Monthly Archive for April, 2008

Career Advice From Bill Gates

Career Advice

We are entering the season when people of all shapes and sizes take to podiums to deliver career advice to graduating seniors. Sorry to say, many of them (the orations and the orators) will be large bags of hot air.

Now and then one of them hits the nail on the head. Such is the case with a speech attributed to Bill Gates of Microsoft fame.

Here are nine job tips from Mr. Gates’ speech. You can help someone entering the world of work by passing along this message. And, by the way, there’s a lot of common sense career advice that applies no matter your place on the career path.

1. Life is not fair…get use to it.

2. The world won’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something before you feel good about yourself. (He goes on to say that vice president titles and company cars with cell phone have to be earned.)

3. If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

4. Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

5. If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

6. Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades…they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

7. Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get the summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

8. Television is not real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

9. Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

I invite you to visit my website for more career-related advice: (Click Here.)

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Are You Concerned About The Future Of Your Job?

Career Advice

There’s no escaping the troubling news about the economy. But there’s a bright spot in the daily media barrage about job losses and employers in trouble. That is two-thirds of the respondents to a survey by PARADE magazine say they are not concerned/very concerned about the future of their jobs. One-fourth admit to being “somewhat concerned”, nine percent are “very concerned”.

It’s good to see these results, because confidence goes a long way toward achieving career success, particularly in times of economic unease.

Are you concerned about the future of your job?

The same survey showed some interesting results when respondents described their dream job.

37 percent said “makes a difference in people’s lives.
31 percent declared “pays, really, really well”.
25 percent said “fun:.
1 percent chose “glamorous”.

How would you describe your dream job?

I invite you to visit my website for more free career advice. (Click Here.)

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: What Does Your Boss Owe You?

Career Tip: You can’t reach your full career potential if your employer doesn’t provide you with a working environment where it is possible to succeed.

This means you are due seven conditions for career success.

1. You are due a detailed definition of your responsibilities and authorities.

2. Your employer owes you a compensation system where the connection between efforts, results and rewards is transparent for all to see. This compensation system should include regular reviews of your performance with advice as to corrections that need to be made.

3. You should be encouraged to take reasonable risks with the assurance that you will be rewarded if you are right and not punished if after making your best effort you turn out to be wrong.

4. You should expect the resources you need to get your assignments done in a manner that produces benefits.

5. You should expect to be provided you with the training that is required to grow and take on more responsibilities.

6. Your employer should stay competitive in products, production and marketing capabilities. You should be provided with regular assessments of the health of your employer’s business.

8. You have a right to expect that your employer will act as a good corporate citizen.

All of this means you should expect to be encouraged to grow as fast as you can to take on all the responsibilities you can handle, broadening your capabilities and your experience every step of the way.

Over time, the absence of opportunity, the lack of resources and the failure to reward good work will kill the fire in even the most ambitious of us and will destroy the organizations that employ us.

All of this may seem to be obvious common sense. Indeed, it is. But look around and see how frequently it is ignored.

If your employer is not meeting your expectations you should search for other, more rewarding environments in which to build your career.

If you are interested in more such career advice, I invite you to visit my website: www.commonsenseatwork.com> No charge, no obligation.

How does this career advice square with your experience? I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

12 STEPS TO SURVIVE THE DREADED AXE

There’s no denying it. These are dangerous times in the job market. The U.S. economy lost 80,000 jobs in March, the third consecutive monthly decline. The impact ripples around the world.

The truth is anyone can get the axe at any time. It happens to good people and bad ones…hard workers as well as slackers along the career path.

Therefore, it makes common sense to know what to do to survive and prosper should you ever get the dreaded axe.

1. Keep in mind that in the current environment the idea of womb to tomb job security is as dead as a hammer. Be loyal to your present employer, but never develop a romance with the organization. Look out for yourself first.

2. Be alert and well informed at all times about the outlook for your employer and your job. If you know things are going down the drain, begin a below-the-radar search for other opportunities. If the pink slip comes, you’ll have a head start on finding another job.

3. Stay prepared financially. Always try to have enough cash in reserve to cover at least three months living expenses.

4. Keep your skills up to date with the needs of the job market. Capitalize on opportunities for additional training. Read the literature of your field.

5. Maintain an up-to-date record of your accomplishments so you can produce a resume in 24 hours.

6. Nurture contacts with people in your line of work and with those likely to employ your type of qualifications. Be visible through outside activities and positive publicity.

7. Help others who lose their jobs. Also, be of assistance to those who are looking to recruit employees. They may help you some day.

8. If you get fired, allow some time for grieving, but not too much. Don’t just sit there feeling sorry for yourself. It’s natural to be angry with your employer, but don’t let your feelings show. You still need him. Negotiate the best possible severance package possible for continuing pay and benefits, particularly insurance coverage. Don’t forget good references, too.

9. Start immediately to search for another, better job. Use this time to reassess the goals you have set for the rest of your life. Define the job that will enable you to achieve these objectives.

10. Prepare a plan to market yourself. Let it be known you are available; “advertise” what you have to offer. Involve your network of friends and family in the job search.

11. Be patient. Recognize it will take time to find another acceptable position.

12. Don’t panic. If you possibly can afford to wait, don’t jump on the first opportunity that comes down the pike, unless, of course, it really matches up with your objectives.

Keep in mind: A high percentage of people end up with better jobs than the ones from which they were fired.

I wish you great career success!

If you would like to receive more common sense career advice via my free semi-monthly newsletter, The Career Accelerator, click here> No charge, no obligation

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Resource: Good to Great

I recommend the following book for your career-oriented reading pleasure. I read Good To Great by Jim Collins, a long time ago, but I still think back to some of the basic learnings from this book from time to time. If you haven’t read this book yet, I recommend you do.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t