Honesty

Be Honest with Potential Employers to Manage Skeletons in Your Closet

Business Hand Shakes

(Photo Credit: Buzzle)

These days there’s too much competition for jobs to leave anything to chance.  You must make every effort to present yourself as responsible, professional and capable.  A background blemish like a poor driving record could force a potential employer to disregard your application, or to select another candidate, especially for a position that requires you to spend time behind the wheel of a vehicle.

Remember your driving lessons?  Or maybe you don’t, which is part of the problem.  Well, those instructions about defensive driving and avoiding moving violations were taught for a reason.  Those classes are intended to keep you and other motorists safe.

If you’re working a job with company safe-driving policies, any hint of irresponsible driving could make you an outsider.  Fortunately, there are ways to avoid this:

Understand your background check

Many companies will search criminal records and civil traffic records as part of a routine investigation before they hire you.  Criminal charges for reckless or impaired driving will obviously raise questions. Jobs that stress safe driving could raise issues with a history of multiple violations in a short period of time, however.

The Society for Human Resource Management notes many companies have a standard for “unacceptable” driving histories, which tends to include a suspended or revoked license, or “three or more moving violations in the past 36 months.”

You can get ahead of that by searching public records laws in the states where you live to gain a sense of the information available to employers and the general public.  You can also check with your local Department of Labor to see what information a potential employer can search.  These steps won’t erase a criminal charge or civil citation, but at least you’ll be prepared.

Some employers simply want to see if you’re honest.  U.S. News careers editor Jada A. Graves cites a 2013 study that showed 52% of employers said “they’d be more inclined to hire a candidate who disclosed a conviction before a background check revealed one.”

Learn the rules of the road

Scofflaws and routine traffic offenders do not inspire confidence in potential employers—not when they have a stack of applications from people with clean records.

Perhaps it’s time to do a little due diligence and let your next boss know you care.  Making mistakes in your youth is especially common.  In the U.S., where motor vehicle crashes is a leading cause of death among teens, plenty of entry level workers have repeat traffic violations on their records.  Sites like Driving-Tests.org provide free and interactive tests to understand traffic safety standards in greater depth to prepare drivers for DMV tests.

If you’re seeking a new job, try to view yourself through the eyes of your potential employer.  Show potential employers you have a grasp of your past and what you aim to do to be a more responsible person in the future.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Avoiding Problems Doesn’t Remove Them

Black Man

(Photo Credit: madamenoire.com)

If you keep running from your problems, you will never find a resolution to them.  When you try to pretend like your problems aren’t there, you’re only making them worse: the longer you avoid seeking solutions to your problems, the more difficult they become to address.  Too many people attempt to sham like they have conquered the quandaries that have given them the most pain.  It’s becoming popular for many people to say they’re “reinventing themselves,” “renewing themselves,” “living a new life,” and etc., but the reality is a true change in your life materializes conspicuous signs of change—not facades.  When many people say the aforementioned things, they’re making an effort to have others to believe their lies; they want others to think they’re living a life where they’re facing their problems directly when they’re not.

If you’re really “reinventing” yourself, “renewing” yourself, and “living a new life,” then why are there no substantive ostensible changes in your life?  Why are you unwilling to truly be yourself?  What continues to hold you back from real progress?  At the core of the answers to those questions is one’s intentional effort to run away from, hide, disguise, and bury his or her problems instead of working to defeat them.

You don’t have to live your life trying to hide and evade your problems; you can conquer them.  You must, however, be willing to deal candidly with those problems.  One can make serious progress toward remedying his or her quandaries when he or she musters the courage to confront them boldly.  Too many people attempt to bury their problems behind materialistic phenomena like money, cars, clothes, jewelry, houses, jobs, degrees, and etc., but trying to camouflage those things that are eating away at you will inevitably lead to your own undoing.

Although you may fool a number of people with your efforts to present your life as devoid of problems, the majority of folks know you have some problems—no matter what you say.  Everything’s not always going good for you.  Life exposes us to occasional challenges and problems, so don’t try to act like you’re so special and exempt for this reality.  When you invest significant time in trying to prove to others that you’re living a newly “invented” and “transformed” life, you already know authentic happiness doesn’t exist in your life, and you’re the one who is preventing real happiness from existing in your life.

Don’t allow pride to keep you from asking for help from others.  Additionally, don’t let your pride be the ultimate source of your problems.

It would be so much better to see someone truly living an ameliorated life than living a life of continuous lies; a life where one dons a faux happiness.  While things may not be going great for you right now, don’t try to pretend like they are.  Make a strong effort to engender the change in your life that will produce genuine positive results and progress—not results and “progress” that have to be fictitiously manufactured.

Boldly face your problems today and have a truly improved tomorrow.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

You Don’t Call Until You Want Something

Black Man Yelling

Stop calling me only when you want something!

Do you know people who don’t call you until they want something?  Do you know people who don’t even want to have anything to do with you until they want something?  If your answer to one or both of the aforementioned queries is yes, then you know people like this can become burdensome and exhausting really fast.  You don’t have to tolerate those individuals anymore.  All you need to do is treat them like they treat you and they will flee from you.

