Archives for how do I find a better job

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

Turn that attitude into gratitude: A momentum-generating motto

Photo courtesy of ram reddy - "Celebrate the New Begining | 2009" (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

Photo courtesy of ram reddy – “Celebrate the New Begining | 2009” (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

The title of this article is among the many maxims that I have begun to recite to my daughters in the quest to set them up for success. While I’ll take full credit for making this a “thing” in our household, the concept is not really original. You can find this advice among ancient Hindu scriptures, woven into Iroquois culture, in the bible, and at any personal and professional transformation seminar.

I often speak to real estate investors at REIAs, or Real Estate Investment Associations. At these meetings I discovered a few investors with an extremely positive mindset. They believed in the phrase, “Celebrate All Wins.” The phrase comes directly from Than Merrill, the CEO of FortuneBuilders, one of North America’s largest real estate education companies. “Celebrate All Wins” recognizes building a business isn’t easy, and it is important to always take a moment to celebrate victories and positive achievements. Every time those achievements are reflected upon it creates a positive reinforcement loop that helps build momentum. The beauty of this mindset is that it can be applied to every aspect of life, including your quest to elevate your career.

Do you take the time to celebrate the little victories in your life? Forming this habit means celebrating your victories all of the time. Start by celebrating victories at night, then at night and in the morning, then three times a day, and then whenever you think about it. It will lead to being in a grateful and successful mindset MOST of the time. Reflecting on positive outcomes is an important counter-balance to negative emotions. Studies reveal that people are often more likely to remember bad life experiences over good experiences.

I’m sure that in you own job search you can relate to this. You’re more likely to recall those days where it seemed like nothing went your way. You may have had a hard time gathering references, or perhaps you botched a crucial interview. Too much of a focus on negative outcomes can cause our attitudes to change for the worst, and impede our personal progress. Slowly the thought, “I’m having a hard time finding work,” can turn into “I’ll never find a job.” By celebrating the little victories, you can empower yourself in your job search. This empowerment leads to JoMo, or Job Momentum. It is going beyond simply looking for job opportunities. JoMo is having several viable opportunities in play at the same time. It is the benefit of having choice, once again feeling empowered, desirable, and having negotiation leverage. JoMo comes from capitalizing on the achievements you celebrated during your job search.

Let’s start with some common goals and tasks. Make a note of why they should be celebrated:

-You achieved your goal of gathering 200 meaningful professional connections on LinkedIn. Many users on LinkedIn only set up a few dozen connections, or barely visit the site at all. If you’re actively maintaining your profile, and are taking the time to add professional connections, you’re far ahead of the curve.

-You found ten contacts in various target companies, who you can research. You take it a step further by researching them, sending them an introduction, and invitation to speak about how you can help their company. Then, even having five conversations and identifying two job opportunities among these contacts would be huge. You used your skills to get in the door for two viable opportunities.

-You had a goal to send out four highly-targeted résumés and custom cover letters for the week and you did it. Researching a company and crafting a résumé suited to that company takes time. A lot of people blast out the same résumé to multiple employers without bothering to customize them. You stood above the competition by learning all about your potential employer sent them a personalized résumé. In my professional opinion, job seekers need one effectively branded résumé aimed at their ideal employer, and a custom written cover letter that follows our “secret recipe.”

-One of your network contacts came through with a job lead. In the past you simply put these leads on the “to-do list” and never got around to investigating them. This time you didn’t let that lead go by the wayside. The biggest network in the world won’t do you any good if you never act upon the information you’re given. Taking the time to investigate a lead is a big step forward.

-You took the time to reconnect with a few old professional friends via personal messages and added them to your network. Both professional and personal friendships can be neglected over the years. Reconnecting with old friends can be a euphoric experience. Getting those old connections into your job network? It is nothing short of awesome as your network grows a little larger. When you’ve let your network go stale you may feel like recharging it is daunting, but it doesn’t take long. Everyone understands the tendency to let life get in the way of friendships. Small gestures make big differences and you can see momentum grow very fast with your past personal network, which will give you good energy to tackle your future professional network.

