Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at

Monday, November 7, 2016

"How to press the reset button"/ "Cover letters falling out of favor"

Oct. 7, 2016 "How to press the reset button": Today I found this article by Bill Howatt in the Globe and Mail:

This is part of a series looking at microskills – changes that employees can make to help improve their health and life at work and at home, and employers can make to improve the workplace. The Globe and Mail and Morneau Shepell have created the Employee Recommended Workplace Award to honour companies that put the health and well-being of their employees first. Register your company now at

Each day suggests a new opportunity and a fresh start. Some employees believe this and others do not. Our experience in the workplace can be like Bill Murray’s movie Ground Hog Day, when each day plays out exactly the same. This is fine when it’s positive, but when it’s not, it’s stressful.

The reset button microskill facilitates shifting your mental state from negative to positive thoughts so that you can restart your day or ensure tomorrow is a new one. New, by definition, implies pure and good, which is the opposite of what Albert Einstein taught as being less desirable: “Insanity – doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

What we focus on – whether positive or negative – can expand and can take over our thinking. This is why negative experiences and interactions can be all-consuming. One consequence when this type of thinking is not resolved quickly is unresolved conflict. For example, a peer doesn’t invite you to a meeting. This upsets you and you decide it was rude and unfair. This starts a negative loop and influences your behaviour, and you might just avoiding interacting with that individual on any level.

This type of negative looping can have a further compounding effect because it can take over your mind and lead to distraction. This can lead to mistakes, delays and disruptions that can negatively affect your workplace experience and performance.

When something happens and you begin to notice distractive thinking and you know the root cause of your frustration is some minor incident, honestly consider whether the real issue is that you simply didn’t get what you wanted. It’s in these types of situations that we always have choice to continue our negative loop or press our reset button to change our focus. The old idiom – making mountains out of molehills – has taught for generations that there is little value in letting minor issues become bigger than they need to be.

Once you master this microskill it can help you create a mental shift on demand that can influence your attitude and outcomes in the workplace.


Training your reset button will take some practice. This micro skill leverages a skill from neurolinguistic programming called anchoring that can link a positive memory to a stimulus. To develop this anchor, find a quiet spot and think of something that has always been a wonderful and positive experience. Recall all the wonderful smells, sights and sounds. Once you have this vivid memory at its peak, set your kinesthetic trigger (for example, press your left thumbnail). This anchor can typically be developed within a few days. The more you practice, the stronger it will become. You will know it’s working when you feel a minor frustration, trigger your anchor, and notice what you begin to think about and feel. (To learn more about this skill, watch Tony Robbins’ video on YouTube.)

Press your reset button on demand

Acknowledge that you are looping on a negative thought. When something minor happens and you begin to notice it’s creating disruption, delays and distraction, decide that it’s time to stop this loop. When you fire off your trigger, you change the negative loop to a positive one. Like a goldfish swimming around a tank, within one lap you’re ready to leave the past and move forward. Only you can determine if you want to release your frustration and move on. When ready, trigger your positive anchor to help create a positive mental state that can help you move forward.

Determine what, if any, action is required.

Evaluate your facts in a more positive state. Why did this event really bother you? What action, if any, do you think is required? Many times there is no need for action, just awareness that what’s bothering you is some preference or insecurity that can be left behind through personal growth. Whether you decide to act by talking to a peer to resolve a concern or gain a personal insight, the goal is to move forward, thinking positively about your day.

Bill Howatt is the chief research and development officer of work force productivity with Morneau Shepell in Toronto. He is also the president of Howatt HR Consulting and founder of TalOp, in Kentville, N.S.

My opinion: This is a positive article.

Oct. 22, 2016 "Cover letters falling out of favor": Today I found this article by Rebecca Greenfield in the Edmonton Journal:

Depending on whom you ask, the cover letter is either an indispensable part of a job application or a total waste of time. We spoke to five hiring managers for a recent episode of the Game Plan podcast, and each had a different take on its relative importance–as if the hiring process weren't stressful enough already.

"Cover letters are definitely dead," said Rachel Bitte, the chief people officer at Jobvite, a recruiting startup. "Recruiters just do not pay attention to them," said Bitte, who has worked in HR for more than a decade at Intuit and Apple. 

Many people agree with Bitte, insisting that the cover letter has no purpose. A 2012 survey of 2,000 hiring managers and recruiters found that 90 percent ignored the cover letter. "Not only do we not usually read them, most of the time we don't even open that attachment or give cover letters a cursory glance," Ambra Benjamin, a recruiter for Facebook, among other companies, wrote on a Quora thread. "It's such a waste of time. Many companies have even stopped asking for them altogether."

It's not that hiring managers don't want to know how working as a barista totally prepared you for that social media marketing position. Mostly, they just don't have time because they're inundated with applications. Google alone receives 3 million applicants a year, for example. The average recruiter spends an astounding six seconds scanning a résumé. Reading a cover letter, so often a rote rehashing of someone's résumé or LinkedIn profile, isn't worth her time.  

Applicants can chance it and skip the cover letter altogether—only 20 percent of private-sector HR professionals surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Management said that they consider it a mistake to forgo one altogether. (That number is slightly higher, 34 percent, for government jobs.) 

But that other 20 percent is a passionate minority. "I'm a huge fan of really good cover letters," said Jennifer Kim, the head of people operations at Lever, another recruiting startup. She hired Lever's office manager, for example, based on her cover letter. "She didn't have the relevant skill set," said Bitte. "She wrote this really personal cover letter where she had shown she'd done the research on the company."

For others, it's a personable supplement to the unemotional résumé. "Your cover letter is your spot to show who you really are," added Michelle Broderick, the chief marketing officer at Simple, a banking app.

Prospective employees should probably play it safe and waste some time crafting a cover letter. But make sure it's specific to the company and devoid of embarrassing typos. "I've seen lots of cover letters where you can see that they're copy and pasting. You can see the company name in brackets, or even worse, they have the competitor's name in there," said Kim. "That's not one you should get wrong." 


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