Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribune writes a great column entitled “I Just Work Here’, where he humorously reflects, shares stories and information about the intersection of work, careers and corporate life. His latest column (April 29 Chicago Tribune – http://shar.es/l9QCH) posed the question of returning to work for a company that had previously let you go. Hmmm. Good question. Later Rex gives us more to think about when he points out that much our work life is similar to dating. And, as dating has changed over the past several years so has our relationship with our employers. From this, I recommend that you “move in” with your employer but think very seriously before deciding to marry them.
Archive for the ‘Your Career’ Category
Posted in Engagement, Human Resources Insights, Leadership, Videos, Articles and Books, Your Career, tagged Corporate Life, Engagement, Human Resources, Leadership, work/family on April 1, 2013 | Leave a Comment »
One of the more annoying aspects of life in America is our short attention span. One day, an issue is screaming in the headlines and bantered across all media channels. The next day it disappears, replaced by the next big issue or Lindsay Lohan’s latest indiscretion.
Given this, I was surprised to hear an opinion piece on the radio yesterday, revisiting the Yahoo CEO’s decision to end all remote working arrangements in their company. While I didn’t agree with the opinion (a snarky toned commentary by an older white male who clearly doesn’t see organizations, leadership and career’s the same way I do), I was happy that this issue was still on the front burner.
That brings us to this guest post from Kevin Sheridan, author of the NY Times best seller “Building A Magnetic Culture”. Kevin is also the former CEO of HR Solutions, an employee survey firm. He has a very interesting take on this topic, with stats to back it up. I hope you take a minute to give it a read. (more…)
I was doing a little pro-bono career coaching the other day with a fellow HR professional. She wanted to chat because of a recent, personal “light bulb moment” which illuminated the need to move on to a new job and company. The actual moment that caused her reaction doesn’t matter, but the fact that she was paying attention enough to realize that she had an epiphany does. It’s amazing how many people don’t notice the light bulb moment when it happens and then sometime later the light bulb burns out. Now the path for your career becomes amazingly dark and scary. Have you had a light bulb moment in your career? If so, did it cause you to act? I would love to hear about it.
Here is a great column from the January 22 Chicago Tribune about the importance of building and maintaining your online personal brand. http://bit.ly/VvL8GG
Favorite quote from the article :“You have to live the brand promise every day,” Gershbein said. “A brand promise is something that evolves through the writing of a profile (on a social media site) but also through your actions. People see your LinkedIn profile, they see that posting articles, not just shamelessly self-promoting, giving other people kudos and credit. Nothing builds brands better and quicker than respect — giving it, knowing how to receive it and being in conversations that mean something.”
The definition of retirement has changed during my work lifetime. Retirement used to be synonymous with ’company clock, pensions, retirement parties and tee times’. Not anymore. Baby Boomers want (or need) to keep working, but in a different way. As discussed in a recent Chicago Tribune article by Mark Miller, enter the ‘encore career’. Nine million workers, aged 44-70 are in encore occupations and an additional 31 million hope to launch them (from a survey by Encore.org).
For those interested in this topic, the Tribune recommended a new book by Marci Alboher named “The Encore Career Handbook: How To Make a Living and A Difference in the Second Half of Life”. I checked out an excerpt and it looked interesting. I have included it in my ‘Great Reads’ section on the right hand of the page.
Last week I wrote a blog post about how we need to be ever vigilant as we manage our career. I quoted a friend who recently said, “even if you are employed, you are always in job search.” Truer words were never spoken.
I was thinking about this as I read the December 17 Time magazine article by Rana Foroohar (“The Curious Capitalist) that focused on Hewlett-Packard as a poster child example for corporate merger mania gone wrong. She stated that “HP’s problem, and one that troubles the rest of corporate America, is an addiction to buying short-term growth at the expense of long-term innovation which not only reduces profit but job creation.
It wasn’t hard for me to also draw a straight line connection between this ‘addiction’ and the career turbulence that we all now experience. It has also engendered significant employee distrust. As Ms Foroohar notes, Hewlett-Packard is again exposed as an example by Dr. Kimberly Elsbach, a professor at the University of California-Davis who co-authored a paper entitled: ” The Building of Employee Distrust: A Case Study of HP from 1995-2010″.
