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Posts Tagged ‘job advice’

Photo Credit: julsatmidnight @Flickr

Photo Credit: julsatmidnight @Flickr

Choosing industry over a certain type of job

If your career is important to you – you won’t fence yourself in by rigidly sticking to industries (advertising, marketing, finance, etc.).

Pay attention to the the type of job (and the skills it demands) and worry less about what industry it is in.

You show more flexibility and value when you can maintain relevance – no matter what the professional discipline.

A good example is someone who takes their skills and can apply them equally across the board –  Desiree Rogers.

The woman went from the Illinois Lottery to the gas company and then to insurance – now she plans the social and events calendar for the First Lady. 

Food for thought: Specialize in skills – not industry 

Use the online job hunt against itself

Online job seeking is like a bad joke. Monster and Careerbuilder aim to have you mindlessly apply to the glut of “open” positions with seductive lures that employers  will actually get your resume. All you have to do is wait for a phone call.

Puh-leez.

Use your network to get your resume in the hands of people who are hiring at these places. Online job hunting at best is a referencing tool.  You’d be more productive hunting down companies that are not “actively” recruiting  (read: the hidden job market).

Pitchfork Mob Mantra: Monster must DIE! Monster must DIE!  note: flaming torch optional

You’re not doing a non-job thing – like temping… or working for free

It may not be ideal, but temping can lead to larger opportunities – like (temporarily) keeping you financially afloat. Or, if you have time (and you do have time) – create projects that will develop a shift in your resume.

For instance, I’ve become the project lead for a new exhibit focusing on the drug addiction and treatment of women and children in Afghanistan (side note: I’ve never done anything like this before).

I will have to dust off my rusty research skills, find funding and develop advocacy connections. But, I’ll be creating a project from start to finish. And, I’ll be doing something I’ve always wanted to do: using artistic methods to raise political awareness and ignite action

New motto: Your resume is not just a piece of paper

Go virtual

You don’t need to be in an office to get work done (and be paid for it). Places like Elance provide opportunities for would-be workers to hone (and maintain) their skills in cyberspace. Jobs range from web and graphic design to freelance writing.

Anything goes – you can be a ghost blogger or virtual assistant.

Nudge: Cyberspace is your friend…really

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Photo Credit: Inju @Flickr

Photo Credit: Inju @Flickr

You’ll do what comes naturally – or not

Folks who blog are folks who want to blog. Fellow bloggers, quit wasting your breath (or blog posts) on telling people they should blog for a better career.

They won’t do it and they’ll give you dumb excuses. And, if they do blog – it’s not because you advised them to. The blog-curious only need validation of what they will (inevitably) decide to do. 

Just like a writer will try to use any outlet to showcase her creativity or a marketer that wants to highlight his insights– people with ideas will already have pursued blogging.

They’re doing it now.

Which brings me to my next point.

More blogosphere for me

The blogosphere can function in a vacuum. There are all these seperate blobs of communities that crop up around bloggers (read: personalities). There’s lot of opinions on how to engage non-bloggersor get more folks to blog or get respect for blogging blah blah blah.

I say: stop.

Granted, there are a ba-jillion crappy blogs, but there are just as many good ones as well. Your relevancy to the blogging community isn’t going to instantaneously diminish because you didn’t get more people to blog.

It only diminishes when you aren’t able to share, develop and reconstruct ideas and connections. People who don’t know how to connect with that possibility have no business blogging.

I’m not telling you to rob a liquor store

Blogging is like a dirty word to some people. If you suggest it, they start gasping like you’re trying to convince them that prostitution is merely speed dating. These notions are fine when you’ve at least tried blogging (or speed dating). 

Non-bloggers only seem to concentrate on the irrelevancies of blogging, how it has nothing to do with them (or the “real world”) and insist on questioning it’s usefulness. But value and relevancy are not always one in the same.

They intersect at different points. And, I’d be more interested in engaging people who are trying to figure that out.

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newspapersLast night, I attended the Association of Women Journalists annual meeting. Initially, I was there to promote my NPO, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. 

In hindsight, it may have not been the best venue to pitch our organization, but I got some great information that I want to share with you.  

Jane Hirt, newly minted Managing Editor of the Chicago Tribune, served as the event’s guest speaker. As she centered on the crisis of newspapers and media, Ms. Hirt gave the expected “anti-hunker down” pep talk.

Essentially, journalism is changing. Get used to it.

Wanting information will never go away, but how that information is accessed will always evolve. If that includes moving from one platform to another, then I consider it a small (albeit, inconvenient) change. 

