How to find a Job Career and life you love

how to change job career and how to choose job career and how to find your job career and how will this job benefit your career
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Dr.MattWood,United States,Teacher
Published Date:25-07-2017
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Job and Career Building A Time-Honored, Structured Process to Identify Marketable Skills, Identify Target Market Segments, Build Connections with Hiring Decision Makers in Those Markets, Successfully Interview for and Land a New Job or Promotion, and, to Manage Communications and Visibility on the Job so that Your Career Naturally Moves to Its Highest Level. by Richard Germann and Peter Arnold (1981) Updated by Chapman, Ekberg, Fox, Frederick, Morahan, and Ness (2002) 1. Myths and Facts How much do you learn from your mistakes? Is it true that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease? Will a career change cost you money? As you begin the adventure of job and career building, take a look at common assumptions about jobs and careers that you may have taken for facts as long as you can remember. Those assumptions turn out to be myths, on closer examination. They have very little to do with the realities of the world of work. Our clients have learned that when the job and career myths with which they grew up have been replaced by the facts presented in this book, their careers have taken a noticeable jump forward. Here are some of the most common myths, as well as the facts to replace them in your thinking. Myth: Careers just happen. Fact: Careers are planned— or they won‘t happen. What happens instead is a series of accidents— some of them lucky— most of them not. The saddest thing in the world is a man or woman at age fifty-plus who finds that the thread has snapped. They always found it easy to get reasonably decent jobs. Suddenly, it isn‘t easy. They never gave any thought to career planning, and now the only visible di - rection of their employment history leads to old age. A continuous career, incidentally, is not necessarily related to continuous paid employment. Being a homemaker, for instance, can be very much a part of a solid career. Myth: You learn from your career mistakes. Fact: All you learn from your mistakes is what not to do. They don‘t tell you what to do. The founder of professional career counseling in the United States, Bernard JOB AND CAREER BUILDING Haldane, established that the study of individual successes, not failures, is the most valuable tool in career planning. Myth: Career changes are risky and expensive. Fact: Your new career, if correctly planned, uses more of your recognized talents and skills and is more in tune with your personality. You will do a better job and be worth more to your employer. In one study, forty-eight percent of clients who changed careers experienced an immediate increase in income on starting their second careers. But there are ground rules It doesn‘t happen by accident. Myth: The job market dictates what career you should choose. Go only into growth fields. Fact: This myth has been responsible for more failure and misery than any other. Especially these days, markets change rapidly. A career is not built on what‘s good out there, but on what‘s good in you. Myth: Tests can tell you what you should be doing for the rest of your life. Fact: No one can tell you what you should do. In the hands of an experienced professional counselor, a good career or psychological test is one of many tools to help you recognize a career direction. Only you can make a career decision. Myth: Women do better in careers that are traditionally held by women. Fact: Women have as wide a range of talents, skills, and motivating factors as men, Limited career choice means limited access to a productive, fulfilling career. The belief that women are best suited for the jobs commonly held by women is a matter of tradition, not reality. You may need to overcome a few obstacles in generating job offers in some areas, but those difficulties are diminishing every day. Don‘t allow them to interfere with planning a career based on the reality of your Success Factors (discussed in Chapter 4). Myth: If you are frustrated at work, quit your job and find a new one. Fact: Most people take their career problems from one job to the next. Don‘t be too anxious to leave your job, because the grass is rarely greener on the other side of the fence. Plan your next career step by focusing on your strengths and successes and not on your immediate problem. Then take action For example, if you find it difficult and frustrating working for your boss, you will be tempted to look for another job to eliminate the source of your problem. Experience proves that problems with the boss are rarely limited to basic personality conflicts. Instead of applying a hatchet solution or trying to psychoanalyze your boss or yourself, take a good look at successful experiences in your life where you have worked well with people, as well as the kind of people you have respected as superiors. Then plan your next step accordingly. Using the information in this book, you may even be able to rebuild your relationship with your boss. 2 MYTHS AND FACTS Myth: The only way to find a job is to find a job opening or vacancy. Fact: There are two other ways to get a job that, between them, are responsible for the majority of job offers: First, a job opening doesn‘t exist at the time of your interview with the company, but one occurs during the days or weeks following the interview. A qualified applicant already known to be available will have first consideration for that job. Second, a new job is created where there wasn‘t one before. This may be either an entirely new job category, which fills an emerging need of a growing organization, or an addition to a group of jobs, such as another sales representative being added to an existing sales force. Myth: You must have contacts to get a really good job. Fact: Knowing how to make contacts will help you, not just having contacts. Any contact you make on your own initiative, in your own occupational area or one closely related to it, will be far more valuable than a contact you inherit. Myth: People are hired because they are qualified. Fact: Far more people are hired because the interviewer liked them. Technical qualifications (specific experience, degrees, etc.) run a poor second. ―If I like you, I may hire you; if I don‘t, I certainly won‘t.