The lessons for fans of 3 Connections? Here are some thoughts:
- Work for companies that truly value innovation
- Stay proactive in managing your career
- Pay attention to your internal “trust-o-meter”
A couple of years ago I was at a company during the day of downsizing announcements to employees. I was struck by a conversation with a woman who had been told, after 20 years with the company, that her job was being eliminated. She was totally caught off guard by the news and an emotional wreck. But, she shouldn’t have been so surprised. The company had been changing for the past few years - there was a new strategy, new CEO, issues in the marketplace and two recent downsizing’s.
This recent article from USA reminds all of us to not be blindsided by change and to make sure your offer to your company and marketplace is of value. As a friend recently told me, “even those who are employed should always be in job search mode”.
A couple of years ago a few of my colleagues and I were facilitating a job search / career planning workshop with several recent college grads. During the workshop we took great pains to not talk about our personal career journey reasoning that a bunch of young adults would have no interest in our stories. At the end of the workshop we asked for feedback and, to a person,every participant said that they would have found great value in hearing our stories – successes, failures, insights, things we would do differently etc. I was thinking about this the other day and since this blog is about careers, work and leadership, I decided that sharing the my career journey might be of interest.
My journey started well before college and has roots going back to early childhood. I assume yours does too. One of my favorite questions to ask during career coaching is, ‘When you were young, what did you want to do when you grew up? Adults love to ask kids this question because it’s fun. As an adult, reflecting on how you answered this question can give you insights into your hard-wired interests and passions.
We would discuss this at our college grad workshop and it would produce some interesting reflections. For example, people who wanted to be a doctor or nurse would often have a strong inclination to helping others. People who wanted to be an astronaut tended to be creative and adventurous. People who wanted to be an athlete liked competition or loved teamwork and collaboration
So, when you were young, what did you want to do when you grew up?
More on this question and how it connects to my personal career journey next time.
Posted in Engagement, Human Resources Insights, Leadership, Your Career, tagged Career Direction, Career Planning, Corporate Life, Engagement, Leadership, Motivation on November 5, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
There is a really inspirational story developing involving the Indianapolis Colts football team this year. Their new coach, Chuck Pagano, was recently diagnosed with leukemia and had to take a leave of absence. While the departure of the coach was emotional, it wasn’t expected to impact the performance of the team because the Colts were the worst team in the league last year. Add that to the fact that they have a rookie QB, Andrew Luck, and all expected it be ’better luck next year’ time in Indy.
Rather than a downward spiral, however, the situation has inspired the team. Indy won in dramatic fashion yesterday to up their record to 5-3, 3 more wins than all of 2011. Coach Pagano was on hand after the game and gave an emotional speech to the team. He told the team that they were successful because they were living in the vision rather than living in the circumstances. He then drew a comparison to his own person situation, indicating that he had chosen to ”live in the vision of how his life will be after he beats cancer rather than living in the circumstances of today”. Powerful stuff.
I couldn’t help but draw a comparison to people and their careers. So often I see individuals living in the circumstances of their career rather than creating a career vision within which they aspire to work.
Individually, what can you do to live within your career vision? If you are a leader, how can you help your employees live in their career vision?
I was meeting with a senior exec last week and he was lamenting the external challenges his organization was facing. Most troubling to him was the difficulty of communicating the need for change. One of his issues was executive communication, i.e. the ability of his senior leaders to persuasively make the case for change. The second issue was employee inertia and their unwillingness to acknowledge the need for change. Much of their employee population had an “entitlement” mentality about both their company (our customers will always need us) and their jobs (my company will always need me).
On Monday I read the an article in the Chicago Tribune business section entitled, ” The Corporate Ladder: It’s not an escalator … Don’t be passive with your career” http://bit.ly/SlNM3e. Quoting the columnist, “many people get into a job and assume that advancement comes automatically. If that was ever true, it’s certainly not the case now. Workers who don’t take control of their careers risk waking up one day realizing they are not as far along as they’d like to be regardless of how much they bust their butts”.
What are the parallels, you ask, between these two observations?
Don’t be inert; you need to be Ert!
Don’t assume that your job and company will always be there. They won’t be. And don’t assume that advancement comes automatically. It doesn’t.
I read an interesting article a couple of weeks ago in the Chicago Tribune (http://bit.ly/Si9bsm) entitled: “Rough Economy Means No Vacation”. It cited a recent survey by Kelton Research that said 32% of us didn’t take time off because of workload. Another 15% were fearful that taking time off would make them vulnerable in an unstable job market. This is more evidence of an ever-growing disconnected workforce in America. When people feel so threatened or overworked, can they really do their best? And, as the article infers, once the economy rebounds people will be looking for a company with leadership that understands the need for more balance. Do you agree?
Just heard from a friend of mine who started a new job four months ago with a firm owned by Private Equity. Here is what he had to say:
Things have gone well for me….already 4 months into the role…how time flies by! However, since we are PE backed, a liquidity event is probably out there over the next 18-24 months, so I may be back on the market at some point.
I know that the whole Private Equity thing is center stage in our current presidential politics, that’s not the purpose of this post. (Although many would say that introduction of PE / VC into organizational dynamics has been a ‘Bain’ to our existence …) My friend’s comment is a reminder that you are obligated to stay proactive with your career because the winds of change can blow suddenly. And working for a Private Equity based firm is the poster child for why this is true.
I just personally experienced the same thing with my job change. My former company was recently acquired by a Parisian based PE firm. It was not the only reason I left but it was an important sign that it was time to move on. While I don’t agree with this approach to business (in my experience, employees at PE firms have a tendency to be overworked and are often reminded that their jobs are at risk if certain financial targets are not met), the PE firm that bought my company was not evil. I met two of the owners and actually thought they were decent people. But it was clear that they weren’t owners, they were investors. That meant things were going to change dramatically and ultimately it would not be a good fit for me. Or worse.
So, it was time to get proactive or else find myself reacting to the changes. And, that’s never a good place to be. Is it?
My splendid wife counselled me a few months ago. She told me, succinctly, “physician, heal thyself”. Okay, she was being a bit of a smart a##, but she was right. I had known it was time to make a job change for probably a couple of years. But it was easier to stay than to push myself forward. So I stayed and didn’t practice what I so often preach. There were lots of reasons why but none of them were really compelling. So often it’s just easier to be inert not to do something. Until last month when I received a great job offer. And yesterday, I started my new job with Vantage Leadership Consulting (www.vantageleadership.com) in Chicago!
So that explains the hiatus from 3 Connections. More to come…
I want to reflect for a second on what universal health care might mean to our economy. I wonder how many people would feel empowered to follow their passions and leave their unhappy employment situation if they had access to universal healthcare? Wouldn’t this stimulate more creativity, innovation and productivity if more people were doing what they love? Wouldn’t we have more entrepreneurs, leading to more job creation? All too often American workers feel like indentured servants because of their need to provide healthcare coverage for themselves and their family.
Posted in Engagement, Human Resources Insights, Leadership, Videos, Articles and Books, Your Career, tagged Career Management, Corporate Life, Engagement, Human Resources, Leadership, Retention on July 11, 2012 | 1 Comment »
A few months ago I showed up for a customer meeting and was directed to the 10th floor of a large downtown Chicago office building. As I left the elevator and headed to the meeting conference room I went by rows and rows of empty cubicles. Just beyond this space were cubes populated with employees, diligently doing their job. Imagine going to work every day and passing this scorched earth image of the corporate wars.
