Archive for the ‘Jobs’ category

Reinvent yourself for Success!

March 20th, 2018

Re-inventing Yourself – a necessity for many, especially for those over 50, but it’s vital for others, too.


For many people facing job-cuts and company reorganization, reinvention is key for continuing in the work force.  Unemployment is the catalyst for many changes.

It just may not be possible, especially if you are at the top, to  do exactly what you have been doing at same level of seniority (and pay, at least in Switzerland).

You will have to reinvent yourself.  This kind of change is possible, but also can be difficult.

Yes, we ALL can change

Based on research, I believe every person is able to change until their life on this earth ends.  So, my answer would be a qualified yes.  I will tell you a story about myself that illustrates this qualified yes.

An example from my teenage years

When I was about 14 years old I was a typically shy teen: bookish, reserved, pretty good at school and pretty uninterested in (most) sports.  But I wanted to be more “popular”, to “have more fun” the way I saw others enjoying themselves.  So, for a while I observed those who I considered more popular that were having fun, and thought about what they did differently than I.  I came to a simple conclusion:

They put themselves forward and volunteered more, for one thing.  They offered to do things.

So, as of that day of realization I began to volunteer to do things for others, starting with easy things and then gradually getting bolder so that, now at this point some five decades later, I volunteer to do the hard things, like pitching at startup weekends (last weekend).

This change simply began by raising my hand and offering my opinion, my time, my voice, my energy, and my creativity.  It actually began at a youth camp with my offering to organize a skit for everyone to watch and playing the “lead speaking” role in it.  Each little success led to another trial of something a little bit harder.

But not every attempt was successful.  Some of them were, of course, failures. Yet, when I tell most people who know me socially that I am an introvert, they are surprised because I have learned to act extroverted, I have learned to put myself forward and the risk involved has become less difficult for me.

I really do enjoy parties and being with people nowadays, but I still love time alone and books more. It took time to learn how to deal with the energy output, to coach myself on how to “do” these kinds of relatively unnatural activities.

The qualification to the “yes, you can”

You can re-invent yourself with a qualified yes.  We all have our general personality traits and we work from a starting point of where we are at.  Yet, we need to challenge ourselves and not use the excuse, “I am introverted and can’t do parties or “I am extroverted and can’t work/be alone.”

We are all able to do a lot of activities we don’t think we can, if we try and learn and try again, and keep trying until we make it.  But those activities may very well be out of our “normal arena of comfort”.  These new activities may drain us more than other more typical to our personality activities do.

Change is hard.  Change will not be easy for you, that is true, but if you want to keep working after being made redundant (especially after he age of 50 in Switzerland), change will be necessary for your success.

Re-inventing your career

When dealing with joblessness over 50, it is vital to re-invent your career, instead of working only within ones’ experience, training and/or personality borders, you will need a “Career Swing” of some sort.  Lately this topic has become more important for my friends and colleagues as the business and the economic reality of Switzerland’s landscape has been changing.

Essentially what the issue is, is that you need a good change process plan, based on the environment, your (realistic) expectations, and your abilities and boundaries.

You may change your type of work, the way you work (perhaps as a consultant), or maybe you will start your own business.  This will, then start even more change processes.  Of course, you may have to learn new things such as more about networking and using social media, too.

And what about your business, if you have one?

Finally, sometimes you need to re-invent or re-vamp your business or business strategies.  This kind of inventory taking for business should be done quarterly or twice a year at the least —depending on the business results from the last quarter and/or semester.

I would love to have an email (or otherwise, perhaps a Skype or coffee) dialog about this kind of re-invention.  Maybe you are anticipating a big change, or are in the middle of it.  No matter what, though, when dealing with this difficult change process, remember to start by asking yourself what works for others, what has worked for you in the past, and what might work in the future, based on the present situation.

You will then be on your way to a different future, and maybe even in a different place!

Have a great rest of the week!

Patricia Jehle           and 

Also, should you be interested in joining my LinkedIn Group, SMEs Grow Together, go here:  or like my Facebook page:

December Job Search

December 7th, 2017

Job Search in December? Don’t give up! Keep on going!

Keep up the job search

Finding a new job at the end of the year can be daunting, but it can be done.

Keep Looking!

Just because some companies slow down at this time of year, don’t give up your search. Keep on, and you might even get an interview in the next two weeks before the holidays. In Switzerland I have seen a number of new postings recently, so be on the alert, as the first ones who apply often receive more attention than those in the “middle flood”.

When you do get that interview, what can you do to stand out in a positive way?

