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Career change requires small actions, not dramatic ones — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

April 14th, 2014 No comments

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There comes a time in every career when you need to make a change. You need more challenges. You need a new manager or company. You need something different that will allow you to continue to grow and thrive. In the midst of this, you can often feel that you need to take some dramatic action. You need to quit your job, go back to school, move to a different city or country, divorce your spouse, go off the grid. The truth is, though, that while dramatic actions may seem the best way to jumpstart your career, it is the small, individual actions you take every day that bring the most change. Dramatic actions change your life for the moment. Small actions change your life for a lifetime.


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I know, we can get so angry, so fed up, so depressed at times that we simply want to chuck it all. We want that great “take this job and shove it” moment with dramatic music playing as we stalk out of the office. As good as it might feel to dream about this, the reality is much different. True change comes from careful preparation and small steps that pave the path towards a new career. Sure, you might still have a dramatic exit at the end, but you will secure in the knowledge that you aren’t jumping into the unknown. You will know exactly where you are headed.

The goal in any career change is to move onto something better, not just something different. This change should be the next step on your career path, not a blind leap into the abyss. In that regard, here are 2 ways you start your journey to a new career.

Discover what you truly WANT to do

Too many of us have ended up in jobs and careers simply out of convenience rather choice. We took the first job available, which led to the next and then the next. Part of your need for dramatic change can be driven by this. It often means you are “waking up” to where you are in your career, but have no idea how you arrived there. Now you need to do some hard thinking about where you want to be and what you want to do. Attempt dramatic change without a clear understanding of this and you are risking both your career and your happiness.

Not only is this a process of learning more about the work you would like to do, but also a process of learning more about yourself. In our work, we can be so continuously focused outward that we forget how important it can be to look inside and discover new things about ourselves.

For more on discovering what you want to do, see my Kindle ebook, Career Compass: Finding Your Career North. It can be purchased and read on any device, not just Kindle.

Take a small action every day

Once you have some idea where you might want to go in your career, start taking small steps towards that goal. What do you need to know about the new job or career? What do you need to learn? Who do you need to contact? Where do you look for more information? Create a list of small steps and then work on one each day. These small, yet constant, actions will start to yield results almost instantly. You may find that you aren’t as interested in a particular job or career as much as you though. You might find an entirely different career during your research. Sometimes serendipity strikes and leads us down a path we might never have imagined.

I think you will find that taking these small steps will convince you that you don’t need to take some spontaneous, dramatic action you might regret later. Rather, you’ll start seeing progress from the first day and this can help to lighten the burden of your current job or career. Sure, it can’t make you happier to deal with bad clients, managers or policies, but it can help lighten the effect they have on you. Once you know you are moving on — and taking action to do so — life gets just a little bit lighter.

The next time you are thinking about quitting your job or scuttling your entire career, use that feeling as a clear sign that you need to start taking small, daily actions to build the career you deserve. While it might feel good in the moment, dramatic actions often come with a severe hangover the next day. I say, imbibe moderately in your career adventures and take small actions towards a larger goal. Not only will your current work seem easier, your future will look much brighter each morning.

***

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Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – April 13, 2014

April 13th, 2014 No comments

Jobs offered

CareerCampSCV (Santa Clarita Valley) 2013 - 88

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

  • Administrative Assistant, Whalerock Industries
  • NBC taking applications for Paid Internships
  • Assistant at the Gersh Agency
Books for Building Your Career!
 

Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

Jobs

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Archive: A Reputation for Clear Thinking — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

April 11th, 2014 No comments

Get this entire series (and added content) in the Kindle book, “Cultivating Your Career Reputations”!

You don’t need a Kindle to buy or read. Kindle book are usable via web browser and Kindle apps for your computer, Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad) devices.


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Read and listen to the first column in this series, Cultivating Your Career Reputations.

“If you can keep your head when all about you Are losing theirs and blaming it on you; If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too; . . . If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster And treat those two impostors just the same . . . Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it.” – Ruyard Kipling

In my experience, truer words were never spoken. They apply to so many aspects of life and work that they may be one of the few universal truths in the world. Kipling knew that managing yourself and your life in the extremes of both failure and success was the true sign of a great person. I know that I measure myself against these words, sometimes on a daily basis. I believe the ability to think clearly, even when others are confused, resentful and uncooperative is the rock on which you found your own reputation, career and life.

