by Lynette Benton When three essays I submitted for publication over the past year were rejected, I sought to console myself with a new idea. Maybe David Sedaris or Zadie Smith had submitted work t…
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Most people would agree that a career transition is a daunting endeavor.
Yet one of the most challenging aspects of a career transition or a job search is something that most people don’t consider and plan for before I meet with them.
What am I referring to?
Carving out enough time in your life to devote to the process.
I have many clients who come to see me with a great deal of excitement about making a significant career change. They usually have been thinking about it for a while, and have finally made a commitment to themselves to make it happen.
A very important step.
Yet most clients have not yet given any thought to another very important element of the process. Finding and carving out enough time every week to actually devote to the process. (note: this is really crucial no matter what type of change in your life you are considering)
Unfortunately, wanting a career transition doesn’t respond to magic wands. One needs to take many actions: Getting prepared with your career story, identifying potential paths, researching, talking and networking with people numerous times, re-assessing your potential paths, building new alliances, applying to various roles and practicing how you present yourself, etc. etc.
We can come to a decision about changing something about our lives and feel good about it – but nothing will actually change unless we take action. And those actions can’t exist in a vacuum.
Simply charting out your week in a pie-chart format can be very helpful.
Draw in all the pieces of pie that comprise your life every week. Do you spend 60% of your time at your current job? 5% at church? 25% with family and friends? 10% at church or community activities?
That’s great – but where are you going to fit in the time to make a career transition (your pie already adds up to 100%+)?
You can’t expect that you will expand the universe and make each day have more than 24 hours. You can try but you will wind up just spinning your wheels and nothing will change. Which is even more frustrating.
That means something has got to go. You will need to make some decisions about what aspects of your daily life you are willing to forego in order to accomplish your goal.
What will you do differently?
What is it?
What are you willing to change in your current daily activities to make room for the actions you must take to make a career transition?
Filed under: Career Transition, Job Search Blues, Mid Life Transition, Work Life Integration | Tagged: Career, career coach, career counseling, Career Transition, Job Search, time to change | Leave a comment »
Managers – What are you thinking?
I have a great deal of respect for Managers. I know how tough it is to be one – I was there for many years. Juggling the pressures of the job and managing people, who all have their own personalities, development desires, work habits, and expectations is one huge difficult task. As rewarding as it can often be, it is a big, big job.
Yet often times I cannot believe how foolish some managers can be, and how inept they are at building an environment of high productivity and trust.
But I have to say that I also am thinking, “Come on, people. Does this really make sense?”
A new client shared with me the primary reason she is looking for another job.
Before I tell you why, let me offer a bit of context.
My client, let’s call her Janice, has been working for EnergyAlive (fictitious name) for over eight years, and has been promoted three times into a Manager position. She is very well-liked, very smart, and has received consistently high performance ratings. (That’s why she was promoted).
A new Director (Mason) recently came on board into the company. Within a few weeks, all of a sudden, everything changed. There is a problem.
Janice wants out – NOW. She is seriously looking for another job.
Why is something that was going so right, all of a sudden going so wrong?
Janice’s previous Director had given her the flexibility to leave 20 minutes early each day so that she could reach the daycare center on time to pick up her son. Janice usually took shorter lunches and was a hard worker so it all worked out.
Janice was grateful because it often took up to an hour, with traffic, to reach the daycare center. She greatly appreciated her Director’s faith in her to get the job done even though she had to leave a little early. She worked hard to show that appreciation.
Mason arrives as the new Director. He is gung-ho to “make his mark”.
In plain English, Mason doesn’t believe in flexibility. He has laid down the law that Janice must stay at work until 4:30pm just as her hours dictate.
Janice now has a new worry every day – a big one. If she can’t make it to the daycare center by 5:00pm, she gets charged for an extra two hours because the daycare manager wants to close up at 5:00.
So what is happening? Janice is stressed out every day. She rushes into her car and drives (perhaps a bit too fast) to get to the daycare center as quickly as possible – and rarely makes it on time. So along with the added stress, Janice also now has a much bigger daycare bill.
Janice now has a chip on her shoulder about the company (and Mason). Are you surprised?
What used to be a very productive and positive relationship between Janice and EnergyAlive, has all of a sudden become a very tense and negative one.
I see this as Penny Wise and Pound Foolish.
No, I take that back. I don’t even see this as Penny Wise. It is just plain foolish.
Have you seen these types of situations arise? Have you been involved in one? It’s quite amazing how a change in the Director position has created such a negative impact on the employees and the company within a few short weeks.
Where is HR? Is anyone paying attention? Who is coaching Mason that he may be establishing a reputation in the company that might eventually cause his derailment? What’s fair? What’s reasonable? What makes sense?
Twenty minutes of flexibility. Is this too much to ask?
Important things to think about.
As a manager and leader – how will YOU handle these issues?
