Monthly Archive for August, 2009

FREE CAREER ADVICE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE

The path to career success is going through a rough patch in a troubled economy environment. The need for common sense career coaching has not been greater in recent memory.

Turbulent times not withstanding, I can help you to translate your ambitions into the rewards you deserve: promotions, money and personal satisfaction. No charge, no obligation.

What’s my payoff? I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a successful and rewarding career. Now, I want to share what I have learned with you and others who are working diligently to achieve career success. My reward will be in knowing that I have helped you to succeed to the best of your abilities.

The career advice I provide is based on my experience in major corporations, including American Express. My qualifications also include experience as an entrepreneur, professional director, consultant on career and business strategies and author.

I deliver my career coaching via my free semi-monthly newsletter, The Career Accelerator (c); my blog, and one-on-one career counseling.

You can subscribe to The Career Accelerator by going to the sign-up form to the right. As a bonus, I will also send you a copy of my e-book, HOW TO GET A RAISE.

You’ve already found Your Blog For Career Advice (c). Here’s your opportunity to comment on my newsletter, post your opinions on career-related issues and engage others in discussions. Plus, you can get one-on-one career advice.

You’ll find recommendations for books, articles and other newsletters that will help you accelerate your career.

You’ll also be able to access the archives of The Career Accelerator going back to January, 2004.

For more information please visit my website: www.commonsenseatwork.com>

E-mail me at mailto:ramon@commonsenseatwork.com with your suggestions for adding other resources.

You have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose except the roadblocks on your path to career success by subscribing to The Career Accelerator and participating in Your Blog For Career Advice.

I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: How To Make Gossip Work For You

That headline deserves an explanation, or else you’ll think I’ve taken leave of my senses…or least that I am an off-the-wall contrarian.

Okay, gossipers wouldn’t exist along the career path, but we all know the world has its imperfections a plenty. Gossip and gossipers are here to stay. Deal with it if you want to achieve career success.

A survey by a research firm known as ISR showed that 63% of U. S. employees get all or most of their information about their companies from “water-cooler talk”.

The fact is that every place of employment functions with two channels of communications. One is the official channel. The second is known by various names: gossip, rumors and grapevine.

The official channel is where your employer’s version of the goals and procedures of the organization, the rules of the road, if you will, are laid out. The gossip mill is where you hear what your peers think of these plans, along with their assessment of them and those who sent them forth. The rumor mill provides more information, ranging from malicious and personal attacks, to harmless chatter about who is flirting with whom, and what’s on sale at the local mall.

Career Tip: Separate The Wheat From The Chaff

I don’t mean to be cynical, but the conclusion is obvious. Gossip will exist whether you participate or not, and it will include some nourishing wheat along with a lot of worthless chaff. If you are not plugged into the back channel, as well as the official channel, you will be isolated. Therefore, you will not know what’s going on in the environment in which you work. If you don’t know the score, you cannot move ahead toward your career goals.

Here are six steps you can take to separate the outrageous chatter from the meaningful information so the gossip mill works in your favor:

1. Don’t waste your time jousting with windmills. Recognize you can’t eliminate gossip, even if it is trash; but also know that if you try to shut down the gossip mill you will be cut out of the information loop.

2. Tune out the chatter that deals in personalities, especially the malicious stories that do damage to people and the organization that employs you.

3. Feed positive news into the grapevine at every opportunity.

4. Be alert to gossip about the workplace. Verify it or rule it out.

5. Identify the most active purveyors of gossip. Rank them according to their reliability and interpret their messages for what they are.

6. Confront the originator and set the record straight if the gossip is about you and it is untrue.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Weird Complaints Against Co-Workers

Career Counseling:

Humans are mighty strange beings, I’d say. You don’t agree? Consider a report compiled by CareerBuilder.com and reported in The Chicago Tribune regarding some of the oddest complaints employees have about their associates, and you’re likely to change your mind.

• Employee is too sun-tanned.

• Employee has big hair.

• Employee is so polite, it’s infuriating.

• Employee is trying to poison me.

• Employee wants to check co-worker for ticks.

