Monthly Archive for January, 2010

Career Advice: So You Are Fed Up With Your Job

You are fed up with your job.  You want to make a change with your job or your career The Johnny Paycheck ballad, “Take This Job and shove it”, comes to mind.

You are not alone. The numbers vary, but at any given time, surveys show that as many as one-half of working Americans are unhappy with their jobs and/or their careers.

But before you jump ship, particularly in troubled times, be certain you have good, sound reasons for wanting to make a change.  Are you just bored; are you burned out; or are you running away from personal problems that will tag along wherever you go on your career path.

Don’t be enticed by the idea that the grass will necessarily be greener in another pasture.

It is true, as the early American writer Washington Irving wrote:  “There is a certain relief in change, even though it be from bad to worse; as I have found in traveling in a stagecoach, it is often a comfort to shift one’s position and be bruised in a new place. However, there is always a price to be paid for change.”

A Bird In Hand

Except for the most extreme reasons, do not leave your present job until you have another one firmly secured. It is always easier to get a job when you have one.

It is not enough to know what you want to change from; you need to know what you want to change to.

Take the time to figure out what you really want to do.  What will it take to make you happy? Be sure you are not the source of the problem. If you are, changing jobs is not the answer; you have to change inside yourself.

Be specific in these definitions.  Don’t allow your self to be driven by a sense of vague malaise to make a change just for the sake of change.  If you can’t spell out in writing the valid reasons you want to move to a new job and be equally specific about what you want to do, don’t set the process in motion.

It Takes Courage To Change

Recognize that changing jobs and career path is a serious and difficult undertaking. Be sure that you have the courage to live with the dangers and uncertainties of making a change. There is always some risk to your present situation when you start shopping. What will your present employer think if the word gets around that you are “looking”? (I guarantee that he will not be happy, unless, of course, he wants you to leave.)  At best, the whole process is disruptive and can be traumatic for you.

As a 16th century British theologian observed, “Change is not made without inconvenience, even from worse to better.”

If, after giving the matter careful thought, you are convinced you would be better off in a new situation, mount a campaign and invest whatever time and energy are required to reach your objective. Go for it full steam.

Do not vacillate between courting new employers and sitting back in a coy mode, hoping to be courted. That’s a sure road to frustration and a loss in momentum.  You will find a new job if you have something to offer that the market wants.  However, it will take time.

And don’t worry about there being a stigma attached to changing jobs.  The President of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities told a group of college seniors that by the age of 40, they could expect that on average to have held eight different jobs.

In fact, some personnel recruiters argue that your resume will be stronger if it shows a few different jobs, so long as the reasons for changing are positive and if you are progressing in your career.

In any case, if you are constantly unhappy and frustrated because of your work, set out to make a change, either within yourself or in a new job.  Life is too short to do otherwise.

Don’t be surprised, however, if you come to a point where you decide that by comparison your present job and career looks quite attractive.  So you may decide to stay put, at least for the time being. You don’t want to burn bridges, so don’t slack off in applying your best efforts through the last day where you are while you are looking.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Career Coaching: Friends and Family Feel The Pain Of Layoffs

The news media rarely skip a day in reporting the grim economic news and calculating the number of jobs lost in the United States since the recession started in December, 2007.

But those reports do not take into full account the collateral damage caused among family, friends and co-workers of those who have lost their jobs.

Survivors of the axe have to deal with a variety of emotions: mourning over those who have been fired; worry about the increased work load to pick up the slack; anger and resentment at those who made the decision to fire people; and outright fear that they may be the next on the chopping block.

It is very difficult dealing with these deep feelings. But deal with them survivors must if they want to achieve career success.

Helpful Career Advice For Coping

Career coaches provide helpful advice on coping with the situation.

It is therapeutic to recognize nobody is happy with layoffs. The boss is dealing with some of the same issues that you and your colleagues are. Unless the boss is an outright sociopath he is not going to be happy firing people.

