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Gratitude and Thanksgiving        Photo of Don Sutaria
November 2013—Special Thanksgiving Edition   
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

During this month of November, 2013, we present to you a special issue for Thanksgiving. The theme is: Gratitude and Thanksgiving. The articles are:

This boy can't help it! Some biographical tidbits have crept into this issue which I hope you enjoy. Don't forget I am a life coach as well as a work coach! This issue is a little longer than usual but I hope it sustains your interest. If some of the articles touch you, please send me an e-mail. More importantly, keep your feedback coming. Please feel free to share this newsletter with your friends, remembering to give us the due credit.

I would recommend downloading a little booklet called America's Table—A Thanksgiving Reader. It celebrates our diverse roots and shared values. It is available free of charge from the American Jewish Committee's web site: It is truly inspirational! I would advise you to check it out. Want to do something different besides grace before the Thanksgiving dinner? Try reading this booklet aloud before the meal.

Did you know that eight nations of the world have official Thanksgiving Days? The nations are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Switzerland and the United States. Worldwide, the values and traditions of thanksgiving are found in every culture and religion. George Washington in his first Presidential Proclamation said: "It is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor." -- October 3, 1789.

Until we meet again through the magic of e-mail, we want to wish you and your loved ones a very happy Thanksgiving and Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach

  The Nobel Prize  
  The Latest from the CareerQuest Blog

Alfred Nobel (1833-1896), the rich Swedish inventor of dynamite and the creator of the Nobel Prize, had a rude awakening. His brother had died but the newspapers, in error, reported his death and published his obituary, which they had prepared in advance. They stated...

  Angels in America  
  A True Thanksgiving Story—1963

On Thanksgiving Day, 1963, an international student was in an empty dormitory room at Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas. He had arrived just a few weeks ago from Bombay (now called Mumbai), India, to pursue a Master's degree in Engineering. He had no idea that the USA practically shuts down at Thanksgiving, especially a town of 2,000 people. There is absolutely no place to eat, even if you have the money. Even the Student Union with its vending machines was locked up. He had stayed behind to get an early start on his thesis.

The only thing he had in his room were two small boxes of individual portion cereals he had saved from his breakfast about a week ago, since meals were provided in the dormitory.

What a dilemma! The campus was deserted. If hunger would make him feel faint, what should he do? Knock on the doors of local houses and beg for food?!

Lo and behold, about 9:00 a.m. there was a knock on his door. A local college senior, John Buzenberg, was going from dormitory to dormitory, knocking on every door to ensure that the stranded international students had a place to eat the Thanksgiving turkey. When he had finished, he had gathered up no less than 12 students from Nigeria, Taiwan, China, India, Pakistan, Holland, and several other countries. He would not take no for an answer. At about 12:00 noon he had brought his family station wagon several times and taken all the invitees to his home in the same town, less than five miles away.

A big Thanksgiving feast was spread at long makeshift tables to accommodate about 20 family members and 12 or so students. The festivities went on until 8:00 p.m. when John drove all the students back to their dormitory rooms.

Do you believe in Angels, God's Secret Messengers? I for one, do! In case you haven't guessed as yet, the name of the stranded student was Don Sutaria.

  Pass It On (A True Thanksgiving Story—1998)  
Dear reader, after the 1963 Thanksgiving story fast forward to 1998, Thanksgiving eve.

My son Dale, who was 19 at that time, was studying at Parsons School of Design (The New School University) in New York City. He asked his mom Elizabeth and I if he could bring a guest home for Thanksgiving dinner. His mom and I said yes without hesitation. He explained to us immediately afterwards that his name was Jimmy Smith, and he was a homeless alcoholic. Dale had befriended him because he slept on the steps of his dormitory all year round.

Our answer was still yes. I am sure Dale was testing mom and dad to see if they were going to live up to their set of values. Our motivation was also a message given by a great man from Galilee many years ago, which I do not fully claim to understand or always follow: "I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers, you did for me."

Dale and Jimmy arrived from New York on a bus and we picked them up in Union, New Jersey, on Thanksgiving eve. There were no major surprises. Jimmy was reasonably sober but had a faint odor of alcohol in his breath. He probably had not shaved, showered or washed his clothes for a number of days. After giving him a good Thanksgiving meal to eat, the next order of priority was a shower and clean clothes.

We had set up his bed on the convertible sofa in our living room. He was thrilled by the quietness and peace in the suburbs where he did not have to sleep in the street, clutching his belongings. He claimed that his father used to be a police officer in Madison, New Jersey. He also had a twin brother with some mental disabilities, who was living as a homeless person in New York. He spent the entire evening talking with us, until very late at night, conveying his gratitude.

He had forgotten what it was like to sleep in a normal bed. When he woke up the next morning, he said he slept like he had not slept in years. He wanted to return to New York on Thanksgiving day, so my wife drove him back. A few days later we got a report from our son Dale that Jimmy had sobered up for good, straightened out his life, got a job in road construction, and with the help of a social worker, was living in a studio apartment on his own, in Manhattan.

