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Archive for the ‘Career’ Category

Is it time to pivot your career?

Friday, December 2nd, 2011


I have always been interested in small businesses and startups.  I even attempted to start a web development company back in the hayday of the web.  I was marginally successful with two large contracts and some piecemeal work.  Once that dried up I went back to doing what many people are doing right now; searching for work.

It used to be that you stayed with one company your whole life.  This meant a lot of things;
1) You were loyal to that company
2) You hoped to move up within that company
3) You kept and expanded the same skill set over the course of your career and possibly tried to add management into the mix.

Those days are over.  I still fondly remember how I felt at HP – I was sure I would work there for the rest of my life.  I had good friends, a routine, I was good at what I did, and they provided cheap food, a gym, softball leagues, and a great atmosphere.  Interestingly those things are mostly only found now at small companies.  Particularly the atmosphere.  I have digressed some here so I will get back on point.

Small companies, particularly technology companies, in order to survive, will often change what they do.  This is what is known in the industry as “pivoting.”  If the first idea is not successful, you pivot and go to the next one.  The definition I like best is “a change to business strategy and business model in response to or in anticipation of market conditions.”  Makes sense right?

Now I want you to take “business” and replace it with “career.”  If you are out of work, anticipate being out of work, or are unhappy with your career, it may be time to pivot.  Here are some examples of people I know:

Person A – He was a manager for a 3d modeling company.  He was an excellent graphic modeler and a good manager.  The company was on a trajectory he did not like.  He started to teach himself how to program and convinced upper management to put him in an entry level programming position.  It required a paycut, but he did it.  He then started taking classes at a community college and finally, after his company did massive layoffs, he did an internship with a rapid software development company.  He is now an employee there and doing well in something he enjoys.

Person B – He did maintenance and was eventually let go from his work.  He applied to a job he was not qualified for at a consulting company, but was accepted to an entry level position because of his personality where he is being trained.

Person C – He was a successful sales executive and was laid off. He could not find any sales jobs so he began reading and taking online courses that he found for free on statistics.  He managed to get an entry level position doing analyst work and has now worked himself up to a senior analyst.

Person D – He was a manager at a retail chain but was not moving up the ladder so he has begun to teach himself web design.

There is a common theme here: if it is time to make a change in career direction and you can drive yourself to aquire the skills necessary, then you absolutely can do it.

Good luck, and for those job hunting, don’t lose hope and don’t be afraid to do something outside of your comfort zone.

Who’s fault is the increasing lack of job loyalty really?

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2011

The empire stuck first.  No warnings, no subtle hints, no gentle transition.  That was the day I changed my perception on the job market forever.  And no, I am not referring to the release of the Bad Religion album…

Empire

I have heard a lot of complaints recently about ‘job hoppers’ aka people that jump from job to job in a matter of years or even months in some cases.  The main argument is that generations x and y are used to instant gratification. I have always been a strong believe in the concept of working hard and proving yourself and so when I was younger I was one of the loudest voices in that chorus.  Then, very suddenly, after working my way up the chain at HP, I was laid off.  This came as a total shock to me – I had been getting consistently superior ratings and working harder than I had ever worked.  The empire strikes first.  Now to back up for a second.  I don’t want to sound overly dramatic here; businesses are simply groups of people with common goals but the truth of the matter is that, particularly with large businesses, company loyalty is a thing of the past.

If a hard working productive employee can’t expect that a company will keep them around for thirty years, why would a person stick around for thirty?  This isn’t to say there aren’t exceptions and as most people know, the smaller the company, the more likely the company will be loyal and this is where job hoppers are the blight – the small company that invests in its people only to see them jump to another company – but this is much more the exception anymore than the rule.

I read a study recently that said 88% (I would quote it but I cant remember exactly where I read it) of employees were looking for a new job, thinking about looking, or would be open to switching if the opportunity presented itself.  That number seems high to me, and I suspect that many of the respondents were thinking along the lines of better opportunity vs just a ‘new’ opportunity but it still shows that the average worker doesn’t feel any particular pull to stay at their current position.  More money ranked as the No. 1 reason for moving to a new position. Other considerations included more training opportunities, working with new technologies, more challenging assignments and a more interesting technical direction in a new employer’s IT department.  The number one negative reason was “poor management.”  I have actually been quite lucky in that to this day I have never had a poor manager, and perhaps that is the reason I am only now with my third company in my twelve years in the industry – well below the amount of changes my peers have made, but a far cry from the lifelong commitments of the past.

