The Stay Where You Are, Job Search.

So things are not going well at your current job. You have outgrown your current role. And besides, every day, a new happenstance threatens to add to your six grey hairs (yes, you counted them last weekend, and you are now up from five). Should you indulge yourself and just quit or continue to work at this dreadful place as your job search?

No easy remedy exists for hapless employees who quit their current company before they have lined up a superior replacement job. When it comes to job leaving, you had better have a plan and an exit strategy, or there will be no meaningful sympathy for the rash move job-quitter. So, before handing in your notice, consider if there is any unexplored potential in your current job; that could make it worth your while to stay. Well, at least until you have formulated a proper leaving plan! 

 Here are a few other things to consider. Start with arranging a career status chat with your boss. Hiring is costly in terms of energy, time, and money, so companies are keen to keep their existing teams intact. Your manager will likely be receptive to meeting with you to work out remedies to help re-fashion your job in a new way that reflects your career interests. Talk to your boss about the possibilities for enriching your role and adding to your experience.

  Very few people use all of their skills in their current job. Consider what under-utilized skills or potential you have that could be of benefit to your current employer. Talk to your boss about the possibilities for augmenting your current role, and remember to ask a lot of diagnostic questions to ascertain whether your manager is in support of your goal.

The company will benefit from using more of your talents. You can build experience in the specialty areas that interest you, which you can use as leverage when applying for a new role later. Consider a lateral move to a different department. An internal move will enable you to leverage your existing knowledge of the business, its processes, and its culture. Besides a new learning opportunity, an internal move can create another vertical advancement ladder. 

 Try to ensure a smooth transition and minimize the disruption to your current team. You can do a range of things to accommodate the handover professionally. That includes completing ongoing projects, working out the project priorities with your manager, leaving clear documentation, or training your successor in processes or software.

If your only avenue for career advancement option appears to be the exit door, after considerable thought. I would recommend that you seek the help of a Career Strategy Coach. To be clear, Career Strategy is not the same as Interview Preparation or Interview Coaching, job search coaching processes that focus on answering fact-based interview questions precisely. The downside is that these performance-directed coaching processes often turn anxious, goal-oriented candidates into boring talking heads and often obfuscate the candidate’s personality.

A Career Strategy Coach can advise you on your relevant referential and replicable skills that will enhance the possibility of success in your job search. And help you fine-tune your interviewing tactics to ensure that you convey the complexity of your experience and your determined long-term goals to interviewers. Your coach can also help you to clarify and adjust your career decision-making criteria so you do not give answers at the interview that may succeed in getting you the job but do not convey your career goals.

Your Career Strategy Consultant can help you help change your interviewing approach from a spirited tennis match to a thoughtful, strategic, and goal-oriented chess match!

Why a Career Review Just Makes Sense

It is apparent to many that the longer you have been in a job, the harder making the break is likely to be. In addition, the longer you take to decide to make the change, the more aggravated and frustrated you will become.

This state of flux can impact your life, and it is most challenging for our nearest and dearest! Some of us will change our jobs ten times or more in our careers.

Many people will change their industry focus and skill specialties at least three times in their working lives. It is now accepted that people will change jobs every few years. Times have changed.

What is the starting point if you are in a career funk?
Do a conscientious review of where you are in your career to identify your reasons for wanting the change, what needs to change, and why.

1.   Is it simply the company’s business approach, hiring practices, or culture no longer in sync with your values or your way of thinking or working?

2.   Is it the job itself? Are you unhappy with the work and lack of challenge? Or are you no longer getting the buzz or job satisfaction you used to?

3.   Do you believe you are being taken advantage of or not getting the recognition you deserve?

4.   Are you seeking to step up the career ladder but can’t see the way forward since your growth ladder has stopped mid-air? Or the company leadership has been in their spot on the ladder forever.

5.   Maybe it’s money? But since you started at your position so very long ago, even with regular annual raises, you are significantly behind industry recommendations for your industry.

CHECK OUT YOUR OPTIONS

1.   Figure out what is holding you back from making the change. Are you unable to maximize your full potential since you have gained all the experience possible at your current company?

2.   Ramp up your networking. It can pay dividends if you are a recognized expert or an up-and-coming professional in your field. What have you got to lose?

3.   Are your career goals at odds with your values? Because to change, you must change yourself. A career change often involves a life change!

4.   Decide whether it should be a company or an industry specialty change. Or is starting your own company an option?

5.   Engage with a Career Strategy Consultant for direct and personalized help or attend webinars that discuss the topic to ascertain your options.

Have you had a significant shift in your value set, triggered by events in your life and your attitude to life? Do something about it!  

Dealing with Irascible Managers or Co-Workers

I have worked with and for quite a few problematic characters throughout my long career. Some are still friends and confidants, and a few continue to be valued as mentors.

Many of these irascible managers or co-workers lack social grace and a sense of control, so they cannot communicate well under stress. They also appear to forget that a timely apology can be a fallback position.