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So, how do you measure up? Can you keep your head when all about you are losing theirs? No one is perfect and I am confronted by this all the time, but it is in our best interest to cultivate clear thinking and expose others to the concept, as often as possible. Otherwise, we risk running from one crisis to another, never solving anything, but merely increasing our troubles with each step.

The concept of clear thinking is often brought home to me through working with my clients. I know several that, while wonderful people and excellent clients, have the ability to let the moment run away with them. A crisis can push them over the edge into frantic activity that actually reduces their effectiveness in solving the problem at hand. Worse still, my own tendency to do the same catches me up in the panic until my thinking is as scattered as theirs. In these cases, I have to remember these tendencies and actively work against them. When people start running hither and yon, I must sit down and think about the problem. This can sometimes drive my clients to further panic, but eventually we will all calm down enough to think about the problem clearly — something we may not have done, had I not made the conscious decision to stop and think about the problem before acting.

What can happen when you don’t think clearly about a problem? In many cases, failing to think clearly leads you to take drastic actions when more subtle solutions would yield a better response. If the CEO’s computer stops working, you want to take time to investigate smaller possible causes before reformatting the computer and re-installing Windows. If the car doesn’t start, you want to check the battery before putting in a new engine. If the project isn’t working, you want to investigate the causes, not simply scrap the project and start another. Lack of clear thinking can lead you down the road to failure, if you let it.

Developing a reputation for clear thinking often has the ability to calm those around you. When we are panicked, we look for some sense of stability — a person, a department, a leader who can slow the panic and bring us back to some sense of normality. This person can and should be you, in any situation. If you can be seen as the “rock” of stability when life and work are crazed, you will go far in any situation. People will naturally flock to you and follow you. You won’t need to plead and bully your co-workers to follow your lead, they will do it of their own accord. They will sense your ability to think clearly and turn towards this calm in the center of the tempest. Once this happens, you can use the opportunity to teach your skills to others. Before long you will have a group of clear thinkers that will be able to cope with nearly any problem they might face. Not only will you be developing your own career, you will be preparing others for their own shot at greatness. What could be more fulfilling than that?

Follow Kipling’s centuries-old advice and “keep your head” no matter what the crisis. Not only will you develop better answers and actions, you will begin to develop a career, and a life, that is filled with great progress instead of an endless cycle of dashing from problem to problem while solving nothing.

***

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Video: Answer questions to attract opportunity from “A Year of Opportunity”

April 9th, 2014 No comments

Opportunity questions

 

 

From “A Year of Opportunity” – Career Opportunities Podcast with Douglas E. Welch)

Watch this entire presentation

 

 Transcript:

“If you’re looking through you’re Twitter feed — if you’re looking through your Facebook feed — you’re looking through your LinkedIn feed, whatever and someone has a question  that you can answer — answer it! Even if it is just a short little “Well have you tried this (blah-di-blah-di-blah) It may turn into a longer conversation. It may turn into a longer conversation, but I have had situations like that turn into work — turn into great relationships. Simply because I took the time to take a little piece of the expertise I have and share it with someone else.

Building a successful career in 2014 requires that we focus on 3 things this year, including:

1. Attracting Opportunity 2. Recognizing Opportunity 3. Accepting Opportunity

Join Douglas E. Welch for deeper exploration of the Year of Opportunity and what it can bring for you!

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “”Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” This is still true today. Work that expands our lives and careers should be sought out and embraced, even if there is a bit of hard work involved. In fact, most opportunities worth pursuing require hard work of some sort. Life doesn’t often give you gold simply for being you. You need to share your knowledge and show your worth and this often means some long hours, if not actual physical labor.

Douglas is writer and host of Career Opportunities, a long running column and podcast dedicated to “Helping to Build the Career You Deserve!” Career Opportunities began in 1997 as a magazine column and expanded to a podcast in 2004. Douglas is also a New Media Consultant, Technology and Career Consultant with over 30 years experience in high-tech. You can find all of Douglas’ work at DouglasEWelch.com.

Ebb and flow in your career — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

April 7th, 2014 No comments

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Just like everything in life, there is an ebb and flow to your work and your career. There will be times when your career is in a relatively steady state — simply something that you do on a daily basis. At other times it will be moving forward like a river in flood or an angry sea, pushing you about and, hopefully, driving you forward. Knowing how to act in each of these scenarios is important to your overall well-being as well the the success of your career. If you don’t know how to manage these periods of ebb and flow, you could be doing yourself and your career a great disservice.


Now available exclusively to Career Opportunities readers and Listeners.