Nonetheless, her suck it up speech was palatable. Mostly, it was because she didn’t sound like a jerk. Nevertheless, how can you sound like a jerk when you have a smile like that?

If you dislike change, you’re going to like irrelevancy even less.

Maybe journalists take themselves too seriously. Perhaps, so seriously that change seems too ludicrous to even consider. Change, however, is about the ridiculous. There’s very little room (if any) for staid conformity and static values.

In a world where it’s possible to meet your lover or wife online, how can journalists not expect to have their own medium do the same?  Being productive involves remaining relevant. Remaining relevant has nothing to do with the phrase “staying the same” – no matter how much you convince yourself otherwise.

The world likes to fall into this trap of thinking when it comes to success, “Well, that was them and we’re not them.” But, you  know what? They were not always who they were. In other words, Oprah wasn’t always Oprah (as she is now) and online journalism wasn’t always online journalism (as it is now).

So, if you insist on believing that change involves some instantaneous and overnight boom of recognition, creativity and wonderfulness – then close your eyes and wait. While you’re at it – hold your breath.

Widen the scope of your competition.

Ms. Hirt mentioned that when she started RedEye, she wasn’t just competing with other newspapers. She was competing with how people chose to spend their time. Books, sleep, ipods and blackberrys were her competitors as well and factors to consider when launching a newspaper geared toward the 18 to 34 set. 

Consider that the “spirit” of competition is not just about becoming the next Google or Apple. You aren’t just competing with other bloggers or journalists. Remember what you are vying for: people’s time or money (or both) and how they choose to spend it.

Insist on riskiness if you insist on longevity. Manage reinvention…and stay on your toes.

People mistake that if you’ve been around for a long time, you probably don’t have to reinvent yourself. Or, shouldn’t need it. This reminds me of a podcast with Guy Kawasaki and Penelope Trunk mentioning the “democratization” one can enable.

In other words, what are you freeing up (or locking down)?  What ways are you creating access to your product or information? Are you (re)inventing opportunities for people to access it?

Simply, are you a connector or a disconnector?

Reinvention involves risk. But, everyone knows that. And, people like to take what they call “calculated risks.” But, those are iffy too, because the payoffs can be so variable. Even failure can be the better reward.

If you got everything right the first time, how do you know if you are doing anything truly meaningful?

Millennials and a woman’s style of management. Common sense meets youth?

As Millennials enter the workforce, baby boomer-esque management styles will inevitably need to transform. Gen Y’s are less tolerant of the once-a-year performance evaluation and the Big Boss you never see 25 floors up. 

We want collaboration, less hierarchy and to be treated as peers (not wage slave underlings). We take soul searching to the edge because we cultivate our own fulfillment to the maximum. We give ourselves space to grow and opportunities to grow it. That’s where our loyalties lie.

Ms. Hirt mentions that a woman’s style of management appeals more to the Gen Y job seeker. Yet, I like to think that a desiring collaboration has little to do with the womanly style of management (and more to do with common sense). 

It can mean all the difference between a dying industry and a dead one.

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lunch5

Photo Credit: FotoSpawn @ Flickr

1. Never leave the office

The door may even remain shut most of the day. They do this because they hate their job. To avoid confronting this harsh reality on a daily basis, they sit in their office seething. Isolated. Secluded.

And, maybe eating.

2. Never stay in the office

You can never find these people. In fairness, ineffective managers may be forced to travel a lot. Beyond that, they make themselves as unavailable as possible no matter where they are (or aren’t).

3. Communicate at a bare minimum, so they assume people can read (their) minds

Paying attention to office politics is an unheard of skill to the mismanaging boss. They claim they’re so engrossed in their own job – they can’t be bothered with following up with others. They assume somebody would know they’re too busy to come to this meeting or be present for that conference call.

4. Make 3rd party comments in reference to their own employees

If your manager is working well at being ineffective, employees are complaining about each other full blast. So, what does your manager do? They mention comments various co-workers brought to them about other employees and relay such thoughts to you in the form of a performance evaluation.

Don’t be (too) offended. They’re incapable of critiquing your job performance (from their own perspective) in the first place.

5. Have no problem alienating people

This is done through nepotism or cronyism. Either way, their cliquishness drives down employee morale. People perform the bare minimum because they become so frustrated.

By this time, the ineffective manager has lost respect from fellow employees and wonders why the department isn’t pulling the same results from say… 3 years ago (before they became boss)?

