Archives for August 2014

Drama is Alive and Well on Facebook

Results for Pinterest search for "negative people"

Results for Pinterest search for “negative people”

 

Sometimes, we have to “cut the fat.” Success teachers of every kind will advise you to eliminate negative people from your life, though they recognize that it’s not so easy to do.

 

“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.”

― Joel Osteen

 

“Rich people associate with positive, successful people. Poor people associate with negative or unsuccessful people.”

― T. Harv Eker

 

“Toxic people will pollute everything around them. Don’t hesitate. Fumigate.”

― Mandy Hale, The Single Woman: Life, Love, and a Dash of Sass

 

Even Deepak Chopra can only offer strategies to deal with certain types of negative people and promotes avoidance of other types whenever possible.

 

Because social media has transformed our social lives into data that can be tracked, avoidance can get pretty tricky.

 

At a Facebook workshop I was teaching to a group of real estate investors, a question unrelated to business was asked: “If you un-friend someone, will they know?”

 

The answer: They aren’t notified, but there are many ways to find out. I described how they will see you comment on a mutual friend’s or family’s post and they might go to post on your profile or send you a private message and notice that there is an option to friend, as though you aren’t already friends.

 

Thanks to God’s uncanny timing, I saw this post by an unnamed friend yesterday:

 

“So, today, I found out that one of my friends in real life had ‘unfriended’ me some time ago on FB. This person is an ultra left wing liberal, an ardent Obama supporter, and we would often get into it when they would post memes and misinformation that were either pro Obama or anti-Republican… I was wondering why I was no longer seeing any posts from this individual, and noticed a comment from them on a mutual friends post. I wanted to congratulate them on something that had recently happened in their life, and was going to message them, when I realized it said I should send a friend request…What I find so amusing is that I have NEVER unfriended someone because I disagree with them politically…If you only keep friends who agree with you, if you can’t defend your position against someone who is well informed on the issues, your life is going to be pretty boring, and you will never expand your mind to new things. I still love this person, I was quite surprised by this behavior. I guess I just won’t love them on Facebook anymore! Just sayin!”

 

And a comment….on Facebook…regarding the evil of Facebook:

“I think FB is the worst thing they invented; people fight, argue, break up, all of this stupid site, and when peoples feelings get hurt, instead of trying to discuss the situation, then the texting begins, i cant take the drama, the BS, and all the crap that goes with it, so I hear ya, and I know how it feels; i get taken off as a FB friend for less then that, and I take people off too for whatever reasons, its all this stupid FB stuff, sometimes i take my page down for a time, cause i dont want to see all the negativity, and I actually feel better without seeing it, just saying too.”

 

Is this an added layer of social rejection? Is it better to remain blissfully ignorant about what people say about us behind our backs?

There were three or four workshop attendees who were hesitant to expose themselves to potential ridicule and undue drama. When you see an emotionally charged exchange like this, it’s hard to blame them.

 

I made the argument that fear is a powerful and justifiable emotion, but we have to carefully evaluate how much we let it make decisions for us. Because, really, what’s worse? Limiting our success and stifling our growth, or not being liked and accepted?

 

Here are a few authors who actually did it – they left Facebook for “good:”

http://www.forbes.com/sites/elizabethlopatto/2014/06/30/you-should-quit-facebook/

Why I quit Facebook and we are sharing much more than you think

 http://theradicallife.org/the-real-reason-to-quit-facebook-and-10-what-ifs

 

5 of the Craziest Ways People Found Jobs

Crazy Fools by Ian Wilson from Flickr

Crazy Fools by Ian Wilson from Flickr

 

Creativity and passion are important in distinguishing yourself while searching for your career or making a transition, but some job seekers take theirs to epic levels. While many insist on stating in their résumés and profiles that they are creative, innovative, think out of the box, etc., there are some job search heroes out there proving it. I scoured the internet for the craziest ways professionals sought their dream jobs. Here are five of my favorite stories.

1. Using an employer’s platform to showcase yourself.

 

Mike Freeman wanted a job as a Business Analyst at Shopify. Instead of sending the usual résumé that hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants use, he bucked the system and made himself a spectacle, a very creative and attractive spectacle. Freeman set up a store using Shopify’s own platform and used it to showcase himself. A bold and dazzling display on the storefront read “So I’ve noticed that Mike Freeman doesn’t work for you guys yet. Let’s fix that.” The clever job seeker went even further. Going beyond just listing his résumé, Freeman even gave employers the chance to book a meeting with him in-person. Fortunately, his boldness bred success and Freeman landed a marketing position at Shopify.