• Employee wore pajamas to work.

• A male employee keeps using the ladies room because the men’s room is not as tidy.

• Co-worker reminded employee too much of Bambi.

• Employee’s body is magnetic and keeps deactivating my magnetic access card.

• Employee smells like road ramps.

• Employee breathes too loudly.

• Employee is personally responsible for a federally mandated tax increase.

• Employee spends too much time caring for stray cats around the building.

Are you encountering these kinds of complaints along your career path?

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: More About The Myths Of Success

In a previous posting I let off some steam about the scams that rascals run around the idea that there are some myths that you can follow to achieve instant career success.

I said “baloney” and I say it again.

A myth that seems to be growing in popularity holds that everyone is entitled to the rewards of success. The world of work doesn’t work that way. Work for organizations that provide opportunities and recognize effort and results if you want to earn the rewards of career success.

There’s another myth that flies in the face of reality: The workplace is a democracy. Not so. Organizations cannot be successfully run by committees of equals where the majority rules. Organizations that survive and prosper operate with a chain of command at the top of which sits someone who is empowered to collect facts and opinions and make final decisions.

Successful organizations are meritocracies, systems in which winners emerge and are moved ahead on the basis of their achievements. You must prove your merits if you want solid gold career success,

(I know, I know, this may not appear to be true at any given moment, but over time the truth of this law takes hold.)

One of the cruelest myths of all is that organizations are warm and cozy places that provide security. If you believe that myth you are exposing yourself to disappointment. Security occurs only when you have prepared, planned and worked hard so you can have confidence in your ability. Security comes when your employer needs you more than you need him. Security comes when you have options.

A companion myth is that your boss is your friend. Your boss is your boss. You cannot rely on friendships for lasting, fulfilling success. The way to maintain a positive relationship with your boss and enhance your opportunities is to excel at your job, make him look good.

Don’t believe the myth that your accomplishments speak for themselves and that you will be rewarded accordingly. The recipe for success is simple: achieve results that pay off for your employer; make sure your employer knows what you have accomplished that contributes to his bottom line. Only then will you be rewarded for your true worth.

Lasting success comes to those who prepare themselves and are willing to work hard to take a career path to achiever career goals.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: I’m Fed Up With Myths of Success

I’m fed up with being bombarded daily on the Internet and via snail mail with get-rich-quick schemes about career success. How about you?

These schemes are based on myths that there are secrets, waiting to be discovered that will propel you along a successful career path with little or no effort. Does that pass the test of common sense? I think not.

Not long ago I received a mailing assuring me that I could “learn the secrets of how to radiate magnetic charm and command the balance of power in every situation through ‘the magic’ touch with everyone”. All I had to do, I was assured, was to listen to a few DVDs at night and put these powerful techniques and methods into action the very next day! All this for three easy payments of $50.00 each.

A few days letter I saw an Internet posting hawking a book titled How To Be An Expert Persuader…in 20 Days or less. The blurb went on to declare that tens of thousands of people have been helped in winning more friends, captivating the opposite sex, instantly get liked and trusted, enjoying unlimited wealth and persuading others to give them anything they wanted.

Baloney, I say!

There Are No Secrets For Career Success

Common sense tells me there are no secrets, no short cuts on the career path to success. The gold rings go to those who know what to do and how to get it done. Career rewards are not easy to garner. Anyone who promises otherwise is a liar. Career success depends on a positive attitude, focus and hard work.

Save your time, energy and money looking for the Eureka secrets of success. You won’t find them because they don’t exist.

When the rubber meets the road, career success goes to those who master the skills and knowledge that their jobs require; to those who employ these assets with common sense; and to those who work hard to gain the rewards they crave.

I’ll have more to say about the myths of success in a posting Monday.

In the meantime, I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: Don’t Kill Your Resume With Dumb Errors

Career Counseling

Don’t doom your resume and cover letter to the trashcan by sending them out with dumb mistakes such as misspelled words.

“If you make errors on your application materials, the assumption is you’ll make mistakes on the job,” says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps and author of ‘Job Hunting for Dummies, 2nd edition’.”

