Friday, January 30, 2009

It's all about trust

If trust is what we've lost in the banking industry, Wall Street moguls and their bonuses, and how the TARP funds are managed, trust is what we must restore in each other and this is how we will rebuild our economy. 

Build trust from the bottom up. If you have  a choice to hire someone whose reliability and professionalism you can check out on Angie's List versus the nice brother-in-law of your next door neighbor, I suggest Angie over Mrs. Puddlewump, even if you love her toy poodle.

When people trust your word, your work and the company you keep, including paying customers who recommend you, they will hire you, and you will contribute to the economy--yours and everyone else's. Before we used money for exchange we bartered. The man who traded his chicken for your pair of size 12 shoes knew he could walk comfortably while you ate a good hen. The world has changed in our transactions, but not in the basics. It's all built on trust and it's up to us to rebuild it, each one of us at a time.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Portfolio careers

It used to embarrass me that I had three careers, three unique careers: university teaching, wedding officiating and career counseling (the former and now out of fashion word for coaching). Today it looks like not such a bad idea, at least in theory. 

We are in an economic free fall and it's directly affecting jobs and industries and functions within the tiered industries which have kept America producing lo these last fifty years or so. As an active career counselor (coach) every day I speak with people who have industry experience that will not translate back to their weak industry (bankers, for example). We work together to find all transferable skills to make them ready to cross into new industries and apply skills that could move them into the economy again. This is in effect their portfolio of applicable talent.

You and I have multiple talents and skills, hard and soft. If you haven't started looking directly at all this, start your portfolio now. If you want help, email me at eq2@att.net.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Boston Career Coach: Time is Not Money

The Boston Career Coach: Time is Not Money

Time is Not Money

Many of us work in jobs where there is a quota to be reached, where the numbers must be met at the end of the day. At times these metrics diametrically oppose quality service. But our paycheck depends on the bottom line, so we overlook or bury most of the bigger issues and quietly burn out, finding our idealism and passion for the job we took waning and eventually buried.

Remedy? We must work carefully and courageously with how we think and then with what we do, and how we act. Taking the time to discuss one snafu in the system, to offer a large idea that could deliver better quality and ultimately reach the bottom line, would revitalize our passion and un-bury the slowly developing rage that leaves us going home every day exhausted and burned out from the treadmill of the bottom line. Find your voice and use it. If your immediate boss can't hear you, go above her. American businesses need yours and my voice more than ever.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

We Launched The Boston Career Coach

We finally put it up, the new website announcing our career coaching and performance coaching programs for the Boston area. We're excited to get it advertised and to keep adding programs as we grow our services. 

Next to come is a "flex res" product, the flexible resume that is updated for every single job target. It's an affordable service and most importantly, it's a flexible product, a worthwhile exercise. Precise customizing is more important now than ever before and cover letters don't do the whole job; the resume itself has to be focused as well, not just by industry, not just by function, but by every single job.

We should have this up within a week or two. Meanwhile, I hope to hear from you soon. URL is www.thebostoncareercoach.com.


Monday, January 5, 2009

Eckhart Tolle: "I'm Unemployed!"

Tolle is quoted from his latest book on the ways we can detach from suffering. 

He describes a man who's lost his money in the stock market and who states: "I'm ruined". Tolle suggests there's another way to say it: "I have 50 cents left in my bank account." The latter means there's a fact I can face, a quantifiable reality I can begin to take action to change. But  in the first statement we have a story, a narrative of disaster. These are tempting kinds of  narratives, as they go around continuously in every circle of conversation, picked up from a wide variety of news sources and other fictions. 

Think about it for a job seeker in a down economy: "I'm unemployed." This implies a permanent state or at least a stagnant one. In fact if you're looking for new work, you are indeed employed in a project. You are even probably funding it yourself with your unemployment and savings. How different is it to say: "I'm talking to a variety of people about new job prospects." The unemployed statement is passive stagnation and the job prospects statement is active self-assertion. 

This way of speaking can actually change the feeling. For starters, it's true. Try it on. We need a constant renewal of confidence, and how we speak (about ourselves and others) matters.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Creativity Kills Fear

Want to get ahead of the oncoming fear game? It's not oncoming for you; it's ongoing? 

Well, here's some out of the box thinking: every day do three things to combat fear of job loss, of work stagnation, or of a business drought.

  1. Name the fear (ex: business is slow and I may be fired, or I may lose the business I own)
  2. Create a vision (I will be performing at my peak and help what business we have)
  3. Do one thing to improve yourself, your performance, or to validate the good work of others. Do it, no matter how small or routine. Do it. 
We are in a phase of not only economic recovery, but also of true reinvention. That's the good news. If all the stimulus packages from Washington are meant to create consumer confidence, one thing each of us can do for ourselves is create personal confidence. 

Why is this so important? Because without confidence we stagnate. We atrophy. We shrivel up and fear eats away at us from the inside out. I'm not speaking of normal healthy fear: see a doctor when you have a persistent cough. I'm talking about the daily news, the large layoffs, the gloom and doom thrown at us day in and day out. 

Every act based on the best possible picture is creative. Each creative act lifts human energy. Enlivened human energy begets confidence, even in the face of no certainty as to outcome. Fear kills creativity. It's time to turn that on its head.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Trust Your Gut

After an intense speed networking  session about three weeks ago, I made a phone date with a recruiter and a coffee date with a writer. It made perfect sense to speak with the recruiter, but the writer? He was so interesting on the phone in those five allotted minutes, I said yes to meeting up with him.  I pulled another friend in and we all three met this afternoon for a little over an hour. In the process of rambling through many facets of our varied combined talents, (he kept speaking of trust building), I started to understand how relationship building is always about letting yourself go where your instincts lead you. And even if this meeting had proved less productive, it was a good idea to take the internet meeting to the next level, meet in person and begin to test the water.

Sooner or later we have to face our own demons. The person looking at you is as human as you and I are and is interesting if we bother to find out. Anyone building a career must always learn that it is who you know, not what you know, that advances your prospects. Or, what you know is only worthwhile when you let the right people in on your magic.

As corporations get smaller or consolidate more, people need effective networking more than ever. I've known this long before the internet and speed "everything" was invented, but I'm still  learning more everyday, and I trust my gut.