A lot of companies are working to reverse the trend, but its clear that things will never exactly be as they used to.  The question really is, should they?  My wife showed me an excellent video that I highly recommend about what really motivates people.  Maybe more companies should take notice as well…

The million dollar career mistake

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

When you think about career mistakes, you might start with the most obvious, say, yelling at your boss or not bothering to show up for work.  Then you might work your way into the more mundane things such as slacking off, not paying attention or getting behind.  Its actually amazing how much bad advice there is out on the internet about career mistakes.

Here are some of the things listed as career mistakes on other sites that you should NOT LISTEN TO:

  1. Working Overtime

Work life balance is essential to keeping up fresh ideas and rising to the top.  There is never a reason to work overtime and there is no reason you should believe anyone that tells you to.  We are not designed to concentrate on one thing for 8 hours at a time let alone 10 or 12.  How many people are burnt out because of overworking?  I would say most of america.

Advice so terrible, it probably belongs in my failing 101 article. Now, I am not saying work/life balance is a bad idea because obviously it is important. If I had to work somewhere where I never saw my wife and son I would quit instantly. However, there are going to be times in your life where you have to work. If you want to be the best, you have to put in extra effort, there is no way around that. I have a friend who likes to say “work smarter, not harder.” I agree with that statement, but quite frankly the person who only puts in their 9-5 is not going to be a top performer. I would not want to hire or work with such a person. If you are getting stressed or burnt out during a work crunch time try exercise and some healthy food.  Sounds cliche, but it works.

Here are a few other so called “#1 worst career mistakes” that I found on other websites:

“Not watching your back”
Really?  Im not even sure I should comment on this.

“Not experimenting”
Uh, ok?

“Burning bridges”
WRONG.  Act with character.  At times this may mean that bridges are burnt down. If you act with character then any bridges that are burnt aren’t ones you would want to cross again anyway.

So what is the true number one career mistake, the one that harms more people in the workforce than anything else?

Its very simple; not having a plan.

career plan

That’s right, the absolutely worst thing you can do for your career is not having a plan.  How many people do you know that are in their job and have no idea what they are going to do next, or don’t even have a “next” in mind?  It goes along with the college kid who is getting a degree but has no idea what they are going to do when they graduate.    I have a couple examples of people that I would like to share.

Person One: John Doe
John is a borderline genius.  He has a masters degree in an advanced field.  John has vast amounts of experience in more fields than I can even count.  Hes intelligent and a very quick learner.  He has taught himself everything he knows, including what he is currently doing for a job.  John’s problem is that he never really made a long term plan and never really took initiative to further his career.  He is, in my estimation, the best person at his particular job of anyone that has ever lived.  He should be the VP of engineering somewhere, and they would be lucky to have him.  John makes somewhere around $75,000.00 a year.  He should be making $250,000.00, no exaggeration.  In my estimation, he has lost out on a million in the past 10 years alone.

Person Two: Jane Doe
Jane has worked at her company for 30 years.  She has known that layoffs were happening all around her but she was loyal.  She never made a plan, she never even thought of what could happen.  Now she is laid off and has no idea what to do next or where to go.  She feels like it is too late for her to start over but she has become so specialized in her skillset that she cannot find anything.  Jane is less extreme than John.  I would guess that had she had a career plan, she could have advanced from her job as an assistant to an executive assistant, to a program coordinator.  I estimate she ended around 50k a year. She probably could have averaged an extra 30k a year over the past 30 years.  30k * 30 years = 900k.  Nearly a million.

All of the above people are great employees.  They all excel at what they do.  However, all have cost themselves immensely in the span of their careers.  In fact, I got kind of emotional writing this because it is sort of the old adage “life is not fair.”  That actually is great news, if you use it to your advantage.  Don’t waste your million.

What the highest paying jobs REALLY are

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Of the working population, there isn’t a single person who wouldn’t like to make 200k a year.  Ask anyone you know and I’m willing to bet that unless they are a minimalist, they would take 200k a year over say, 30k a year.  The problem is that there is one real truth and that is that 95% of the population cannot or will not do what it takes to make six figures. Of the remaining 5%, 95% will not break 200k.  The crux if it is that for some people the odds of making six figures will be high; they have gotten a good education, caught some lucky career breaks, and ended up in the top or perhaps just been born into wealth or industry (think Waltons).