  • Do your research, about the company of course, but if you know who will be interviewing you, also research that person, or those people. Read and refer to their blog, if they have one.
  • Be concrete in your examples, either in the past (stories are really good when you can link previous success to the company’s future success if they hire you) – but also for the future. Imagine how you can help with the company’s strategy (it should be in their annual report), for example. Find a problem you imagine the business faces and solve it (with your help, of course).
  • Be prepared for the long process of interviewing, These days, it could take a while, unless you are an insider. Show your confidence and warm personality, your manners, humbleness and EQ. Make sure you are talking in what I call verbal paragraphing. Chunk your sentences together and make yourself sound eloquent.
  • Posture is key: smile, shoulders back, well-groomed people get the job. Period.

keep looking for an opportunity

Of course there are books that have been written about all the steps in the job search from CVs to follow-up emails, so I don’t have to say more at the moment. Mostly, remember to do your best and do not give up. Keep going until the 22nd of December and start again on the 8th of January at the very latest (and that’s for Switzerland, the break is much shorter in the US and other places).

I wish you all the best for this month, and for the holidays.

Patricia Jehle

Feel secure? Who’s got your back?

April 18th, 2017

Who’s really got your back?

Our lives are much easier to live when we feel like the people we work with and live with support us wholeheartedly, and not just when we “get it right”. They have got your back.

But these types of relationships are rare. We know, there are those who are, unfortunately, against us in whatever we do. You know the types; some would call them enemies. Those are the people who would never accept that you and I can – and do – grow and change. They are just against you, no matter what.

Then there are those who are neutral towards us – and they are neither for us nor against us, they are just “there”. They have either no interest in us as people, ore they are, perhaps, afraid of making a stand at all for us, either positive or negative. They may be neutral out of fear or paranoia, or just out of busy-ness and distraction.

Then there are those who are for us when we are doing what they support, when we are “getting it right”; and I would call those relationships “transactional”. When you do what they like they seem to have your back, but if you go off in a different direction, they don’t really support you anymore. These are rather manipulative relationships. It’s the “I’ll scratch your back if you do mine” kind of relationship. We are seen as objects in this person’s view. These are rather common, but I wish you very few of these kind relationships, because they can be quite hurtful, in the end.

Dogs are very very grace-full, for example

Finally, there are those in our lives who support us and have our backs no matter what we do and how you may change, they are “for us”. These are very rare birds but I still wish you many of these latter types of people, both at work and in your personal life! In this we are valued as who we are, as humans to be treated with great care and with the intent to do good for us, always, even when they are seemly tough on us. We are treated the way that person wants to be treated. These kinds of people are integrated socially and emotionally. They have the integrity I was talking about in last weeks blog.

Last week I talked about integrity, quoting from Dr. Henry Cloud’s book by the same name. Dr. Cloud talks about three kinds of people you will encounter in this book: paranoid, transactional, and grace-full ones. You can tell which of the three kinds of person you are dealing with when something goes wrong. The paranoid person can easily turn on you if something goes wrong; they might even attack you. The transactional person treats you the way they feel you deserve, in “all fairness”; but since we are all human and all make mistakes, we deserve to be punished, since we make those mistakes. After all in this person’s point of view, it is always an “eye for an eye”. Again, it is clear that we are treated like objects that produce a product or a service, and that is all. The best, the graceful person, treats us not as we deserve, but as who we might become; they treat us with our best kind of person for us interest in mind. They are the true trust-builders, and the people who, when in leadership, bring out the best in their employees. Your personal growth is enhanced by that person. Keep these people and treat them well, for they are gold. This kind of boss is the best kind.

It takes two for good solutions, and a great relationship.

“True trust comes when we realize that another’s goodness, and being for my best interest, is not dependent on anything. It is just a part of that person’s integrity. It is who that person is, the kind of person who wants the best for others and will do whatever he or she can to bring that about.” That is a person full of grace.

I hope I can continue to become like this grace-full, full of integrity, kind of person, and that those around me can trust me like this. I also wish for more of these kinds of people in my life.

I hope that we, you and I, can be surrounded by grace-full people! Then we will have the needed security to grow. This is my wish for you this week: be and be around the grace-full!

Patricia Jehle

If you want to join my LinkedIn group, go here:

Who was your best boss?

February 7th, 2017

Who was your best boss?


My boss, Don B. was not my first boss, but he was, and still is, for me the epitome of what a good boss should be. He was directive when need be, but he trusted us to know our jobs. His office door was usually open for us, and he knew how to motivate and thank people.


Today I found my old boss on linkedin and asked to connect. I hope he does, but it could be that he is a passive LI member. After all, he was getting ready to retire 25 years ago when I took off for Switzerland and new adventures; he had positive plans for himself. But that is a subject for another blog. Here I want to say what Don did right in leading and how that made me work and feel.




