Showing posts with label Career Related. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Career Related. Show all posts

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Resume of Leonardo da Vinci

Before he was famous, before he painted the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, before he invented the helicopter, before he drew the most famous image of man, before he was all of these things, Leonardo da Vinci was an armorer, a weapons guy, a maker of things that go "boom".

And, like all of us, he had to put together a resume to get his next gig. So in 1482, at the age of 30, he wrote out a letter and a list of his capabilities and sent it off to Ludovico il Moro, the Duke of Milan. Here is how it was written:

"Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to any one else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.

I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.

I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.

If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.

Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.

And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.

I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.

I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.

In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.

Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.

In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.

I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.

Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.

And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency - to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc."

Being a hopeless pedantic, here's what I think we can learn from Leonardo's resume:

This is a fantastic piece of personal marketing! There's none of his famous backwards-mirror writing here - this letter was intended to be read and to persuade.

He doesn't recite past achievements. He doesn't mention the painting of the altarpiece for the Chapel of St Bernard; he doesn't provide a laundry list of past bombs he's built; he doesn't cite his prior employment in artist Andrea di Cione's studio. He does none of these things because those would be about his achievements, not the Duke's needs. Instead, he sells his prospective employer on what Leonardo can do for him.

Standing in the shoes of the Duke of Milan, imagine receiving this magnificent letter from the young prodigy of Florence. The specific descriptive paint a vivid picture of siege engines and bombardments and mortars and trench-draining and bridges to defeat the enemy. Can you visualize those scenes that ran through the Duke's head as he held this letter in his hands and read through Leonardo da Vinci's bold statements of capabilities.

Happy 562nd birthday Leonardo!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Sound off office jargon - Part 1

This is an effort to cut through that office gobbledygook - a series of translating office jargon into simple meaningful phrases. At the end of the day, they should provide few handy nuggets.

Best Practice
Perhaps the single most pompous confection the consulting industry has ever dreamed up. 
Someone who has not used this buzz word (at least once a day) cannot claim to be a consultant. 

Best Practice refers to a method or technique that delivers superior results compared with other methods and techniques. 

Body of Work
A high-nosed way of summarizing the total output of an industry or company. A simple way of putting it would be, just to say, “product line,” or some such.

Boil the Ocean
To undertake an impossible task or project or to make a task or project unnecessarily difficult. Boiling the ocean generally means to go overboard. In simple terms, it means to waste time. 

Cut and dry
It's a metaphoric reference to grass/hay/herbs/etc. being cut, dried, and thus ready for sale/use (nothing more needs to be done). 

If something is "cut and dry," it is said to be completed without debate, question, or argument.

Giving 110%
"Giving 110 percent" is used metaphorically. 

The nice thing about effort, in terms of measuring it, is that the most you can give is everything, and everything equals 100%. To tell someone to give more than 100% is to also tell them that you failed second-grade math :-)

In layman's terms, Giving 110% means 'Going the distance', or 'Going the extra mile', or even 'Giving your job more than what's expected'.

Hard Stop
An executive with a "hard stop" at 3 p.m. is serious about ending the meaning at 3 p.m. Very serious, and also very important - or at least that's how it comes off. It also makes it sound like ‘This meeting isn't really that important, so I need a way to get out of it'. 

This wannabe verb that came to prominence, because most people don't understand the difference between the words "affect" and "effect." Rather than risk mixing them up, they say, "We will impact our competitor's sales with this new product." 

A tip: "Affect" is most commonly a verb, "effect" a noun. For instance: When you affect my thinking, you may have an effect on my actions.

If you still cannot distinguish the difference, just use the word, 'impact'. 

This is a word favored by consultants and presented to the customers with a buzzword, meaning "something learned." Apparently, the simple word "lesson" wouldn't do the trick of impressing the customer despite 500 years of continuous use in the English language.

Rather than simply saying, "I learned a lesson from that project?" a consultant would say, "I had a critical learning from that project," or "We documented the team's learnings." 

Absence of such words will leave an impression that the consultant had no idea at all.

Let's Talk That
For some troubled souls this phrase takes the place of "let's discuss that," or "let's talk about that." 
It just means that let us talk about the problem and try to settle things.

Low Hanging Fruits
Low-hanging fruits are easy to pick, so they are separate goals that are easy to achieve. Low-hanging fruit" refers to goals that are easily achieved.