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Ebb

Let’s first talk about the ebb cycle, as I believe this is a far more common state than flow. You are often quite stable and settled for large portions of your career. You get a good job, do it well and perhaps progress upwards through a company without much stress. You do the work and you are rewarded for it. Simple, right? Unfortunately, such stable periods of your career can lead you to become complacent and even bored. If your work doesn’t provide you some challenge it can easily become repetitive and dull. When you find yourself in these ebb periods, you need to find ways of making your work more interesting, more challenging and more enlightening.

If, at the current moment, your job isn’t challenging you, you need to find ways of challenging yourself. These ebb periods are the time to learn something new, something different, something that might be useful in the future. Do it now, when work is stable, as you have time and attention that might not be available in the future. Become an auto-didact (self teacher) and bring new facts, new skills and new knowledge into your life and career. Too often, we are so happy to have some stability in our lives, we start to wallow in our own comfort. Sure, it can feel nice to not have to worry about your work, but it can also be a trap. Develop small goals and challenges for yourself to ensure that you keep growing and don’t stagnate in your career.

Into the sun 3

Flow

The opposite of ebb is flow. When your life and career are flowing it can sometimes feel frightening. Challenges, both good and bad, can come at you quickly and you might begin to wonder if you can cope. You spend your time reacting to these new challenges and new situations without having a lot of time to think about them. Too much of this activity and you can find yourself tired, overwhelmed and even, eventually, burned out in your job.

When you find yourself in these busy, high-stress times, you need to seek out moments of calm and reflection amongst the storm. Yes, you will be incredibly focused and busy at work, but you also need to consciously find those moments of relaxation and reflection in your day to balance the frenetic activity. Too much of anything, even a good thing, can often be very bad for you as a human being. One cocktail might make you feel relaxed and calm, 10 cocktails can leave you sloshed and filled with deep regret, both physically and mentally the next morning. Don’t fall into the work equivalent of binge drinking, Know when to work. Know when to rest and recharge.

You have to take care of yourself, as no one else is going to send you home when they feel you have worked enough. It is easy to lose yourself in the midst of an exciting project and work far harder and longer than is healthy. Take good care of yourself and you will accomplish far more than if you drive yourself to the edges of your stamina. Taking a break doesn’t mean you are lazy (which is what we can feel sometimes), but rather that you are taking the time to recharge to face the challenges with a fresh mind and body.

In my career, I have seen many people who take on the busy times in their career as a sort of martyrdom. The talk about how many “all-nighters” they pulled, how many family events they had to miss, how much coffee they had to drink, etc. I have never been impressed with this, as it shows they don’t understand the law of diminishing returns. Sure, they may have worked all night long, but how good was the work they created? In most cases, it is subpar, simply because they are too tired, too overwhelmed to do their best work. It would have been far better to have gone home, gotten a good night’s sleep and hit the project fresh in the morning. Don’t fall into this trap. Manage yourself and your energy to do your best work, not just any work.

Be aware of the ebb and flow nature of any career and adapt accordingly. Use the ebb times to build new skills and new knowledge and then carefully couch your energy and attention when the flow times arrive and you find yourself busier than you ever thought possible. Such attention can keep your career and life balanced no matter how calm or active it might become.

***

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11 of My Favorite Career Things for March 2014 — Shared Links from Douglas E. Welch

April 6th, 2014 No comments

Archive: A Reputation for Empathy — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

April 4th, 2014 No comments

Get this entire series (and added content) in the Kindle book, “Cultivating Your Career Reputations”!

You don’t need a Kindle to buy or read. Kindle book are usable via web browser and Kindle apps for your computer, Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad) devices.


Career Opportuntiies Logo 2012

Read and listen to the first column in this series, Cultivating Your Career Reputations.

Empathy is the ability to understand the feelings or situation of another person. As you might imagine, empathy is a very important trait for those people who want to successfully collaborate with others, whether as co-workers, manager and staff or client and consultant. If you are unable to connect with others or truly understand what they might be feeling, you set yourself apart like a modern day Marie Antoinette, giving advice without any real understanding of the world around you. Other people are quick to catch on when you lack empathy or any real understanding of how they are feeling. This diminishes your effectiveness with others and can put your career at risk.

Listen to this Podcast


 

Jobs

Post a Job! $20 for 7 days


Read the Kindle book using your Kindle, Computer or Mobile device!
  

Lack of empathy

It is very likely that you have met or worked with people who don’t have a reputation for empathy. They seem unable to relate to you in any way except in formal, rule-bound contexts. Your personal crises and emergencies mean nothing to them except in how it impacts their needs, their schedules and their work. They can’t seem to imagine that you have important issues that must be handled, regardless of the work that needs to be done.

