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Tired of Change at Work

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Dear Camille,
I am so sick of having to move from company to company. Every time I get settled in, there is a new manager, a new owner or another layoff.  What can I do about this?
-Tired of being Resilient in Oceanside

Dear Tired,
Whoa, I too am becoming weary just thinking of all those changes you are going through.  Wouldn't it be great to have the proverbial magic want and just wave it wildly to create your perfect situation?

Well, it ain't gonna happen.  I am here to tell you that change is here to stay and companies just don't offer us the security they did back in the time of  that 50's/60's TV show Leave it to Beaver. 

Your answer?  Get rolling on a plan and no matter what happens, look for the WIIFM (what's in it for me?) every time you are faced with another change.  Take my word for it...it beats being passive plus you end up in a much better place in the long marathon called the world of work.

 

 

Oh Snap!...finally graduated from college and have no idea where/how to get a job.  Pretty lame, but the media says it is a dismal job market out there- the worst job market for new grads in the last 50 years or something like that.  I just don't know what companies want, so I don't know how to sell myself.  Any advice for a B.S., Engineering degree?

Eager Cal State Poly Grad

 

 

 Dear Eager,

Step one...look beyond the media.  Or remind yourself that 90% of people ARE employed. Your generation...Generation Y... is the first truly global generation.  You guys make up a third of the world's population.  Since  you are connected by advancing technology, new grads around the world have a similar sense of what the future holds.The trick is to take a look at what companies need and want.

 

Here are inside tips on what today's employers look for. This list comes directly from the mouths of hiring managers, so listen up! Communication skills are noted as the top recruiting consideration.  Next on the list is interpersonal skills - teamwork is the norm, so you have to be able to relate and interact with company representatives and clients.

 

Flexibility will make you much more attractive to any employer. Are you willing to work nontraditional hours, move from one role to another, relocate, travel? The less rigidity you show, the more you will shine. Next come character and integrity. An employer wants a sense that you are honest, have a strong value system and can be trusted. You know what needs to be done and you do it right, on time, and without reminders or supervision.

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Be prepared to communicate examples of your skills and the ways you can contribute to an organization. Remember--you are selling your ability to help them reach their goals. This strategy will lead you to your perfect position. Once you land it, remember that the one thing that separates successful people from those who are not is their willingness to work very, very hard!

 

Finding a Fun Job...

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Dear Camille

I recently finished college and am so confused.  I keep getting offers to work these bogus sounding jobs on a commission basis, etc. but can't decide what I want to do.  That's not what I slaved away in school for.  Nothing seems fun...what would you do?

- Confused UCSD Grad

 

Dear Confused,

I can still remember wanting so badly to finally finish that second semester of my senior year in college.  I was ready to blow that place and get out in the the real world.  Yep...this is one of those situations where you have to be careful what you wish for.  I realized really quickly that the fun part was being in school...and while I loved the work I found after graduation, the responsibility part wasn't all it was cracked up to be. 

 

The best thing to do is start trying different types of work and make a list of your "likes" and "dislikes" in each position.   You will start seeing patterns and by eliminating what you DON'T want to do, what you DO want to do will finally emerge. Whew...are you with me? 

 

Did you know that Adecco and Manpower staffing agencies are some of the largest employers in the world?  Yep...there are other people...and not all grads...like you trying to figure out what kind of work they want to do.  Try temping and start eliminating!

 

Many temporary jobs turn in to full time positions...and not necessarily in that same role.  You get to see what the company is REALLY like from the inside.  Oh yeah, and while you are there, build a reputation for having a positive attitude and being willing to do any kind of job.  I promise you it will pay off.

 

 

 

   

1.      Getting laid off from a job you like due to no fault of your own.  Really - it's a 21st century rite of passage.

 

2.      Getting stopped for a (minor, very minor) traffic violation and attending traffic school - you'll be much more aware of bending the rules when you have "points" on your DMV record.

 

3.      Vote - it doesn't matter who you vote for as long as you know WHY you are voting for them.

 

4.      Take care of a pet - even if it is just a friend's pet - for at least a week.  You'll get to experience the unconditional love of a living thing and won't have to obligate yourself to the long term commitment if it turns out you hate it.

 

5.      Go on a trip to a country where you do not speak the language and don't hang out with the other Americans.

 

6.      Work in a customer service/wait staff /retail job - you'll never be rude to those service industry employees again.