6. Coddle rude, difficult or all-around crazy employees

Breeding an environment for bullies, hostile meanies or unstable co-workers is bad news. Folks like that end up setting the tone for the department (instead of your weakling boss). Managers who “ignore” this bad behavior are doomed to suffer high turnover, an unstable work environment and dissatisfied workers.

7. Hold double standards

If the manager makes a mistake, it’s OK – “We’re in the learning phases.” If you make a mistake, you get written up. This doesn’t always apply to the boss. This is also played out amongst their cronies. Thus, managers will have no qualms sweeping certain mistakes under the rug while blasting others who suffer under their ineffective and incompetent management skills.

In the not so long run, these tactics actually cost your company money.

8. No one knows what the boss does and for that matter – no one knows what anybody else does either

Despite job descriptions, an effectively run department includes knowing what people do. This helps any business run smoothly. Coworkers prefacing questions with, “I don’t know if these are your job duties, but…” is a problem. 

And, if people don’t know how their boss spends his/her workday – that’s confusion fueled by crappy management.

9. Train you and get upset when you don’t do your job correctly

Actually, no one is training you if you have an ineffective manager. What happens is that other co-workers (who don’t know what you do anyway) train you on how to operate the copier and show you where the lunchroom is located. You spend a majority of your time wondering why you were hired in first place. Then, you can’t figure out how to make the most of your 7.5 hour work day.

Quit.

Or wait for #10.

10. Fire people who are under utilized only to replace them with people who will be under utilized even more

Crap managers don’t know how to make the most out of their current employees. They’ll claim they’re firing those poor (under utilized) souls for bad performance. But in reality, they believe they’ll just hire their way to star performers who mind read into effective contributions and meaningful job performances.

Such tactics keep a company out of a steady business rhythm and impede productivity. Ineffective managers, nonetheless, don’t know that.

They’re kind of dumb.

11. Blame the economy

Bad economies and recessions are wonderful performance boosters for awful management. When things are in the toilet, such distractions provide a great scapegoat for otherwise poor performance and less than stellar results. 

It’s to their advantage to use slow business and an uncertain job climate as a dangling measure to keep jittery employees nervous and even more desperate to hang onto their jobs.

I’d love it if you could add to my list – I’m sure this isn’t everything a bad manager can do. What else is there?

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bored-workWork that doesn’t require a lot brain power is hard. Usually because work that doesn’t require brain power is indubitably boring. It might even be the death of you.

Boring work is safe. It’s predictable. It’s comfortable. It inspires you to remain uninspirational. Curiousity takes hiatus because boring work doesn’t require that you be curious. It demands that you be focused. This means that you concentrate on being boring. You become comfortable with boring because it’s safer to do.

Staying comfortable may keep you safe, but it keeps you shamelessly staid. You don’t have to worry about innovation because you aren’t forced to think on your toes. And thinking on your toes is a little dangerous because you might get it wrong. And, you worry about being wrong.

But, what if you aren’t? 

Being safe and worry free are not the same thing. People spending 8 hours of the day being bored (and knowing it) aren’t contributing much to the grand spectrum anything. They worry about being wrong. They’re too busy being safe.

And safe just isn’t any fun.

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tug-of-warPeople think titles and professional position limit the amounts of power they have within the office. It’s a small, short-sighted way of thinking. If you believe having power is about being able to throw your weight around you end up disappointed. Or, if getting what you want despite the best interests of others (or the company) is powerful to you, you are doomed for failure.

Not to mention, having loads of body-related stress. Power is not also about how important you think you are. Or, how great you end up feeling because you were able to weasel something out of someone.

Power is not about making you feel better. It’s about being able to make everything else work better.

Power matches are more about people struggles. It’s about individuals grappling with how little or how much power they think they can wield (or want to wield). It ranges from something as simple as a woman trying to prove her professional worth to the insanity of idiots wanting to prove they’re smarter than they really are. 

These events always originate from the type of relationship you have with yourself. So, if you are struggling only with yourself, you have very little power to wield. Most likely because you don’t like yourself anyway. People who don’t like themselves have a really hard time convincing others to like them as well.

Power is best translated into how much currency you have to spend in relationships with others. Do people trust you? Are you likeable? Those intangibles are built up through the greatest asset one can ever have: time. Truly powerful people don’t have to struggle with others because everything leans their way in the first place. The powerful have things handed to them, not snatched. People will give freely because they want to, not because they had to. 

Finding your own power in the workplace has more to do with your personal arsenal of relationships. It’s not simply networking, because not all networkers are powerful. How great is the network when there is no relationship to give it context?

