face to Fix Your Finances”

GRIT.GRIND.GROW! Podcast Episode-002: STEMulate Your Grind

Kaya Mason, Founder of STEM Studio F/X, talks about being an Educator and Entrepreneur, and how STEM skills should be the foundation of young people’s preparation for their future career paths.Click-To-Listen. How the Internet of Things will explode by 2020 is also discussed.


Special Guest: Kaya Mason, Founder of STEM Studio F/X

Website: www.STEMstudioFX.com

Twitter: @STEMstudioFX

Facebook: www.facebook.com/STEMSTUDIOFX

Email: STEMstudioFX@gmail.com

Business Promo:

Brave City Military Maintenance Professionals (www.bravecity.co)

Article Shared:

Here’s How The Internet of Things Will Explode By 2020

GRIT.GRIND.GROW! Podcast Episode-001: Conquering Career Transition Through Technology


Special Guest: Jerome Hardaway, Founder & Executive Director at Vets Who Code
Email: hello@vetswhocode.io
Twitter: @JeromeHardaway and @VetsWhoCode
Recommended Books:
1. Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
2. Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
3. Dataclysm: Love, Sex, Race, and Identity–What Our Online Lives Tell Us About Our Offline Selves by Christian Rudder
4. How to Build a Billion Dollar App by George Berkowski
Business Promo:
GUILT-FREE PASTRIES – http://www.GuiltFreePastries.com
Article Shared:
“The No. 1 Reason Companies Can’t Get Good People To WOrk For Them” by J.T. O’Donnell – http://www.inc.com/jt-odonnell/the-no-1-unfortunate-reason-companies-cant-get-good-people-to-work-for-them.html

THE DR. DIONNE SHOW: Hiring Veterans & Athletes


(Lex Brown, Dr. Dionne Poulton, Sean Rainey & Sam Douglas)


This episode of “The Dr. Dionne Show” features a vibrant discussion about the unique skills and values that veterans and athletes have in common that make them “low risk hires” and invaluable workplace pillars. You will hear the impressive personal stories of Lex R. Brown II, a former athlete and veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Operation Iraqi Freedom, turned entrepreneur; Sam Douglas, former standout basketball player turned corporate executive and basketball coach; and Sean Rainey, who is a boys basketball coach, former athlete and a retired police detective with the New York City Police Department. Listeners, especially hiring managers and HR representatives will learn why “bias” is not necessarily a bad thing when making the decision to hire a veteran or athlete, especially when filling a leadership position.

Hear Lex on “Friends of US Veterans” BlogTalkRadio Show

Interview on “Friends of US Veterans” BlogTalkRadio Show



5 Great Benefits of Hiring Veterans

Job-seeking military veterans are ultra-competitive candidates. They have proven track records and in-demand skill sets. Sometimes their value gets lost in translation, but here you’ll find some of the crystal clear benefits for recruiting and hiring them.

Currently, there are many commendable initiatives advocating for the hiring of military veterans. I greatly appreciate every organization and individual concerned with the interests of our country’s transitioning service members. However, as a military veteran myself, I’d like to turn the tables and focus on how hiring military veterans is a lucrative move for companies across every industry. Here are just five of the many amazing benefits of hiring veterans:


Change can be challenging and is often met with resistance But there are people out there who know how to both embrace and implement change. Those people are often veterans. They are going to ask the tough questions, intent on truly understanding the coming changes so that they can be an active and impactful contributor to the overall transformation. They will also support the change leader(s)’s vision and they will help to communicate it to other team members. They will act with patience, as they have been through many changes throughout their time spent in a military uniform.