‖ This isn‘t as unfair as it sounds. None of us wants to work with someone we can‘t relate to. If you have genuine rapport with your prospective employer, their purpose and their work, you have a good chance of generating an offer. If not, you won‘t want the job and shouldn‘t want it. (Unless you are desperate.) And good career planning will eliminate the need to act out of desperation. You will always know what your next step is and will have laid the groundwork to take it at any time. Myth: It‘s harder to find a go od job if you are over forty. Fact: If you have a career plan and you know how to look for a job, it‘s actually easier. And you will be increasingly qualified for better jobs as you become more experienced. Yet, the over-forty myth is persistent, and the people who suffer most from it are the ones who believe it most. Every time someone over forty is observed having difficulty finding a job, people think: ―Aha, this proves it,‖ never really asking why the person is having a problem. It is true that as you get older, employers are less willing to give you the benefit of the doubt and to assume that you can learn what you don‘t already know. When you are forty years old (or, for that matter thirty or fifty), employers expect you to know who you are and where you are going. You are increasingly expected to know how to demonstrate your value to them. No one will hire you, or refuse to hire you, on the basis of age alone. But with a career plan, and the ability to demonstrate years of achievements based on using your greatest talents and skills, you will become more valuable to prospective employers with each passing decade. 3 JOB AND CAREER BUILDING Myth: You have to be aggressive to get ahead. Fact: Unless you are highly skilled in human relations, aggressiveness leads to offensiveness and long-term career decline. What you must be is purposeful. Having a life and career purpose attracts success. Having a purpose during a job interview makes a successful interview more likely. Myth: A resume must be a complete chronological record of every job you have ever held. Fact: Such resumes reflect lack of purpose. Once you have established a job and career objective, list only those facts that relate to your objective and support it. Resumes don‘t get jobs; people get jobs. A resume should reflect and support your purpose and nothing else. Myth: If the resume is well written, its appearance is immaterial. Fact: The appearance of your resume says a lot about you. You wouldn‘t go to an interview wearing a T-shirt. A laser-printed resume is appropriate and tells the interviewer you think of yourself as a professional. Myth: Placement agencies work for the job seeker. Fact: Placement agencies help the employer find job applicants. They are responsible to the employer and are paid by the employer. In most states they are carefully controlled. Unethical agencies usually don‘t survive for very long in this competitive field. If you recognize and accept their purpose, you can profitably incorporate them in your total job search. The secret of success here is to cooperate with the agencies without turning over control of your job search and your career to them. Myth: Human resources departments hire people. Fact: Human resources departments have many important functions, but they can only screen you, they can rarely hire you. You have not in any real sense applied for a job, or been considered for hiring, until you have talked with your prospective boss. Avoid application through human resources departments whenever possible and you will avoid being screened out in advance. Myth: The interviewer controls interviews. Fact: You control the interview. If you have a clear purpose in mind for the interview, you can take control of its direction while recognizing and responding to the interviewer‘s purpose. You will also earn his or her respect. Few passive in- terviewees will be considered for positions of responsibility. Myth: The purpose of an interview is to get a job. Fact: This is not true of most interviews. Here are some realistic purposes: to establish rapport with the interviewer; to get information from the interviewer: to give information to the interviewer: to be referred to others; to get a second interview; to get the offer of a job; and to negotiate working conditions and compensation. 