Three-fourths of the executives surveyed by Accountemps declared just one or two typos in a resume kills an application. Four out of ten declare that one typo means the axe.

Incomplete sentences or missing words can also kill your chances for getting even a cursory review of your resume, to say nothing of serious consideration.

There’s no excuse for such errors. You can avoid them by taking these steps:

1. Run your documents through the spell-check on your computer. (Keep in mind this is not fool-proof. Your computer is not going to know whether your mean there or their.)

2. Avoid cliches and catch phrases that may be popular for the moment.

3. Read your covering letter and resume aloud. Track word for word with a pencil. This is the time to check your punctuation.

4. Set your materials aside for at least 24 hours. Go back and repeat steps 1, 2 and 3.

5. Have a third party read your materials for context, as well as the type of errors we are considering here. Get their opinion as to whether your presentation makes a logical case for your application.

Of course, it is best that this third party be a professional career coach, but that may not be possible. Any review by another pair of eyes is better than no review at all.

As a final step, take an objective look at your materials. Are you using quality paper for the printed versions? (No colored stock.) Is the typeface a standard one? Are you sending your application to a real live person with a title? Are your contact points correct and readily available?

It’s difficult enough to get your covering letter and resume seriously considered without making dumb killer mistakes.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

You’ve Been Passed Over; Now What?

Common Sense Career Advice

You sincerely believe you are the best qualified among the candidates for the promotion to manager of your department. You believe you deserve it. Your friends agree.

But, wham! The rug has been pulled out from under you. The position you would have given an eyetooth for goes to someone else. Your ego is trampled. You are mad and disappointed. You want to march in, tell the boss where to go and leave the place.

But hold on. Consider some common sense career tips before you go off the deep end. You’ve still got your job and this is a good time to consider where you want to go with your career.
Force your chin up. Congratulate the winner right away. This will be painful, but it actually will help you regain your balance. Moreover, it will strengthen your position as a team player.

This is a dangerous time on your career path. Simmer awhile before you act. Brood and grieve a little in private if it makes you feel better. Reject bitterness; it’s poison. Look beyond your ego. Sure, your feelings have been bruised. No need to be ashamed of that.

But really has all of this been damaging to your long-term career goals?

Time To Be Objective

Your greatest need at this is to understand the “why” behind the situation.

Start with a discussion with your boss. Remember, you are there to gain information, not to argue your case. Don’t beat around the bush. Admit you are sorely disappointed. Assure your boss you are not bitter or resentful. Pledge 100 percent allegiance to the team. Admit, however, that you are concerned about what has happened and what it may mean for your career goals.

Focus on the critical questions about what happened and why. Has your past performance and your preparation for the next step been at least up to par? Are you as qualified or better than the competitors? What might you have done to improve your chances to win a promotion?

Did you miss some signals from your boss, telling you to improve you performance? Were there any bonafide indicators saying you were a candidate for promotion? Or have you been engaged in wishful thinking?

What qualification are you lacking? Will there be other chances to win promotions? What can you do to improve your qualifications for advancement?

You must listen as you have never listened before to both what is said as well as what is implied between the lines. Be aware that you will be strongly inclined to hear the best side of the story. And don’t forget, it is the most natural thing in the world for the boss to try to soften the message. Besides, if you have been doing an adequate job in your present slot he will want to keep you around. Or he simply may be testing you for a bigger assignment.

Now you are ready to get to the bottom-line. Review all of the facts. Do you agree with what you learned from your review with the boss? Have you been treated fairly? Were there legitimate reasons you were passed over?

Do you care enough to take the necessary action to win the next step forward on your career path? Do you have a reasonably secure future in the organization? Can you be happy where you are? What are the acceptable alternatives? Do you want to find a more rewarding situation elsewhere?

Being passed over may be a blessing, although if it is, it appears to be quite will disguised. You have an opportunity to gain a more realistic view of where you are, where you want to go and what you have to do to get there. Or you may conclude you are satisfied with your present position, so you can relax with more time to smell the roses.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work