I was reminded of this picture recently after reading an online article at Truth Out (truthout.org) entitled “Job Security: It’s The Disease Of The 21st Century and It’s Killing us” (http://bit.ly/PvGetM). I invite you to read the article. On the surface it is a sobering account of corporate life in the 21st century, as evidenced by this quote:
Job insecurity is nothing new for those on the lower rungs of the economic ladder. Since the ’70s and ’80s, a shifting labor market and anti-worker policies have been fraying the ties between employers and employees, fueling the perception that a job is a temporary affair. Globalization, outsourcing, contracting, downsizing, and recession have conspired to make confidence in a stable, long-term job a privilege that few can enjoy. But the global recession has blown the numbers experiencing persistent job insecurity through the roof. In the U.S., the stress of three years of unemployment over 8 percent – the longest stretch at that level since the Great Depression – has rocketed our anxieties to new heights, even among traditionally secure workers. In Europe, where employees have enjoyed more protections, workers are feeling increasingly stressed, often trapped in low-wage and temporary employment with few benefits. Even in Germany, this trend of part-time “mini-jobs” is wiping away the old image of Europe as a worker-friendly land of happy, full-time employment.
After I reflected on the article, I actually fount it inspirational:
It’s a wakeup call to organizations that need to rebuild their relationship with employees.
It’s a reminder to leaders to lead with compassion, courage and respect.
Most importantly it’s a push to all of us to proactively build a job and career that no one can take away from you.
Please let me know your reactions and thoughts.
Check out this video – another reminder to think twice before deciding to play it safe with your career.
Go ahead … disrupt yourself … I dare you!!
I had a call this week from a friend who just accepted a new exec HR job.
He actually had two offers to on the table. The first job was more a more traditional HR leadership role in a fairly stable organization. The second had more risk (private equity) but more upside. And it was a much better fit for my friend’s needs – he enjoys the challenges that come with start ups and turnarounds. He chose option B and I think he made a great choice.
Well because nothing is stable anymore. And to assume so is really taking a risk. My friend followed his passion and the risk may pay off. In not, this experience will lead to the next opportunity. In today’s twitchy corporate world, not taking a risk is a bigger risk than taking a risk. Make sense?
Posted in Engagement, Human Resources Insights, Job Searching, Videos, Articles and Books, Your Career, tagged Career Management, Corporate Life, downsizing, Engagement, Human Resources, job loss, Terminated on June 17, 2012 | Leave a Comment »
Over the past few years I have helped several people through the job search process, many of these interactions have followed an involuntary “push” by their organization. One of the surprising things I have learned is how little anger people feel about losing their job. Mostly people are tired, relieved and downright happy to move on.
I read a guest column by Steve Doppelt in the Chicago Tribune this morning (http://trib.in/KLvl0k) that focused on this very topic. While the center of the story is about how a son struggles to tell his parents about his job loss that he is actually happy about, the background story is about how a job loss can be a positive. It also reminds us that others can see how unhappy we are in our jobs, even if we think they don’t. Here’s a quote from the article:
Father – ”You left your job, didn’t you?”
Son – “Yeah, I did, how did you know?”
Mother – “Well, you have been so unhappy. And, lately you’ve seemed so much happier. Maybe it’s for the best, I would cry every night I got off the phone with you. You sounded so miserable.”
So, are you unhappy in your job? Would you be relieved if someone would end it for you? And, do you think others in your life don’t notice and aren’t impacted by your unhappiness? Think again.
What are you waiting for?
I was chatting with a buddy, Jerry, today.
He and I went to graduate school oh so many years ago and we know each other pretty darn well. We were discussing the difficulty of managing your career in an ever twitchy world where all too often you feel alone. Jerry thought people would benefit from having their own personal career advisory board. This “Board” would be made up of a few people who know you well. They would be people you trust, people who will give you candid advice, people who will listen, and most importantly, people who can see things about you that you can’t quite see yourself.
Do you have your own Career Advisory Board? If not, should you?
Interesting thought, don’t you think?
“When Craig Ellwanger’s former bosses hired him as an ad-sales representative in 2006, they were glad he was single with no kids, Mr. Ellwanger says. They told him in the interview, “We’re going to ship you all over the place. Don’t get too attached to any place or anyone.” He spent half his time on the road, living in hotels or company apartments.”
This is a quote from a recent Wall Street Journal article (http://on.wsj.com/MH5RVL) on the pressures of being single and trying to manage your career. This dilemma used to be solely the province of single mothers but not the issue has clearly transcended to many who are just single.