4 MYTHS AND FACTS If your purpose matches that of your interviewer, if both of you are on the same wavelength, and if both of you benefit, you will have only successful interviews. For instance, the first purpose of any interviewer who meets you for the first time will be to find out who you are. Interviewees commonly interfere with this purpose by attempting to sell themselves into a job about which, at this point, they know very little. By recognizing the interviewer‘s purpose and matching it with your own, you have an opportunity to establish rapport on the human level, thereby creating a favorable climate for success. Myth: The more advance research you do on an organization or an interviewer, the better. Fact: One or two good questions asked during an interview are worth more than hours of advance research. You achieve two goals by asking questions and listening to their answers: You get the information, and you establish rapport with the interviewer. Naturally it is useful to get some advance information in order to know what questions to ask. Would you rather be told by someone ―I know all about you‖ or ‗I like what I heard about you; I‘d like to know more‖? Myth: You are required to give both your salary history and your salary requirements when requested to do so. Fact: Giving salary information to a prospective employer will always be to your disadvantage. You will be setting upper limits beyond which you will go only with great difficulty, if at all. For instance, if you give your current or expected salary level as 75,000, your future employer is unlikely to offer you 82,000, regardless of your actual value to him. In most cases, you will be unhappy with your income level sooner or later, which leads to resentment toward your em- ployer. Both you and your employer will lose by this. There are many methods to avoid giving this type of information without offending your interviewer. You will, in fact, earn your interviewer‘s respect. Myth: If a particular individual in a company has turned you down for a particular job, you should eliminate that company from your job search. Fact: Even though that person did not hire you for that job at that time, it doesn‘t make sense to assume that no one in the entire company will consider you for any job ever again. On the contrary, if you have made a good impression and have established your credentials, you may have the inside track on a future position. You have every reason to stay in continuous contact with the organization. It is important not to allow your understandable feeling of rejection to lead you to reject the entire company. If the idea of working for them made sense in the past, it will continue to make sense in the future. Myth: Once you are hired, you have a job. Fact: What you have is an opportunity. What you do in the first day, the first week, and the first month determines whether or not you have a real job, a job that is part of a career, and what kind of a job it is. 5 JOB AND CAREER BUILDING Myth: You have to play politics to get ahead. Fact: All career advancement is based on the ability to build constructive human relations, not game playing. It is true that whenever two people are together in a room some form of politics takes place. There is no escaping it. But you have a choice of positive or negative politics. The building of constructive human relationships is a theme that you will find running through this book. Myth: Academia and religion are havens from the rat race and from corporate politics. Fact: The people-related nature of these fields makes them more, not less, susceptible to interpersonal problems than the so-called business world. On the other hand, for those with people-skills, there are great opportunities in these and related areas. Myth: Contacts and resumes are relevant only when you are looking for a job. Fact: It is much easier to make contacts while you are doing well in your job than when you are under the pressure of conducting a job search. And a resume should be a living document. It is a means of taking a periodic inventory of your career assets and should be updated at least once a year. Myth: Your job is what your job description says it is. You have no control over it. Fact: Job descriptions are a means to an end. They are statements of purpose, applicable for only short periods of time. Once a job description becomes a straitjacket, it must be changed. Take the initiative to change it, with awareness of your employer‘s purpose and a commitment to helping him or her achieve it. Myth: Company policy is constant, unchangeable, and controls all your activities on the job. Fact: Company policy prevents chaos, but it is anything but rigid at the top of the corporate pyramid. There is an ever-changing combination of problems and opportunities. Company policy can be changed at the top, and it frequently is. Take an active interest in the company‘s goals and purposes. That way, you can play an active part in bringing about changes in the company‘s policies, in tune with those goals and purposes, at whatever level within the company you are. Myth: An organizational diagram is a true reflection of the lines of authority in an organization. Fact: This is rarely true. An organizational structure depends heavily on the interaction between people, and this usually cannot be adequately represented in diagrammatic form. One of the best ways to understand an organization is to take a published organization diagram and, from your own observations, draw in the real lines of power and information flow. Myth: It is up to the boss to offer a raise or promotion. Fact: You can and must take the initiative. Most people feel that there is something undignified about having to ask for recognition that it should be freely offered. 