One excuse folks like this will use when you call them out on this issue is “I stay so busy.”  However, when they need something from you, they’re able to find all of the time in the world to talk to you.  “I stay so busy” is simply a lie.  This is language people employ to attempt to camouflage the fact that they only care about what you can do for them and don’t have the slightest concern about you.  When these folks don’t need you, you’re nothing more than an afterthought and footnote.  You need to know that people like this are only using you or attempting to use you.

You may be busy but you’re not “so busy” that you cannot take a few minutes to call someone you always call when you want something

People who call you only when they need something should be more honest and transparent.  Are you afraid to let people know you’re only interested in them for what they can do for you?  Stop telling lies about being “so busy” all the time.  You can find the time to call someone just to say hello or check on them on your way to work or to the store.  Even if you let a person know you don’t have but a few minutes to talk, this will show them you’re interested in them more than just for what they can do for you.  It would seem like you would have enough sense to call folks enough so that it does not seem like you’re just using them, even if it’s really your intention to use them.

When people who only call you when they want something call you or text you, stop returning their calls and text messages.  Shut down all communication with them.  You have to do something to let them know you’re not going to accept this type of behavior from them.  If you continue to allow this type of behavior to occur, then you have to take just as much responsibility as they do.  People will do as much as you allow them.

Don’t feel guilty when you end all communication with people who call you only when they want something.  You have nothing to feel guilty about, considering they’re the individuals responsible for this termination of communication.

If you’ve never given it much thought about when people call you, I encourage you to begin to observe when people call you.  You need to begin to seriously observe if people are calling only when they want something.  Eliminate these individuals from your life and you will see how much you ameliorate your life.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Exploring Secret Relationships

Let me begin this article by saying that I’m an open book—always have been and always will be. There’s absolutely nothing I avoid discussions about. Most people are not able to say they are an open book. You may say, “You’re right and I don’t want to be one either.” I’m just making this point up front, however. I think that it may be my unfiltered candor that may be my greatest strength and greatest flaw in this article. People’s strengths and flaws allow us to learn so much from them.

In only the most extreme cases can I see the necessity of maintaining a secret relationship. By secret relationship, I mean hiding a relationship you are in that you are building something meaningful in and/or desire to continue to build something meaningful in the relationship. Moreover, by secret relationship, I mean those relationships where a person refers to another person in intentionally ambiguous terms to keep the person’s identity veiled, but still keeps alluding to that person with such fondness. To go even further, by secret relationship, I mean any relationship where one is not publically transparent about the individual he or she is in a relationship with. Sometimes these secret relationships are nothing more than “invisible relationships,” that is, non-existent relationships.

Many people who maintain secret relationships will publically share with us a significant amount of personal information, but will not share with us at least the simple identity of the person who they are in a relationship with. Therefore, for these people to try to claim that the reason why they are not public about the relationship they are in is due to a desire to protect the privacy of the relationship, I would have to contend that their position is quite contradictory.

It seems to me if you have a strong fondness for a person and/or want to develop something even more substantive with a person, you would naturally divulge the identity of the person you are in a relationship with. If the person is making you feel this good, then why is his or her name left undisclosed? I’m not saying that a relationship is not valid that is not publically promulgated, but what I’m saying (or at least trying to understand) is why is there a need to keep the name of the person you are in a relationship undisclosed when you are so public when it comes to alluding to this person?

What are you hiding?

Although I recognize some of the strengths of a relationship that is kept tremendously private without people ever knowing the folk are in a relationship, I would like to express that there are some weaknesses to these secret relationships. When you don’t identify the person you are in a relationship with, even before you consider yourself in a relationship with the person, you run the risk of not learning things about the person you need to know that he or she will not tell you.

Personally, I know people who are in secret relationships and it’s resulting in them not learning things about the people they are in a relationship with that would cause them to no longer desire to be in a relationship with those people. Sometimes your secret relationships are not so secretive. However, because people will respect your desire to keep your relationship a “secret,” they will pretend that they don’t know you who you are in a relationship with. By pretending like they don’t know who you are in a relationship with, they feel like they have to withhold vital information from you. One guy I know who’s in a secret relationship is involved with a girl who tried to holla’ at his very close friend and has had sex with another one of his good friends and still is having sex with her because the good friend does not know a relationship exists. From my experience and vantage point, being secretive and silent does not prove beneficial inevitably.

By having a secret relationship, you prevent yourself from receiving some much needed relationship advice. You won’t receive any relationship advice because no one knows about your relationship or does not know who you are in a relationship with.

Furthermore, being in a secret relationship can be tremendously dangerous. If people don’t know you are in a relationship with a person, then they never know about you possibly being in danger by this person. They don’t know what the person looks like, and don’t know that you may be spending time with this person in a private place that’s totally isolated from everyone who knows you. This is a perfect storm for disaster to evolve.

What are reasons why secret relationships continue to persist? What do you consider to be extreme cases in our contemporary period where secret relationships are necessary? Do you think that it’s necessary for a person to reveal who he or she is in a relationship with?

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison