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– Know self and job target.

– Prepare elevator speech.

– Build online professional profile; network at business and social events.

Award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, provides more tips for advancing life career: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

 

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How to Decide Which Company is Right for You
An important, but often overlooked factor in career decision making, is clarifying the kind of company and industry you would like to work for.

Brad has just been offered two great jobs in the financial industry, but doesn’t know which one to select. In particular, he does not know what organization would best fit his needs, values, and goals.

To research companies, use the internet, library, professional and trade groups as well as your networks. Useful government directories include the Occupational Outlook Handbook and The Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

Talk to professionals in the organizations you are considering to obtain an insider’s perspective, and get information from industry professionals.

Ask questions during job interviews. Appropriate questions will enable you to get information to evaluate the job and company. Good questions can also strengthen your position as a knowledgeable employee and demonstrate contributions you can make.

Inquire how the position had been performed previously, and what happened to the last person in the job. Know what’s expected of you, the first issues that need attention, and how quickly you’ll be expected to work up to speed. Be positive, direct, sensitive, and alert to the feelings and reactions of the interviewees. Evasive, hostile, or defensive responses may signal a problem.

Request meetings with prospective co-workers and superiors. Ask them about their job descriptions, and advantages and disadvantages of working with the organization. Try to determine the pecking order and potential challenges you may have when working with certain superiors or subordinates.

After you’ve gathered information about several companies, evaluate each from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, on each of the following criteria.

Evaluating company-worker fit

Organization mission and values. Note the organization’s mission statement, ethics, values and culture. Observe whether the organization is committed to it’s mission and values. Identify the management philosophy and style, and whether it uses formal or informal lines of authority. Recognize the organization’s communication network and whether it supports creativity and intelligent risk-taking. Determine whether it’s concerned about employee safety and well-being. Note whether the company promotes from within, and is committed to diversity.

Organization performance. Pay attention to the organization’s financial and market strength. Note the company’s standing in the field or industry, its growth prospects, challenges faced by the organization and impending changes

Nature of work. Understand the value of your job to the company. Clarify your responsibilities, level of accountability and scope of authority. Know whether the company will adapt duties to maximize your strengths, preferences and goals. Determine whether the job fits your interests, skills and needs such as challenge, variety, growth, and achievement.

Work environment. Note the company’s physical setting, overall appearance. Recognize the political environment, staff morale, types of employees and those who get ahead. Find out about potential conflicting agendas, who could support you and who could feel threatened. Determine your comfort level with such things as the organization’s size and dress code. Notice your gut reaction to the people and environment.

Professional development. Identify professional development resources. Note in-house and external training, reimbursement for off-site training, coaching and networking, advancement opportunities and potential career paths. Determine by whom and on what terms your performance will be evaluated. Assess your compatibility with your prospective boss, and identify potential projects which could benefit from your strengths.

Salary. Know the degree to which your potential income is consistent with the marketplace and organizational responsibilities. Clarify your starting salary, frequency of salary reviews, potential income in five years, and opportunities to attain raises for superior performance. Also consider variable pay, additional cash compensation for contributing to the organizations; performance. This includes bonuses, sales commissions, profit sharing and stock options.

Benefits. Know potential vacation time, sick days and retirement plan. Understand the kinds of protection you’d receive for time off due to illness or family problems. Note when the coverage would begin, how much you’ll receive, and for how long.

Work-life balance. Identify the degree to which the organization’s values, programs, and practices match your needs, values and goals. Note expectations regarding night or weekend work, travel required, commute time, technical and clerical assistance, travel and entertainment expenses, flexible work schedules, telecommuting options, and child cares assistance.

Which company that you applied the above criteria to, attained the most points? What is your intuition telling you?

Don’t take a job you won’t enjoy for security, work for someone you don’t respect, produce or sell goods or services you don’t like, or take a job that has poor people chemistry.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, describes additional factors to consider when evaluating worker-company fit. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Contact: Carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How to Decide Which Company is Right for You
Brad has just been offered two great jobs in the financial industry, but doesn’t know which one to select. In particular, he does not know what organization would best fit his needs, values, and goals.

An important, but often overlooked factor in career decision making, is clarifying the kind of company and industry you would like to work for.

To research companies, use the internet, library, professional and trade groups as well as your networks. Useful government directories include the Occupational Outlook Handbook and The Dictionary of Occupational Titles.

Talk to professionals in the organizations you are considering to obtain an insider’s perspective, and get information from industry professionals.

Ask questions during job interviews. Appropriate questions will enable you to get information to evaluate the job and company. Good questions can also strengthen your position as a knowledgeable employee and demonstrate contributions you can make.

Inquire how the position had been performed previously, and what happened to the last person in the job. Know what’s expected of you, the first issues that need attention, and how quickly you’ll be expected to work up to speed. Be positive, direct, sensitive, and alert to the feelings and reactions of the interviewees. Evasive, hostile, or defensive responses may signal a problem.

Request meetings with prospective co-workers and superiors. Ask them about their job descriptions, and advantages and disadvantages of working with the organization. Try to determine the pecking order and potential challenges you may have when working with certain superiors or subordinates.

After you’ve gathered information about several companies, evaluate each from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest, on each of the following criteria.

Evaluating company-worker fit

  1. Organization mission and values. Note the organization’s mission statement, ethics, values and culture. Observe whether the organization is committed to it’s mission and values. Identify the management philosophy and style, and whether it uses formal or informal lines of authority. Recognize the organization’s communication network and whether it supports creativity and intelligent risk-taking. Determine whether it’s concerned about employee safety and well-being. Note whether the company promotes from within, and is committed to diversity
  2. Organization performance. Pay attention to the organization’s financial and market strength. Note the company’s standing in the field or industry, its growth prospects, challenges faced by the organization and impending changes.
  3. Nature of work. Understand the value of your job to the company. Clarify your responsibilities, level of accountability and scope of authority. Know whether the company will adapt duties to maximize your strengths, preferences and goals. Determine whether the job fits your interests, skills and needs such as challenge, variety, growth, and achievement.
  4. Work environment. Note the company’s physical setting, overall appearance. Recognize the political environment, staff morale, types of employees and those who get ahead. Find out about potential conflicting agendas, who could support you and who could feel threatened. Determine your comfort level with such things as the organization’s size and dress code. Notice your gut reaction to the people and environment.
  5. Professional development. Identify professional development resources. Note in-house and external training, reimbursement for off-site training, coaching and networking, advancement opportunities and potential career paths. Determine by whom and on what terms your performance will be evaluated. Assess your compatibility with your prospective boss, and identify potential projects which could benefit from your strengths.
  6. Salary. Know the degree to which your potential income is consistent with the marketplace and organizational responsibilities. Clarify your starting salary, frequency of salary reviews, potential income in five years, and opportunities to attain raises for superior performance. Also consider variable pay, additional cash compensation for contributing to the organizations; performance. This includes bonuses, sales commissions, profit sharing and stock options.
  7. Benefits. Know potential vacation time, sick days and retirement plan. Understand the kinds of protection you’d receive for time off due to illness or family problems. Note when the coverage would begin, how much you’ll receive, and for how long.
  8. Work-life balance. Identify the degree to which the organization’s values, programs, and practices match your needs, values and goals. Note expectations regarding night or weekend work, travel required, commute time, technical and clerical assistance, travel and entertainment expenses, flexible work schedules, telecommuting options, and child cares assistance.

Which company that you applied the above criteria to, attained the most points? What is your intuition telling you?

Don’t take a job you won’t enjoy for security, work for someone you don’t respect, produce or sell goods or services you don’t like, or take a job that has poor people chemistry.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, describes additional factors to consider when evaluating worker-company fit. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963
Contact: Carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com

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Do you take control of your own career?  Or, do you wait for others to make your career decisions?

How Autonomous Are You?
Answer “yes” or “no.”

1. I often do things I don’t want to do at work.
2. I accept responsibility for the work I do.
3. I’m usually self-reliant at work.
4. I perform tasks required in my job description.
5. I have little influence over things that happen to me at work.
6. I can usually plan my work day.
7. I don’t overly concern myself with what co-workers think of me.
8. I don’t always attend out of office social engagements because some co-workers suggest this.
9. I prefer work where I’m not closely supervised.
10. Getting a good job depends on the right breaks.
11. I need freedom to perform job tasks my own way.
12. I don’t like working under strict rules.
13. My beliefs aren’t influenced by others.
14. My successes are the result of hard work, determination and ability.
15. I often worry whether others will approve of my decisions.

Scoring: One point for each “no” to statements 1, 5, 10 and 15; and one for each “yes” to all others.

11 or higher: You are your own person. You believe you’re in charge of your destiny and seldom blame others for bad experiences. You make your own decisions and, if necessary, swim against the tide.

6  to 10: You may be overly concerned with others’ opinions or status. Are these controlling your life? Review your responses and identify at least one change you can make.

5 or lower: You may believe that what happens to you is determined by others, fate or chance. You’re influenced by pressure from others and may lack clear goals. Are you settling for less than you deserve?

Put more faith in your own ability to make good things happen. Try some of the suggestions below.

Enhancing Autonomy

– Know and accept yourself.
Let go of old ideas about who you should be. Own your successes. In a notebook or on the computer, list all your accomplishments in prior jobs, school, community or home endeavors. Recall enjoyable activities. These are the result of your efforts and abilities, not chance.

Recognize you do have options. Testing your options may mean tradeoffs, but usually they’re worth the inconvenience. You can create your desired work and lifestyle. You can get your ideal job, study, travel, establish a business, restructure your current position, or pursue volunteer activities that give you a sense of meaning, purpose, accomplishment and confidence.

– Confront fears. Accept the fact that you’re afraid. Don’t fight it. Identify your fears. What’s stopping you from pursing your desired career goal? Is it fear of failing? not knowing what to expect? inability to afford material comforts? other?

FEAR stands for False Expectations Appear Real. Live in the present. Don’t worry about what might happen. Instead, research your goal, then develop an action plan to minimize setbacks and attain desired goal.

Let go of “attachments.” The more attached you are to something, the greater the fear of losing it. Ask yourself, “What do I need to let go of?” “Why am I afraid?” “What’s the worst thing that can happen if I let go?” “How can I minimize this?”

Challenge irrational beliefs. State negative predictions (“I’ll make a fool of myself if I speak out at staff meetings.”), then devise ways to test them (Say something at the next meeting). Now develop a way to measure the outcome (Notice how people are reacting). Finally, draw a conclusion (“I can speak out, and people are listening to what I say.”) In a notebook, keep a record of irrational thoughts and devise ways to challenge their validity.

Think for yourself.  Don’t echo others’ opinions. Say what you mean and want. Just because others have opinions doesn’t mean yours aren’t valid. Make your own decisions. There are few wrong decisions, just different results.

Becoming more autonomous takes time and practice. But you’ll feel good about yourself. You’ll become more efficient, confident and assertive. You’ll have more choices, more strength, and greater control of your career — and life.

 

Questers, described in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, gives numerous other tips to enhance autonomy at work: www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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Boost Brain Power: Enhance Each Side of Your Brain
 Do you have right or left brain thinking abilities? Or do you use both sides equally well? Although we use both hemispheres, scientists suggest we have preferences or strengths for one or the other.

 

To be competitive in today’s job market we must develop both creative and analytical thinking styles.

Analytical and creative problem solving abilities rely on different skill sets. Sometimes the difference is described in terms of left-brain or analytical, and right brain or creative thinking.

Analytical thinking means to examine, or think about, the different parts or details of something in order to understand or explain it better, or to work logically and systematically to resolve an issue. In contrast, creative thinking describes cognitive processes that lead to ideas, solutions, concepts, artistic forms, theories or new products. Below are suggestions for enhancing each side of your brain

Boost creative, right brain thinking abilities

– Choose another angle. Approach the project from a different vantage point. Become more open-minded. Listen, without judgment, to others’ ideas or suggestions.  Ask for feedback from people with different backgrounds.

View your work differently.  What would happen if you shrink, enlarge or change its shape? Add or subtract something? What positive, new perspective can you bring?

– Brainstorm. Work with a team. Without restrictions or judgment, encourage ideas to flow. Use “igniter phrases” such as “That’s great.” Avoid “killer phrases” such as “It won’t work.” Don’t display subtle disapproval such as raised eyebrows. Alternate private and group work. Individual work generates ideas. Groups then select and act on them.

Active wishing, a type of brainstorming, suggests you articulate needs, desires, opinions or feelings about an issue using action-oriented statements. For example, if you want to solve a challenging task or resolve an issue with a boss, express this in your wish list. Then brainstorm ways to resolve the situation by writing ideas.

Attribute listing. Improve or change the parts or characteristics of a given object, or transfer attributes from one object or situation to another. Objects could come from technology, literature or other cultural aspect.  For example, to get new fashion ideas, view a museum display of historic clothing.

Capture ideas. New ideas are fleeting.  Carry a journal, sketch pad or pocket computer to record insights. Identify settings and times when ideas come easily, such as bed, bath, bus, or cabin.

Challenge yourself. Put yourself in difficult situations in which usual reinforcers won’t work. This encourages you to try behaviors that worked previously. Embrace failure. If properly managed, it can spark creativity.

Broaden education and experience. Continue to acquire knowledge and skills in you field, but also expose yourself to information outside your specialty. Take courses. Read. Surround yourself with diverse stimuli.

Draw or “Doodle.”  Write a question that clearly states what you want to know. Underneath it, draw whatever flows though your hands.  Let your mind roam. Don’t evaluate ideas. Then draw lines with different colored pencils to connect the ideas. Use your intuitive skills to interpret the meaning and symbols in the drawing.  Note the sequence of steps and your thoughts and feelings as you study the drawing.

Strengthen analytical, left-brain thinking abilities

– Research. Investigate relevant information. Pay attention to facts and details. Be precise, accurate.  Make notes ahead of time to ensure you’re gathering appropriate information. Ask questions to learn details.

– Manage time. Value efficiency, competency, meeting deadlines. Follow through on commitments. Write goals, time lines, and strategies on a daily organizer.

Make a “to do” list. Write everything you need to do to daily to achieve goals. Prioritize.

Get up an hour earlier each day to think and plan. This quiet hour, period of interrupted concentration will enable you to think and plan projects with set deadlines.

Solicit suggestions from others before beginning projects. Team up with practical colleagues.

– Set and act on goals. Establish priorities. Write down the precise steps you’ll need to take to achieve your goals. List expected completion dates. Reward yourself for meeting deadlines.

Focus. Commit to fewer projects and complete these.  Ensure all daily activities are related to these goals.

– Clarify the problem. List different resolutions, and gather facts, details.  Chart the consequences of each possibility. List steps involved in each approach.

– Stay objective when making decisions. Don’t make decisions too quickly. Develop a reasonable list of options to pursue, and a timetable in which to research them. Hold yourself accountable for meeting an established quota and/or time frame. Consider all data. Critically evaluate projects or ideas. Use objective analyses to observe results of potential actions.

Take time to think things through, but don’t procrastinate.  Seek feedback from a trusted friend or colleague.

– Structure and plan thoughts. For example, when giving a presentation, know the purpose of your talk, main points and their logical sequence. Give examples or anecdotes reinforcing each point. Identify how you can open the presentation to captivate and involve the audience, and where you can inject humor. Know how to summarize for understanding and remembrance, and action you want the audience to take. Evaluate situations before responding. Then act.

– Adhere to outlines and time limits. Begin projects by asking who, what, where, why when and how. This grounds thinking. Make two lists: one of required job tasks; the second of tasks that can wait. Outline plans and time lines on your calendar. Check it daily. Reward yourself for completing required tasks.

Try using some of the forgoing thinking styles when dealing with work, family or other issues. Consider working with a partner or small group to share ideas and give each other feedback.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips for strengthening thinking abilities. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Contact Carole: carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com

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Are You a Perfectionist Who Procrastinates?

 

Are you reluctant to try new things? Make big plans, but don’t follow through? Tend to be critical of self and others? If so, you may be a perfectionist procrastinator.

Perfectionism and procrastination often go hand-in-hand. Certain characteristics drive perfectionists to delay things. What does this quiz say about you?

Are you a perfectionist procrastinator?
Answer “yes” or “no.”

1. I’m reluctant to try new things.
2. I start working immediately, even on unpleasant tasks.
3. I I tend to be critical of self and others.
4. I enjoy the process as well as the outcome.
5. I see mistakes as opportunities for growing and learning.
6. I make big plans but don’t follow through.
7. If I can’t do it right, there’s no point in doing it.
8. I usually follow through on my plans.
9. I often get caught up in details so don’t have time to finish the project.
10. I put things off until the time, mood or conditions are right.
11. I always complete important jobs with time to spare.
12. I must always be on time and do well.
13. I do not need others to like and approve of me.

Scoring: Three points for each “yes” to statements 2, 4,  5, 8, 11, and 13, and one point each “no” to all the other statements. The higher your score, the fewer perfectionist procrastinator habits you tend to have.

Procrastination is often a symptom of perfectionism. Because perfectionists fear being unable to complete a task perfectly, they put it off as long as possible. Perfectionists also fear that failure will invoke criticism or ridicule either from internal voices or external authorities and peers. The higher the fear of failure and ridicule, the more perfectionists tend to procrastinate.

Procrastination may be easy to spot: Are you working on a company or school project that needs to meet the team deadline, or are you surfing the web, reading Facebook posts, filing papers, or grocery shopping? If you answered yes to the latter, you may be procrastinating.

Conquering perfectionist and procrastination habits

Perfectionist procrastinator habits destroy creativity and productivity, and hinder career advancement. Consider minimizing these habits.
Face fears. Identify the fear. A person trying to find a job over an extended time period may fear rejection. Someone may refuse a promotion because he’s afraid to fail.

Don’t fear mistakes.  Ask yourself, “What’s the worst that could happen?”  Note what you can do to minimize this.  Look upon something new as exciting. If you don’t try, how will know if you can succeed?

Set realistic goals and plan.  Have clear goals that reflect your purpose. Your purpose is your compass that keeps you on the right path. Your goals and plans should flow from your purpose, and daily activities should be guided by these.