You see them coming from a mile, so the choice becomes whether you rise to and meet the verbal challenge or obfuscate. But, since nobody wins in these confrontations, you seldom try to deal with it.

They are unaware of how their behavior impacts others because they need to elevate themselves above others in a group situation. They do not hesitate to exploit their leadership role by insulting others because they are often insecure and quick to attack to assert their leadership.  

So they seek to maintain their position in the hierarchy through criticism, humiliation, and camouflaged insults, in a kind of unconscious narcissistic way.

The second group of tough characters are those with narrow interests and vapid sympathies. These folks say and do the same cruel things regularly as if on cue. I worked for one manager who lobbed the same petty insults at every group meeting but never in one-to-one meetings.

The worse part is that you feel bad for the manager. And deliberately avoid connecting with the “Oh No, Not Again” apologetic looks directed your way by the other team members. You think, “well, somebody has got to pull up the weeds.” Feeling all the while like the embarrassed parent of a preschooler misbehaving in public!

There is a stunning lack of creativity when someone overuses the same petty insult. If you must be regularly petty, try to be creative and offer variety. Unable to rise to the occasion, then stop it, the exercise of watching a manager or colleague try to diminish a coworker publicly is tiresome and embarrassing for everybody!

The Unexpected Reference Call.

Have you received an unexpected request or a call for a reference for a friend or former colleague? You knew your friend was thinking about job searching, but you wonder, how could they put you in such an awkward situation? You do a credible job, but you believe your responses lacked actual content.

This reference checking incident jolts you into thinking – how are YOU sorted for current and relevant references to validate your qualification and suitability for your dream job should your dream interview arise?

Most employers will request references when the company is seriously interested in you as a potential hire. So we should all be prepared to provide a list of employment references who are knowledgeable regarding your expertise in the qualification and skills required for the job you are seeking.

Remember to get your references in order before you need them. It will save time scrambling to put together a list at the last minute. Quickly forwarding your references upon request to a potential employer can help you secure the job offer.

Once you start the interview process, be mindful of informing your references, and unless you have their permission, do not use someone as a reference.

1) Asking for a Reference: Update the potential reference giver about the type of positions you are applying for, so they can tailor their recommendation to fit your circumstances.

2) Whom to Ask for a Reference: Former bosses, co-workers, customers, vendors, colleagues, and college professors are good references. Recent graduates may use a personal connection.

3) Company Reference Policy: Some employers will not provide skills verification references. They may only provide a job title, dates of employment, and salary history. So find alternative references.

4) Create a reference list of three to four people, containing their name, title, and email in addition to the telephone number. When emailing the reference list, paste the list into the email rather than sending it as an attachment.

5) Request a Reference Letter from soon-to-be former colleagues: Create a file of recommendations from people you may not necessarily be able to track down later.

6) Keep Your References Up-to-Date: Let your references know where your job search stands and update them on who might be calling for a reference.

A prospective employer should ask your permission before contacting your references. And, it is perfectly acceptable to say that you are not at ease with the company contacting your current employer, and offering a list of alternative references available.

Is it time for a Career Self-Assessment?

The reality has set in. You are getting career restless. You are not bored, but Mondays are tough! By Wednesday, you are back in the groove; But for some reason, “thank God it’s Friday” is now the week’s longest, most challenging day. How do you restart your job love-engine?

Don’t start by simply updating your resume. If you do, you will end up with an autobiography masquerading as a resume. Try doing a career self-assessment to help you identify your critical talents, career interests, goals, and needs.

A self-assessment will help you gather valuable content for your new resume and is an excellent prepping tool for interviews. The process will help you uncover expertise and work patterns that illustrate your capabilities.

It will enable you to gauge your employability at this time relative to what is available. Self-assessments highlight and lay bare gaps in your expertise and suggest repair resolutions. It will also prepare you to run an effective job search campaign. How do you go about conducting a career self-assessment?

1.      Review your skills
Do the fun stuff first. What aspects of your current job do you do well, which ones do you like doing, which fall into the “not so much ” category, and which ones do you do poorly. Think about the skills required to do your job effectively. Now think of two or three examples where you excelled in each skill. You may also identify several related skills you utilized to enhance the skills you already accepted are your strengths.

2.      Are you an expert? What do you know?
If you have worked at a company for an extended period, you may underestimate your product knowledge, technical know-how, service sector, or customer type. Did you come up with a deficit during this exercise? Then make this an immediate correction item.

3. Did you add real value?
Did you help your organization generate quantifiable income, reduce costs, solve unique customer problems or improve the quality of its service? Your contribution may have been as an individual or as part of a team. Include it all.   

4.      What do you truly want?
Your wants may include an improved salary, but what else is important to you? How do you want your next job to differ from your current role? Are there things you would like to keep the same? These items will be your decision criteria for future opportunities.

Finally, benchmark your skills and value by reviewing job postings that interest you to see what employers define as needed skills and attributes.

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