Thursday, December 31, 2009
But a career is based on more than just a succession of jobs. So make a point of adding to your skills and your professional network in 2010. Here's an interesting article from the Wall Street Journal on jobs of the future; it might give you some ideas on what skills you may want to learn: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703278604574624392641425278.html
HAPPPY NEW YEAR! 2010 is going to be great.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
If you are working and you volunteer for a company-sponsored activity, you can meet and work with people from other parts or levels of your own organization, a real exposure bonus. One of our clients made a very successful proposal to a senior manager a month after she had painted a day care center with him. He knew her, and she knew him, which made the presentation much easier to do and much easier to receive.
If you are working and you volunteer on your own, you will get to know a whole new organization with a new cast of characters. That can broaden your own skills and abilities and even show you a new career direction. One of our clients ended up a leader in every organization she volunteered for. She used that experience to move into a very successful management career.
If you are NOT working, volunteering can make a huge difference to you. It will get you out of the house. It will give you some recent accomplishments to put on your resume. It will give you something new to talk about in an interview. It will broaden your personal network. The important thing to remember is to volunteer your professional skills when you can. Several of our clients who are looking for work in this recession have added impressive volunteer activity to their resumes. If you can't find such an opportunity, ask your professional association. Many sponsor volunteer activities for their members.
You may seem to be doing something for someone else when you are volunteering, but you are also doing something important for yourself! Add volunteering to your New Year's resolutions!
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays,
Monday, December 14, 2009
Two traditional post-recession trends have reappeared. First, there is an increase in temporary jobs. This is a great opportunity in Massachusetts where we have health care available. Here, people can afford to take a temporary job and hope it will become permanent. The second is that the hiring process is very slow. Organizations don't want to make a mistake, so they are very careful, requiring multiple references, many interviews, and a lot of time to pass between first meeting and final offer. That can now take as much as six weeks.
But the big news is that the Federal Government has decided to make some of its contract jobs into permanent jobs. At Hanscom Field in Bedford, Massachusetts, there will be 800 people hired between now and June. Here is their website: www.afesccareers.com
And there will be more investigative accountants hired by the IRS next year. Don't overlook Federal Government jobs in 2010. They have great benefits and good training.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Small companies, universities, hospitals have become winners. Now, it looks as if it is safer to work for yourself than to work for a big company.
Even my own profession of Human Resources has taken a hit, both for laying people off and for being insensitive to those looking for work. The latest George Clooney movie is about someone whose job is to fire people - and he's not a hero.
Why does reputation matter? Reputations create career decisions. People working for bailed-out companies tell me they are ashamed to say where they work. Those people will move on when the economic outlook changes and won't speak well of their company or its products. Hot-shot MBA graduates aren't going to look at investment banking or even financial services the way they did two years ago. The brightest and the best are going to look to start their own organizations or join their friends in much smaller enterprises or purpose-driven companies.
All these changes are a good thing. They will create energy and opportunity in the job market. 2010 is going to be a great year!
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Because no job is secure, and no company is secure, as this recession has shown us, again. Because learning something new will energize you and boost your confidence. If you are in marketing and you don't know how to use the social media, your career is limited. If you are in human resources and you don't know the latest about FMLA, you are behind the times. If you are in finance and you don't know the latest in FASBs, you may actually seem out of date. Just the way you seem out of date if you are still wearing what you wore in your college days.
If you don't update your wardrobe and your technical skills in your chosen field, you will be left behind. So, join that professional organization you think is so great, whether or not your company pays for it. Take that course or class you think will really help you. Spend your own money, if you must. Invest in your career. It is always worth it.
Friday, November 13, 2009
Good work colleagues are invaluable. They can help you learn a new job or new skill. They can help you solve problems or manage your manager. They can help out when you are stuck or cheer you up when you have lost your motivation. Now that mentoring rarely occurs any more, a group of colleagues can be a wonderful substitute. Even Kathy Kram of Boston University, the guru of mentoring, agrees.
In school and in college, rewards come to the most competitive academically. It may look like that in corporate America, especially in a career like sales, but over the long term, it's your colleagues that help you advance or find a new job or deal with a difficult manager. Earn their respect. Share what you know. Help out when someone is overwhelmed. Volunteer to lend a hand - and don't ask for credit.
If you develop a reputation for being a great colleague, you will never have to worry about not having a network to use when you are out of work!
Friday, November 6, 2009
Too many people working now are angry at and disappointed in their managers. If you are one of them, think again. In the course of your career, you will have many managers, good ones and bad ones. Screamers and micromanagers. Visionary leaders and collaborative entrepreneurs. If you want to be successful in your career, you have to learn how to manage all kinds of managers.
Before you growl that you don't know how, think of your manager as a very important customer for your work. You've probably already had to deal with upset customers, customers who didn't understand what you were doing, customers who were frightened or demanding, and many others. If you are so young that you haven't had a lot of customer experience, you've certainly had to manage a wide variety of teachers or professors. You've got the skills, really you do. Just think customer (or teacher.)
Instead of hiding when she is angry, wait for her to calm down and try again. Instead of going nuts when he micromanages you, think about what you could do to establish his trust. You might even try saying something like, "You can be sure that I will complete this on time." Experiment. Get good at managing different kinds of bosses, and your career will be golden.