It’s a pittance in the grand spectrum of life. When is the last time you’ve spent time working on building up your relationship currency?

So, power struggles in the office are not actually about power at all. They’re about people trying to spend currency they don’t have. Likeability and trust. When you have neither, you always come up short. Therefore, when people find themselves with very little spending power in relationships, they opt in by using intimidation, fear, threats and a host of other really nasty things.

Such tactics may work, but you have to use up so much more to be totally effective. In short, it’s currency conversion is very high. You have to spend quite a lot to get the bare minimum in return.

Why waste time spending up so much in the first place? It makes you destitute in more ways than one. Your time is better spent building up a Fort Knox of good vibes, positivity, likeability and trust. Those things are much more worthy (and fun) to have. Inevitably, you create a workplace fraught with powerful people rather than paupers struggling within the hold.

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adviceHaving a good life is about having an uninhibited state of mind. And, while some problems can seem complicated and unwieldy – approaching them with a ready key for change can unlock the proverbial cages that keep parts of your life hidden.

I think the best advice is universal and pays attention to the sensual qualities of the world around us.

Here are a few tidbits that have helped me get by:

Virgin Territory

There is a first time for everything. And, while it may be awkward, weird or even painful (ouch!) – if you take things slowly and don’t rush, you’ll find that no matter how scary or unappealing something may seem (or feel) you might have some fun, learn something and come out on the other side unscathed.

And it’s not so bad after all – if you try it, at least once.

Have Chemistry. Will Travel

All good relationships have great underlying chemistry – that certain something that keeps them going. Chemistry is 25% hormonal and the rest is made up of good vibes.

Chemistry is the social lubricant that keeps good relationships going.

Keep passion levels high

You can’t get too much out of your individual endeavors, relationships or attractions if you don’t have any passion to go along with them.

Great atmosphere and a good mood are a must

What kind of atmosphere and mood are you setting for your career and your social life? In order to successfully navigate professional pairings – the atmosphere has to be right.

Set the mood with whatever means necessary to get things moving along in their intended direction.

Change is all about setting – are you ready? Are the conditions ripe with opportunity? What if they aren’t?

You may have to create some.

Sometimes, you have to get a little dirty

Getting dirty means being gritty, bare bones and doing hard work. The “pretty” side of things is thrown in the backseat. Muss your hair, roll up your sleeves – sweat a little (better yet, a lot).

When you work hard, you discover what gives your world a bigger and more in-depth dimension.

In other words, you create meaning in your hard work.

A little perversion never hurts

If you were to solely focus on the “innocence” of everything you end up staying uninformed, naïve and out of touch.

Don’t get into trouble because you wish to remain ignorant – if you don’t, you’ll rarely be caught by “surprise.”

Use toys

Toys make life fun. The gadgets that you and I use to get through the daily grind press our precious little pleasure buttons.

Get in tune with toys that make your days more enjoyable, take your mind off matters or create some much needed order for an otherwise hectic, frenetic world.

A little mental sludge can be exterminated with a quick pick me up of toy satisfaction.

Use your mouth

You can’t get things done (or have any fun) if you don’t tell people what’s going on. Tell others what you like and don’t like.

Not everything has to be a criticism; communication can be encouragement and praise as well.

And sometimes, when we tell people to keep doing the things we like – we get a pleasurable result indeed.

Give a show

To keep things on track, sometimes you have to show people you mean business. Show them what you can do (and how it can get done). 

Performance is an effective measure of ability – show others your talents and skills in the light of a professional stage.

Don’t focus solely on results

Not everything needs to accumulate into a big bang of personal satisfaction. Sometimes, you do things just to get them done or you wanted something to distract you.

The result is not so much important as is the process.

Following the steps is enough in some cases and just getting through things is all what we really need.

Scream (loudly)

You have to let it out – when you are angry, sad, happy, joyous – whatever. Go somewhere and scream.

Switch things up

Routine is the death of good ideas. Change positions. Switch locations. Do something differently – you won’t regret it.

Touch what feels good

It makes no sense to do things that bore and de-motivate you. Your brain’s pleasure centers can be invigorated by a multitude of sources.

Make sure that you are stimulating yourself culturally, intellectually and physically.

Sometimes, you have to go solo

There will be times where you will feel alone – and actually be alone. But, that’s fine because sometimes being by ourselves is the best thing for us.

Use that time to explore your own desires, goals, wants and needs – inner introspection is time well spent.

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