 

7.      Baby-sit kids for a whole weekend - again...they don't have to be YOURS, just see what it "feels like" to have another human being depending on you...

 

8.      Volunteer for an entire day - pick any cause and go with the intent of paying it forward - when it's not all about you it feels great afterward - don't just take my word for it.

 

9.      Assemble furniture from Ikea or any other big box company - it can try the patience of even the most Zen-like person - and teaches you to at least read directions in life when they are available - following them is another subject.

 

10.  Get dumped by someone you are crazy about - ask for pain?  Yeah, pretty much.  It teaches you a lot about being a better friend, not taking others for granted and that the heart is a very resilient body part.

 

Wondering how to separate  yourself from the pack and build a reptation for excellence?  Read on...

 

1. Update your attitude toward long-term jobs.

The average position in the U.S. lasts from 2-5 years with the current norm being about 2.5 years. Accept that finding new work will be the one job you'll have for life, so get good at it! Keep an ear to the ground so you'll always know what's going on in the industry, with the competition and associated industries - instead of just inside your cubicle.

 

2. Put together a plan.

The law of averages shows a layoff will happen to all of us, so getting ready in advance will make it much easier to recover when it occurs. Know what yourPlus, you'll have a leg-up on the competition.

 

3. Communicate

Many clients I work with say their manager doesn't even know what they do.  Don't settle for that!  Keep your manager updated on your activities so they understand the value you contribute. Keep your communications regular, but not excessive, and make them accomplishment and results-oriented.

 

4. Step up to stretch assignments.

Never lay back and wait for someone to notice you are capable of doing more.  Take a risk and ask for an assignment outside of your comfort zone so you can learn new skills and showcase your talents.

 

5. Play nice with others.

Almost every company operates in a team environment.  Don't step on your teammates hands as they follow you up the ladder. If you take an "I'm in it to win it" attitude at the expense of your team members, you will be ousted in the first round of layoffs, and more importantly, won't have your workmates as connections when you - and they - move on to bigger and better things.

 

6. Build alliances across your organization.

Make it your business to know people in different departments and divisions.  If you are working on a project with multiple departments and communicating via email or phone, try for a face-to-face meeting or ask them to meet for a coffee break to build rapport.

 

7. Never eat lunch alone.

It's the mantra of the savvy professional.  Sitting in your cubicle eating lunch while you work is a huge mistake.  Be the one to organize lunches with other employees at your company (or outside the company for that matter) and build alliances. The connections you make will serve you for years.

 

8. Prove your personal integrity.

In nearly every workplace, there are questionable practices. I'm betting you know when the boundaries of honesty are being stretched. Your best move is to always protect your integrity. It takes a career to build a good reputation, and one less-than-honest incident to destroy it.

 

9. Dress up - even when you don't have to. 

In a world of tee shirts, flip flops and wrinkled jeans, the person who does business casual the right way will stand out. Look like you are serious about your image.  An ironed shirt with a collar, pants with a belt or a skits and shined shoes will take you a v-e-r-y long way - no matter what your role is.

 

10. Choose positivity.  People who are always stressed, pessimistic, sarcastic or depressed are no fun to be around.  Be the one they miss when you're not around.  You may not have an outgoing personality, but your attitude is 100% your choice.

 

 

Dear Camille,

I have that dilemna we all love to hate - I  have been through the whole interview process. I even nailed an offer and just negotiated better terms. What can I do to  make sure this is the RIGHT opportunity for me before I accept it?

Carlsbad Pro Sitting on the Fence

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Sitting on the Fence,

WOW! Congratulations! Double Congratulations!! Not only did you land the offer, but you successfully negotiated.  First give yourself credit for that - it means you are doing lots of things right. 

 

It's pretty hard to answer your question with so little information.  Here's what I mean...If you are looking for a marketing management role and the offer is for an individual contributer role in a research department, there is not much in it for you.  But if you like the position and think it will take you closer toward your goals rather than head you in the opposite direction...that's a good sign.

 

Next, will you be doing things that you really like to do? Does the company culture seem to fit?  What about the boss?  Does the offer meet your personal values that come into play at work? (For example, if you  have kids and the job requires 100% travel - this will take away from family time - is it worth it?)

 

Also think about how much time you have to cultivate other offers.  There is something making you ask this question.  If it were a great fit, offered compensation in the range it should be, offered interesting challenges, it seems like you would jump on it. 