 [Click to tweet this article: http://ctt.ec/bjG9t]

-If you had prior job rejections, you made it a point to get feedback, so you’ll know where to improve in the future. It can be a humbling experience to ask why you were rejected. The majority of job seekers will never inquire about their rejection and may make the same mistake again. Learning where you went wrong in the hiring process is a huge achievement. I hear many job seekers complain that they ask for feedback, but get something generic, something they believe is a lie, or feel as though the real feedback is being withheld. All of this could be true, but it could also be energy-sucking speculation. Congratulate yourself for making the effort—remember—it’s the small victories that we have to look for and celebrate.

You get to choose how you celebrate, but some ideas include dancing, treating yourself to YOU time, making a small celebratory purchase, getting to watch your favorite show, upgrading your plain coffee to a peppermint mocha, or taking a bubble bath. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to revel in your sense of accomplishment and FEEL the sensations associated with it.

Keeping track of the numerous little victories in your job search can have a positive and sustainable snowballing effect. Imagine this: All of the job search achievements you keep track of are a fist-sized snowball. Because it is so small it is very difficult to push. At the start you have to get down on your hands and knees to keep the snowball moving. Despite the difficulties, you refuse to give up.  When you discover another achievement you keep the ball rolling. As you keep going gradually the snowball grows larger and it is easier to push. Before long, that snowball is the size of a boulder. These are all of the achievements you’ve counted and celebrated. You can actually stand back and marvel at how well the task you’ve set out to do is progressing. Keeping that momentum going no longer means getting down on your hands and knees, now it only takes a gentle push.

Instead of looking at the future tasks with dread, you’ll remember your victories and vigorously tackle your next job opportunity. Keeping the achievements you’ve accomplished in mind, you’re ready to take your job search to the next level. You have a sense of purpose, you know your foundations are strong, and you know you’re going above and beyond the average job seeker. Where discouragement has stopped others, you see nothing but opportunity. Every day is a new day filled with numerous little victories. Adding grit, or sheer determination, to your outlook on life can also enhance your job search. In my article, “Want Job Search Glory? Got Grit?” I describe how having grit can help you overcome challenges and help land you a great job.

What are some of the little victories you celebrate to create momentum in your job search?

Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All

Whitney Houston’s official music video for ‘Greatest Love Of All’. Click to listen to Whitney Houston on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/WhitneyHSpotify?IQid=WhitneyHGLO As featured on Whitney: The Greatest Hits.

3 Steps To Ensure Your Next Position Is Better Than Your Last One

 

Petrified by Brett Jordan

Petrified by Brett Jordan

 

 

Everyone seems to be running away from something rather than toward something. For example, many clients do not come to me or approach me until they see that they are running out of money, and so they decide to run away from a lack of money. Or others still find themselves in employment situations that are undesirable, and so they come to me wanting escape from their current situation. Yes, I do this.

I do help people relieve financial distress by helping them gain employment that brings in an income that enables them to afford their lifestyles, or better lifestyles. Yes, I also help professionals improve their career trajectory and help them find jobs that fulfill them and pay them what they’re worth.

However, most of them have not yet decided what they are running toward.

 

 

Where do people usually turn to see what opportunities are out there for them? Job boards. Here’s the flaw in that: job boards are not job prophecies. You will not be able to determine your career destiny by scouring job boards. This is what will happen: you will find many, many jobs with a few words that excite you, and you will use those few words as a reason to spend your time evaluating that opportunity and filling out an online application. You will cross your fingers, consider your effort done, and hope and pray that somebody will respond and invite you for interview.

 

Let me ask you, does doing this motivate you to get up every day and repeat the process? Do you really feel any closer to a better employment situation? Are you getting any results from this process? Even if this process does produce interviews, do you really feel like they are the right jobs?