Do you think employers take advantage of people who are single and theoretically have ‘more to give’ to the organization?
The employee-employer contract is dead … Loyalty is a thing of the past … Younger workers no longer expect or want a long-term relationship with one company…
Just when you thought the rules for the new world of work and career had been clearly established, along comes this study from Towers Watson on Employee Retention and Attraction (http://bit.ly/Jjd79d).
Here is a sample of some of the surprising findings:
- 63 % of employees younger than 40 felt that the company’s retirement plan was an important part of their employment decision. This is up 35 percentage points from 2009
- 72 % of respondents younger than 40 said the company’s retirement plan was an important reason for staying with their current employer. This is also up 35 percentage points from 2009.
- 74% of respondents younger than 40 said that they would like to retire from their current company. This is an increase of 30% from 2009.
Wow. These findings shocked me. Were these findings simply a result of our economic crisis? Or are there other factors at play? What do you think?
I want to scream at people to wake up and realize that the old world is gone. And, if you don’t realize it, you will get burned. Again.
Over the weekend, one of my neighbor’s stopped by for some friendly HR advice from yours truly. Nancy has been employed by a large Chicago area firm for 38 years, having worked her way up from a temporary admin assistant to a manager position. She works for a company that used to have a family feel, a place that used to celebrate longevity and was considered a great place to work. When people retired, it was cause for joy, sadness and some ambivalent feelings about leaving.
I just had lunch with Amanda to celebrate her new job. She landed it through building alumni relationships. Here’s how.
About 9 months ago, Amanda went to an alumni event here in Chicago. There she met Gary, a fellow alum from her graduate program. Fast forward 8 months and Amanda hears about an interesting opportunity at Gary’s company. She re-connects with Gary and he forwards her resume to the hiring manager. Amanda starts her new job Monday.
- Get out there and look for nice ways to meet new people
- Your alumni network is a great way to meet people who you can help and who will want to help you
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help
I read an article a week ago in the Chicago Tribune about ‘Workaholism’ ( http://lat.ms/Ih7yVJ). We always think that workaholism is a bad thing, that working too much endangers health, psyche and personal life by being too wedded to work. But, is there such a thing as an ‘engaged’ workaholic?
Turns out you can be, at least according Dr Wilmar Schaufeli, a professor in the Netherlands. He theorizes that engaged workaholics actually like their work, that they are “pushed” to their work rather while classic workaholics are “pulled”.
One of the key ingredients for engaged workaholics turns out to be how you are treated at work and how much control you have over what you do. This ties directly to the type of leader you work for, don’t you think?
To find out what kind of workaholic you are , take the following quiz. (more…)
A buddy of mine (let’s call him Mike) got a call last week from one of the big exec recruiting firms. It seems they were interested in him for a high-profile, senior exec position with an industry competitor. I never in a million years could imagine Mike moving on from his company, where he had worked for the past 30 years. His identity and the company’s were almost inseparable. Yet, he decided to pursue the opportunity despite the fact that he had a nice job where he was well-respected, had a reasonable amount of influence and a decent comp package.
He felt underutilized. He knew that he could have more of an impact if he was allowed, but he wasn’t, so now he was considering leaving.
What a shame.
Not for my friend as much as the company he may leave. So many organizations make people feel this way later in their careers. Just when their skills, competencies, experiences and perspectives merge together have the maximum impact, a ceiling is placed on their ability to contribute.
Or worse, they are asked to leave.
What do you think?
I was on site with a company last week, meeting with an employee who had just been told that her job was eliminated. She was unceremoniously terminated after 22 years and today was her last day at work. Through her anger and tears she told me that she had been planning to retire soon and was hoping to leave on her own terms. That hope ended when she was asked to meet her supervisor in a sterile conference room located near the building exit.
As we continued to talk, she told me about a company that had changed dramatically over the past few years. It used to be good place to work, a place where people knew each other and cared about each other. But recently, things started to change. The global marketplace had shaken a business that produced a commodity product. Margins were thin and the Chinese could make the product cheaper. Two years ago private equity stepped in. The old world officially spun off its axis and was replaced by a not so kinder and gentler approach to business.