6 MYTHS AND FACTS Few employers are able to keep track of contributions made by every employee, even with the greatest will in the world. At best, they are aware in general terms only whether an employee is doing well or not. Bring your boss up to date on your work and your contributions. If this is done in the spirit of helping him or her arrive at a fair appraisal of your work, and a fair decision with regard to salary increases or promotions, it will be appreciated. If you don‘t take this initiative, you will sooner or later resent the lack of recognition, and a decline in your relationship with your boss will follow. You will eventually stop making contributions and will lose all chances for recognition. Myth: The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Fact: The ―wheel‖ must be productive to merit the grease. What makes this myth so dangerous is that it appears, on the surface, to be borne out by observation. You must be a productive contributor in order to earn recognition. Empty barrels make a lot of noise, but little attention is given to them. In any case, you are a person, not a wheel. And more effective means are available to you than impotent ―squeaking.‖ If you know you are pulling your weight, that you are doing a good job, use every means described in this book to communicate your value to your employer. The grease you get, in terms of tangible recognition, will lead to career advancement and career satisfaction. That is what your work is all about. 7 2. Ground Rules Now that we have exposed some job and career myths, let‘s look at the reality of the work world. What is a good job? How does a job relate to a career? How do relationships with people affect both job and career? The world reality is often used to label a particularly unpleasant fact or to serve as an excuse for declaring failure. So it is said that the reality of work or earning a living is a necessary evil. Enjoying your work is called a pleasant fantasy— but unrealistic. Company policy is called a reality. Your own view of what your job should be is said to be a dream, devoid of reality. Carefully examine any statement made to you that is labeled ―reality‖ or ―being realistic.‖ All too frequently these phrases camouflage the user‟s inability to cope with a problem. You may be told that, ―realistically speaking,‖ there are no jobs in your field, despite the fact that thousands are working in such jobs. It is said to be a ―reality‖ that you can‘t get a good job without a degree, and so on. Any of the facts described in this book are realities because they have been documented over several decades by tens of thousands of clients, and before that by the pioneers of job and career counseling. They have withstood the test of time and the fluctuations in the work world. The next time you are being advised to be realistic, make sure this isn‘t a preface to being advised to accept failure. There are three important realities of life that are expressed in the ground rules underlying every chapter of this book. Keep these ground rules in mind, and you will have no problem following everything that is written here. Ground Rule 1 A good job is a job you enjoy and a job in which you produce results. One without the other is insufficient. 8 GROUND RULES A job that results in nothing benefits no one other than you. And such a job ultimately will not benefit you, either, because everybody needs the feedback and recognition that come from achievements. Response and acknowledgment from others are required for true job satisfaction. On the other hand, results produced without enjoyment on your part soon turn sour and cause your attitude toward your job and your associates to deteriorate, thereby eliminating all chances for long-term job satisfaction. You deserve to enjoy your work. If you don‘t, you are in trouble for a number of reasons. You spend a major part of your life in your job. Contrary to popular opinion, you can‘t build a fulfilling life around, or even next to, an unsatisfactory job. And there is danger in not enjoying a job; it will deteriorate and eventually disappear altogether. You may feel that you can live with a job that isn‘t all you had hoped for but has some tangible rewards. One of the dangers of this assumption is that your dedication, creativity, ingenuity, and enjoyment will gradually shift to your non-job activities. You will begin merely to go through the motions. Your job performance will become mechanical, and you will stand still while the world moves on. For a time you may not be aware of this, especially if you are skilled in the technical aspects of your work. One of the most frequent signals for job unhappiness is a physical or psychological symptom that doesn‘t seem to respond to normal treatment. Another is deterioration in your relationship with your associates and superiors. This turns into hostility, and you will have lost the job in reality, even though you are still reporting to work every day. The case of a fifty-three-year-old civil engineer illustrates this point. This man had been in charge of major construction projects in Europe and was now reduced to, in his own terms, fingering a pocket calculator at his desk. He was employed by one of the most prestigious engineering consulting firms in this country and had no intention of leaving the firm. Although he was by nature a pleasant and gentle person, his associates found him abrasive, argumentative, and hostile, because of his job frustrations. His superiors did not consider using his considerable managerial experience, because they had every reason to believe no one in the firm would work for him. A six-month project of rebuilding his relationship with his associates produced a promotion to project director. It was possible to rebuild the job and make it enjoyable and productive. In another case, a different remedy had to be applied. A client was in the business of selling mechanical equipment to government institutions. He had always considered himself a good salesman and was doing well in his job. At the same time he was plagued by persistent backaches. He had seen doctors, had been X-rayed, and had done exercises. Nothing helped, and he continued to suffer. He started to have doubts about his work because he found the product he was selling uninspiring. He remembered taking a test in college that indicated a preference for creative design and for planning activities. He decided to seek career counseling and became a client. As a result of re-evaluation of his basic interests and skills, together with the knowledge of his enjoyment of sales-related activities, he decided on a job change. He is now marketing manager of a major business systems firm. His new job allows him to use his planning and design interests to help his customers create business forms and systems that result in increased efficiency. After three months in the new job, his backaches disappeared. 