For the rest of the population, get ready to work.  If you want to be a six figure earner you are going to have to be dedicated.  No matter what situation you are in, it is possible.  The real questions is, is it worth what you may have to sacrifice to get there.  I advise everyone to think long and hard before you decide this is truly a goal for you.   The typical lists break everything down into a job by job basis.  I don’t find that very useful.  Instead, I am breaking it down by the categories that I see.

1. Doctor aka Surgeon/anesthesiologist/internist etc

In the Forbes list of top earners most of them are some flavor of medical profession involving medical school.  I went ahead and squished them into one category.  If this is your route than you have no doubt researched each of the fields and found that they are all fairly similar in investment, at least for the first 8-10 years.  You will need to do extensive schooling, generally 10 to 15 years of it before you become a doctor.  The time investment is huge but you have essentially guaranteed high income if you can make it through.

2. Management

This is probably the most ‘tried and true’ way to a high salary.  Almost everyone with a career advances somewhat throughout their lifetime as they gain experience, skills and (hopefully) wisdom.  Its one of those trite things in life; the higher up the ladder you go, the more money you make.  For some, this means they catch lucky breaks and make it up the ladder with only hard work.  Others may sacrifice family, friends, health only to find themselves treading water.  The best piece of advice I ever got in regards to this is “work smarter, not harder.”  Find ways to be more productive with the time you have.  I am in the consulting world, so I expect long hours, there is no way around that.  But if I can make 80 hours of work fit into 60 hours by being smarter and more efficient, I have succeeded.  This is also the best way to get yourself noticed.  Everything you do at work, from tedious tasks to hard thinking to social interaction is a chance to be smarter.  Build effective relationships, automate/simplify the tedious tasks, and find tools to help you be great at the difficult ones.

3. Entrepreneurship

This is actually a French word meaning “one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods.”  What we mean when we say it generally are referring to starting a business.  Of the richest people in the world, almost every single one that did not inherit money is someone who started their own business.  This is the kind of thing that is hit or miss.  A miss could mean going bankrupt whereas a hit could mean millions or billions of dollars.  The great thing about this is that it is open to anyone, there isn’t a person in the US from the president to the homeless on the street that couldn’t come up with the next amazing idea.  Executing may take years, or decades, but could have a great payout in the end.

4. Investing and real estate

This may not seem like a career, but for some people, it is.  This one is also difficult because it takes money to make money.  It may take many years for you to accumulate enough money to make money investing.  Thats why I also included real estate.  Many people that are not already rich do have good credit scores and can get house loans.  One example may be starting with one rental in a college area, then buying another rental after a few years, then buying a fixer-upper house, renovating, and re-selling later, and so on.

5. Win the lotto

Sadly some people do think this is a job.  It is also the worst investment ever, but hey, I enjoy a good scratch ticket once in a while too 🙂

Negotiation strategies and negotiation tactics; you will need them

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Most people are not comfortable negotiating for things.   Negotiating is one of those awkward things that makes most people want to just throw in the towel and try to be ‘fair.’  Well, life is not fair and that is great new for you.  If you have the cahones to tip the balance in your favor.

As a culture we are taught that negotiating is uncomfortable and awkward, and it can definitely feel that way but just like anything else, practice makes perfect.  There is a graphic I like:

Now, the goal is the push the negotiation so that you are to or near the “other’s” minimum.  I am not going to go into specific tactics, there are entire websites dedicated to negotiating but I have a few points for you.

-The average person who negotiates their salary upon higher ends up with at least 10% more than the person who does not

-Contrary to popular belief, negotiating will not cost you the job

-You can negotiate more things than you probably think you can.  For example, we actually negotiated with Best Buy when we bought our TV and got them to knock $100 off the price.  Thats right, best buy.

-Don’t be afraid.