Research your goal.  Know helpful resources (people, organizations, printed materials). Outline goals, strategies and time-lines on a paper or electronic organizer. Modify goals as circumstances change.

Manage time. Get up an hour earlier each day to think and plan. Periods of uninterrupted concentration tend to enable you to complete projects within set deadlines.

Review daily work activities over several weeks to identify self-defeating habits and patterns. Do you underestimate time needed for tasks? Identify how you can modify your schedule and tasks.

Make a “to-do” list. Write down everything you need to do to achieve daily goals. Prioritize tasks.

Assess what can be accomplished within a given time frame. Don’t do too much at once. Space tasks. Break big jobs down into manageable tasks. Reward yourself for tasks completed. Allow for the unexpected. Balance demanding tasks with more relaxing ones.

Enhance confidence and optimism. Prepare a list of accomplishments and positive personality characteristics. Post this where you can read it daily.

Think and talk about things you want. Associate with people who believe in you.  Review fortunate experiences in a journal. Note the role belief and hard work played in achieving successes, and strategies used to accomplish results.

Don’t compare yourself with others. Judge your accomplishments against realistic personal standards of excellence. Cultivate the attitude of striving for excellence rather than perfection. Know mistakes are part of learning, excelling, growing.

Measure success by internal standards, rather than by status symbols or material wealth. Learn to enjoy the process of learning, achieving, and mastering. Research demonstrates that accomplished individuals, who regularly win awards, are driven by the effort rather than the result. Knowing you can attain a desired goal, enhances feelings of confidence and pride.

We are born with this need to achieve. Babies and toddlers have it. Like toddlers learning to walk, many achievers fail several times. The lessons they learned from their failures subsequently enabled them to succeed.

Michael Jordan, proclaimed by the National Basketball Association (NBA) as the “greatest player of all time,” said: “I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions, I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot…and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers many other tips for minimizing perfectionist procrastinator traits. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

 

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Learning Resilience in a Changing World

How do you react to unexpected challenges?  Do you rebound from major setbacks stronger than before? Or do you play the victim, blame others?

It’s essential to strengthen resilience to adapt and succeed in changing times.

How resilient are you?
Answer “yes” or “no.”
1. I like trying new ways of doing things.
2. I find it challenging to recover emotionally from losses.
3. I adapt quickly to new situations.
4. I can’t tolerate ambiguous situations.
5. I’m persistent when working on challenging projects.
6. I’m a sequential problem solver.
7. I’m comfortable being myself.
8. I’m cautious.
9. I’m usually non-judgmental about people.

Scoring: One point for each yes to odd-numbered statements, and each no to even numbered statements.
Interpretation: 7 or higher, very resilient; 4 to 6, moderately resilient; 3 or lower, consider suggestions below.

Resilient people thrive on challenge and change. Confident, creative, and growth-oriented, they turn setbacks into opportunities. They use both left-brain and right-brain thinking styles, and maintain optimism during tough times.

Developing Resilience

Resilience is learned. Below are tips for strengthening flexibility.

Look upon something different or unknown as an opportunity to challenge yourself. If you don’t try something new, how will you  find out you can do it? Expect things to work out. View mistakes as learning experiences.

Note what you’ve learned from a negative experience. Indicate how it has made you stronger, wiser. Identify early clues you ignored, and what you’ll do differently.

Detect and dispute inaccurate thoughts and causal beliefs. Are you or your circumstances responsible for your beliefs? Are your beliefs based on fact or fallacy? Why or why not?

Approach problems from different perspectives. Ask for feedback from people with diverse backgrounds. Take things out of their ordinary context and create new patterns for them. Notice the number of ways you can use eggs or milk cartons. Develop a playful, childlike curiosity. Ask questions, experiment.

Build self-confidence. Make a list of everything you like about yourself. Include personal traits and accomplishments. Post this where you can see it.  Set your own standard of excellence. Realize that perfection is an unattainable goal. Accept the ideal as a guideline, not to be attained 100 percent. Work toward improving your performance each time.

Be authentic. Your actions should be consistent with your thoughts and feelings. Don’t succumb to peer or family pressures.

Develop meaningful, supportive relationships. Link up with like-minded people with whom you can share feelings and receive positive feedback and assistance.

Continue to learn. Keep updated on local and international news. Build knowledge in your discipline. Develop critical thinking skills. Ask questions. Compare and contrast, link ideas, and evaluate.

Strengthen intuition and creativity. Set aside time for quiet contemplation. Attend to cues your body and mind are giving. Note bodily sensations (headaches), feelings (fear, excitement), and mental thoughts (ideas that pop into your head). Ask questions you want answered before falling asleep.