 

It is spectacular to know that what you have currently is not what you want. However, if you are really going to ensure that your situation improves, you have to define what that improvement looks like. And, actually, the more full detail you give to that picture of improvement, the closer you will get to it.

Here are three exercises, consider them career development homework, that will propel you in a favorable direction once you decide that you want your professional future to be better than your past or present.

 

  1. Develop your criteria

Create a table, either in word or an Excel, with four columns at the top and numbers on the left (Excel has these already.) In the first column (A) put all the things that you disliked about your most recent position and any other positions in the past. In the second column (B) type the opposite of that. In the third column make a list of things that you heard other people complain about their jobs that you would not want to experience for yourself. In the fourth column include things that you’ve heard other people enjoy about their job that you have not yet experienced. Use all of the columns to develop questions that you can ask your network and your interviewees (once you land them) to find out if a company is a worthwhile target. In a new spreadsheet, combine columns B and D into one complete list that you will call your criteria. Sort them into order of importance, and make the “make or break” criteria distinct by using colors or bolding. Now, for each company you identify, either through job boards, recruiters, business journals, news articles, leads from your network, etc., add a column and cross reference what you find out about them, through any of the same sources listed above, with your criteria list. Use a simple system, like “X” for any criteria a company doesn’t match and an “O” for each one it does. If the Xs start to add up to more than 20% of the criteria, move on. If not, keep digging and make sure that your network inquiries include requests for introductions with value statements on what you can offer them. (E-mail info@epiccareering.com if you would like to see a sample.)

 

  1. Create a reverse career roadmap.

Assuming all things are possible, how would you ultimately like to end your career? Every answer is okay. Don’t limit yourself, but don’t assume that you have to yearn for the highest possible position either. Use your imagination. If you do tend to eliminate possibilities, carefully evaluate if your reasons are actually valid or if they are manifestations of a self-limiting untruth, an assumption, or misinformation. A really easy way to tell if that is the case is to ask, “Has anyone else ever achieved this?” If the answer is yes, you have proof that it is possible, but even if you don’t know of anybody else who has achieved it, I will quote something I say to my daughters daily – “There is no can’t; only I don’t know how yet.”

Asking questions of your network is a lot easier than asking favors of your network. People love to help and offer their expertise. The caveat: if people tell you something is impossible, thank them and ignore them. They may or may not have their own illusions of reality. Stay focused on the how, not the if.

 

  1. Create a reverse financial roadmap.

Unless you are a financial advisor, I suggest you work with a financial advisor to get this quest completed. As a “rule,” you should increase your salary by 10% every year. Follow this link and use the calculator 2/3 down the page on the right to determine how much you should be making right now based on this rule. Project then, how much you should be making at the age you hope to retire. A financial advisor can help you understand how much you should have saved in order to have money left at the end of your life rather than life left at the end of your money. There should be two numbers – the least amount that you should have saved to cover expenses based on anticipated costs of living, and the ideal number that you should have saved to be able to really enjoy a high quality of life. Obviously, you have to be at least at the bottom of that range, but you should shoot for the top of that range. Furthermore, a financial advisor will help you determine if, based on the rule that you should be increasing your salary by 10% every year, if you can achieve that range or not. If not, some catch-up is required. Based on a Rutgers study on American workers, only 18% feel that they are well-paid. If what you’re making now is nowhere near what that formula says you should be currently making, we may be able to help you reroute and get back on track. We have helped many clients increase their salary by 25 to 100%! Contact us for a free session.

 

Desperately running away from a bad situation often leads to poor decisions, as we have shared before. If you’re in a bad situation, or simply situation that isn’t what you think is best for you, there is no time like the present to make changes, but they should be strategic changes. Considering the amount of emotion around career decisions, it can be a huge challenge to be objective enough to be effectively strategic. Don’t be too proud to reach out for help. Your logic and past experience should tell you that a partner, or even a team, will get more accomplished than an individual. You make the decisions, you are in control, and you don’t have to do it alone.