It is all right to discuss the situation with your associates. In fact, it can be helpful as long as the discussion remains constructive. But do not–repeat, do not–let the discussions drift into finger pointing and criticism. Such griping is counter productive and is likely to get back to the boss. You don’t want to be tagged as a malcontent in these shaky times.

Share your worries and fears with family and friends. Keeping these emotions bottled up inside you is destructive. Besides, it is not fair to those who are affected by your fortunes if you suffer in silence.

Burnish your reputation for working hard. Document your accomplishments and make sure your employer is aware of your good work

Take On Extra Duties

It’s not a good idea to say “no” if you are asked to take on extra duties to fill the void left by firings. Don’t complain if you are asked to come in early and stay late.  In fact, it’s a good idea to volunteer to for special assignments.

Chances are everyone’s workload is being increased. If you are assigned more work than you can handle, ask for a review with your boss; not to complain, but to see if you can

prioritize your duties. Find out if it is possible to drop or reassign some of your tasks that may not be of great urgency. Suggest ways to improve your performance and that of your department, particularly if those changes reduce costs.

Learn New Career Skills

Learn new skills that will increase your value to your employer and enhance your chances of landing another job if you are let go.

Naturally, you want to know if more lay offs are coming. But even the boss may not know, or if he does, he probably will not be allowed to spread the news.

Still you can be alert to the information that is available about what’s happening with your own job, your department and your industry.

Be prepared to move on if you get the dreaded pink slip. Keep your resume up to date. Renew your network of contacts and references.

Accept the fact that beyond a certain point the future of your job will be powerfully impacted by forces beyond your control. Try not to obsess about it. Hang tough. These trying times will pass, and a new world of opportunity will emerge.

I wish you career success in 2010

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Career Advice Yours For The Asking

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 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 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

Positive Resolutions Lead To Positive Changes

Have you made resolutions to accelerate your career in 2010? Experts say that making resolutions improve by a factor of 10 your odds of achieving positive changes.

If you haven’t resolved to make specific changes in your life in the world of work and in your personal life during the new year you can expect to get the same results you experiencedIn 2009. As yourself: Will that be good enough to get you where you want to go?

Some people rely on such factors as hopes, wishes, or desires, but they are more apt to fail to achieve success than those who set out in writing specific plans and have a plan of action to advance their careers.

Despite this reality, fewer than half of those who make resolutions keep them for at least six months. Only about 19% stay true to their vows for two years.

People who think about making specific changes, but don’t get around to actually codifying resolutions fail at a higher rate than others who make specific action plans to change their daily behavior, according to John Norcross, a psychology professor at the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Six Tips To Carry Out Your Resolutions

Here are six tips that will help you to carry out your resolutions for 2010:

1. Think of your resolutions as a contract with yourself. Put the deal in writing.

2. Break down your resolutions into small, bite-size steps. Have a plan for specific actions to advance toward each goal. Rome was not conquered in a day.

3. Tell your friends about your resolutions. This will result in self-imposed pressure to not stop short of reaching your goals. After all, you don’t want to be seen as failing. And, by the way, ask them for help.

4. Think back to what you did with your resolutions in past year. If you fell short, make sure you break the habits that were at fault.

5. Expect setbacks; they are inevitable. Take a deep breath. Get back on that horse that threw you off as quickly as possible.

6. Hold yourself accountable. Review your resolution on a regular basis against established measurements. Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good. Be ready to change or add to you resolutions if you see an opportunity improve them.

“Getting ‘psyched up’ is helpful for creating motivation before January 1; but after the New Year comes, it’s perspiration time,” declares Dr. Norcross.

Remember this admonition from a wiseman whom I cited in the last issue of The Career Accelerator:

“Good resolutions are a pleasant crop to sow. The seeds spring up readily, and the blossoms open so soon with such a brave show. But when the time for flowers has passed, what as to the fruit?”

I wish you great career success in 2010!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

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