By now most people understand the challenges of running a successful, profitable organization in today’s twitchy corporate world. One of the products of these challenges is a reliance on outsourcing to gain efficiencies … technology, customer service human resources and accounting processes (and people) have all felt the sting.
And, as I watched this sad woman leave her place of employment for the last time, I wondered if we haven’t also started to outsource empathy.
I just started reading a new book, The Start Up Of You, that was co-written by the Co-Founder and Chairman of Linked In. It provides great career advice for this wild world we live in. I am going to add it to my Great Reads section. I suggest that you check it out.
Check out a new Blog Roll addition to 3 Connections – Jeff Carroll’s Career Revival Tour Blog. Jeff, who is a former colleague and good buddy of mine, has a unique way of combining career planning with the passion and energy of rock and roll. Jeff will be on WGN radio ( http://www.wgnradio.com/) every other Saturday for the remainder of the year discussing ways to re-connect your work and career to your passions - with a heavy dose of rock music in the mix. Jeff’s appearance on WGN will be Saturday, March 10, at noon CST. Happy Listening!
In an earlier post I shared the three keys to career success in the new world of work. One of these keys is the importance of learning and keeping your skills and competencies contemporary. I just read an interestin online article by Jessica Stillman on the site ‘Gigamon’ that described the Ten Key Skills For The Future of Work. Here they are (to get the definition of each skill, click on ttp://bit.ly/tkfC7e for the full article):
- Sense Making
- Social Intelligence
- Novel and Adaptive Thinking
- Cross-Cultural Competency
- Computational Thinking
- New-Media Literacy
- Design Mindset
- Cognitive Load Management
- Virtual Collaboration
I met Fred Jones last Thursday.
No, his name wasn’t really Fred Jones … that’s the name of the character who loses his job in a great Ben Folds song that sheds a light on the coldness of the downsizing culture that is so much a part of corporate life these days. The person’s name doesn’t matter. What happened to him, and what’s happening to all of us, does.
The real life Fred (that’s what I will call him) got caught up in a corporate downsizing last week. 56 years old with a wife and two college aged kids. When he was told about his job loss, Fred didn’t get angry. He got scared. He sat in disbelief in the sterile conference room and then he started to cry. He didn’t know what to do, how to tell his family or how to face himself. He was afraid of the future while trying his best to hang on to the past. He asked the HR people over and over again if there was anything that could be done. There wasn’t. And, then it was time for Fred to leave.
In situations like this, many want the company to be the villain. But it wasn’t … this was just business. Fred was not losing his job to cost reductions but to a different strategic direction. Fred had good skills that were now simply the wrong skills. While you could argue with the timing of the change (the holiday season), the company did what they could to help Fred by providing a nice separation package that included outplacement.
Fred was complicit in his personal drama. He hadn’t been paying attention to the shifts in the company direction. He buried his head in the sand and ignored the new rules of corporate life and career management. He found himself being reactive rather than proactive to change. And he got caught.
I am not sure the moral of this story is; I do know that this is a corporate drama that plays itself out over and over again across the country and the globe. And, it just doesn’t feel good.
A student group did an excellent video to ’Fred Jones Part 2, I encourage you to check it out.
During my last corporate HR leadership role I noticed that my enthusiasm for my job was starting to wane. The combination of never ending restructurings, resources constraints, endless budget meetings and a lack of strategic human resources discussions were sapping my focus. To re-energize, I decided to commit myself to building better leaders in my company. I thought that this was the best way for me to make an impact, both for the organization and the individual. I didn’t know it at the time but this was probably the genesis to my viewpoint on organizations, leadership, careers and work that is shared throughout this blog.
I believe that great HR practicioners should play a vital role in connecting individuals to their company.
I chose leadership as my vehicle for making a difference. This blog post from HR Toolbox (http://bit.ly/rJEk85) proposes that Human Resources professionals can impact both their company and it’s employees by dedicating themselves to helping individuals connect their passions to their work. The blogger asks “What can HR do to touch this part of employees’ heart and do something about it within the organisation so that employees live ‘full life’ and thereby get better satisfaction?”