A report by Sodexo (has approximately 125,000 employees in North America alone) in 2012 shows employers need to think beyond the business and outside the traditional office setting to create an engaged, productive workforce*.
*2012 Workplace Trends Report: Integration, Flexibility and Wellness Top Drivers of Employee Engagement *
“…Because recession or not, the U.S. still has a skilled worker shortage. As the economy picks up and the boomers finally do retire, it is only going to get a whole lot worse. Companies that get ahead and build real cultures of workplace flexibility are going to have the staffing advantage and the competitive edge.
“Flex is no longer an ’employee benefit’. Those days are gone. Today it is an all-around public policy issue and bottom-line corporate strategy.”
“Sodexco’s research predicts continued focus on well-being and the ability to deliver a unique value proposition to business communities that focuses on not only integrated, effective and efficient use of space, but also the performance of human capital. Employees are looking to organizations for tools and resources to help them simplify their lives, stay healthy and balanced, and bring their “whole self” to work as these continue to be top drivers of engagement.”
Terry Del Percio is a Career Transition and Workplace Consultant based out of Beverly, MA. Follow her on Twitter at @WorkIntegrity or visit her website at www.workstrategies.com
Filed under: Leadership Listening Corner, The Good, the Bad & the Ugly about BOSSES, Work Flexibility, Work Life Integration, Workplace Stress | Tagged: Job Stress, leadership mistakes, work life balance, Workplace Stress | 5 Comments »
Lately I’ve been wondering if I still, to a certain degree, live some of my life to satisfy others’ expectations. Of course I like to think that I stopped doing that years ago, but I suspect I still do it often without awareness.
This excerpt, about our tendencies to “tame our madness” and suppress our voices, resonated with me, particularly since I recently visited my 94 year old father, whom I hadn’t seen in approximately 40 years. I still found myself concerned about his expectations of who I was and who I became, and I wonder if he had similar thoughts.
Gail’s e-letter says:
Most of us tame our madness to fit into what other’s expect and never use our inherent spark to become the wildly unforgettable speakers and change artists that are needed in these times of shocking transformation.
How would your life be different if you didn’t care what others think? I sometimes ask that question in my classes and when an astute participant responded, “What if I didn’t care what I think?” I realized she was on to something.
So armed with both those questions, and assuming you could give up editing and rehearsing yourself around what others may think, or what you yourself may think just for a moment, how then might you express your spark of madness? Would you be the first to speak rather than first feeling out whether your listeners would agree?
Would you launch a new movement using social media and organize your own demonstration against injustice or corporate domination or nuclear power? Whatever you do, don’t get attached to the outcome. Just go for it.
This festive and often annoying holiday suggests we play tricks on others with a jovial spirit and once we’ve duped them to yell with delight, “April Fools!”
Comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell talked about the archetype of another kind of fool: the Holy Fool.
The Fool is the most dangerous person on earth, Campbell explained, the most threatening to all hierarchical institutions. He has no concern for naysayers, and no one has power over him (or her). She is not limited, not stoppable, nor controllable. She knows what she has to do and is doing it, no matter what.
I think of the Holy Fool as similar to the Court Jester, the only person in the Royal Court who dares to speak truth to the King without consequence.
Or the Koshari of the Hopi and Pueblo peoples of the Southwest, who in the midst of sacred ceremonies makes us laugh at ourselves by mimicking our behavior so we can see ourselves in a new way. Their role is to create lessons at the expense of another’s seriousness, recognizing that laughter is a great shape shifter of old habits and patterns.
So here’s a suggestion. How about on April 1 we engage in a dialogue with our inner Holy Fool and Spark of Madness and ask what he/she most wants to express, convention be damned.
Ask where you are being duped day in and day out and not shining the light of your truth.
Let’s stop concealing our greatest passions and be willing to say what we love and what we know without editing and rehearsing ourselves into oblivion. Let’s declare April 1 Holy Fools’ Day and engage the madly passionate part of us that has something important to say – and just say it.
I used to be like you.
Calm, rational, controlled.
Now I am seized by passion.
No one’s safe!
Our world is changing, one voice at a time, and yours is needed. I’d love to hear what happens when you connect with your Holy Fool and say what is yours to say. Speaking your truth, especially when convention is expected, opens the door to your liberation. You might just find you want to be a Holy Fool and reveal your spark of madness every day.
© Gail Larsen 2011
Reprinted from “Real Speaking Power Points” a free e-letter by Gail Larsen, author of Transformational Speaking. To subscribe and receive occasional insights and ideas to enhance your public speaking and communications, go to http://www.realspeaking.net
Can you see how this is connected to your career choices and your leadership approach?
Happy Holy Fools’ Day to you all.
