Archives for career path

Signs That a Change is Necessary

Photo courtesy of Joe Dunckley on flickr open source - "Sign not in use" - https://www.flickr.com/photos/steinsky/143733824/in/photolist-dGF4o-hR3yDr-9vtV-ckrjMS-ncDnVz-jvDa8w-vRLVd-3J618s-6i85PB-7wrL-kuBpdZ-hSEsCG-qR9Rhy-r6rMPw-r8DPWY-qR9NRm-r6rLYU-r8A4BF-qRj2kF-qR9RUW-r6rMA5-qRhhGi-qbJheS-qbWyCt-r8DTAS-qbWBdZ-qRj91e-qRhfXB-qbJfYW-r8DVzm-r6rNe9-qRbkb9-r8DSh9-qbJhuw-qRj6X6-qRbjz9-p1xgG1-mQXieg-mQXioV-mQXiyV-mq8UfZ-hR4qwk-moc28H-moc1YK-hR4atf-na8jbW-mBDz8V-p3xhNy-p3zaUc-oL5v17 - Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic.

Photo courtesy of Joe Dunckley on flickr open source – “Sign not in use” – Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic -http://bit.ly/signnotinuse

Last month I had the honor of seeing one of my favorite speakers, Jen Groover, in-person at my alma mater, Ursinus College. I had seen her PBS Special, many of her other YouTube videos as well as a fireside chat that she did with Philly StartUp Grind. I had heard her tell the story of how she was driving to work as a young graduate with a knot in her stomach. She actually was so anxious about going to work that she fantasized about getting into a car accident just so she would have a good excuse not to go. Thankfully, she trusted her inner wisdom and followed a passion that led her to an epic career, twice. Seeing her tell this story inspired me to re-publish this article that I wrote in 2007. Plus, a friend recently shared here job grievances on Facebook, so the time feels very right to help her, and anyone else suffering mentally AND physically because they are enduring the wrong job.

I pursued the employment industry because I enjoyed matching people with opportunities and creating a win-win-win for the company, the candidate, and my firm. I moved into working one-on-one with jobseekers because I gained invaluable knowledge that I knew many people needed to help them succeed. And boy, I wanted them to succeed. Being a great judge of character is a necessity to being a great recruiter. It was clear to me after several months that I would rather help these people than determine that they are not good enough to present to our clients. (Author’s note: Within my first year, I also realized that judgment was actually an impediment to helping them, and I started to work on becoming more compassionate – a brand signature of my business today.) I stuck with recruiting for several years and had no regrets. The years that followed provided me with even more experience and knowledge. There did come a time, however, when I had to recognize that it was time to move on.

In late 2005 after I was married, it seemed as though everything that I read, watched or overheard was leading me to the same conclusion: I need to create something of my own to share the intelligence I had been procuring and provide services for jobseekers in my area that no one else was offering. Omens were coming from every direction; I even had a fortune cookie tell me that a change in vocation was coming. (Author’s note: I still have it on my desk in my home office to remind me how listening to these signs and taking action has paid off in my life.) Even with all of these signs, it was the help and encouragement of a coach that pushed me to bring my vision and mission to fruition.

As a career coach, I bestow the power to pursue a career path that leads to life fulfillment. There IS a formula for career happiness, and a process that, when followed with integrity, ultimately results in the ability to choose the best opportunity among multiple viable opportunities. So many people make decisions to stay stuck, or not try, often because of assumptions, bad advice, self-limiting beliefs, or, my “favorite,” the market. In doing so, people stand in their own way of happiness, either by not acknowledging that a change is necessary, or worse yet, recognizing that a change is necessary and not empowering themselves to make that change happen.

I do understand, to a point, the psychology behind not changing. (Author’s note: I am keenly aware now, after years of studying neuroscience, behavior-change gamification and human performance optimization, how our brains and our bodies resist change.] It is difficult and scary. You put yourself out there to have other people determine if you are good enough or not. And what if they decide that you are not? What if there really isn’t anything better? What if what you want isn’t attainable? Coincidentally, Jen Groover’s book is called What If and Why Not? and I highly recommend it if you relate to these fears.)

I have seen loved ones emotionally and mentally beaten down by work environments in which hostility between colleagues is tolerated while appreciation and recognition are scarce. The longer that they stayed there, the more they felt like disposable commodities. It was as though they should feel fortunate to be employed. It’s essentially a corporate form of mental abuse. It hurt to watch people who I know are unique, important, and deserving of so much more made to feel small and insignificant. (Author’s note: This was a big determining factor in what made me choose to make the contribution of being a career coach, as I detail in this blog.) Once I was recruiting, it hurt more, because I could see with greater clarity what they needed to be happy, and I knew it was attainable. Regardless, it still had to be their decision, their resolve, and their commitment that made it happen.