Learn to risk. Identify three successful risks you’ve taken. What did you do to make each turn out well?
Take small risks daily.  Experiment with a different hairstyle or food. At work, offer new ways of tackling a problem. Reduce risk by developing back-up plans.

What can you do to strengthen resilience today?

Award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips to strengthen resilience and other winning Quester traits to succeed: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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Start Your Job Off Right in 2019

You’ve had a few days off or maybe more, and getting back into your regular work routine may be challenging. You may forget passwords, feel like another coffee break, a longer lunch with friends. The sudden change of pace from lounging and flexibility to rigorous 9-to-5 schedule after the holidays, is the reality. But you can come back energetically and happily. Here are suggestions to get back to business:

1. Clear your calendar for the first day back
There are dozens of emails to read and reply to, projects to resume, and colleagues to check with. To plan for this scene, block off catch-up time in your calendar. To give yourself breathing room, let supervisors, co-workers, and clients know that you are back and will be available after your catch-up date.

2. Break down larger projects into actionable tasks
Segue back into work by completing specific tasks rather than big abstract projects. Outline a “to-do” list with specific actionable tasks (10 or less). Use verbs such as “write” “study” or “buy.”

Setting daily goals and splitting up large and daunting tasks into smaller ones works hand-in-hand with good planning. Assign yourself one daily goal related to a core work priority. Setting a key goal for each day enables you to focus on the goal.

Another benefit of breaking up a larger task into smaller ones, makes the larger task seem more conquerable — like taking small steps up the side of a huge mountain. Each small step, taken on its own, seems doable, while trying to summit the peak can seem incredibly daunting. Breaking up a larger task into smaller tasks also gives you a sense of micro-accomplishment as you cross things off your list. Don’t discount the motivating power of these small victories.

Don’t let your inbox tell you what to do. Prioritize your goals over others’ requests.

3. Manage time wisely
Because time is limitless and highly personal, we can go within to establish a comfortable range of rhythms and balance. An ancient Chinese Taoist philosophy, described in The Tao of Time: A Revolutionary Philosophy and Guide for Personal Time Management, offers ideas that are consistent with current scientific views.

Taoism emphasizes the now. Living in the present helps eliminate clock-induced stress because we practice mindfulness, focus on present tasks. Four interrelated Taoist principles form the underpinnings of this way of looking at time:
1. Nonresistance teaches us to let go of our prepackaged approach to time management and allow events to unfold.
2. Individual power enables us to assert our right to control our time.
Trusting our intuition enables us to remove extraneous details that cloud our vision. We enhance clarity, confidence and efficiency. A challenging situation now seems effortless.
3. Balance suggests attending to our intuition help us live in the moment and balance activities.
4. Harmony. This concept suggests synchronized our environments. Centered, we don’t feel guilty about past actions or fear future choices.

As we become comfortable with the foregoing concepts and rediscover our natural rhythms, clocks and schedules can be used as tools rather than absolutes.

Can you find a balance between the holistic and linear ways of perceiving time? How can you integrate these concepts into your management of time?

4. Set a proper auto-reply message
When you’re away from usual lines of communication for an extended period, like the holidays, set a proper auto-reply system. A good message strikes a nice tone, informs callers or emailers the dates you will be unavailable, when they can expect to hear back from you, and a contact person to reach for immediate assistance in your absence.

5. Stay ahead of the game
Keeping on top of your work is critical, but preparing for uncertainties is also important. Look for new job opportunities with your current employer, a similar organization, a different industry, or consider taking a course to upgrade your current job skill set or prepare for another job, industry, or self employment. Continue to update your resume as you gain new experiences and learn about new developments in your current or desired fields.

Develop a different resume for each job target. Make certain that your resume reflects a clear job objective, summary statement, and focuses on your accomplishments — what you achieved in previous positions that made a difference.

In addition, develop a career portfolio that demonstrates what you can offer a potential employer, business investor, or new client. Portfolios provide considerably more information than a cover letter and resume alone. Career portfolios use words and pictures, as well as an array of multi-media formats. A portfolio is limited only by one’s imagination.

A portfolio includes work samples that show your qualifications and skills as well as relevant education and volunteer activities. It documents the scope and quality of your experience and training. Your portfolio demonstrates what you’ve accomplished and can offer the employer. Take your portfolio to job interviews to show what you can contribute to the prospective position.

– Enhance your network. Keep abreast of new developments in your field, and add to your list of colleagues and acquaintances by joining professional, trade or civic groups.

