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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

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

"Manage your personality to get ahead"/ "I moved for my wife's job and can't find work"

May 23, 2017 "Manage your personality to get ahead": Today I found this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail:

Psychologist Ron Warren opens workshops with a six-minute video of an airplane cockpit depicting the interactions that can lead to a flight accident.

The personality dynamics between the pilots scream out at onlookers because the mistakes are so obvious. One person is dominant; the other senses something is awry, but is afraid to speak.

“They are conversations, like the ones we have every day as personalities intermingle. But in the cockpit, it can have catastrophic consequences,” he says in an interview.

For more than three decades, Dr. Warren has been devising computer-based personality tests – the latest, LMAP 360, is used by top educational institutions and corporations. For most of us, formal personality analysis probably started and may have ended with the popular Myers-Briggs tests.

Informally, these days, we have encountered discussions about emotional intelligence (EQ), social intelligence and grit being useful personality features. But in his book, Personality at Work, he says the core of success is not grit or EQ, but grit plus EQ.

His schema has personality organized into four parts:

Social intelligence and teamwork: This covers the emotional intelligence part of his formula, specifically three traits – openness to feedback, helpfulness and sociability. It’s important that leaders seek out and use feedback from others, rather than avoid it. A low score on this trait indicates narrow-mindedness while a high score signals the person is in line with the much-applauded growth mindset that psychologist Carol Dweck has identified.

Helpful people are usually patient listeners, optimistic and encouraging to colleagues. Sociability measures an interest and ability to maintain warm interpersonal relationships. He stresses that you might be an introvert but are still helpful and open-minded with other people.

Deference: This involves approval-seeking, dependence and tension (the tendency to worry and feel anxious). It’s negatively correlated with leadership – people who are too deferential won’t speak their mind when they need to, like someone who sees something going wrong in an operating room but is afraid of the domineering surgeon.

“Human error accounts for most medical and aviation accidents and it stems from deference,” Dr. Warren says.

Dominance/domineering: This is about getting things done, and can be good or bad. Drive, decisiveness and passion can be assets for a leader while self-centredness and inflexibility are a liability. He singles out four traits for focus: Rigidity, hostility, need to control and competitiveness. He calls Apple guru Steve Jobs “the dominant personality of our time” – the archetypical hostile, domineering leader – who fortunately had an abundance of grit and vision to overcome these negative traits.

Grit: Here, Dr. Warren measures conscientiousness, achievement drive and innovation, which combine to allow us to master tasks. “Conscientious people work incredibly hard and have high standards. They get high scores on communicating and accountability. That’s one mode to high performance,” he says.

High achievers love intellectual challenges and enjoy working collaboratively with others to accomplish things. When stuck, innovative people come up with unusual workarounds, and ways to leap over apparent barriers.

High performers tend to have high grit and high emotional social intelligence.

Dr. Warren recommends getting feedback from others you work with, since you may underestimate or overestimate your abilities. Interestingly, he says that “people who overestimate their traits are the least effective. People who underestimate traits are often the most effective. So there’s a humility factor.”

As for low effectiveness, he warns you could have a serious problem if you hear from people who tell you that you don’t listen, or that you don’t speak up, or have good ideas but don’t push them. These could signal either domineering or deference tendencies (or both, which happens in 15 per cent of the profiles he develops, a passive-aggressive approach).

“Get curious. Inquire about how others people see you and why they do,” he says.

You should be alert to seven derailers he identifies, since they can destroy your effectiveness:

Needing approval of others; being dependent; tension, anxiety or nervousness; rigidity; hostility, which he calls “the killer trait for yourself and others,” hurting your health and other people you associate with; need to control; and competitiveness. Competitiveness is often prized in organizations, but Dr. Warren stresses that applies to actions beyond the firm; inside the organization you must be collaborative.

He considers personality a person’s most valuable asset. But too often, we are on auto-pilot, not paying attention to the impact of personality on our effectiveness, instead craving some other boost to our career. Manage your personality and you can get ahead.

"I moved for my wife’s job and can’t find work": Today I found this article in the Globe and Mail:


I relocated from Quebec to Alberta because my wife got a great, stable job. My job in Quebec had good pension and benefits, and I was moving ahead in the company. Now, after almost two years, I struggle to find work. As someone mid-career, who should be in prime earning potential, I am losing ground and I’m afraid that my employment gap, coupled with being new to a job market, is hurting my job prospects. My wife, however, is flourishing. I want to return to Quebec, where I still have contacts and job prospects, as I see no hope of success here.


Eileen Dooley
Vice-president, VF Career Management, Calgary

There are emotions and relationship elements at play here that go beyond professional circumstances. Moving mid-career, without a job, is tough. You do not have the contacts, street credibility or any history in the new job market. Who you know is often more important than anything else.

This is a good time to get creative. Start with a return visit to Quebec to reconnect with your former peers and contacts. Tell them you want to exhaust every angle to keep your family together in Alberta. Ask if they have any contacts in Alberta, and if they can make introductions for you. See if they ever relocated, and ask for any tactics they can pass on. In Alberta, work those new contacts.