Shooting fish in a barrel is a related term. It means that shooting a fish in a barrel is so easy - you will certainly hit a fish - that you are guaranteed to get result - but you do not care which fish you hit.

BTW - Going for low-hanging fruit denotes some lazyness. 

Make Hay
Jargon for being productive or successful in a short period of time. The phrase ‘to make hay’ is short for ‘make hay while the sun shines’. Of course, it's no brainer that this phrase comes from the field of agriculture. 

It simply means to take an opportunity to do something when the time and conditions are near perfect or available.

Out Of Pocket
Many auto-reply e-mails these days carry the phrase: "I'm 'out of pocket' until next week." 
These days, expenses come out of pockets, quarterbacks come out of the pocket. When it comes to expenses, 'out of pocket' means you had to pay for something yourself, or you suffered financially on some arrangement. In football, it means a quarterback my just leave the pocket. 

About Johnny - well, he'll just be plain unavailable or out of the office; his auto reply email may just contain the phrase - OOP. 

Peel the Onion
An expression that brings tears to the eye. This metaphor is often used to describe an enlightened approach to problem solving: By methodically removing each layer of the onion, one is able to appreciate the complexities at each level as you eventually reach the core where you can objectively define the problem.

Simply put, it means to delve into a problem, one layer at a time, to thoroughly understand what’s causing all the trouble. 

Price Point
Price point means a point on a scale of possible prices at which something might be marketed. It's meaning is different from the meaning of price, which is (principally, but not only) the amount of money expected, required, or given in payment for something. Just say price!

In football, to punt means to willingly (if regretfully) kick the ball to the other team to control your team’s position on the field. In business it means to give up on an idea, or to make it less of a priority at the moment. 

A punt is what you do when you have concluded that success is impossible and you want to minimize the effects of failure. Thus it has entered general speech to say things like, "This project is a failure. Let's just punt and see if we can re-use some of the work on another project."

Reach Out
Jargon for “let’s set up a meeting” or “let’s contact this person.” Just say that- and unless you want the Human Relations department breathing down your neck, please don’t reach out unless clearly invited.

"Reach out and touch someone" is a well-known poetic phrase meaning to make emotional contact with another human being.  

Often used to suggest a product or service with a virtually endless capacity to please. 

Robust, when used with regard to computer software, refers to a program that performs well not only under ordinary conditions but also under unusual conditions that stress its designers' assumptions.

This word has infiltrated nearly every cube and conference room in the country. To put it simply, synergy means two heads are better than one. The same advice was preached several decades earlier on the hit show Sesame Street. Big Bird called it "cooperation." 

The gist is using the same elements to create a far superior strength and symbiotic relationship. The very same concept King Solomon covered in Ecclesiastes 4:12. 

Take it to the Next Level
In theory this means to make something better. In practice, it means nothing, mainly because nobody knows what the next level actually looks like and thus whether or not they've reached it.

Take offline
A jargon that keeps popping up in conference calls, where multiple participants dial in. 

Back in the 1950's it was cheaper to process information offline as it used cheaper cycles to deal with that information. Taking the conversation offline is a metaphor for having the conversation on cheaper time.

Take it offline means to talk about something after the current meeting. This term seems to come up when an agenda item gets derailed by conversation that’s off topic. Usually a senior person will say to the off-topic speaker, “Let’s take this offline. We need to move on to the next item on the agenda.” 

It also means a polite refusal and in most cases the topic will never be discussed. But if this statement is made in a meeting where just two people are present, it makes no sense whatsoever. 

A variation of taking it offline is, ‘let’s put this on the backburner.’ 

Think Outside the Box
Another phrase that has gotten many thinking about the phrase itself. All it means is to think differently, unconventionally or from a new perspective. This phrase often refers to novel, creative and smart thinking.

If heard in a business setting, it means to approach a business problem in an unconventional fashion.

A creative manager would say, "Forget the box, just think." 

Window of Opportunity
A window of opportunity is a short time period during which an otherwise unattainable opportunity exists. After the window of opportunity closes, the opportunity ceases to exist. Since good deals on real estate, business offers, etc. do not exist forever, the window of opportunity is the ideal time to act.

Last Sunday, I had a brief window of opportunity to document those valuable points from the 'Sermon on the mount'. 

Got some new ones that you coined lately? You are most welcome to share them to be included in our next series.