Military veterans are excellent at keeping themselves and those around them on track. Integrity, order, and discipline all play a factor here, which are some of the greatest attributes of veterans. As a current Operations Manager with over 50 employees I am responsible for, I find that high levels of peer-to-peer accountability coincide with high levels of morale. Not only will veterans be very vocal in identifying non-compliance, they will also offer support in correcting any issues…

(Continue Reading at Udacity for Business Blog…)

6 Great Blogs To Subscribe To For Career Transition Guidance

Career change is almost never easy, but it can be simplified in some instances. From mid 2012 to nearly the end of 2014, I was on an unrelenting career transition journey, as I transformed from active duty military service member to where I am today. Throughout that time I needed guidance, sound advice, inspiration, and some times just a good story to read. The six blogs listed below gave me all of that and more. I’m hoping they can do the same for you.


The belief at CAREEREALISM is that every job is temporary. That’s why it’s so important to stay informed and to keep learning, growing, acquiring new skills, and relationship building. CAREEREALISM produces an exclusive Recruiter Directory, publishes a daily career insights newsletter, and presents “sneak peeks” articles with the inside scoop about employers to help you find a workplace that fits you best.


Want to learn how to be considered “in demand” as a job seeker? Are you pondering an effective entry into the world of technology professionals? Well then this is the blog for you. Better yet, one of UDACITY’s Nanodegree programs may just be the solution you need to fix your income stream. Gain highly desired credentials that are built and recognized by industry leaders such as Google and General Electric. Check out UDACITY’s blog for further details.


This is a great news and culture site, primarily focused on providing a platform to amplify the voices of millennial American veterans. If you’re seeking amazing stories to motivate you, challenge your perceptions, intrigue healthy debate, or simply to lighten your mood, then Task & Purpose should become a go-to source for you.


As a fellow military veteran, Melissa Washington is an outstanding advocate for women and veterans in the labor market. In fact, she is the Founder and Director at Women Veterans Alliance. She is also the author of “Get Back to Work”, a book on real-world strategic career moves to put you ahead of your competitors.


As put simply on its website, American Dream U is committed to empowering those that serve. The site provides a ton of free resources, mentor networks, and a calendar of its signature events like VETRACON. Founder Phil Randazzo, a serial entrepreneur and investor, is a genuine proponent of active duty military members, veterans, and spouses finding their dream job and/or entrepreneur resources.

6-G.I. JOBS:

Coming out of active duty Air Force in 2012, G.I. Jobs is what I primarily consumed for inspiration and information. The stories are highly motivational, the employer profiles are deeply insightful, and the extra tools provided were critical to my eventual career change successes (i.e. the pay calculator, the interview survival kit, and the transition readiness quiz).

I look at career transition as a never-ending journey. In that mindset, I also pursue perpetual development as a professional. That’s why I’m subscribed to all six of the above mentioned blogs, and why I’m also a contributing writer to several of them. They each provide value in exchange for your time and attention.

Resilience Over Brilliance

Didn’t graduate with a 4.0 GPA? Is your degree not from a top Ivy League institution? Are you not fluent in seven different computer programming languages already? Well, I guess you’re screwed then, huh? Or at least that’s what some people are being misled to believe as they search for a new mission and career path.

This is not being written to demean our society’s brilliant scholars, or to act as if “smarts” don’t matter. But, it’s time for society to get back to respecting and honoring good old fashion merit, hard work, and resilience. In such a volatile, unrelenting, ambiguous economic climate, what asset is more vital than resilience? Last I checked, the one common thing that lead to success for the likes of Henry Ford and Andrew Carnegie was resilience.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), resilience is defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress. It is essentially “bouncing back” from difficult experiences.