– Take charge. Start the year strong and take advantage of new opportunities that present themselves. If you want a new job, don’t passively answer help-wanted advertisements or send out resumes to personnel departments. Find out who the hiring managers are in the departments at companies you’ like to work to determine jobs available and skills required. Then, if appropriate, revise your resume to fit their skill sets. Request interviews, Follow-up communications.

Make 2019 your best year ever!

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips for getting and keeping your desired job. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Author Bio: Carole Kanchier, PhD, is an internationally recognized newspaper/digital columnist, career coach, psychologist and author of the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life and the forthcoming Arouse the Force WithinYou! Dr. Kanchier has taught at University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz and University of Alberta, and served as visiting fellow at Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Palo Alto, and other institutions of higher learning. Dr. Kanchier is known for her pioneering, interdisciplinary approach to human potential.

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Seven Step Career Decision Mkaing Model
Seven Step Career Decision Making Model: Adapted from Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life

What does it take to make a wise career decision? Research has demonstrated that individuals who make efficient, wise career decisions combine initiative strengths with intellect or analytical thinking and research.

  Successful career decisions will take you through seven stages. Backtracking may occur as you gather more information, but if you omit one of the stages, you may be in trouble. Throughout the process, take time to listen to and trust your intuition, then follow its direction. It is imperative to also research options.

We often think intuitive breakthroughs come “out of nowhere,” but most come after considerable preparation and exploratory work. Here are the seven stages.

1. Becoming Aware of Uneasy Feelings
Your body and mind may send you messages. These may be verbal, such as “I can hardly wait till Friday!” Or, they may be physical, such a lingering colds or headaches. Such physical cues will persist if ignored. In Mauro’s case, his migraines sent clear signals that something wasn’t right!

2. Defining the Problem
Look at the emotional issues behind your dissatisfaction and clarify what you are afraid to undertake. Mauro realized he had never really chose to be an engineer. Now he felt stuck there by family obligations. Talking with his wife gave him the needed permission to chuck his job, but he didn’t know what to do next.

If you are in Mauro’s shoes, articulate the problem. Ask specific questions. For example, “what do I like about my job?” “What do I dislike?” “Can the bad points be resolved by leaving?” Next, face the barriers such as loss of income or other benefits, or guilt that change might create family hardships. Indicate what you can do to minimize these barriers. Then commit to action, whether making a change, modifying your position or staying put.

3. Ambivalence
Mauro’s, “I will,” was soon followed by, “But can I?” Theses fears are natural, so let them surface and accept them. In many cases you may be trading the known for the unknown.

4. Preparing – Know Yourself and Options
First get to know yourself better. It is crucial to clarify your purpose. Research shows that, in addition to giving meaning and direction to life, a sense of purpose is related to physical and psychological health, high energy and involvement, enthusiasm for life and ability to manage stress.

A good start is to acknowledge your deepest dreams, yearnings, hopes. You must also identify other personal characteristics: interests, needs, values, skills and achievements.

Next, explore options. Mauro yearned to do something creative. But what? In addition to reading government directories such as the Occupational Outlook Handbook and surfing the internet, Mauro used his intuition to further explore options. Intuitive exercises which helped him clarify major life themes included drawing, writing, and guided fantasy. Major themes which emerged included preparing food and serving or helping people.

This knowledge prompted Mauro to focus on investigating options in the food and beverage industry. His research included reading printed and internet materials including books and directories, interviewing successful people in the field, volunteering and working part time in the industry.

Mauro then took a training program with a food chain, where he was quickly promoted to management.

5. Narrowing options and Clarifying Goal
Assessing each option, with criteria that are important to you, sets the stage for an intuitive breakthrough. Don’t force an answer. Give your question time to incubate by getting involved in other activities.

Typically, intuitive insights both precede and follow the exhaustive use of analysis and logic. This is why creative insights often come during sleep or vacation, or when we are focused on routine activities.

Mauro was taking a walk when, “The ideas of opening an Italian restaurant just popped into my head.”

6. Acting
To market yourself for a new job, establish your own business or return to school, you must act. Action requires commitment and a well-thought-out plan. Make your plans flexible, maintain optimism and believe you will succeed.

One of Mauro’s plans included finding an ideal location for his restaurant. He asked his intuition for assistance by asking for guidance before falling asleep. The next day, he was compelled to take a different route home. He found the perfect location: an old barn overlooking a river.

7. Evaluating the Decision
Ensure your intuitive cues are in harmony with the realities of the marketplace. Because Mauro did his homework, he knew what he was getting into. “My only regret is that I stagnated so long before making the move,” he said. In a city noted for sophisticated palates, Mauro’s restaurant has a dedicated following.

