Is Your #Career in Recovery or Retreat? (All Joking Aside)

Don't be fooled by the sense of false security implied with being employed. This state of being can change in a flash – poof! Suddenly your job can be gone. You, and only you, are in control of your job security. Quit hunkering down under your desk and get proactive! Take charge of your career; begin enjoying your work life again.

The economy has started its recovery – why haven't you? Are you still fooling yourself by hanging onto your job for dear life? According to a recent CNN article, "Take This Job and Tolerate It," the frequency rate of people leaving jobs by choice is close to the lowest point since 2000. American workers are choosing to let fear drive their careers instead of passion. Sounds like the April Fool's joke may be on them this year – and maybe you, too?

Overwhelm from being over-worked and under-paid is not a work life you want to maintain. Instead, start today to find the career where you can be happy and feel appreciated again. Find the career where your values are honored in the workplace, where your mind is stimulated, and your skills are utilized. Find the career where you know in your heart this is where you want to be. Don't be fooled by continuing to believe that your employer will take care of you – that old joke has worn itself out long ago.

Utopia? Not really. It IS possible to attain career and job satisfaction. But this ideal career must first be defined, molded and purposefully pursued. Here a few tips to jump-start your career change process:

  • Make two lists: one is what you do well and the other is what you like to do. Where do these lists intersect? Chances are the clues to your ideal career appear in this intersection.
  • Need more training to qualify for your ideal career? Go get it! No one is ever too old to learn new things. Careers are rapidly changing (I still remember keypunch operators, now long gone from the career landscape). Learn about employment trends so you can see what careers will still be viable 5-10 years from now.
  • Write your resume to attract the ideal employer for your ideal career. Better yet, hire a professional resume writer to craft this resume for you with your input. You need objectivity to determine what's most important to include in this door-opening document. Your own bias can cloud your opinion on relevancy of information.

Still feel stuck in the process? Hire a career coach to be your partner for your career change. Some things are just done faster and better when done with a careers expert who can challenge you, brainstorm with you, offer you resources, and celebrate your successes with you.

On this April Fool's day, what will be your choice? Continue to keep doing nothing (which you know is getting you nowhere) or step onto the playing field by becoming proactive in your career? Stop being fooled by employers' empty promises and uncertain futures – your career belongs to you. Make it what you want it to be!

Wishing you career success in 2010!

Meg

SPECIAL NOTE: I am honored to be a member of the Career Collective, a group of career experts who will each month share their advice and tips to enhance the management of your career. Please link to their blog posts below. Your comments are invited and much appreciated. Follow our hashtag, #careercollective, on Twitter, as well as follow everyone's individual tweets that are based this month on an April Fool's Day theme.

Career-Collective-original-small 10 Ways to Tell if Your Job Search is a Joke, @careerealism

April Fool’s Day – Who’s Fooling Who? @MartinBuckland @EliteResumes

If It’s Not You and It’s Not True, You’re Fooling Yourself, @GayleHoward

Don’t Kid Yourself! (The Person You See in the Mirror is a Good Hire),
@chandlee

Avoiding Most Common Blunders, @jobhuntorg

 
 
 
 
 
 

Stop Fooling Yourself about your Job Hunt: Things you may be doing to sabotage yourself, @erinkennedycprw

Same as it ever was, @walterakana

Don’t be fooled. Avoid these, @kat_hansen

Job Seekers: You Are Fooling Yourself If... @barbarasafani

It's not all about you, @DawnBugni

Career Change Requires Losing the Fear

Career change isn't easy.

  • First, you must want it very much.
  • Second, you must make it your top priority.
  • Third, you must be willing to take a risk or two to make it happen.

The perception today is that workers have "dramatically lowered their career and retirement aspirations." (Workers Perceive Little Opportunity, Wall Street Journal, 3/16/2010)

Whoa – not so fast! As a career coach, I encounter people every day who want to change careers, hope to change careers, and actually do change careers. But there are some who let fear paralyze them from actually changing careers. People haven't "given up looking for higher pay or better positions" (despite what a recent Towers Waters HR survey claims per WSJ), but they are acting cautiously and discreetly – the same as employed workers have always behaved.

"Employees are overwhelmed and under appreciated" is my quote in today's WSJ article. And, yes, I do believe workers are tolerating "more work discomfort." But why is that? Is it in "gratitude for even having a job" or is it perhaps because they're afraid of being terminated if their true feelings were to be exposed?

I would be out of business if people weren't exploring career changes, as would other career coaches who specialize in helping people find new career paths. Instead, just this year I have helped a financial expert discover his passion for counseling college students, a field sales professional choose his retirement career in lawn and garden retail, and many more. These individuals didn't let recession fears, workplace fears, or even identity fears stop them from discovering how to work their passion. They chose hope over fear. They chose self-reliance.

While fear can become crippling, hope is more powerful. As long as people have hope, they will be able to overcome whatever obstacles are thrown into their career paths.

Wishing you career success in 2010!