You might also consider engaging more heavily in networking activities. While it may seem fruitless, employment opportunities often come from dedicated networking within professional circles (lunch events, conferences), or even community-interest groups that bring out people with similar backgrounds. Check the Meetup communities in your area, and follow up on any event that might connect you to people working in your field.

If that does not work, you may need to have a difficult conversation about relocating back to Quebec. This means planning with your wife: perhaps it is for two years, with regular visits to Alberta for you, and her to Quebec. It is not ideal, but this situation isn’t, either. And no job is worth the incredible strain on your relationship.


Bruce Sandy
Principal, Pathfinder Coaching and Consulting, Vancouver

Often, couples will make an agreement to support one another in their career development – and be willing to move for their partner’s career advancement, with the understanding that one’s partner will do the same in return when an opportunity presents itself. If you have such an understanding, then you need to consider the impact of returning to Quebec and reneging on the agreement.

And I understand your frustration, but I am curious about what you have been doing to find work. It is important to build your network and visibility – especially in a province which has been experiencing an economic downturn. This is critical to landing a new position – especially in the hidden job market. Remember, the majority of positions in the private sector are filled through word of mouth.

Consider working with a career coach, who can help you develop your career search, networking, interviewing/presentation, business development, marketing and negotiation skills. Write articles, blog and make presentations at business and association meetings to expand your network and increase your visibility. Look for teaching opportunities at local colleges. Start a consulting company where you can provide support to clients in both provinces.

Landing a job in a new market requires innovation, perseverance, networking and patience. Be open to exploring the possibilities.


3 days ago

Speak up and tell her you're not happy.
Get a spine.
1 Reaction

2 days ago

Agreed. You only get one shot with a career. Wives, you can always find another one. WWDTD?
1 Reaction

My opinion: lol.

jojo ba
3 days ago

There are several unanswered questions so I will assume you moved as your wife got a good job and was earning more than you so the family decision was to relocate. I assume you are bilingual and are not in a cultural conflict. If you return to Quebec it sounds as you wife will stay in Alberta so what is more important your marriage or your old job.

If it is the marriage then explore beyond your old career. You are bilingual so it opens the door to federal government jobs or Air Canada. You could return to school and get a teaching certificate or become a private or corporate tutor. Whatever you earn to contribute to the relationship, financially, will be more than what you could by trying the long distance two home version that will just lead to divorce.
3 Reactions

4 days ago

Living in a place one does not want to be in is tough. Especially if one has been forced to leave something good to get little, or nothing. 

Have you got children, or is it only the wife and you? If the latter I say, go back to Quebec and do a long distance thing for some years. This is what a lot of people do today. Just
look at maybe 20% of the Newfoundland workforce. These nomadic people (out of necessity) go to where the work is. 

And they make it work. A compromise for sure but work is very important, as is culture. Going from Quebec to Alberta can not be easy for
someone middle aged either. Your life with your wife is not going to end well if her
move and success in her new life will be the reason for your unhappiness. So either
way, there are decisions to be made. I think you have made it. You are already heading back in your heart.
2 Reactions

3 days ago

Telling someone who has been looking for work for two years to "be patient" is gratuitous.
2 Reactions

3 days ago

Most people who 'cant find jobs' are the ones who just don't want to settle for less and work at a lower level than the previous job. Sometimes you have to grin and bear it and start climbing a new ladder.
3 Reactions
4 days ago

The advice given is pretty standard, and all sounding a bit desperate to help you find work. Being the trailing partner has it's challenges but it also has it's benefits. If you don't have an urgent economic need, then you need to allow yourself to go through a proper adjustment period where you develop a new routine, learn new ways of doing things and discover things about yourself while living in a different culture.

Support your partner for the first few months so that she can have a great landing in her new job, and not be too distracted worrying about you. Reflect on reasons why you moved in the first place. After some months of being in your new place think about various options that are available, and what it is you want to do for the next few years. There are many fulfilling things that one can do to ultimately lead you to a new job, but if you can't enjoy the journey along the way then you are missing out on what moving to a completely new culture brings.
1 Reaction

Name is Currie - Neil Currie
2 days ago

Jobs are always out there.
Landing a job comes down to three simple things; getting face to face with the person that will make the decision, having a resume that makes sense and realizing that the interview process is a performance. Bad reviews kill.

The best way to get warmed up is to contact the companies you would least like to work for and polish your technique by finding out who the key people are and strategies on how to get to them, past the gatekeepers.

Any contact with a company where you end up just sending in a resume is a failure.
Every time someone tells you to do something immediately ask "oh is there a job available" and if so "who is responsible for hiring" and most importantly "can I speak to them please". If the person responsible for hiring says there is a job then "can I come in and meet you?"

Save mailing out resumes for the day after never.
Employers, foremost, look for people that show that they will make their life easier.


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