In Daniel Goleman’s recent blog[1] he says, “For leaders, having the trust of their subordinates and open lines of communication are crucial.”


Don trusted me to know what I was doing. I was a rookie ESL teacher and the school was starting its first program. I had to teach, liaise between teachers and students, between teachers and the over-reaching ESL administration, I had to sensitize teachers to the students’ (refugees, all of them) needs… the list goes on. Don trusted me and allowed me to do my work and when I left the program was really gearing up. He trusted me enough to ask for student teachers to come and be trained by me. I felt very honored.




Don could lead. He was never heavy-handed and did a lot of leadership with a dry sense of humor. When something had to be done, it was done, and well. He made sure. He also made sure we took care of ourselves. On more than one occasion he told me to go home at the end of the day and that the correcting and planning could “wait until tomorrow”. He even allowed for the teachers to use the gym after school for a fitness class to keep us healthy. He was directive when it needed to be done, but he was not a power-hungry leader.


I think part of this has to do with the fact that Don was secure in himself enough to lead but also to let go and let others do what they were best at. Don realized that he couldn’t do everything and that his team had the skills, knowledge, and experience to do their jobs.


Recently I spoke with a friend who has a boss who is 15 or so years younger than she is. My friend is an experienced analyst in a pharmaceutical company. She knows her stuff, but now the “new boss” is asking for my friend to have all her writing and emails checked by the boss before sending, like she is an apprentice or new on the job. Scary. But it happens so very often. Why? My guess is that the new boss is insecure and has to control. That’s what happens when, as Daniel Goleman says, the emotional intelligence level is low. Brené Brown would say that this boss is not able to be authentic. Both are correct. But good leadership needs this kind of soft skill set.




We teachers could walk in when Don’s door was open and just talk. I don’t remember very many conversations with him, but one in particular sticks in my mind: the one where I told him I was going to work in the mountains of Switzerland and teach English there for a year. He smiled and said something like, “Good for you! Congratulations! I bet you won’t be coming back at the end of the year.” He was so encouraging and positive; and he was correct in his prognostication. That was about 25 years ago and I have been living and working in Switzerland ever since. Thank you, Don.


Bosses who have an open door policy communicate a couple of very positive messages to their employees: the employees are valuable enough to allow them to interrupt (when the door is open), and that communication is important for the team/company. Both the value the employees feel and the emphasis on open communication are powerful for the success of a team and of a company.




It is hard on a shoe-string budget to motivate people, but Don did it by words and by recognition and by parties (when the inner-city school could afford it). I was often aghast at hearing how other teachers were treated in other schools in the school district and state. It is hard to work in an inner city setting where the odds are stacked against you and the many of the kids come from pretty rough homes. But Don was as positive as he could be. He used his words to lift us up and move us forward, not drag us down.


Don said thank you. Often, and personally. He showed his respect and honor in more than one way, often in teacher meetings, but also in small conversations in the hallways and classrooms.




Because Don was secure he was able to help me feel secure in my new position and in myself as a person. Thus I was pretty effective in my work, even if I do say so myself. I felt comfortable, motivated, happy to be there – even on cold snowy winter days with bus duty ahead of me. Because I felt secure in what I did I was able to apply for a dream position (and get it) in snowy Switzerland.


As it is and cold in Minnesota at this moment, I think Don may be ice fishing. I hope, whatever he is up to, that it is pleasant and uplifting, as I remember him to be.


Who was your best boss and why? Write me your answers.

May you lead with authenticity and emotional intelligence this week!


Patricia Jehle

Jehle Coaching




Having a Pre-mortem

February 16th, 2016

Previewing a funeral


I learned something new this week: it’s called a pre-mortem or prospective hindsight. The idea is to see something in the future, a project, a business idea, a relationship, … and then think about think about two things. In two years’ time what might have caused the demise of the, let’s say business idea, to fail and what might have cause it to succeed. Put a team on each question and let them brainstorm. You can then report back to the whole group and hopefully find even more reasons for demise and/or success of the idea.


What the experts say: According to the Harvard Business Review, “Although many project teams engage in prelaunch risk analysis, the pre-mortem’s prospective hindsight approach offers benefits that other methods don’t. Indeed, the pre-mortem doesn’t just help teams to identify potential problems early on. It also reduces the kind of damn-the-torpedoes attitude often assumed by people who are overinvested in a project.”


So how can you apply this in your life? Think of something new- a hobby, a project, a new job, whatever. Then sit down with a coach or a trusted friend and think about all the things that might cause this thing to fail. Write it down. Then talk about all the things that might cause the thing to succeed and write that down, too. Then pick a few things on each list to work on that seem like deal breakers.