The usual phrases you will hear when people are describing someone who lacks empathy is “They are cold. They don’t understand. They don’t care.” The last phrase is the most damaging. If you want to motivate others and accomplish great things, those around you must know that you care about both them and their work. Once they discover you don’t care, or more likely, don’t understand how your actions are being perceived, it is a long road back to productivity.

As I discussed in a previous column in this series, trust, and feelings of trust, are one of the most important parts of your reputation. When you show a lack of empathy, you are violating the bond of trust that must exist between yourself and others. If your co-workers, your manager or your employees don’t see a certain level of empathy displayed in your actions toward them, they will come to trust you less. In fact, it quickly becomes clear that you value rules and money far above the average person. Would you trust someone like this? Probably not. So, it should be very clear why people wouldn’t trust you, either.

Overly empathetic

As with anything, the extremes are best avoided. I have seen some people who are overly empathetic. They take each crisis and emergency as their own. They seem to suffer as much as the person directly connected with the problem. While understanding the feelings of those around is great, taking on the burdens of others is not. The fact is, the problem isn’t happening to you. You can do little to resolve it. You can help others with their issues, but you can’t make those issues your own, no matter how empathetic you are.

Developing a reputation for empathy allows you to build your career in many ways, but it isn’t something that is created overnight. It is a long process of showing your empathy in everyday ways. Like all the other reputations the proof of your reputations lies in your actions, not in your words. You show your empathy in everything you do.

A reputation for empathy will allow you to work more closely with others, as they will begin to feel that you understand their needs, feelings and issues in a way that others never cultivate. Teamwork will flourish in such an environment, as there is a stable base of understanding that allows differing opinions and even conflict. Your co-workers and managers can safely disagree with one another and develop better plans and projects, because they know that underneath it all, is a sense of connection that overrides all else.

The next time you are inclined to push and push, without regard to the feelings and issues of others, take a moment to consider how you would feel when placed in such a position. Imagine asking for a little understanding, a little time off or a small change that would allow you to better cope. Would you deny this to yourself? Then don’t deny it to others. Empathizing with others starts with understanding ourselves more and more deeply, so that we can share that understanding with others.

***

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Video Rewind for March 2014: A monthly review of my recent videos

April 2nd, 2014 Comments off

Here is a playlist of all the videos I produced in March 2014.

You can find all my past videos on my YouTube Channel. If you enjoy a video, please click the Like button or Subscribe to the YouTube Channel. Doing that directly effects how many other people see my videos. 

Video rewind 32014
 
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Video: What you do and how well you do it! from “A Year of Opportunity”

April 2nd, 2014 Comments off

What you do opportunity thumb

Transcript:

“When attracting opportunity to you, one of the most important aspects about that is to tell people what you do and how well you do it. To put on my new media hat as well as my career hat the same time, that’s one reason I encourage people to start blogging, to start using Facebook, to start using Twitter, and so on, because they are perfect avenues to tell people what to do and how well you do it and actively demonstrate it.”

From “A Year of Opportunity” – Career Opportunities Podcast with Douglas E. Welch)

Watch this entire presentation

 

 

Building a successful career in 2014 requires that we focus on 3 things this year, including:

1. Attracting Opportunity 2. Recognizing Opportunity 3. Accepting Opportunity

Join Douglas E. Welch for deeper exploration of the Year of Opportunity and what it can bring for you!

Thomas Edison is quoted as saying “”Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” This is still true today. Work that expands our lives and careers should be sought out and embraced, even if there is a bit of hard work involved. In fact, most opportunities worth pursuing require hard work of some sort. Life doesn’t often give you gold simply for being you. You need to share your knowledge and show your worth and this often means some long hours, if not actual physical labor.

Douglas is writer and host of Career Opportunities, a long running column and podcast dedicated to “Helping to Build the Career You Deserve!” Career Opportunities began in 1997 as a magazine column and expanded to a podcast in 2004. Douglas is also a New Media Consultant, Technology and Career Consultant with over 30 years experience in high-tech. You can find all of Douglas’ work at DouglasEWelch.com.

Tip: Education — It is time to customize your education…

March 29th, 2014 Comments off

Education

Education — It is time to customize your education in the same way I consul you to customize your career. Look outside traditional academe.

Previously in my Instagram Photos…

Categories: Career Tips, Education, Photos, Tips Tags:
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