Credits: Forbes,, 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Unpaid Internships - colleges come for aid

More colleges are helping to pay when companies don't compensate student interns.

The practice of "hiring" unpaid interns has come under renewed fire lately, with a federal judge's ruling last week that a movie studio's unpaid intern program violated labor laws.

Here is the article.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Why the Doctor Can't See You

For those planning to attend the Med school, this may be of interest to you. An article that appeared on Wall Street Journal back in August says:

Are you having trouble finding a doctor who will see you? If not, give it another year and a half. A doctor shortage is on its way. The demand for health care under ObamaCare will increase dramatically. The supply of physicians won't.

Click here to read: Why the Doctor Can't See You, authored by John Goodman -  president of the National Center for Policy Analysis.

Disclaimer: I am no expert on any topics related to medicine or medical field.  Consult your career counselor and discuss with your parents to learn more.

Credits: WSJ

10 things Med School won't tell you

An article that appeared earlier this month on Wall Street Journal talks about 10 things Med School won't tell you. They are:

1. “Bullying, teaching. Same difference.”

2. “We just added teamwork to our cutting-edge curriculum...”

3. “... so be prepared to share the spotlight.”

4. “You’re not getting in here without some people skills.”

5. “Undergraduate transferring may be used against you.”

6. “Getting into med school was tough? Try getting a residency.”

7. “Offshoring is not just for factories anymore…”

8. “…but your foreign colleagues may put your skills to shame.”

9. “Indebtedness isn’t an illness among doctors — it’s a plague.”

10. “Medicine isn’t a prescription for riches.”

Click here to read the article - 10 things medical schools won’t tell you.

Disclaimer: I am no expert on any topics related to medicine or medical field.  Consult your career counselor and discuss with your parents to learn more.

Credits: WSJ

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Body language during interview

Body Language Mistakes That Can Cost You The Job
Interviews make people sweat most of the time. While there is no silver bullet that one can ace an interview,  there are few things we can be conscious about - especially about one's body language when it is face to face.

Here is an article that appeared in Forbes yesterday, related to interviewing and body language, authored by Jacquelyn Smith. She has done a good job putting up photos which speak louder than thousand words. Her article starts off like this:

You’ve sent in your perfectly manicured résumé and flawless cover letter. You’ve researched the company and gave brilliant responses to tough interview questions. You’re probably a strong candidate—but forget to smile, slouch in your chair or fail to make eye contact during the interview, and you could be out of the running.

Click here to read the entire article

Click here to see pictures and notes.

Credits: Forbes, Jacquelyn Smith

Monday, April 2, 2012

Starting something new - 5 questions to ask

Some of us love to start something new while few others dread the very thought of deviating from the old norms! Being the kind of person I am, I always enjoy doing new stuff in a new atmosphere – whether it’s travelling down a new road, taking up a new sport, meeting a new person, starting work on something new, cooking a new dish, or even tasting a new fish!

Prior to leaping into the new venture, one must evaluate his/her motive against these 5 essential questions:

1. Am I emotionally/purpose driven?

Emotions can play with us! For instance, when emotionally down, we may feel like quitting. When we are hurt, we may sense a strong pull to prove our innocence. If we allow emotions to rule us, it has the power to ruin our life.

Proverbs 29:11 says, Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.

Before moving on to the new venture, let's ensure we are driven by purpose and not pushed by emotions.

2. Am I programmed to do this?

God created us in a wonderful way to do something special. Further, He built within us desires and skills to accomplish that work. For instance, a doctor or nurse has an in-built attitude of caring, a teacher has the in-built attitude of sharing knowledge while a carpenter has an in-built attitude of creativity. Each of us, we possess a unique set of abilities and personality.

According to 1 Peter 4:10, "Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."

Before launching into something new, let's make sure we are wired to undertake the new task.

3. Is my past work history aligned with this?

Since God has wired us for a specific purpose, we will have an indelible mark of that purpose all through our work history. You may have changed jobs. You may have been in different work situations. But directly or indirectly, your life’s divine purpose has emerged often in all these.

Moses was destined to be a deliverer. But for many years, it seemed like that wasn't his path. However, the truth is, his life’s purpose emerged at different situations – whether it was his own miraculous deliverance from death as a baby or rescuing a fellow Jews from the pharaoh.