You, too, can achieve your dream. Understand and follow your purpose, work hard, make tradeoffs, call on your intuition and have faith and patience.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Carole Kanchier, offers additional information and strategies for making wise career decisions. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

Contact Carole Kanchier: carole@questersdaretochange.com; www.questersdaretochange.com

 

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Managing Stress in the Holiday Season

The holidays can be an enjoyable time—but not for everyone. Some of us suffer from the blues, whether it’s because we can’t celebrate with family or have a hard time adjusting to the colder, shorter days. Perhaps being around family brings back old dynamics that make you feel bad. Perhaps you don’t have any family or live too far away to be with them. Or maybe it’s the cold weather and the shorter days. For many, all that goodwill and cheer can feel like pressure. Here are tips to beat the holiday blues.

Stress Quiz
What does this quiz say about you?
Answer “yes” or “no:”1. I’m irritable
2. I’m usually tired
3. I have little to say to people
4. I have no time for leisure activities
5. I’m inefficient
6. I use of drugs to cope with job pressures
7. I feel powerless about my job; lack feelings of success or challenge
8. I forget appointments, deadlines or personal possessions
9. I have insomnia, headaches, colds
10. I hate going to work
11. I’m pessimistic

Interpretation; “yes” to 6 or more, suggests you may be stressed. Fortunately, stress is preventable and can be a catalyst for growth.

Shake the holiday blues

  • Make something for yourself. Creativity feeds the soul and focuses the mind. Pick something you’ve always wanted to learn how to make. Soap! Beer! Bread! Jewelry! Leather stamping! Painting! Knitting! Go to your local craft or hardware store, or checkout YouTube and find something you’d like to learn how to do and do it!
  • Make something for other people. Cut that soap up and wrap the bars individually in something you’ve designed. You can design a label for that microbrew you made and give a bottle to coworkers! Hand paint some holiday cards. Getting something homemade means more to many.
  • Throw a casual dinner party. Gathering a few friends for a nice evening at your home can be inexspensive fun. You can throw together a salad, make spaghetti and meatballs, and ask guests to bring dessert and drinks.
  • Host a potluck. Invite people in you community and people you work with. It’s a wonderful time to reach out to people you’d like to get to know better. You’d be surprised how much fun you’ll have and how many new friends you’ll make.
  • Limit time you spend on social media. Social networks can be great for connecting but they can also sometimes skew how we perceive ourselves and other people. We can be fooled into feeling as if everyone else’s lives are so much better than our own, but they’re not really. Most of us try to show our best selves on social networks and we should. But there are times when it’s better just to turn it off.
  • Watch something funny. Laughter is a great healer! Watch anything that makes you laugh and reminds you that life has absurdities. Watch movies starring your favorite comedians.
  • Be grateful. Remind yourself of what you are grateful for. When you focus on what you have, rather than what you lack, you emanate the energy of abundance. And the truth is we all have something to be grateful for!
  • Respect yourself. Engage in positive self-talk. Tell yourself, “I’m OK just as I am,” or “I’m human and I’ll make mistakes.” Reward yourself. Realize that you don’t always have to prove anything or excel over others.
  • Restructure work time. List your job energizes and stressors. Concentrate on the positive responsibilities, and intersperse negative activities with short breaks and rewards. Avoid unnecessary meetings and delegate.
  • Have a positive outlook. See the glass half full instead of half empty. Reinforce the positive in yourself and others. Most of all, develop a sense of humor and learn to laugh at yourself. Smell the roses. Enjoy small pleasures such as walking in the park or watching toddlers play.
  • Keep problems in perspective.  Mistakes and setbacks, even outright failures can be learning experiences. Accept responsibility or your actions.
  • Get away from it all. Have other interests besides work. Make family, leisure and time fun. Leave your worries outside of the bedroom and try to sleep at least seven hours every night.
  • Cultivate meaningful relationships. These can be built from a variety of people including work associates, neighbors, clients, or club members. Talk about frustrations to trusted individuals.
  • Add spice to your life. Try doing something different occasionally. What’s unusual depends on each person. However, you might try having a costume party, playing a game you enjoyed as a child, or kayaking.
  • Listen to your inner self. Pay attention to your dreams, sorrows and beliefs. If you want more time to watch your children grow, don’t play golf with colleagues. Each day, listen to yourself, even for five minutes.
  • Seek professional advice. If you can’t manage on your own, seek help from a reputable mental health professional.

Dr. Carole Kanchier, career and personal growth expert, is author of the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life. https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/15r-Life/dp/08408963
A registered psychologist, coach, speaker, and columnist, Carole Kanchier helps individuals manage stress. www.questersdaretochange.com

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