Niceness vs. Intuition

“He seemed so nice at first.” This is a statement I think we all hear frequently in many different contexts. You might hear a friend say it after going on a second date with someone who was so nice on the first date but turned out to be a big jerk on the second. You might hear a victim of sexual assault saying this about her assailant. It begs the question, what is happening to these nice people?

Here’s the deal. Being nice is a choice, not a personality trait and anyone can chose to be nice for a period of time to get something they want from you even if they are the furthest thing from nice. To put it bluntly, people can use niceness to manipulate you. Now, I’m not saying that you should stop trusting all the nice people in the world, because many people chose to be nice and are genuinely good people. However, if your intuition is giving you a signal that the seemingly nice person you are dealing with is a bad news, trust your intuition.

Your intuition will steer you toward the people you want in your life and away from the people you would rather keep out. Trust it and let it work for you.

Prepare Portland Delivers a Great Self-Defense Program

I recently attended a really great self-defense program in the Portland area. It was Prepare Portland’s class and they teach Impact-style self-defense. It was a fun-filled weekend of learning full contact, all-out, empowering self-defense skills. These are my thoughts and a general review of the program but remember, you should research any program before attending.

Prepare Portland delivered a very well-rounded program focusing on setting physical and verbal boundaries and how to fight back from different holds and positions. We started on Friday evening with introductions and background about the program, and then we warmed up and went straight into it. We started with physical fighting and, as the night and weekend progressed, we layered verbal assault and self-defense into the fights. There was a good variety of ground fighting, fighting standing up, surprise attacks from behind, and verbal attacks. Plus, each new scenario built upon skills taught in the previous scenarios so the confidence of the class grew with each scenario.

The program was also incredibly empowering. Each instructor was encouraging, positive and had valuable insights to share. The instructors gave us each the opportunity to give them an index card with scenarios we either wanted to try or avoid. This tailoring gave the students the opportunity to either tackle a scenario they wanted to conquer or avoid a situation they were not quite ready to take on. In general, I think the male, padded instructor is crucial to the success of a full-contact self-defense program. They have to be able to make the switch from being compassionate and your biggest supporter when out of the suit and a creepy weirdo/your worst nightmare when in the suit.  I have to say that our padded instructor played both roles extremely well and I am amazed at his ability to, seemingly simultaneously, attack and encourage.

The one thing that might be a drawback to this program is cost. For 20 hours of training, the full cost is $495.00. However, the bright side (and I’m all about the bright side) is that there are scholarships available based on your income and the staff is really good about working out payment plans. 

To sum up, Prepare Portland delivered a highly empowering, practical self-defense course that I hope more of my fellow Oregonians take advantage of. Great program, great staff, great times.

Job Hunting Safely

Nowadays, nearly every one I know and their mama is looking for a job. Job searching used to mean scanning the classifieds in your local paper, but these days your job search probably means a lot of time spent on the Internet.  And the Internet is a fabulous place to find the latest job listings from companies right next door or all the way around the world.

If a good portion of your day is spent refreshing the pages on Craigslist, you have probably seen some listings that seem too good to be true.  Maybe your intuition has told you to be wary, but with more and more Americans running out of their unemployment benefits, you may just feel desperate enough to lower your guard and take the risk.  Unfortunately, you don’t have to look too hard to find stories of crimes that began with contact through websites like Craigslist.

A visit to the Craigslist safety page gives you the following safety tips & information:

The overwhelming majority of craigslist users are trustworthy and well-intentioned.

With billions of human interactions facilitated through craigslist, the incidence of violent crime has been extremely low.

Nevertheless, it’s very important to take the same common sense precautions online as you would offline.

When meeting someone for the first time, please remember to:

  • Insist on a public meeting place like a cafe
  • Tell a friend or family member where you’re going
  • Take your cell phone along if you have one
  • Consider having a friend accompany you
  • Trust your instincts

Taking these simple precautions helps make craigslist safer for everyone.

For more information about personal safety online, check out these resources:

These are good tips, especially for meeting someone off the personal ads, but how can we apply this information to job searching?

Since your first contact with someone posting a job listing online is probably through email, consider opening a free email account solely for the purpose of job searching.  You can create a professional looking email without using your last name for example:  This way if the listing is an email phishing scam, you won’t have your regular email pounded with spam.  Likewise, you can use an answering service so that you don’t have to give out your actual phone number and a PO Box for a mailing address.  Maybe you have a few friends that could benefit from this as well?  Split the costs!  For more information about cyber-safe resumes check out: Job

By the time you agree to a face-to-face interview with someone, you should have learned the name of the company and hopefully received a job description.  Be sure to check the Better Business Bureau for details about the company.  You can confirm the legitimacy of the business and find out a lot about how they run their business by the number and type of complaints issued against them.  You’ll want to find out as much as you can about the company before heading to the interview not only to assure your safety, but also to give the best and most knowledgeable interview that you can.

When you arrive for your interview, make sure the business appears legitmate and play close attention to your intuition.  Certainly, tell friends and family where you are going and take your cell phone along.  Just don’t forget to silence it for your interview.  There is nothing wrong with having a friend go with you on an interview as long as they stay out of sight (maybe in the car or at a nearby coffee shop).  Hopefully, by this point, you have done your research on the company and are ready to get that job!