Step one I want everyone to try.  Call your credit card company, and ask them to lower your rate.  If they refuse or make up and excuse, tell them you would like a 10% lower rate.  If you are already at 15% or under, tell them you want 5% lower rate.  You hold the chips here, you can mention you will balance transfer elsewhere, you can mention you are going to consolidate with a loan at another bank.  The credit card company has everything to lose (your monthly fees) and nothing to gain.  Some may not budge at all, but I think you will surprised if you try…

Business Travel Guide Part 1

Monday, February 9th, 2009


I am sitting on an airplane as I write this on the way to beautiful Dayton Ohio. Ok maybe not beautiful Dayton Ohio, how about “At least its not Cleveland.” The day started rough because Jackson has been sort of fussy during the days so I am not thrilled to leave Lauren to deal with everything at home while I am gone, but such is life. In any case, I got to the airport and parked. It was fairly empty but it brings me to point number 1.

1) Know your airport and allocate time to park
Unless you are flying out of an easy airport on a sunday morning, you are going to have an adventure trying to park. Figure out if your airport has plenty of parking, and if it doesn’t plan accordingly. I flew out in late fall one time and my buddy from work that I was with and I had to park far away and nearly missed our flight. Then as a bonus, when we got back we had to walk a mile to the far parking in the middle of freezing rain at midnight. Convinced yet?

I made it into the terminal with a ton of time to spare and came up to security. I put my stuff on the conveyor and walked through the screener. This brings us to point number 2.

2) Know the toiletry/packing rules (and follow them)
I have flown out of DIA on average of at least once a month for the past year. I have always just kept my toilettries in my black zip up bag despite knowing the rule about the plastic bag. I have never once had a problem with it…until today. The screener pulled my luggage off the belt and said “meet me over at the table.” So I put my shoes on walked and walked over to the TSA station. Everyone knows this is either going to be 1) quick or 2) painful. You guessed it, pain. The highly trained, polite, unassuming TSA employee started ripping things out of my suitcase while verbally berating me.

Him: “Did you even bother to read the sign?”
Me: “Sorry, Ive never had a problem with this befo…” (he interrupts me)
Him: “Um hello, so if you were smart you would read the sign and then, oh if there was a plastic bag around somewhere you could start packing your toilettries in it. Oh look, there is one.” (pointing to a plastic bag).
Me: silence (I start packing up the toiletries)
Him: “Do you talk? Yes? No? Anything?”

This entire time he is just taking stuff out and throwing it on the table. This was thrilling since I spent a good amount of time ironing things this morning and rearranging them since my carry on is fairly small.  We then had a little exchange about my shaving cream which was apparently .5 oz over the limit or some such nonsense.  Finally, this:

Him: “So?”
Me: “Yes, I got it. I will never again put my deodorant in my carry case instead of a plastic bag.”
Him: “I hope you learned something.”
Me: “Yes sir I did. Thank you for serving and protecting me. I can’t tell you how much safer I feel right now than I did twenty minutes ago.”
Him: “Good. You know better now.”
Me: “I will spread the good word.”

I guess they don’t teach sarcasm recognition in TSA school. Finally I was on my way to my Gate. This brings me to my next point.

3) If you can, fly Frontier or a similar airline. Avoid United.

Bigger seats, personal TVs, better service, 66% chance of sitting on an aisle or window. Those are just a few of the reasons. All you really need to do is fly United once and you will understand. I like to pick one airline and stick to it, its a great way to build bonus points for your personal travel for free. There are other reasons to stick to one airline such as frequent flyer status. I now get to pick where I sit on every flight, including the super extra roomy exit row. Bonus: if you read TPS faithfully you know that with the current bankruptcy you should have bought some frontier stock. And hey, why not help your business that you own a piece of.

Business travel is always stressful, but we here at TPS are here to make it managable…to be continued tomorrow…

Got Laid Off

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

(NOTE: I did not just get laid off, I am fine, read entire article carefully, this was a dream/flashback)

I am sitting in my office when my boss comes in and says we need to talk.  I make a joke, but he doesn’t smile.  He informs me that I am being laid off.  I can hardly breathe as the shock sits in and I am overwhelmed with a sense of panic.  “Why?” I ask.  “We have to make cut backs.”  I persist “I got the highest rating possible during my last review, did I do something wrong?”  He looks away from me “No, I am recommending you for rehire if and when we can.  Im sorry.”

I have the mortgage to pay.  I have no job prospects, my resume isn’t up to date, and the job market is terrible.  What am I going to do? Now what?