9 JOB AND CAREER BUILDING By itself this example may not appear significant. But numerous cases of physical and psychological disorders, which range from headaches to hyperventilation and related problems and which disappeared after a career change, have convinced us that there is a direct connection. The above examples have nothing to do with doing a good or bad job but with being in the right or wrong job. If you are in the right job for you, you will find yourself advancing in your career. The wrong job will cause a career decline as well as a deterioration of other aspects of your life. This sounds straightforward. But there is a problem: A job sometimes looks right at the beginning, because it is new, exciting, and challenging. But it may still, for you, be the wrong job, and it will cause you to go into a personal and professional decline. How do you know what job is right for you? Ground Rule 2 This question brings us to the second ground rule: You can’t have a career without having a job, and there is no job worth having that is not part of a career. In order to understand this statement, let's look at the words job and career more closely. Webster defines a career as ―a specific course of action or occupation forming the object of ones life.‖ Two definitions of job are given are ―a piece of work undertaken‖ and ―a task, something that has to be done with great labor.‖ Most people w ould add another definition: ―A necessity of life, without which one cannot survive.‖ In fact, for most people, a job is a necessity. But you do have a choice. You can simply stumble from one ―task‖ or ―piece of work‖ into another, or you can embark on a ―specific course of action, forming the object of your life‖— a career. In these enlightened times, people are beginning to realize that unhealthy tension is produced more by the 8- hour-a-day job you don‘t like than by the 12 -hour-a-day career job you love. Many employers, from trucking firms to computer corporations, now advertise jobs within the context of a career. Universities now teach career planning. And the word career now connotes a positive purpose, rather than a rat race or a rut in which elderly civil servants get stuck. If you take a closer look at what a career is, you will realize that there is no such thing as a career without a job. On the other hand, you can certainly have a job, or a series of jobs, without having a career. In order to avoid having one job after another in a patchwork- quilt series of accidents, you must first recognize a purpose in your life‘s work. This purpose is unique to each person. Without necessarily being aware of it, everyone builds a success pattern from childhood. Every time you did something particularly well, and derived satisfaction doing it, your ideal career pattern manifested itself. If you can remember and connect these events, or achievements, you are well on the way to 10 GROUND RULES identifying your career pattern. This process is one of the most reliable ways to start planning a career. A career may well encompass several dramatic changes in your occupation. But there will always be a connecting thread, a continuous pattern of achievements, using the same talents and abilities. A good way to identify career growth is to look at the amount of satisfaction and personal fulfillment that goes with each job. And, usually, career growth parallels personal growth. A job can be described as a combination of things you enjoy doing, things you don‘t mind doing, and things you dislike doing. You can take a reading on your career growth by making a list of the activities that fall into these three categories. If the number of tasks you enjoy completing keeps growing, and the tasks you are indifferent to or dislike keep diminishing, then you are on a course of action that represents genuine career advancement. If not, you are likely to be going down one of life‘s many dead -end streets. In a career there is always a Next Step. This may or may not include advancing your job with your present employer. Once you know your career patterns and you have career goals, you will always know the direction in which your Next Step will take you. The talents, skills, and abilities you will use in each job will be the ones you have always used, both in your career and in your total life. They will constantly be sharpened, and they will ensure that your career and all other aspects of your life will remain in tune with each other. On the other hand, there are two common factors that can derail a career. They are misemployment and underemployment. Misemployment is a job or a series of jobs that are built on talents and abilities other than the ones you have. You are underemployed in a job that may be right in principle, but it doesn‘t allow you to use your strengths to their fullest capacity. Both of those conditions are easily recognized when you know the strengths on which your career patterns and your career goals are built. You can then take action that will bring your career back on the track. It should be understood that a job does not necessarily always mean paid employment. Volunteer