So, you want to start a business. You have all the finances in place, the idea and business plan down and you want to “go public”. I suggest you do a pre-mortem first, and this time with a coach, not your spouse or best friend. You may find that it is too early to start, or you may find a serious flaw in your plan. Or you may find two or three things to focus on that will prevent your start-up from failing.


But you don’t want to start a business? You can still use this model for about anything new. Why not try it our now? I think I will tonight with a friend at work regarding a class we both teach.


Tell me if you tried it and tell me if it worked for you.


Patricia Jehle

Got Struggles? It might be normal.

February 3rd, 2016

Learning and Growing from Struggles

Life is hard and anyone who says it isn’t has not lived very long, does not know very many people, or is delusional. Something I really dislike to hear when I, or friends, have struggles are those trite sayings like, “What doesn’t break you, makes you stronger.” Who says?


Yes, we do learn, and hopefully grow, from struggles; usually we learn about ourselves and our needs and boundaries. We may also learn about others, their needs and boundaries. However, I want to look at the issue first from the other direction.

It isn’t until we have had struggles that we really appreciate life. Life is hard, but life is also good, and the good things do not come with easiness, but they are almost a kind of By-product of the struggles.

Let’s take health: I, and several friends of mine, have or have had serious health issues. I believe it is not until you “lose” your health that you realize what a gift it is, and it is one not to be taken for granted. One friend had a stroke last summer and it was really scary, scary for her and for her friends and family. A few days ago, glowing, she said she was doing very well. And she meant it. Health is not a given in life. I have friends with chronic health issues, and the issues are “managed” but they do not go away. I myself had cancer ten years ago, and am still under the watchful eyes of my doctor for that. I do appreciate each day because I was ill.

Friends and family can also be hard, a struggle for many of us, especially expats. Friends, new and old, move away, if you are an expat, and your family is far away. Perhaps someone dear is ill, or even dies, and you are an ocean or two away. My mother passed on last fall, and I have other friends and neighbors who have died recently. I am certainly not the only person who has these hard experiences. It is part of human existence to lose someone. But that does not make the situation easier. Yet we start again, make new friends, open ourselves to new relationships, even as we say goodbye to the old.

Business and work can have struggles from time to time. Or it can even be a long-term struggle. Some entrepreneurs in start-ups know what I mean, others who are in the midst of mergers also know. We need to learn to be as flexible and positive as we can be without letting go of our integrity and our “whys” for being on the job in the first place. It is a hard balancing act.

So, what do we do in those struggles? We talk about our struggles and share them with someone who “has been there”. We admit our humanity and our frailty and our struggles, and then we pick ourselves up and get back in that arena of life. Because that arena is where real life happens.

And I don’t know about you, but I want real life, with all the struggle and the dirt. Because in that very struggle we find ourselves. Together.

Patricia Jehle

Hope in the midst of job cuts

January 19th, 2016

Today I am sad and I am angry



A week ago the local newspaper said that the recent “friendly takeover” of a French company by a US-based multinational with lots of our local people working for it would be “letting go” of 1,300 of them in our city. Those people are my friends and neighbors, people who have families, and mostly people who now need to find jobs in an already tough market.


Who has to pick up the pieces? The government? Can they really afford to help so many out at one time? How will this affect the local economy, anyway? Certainly the multinational firing so many people has no interest in the future of these employees and their families, and probably not in our local economy, either.


What can I do about it?



I could go and demonstrate. The local union will be holding a demonstration soon regarding the job cuts. I think demonstrations help, and I have joined in some over the years, but I wonder if I could be of more help in some other way. A way that I feel has an impact on the situation.



I could write a letter to the editor. In some ways, I am doing that with this blog, and perhaps it will help. Maybe, maybe not. But at least I feel better writing about it. It’s kind of like venting.


Buy local

I have and will continue to find ways to support local businesses and the local economy, as that is a way that I feel empowered myself, and can empower and encourage local people. Small businesses help the local economy where large multinationals tend to suck it dry, and fire my friends and neighbors.


The Alpha Group as a solution

And I will continue to use The Alpha Group as a way to support local businesses, as the group promises to double the value of the business within three years. These are the things I can do, and though it may not directly help those 1,300 families, perhaps it will help create some jobs for them in the long run. We have a group starting in Zürich and one, hopefully, soon in Baden and these will support SME business leaders, the local people.


In all these ways I feel like I can help out- maybe you are thinking and feeling similar things. What will you do to help the local economy where you live?


Hopefully yours,

Patricia Jehle