What a radical idea, huh?
So, you are going to start your job search for a new HR leadership role, eh? Here’s a tip that might help you clarify your offer.
I have had the fortune of working with many great Human Resources leaders. Now some of you are thinking that this statement is an oxymoron – but I will not have any of that negative HR talk on this blog….
I have noticed three characteristics of these successful HR leaders.
- First, they know the business – the strategy, the marketplace, the competition, the products, etc. But, more importantly, they are intellectually curious about how the business works and what people do to make it successful.
- Second, they are tremendous at building trusting relationships.
- Third, they not only have a broad HR skill set, they have one area of HR passion that distinguishes them. It could be anything – diversity, leadership, development, talent acquisition,labor relations, etc. It ibecame something that they were known for; part of their workplace identity.
So, when someone asks you to tell them about yourself, try incorporating these three things in your answer.
I have had a couple of recent experiences that caused me to reflect about the different stages of our careers. And that means another great 3 Connections blog post!
Last week I attended the HRMAC Summit (HRMAC is the Human Resources Management Association of Chicago for you non Windy City types) and went to an engrossing presentation about younger generations and how their expectations are changing organizational life for all of us. As I was listening to the speaker I was also thinking about a recent career coaching engagement with a senior exec who just landed a new job.
What’s the connection, you ask? (more…)
Over a year ago I wrote a post ( you can find this post listed directly below this one) entitled ’Tales of the Disconnected” that described the sitatuation of a good friend who was miserable in her job, hated what her company had become and desparately needed a change. But because of fear, uncertainty and inertia she languished in limbo.
Flash forward one year and everything changed. A couple of months ago she sent me an email that she had found a new job and was moving on soon. While she was anxious about making a change after so many years with the same company she found herself excited about the prospect of finally making a change. She has now been on her new job for several weeks and all is well. Actually, much better than well, as you can read:
“This has been an unbelievably great move for me. Even though I am far from being knowledgeable about how to do things here, I still feel so much more comfortable here than I did at my old job. The culture is way, way different. (People actually smile here!) I’m working with great people again (thank God!) and working on things that have some purpose. I am learning new things and re-discovering old skills. My commute is no worse (and is often better) than it was before….I feel better and still have some energy to do things after I get home from work.”
I have only one regret … and that is that I didn’t have the courage to make this move earlier. But at least I made it.
Congrats, Terrie! You became re-connected.
Below are excerpts from an email I received recently from a good friend . People share these kind of real life corporate experiences with me all the time. My friend is smart, experienced with exceptionally strong personal values. Any company would be crazy not to want her as an employee. And now, someone this valuable is disconnected from her work, company and career. Everyone is going to lose.
My current job takes me to all kinds of corporate business locations. One of my favorite things to do during these visits is to arrive a bit early and wait in the reception area. You can get a real feel for a company and its culture by just sitting and observing. What’s the decor of the office? How are people behaving? How are they dressed? Are they smiling and cordial or harried and rushed. How friendly is the receptionist? Or, is there even a receptionist?
Today I had a meeting at Illinois Tool Works (ITW) corporate headquarters to discuss leadership with a HR exec. If you don’t know ITW, they are one of the largest and most successful companies in Chicago. And one of the oldest. They have been in business for over 100 years.
As usual, I arrived a bit early (partly by plan, but partly because you can never trust the unpredictable nature of Chicago area traffic). While I was sitting in my car I observed a lot of activity in the parking lot. As people began to exit their vehicles, I couldn’t help but notice a parade of older individuals (all right, I know that some of you smart alecks in my life might call me ‘older’, but these are people that I call ‘older’ … lots of gray hair, receding hairlines. canes … the early bird special crowd) heading towards the entrance to the building. And then I realized what was happening. (more…)
People love a good accident. And the media, ever aware of the need for ratings or circulation, is happy to provide us with as much negative news as we can stomach. I advise people who are in search of a new job or contemplating a career change to stay as far away of the traditional news as possible. Staying focused on the positive is not only good for your peace of mind, it will make a big difference in how you connect to people. So, instead of turning on the nightly news to hear about the latest stock market dip, the next company to eliminate 1,000 jobs or the rant of an out of control Tea Party supporter predicting the end of the world if we don’t cut spending, log on to The Daily Good -www.good.is/tag/the-daily-good.
