Affirmative Action

This morning I read through my employers affirmative action plan. I’ve always been aware of what it means to be an equal opportunity employer and the impact that affirmative action has on that. However, I didn’t know the intricacies of my employers plan when it comes to hiring a diverse workforce. After reading through this plan this morning I met with an individual who is seeking employment with my employer. This individual is still deciding which position(s) to apply for, but I was able to give some valuable insight regarding our affirmative action plan.

Too often, once someone is hired by an employer or even rejected for employment by an employer they fail to look into affirmative action. Our plan requires hiring committees to list reasons why someone from a protected group was not hired. This information can be incredibly helpful if you have been unable to get hired somewhere. Feedback from employers is not offered very easily, but if a company is required to list reasons, you might get some valuable feedback you’ve been missing.

If you are in a protected group and curious about how affirmative action impacts your place of employment or a potential future employer, look into their affirmative action plan and find out how you can use it to your advantage.

The Culture of Food

Today a group of students I work with will be sampling the foods of their unique cultures to their fellow students. I anticipate some of the foods will be well received and others will not be appreciated.

In my home growing up, food was a major part of my families culture. We ate “New Mexican Cuisine” at a regular and rapid rate. The staple of this food was always green chili. A week did not go by without having green chili in multiple meals. We would eat green chili with eggs, beans, corn, potatoes, and meat. As an adult I have incorporated green chili into my families diet and have continued having this food as a part of our culture.

While serving a mission for my church in the Ukraine I experienced the staple food of Ukraine, “Borscht”. Borscht came in a variety of forms: Ukrainian, Russian, white, cold, and original. Each bowl of borscht I ate was unique and yet similar. One families borscht deviated from others, but the concept was the same and the culture of food was about hearty ingredients and salty savor.

Regardless of what food your culture celebrates or how bland you may think the culture of your food is, consider that if you took your food to another part of the world it would be unique. Food is a reflection of what we value and celebrate in our lives. Next time you cook your dish of expertise, celebrate it and savor it, for it is your culture and a great part of your life.


I was reminded today that our society has somehow devalued rejection. Rejection in many circumstances can help individuals grow stronger and become more of who they already are. Yet, our society often fears that sending a message of rejection damages someones psyche.

Rejection that is based on behavior, aptitude, or qualifications is a good thing in our society.

Rejection based upon bias, difference, or hate is not OK!

As a parent I often reject the bad behavior of my children. As an employer I reject job applicants based upon their qualifications or aptitude. As an educator I reject assignments or performance on the product someone turns in. Rejection can help us reach greatness.

Too often, our society conveys the message that greatness is simply a part of who you are. Greatness is really about being rejected and bouncing back from that rejection by correcting something you have control over. For example: I can reject a job applicant because he didn’t have enough experience in the field I’m looking to hire in. The applicant can then go out and get more experience and reapply in the hope that they won’t be rejected again.

Rejection is not a bad thing, it is part of the process of getting where you want to be. Not every student applying to Harvard gets accepted; many are rejected and I’m sure plenty of Harvard rejects go on to do great things.

Rejection hurts initially, but can be a major opportunity for growth in your future!


I was recently reminded of the old adage that “good fences make good neighbors”. In the world of mental health, boundaries mean everything to a client and therapist. The boundaries that are constructed are not physical in nature, but more social and cognitive. Good boundaries make good counseling practices.

Boundaries in a professional world are also essential to drive production. If I were building a house I would not want an electrician to be in charge of the plumbing work. I would however want him to consult with the plumber to ensure their respective work did not conflict with each other.

Too often we see people crossing boundaries that they should not. In many cases the reason the boundary is breached is because a clear boundary wasn’t set up in the first place.

Whether you’re in the business world, education, technical trade, or human services; think about the boundaries that exist and try to abide by them. If there are no boundaries, set some up, talk about what needs to happen to create boundaries. When circumstances present themselves where boundaries need to be blurred, dialog about the blurring and be deliberate in where and when the boundary is blurred.

Criminal History

I have always been an advocate for giving people the benefit of the doubt.  In the past I’ve worked with individuals who have had a vast array of criminal activity in their history.  Many of these individuals have been working through the rehabilitation process.

Recently I inherited an employee in a position of trust who has a criminal record.  Upon inheriting this employee I was unaware of the criminal record.  Because of several incidents of harassment and solicitation I had to terminate the employee.

My question then becomes; is it imperative that employers run background checks on all employees prior to hiring them?  I believe in the case of this employee the decision would’ve been to not hire.

A deeper level question is to examine whether criminal records should be shared by a larger organization to supervisors of known employees with criminal histories?

I’m interested in any of your thoughts and insights on this issue.

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