This is the nightmare I had last night and it hit hard…because it actually happened to me.  This was exactly what happened to me when I worked at HP.  The difference is that now I have a fiance and son to worry about and that was the first thing that popped into my mind.  Oh my God, what about my family?  The difference between being single and being laid off and having a family and being laid off is astronomical.

Sadly, many people are living this.  I have had so many google hits on ‘Got Laid Off” and ‘Got Laid Off what now” it is scary.  I am sorry to all of you who are in this position, and I am going to help.  To those of you who are not, read on as well, you never know when it could happen.  Just friday an old friend of mine from HP got laid off after 10 years and she thought she had complete job security.

What now?

1) Update your resume right now.
Seriously, stop reading if you must and update your resume.  If you are having trouble with your resume, send me an email and I will try to help.

2) Get some exercise. 
I know this sounds weird, but it is going to help in a lot of ways.  It is going to help release some frustration.  It is going to make you feel better about yourself.  It is going to allow you better clarity and focus, which will be necessary.

3) Start Searching now.
Monster.com, newspapers, friends, strangers.  I have read a ton of career sites that say “take time, don’t rush into finding another job.”  BS, you have a family, you have bills, you don’t want to take time to reflect.

4) Get health insurance immediately.
Even if it is disaster protection (3k deductible or so).  I did not do this because I was young and healthy and I paid a big price.  I never had a major accident in my life until I didn’t have health insurance.  This is how life works.  I am still paying credit cards that were used for medical bills (4 years later).

5) Be aggressive
When you get into contact with companies and get interviews make sure you stay on top of them.  Employers will never fault you for inquiring on your status, but they might forget you if you let them.

Don’t panic and don’t give up.  There are plenty of jobs out there and remember, America is a place where wealth is created not stolen or reallocated.  Show your value to a company and you can get a job in any economy.

Got laid off what now? Now time to move onto your next success.

Vital things to know that the college grad did not learn at college

Friday, May 30th, 2008

As I have progressed from college, to post college, to whatever the this next stage is, there are quite a few things that Ive picked up that I thought “man, they sure don’t teach that in college, or high school, or anywhere.”  Things that would have been good to know YEARS ago.

1) Start saving for retirement yesterday
I don’t care how old you are, the earlier you start, the better off you will be.  I wish I had started when I got my first paper route.  I would have a huge amount saved if I had been putting away even 5-10% of what I was making.  The lovely thing I like to call “compound interest” is your friend. Trust me.

2) Go to work.  On time.
I skipped a lot of classes in college…and Im hardly abnormal in that regard.  The problem is, for many people, that attitude can carry over into the good ol real world.  I was lucky in that I have been working fulltime (hmmm is that lucky?) during college so I didn’t exactly hit a wall when I came into the real world, but its a shock for some.

3) You need health insurance
The one point in my life when I didn’t have affordable health insurance is when I had a bad accident and racked up a ton of medical bills.  Health insurance (at least catastrophic) is not just about being healthy: accidents happen, and trust me, you don’t want tens of thousands in medical bills.

4) Get enough sleep
Ok I know, cramming for exams, playing video games until early hours and falling asleep in class is part of college for most people, but that kind of thing does not work out well in the business world.  Staying up late playing around makes for a miserable work day the next day, and the next day, and the next day.  Seriously, even one night of not sleeping can really wreck a week when you cant take a nap at 2 PM.

5) Dont rack up debt
One of the most common themes is the idea of “well Ill buy this now, and then pay for it when I have a job after college.”  Thats the kind of thinking that has gotten the majority of us in America in debt.  This seems to continue after graduation too… “I will buy this now and pay it back when I get my bonus.”  Don’t.  In fact, heres a little trick: think about how many hours of work (post taxes) it will take you to pay for something.  That really puts it in perspective.

Overwhelmed? Work got you stressed? Ive got solutions

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

If you are like me, when you get stressed its very hard to concentrate.  I have some sort of self destructive feedback loop where when I am stressed I am less able to be productive and get things done, and so I get more stressed.  Under pressure I do quite well, but when it is looming things that are sort of “distance” or “gradual” stressers I am terrible.

Lately I have been completely overwhelmed.  I am the technical lead on huge project at work and I have been working 12 hour+ days and traveling. Oh yeah and theres those little things of trying to rent out my house, selling Laurens house, selling my car, and trying to sleep at night…oh and still making sure I give you all decent content.  Here is what I have started doing to try and cope with everything at once.

