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Take a Risk with Your Career!
Taking a risk with your career may seem counter-intuitive amid our economic crisis, but according to this article I found on Yahoo! HotJobs, I think it could be a fantastic idea!
"4 Career Risks Worth Trying
" by Denene Brox features four "calculated" risks that could mean a brighter future for your career."RISK: Going Back to School"
I know this can be a huge investment in time and money, but with all of the online programs now available to us - where we can pay less for a quality education, and come and go as we please from the comfort of home or even the office - it can be an excellent stepping stone to success. As the article states: "...determine if going back to school helps you achieve this goal [a raise or changing career paths] by talking to your boss and mentors." In my business, I've always encouraged my employees to never stop the learning process, and like my company, many organizations will even foot the bill (or at least part of it) if it will add to your value and the value you bring to work."RISK: Changing Careers"
I've said this time and time again: do what you love! And the article agrees: "With increased company layoffs, no one is immune to losing a job. Finding work that you love should be a priority in your career." This decision is a biggie, so make sure you carefully examine the pros and cons of a career move, and dig down deep to figure out what you really want to do. Is it something you're GOOD AT as well as enjoy? Consider this carefully because as many of us know, just because we love doing something, that doesn't necessarily mean we're skilled at it (see: "American Idol" contestants during the try-out weeks!)"RISK: Saying 'No' to Added Responsibility"
At first you might think, "Are you crazy?! Saying 'no' at work?! That's the surest way to a pink slip!" In some cases, you may be right, but the article makes a great point: "If your boss is saddling you with more responsibility with a project or promotion, be sure you understand exactly what that will mean for your success. Not all promotions are created equal, and you can quickly become the office doormat if you constantly take on projects that may not have high enough visibility to move your career forward." I'd like to add a note to this and say, if you do turn down a project, make sure it's for the RIGHT reasons. Too many of us turn down opportunities to advance our careers because of fear - fear of failure, fear of putting our ideas out there, etc. - and that's definitely NOT the right reason. When offered more responsibility, think about it carefully and honestly before accepting or refusing."RISK: Starting a Business"
As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand the trials and tribulations (and satisfaction and rewards) of starting a business. It takes total commitment, a willingness to sacrifice, and a LOT of hard work. If you're not ready to say "yes" to all of that - and more - starting a business probably isn't right for you. But if you're ready to dive into the world of entrepreneurship, my best advice is the same as the article's: "Do your research (including health care options), save money, and build contacts in your industry while you're still working in your current job."
Check out the full text of the article here
, and thanks to Denene Brox and Yahoo! HotJobs for posting such helpful advice. I recommend that you carefully digest this food for thought if you're stuck in a rut at your current job, if you're ready to take on a new challenge, or if you're wondering where to go next in your career.
Labels: career opportunities, career risks, career-advancement, economic crisis, education, entrepreneurs, job satisfaction, networking, personal growth, small business, strategy, workplace-survival
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Job Satisfaction: Where Can I Find It?
With the economy still in its current slump, ask someone to define "job satisfaction" and I guarantee you that most of them will say: "Having a job. Period."
There is definitely some truth to that, I admit. But I am still a firm believer in doing what you love for a living and finding happiness and satisfaction in your job - no matter what the stock market says. After all, we spend most of our waking lives at work...don't we deserve to enjoy it just a little?
So if you're currently in a job that makes you happy (at least for a good portion of the time), then I congratulate you. Stick with it and thrive!
But if you're waking up every day wishing you could call in sick and then grudgingly trudging off to work, maybe it's time to start taking a peek into the job market.
Now, I'm in no way advocating that you should chuck your current job and set off into the world, searching for your next career. That would be madness during ANY economic time, but especially this one. Rather, I'm suggesting that while you continue to work at your current job, start thinking about what kind of work would satisfy you.What kind of experience do you have?
(And can you translate that experience into another field or industry? You'd be surprised to find out how universal some of your experience can be.)What kind of skills do you have? What are you truly great at, and do you love doing it?
(This is so important! You might be great at, say, accounting practices, but you might not really like crunching numbers all day. On the flipside, you might love being a salesperson, but fail to close a lot of deals. Both of these situations need to be taken into account so you can make the best decisions for yourself and your checkbook.)What do you like about your current job?
(Be thorough in your evaluation and get to the root of what you like. On the surface, it may seem that you like answering phones, but really, it's the contact with the clients that you like.)What don't you like about your current job?
(Again, dig deep to the root of the matter. You might think you hate dealing with expense reports, but really, it's the fact that you have to hunt them down from your co-workers that drives you crazy.)If you could be anything you wanted, what would it be?
(I know this seems like a "kid's" question, but I love it. It's been the starting point of many a successful career!)
Remember: don't just answer these questions from a "work" standpoint. Answer them from your personal life as well. How can you parlay your fascination or skill with a hobby into a great career (and subsequent satisfaction)?
I came across an article that can get you started on where to find job satisfaction:Where Do America's Happiest People Work?
by Kristina Cowan, PayScale.com
In this article, Ms. Cowan cites a study by the University of Chicago called "Job Satisfaction in the United States." She writes: "The study says the occupations where people report being happy overall, not just in terms of job satisfaction, involve helping others, technical and scientific expertise, or creativity."