 

2. Launch a spectacular online campaign promoting yourself.

 

In 2011 Kimberly Ashdown was determined to work for Ashton Kutcher’s media company, Katalyst, as an intern. There was only one problem – she wasn’t currently a college student. The Creative Production Coordinator didn’t let a few minor details stop her. Ashdown launched several websites including iwannaworkatkatalyst.com, internuptopia.com and kimberlyashdown.wix.com in order to land her dream job as a Katalyst intern. Her efforts were rewarded, and she worked briefly for Kutcher before returning to her career as a Production Coordinator.

 

3. Infographics can be spectacular résumés.

 

Chris Spurlock was a senior journalist student at the University of Missouri in 2011. He showcased his ability to create infographics by creating a résumé with visual flair. The result was a spectacular infographic. Spurlock took his work a step further by posting his résumé to Huffington Post. It wasn’t long before the article went viral and garnered hundreds of tweets, thousands of likes on Facebook, and tens of thousands of views at Huffington Post. The popularity of the infographic résumé persuaded Traffic and Trends editor Craig Kanalley to hire Spurlock as the news organization’s Infographic Design Editor. Spurlock isn’t the first person to obtain his dream job by taking a visual route with his résumé. In 2010 a few other creative job seekers saw success by using infographic résumés, and I’m somewhat surprised the practice isn’t used more often. At Epic Careering we promote infographic one-page profiles as a very effective way to generate high-quality employment leads. Images are so much more memorable than text.

 

4. Stalk your potential employer using social media.

 

Max Crowley was a Systems Integration Consultant for Accenture when he wanted a change of pace in his professional life. Namely, he had his heart set on working for Uber, a relatively new startup company introduced in 2009. His previous role and company weren’t an obvious match for Uber, but he devised a strategy to overcome that challenge. When Crowley learned Uber would be launching in Chicago, he positioned himself to be hired. His endeavors included following Ryan Graves, Head of Operations, on Twitter, sending him e-mails, and showing up at recruiting events Graves attended. Crowley’s passionate determination paid off and he got the job as Uber’s Senior Community Manager. While this approach can produce favorable results, you must take care not to blur the line between pursuing a potential employer and being creepy. In my 2013 article, “Can this strange campaign advice land you work?,” I highlight the risks of digging too deeply into a decision-maker’s background.

 

5. Advertising yourself on Google’s AdWords.

 

Alec Brownstein was a Copywriter. His professional life at a large ad firm was not what he wanted. He wanted to work for genuinely innovative Creative Directors. Brownstein was also a fan of Googling the very Creative Directors for whom he dreamed of working. One day, the copywriter was hit by a stroke of genius. He noticed his favorite Creative Directors didn’t have sponsored links attached to their names. Using Google AdWords, Brownstein purchased the top advertising spots for the directors’ names and used the space to advertise himself. He figured the directors, like everyone else, Googled themselves and they would eventually see the sponsored ad. The effort literally cost him $6 and paid off a few months later when he was contacted by almost all of the Creative Directors he targeted. It wasn’t long before Brownstein was hired as a Senior Copywriter at Young & Rubicam (Y&R) New York.

 

When you look at how most people look for a job, it isn’t hard to stand out from the rest of the crowd. Focus on doing a few things well instead rather than reaching for a particular volume of activity. Volume does not equal desirable results; it’s not necessarily a numbers game! Work smart rather than hard. Creativity and passion can go a very long way in your career. We live in a world where all things are possible. Be bold. If these professionals can think outside of the box to land their dream jobs, so can you.

 

How Fear Limits Careers

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

No Fear by The 5th Ape from Flickr

Has the term “what if?” ever ruled your decision making? Have you ever settled for safe and predictable in your professional life so you can avoid a fear of the unknown?

 

Fear is a powerful emotion. It can eat away at all rational thought and positive energy until all you’re left with is raw anxiety and shattered self esteem. Fear comes in a variety of forms and there is no area of your life it can’t touch. For professionals, fear can often cause poor career decisions. Since the economic downturn of 2008 and the very slow recovery, fear has led many bright and talented people to settle for less. This can lead to a multitude of problems down the road, including underemployment, being overworked, and a stifled path to career recovery.

 

The fear of having no income at all can often funnel professionals into jobs in which they are underemployed and indefinitely underpaid.

 

You might be a bright-eyed accountant who has gotten the pink-slip at work. Your unemployment is about to run out and you’ve had no luck landing a job with comparable pay. Ultimately, you settle for a part-time job at a new firm or you take a job that pays you far less.