Sunday, November 1, 2009
If you consider a series of jobs the same thing as a career, you are making a big mistake. Your career actually depends upon the growth of your skills and abilities. Some people think that only happens when you change jobs. Not so. One of my long-term friends in Organizational Development had the same job title for fifteen years. But it wasn't really the same job, because her company grew and changed, and the programs she developed grew and changed with it. What she was able to do - not her job title - is what mattered. From that "job", she did was to exploit every opportunity to expand her skills.
You can do that, too. OK, if you can't move up in terms of a job, how can you move up in terms of your skills? What can you learn? What can you volunteer to lead? What course can you take, either using tuition reimbursement or your own money? Who can you learn from? Take charge of your career. Exploit the opportunities of your current job, until there are more job opportunities out there.
Friday, October 23, 2009
For most people, money is not a big motivator. Even for people out of work. Even for people who work in financial services. What does motivate people is: doing a good job and being recognized for it, making a difference by their work, and learning and growing.
In our experience, people start focusing on pay issues when there is something else going on, like a micromanaging boss, an abusive culture at work, or obvious unfairness. Then people feel they "deserve" more money to make up for what they put up with.
Senior financial services people have certainly been kicked around in the media for the last year. They might be feeling that they really deserve the money as a payback or as a sign that the crisis is over. My guess is that even for these financial services executives, money is really a measure of how well they are doing in relation to their peers. It's not the money itself; it's competing and winning.
It this is true, it's a good thing. If executives are motivated by winning not money, maybe we could dial back executive compensation so it looks a little more like executive compensation in Europe. In Europe, they don't seem to have any trouble filling executive positions with good people, in spite of their different pay structure. And there would be far less wrath directed against executives and regulation of their pay in the United States.
Friday, October 16, 2009
The point is that the story wasn't true, but the media made a big deal of it without checking its veracity or reasonableness.
This is one of those times when what is happening in the media and what is happening in real life are two different things. So, even if you are out of work, don't crawl under the bed covers and cower in fear because the media is going on and on about job losses. Your real situation may be entirely different. Your job specialty or grographic location may actually be doing well.
Forget the media. Talk to your friends. Learn what is actually going on at local organizations. Just as I predicted in September, temporary and contract jobs are starting to show up. The "job market"(see my very first blog) isn't as awful as it is portrayed and will be even better in January. As one of our clients said only two weeks after he was laid off, " The job market isn't that bad for me. I'm going to do OK. I never should have worried so much."
Don't let worrying get in the way of your job search, no matter what the media say!
Friday, October 9, 2009
Also, what I predicted in September in the Metro (see link on the right) is starting to happen. Contract- to-permanent and temporary-to-permanent jobs are starting to appear. This is great news for people who are not employed! Find out which are the temporary/contract placement firms in your specialty, and call them!
Go for it!
Friday, October 2, 2009
So, ask the people you know for help. "We all get by with a little help from our friends," to quote the Beatles.
But there's a catch. You have to follow up on what they recommend. If you don't, they aren't likely to help you again. Have a look at this email I received last week:
"Why don't people take the help you offer to them? I did all the job research for this one woman - found several positions here that paid well, with great benefits. She didn't apply for a single one! I just don't get it. I can't stand people who ask for help but don't take action. Do they want a job or not? Why don't you write about that in your blog!"
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Friday, September 18, 2009
IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE THIS WAY. We’ve had enough experience with layoffs to know better. Just look at David Noer’s book, Healing the Wounds. Noer gives lots concrete examples of how to handle layoffs well. Doug Adams and I wrote a “toolkit for managers” called The Challenge of Change for Fleet Bank in the mid-1990s, which is full of ideas for managers to use to decrease the impact of downsizing. Once I figure out how to do it, I'll post pages from it. Please help me if you can!
If you are a layoff survivor, here are some simple things you can to do to stay motivated and keep your career on track:
1. Actively manage your stress. Exercise, meditate, get medical help if you need it. Leave work at 5:30.
2. Learn something new. Take a class or a course. Get a friend to coach you in a new skill that will give you a boost.
3. Look for assignments that expand your job. What new assignment or what can you volunteer for that will look good on your resume?
4. Take care of yourself so that as things turn around, you will be in a position to move.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
People ask me, “How’s the job market?” When I tell them there is no one job market, they look confused. After all, people are always talking about “The Job Market” in the media.
But there are MANY job markets, not just one. There’s a market for school principals, for nurses, for executive secretaries, for museum curators etc. etc. etc. Some of the markets are global – like the one for university professors or NBA players. Some are local, like the market for dog walkers. And there is everything in between.
The right question is, “What’s the job market like for my skills now in my geographic location?” For example, what’s the market for customer service reps in Atlanta? Or, what’s the market for commercial lenders in Houston? The answer is never a one-size-fits-all answer.
It’s your job to know the market for your skills in your geographic area. Many industries tend to cluster geographically. If you are a movie producer, your career will center on New York and Los Angeles, for example.
So how do you find out what the job market is for your skills in your area? One easy way is to belong to a local professional association. They know the area, may actually list jobs, and sometimes offer out-of-work professionals free or reduced membership.
Identify your skills first, and then do some research on which employers need those skills in the geographic area you’ve chosen. You may find that you would be more marketable in a new area or with additional skills. (More on these concepts in a later post.)