I don't think there is such a big deal to this true story. An act of kindness done to me in 1963 was just passed on to another human being in 1998, coincidentally enough at Thanksgiving!     

  Blessed Beyond Measure  
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.

If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture or the pang of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.

If you can worship without fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are more blessed than three billion people in the world.

If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.

If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish somewhere, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy.

If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the United States.

If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.

If you can hold someone's hand, hug them or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because in a world that is dying from lack of touch, you can offer a healing embrace.

If you can read this message, you have just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a pleasant and productive day, count your blessings (not just at Thanksgiving but all year long), and pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

Author unknown (Text slightly modified by Don Sutaria)

  Happy Holidays! I Have a Gift for You!...A New Job!  
Given the holiday period, present state of the economy and the mood of the nation, all I hear from my clients is that it is not exactly a good time to look for a job.

Sorry! Wrong! The above statement is a myth! Just the opposite! I beg to differ and I'll tell you why.

Based on my personal experiences during the past decade and a half, I can tell you confidently that the holiday months of November and December are the best months for job hunting. Thrice during this period of fifteen years, I have landed $100,000+ jobs, starting during the first two weeks in January.

Why is that? This is because the seeds were sown during the last two months of the year, the results of which were harvested in January of the following year.

From the Thanksgiving week to New Year's Day, corporate America bathes in a special glow.

Just think of it! A holiday and shopping mood prevails.

Executives in position with power to hire you are generally traveling less during this period. People are taking vacations. A holiday spirit prevails and there is a greater mood of courtesy and charity...don't ask me for a rational explanation!...maybe because the smoke from the "chestnuts roasting on the open fire"...gets into people's minds and hearts!

Another factor is that managers may have more time to talk with you and are relaxed. Note that other job hunters have temporarily dropped out of the race for two months which gives you a statistical advantage of winning or bagging your trophy (your desirable job).

If you were a hiring manager, would you not admire a candidate with perseverance and patience? It would automatically work for the candidate.

Note that the company's annual budgets are also being tweaked in November and December for the following year. You may even be able to create a new job (...remember the hidden job market!...) in the mind of the hiring manager who will certainly remember you. It may also allow him to place additional money in his budget for next year.

Don't forget to stay sober at company holiday parties and keep making mini-pitches without making yourself a bore! It is a perfect opportunity for networking. Don't pass it up! If you have friends at other companies, see if you can get yourself invited as a guest. I have done that and it works! The same principle holds true for parties given by friends and neighbors. There is no harm in discreetly exchanging business cards at most parties.

If you are a career coach, ask your counselees to take these admonitions to heart.

If you are a counselee reading this article, "follow the directions Career Doctor Don gave you", and you may surprise yourself by being delivered a belated Holiday Gift...A NEW the size and style and color you always wanted!

I want to wish you a very meaningful Thanksgiving.

  A Dirty Little Secret to Share!  
  Why I learned to hate turkey and love hot dogs and hamburgers at Thanksgiving!!   (Reflections of an imported fruitcake!)

I am about to make a very politically incorrect and un-American statement: I hate turkey! Even at Thanksgiving!

Well, not quite! I lied a little! A small white lie! I just do not enjoy the taste of turkey too much. My informal polls of immigrants in USA, time and again have confirmed my suspicions that not all of them eat this pale tasteless bird! If they do, they jazz it up heavily with spices. So be it!

Actually, I do enjoy the turkey with all its trimmings at Thanksgiving (which makes me glad that it comes around only once every year!), not for the sake of the meal but for its significance, especially having it with loved ones and friends, as I have been doing for the past 50 plus years.

Let me explain why.

I came to the United States more than 50 years ago as a young college student, and have been a US citizen for over 35 years. When I landed in New York from SS Queen Mary on September 3, 1963, with two cardboard suitcases (one containing used books and one containing old clothes), I had less than $100 in my pocket. You were allowed to leave Bombay, India, on August 15, 1963, with only $209, because that was all that was allowed due to hard currency regulations. If your grades were B+ and above, every month an allocated loan would arrive from an educational endowment. The maximum which could be borrowed was $6,000. There was not a soul I knew from whom I could borrow money in the USA—no relatives or friends!

When I first landed on American soil, I stayed for a few days at Sloane House YMCA on 34th Street in New York City, before leaving for Kansas. It was in New York that I first tasted a hamburger and a hot dog, my first meal on the first day, in the YMCA cafeteria. This might sound funny, but I did not know that in America you could pick up the hamburger and eat it! I was eating it very daintily, European style, cutting it with a knife and fork, until a man sitting at an adjoining table told me so. I will never forget the look on his face, which said "you dummy!"

America, of course, is my adopted homeland. The Americanization of Daran (Americanized name Don) has been long in the making. My lovely wife Elizabeth of 42 years, who was born and raised in the United States—third generation—understands the gratitude I feel for being in the United States, and as a tradition, makes a hot dog and a hamburger for me as one of the meals on Thanksgiving day.

Now I have told you my dirty little secret! Have an enjoyable Thanksgiving.



Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Find me on LinkedIn Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
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