Monthly Archive for January, 2009

Career Advice: How To Handle The Stress Of Success

Suppose you reach your career goals; your hopes and ambitions for success in your work have come true. Could you handle the stress of career success?

There’s a myth that achieving your career goals–whether defined as money, prestige, power or more leisure time–provides peace of mind and happiness, fame and fortune.

Truth is success is not an unalloyed panacea. Success almost always produces stress and pressure of one kind or another. For those who can’t cope with these conditions, success can lead to negative results.

Security Blankets Are Left Behind

There are many reasons for this contradiction. One underlying factor is that individuals who “make it” find that they have to leave behind some of the familiar and comfortable things–their security blankets–and adapt to new conditions. They encounter pressures and problems they never knew down the ladder.

For example, suppose your definition of success is being promoted to head of the department in which you work. Finally, you win the prize. Now, your life changes. You must begin “bossing” those men and women who have been your peers and your friends. Sooner or later you won’t see eye to eye with them. Now, the responsibility for results of your department weighs on your shoulders. Or you may have to lay off employees or demote some. You feel more isolated than ever before in your career.

But suppose you can handle the stress of all of this, and you make a success of the assignment. The company wants to promote you to even more responsibility; but the next step means leaving your hometown, moving across the country to another plant location, which surely would produce more stress and strain.

Can You Handle The Stress?

How will you resolve these conflicts in your life and the lives of those you love?

Will you abandon the goals you have set for your career path, and opt for what you imagine to be a less stressful life?

Before making such a crossroads decision about success in your life, stop and think it through.

What kind of pressure do you produce for yourself if you start coasting before you have reached the full potential of your life? Living with the idea of “what might have been” can be a heavy burden.

Obviously, the key is not trying to avoid stress altogether because that is not possible. The key is to learn how to deal with success.

Job Tips For Handling Career Success

Here are four career tips that will help you in dealing with the stress of job success.

1. Have a clear definition in mind of what success means for you and your family. What place does income play in your view of success? How important is where you live? How much authority do you want and need to be happy? What about personal time versus work time?

2. Realize that success is multi-dimensional. Satisfaction has to come from more than one source. Getting the promotion you covet won’t deliver success if the demands of the job are such that the rest of your life goes to pot.

3. Understand that events and demands do not produce stress in and of themselves. It is your perception of them that causes the pressure. It is a well known fact that the body kicks off stress responses when one thinks something is going to happen just as it does when that event actually occurs.

4. Realize that well-managed stress can be healthy. In fact, stress is necessary to keeping your internal engine tuned up and running at the speed needed to enjoy a successful life.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: 13 Steps To Help Secure Your Job

There may be forces at work beyond your control that put your job at risk, but there are at least 13 steps you can take to help secure your employment and advance you on your career path.

1. Come to work early and stay late.

2. Take on extra assignments with a can-do attitude. Volunteer to help others with their assignments.

3. Find ways to do more with less.

4. Park your personal problems off the job.

5. Meet deadlines. Stay on budget.

6. Don’t complain about your workload, especially to your boss.

7. Don’t criticize your boss, your employer or your associates.

8. Understand the condition of your employer’s business. Don’t pass along rumors.

9. Maintain your network of contacts on and off the job…just in case things go sour with your job.

10. Learn new skills that will improve your performance and prepare you for a promotion.

11. Maintain your sense of humor; cut out the practical jokes and horsing around that disrupt work.

12. Be sure your boss knows of your contribution and accomplishments.

13. Be sure your boss knows of your contribution and accomplishments. If your employer
doesn’t provide regular performance reviews, ask your boss to discuss your performance
and your career goals.

These 13 steps can help assure career success in good times and bad.

I wish you career success!
Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: Do You Know Where You Are Going?

“If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.”

Few people would disagree with this wisdom offered by Yogi Berra, legendary baseball player and every man’s philosopher.

Why, then, do most people fail to set goals and lay out a plan of action to achieve career success?

Four Reasons People Don’t Plan Their Careers

There are at least four reasons, none of which meet the test of common sense.

1. One is fear that they will be seen as failures in their own eyes and those of their peers if they make a plan and then fail to execute it. (The experience of successful people proves that it is better to set lofty goals and fall short than to not have goals.)

2. They don’t plan because they are convinced there are so many variables beyond their control that planning is meaningless exercise. (Sure, there are some variables in every situation; many of them can’t be controlled. But it is still better to have a plan, and work around the variables as best one can, than to float along hoping for the best that fate can deliver.)

3. They are paralyzed by inertia. Their hopes and dreams are just too big and overwhelming; they don’t know where to start to create a plan. (Those who have a plan visualize the career path to their goals as a series of small steps to be taken one by one. Getting started is half the struggle. They always feel better after they take the first step in any action plan.)

4. They are put off by the fear of being obligated, locked in to a course of action that they no longer want to follow. (The very essence of good planning is to allow for changes that have to be made along the way to take advantage of every opportunity.)

If You Have A Career Plan Review It Now

If you have made a plan for career success, take the time now to review it. Does your plan still seem to be doable with a reasonable stretch? If you haven’t already launched your plan what are you waiting for?

Don’t worry if you didn’t make a plan or if you are falling short on getting started. You are not alone. Most people spend more time planning their annual two-week vacations than they do their careers. It’s never too late.

Be smart, realize that every person who fails to plan broadens the field of opportunity for those who do.

To paraphrase the legendary merchant, J. C. Penny, “Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I will give you a successful manager. Give me a stock clerk without a plan and I will give you a stock clerk.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: You Can’t Get There If You Don’t Know Where You Are Going

I’ve never met a person who denied that planning is necessary to achieving career success.

To paraphrase the legendary merchant, J. C. Penny, “Give me a stock clerk with a goal and I will give you a successful manager. Give me a stock clerk without a plan and I will give you a stock clerk.”

Why, then, don’t more of us make plans and stick them?

There are four reasons, none of which meet the test of common sense.

1. One is fear that we will be seen as failures in our own eyes and those of whose peers if we make a plan and then fail to execute it. (The experience of successful people proves that it is better to set lofty goals and fall short than to not have goals.)

2. We don’t plan because we are convinced there are so many variables beyond our control that it is meaningless exercise. (Sure, there are some variables in every situation; many of them can’t be controlled. But it is still better to have a plan, and work around the variables as best we can, than to float along hoping for the best that fate can deliver.)

3. We are paralyzed by inertia. Our hopes and dreams are just too big and overwhelming; we don’t know where to start to create a plan. (Visualize the path to your goal as a series of small steps, taken one by one. Getting started is half the struggle. We always feel better after we take the first step in any action plan.)

4. We are put off by the prospect of being obligated, locked in to a course of action that we no longer want to follow. (The very essence of good planning is to allow for changes that have to be made along the way to take advantage of every opportunity.)

I wish you career success in ’09!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work