We should evaluate our work history to see glimpses of our divine purpose. Then evaluate our new venture to see the same glimpse.

4. What does my family and close friends say about this?

When sensing the urge to launch out into the unchartered terrain, it is quite natural that most us - especially those of the entrepreneurial kind feel to do this in a hurry since we are overwhelmed with excitement. However there is great benefit in calming down and consulting with our spouse and closest friend about our new venture.

Proverbs 11:14 says, “Where no counsel is, the people fall: but in the multitude of counselors there is safety”.

More than any other, it’s our spouse who knows us – our strengths, our weaknesses, our likes, our nature and many other. Our closest friend is the only other one who knows us better than anyone in our outer circle. An open and honest consultation with our spouse and close friend helps us get a better picture about the feasibility and success factor of our new venture.

5. What is my price tag?

Every endeavor has a price tag associated with it - different price tags for each of our actions. Nothing evolves without a price. This is especially true for a worthwhile task as well. It is easy to jump in. But only those who pay the price can keep swimming upstream!

Here is what Jesus said about this in Luke 14:28-30: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it? For if you lay the foundation and are not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule you, saying, ‘This person began to build and wasn't able to finish.”

Cost is not always monetary. It could also mean time, willingness, ability and resources. Make sure we are committed to pay the price, whatever that tag may be.

Finally, may the blessing of the Lord and the wisdom of the Holy Spirit guide us, while we leap into that new venture.

6 days till Easter
266 days till Christmas 

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Career choice

Would you prefer a job that was high paying but not fulfilling or one with average pay but enjoyable?

Some believe they want a high-paying job even though they might not be fulfilled by their career. This is a mistake that can cause a lot of stress in your life and you may find that no matter the pay you can’t stand the job. There are many stories of people who leave careers in medicine, law, and other high paying occupations because their work is not fulfilling. Considering that people spend most of the average week at work, it is worth spending time to find a career that will allow you to meet your financial obligations, give generously to the Lord’s work, and do work that provides satisfaction. Even the best fitting jobs have tough days and unpleasant tasks but the pleasure of the job overall will compensate for that.

No amount of money should influence you to choose a career that would include work that is immoral or immerses you in an immoral environment. Many Christians have changed careers later in life because they felt their work environment was leading them away from Christ. Some have become so frustrated with the extreme worldliness in some work environments that they simply found other work. Sadly, some Christians have left the Lord due to the influence of ungodly work environments.

A final consideration is choosing a career that allows you to worship God regularly (Hebrews 10:25). Choosing a career that regularly keeps you away from worship or even a location that is far removed from a church to worship with can be hazardous to your spiritual health. You might be able to start a local work in a remote location–which would be a good thing–but be aware that it is a tough road. The wisdom of God is evident in the establishment of the church as a place where Christians can be edified and encouraged and we cut ourselves off from a great source of power and strength when we are regularly absent from worship services.

As you contemplate your career choices, don’t forget to keep your relationship with God the center of your decision. No amount of money will make you happy if you don’t.

Credits: R. Davis

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

SAT Essay Writing

Let’s look at SAT’s essay writing section today. Those of you who have launched your preparation phase would have already come across abundant tips and loads of advice. It is easy to get lost amidst all those recommendations. Here are few more:

Write neatly:
Let’s be realistic – during the first few seconds after picking your answer sheet, the teacher glances at it to check for two things involuntarily: neatness and length of your essay. The average time spent by a grader on each essay is approximately 2 minutes. So, that’s all you get – just 2 minutes to impress the grader. Also, there is a good chance to make the grader spend more time on your answer and think twice before awarding you that grade. No grader is going to take the pain to unscramble your words and enjoy the reading. So – write as neatly as you can, only using pencil. Your answer sheet should be extremely neat when someone takes a first look.

Write more:
Based on what I read, writing more on the essay is good. It makes you looks like you are comfortable in delivering material about the topic. Read this link that appeared in New York Times about an MIT prof. talking about writing more on SAT essays. It seems they are not really going to check the facts. According to him, “the longer the essay, the higher the score”. Remember, though – there are only 45 lines and you fill in as much as you can. You won’t get additional sheets of paper. Practice this at home.