That's some food for thought to keep in the back of your mind when you begin to evaluate new career opportunities!
Ms. Cowan goes on to list the top occupations (as found by the study), and they include:
3. Transportation, ticket, and reservation agents such as travel agents
5. Special education teachers
6. Actors and directors
7. Science technicians
8. Miscellaneous mechanical and repairing occupations
9. Industrial engineers
10. Airline pilots and navigators"
Go ahead and read the article here
. It might be just the catalyst you need to find your own source of job satisfaction!
Labels: career opportunities, career-advancement, economic crisis, job hunt, job satisfaction, personal growth, strategy
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New Business Speak: "Manage Up"
As I was perusing The Wall Street Journal
website, I came across an interesting article that introduced me to a new "business speak" term: "manage up."
Elizabeth Garone writes in her article "What It Means to 'Manage Up'"
that "when someone tells you that you need to 'manage up,' what he or she is really saying is that you need to stretch yourself. You need to go above and beyond the tasks assigned to you so that you can enhance your manager's work, says Rosanne Badowski, co-author of 'Managing Up: How to Forge an Effective Relationship With Those Above You.'"
Amen. As I've told countless clients again and again: if you want to succeed and advance your career, you've got to put yourself in the spotlight and prove your value by driving your career
, choosing high exposure projects
, and communicating with your boss
, as Ms. Garone points out in the article.
Communication above all else is the key. Do you know your boss's communication style? If not, find out!
You may be more comfortable talking about the big picture, but he or she may prefer bullet points of facts and figures...and if you can't present your ideas in that manner, it's likely that they're falling on deaf ears.The article
goes on to list other ways to "manage up" - there's a lot of great info so I suggest you give it a read-through
. I want you to ride out our economy's current crisis on a wave of success!
Labels: books, career opportunities, career-advancement, communication style, economic crisis, strategy, workplace-survival
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Retirement Woes and Common Mistakes
I'm coming at you all the way from California today! I've been here since last Monday meeting with clients, catching up with colleagues like Dr. Helen
(in Santa Rosa), and presenting at this year's Women and Technology Summit,
hosted by WITI (Women in Technology International) at the Hyatt Regency in Santa Clara. I'm joining another colleague of mine, Ardice Farrow
- founder and publisher of Wake Up Women
- in two sessions at this conference: "Storytelling - A Powerful Leadership Tool" and "Developing the Natural Leader in YOU!" It's been so exciting and fascinating...I'll be sure to post about it when I return home to Connecticut.
In the meantime, I was doing my usual survey of today's news and was disheartened to see this headline in the Yahoo! Business
section:"Retirement Accounts Have Lost $2 Trillion"
"Ouch" doesn't even BEGIN to cover it.
By the time we reach retirement age or the point in our lives when we're ready to leave our professional careers and focus on doing all the things we never had time for, we rely on our retirement funds to finance us. We've worked hard, darn it, and we deserve to be able to enjoy the fruits of our labor, to travel, to relax, to buy a boat...to follow our dreams! But so many people contemplating retirement today aren't going to be able to do that because they simply don't have the funds to leave the workforce.
While there's very little we can do to control economical circumstances, there are mistakes that we can avoid making, to help ensure that our nest egg is healthy and ready to be cracked open when we retire.
I found this fantastic article on AllBusiness.com: "Top 10 Retirement Planning Mistakes"
Here are the highlights of the list:Top 10 Retirement Planning Mistakes
1. "Not taking advantage of time."
2. "Not investing regularly."
3. "Not taking full advantage of tax-free retirement accounts."
4. "Poor asset allocation."
5. "Not creating a post-retirement plan."
6. "Forgetting about your 401(k)."
7. "Cashing out or borrowing heavily against your 401(k)."
8. "Failing to consider tax and inflation."
9. "Relying too heavily on Social Security."
10. "Relying too heavily on your company's stock."
I would strongly recommend that you go to the article directly
and read through it carefully as well as do your own research on the dos and don'ts of planning for retirement. Your ability to retire might just depend on it!
Labels: economic crisis, education, finance, news, public speaking, retirement, strategy
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Personal Finance - Important Now More Than Ever...
The economy, the economy, the economy...
Aside from the Presidential race, it's the hottest topic in the country right now, and with all of its uncertainty and instability, it's also become a source of fear for our society.
I came across this fantastic article from CNNMoney.com:"10 Solutions to a Personal Credit Crisis"
It has some sound advice for those of us who've reached for our credit cards one time too many. This info is especially crucial advice for entrepreneurs who may have relied on their personal credit to start and grow their businesses during those first few shaky years.
Here are the tip highlights of the article, written by Jessica Dickler, CNNMoney.com staff writer:
"1. Look at the big picture."
"2. Pay important bills first."
"3. Call your creditors."
"4. Transfer balances."
"5. Quit the cards."
"6. Prioritize paying down debt."
"7. Bulk up your payments."
"8. Check your credit report for mistakes."
"9. Get help."
"10. Start saving."
Read the full article here
Here's hoping you can ride out this economic crisis and emerge with your finances in tact and thriving.
Labels: economic crisis, entrepreneurs, finance, small business, strategy