 

How about another example? You could be an administrative assistant at an insurance company. The company folded, leaving you unemployed and, in order to pay the bills, you take a retail job. The income is mediocre in comparison to the money you received on unemployment.

 

Perhaps in your previous executive role you were applying decades’ worth of skills, education and experience to make huge contributions to your previous employer, but you are being told you are “overqualified,” so you resort to finding a role as an individual contributor where your wisdom and insight are not appreciated nor are you compensated for them.

 

Or, you could be a journalist fresh out of school, unable to find work and so you settle as a waiter at your local restaurant. As a career coach I’ve seen plenty of people let fear lead them to unsatisfying career choices.

 

Let’s say none of the above examples apply to you. You still have a job in the profession you love. Even so, you’re not happy with your circumstances at work. Your company may have cut back on staff, effectively doing more with fewer people. You find yourself working longer hours at the job. Or you may be worried about being let go so you agree to take on more responsibilities and job duties for the same amount of pay. Your hours increase, your free time decreases and your health and well-being also suffer. You want to make the transition to a job that offers more pay, better hours or a combination of the two. Your fear has caused you to stick with a job you dislike simply because you can’t see a way forward.

 

Do you see yourself in any of these examples?

 

While it’s true that we all have to pay our bills, I think we can all agree that is preferable to pay our bills AND be fulfilled in our career. Fear can make you believe that you have to choose between the two.

 

Whether you are underemployed, underpaid or overworked the fear of not bringing in income or losing a current career can be detrimental in the long run. If you invest yourself too fully in a part-time job, it leaves you with less time and energy to pursue your career. Likewise, finding yourself overworked as a professional can also leave you with little time and energy to make the transition to an ideal employer.

 

Lost time is lost money.

 

Do not let fear rule your career-making decisions. Take some time to rationally evaluate how you will move your career forward as a business professional. Ideally, you will strive toward a job that motivates and excites you. Additionally, you will already have had your own personal criteria in mind. The number of hours you will work per week, your salary, culture, growth opportunity, flexibility, healthcare benefits and even personal time are a few examples for you to consider. Making a decision that meets about 80% of your personal criteria is a great, logical way to help drive your profession. Change can be a cause of fear but courage and rationality can lead to a successful career in the long run.

 

You don’t always have to use logic to make your decision; emotion can be a good place to make a decision from, as long as it is positive emotion based on excitement, enthusiasm, passion and adventure. Fear may still be present. Remember, courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the ability to move forward in spite of it. Don’t let fear drive your career decisions.

 

 

By the way…If your career was thrown off track by a fear-based decision, we will help you get back on track.

Top 5 things I’ve learned from my clients

Chess by Malias from Flickr

Chess by Malias from Flickr

You can probably imagine how many secrets a résumé writer and career coach can learn while they are working intimately with professionals at various levels. While, I do learn quite a bit of confidential information about companies, employees, I’m not inclined to share that. Consider, however, how much I get to learn about corporate success from hundreds of people who have achieved it for themselves, and a few that had struggled until they met me. I am sure there are hundreds of thousand tidbits that I have learned in the past decade that are worth sharing. While you were staying tuned for the book, here are the top five, or rather the five that are most top of mind and relevant to me now.

 

1. Promptness gets you noticed.

The go-to guy gets the promotions in the opportunity, most of the time. Deal with people first and things next. Beware of making yourself so valuable in one role, however, that you are solely relied upon. Inspire others to follow your lead. Leaders are so much more critical to an organization than doers or managers.

 

2. Give other departments a hand.

This is beneficial on so many levels. Not only will you be able to build rapport that enhances collaboration throughout an organization, which is always necessary though often missing, but you will also learn new pieces of the puzzle, widen your perspective, and see a bigger picture. Sometimes that leads to opportunities to bring departments together for huge initiatives and sometimes, when your department suffers a layoff, another department sees your value and you create job security.

 

3. Hire great people, give them what they need to succeed, and get out of their way.

I have had many clients who I would consider to be turnaround kings and queens. What they often have in common is their ability to deal with performance issues head-on getting to the true source of them, to put people in positions that set them up for success, and to build a culture of accountability and trust that tends to raise confidence, morale and productivity.

 

4. Be willing to sponsor and nurture up-and-coming phenomenal talent.

Even if they surpass you, they’ll wind up taking you with them. These are also the same clients who abide by the philosophy of hiring people smarter than them, though this does not have to apply solely to direct reports.

 

5. Get yourself involved in the projects that contribute to profit.

Anyone who is a member of a businesses cost center would benefit from adding skills that directly contribute to a company’s top line. It makes you exponentially more visible to executive leaders and board members.