Despite my Canandian ancestry I wouldn’t want to live anywhere but the good old USA. I have often wondered, however, if living in the land of opportunity doesn’t cause us an excess level of anxiety. There’s a lot of pressure that comes with freedom. Freedom of choice, freedom of decision making, freedom to become a millionaire and yes, freedom of career direction.
This thought provoking article from MSNBC online poses the question, “Can the pursuit of career happiness cause more unhappiness?” – http://on.msnbc.com/neUgoz.
Well, maybe freedom also allows us too much time to think.
“There is going to be an exodus of workers leaving organizations all across the United States”, so says a recent ere.net article in reference to Mercer’s recent ’What’s Working’ survey. My favorite quote from this article is ” for all the work recruiters are doing on the front end, organizations are undoing it on the back end”.
Do you agree?
To read the entire article, including a link to the Mercer survey, click here - http://linkd.in/r05V4j
I was recently on site with a company that was going through corporate downsizing. 25 people were being told that their job was eliminated and that they no longer had a job with the company. Nothing new, this is life in our Corporate America. The HR VP is a close friend of mine so I offered to be speak to individuals following their termination discussion. (a side note, unike the movie ‘Up In The Air’, companies do not hire people to deliver the termination and separation package message. That is the sole province of the person’s supervisor and human resources. One of the few similarities to the real world scenario and the movie is my remarkable resemblance to George Clooney …). I don’t do much of this work but when I do I have noticed that most people aren’t angry or even emotional. They are usually resigned to their fate (most people have figured things out well in advance), relieved (they are ready for a change), unemotional (this has happened to me before so nothing new) or happy (they are paying me to leave? I am already looking for a job because this place sucks…). Again, life in today’s Corporate America.
Surprisingly, I am caught off guard when someone is sad, tearful or scared. Which is what happened during my recent on site experience. (more…)
A freind of mine, Lyndy, told me about a recent career coaching conversation she was having with a former corporate attorney. The attorney has been ambivalent about returning to corporate America (gee, I wonder why) and has been debating other options. After asking Lyndy for her ‘permission to go’, she decided that a few months in Tuscany might just be the antecdote she needs to clear her head and get herself future focused. BRAVO! Too often, people get paralyzed by not knowing what to do but they plow ahead anyway and often times find themselves in another unhappy situation. Of course, all of us don’t have the financial wherewithal to to fly off to Tuscany for a few months but the lesson nonetheless is the same. Get your head clear so you can focus on your direction. And if you can’t go to Tuscany, just open a nice bottle of fine Tuscan wine!
Proving the naysayers wrong and that I really do listen to my lovely spouse, I checked out a website and book she recently recommended to me. The book, written by Paula Caligiuri, is entitled “Get A Life, Not A Job” and it implores people to connect their work to their passions. This should sound familiar to loyal readers of 3 Connections. Anyway, I have added her book to my ‘Great Reads’ recommendation. I also recommend checking out her website and blog. Cool stuff. http://www.paulacaligiuri.com/
From his early days as a sports columnist to his authorship of great books like ‘Tuesdays With Morrie’, Mitch Albom has always been one of my favorite writers. Last week he wrote an excellent column in the Detroit Free Press (http://bit.ly/etfXo1) that talks about employee engagement, the economic downturn and a corporate caste system that never seems to change. This column is another wake up call that we need to take control of our careers. My favorite quotes from the article include:
Whether you are looking for a job or reflecting on a career move, understanding your strengths is vital.
You can take a free strengths survey through at the Values In Action website (http://uat.viacharacter.org/SURVEYS.aspx). It is entitled the “Survey of Character” and after completing a short Meyers Briggs like questionnaire you will receive a listing or your top strengths for free. There is an opportunity to purchase a VIA Interpretive Report ($40) if you like.
I did this survey a couple of months ago and there was no follow-up communication from the VIA Institute and no spam as a result.