In an effort to minimize the number of people who waste precious time waking up every day to do a job that does not utilize their talents, does not fulfill them spiritually, financially, and/or vocationally and that they resent or despise, I will share with you some questions and answers that may indicate if it is your time to recognize the signs and create much needed change in your career for the sake of your life.

1. Are you regularly grumpy on Sunday evenings and every morning but Friday?

If you answered yes, this indicates that you have anxiety about going to work. Everyone gets grumpy sometimes. Even people that love what they do will have times when they wish they were somewhere else. Timing and frequency are the factors that have the most weight in determining the cause of the grumpiness.

2. While you are at work, are you spending more time finding personal business to tend to rather than critical deliverables that your boss is expecting?

While most people will admit that they tend to procrastinate from time to time, your job depends on your abilities to deliver. When you prioritize unimportant personal business ahead of what you need to do for you boss, that communicates that you only care enough to keep face, if you even care enough to do that. Your boss could very well be the problem, and you may not be able to keep your position in that company and change your boss. You can certainly change something.

3. When you come home from your workday, do you head straight for the television, your bed, or a drink?

We all are expected to output more these days. It can be exhausting. This is why it is even more critical to do work for which you have passion. It will be energizing more than it will be draining, and it will allow you to come home and tend to personal matters and relationships rather than spending hours decompressing and zoning out until you can sleep, wake up, and do it all over again.

4. Do you encourage your closest friends and family to NOT use your company’s product or service?

If this is the case it has to be a definite sign that you are not contributing your days and hard work to a company that is going to survive! Find a product or service that means something to you and then find a position within that company that allows you to use your talents and abilities to further their progress while you further your career.

5. Are you just brimming with ideas that no one at your company seems to hear, let alone implement?

Companies sometimes do not utilize the talent that they have to the fullest. This seems like such a waste of great energy and money! That goes for you, too, if you are staying there allowing all of your brainchildren to wither and die!

While the United States is still the land of opportunity, it is lagging behind in production and innovation. I would like you to imagine, please, every person doing what he or she loves to do. Wouldn’t we all be so much more productive and fulfilled? Idealistic? YES! Achievable? Maybe not for everyone, but it happens every day. If you want it to be you, it can, but you have to believe it and commit to it!

(Author’s note: RIP, Sheila Kutner, The “Velvet Hammer.” Your influence lives on through me and all of your clients who decided to commit themselves to careers that make a difference.)

Scorpions – Wind Of Change

Music video by Scorpions performing Wind Of Change. (C) 1991 The Island Def Jam Music Group

Are Careers Like Soul mates? Is There Only One?

Photo courtesy of Flazingo Photos on flickr http://bit.ly/1srWO1B.

Photo courtesy of Flazingo Photos on flickr http://bit.ly/1srWO1B.

Some people believe there is only one soul mate out there for us. Others believe we could have multiple soul mates, or that everyone has the potential to be our soul mate. There are also a few people out there who believe there is no such thing as a soul mate. Likewise, many people hold similar views on careers.

There are those who believe there is no set career path, and that anyone can do anything if they work smart enough. This may mean starting over and redefining themselves every few years. Or they may chase after their passions until they find a career that excites them.

Then we have those who believe we are all destined for something, or we should use our God-given talents to their full potential. It could be the boy or girl who discovers they love drawing at an early age and sticks with a career as an artist. These kinds of career paths aren’t always easy to follow, but those who stick with them are driven and passionate.

For many, the career paths we originally set out with turn out to be very different from what we ultimately settle on. We may switch careers multiple times within our lives. Or we may hold down more than one career at a time. Here’s an example of someone who has multiple careers:

A 2001 New York Times article titled “Traveling 2 Roads In One Life” profiled Angela Williams. She began her professional life as a lawyer. After a few years in the Air Force as a prosecutor, she moved on as a federal prosecutor in Florida. A year later she traveled to Jerusalem, and visited Biblical sites. Suddenly, she felt a strong calling to devote herself to the ministry. Within two years she began to study theology while she balanced her life as a lawyer. By 2001, Williams put in 50 hours a week as a corporate lawyer by day, and worked up to 40 hours per week as an associate minister at night. When Williams began her career as a lawyer, she never envisioned being a minister as well.

As I wrote in my article, “Your Attitudes About Work Can Shape the Career Path of Others,” the idea of working for one company in one field is a rarity in today’s world. We are living in a world where people either switch careers or are expected to juggle multiple careers within their lifetime. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that 5% of the labor force are multiple job holders as of December 2014. Ed Dolan breaks this information down further and explains why people hold multiple careers in his EconoMonitor article. Data from a 2004 survey suggests about 25% of people have multiple jobs because of financial hardship and 21% of people care more about the value of a second job, rather than the extra money. These are people who are more interested in the experience a job brings, or because they enjoy doing the extra work. Another 38% wanted the extra income, and the last 15% gave no reason why they took on multiple jobs.

