Tag Archives: Top 10 list

Top Ten Reasons to Give Michigan a Chance

15 Jul

I just spent a week in Michigan leading up to my class reunion. When my East Coast friends hear I’ve been to Michigan, they usually scrunch their noses and say something that makes me realize they think I’m going somewhere like Kansas or Iowa.

That reaction, coupled with Michigan’s declining population, should prompt PR agencies to circle like vultures, seeking an easy buck. But since they aren’t stepping up, I’ll take on the task. Because really, Michigan is like the US’s well-kept secret. Sort of like Rochester’s wife in Jane Eyre. But less crazy and more awesome. 

So, without further preamble…

Ten Reasons To Move to Michigan (Or At Least Visit)

  1. It’s a peninsula. Which is LIKE an island in that there’s water everywhere, but better because you don’t need a boat to reach it. The only other state that can claim that is Florida, and it’s filled with old people who can’t drive and snakes. Although if you believe this article, maybe you’ll only need to worry about the snakes, since they seem to be taking care of everything else.
  2. Michigan is all about the lakes. OK, maybe this seems redundant since I just pointed out that it’s a peninsula, but in addition to being bordered by the Great Lakes, Michigan has over 11,000 named lakes. And counting the Great Lakes, Michigan has more shoreline than the entire Atlantic Seaboard. (Think about THAT the next time you imply I’m visiting Iowa.)
  3. Sauerkraut Suppers. According to the 2000 census, two of the top five ancestral sources for Michigan residents are German (20%) and Polish (8%). This means you’re generally only a stone’s throw from a church that hosts a monthly fundraiser dinner with sausage, sauerkraut, potatoes, spaetzle and gravy. How can you NOT want to live near this?
  4. Skiing. You heard me correctly. If you like to ski but don’t live out West or in Canada or Vermont, then Michigan is your next best bet. True, you’ll never hear someone trading Whistler for Boyne Highlands, and Michigan doesn’t technically have mountains, but there’s a ton of snow and hills, so shut your mouth. Plus it’s more affordable.
  5. It’s so great, even the celebrities come home to roost. Just ask Jeff Daniels, who founded the Purple Rose Theatre in Chelsea, or Kid Rock, who resides in Clarkston, MI and shows up in my Facebook newsfeed monthly because one of my friends has bumped into him.
  6. Sweet corn and cherries. If you’ve never bought either of these freshly picked from a roadside stand in Michigan, you are settling for second-rate produce. True, they’re only in season for a limited window, but once you’ve tasted them, you’ll know those few weeks make the rest of the year worth it.
  7. The Speed Limit is 70. And generally, the number of miles you’re going is the number of minutes it will take you to get there. Living in DC, which now boasts the distinction of having surpassed Los Angeles with the nation’s worst traffic, I advise you not to underestimate this one.
  8. International Flavor. You’re just one bridge away from being in another country. And – unlike Texas/California – the odds of having to bribe a police officer to avoid jail time in crossing the border are nil. Though you might have to toss an apple to the Mountie’s horse. (This is especially helpful if you’re a college student who is not yet legal to drink in the US, because the drinking age is only 19 in Ontario. Not that I would know anything about that.)
  9. Vernors. Sure, you might not move to a place simply because it’s home to the best ginger ale in the nation, but think about what that spirit of invention says about the place. It was the first soda (pop) made in the United States. Combine that with a certain someone named Henry Ford, and I think you can get a sense of the possibilities for an entrepreneur.
  10. You always have a handy visual aid at arm’s length. Have you ever gotten frustrated trying to explain where you live to someone? Michiganders don’t have this problem – they simply turn up the palm of their right hand and point. Saginaw? Crotch of you thumb. Traverse City? Tip of your pinky. Don’t tell me any other state can do that. Wisconsin tried earlier this year  and learned that when you mess with the Mitten, you get the whole fist.

Now that I think of it, that actually makes a pretty good motto. So don’t you want to visit? 

TOP TEN: Interviewing Tips for Idiots

9 Mar

I hire people. Frequently. So I’ve endured a lot of interviews in my day. I’m gearing up for another round of candidates as I type, so I’m sharing this for selfish – not altruistic – reasons. Please forward to any of your friends applying to jobs.

I offer up these tips as a direct result of sitting through the interview in which it happened. All stem from (very sadly) true incidents:

  1. If you have a child, please don’t bring it to the interview with you. Splurge for a sitter.
  2. If you ignore Rule #1 and bring your child to the interview, please do not whip your breast out and feed it while we are talking. (I’m hungry too, but you don’t see me fishing JellyBellies out of my filing cabinet. LIMITS, people.)
  3. Turn your cell phone off. If you forget and it rings, apologize and silence it. DO NOT take the call – unless you are a surgeon or expecting a baby.
  4. If you DO take the call, when the caller asks what you’re doing, don’t say, “Nothin’,” like you’re just sitting on your couch stoned eating Cheetoh’s and watching MTV. You are in an interview and I can hear you.
  5. When asked what your sales strategy is, do not reference the phone book and your feet. Cold calling and door knocking is something that happend in the late 1990s. And even then, it wasn’t considered strategic.
  6. When asked why our company is a good match for you, please do not say, “Because the office has a weight-loss challenge and I’ve recently lost 10 kilos myself, so I think I’d fit right in.”
    • The only response I can think of to that is: Sure! Because our strategic plan for profitability is to be SLIM. Or wait – since we don’t make money by being skinny, perhaps you’d like to interview with Richard Simmons or America’s Top Model? Or, conversely, tell me more about how your weight-loss will translate into revenue for us?
  7. Do not volunteer that you are married, have children, have a mortgage, have a burial expense – or any other obligation that makes your employment financially necessary. We all need to work; don’t burden me with your reason. You made your decisions, I didn’t. Unless it helps me understand your value to my organization, I don’t really need to know.
    • A corollary of #7 is “Because I need to make enough money to clear my alimony and child support obligations,” and my response  to that is, Awesome. Now that I know what’s important to you, let’s talk about your ability to see a project through to the end. It sounds like you might have some issues there. “
  8. Do NOT pull out a magazine and show me topless women sprawled out on the hoods of cars, even if you DID sell the ad space in that magazine. I think I’d rather see the person in Tip #2 breast feed.
  9. When asked why you left a job, I don’t need to know – in graphic detail – how your boss came onto you at the men’s urinal. I think you can come up with a vague blanket statement (like poor leadership) that covers that base without scarring my brain.
  10. If you are drunk, stay home and sleep it off. We’ll let you reschedule. Attempting to interview – only to A) Miss the chair and sit on the floor, or B) Call us from a jail cell where you’ve been charged with a DUI – is not going to increase your likelihood of getting the job.

And finally, as an added bonus – when asked what questions you have about the position, the Top Five Questions out of your mouth should not be:

  1. How much sick time do I get?
  2. How much vacation time do I get?
  3. Can I work from home or bring my child to work?
  4. When can I take my first vacation?
  5. Are you actually going to call my references?

I work for a very progressive company that actually has great answer to all those questions. But the point is, you probably shouldn’t be focused on how little you actually have to work. You should concentrate on what value you bring to my organization.

Call me old fashioned, but if I wanted to hear about your vacations, I’d hire someone better than you so I could take them myself.