Play Balloon Brigade to Find Your Strengths as a Worker

Balloon BrigadeHere is an online game that I am playing. My task: To water my flowers and to defend my “contraption”, on the right side of the screen, from the burny thingies that march over the hill from the left. My weapon: water balloons that I can fill on my contraption (until they sometimes burst) and flip (with a swipe of my finger) at the hot enemy hordes, thus extinguishing them. The challenges vary. Sometimes, there are just a few fiery intruders. If I throw high and hard enough, I can catch them as they first enter my space. Sometimes, though, I miss them. They toast my flowers and come right up to the foot of my contraption, trying to burn it down. No time to fully fill balloons then. Just a quick squirt and then fling, fling, fling the flaccid bags down to protect the contraption base.

How well I performed, through sixteen challenges, may offer a clue to where my strengths as a worker lie. Am I a strategic thinker? Am I quick? Do I think ahead to protect the flowers at my base when there is leisure to do so?

The game is called “Balloon Brigade”, available as a free iPad or iPhone download from Knack (, a San Francisco-based company that aims to analyze potential employee strengths based on game play.



Professor Bob Sutton offers advice about how to deal with jerks at work

Bob SuttonBob Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering in the Stanford Engineering School, believes that managers and workers with negative, dysfunctional attitudes are a huge drain on organizational resources. He cites research that demonstrates that negative experiences are five times more powerful than positive ones. Power over others can blind us to our own boorish behavior. So, Sutton has written books to help businesses and other organizations become aware of their possible dysfunction: Good Boss, Bad Boss (2010) and The No Asshole Rule (Rev. ed. 2010).

Follow Sutton’s musings on his blog. Take his online test to see if you share the negative tendencies that make you a problem at work: The Asshole Rating Self-Exam, or ARSE (

Work Matters

Get financial and life skills help from The Beehive.

The Beehive in SpanishThe global non-profit One Economy Corporation wants to use technology to bring financial security and independence to disadvantaged people. Visit their Beehive page to get help with all kinds of life skills including attending to health issues, finding a job, filing taxes, leaning how to manage money and even buying a house. This cheerful site even offers tips for dealing with home foreclosure.

In Spanish:

The Beehive

J. D. Roth teaches us how to Get Rich Slowly

Get Rich SlowlyLots of folks are writing on the Web about how to wrestle with personal finances. Turn to these blogs and newsletters for advice about how to invest, save money, and eliminate debt. In 2004, Portland, Ore.’s  J. D. Roth had $35,000 of consumer debt. No longer! Follow Roth’s blog Get Rich Slowly for tips to do as he did: Eliminate debt and establish a positive cash flow.

Assess your strengths with SWOT analysis

Personal SWOT analysisWhat are your strengths? What do you need to work on to achieve your goals? What are the advantages and disadvantages of pursuing a major or a career? Sometimes, writing it out makes the situation clearer. Try the SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) technique, described here, to help you decide what path to follow.

Get help in the job hunt with the “What Color Is Your Parachute” guy

He’s a preacher. He’s a career counselor. He’s a warm washcloth over the eyes of the desperately unemployed. Dick Bolles is the author of the best-selling job-hunting book, What Color Is Your Parachute? This site supplements that volume. As always, Bolles encourages a thorough technique: to understand oneself and what one wants out of life before running off and blindly applying for a job. On this note, he offers links to self-assessment sites and advice about how to use them. Bolles underscores the need to research employers and make personal connections in the job search. This approach, Bolles asserts, will lead not only to new jobs, but personal satisfaction and growth.

Career Toolbox: 100+ Places to Find Jobs

Career ToolboxDon’t trust metasearch sites like Start plowing through this massive collection of employment sites, roughly categorized by industry or applicant type. There are international job search sites listed here too.