Meg

Your Career Management Plan: Born from Your Obituary

A tweet on Twitter this morning caught my eye. In relation to today's holiday – Martin Luther King's birthday – the question was asked, "What will be your legacy?" It seems that most of us today are so caught up in day-to-day living – or even surviving - that we haven't pondered that question much. It's amazing, though, that if you do start to think about it, ideas regarding career management begin to surface. One hundred years from now, what do YOU want to be remembered for?

Curiously, this same issue was brought up on a movie I watched on television over the weekend – remember "Cocktail" with Tom Cruise? Tom – or rather his character, 20-something Brian Flannigan – was seeking ways to earn his life's fortune. He sat down with pen and paper and began writing his own obituary. When he did that, ideas flowed.

So, my career coaching assignment for career changers this week is this: write your own obituary. You can do it; just give it a try. Imagine the story your grandchildren will tell about how you made your mark on the world. What will they talk about? What do you want them to talk about? Consider all ideas, no matter how crazy they may sound. From all ideas, bits and pieces can be pulled together to gel into one cohesive plan.

Wishing you much career success in 2010!

Meg

Job Dissatisfaction Running Rampant: Are You Running With It?

How unhappy we are at work these days! Job satisfaction is at an all-time low, yet most workers are afraid to even contemplate making a career change. Fear rules most career decisions.

For the past couple of days I've been blogging about career change – how people want it, but many are afraid to take the leap, especially in today's uncertain economy. Everyone needs a paycheck, and most are willing to do anything to keep one coming in. Yesterday the Herman Group published their weekly alert quoting a respected source about employee job dissatisfaction:

"The Conference Board research group recently reported job satisfaction has fallen to a record low of 45 percent, the lowest level ever recorded in 22 years of surveys! Extrapolating from that number, more than half (55 percent) of US workers state that they are "dissatisfied" with their jobs. It is also logical that the most dissatisfied group is workers under the age of 25—64 percent of whom said they are unhappy in their jobs." (Read the full report from the Herman Group – Herman Trend Alert, 1-13-10)

It's so much easier for people to identify what they don't like, than to bravely venture out into the unknown to identify what they do like. Fear is a powerful emotion that will cripple your creativity – creativity that's essential for new career directions to be discovered, let alone be acted upon.

Don't get stuck in one place like the proverbial deer in the headlights. Take the first step to evaluate what your values, skills, and interests are that you'd like to transfer to a new career direction. You don't have to hurry the process, but do go beyond the fear to find your next career path to job satisfaction. You deserve to be happy! And believe it or not, that option does exist – even today.

Managing Career Change: Shift Your Attitude!

Whether you've been laid off or just burned out with your job, it's important to understand that the biggest factor affecting most worker attitudes today is a rapidly changing work environment. Change is occurring at warp speed all around us, and human nature tends to resist change. Why?

  • Change can mean that you need more education to qualify for a new position, one that didn't even exist when you earned your college degree and thought you were done with studying. (Does that anger you or entice you?)
  • Change can mean having to motivate yourself to meet new people and network to make connections to help lead you to your next position. (But what if you're shy or don't know the social rules of networking?)
  • Change can mean asking for more responsibility at work – cross training – so that you can provide more value to your employer. (What if you feel you already work enough hours and are unappreciated?)
  • Change can mean letting go of outdated ideas and embracing new methods, techniques, and ways of doing business. (But isn't it more comfortable sticking with what you already know – no matter how bad for you - than taking a risk by going into the unknown?)

Change means accepting personal responsibility for your own career management by proactively designing and following a plan to achieve your goals. (Just because you want to change employers, it doesn't mean you are willing to change your attitude – does it?)

Change can be fun, exciting, and full of promise and hope. Or it can be frightening, depressing, and just not fair. It's all up to you – which perception of change do you choose to influence your attitude? Are you letting your attitude block your opportunity to work your passion because you're not willing to change?

Most changes are not easy, but many, especially career change, can be very rewarding. Change will happen whether you want it to or not. Don't fight it. Adopt a flexible attitude toward change, become friends with it, and you will discover how to have less stress in your life and more opportunity for career growth.

Wishing you career success in 2010!

Meg

Career Change for You in 2010?

OK, admit it – haven't you been wondering what it would be like to work somewhere else? Aren't you tired of the long hours, reduced benefits, and while we're at it, when was the last time you got a raise?

According to recent surveys, about 50% of all currently employed U.S. workers are ready to find that elusive "better job." Before quitting what you have (especially if you have some degree of comfort there), take the time to evaluate your options. Know what's most important about the next job you go to. Is it the Money, the Work, the People? What really matters most? Perhaps you just want some work/life balance. Or a little fun – what a concept!

Whatever your reason, get the help you need to make a successful career change. On this blog you'll see the link to go grab my f*ree assessment, "The Top 17 Signs You're Due for a Career Change and What to Do About It." Sign up for this, take it and see what you learn. You may be ready to take the leap and didn't even know it!

Wishing you career success in 2010!

Meg