There are some people who feel drawn to a calling from a young age, and manage to stick with that calling. These people often buck the trend of conformity. They are not satisfied with being told what they should do, and instead pursue what they are passionate about. The pay may be low, or unstable but they are determined enough to walk a path that satisfies their calling. The career itself doesn’t matter in this case, as long as a person loves his or her work. Think of teachers, nurses, artists, performers, factory workers, and even mechanics. The work is less about career advancement and more about personal fulfillment. A 1997 research paper title “Jobs, Careers, and Callings: People’s Relations to Their Work” details why some people feel called to a particular career.

The reality shows the majority of adults will hold multiple jobs within their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, working adults will hold an average of 11.3 jobs from the ages of 18 to 46. The data was collected from 1979 to 2010. In an employee tenure summary released in September 2014, the BLS noted salary and wage workers stayed with an employer for an average of 4.6 years. Management and professional occupations often stayed with employers a little longer, up to 6.9 years. New York Times Columnist Marci Alboher, states in a 2007 article that the wave of professional reinventions is rising. Corporate job security is no longer guaranteed, and millions of Americans are finding their own career paths. Some will work as entrepreneurs, others will become consultants, and some may bounce back and forth before returning to the corporate world. Entrepreneur and author Tim Clark outlines a similar path in his TEDx Talk “Say Goodbye to Career Planning.”

There is a generation of people who don’t subscribe to the idea of having multiple careers. Perhaps the idea of changing employers within a career is normal, but they’ve never once considered the idea of going into a new field. Or they may be part of a shrinking group of employees who expect to stay with an employer for a decade or longer. Forbes contributor David K. Williams gives us “10 Reasons To Stay At A Job For 10 Or More Years.” Stability, seniority, leadership opportunities, dependability, and a say in the company’s future are just some of the reasons why people may not believe in having multiple careers, or changing careers. After all, there are many people who balk at the idea of cashing out a 401K, or selling a home if a new employer requires relocation. For these employees, consistency and loyalty is king.

Employer loyalty can be a particular sticking point when it comes to employers. Some people feel company loyalty is important and will ultimately be rewarded by employers, in the form of pensions and healthcare. There are those who believe there is no such thing as company loyalty. If a job can be wiped out by downsizing, why should anyone expected to have a long-term career within a single company?

The views on careers are diverse. The data shows us that the majority of adults will hold down multiple jobs within their lifetime. At the same time there are people who manage to find their calling in life early, and stick with their passions no matter the hardship. There are others who believe in a more traditional path of deciding on a career early, and sticking with it until retirement. The adventurous believe a career should be exciting and don’t mind changing fields until they find their passion and some workers believe it is possible to maintain more than one career at a time.

What are your beliefs about careers? Are we destined to only have one calling in our life? Or are multiple careers and career change inevitable?

Bob Marley – One Love

One love, One heart Let’s get together and feel all right Hear the children crying (One Love) Hear the children crying (One Heart) Sayin’ give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right Sayin’ let’s get together and feel all right Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One Love) There is one question I’d really love to ask (One Heart) Is there a place for the hopeless sinner Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?

As you go out into the “real” world…

good_luck_graduates!_kevin_dooley

good_luck_graduates!_kevin_dooley

Dear graduating seniors,

 

Here are some things I thought you should know:

 

  • Life is not over; it is beginning anew.
  • Fun is not over; working will enable you to find new kinds of fun.
  • You do not have to say goodbye to your friends,
  • Though it will be hard to see each other when life gets busy and you will miss having them so close.
  • What is cool now will change; what you think is a lame idea for a job may be exactly what you want to do in 10 years, and
  • It’s okay!
  • What you think is a lame waste of time now may be exactly what you do for fun in 10 years, and
  • It’s okay!
  • If you can choose a job that aligns with your future plans, do so. Otherwise, get any experience and make the best of that experience.
  • The job you take now may not even exist by the time you retire, and
  • It’s okay!
  • Being in the “real world” is exactly what you make, but YOU have to make it – don’t let other people decide what’s real for you.
  • It can be scary to be the one making decisions, but you must do this in order to do the above, and
  • You will make mistakes, and
  • It’s okay!
  • You also don’t have to say goodbye to your favorite professors forever.
  • Your college/university will call you for donations – give if you feel you’ve gotten.
  • You may find yourself in a minivan, and
  • It’s okay!

Even if you have no idea what you are going to do for a job or where you are going to live, it’s okay. It’s okay in the grand scheme of life, anyway. Your parents probably have other expectations. You may or may not live up to those expectations, but as long as you know the things above, it will be okay.

 

Happy graduation!

 

Congratulations to my intern, Heidi!