Like any learned skill, resilience requires some renewing and refreshing from time to time. Maintaining great resilience can help protect us from depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. It can also offset physical illness and injury. That said, here are FOUR WAYS TO BUILD & MAINTAIN RESILIENCE:

  1. NETWORK/MAKE CONNECTIONS – first, as much as is within your control, maintain a strong support system. This is your base for survival in life, and it requires as much from you as you demand from it. Bond with family, friends and close associates on a regular basis. Make those phone calls, write those emails, go out for lunch and coffee. Whatever it takes, keep nurturing those relationships. Beyond your support system, build bridges through new connections to get where you aspire to be.
  2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF – maintain an active physical fitness routine, to care for your physical aspect. Just as important is the state of your mind and spirit, which can benefit from active prayer, meditation, yoga, or whatever form of inner-exercise you deem best for you (to me, prayer is the most powerful of all).
  3. KEEP THINGS IN PROPER PERSPECTIVE – always remember that life goes in cycles. This means that any negative experience you may have can and should be only temporary. During those times of adversity, count your blessings. Look at everything good around you, and appreciate the little things. This should help keep you balanced and hope filled.
  4. VOLUNTEER – why? Because volunteering will keep you humble and grateful, regardless of any struggles you might experience during times of transition. As the old saying goes, “do unto others as you want done unto you”. Give, and your hand is open to receive. But that’s beside the point. Helping others is great for the heart and soul.

If you’re still finding ways to persevere in life, in spite of any setbacks, then your resilience is already proven. Talk it up as one of your most valuable skills. It should definitely be listed as a keyword on your resume. Take care, be resilient, adapt and overcome.

Most Valuable Workplace Advice for 2015: Relate Interviewing to Sales

In 2015 it is imperative to understand that mastering the process of interviewing is the deal-maker or deal-breaker. As candidates vying for various employment opportunities, we’re all selling something: our time and our skills. Therefore, I find it highly effective to relate interviewing to sales.

If interviewing is a sales process, then there has to be a customer, and that customer is the potential employer. We all have the challenging task of convincing said customer that our time (which is our product) and our skills (which is our service) are the absolute best buying option in regards to return-on-investment. Here’s how to transform routine interviews into deal-sealing sales meetings:

Conduct “Customer Discovery”

Simply put, do your research beforehand, and take detailed notes. Know what your customer (the potential employer) needs, and understand their mindset. What problems are persisting, and how can you come in and help solve them? Develop a contact list and start initiating conversations with people currently in the organization, as well as those who were previously with the organization. ASK QUESTIONS! Find out about the workplace culture. Is it healthy, or is it toxic? Is it people first, or profit first? Is the team diversified? These are some key things you want to know before even considering making a pitch.

Rehearse Your Pitch

Practice makes improvement, and repetition builds confidence through muscle-memory. Pretend like you’re rehearsing to land a part in your favorite TV show or something, just to liven it up a bit. You want strong positive energy and an assertive presence. Having your pitch perfected enables you the chance to take control of the entire situation.

Distinguish Yourself From Your Competition

Why should you be hired over the countless other candidates? Please don’t say things like, “I’m the hardest worker you’ll ever meet”. Be more specific, with statements such as, “I saved my recent employer ‘X’ amount of dollars last year”, or “I won employee of the month 3 times because of my dedication to accomplishing the mission with a great attitude every day”.

Anticipate Objections – Prepare Responses

Expect some level of pushback, and be prepared to counteract it. Don’t let the moment escape without a valiant effort to end the customer’s search. Convince them that you are the right buy, and that there’s no need to look elsewhere. Give certainty where they have doubts, and clarity where any confusion exist.

Ask For The Business = Close The Sale

Do not walk away from the customer without asking them to close the sale. If they’re hesitant to make an on-the-spot choice, then be sure to get from them a definite time and date by which you will receive a final decision. Your time is as valuable as theirs, so there’s no need to waste any.

Go forth and conquer. Adapt and overcome. If your resume gets you in the door, but you’re still hunting for employment, then I hope this message is a timely solution. If you grasp the concepts of sales, then interviewing will truly become a breezy process for you. Interviewing = Sales, and Sales = $.


Lex R. Brown II is a freelance writer, blogger, and podcaster residing in Memphis, TN. He is a veteran of the United States Air Force and of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Follow Lex on Twitter @lexRbrown.

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