The End is Near! Time for Your Annual Career Checkup

The holiday season is upon us and, with it, the end of 2014. The internet retailers and big box stores are pitching you to buy, buy, buy. And the last thing you want to be is a grumpy Scrooge.

But save some time to look back on this year. Are you satisfied with your present career? A recent study noted that 80 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with some aspect of their current job. Some issues which are frequently mentioned include:

  • Compensation
  • Work-life balance
  • The organization’s culture is toxic
  • Stress and burnout
  • Lack of recognition
  • Disagreement with one’s boss or fellow workers

Do one or more of these leave a sour taste in your mouth?

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Do You Use Spiritual Energy to Manage Your Career Development?

When I first meet prospective clients, I often inquire about their religious or spiritual orientation, but only if they appear open to such an approach. There is a distinction between religious and spiritual. Religious refers to a public adherence to a set of beliefs and rituals as codified by the early followers of a spiritual leader. Spiritual is a state of being in which an individual explores a private world of thought and experience.

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During Your Career Search Campaign, Manage Your Mental and Emotional Energy

Title: During Your Career Search Campaign, Manage Your Mental and Emotional Energy.

When you are unemployed, it’s both human and natural to experience stress. When you are employed but hate your job, the same dynamic holds true. I often say to my career clients that it takes more energy to hold down a job and look for something better.

In my last post, I wrote about managing your physical energy. Today I want to talk about managing your mental and emotional energy.

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For Career Success, “Manage Your Physical Energy, Not Your Time.”

Career networking, conducting informational interviews, and changing jobs or careers is inherently stress producing. You need to work hard and spend time, but you also need to work smart. This is one of four dimensions mentioned by Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy in yesterday’s post.

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For Career Success, “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time.”

The heading of this post is taken directly from an article authored by Shwartz, T; McCarthy, C, “Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time” Harvard Business Review (October 2007).

Tony Schwartz and Catherine McCarthy focus on companies and their employees. Their recommendations, however, apply to those individuals committed to finding better jobs, changing careers or establishing their own consulting practices.

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What Aspect of Your Career Development Do You Find Most Challenging?

Designing and implementing a career development plan is a complex process. Like many folks, you selected a major as a college undergrad and looked for work in that industry upon graduation. You got that first job and then looked for ways to advance within your company or moved on to other companies in search of both greater financial and promotional opportunities. For most of us, however, that process seemed haphazard and lacking in organization. What we needed was a plan.

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When Should You Consider a Life & Career Coach?

Americans are sold on coaches. We hire coaches to improve our golf or tennis games. We hire fitness trainers to get us back in shape. We hire personal organizers to put our homes and offices in order.

Yet, I find people are often reluctant to hire a life or career coach. After many years working with people who have come to me, I think I’ve discovered why. Hiring a life and/or career coach is a very personal decision. Potential clients need to admit to themselves and another human being that they feel unfulfilled in some fundamental way. To admit this is to present themselves as vulnerable, frustrated and lacking self-esteem.

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So What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

I remember being asked this question by a doting aunt. I must have been 10 or 11 at the time. I learned later she was a college graduate and keenly interested in the plans her nephews and nieces had for their lives. I can’t remember what I replied.

What job did you have in mind at such an age?

While in college, I planned to complete a Ph.D. and teach history at a university. University research and teaching was to be my career. This was at the height of the Vietnam War, mind you, and colleges and universities nationwide were being flooded with applicants, Ph.D credentials in hand, seeking employment. The supply far exceeded the need. I abandoned my dream midway through my master’s program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. I wondered what the hell I was going to do.

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Diamond Hard Resolve and a Silk Spirit: Walking the Path of Transition

One of my favorite people is Lorenzo Inglese. A former client, he has carved out a very nice career for himself. In the piece below, he shares the wisdom he gained going through his own transition.

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What Factors Enhance Workforce Engagement?

Schwartz and Porath, in their Times op-ed article “Why You Hate Work” define engagement as “involvement, commitment, passion, enthusiasm, focused effort and energy” and link it to greater corporate performance. They back their conclusion with findings substantiated by studies undertaken by Gallup and the consulting firm Towers Watson.

Companies can build engagement among their employees by meeting four core needs:

  • Renewal – Employees who were encouraged to take frequent breaks reported enhanced feelings of rest, creativity and increased energy.
  • Value – Feeling cared about by one’s manager increases employee productivity and well-being more than any other single attribute of a manager.
  • Focus – When employees could focus on one task at a time or prioritize tasks, they demonstrated significantly greater productivity.
  • Purpose – Employees who could derive meaning and a sense of purpose in their work were more likely to stay with their organizations.

When asked if their employees performed better when they felt more energized, valued, focused and purposeful, senior managers answered with a resounding “yes.”

When the same leaders were asked how much they invested in meeting those needs, most often the question was met with silence.