 

Consider the biggest obstacle holding you back in the corner of your mind -  and ask yourself whether accepting the position short-term makes sense.  Can you accept it and keep looking? Do you need to generate immediate income that this will help?  Can it be part of a portfolio of several positions/types of work? 

 

Overall, tune into your gut feeling...I wager you already know the answer!

Camille

 

 

Here's a motivator for you...commit to one - or a series of Primm & Partners webinars and complete the recommended action items to keep your work skill sets on the cutting edge! Webinars are cost effective and set at convenient hours so you can fit them into your busy schedule. Sign up here http://www.primmandpartners.com/services-individuals.html

 

Each session content is presented as a separate topic, so you can complete one or all courses.  I lead each of the courses personally, and with a webinar, you dial into a toll-free number so you can ask questions.  You also follow a slide presentation so you can submit questions in advance as well. 

 

Following are the current P&P topics - we are adding more all the time, so stay tuned!

 

Personal Brand Building

When you think realistically about YOU, what do you have to offer to a potential employer?  What are your traits and values and skills?  What are you known for?  What motivates you? Your brand evolves over the duration of your career...design it exactly as you want it to be! Loads of self-assessments and areas to examine on a regular basis in your custom -made world of work.

 

Resume and Marketing Collateral

A resume and other communication pieces are a permanent core of any professional's toolkit.  Hey, you need be ready to talk to anyone, anywhere, any time.  Create pieces uniquely tailored to your personal brand.

 

Networking to Your Goals

You probably noticed by now that social networking is king in the professional world.  It is also the power of your professional core.  It is all about going in with the intent to support others...not about what you can "get" from others.  This session gives an in-depth plan on where, how and with whom to network.

 

Interviewing

Interviewing is sometimes a pressure situation and we look back afterward to have brilliant thoughts as to how you could'a answered the questions.  After this session, you will feel comfortable in interviews whether over the phone, impromptu or planned in advance.  Know what questions to ask and prepare for, close the sale and follow-up.

 

Negotiating at Work

In today's workforce, the talent (that's YOU) needs to know the value of their skills and who is buying them.  Negotiating for exactly what you want in a work situation (within reason, now) is expected in today's transactional work environment.  Learn what is OK to ask and what you need to steer clear of.

 

Managing Across the Generations

We have four distinct generations in today's workforce and that means lots of potential disconnects when it comes to work ethic, expectations, values, communication styles, etc.  This session gives a terrific overview that you can use to strengthen your leadership, team and personal communication skills.

 

Eight Keys to Career Success

Lots of P&P clients say that they want to take charge of their careers and just plain don't know where/how to start.  This session will provide you with a tool to assess the critical points of a balanced, proactive career.  You will learn which areas need attention and build a plan from this information.

 

 

Those who constantly learn new skills will be those who survive the continuious changes at work.  For more information or to register, email us at camille@primmandpartners.com or give us a call at 619.298.1965. 

 

Oh, and another cool thing...all webinars/career development coursework and coaching is tax deductible! 

 

Dear WorkMinded,

I heard that resumes were no longer being used and that finding a good job is all about who you know.  Do I really need to write one of these things?

Looking for a shortcut in Mira Mesa

 

Dear Looking,

I LOVE breaking the rules...OK, maybe bending them is a better description.  I suspect you might be a middle child?  At any rate, nobody, but nobody will be seriously considered for any position worth fighting for without the ticket to admission. 

 

OK, there IS one exception - when you are hired by a family member or very, very good friend.  Bottom line is, you are your own brand, and you take your skills from job to job.  Or in today's job market...from gig to gig. 

 

So, get going, write that "brochure" that is known as a resume or you will find that your options are limited.  Not many companies are advertising for mavericks.  Don't get me started.

 

 

Dear Camille,

I love my hobby, but can't seem to  make any money doing it.  I hate my job, but make money there.  What's a guy to do?

Surfer in Leucadia

 

Dear Surfer,

Well, congratulations on having a hobby you love...lots of people never get off of the couch.  I think you need to do some brainstorming.  Plenty of people make a living running surf camps, representing manufacturers who make surfing gear or working for media that captures all the excitement of the sport. 

 

If none of those work, I recommend compartmentalizing your life.  Work/play.  Try to balance it as evenly as possible and keep one eye open for work opportunities that are more aligned with your motivators.  You may just be in the wrong company culture or not challenged enough. 

 

Most of us are part of the work thing for the long haul...so keep on trying to find a better fit - it's like dating...you probably dated more people you didn't like than those you did!