Use Paras
Organize your essay into paragraphs. A good intro about whether you agree or disagree to the statement. Then break down the points (supporting facts) into other paragraphs. Use examples in those paragraphs. Quote the source if you can, rather than writing personal experience. A final conclusion summing up everything; but should not be exactly like the intro. At the first glance, the grader should be able to see those paragraphs – so intent those paragraphs. It’s all about how you present your thoughts on a piece of paper.

Apply Vocab
You have learned so many new words and some of them stay in your head. You must be looking to vent them out. This is the right avenue. Impress the grader by showing off your mastery of those ‘high frequency words’. Be careful – you should be sure they are what you think (I mean the right meanings). Check out a William Faulkner book from your local library, if time permits. Faulkner is known for his excellent usage of diction and cadence.

Few links I thougt might be helpful to you:

Writing a good essay

Credits: NY Times, Collegeboard,,,

Monday, August 31, 2009

Intro to SAT

Ever since you got into high school, you must have heard a lot about SAT. For those of you who are new to SAT - SAT Reasoning Test is a test required by many college admissions. The whole purpose of this test is to determine whether a student has the fundamental knowledge to attend college or not. In other words, it checks whether a student is ready for college. What it does not test is the intelligence of a student.

The test was originally structured to predict the success rate of a student in college. The ACT is an achievement exam that measures what students have learned. The SAT is more an aptitude test that measures reasoning skills. However, just like any other test, it depends on how well a student is prepared as well as the mindset on that day while taking the test.

For many students, SAT is a nightmare and puts lots of pressure upon them, along with regular coursework. One way to beat this is to start early – say while you are in 9th grade or so.

The test which cost $45 comprises of 3 hours and 45 minutes has 3 parts to it: Math, Critical Reading and Writing. The three sections have 800 point each, making it to a total of 2400. For the subject tests students pay $20 (registration) plus $9 per test. These fees are as of this writing and are subject to change. Check with the test official to get the latest fee structure.

The math section consists of the following areas: algebra and functions; number and operations; geometry; probability; statistics; and data analysis.

The Critical Reading part consists of: critical reading and sentence level reading.

The Writing section checks a student’s grammar, usage and diction.

The test days are normally administered during the months of October, November, December, January, March (or April, alternating), May, and June. The test is typically offered on the first Saturday of the month for the November, December, May, and June administrations.

There are numerous coaching centers that offer test prep. Based on a survey result I read those students who went for some sort of coaching or the other, scored comparatively higher on the test than those who did not. I came across some websites that provide some information as well.

To get an overview of the SAT test, try It has several tools along with Official SAT practice tests, Official SAT question of the day, Official SAT practice test etc. Check out the SAT Preparation center and you’ll find lots of tips there.

For an online test prep coursework website, try Its free and you have to register for it online.

One area that you’ll have to work hard is the vocabulary section. You’ll learn several new words, some of which are classified as high frequency words. A good website is This contains over 5000 words which are likely to appear on the test. Make sure you visit to familiarize yourself with the 100 most common SAT words.

For the math section, try which has couple of sections, ‘math tools’ and ‘Ask Dr. Math’.

For test taking sections, try these: and

For general information about any test at a high level, try It has answers to most of your questions at a single location.

Most colleges look at your SAT scores along with your GPA. If you are aiming at a highly reputed college, your SAT scores are quite important because most of the applicants would have worked hard to get top scores. Some programs require subject test as well.

Take a look at those colleges that you are planning to apply to, and get a feel for the scores they usually admit students.

While I was preparing for the GRE exam (which is similar to SAT), I used to take one test every week. These tests were taken strictly under time and by filling in the bubbles on a scantron. I would then score my test, and then study the concepts and sections where I scored less. I continued this cycle up until the last 2 weeks. During the last two weeks, I used to take almost one test a day, review my vocabulary and flash cards, and got into the grove. The night before the test, make sure you sleep very well without any studying. The fact is, you cannot study anything in the last minute unlike other school tests.

If any of you need any test taking tips, feel free to ask. I’ll be glad to walk you through.

Those of you, who are taking the test, wish you good luck.

Credits: The Los Angeles Times

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Job w/o work ex

As soon as you decide to put your resume on the job market, you'll find the fact:

One needs work experience to get a job;
to get a job, one need to have work experience.

Here is an interesting read with some pointers (it's a brief article) for those who are setting yourself up for such challenges. There is not a 'silver bullet' solution for those situations, but the more you know about how to get around, the better off you are.

Credits: HBR