For more information about Terry Del Percio’s Career Transition Services, please visit http://www.workstrategies.com or call to schedule a free phone consultation at 978.282.8900
Peter Bregman recently wrote a post entitled “A Life-or-Death Question to Start Your Day”. He tells the story of how, during a long-ago trip with his wife to the wilderness for kayaking, they assessed the risks they were taking each morning. Every day before they left shore, they asked themselves: “If we died today, what mistake could have done us in?”
Years later, Peter still thinks of that approach to each day, except the questions (and the risks) are quite different. Peter’s take on the new questions is: “Am I prepared for this day? For the meetings I have planned? Have I anticipated the risks that might take me off track from achieving my goals?” Ultimately, Peter realized that if not prepared, each precious day could be withered away.
It’s a great story and a very meaningful lesson.
Yet I am thinking that the most important lesson for me might be to take it one more step.
Should my questions be:
Terry Del Percio. www.workstrategies.com
Essentially, beliefs are your unconscious patterns of thinking. Core beliefs are the foundation of your personality. They describe you as worthy of respect or worthless, competent or incompetent, fairly treated or victimized, independent or helpless.
Individual belief systems are an incredibly powerful influence on the choices people make. We observed people who said they wanted to make positive change, but struggled to take concrete actions to accomplish their goals. Many intelligent and motivated people become paralyzed by intangible inner obstacles.
Where do our beliefs come from? There is no simple answer because several factors need to be considered.
“When you discover you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.”
– Dakota Tribal Saying
Your beliefs shape your life and your behavior. This, of course, is a good thing if your beliefs are accurate and affirming. However, limiting beliefs get in the way of positive change. They restrict what you can achieve. Beliefs are often referred to as “childhood tapes” that play over and over in our heads and often dictate our behavior. Do any of these tapes sound familiar?
In our consulting practice, we have coined the phrase “belief imprisonment” to describe being stuck in your limiting beliefs. Since many beliefs operate outside of your awareness, their influence on your daily choices may be invisible yet profound.
Identifying your core beliefs and bringing them into your conscious mind is crucial for making positive change.
If you don’t expect to get well when you are diagnosed with a health problem, you won’t do all the things that can help you get better – especially those things that may be difficult. In the same way, if you don’t expect that you can successfully make a career change or get that promotion, you won’t do all the things than can ensure you succeed.
Consider Lisa. She is bright, personable and very capable. Lisa holds a position as a Senior Manager in a large multi-national organization. She is thought of as an extremely competent and valuable employee. Yet Lisa is miserable because of unreasonable expectations around volume of work that are standard in her company. Her boss’s lack of follow- through and consistency also continually frustrate her.
Lisa first came to us because she decided it was time to move on. She had been putting up with the frustration of her current environment for two years and was very unhappy. More importantly, the stress of her job was making her physically ill.
But it isn’t so easy to change things when you are conducting your life based on inaccurate beliefs that have accumulated over a lifetime. Lisa is still struggling with strong internal contradictions and is continuously questioning her ability to ‘succeed’ in another company or another role. Since she hasn’t mastered every aspect of her current job, she believes she is incompetent. This prevents her from applying for new positions. A great burden of guilt prevents her from taking time to go on interviews or network.
“I know intellectually that I deserve to find a position that suits me better, but this inner voice keeps telling me that I should be in my office ten hours a day – and I should stay here longer to learn more – I can’t seem to break free”. In her mind, if she goes on an interview, she is not being responsible or loyal.
Lisa is stuck because of her limiting beliefs and fears about not measuring up and not being viewed as a responsible person.
We identified three limiting beliefs. Lisa has agreed to take simple concrete actions so that she can move forward and is trying to push through her fears by looking at her limiting beliefs square in the eye. She’ll get there, but it’s natural for her resistance to be high.
“To fear is one thing. To let fear grab you by the tail and swing you around is another.”
– Katherine Patterson
We look for evidence that supports what we believe and ignore contrary evidence. This reinforces our inaccurate beliefs about ourselves and makes it difficult to change.
Alvah Parker, a coach that works predominantly with attorneys, identifies 10 common beliefs on career change that can derail your desire for change. If the belief is making you unhappy or feeling stuck, now is the time to change it. It will help to free you to make a change in your life.
How do you break through?
Learning how to alter your limiting beliefs is a skill. It’s hard work, but the potential rewards are huge. Doing this can bring you a new sense of freedom. Don’t be a victim of your own limiting beliefs – seek out help to reshape your beliefs about who you are and what you can do. You have the capability to achieve everything you want to. You just gotta believe.
Terry Del Percio is a Career and Workplace Consultant. She manages a private practice called The Work Strategies Company located in Beverly, Massachusetts. Visit her website at http://www.workstrategies.com or you can contact Terry by phone at 978.282.8900. Twitter @WorkIntegrity
McKay, Ph.D., Matthew and Fanning, Patrick. Prisoners of Belief. California: New Harbinger Publications, 1991.
O’Hanlon, Bill. Do One Thing Different. New York. William Morrow and Company, Inc., 1999.