1) Exercise
This is by far the most important thing.  I historically have been in really good shape and Ive really been slipping since I started this new job.  It was easy to get up and go work out when I worked 8 hour days and didnt have to be into work until 9 or 10.  Plus a lot of times if I got into work late I could go lift on my lunch break or take an afternoon break to do it.  The thing is,  exercise doesn’t just affect how good of shape Im in physically, but mentally as well so I have started exercising again and I feel much better.  Not only do I feel better and less stressed but I am much more alert now and I am sleeping better.

2) Focus on one thing at a time
When it comes to individual tasks, I am great at getting things done.  When you line them up into a whole set of tasks, I am basically paralyzed.  So whats the trick?  Thats right, separate them out and focus on them one at a time.

3) Be positive
I sort of cringed even writing “be positive” because its so cliche but I think its important.  Nothing pisses me off more than when people take a “this will never work” “life is terrible” kind of attitude.  If I had that attitude I honestly would cease to function completely.  Its difficult enough for me to focus on a wide variety of tasks or get motivated when Im overwhelmed as it is, if I had a negetive attitude I would not be able to do anything.  I also like the feeling of getting things over with, its a load off your back.

4) Find a way to relax
I haven’t been able to do this in a while, but something that has historically helped me is just sitting in a hot tub and listening to music.  Another thing is playing guitar.  Im sure everyone has their own thing that is their own preferred method, but if you don’t have one, find one.

5) Eat better
Its one of the tenants of personal training and fitness: eating better and more often (6 meals vs 3) increases your energy (and helps you lose weight incidentally) and makes you feel better overall.

Anyone else have any good methods they use?

Dont let your personal life hurt your professional life aka the Bill Clinton, Tom Cruise, Russel Crowe syndrome top 5

Monday, May 19th, 2008

I was having a conversation recently with a coworker of mine about how your professional life has such a major impact on your personal life but it kind of got me thinking, how about the other way around?  What are some things that have the ability to hurt your career that stem from your personal life? Think its completely separate? Well, back and relax, I am going to hand you a big steaming pile of context.  Here are some personal things that can rough up your career.

1) Living a truely deviant lifestyle and/or crime
Everyone has the ability to choose what they want to do with their lives and hey, more power to you.  But there are things that go too far, particularly if you want to have a successful career.  If you are spending time in jail, doing illegal things, or are even too far out on the fringe of social normals, like or not but your career will suffer.  “Uh boss, yeah I can’t make it into work for the next 30 days, I am uh well, there was an unexpected…uh, Im in jail.”  Yeah thats gonna go over like a porcupine in a balloon factory.  This is also the part where affairs, and other improprieties can really nail you.  Don’t believe me?  Ask our last president.

2) Taking care of personal things at work
So everyone makes a personal call at work every once in a while, its unavoidable.  Some people do more than that, much more.   Do not be one of those people, you will at some point run into something. At best, have some awkward moments.  At worst case you could be fired.  An example is, I never write any blog entries at work, aside from being unethical, it could also get me in trouble.  I will occaisonally post from work as far as just pressing the post button, but that is as far as it goes.

3) Myspace/Facebook
I know someone that I work with that I can promise you if senior management saw this person’s myspace page this person would be fired on the spot.  Yes I know its a place for self expression but guess what, its public domain.  If your employer or someone researching you finds this, its completely fair game for making judgments on character. And yes,they can discriminate based on what they find on your page.  You created a public record of yourself and things they could never ask you in an interview they are now finding out based on you offering it up.  I’m not saying you shouldn’t be proud of who you are, but think of recent cases of teachers being fired for drunk pics on their myspace pages.

4) Expressing views/beliefs in office
Bringing your personal views out in the office can cause a ton of tension and a lot of bitterness.  These parts of your personal life should stay way away from the office.  I like to count Tom Cruise in this category because though he wasn’t necessarily expressing his views on set, he make such a scene off camera that his studio dumped him.  Ouch.

Bucking the trend:
Office Romance – This one is obvious why there could be some serious problems having an office romance but considering Lauren and I met at work, I can’t really tell other people not to do it.  I will say if things hadn’t worked out between us it could have been very difficult.  If you are going to pursue someone that you work with make sure that it is really someone you are interested in for the long term, I think that is generally the litmus test.  In my case, I think wife counts as long term 🙂