activities can be very much part of a career because they can be fulfilling and productive. One of the most fulfilling and productive is the homemaker— male or female. The phrase ―just a housewife,‖ fortunately on its way out, has represented a monumental obstacle to the average person‘s understanding of the world of careers.Here is an example that is typical of hundreds of clients who have sought help over the years: A woman who had successfully presided over a large household for twenty-two years found herself with a decreasing challenge as her children grew up and became increasingly independent. She came to us and said that she had not been ―working‖ for a long time and found the task of finding a job overwhelming. After all, she had ―no recent experience‖ to offer. She saw her work with her family and in her home as an interruption of her working life and wondered if it wasn‘t too late to start a career. She had even convinced her interviewers that she was not qualified for a job and had generated a number of rejections. 11 JOB AND CAREER BUILDING This client‘s problem was, of course, that she was out of touch with the part of the work world she was about to enter. She had no personal contacts in that world and no current knowledge of opportunities and requirements. In terms of proven abilities and tangible achievements, she was highly qualified for a number of challenging jobs. Once she recognized the combination of abilities that formed a very clear career pattern, including logistical and organizational ability together with rare skill in getting people to work together, it became a matter of presenting her qualifications in a businesslike way to the right people. She became the assistant human resources manager for a large department store. By now you will have realized that there is a close connection between jobs and careers. When searching for, finding, and carrying out a job, think in terms of your career pur- poses and goals. When planning a career, consider the jobs that are the building blocks of that career. Throughout this book jobs and careers will be discussed together. Jobs will always be looked at in terms of the career of which they are a part, and careers will be discussed in terms of the jobs or activities of which they consist. Ground Rule 3 The third and most important ground rule underlying this book is the following: The world of work is a world of people. There is no business organization without people. There is no company policy that isn‘t made by people. There is no such thing as management without people. People grant interviews, judge qualifications, and make offers of employment. An understanding of how people function is essential if you are to move successfully in the job and career world. You do not need to be a trained psychologist to develop this knowledge. One simple fact, if understood and remembered, will lead you safely through the mass of human relationships in the job and career world: Business decisions, like all human decisions, are made partially on the rational and partially on the emotional level. The rational or factual side of a statement or decision is usually communicated adequately in words. It remains for us to understand something about the role the emotions play, our own emotions as well as those of the people around us. Job interviews provide good examples for this. You will rarely be made a job offer based solely on your technical qualifications for a job. If the interviewer doesn‘t accept you on the emotional level, if he or she doesn‘t like you, you will not receive an offer. On the other hand, if you have established personal rapport with an interviewer, you may often be chosen over someone with twice your qualifications. We see examples of this every day. There should be nothing frightening or negative about this realization. The business world becomes much more accessible to you when you think of it as a world of people. 12 GROUND RULES A young client, Harold C., decided that he wanted to become a salesman. He had been outstandingly successful in persuading people to his point of view in selling ideas, but he had never been paid for it, He had been trained as an engineer. No company would ever hire him as a salesman. But he knew that companies don‘t hire, people do. So Harold wrote a resume that presented his job objective and qualifications in terms of his actual achievements rather than his past job descriptions, and he set out to make contact with people at the decision-making level. Not surprising, given Harold‘s ability to communicate, he persuaded the president of a small manufacturing firm that made the type of electrical equipment with which he was familiar to employ him as a sales engineer on a trial basis. The president not only was impressed by his strength of purpose, but had also taken a liking to him. Twelve years later Harold C. continues to enjoy a successful marketing career. Being knowledgeable about and in command of our own emotions is just as important as being qualified in other ways. What do you do when an interviewer says to you: ―But we are looking for a younger person‖ Do you feel that you have been disqualified for the job? Do you walk away from your interviewer saying that the question is illegal, or do you explain why your experience and ability make you more valuable for the job? A few well-chosen questions would elicit the reason for the interviewer‘s preference for a younger person. You can then provide information to reassure your interviewer that your greater age is an asset to the company and not a drawback. Our emotions frequently lead us to confuse objections with rejections. In reality they often turn out to be opportunities for clearing away confusion and prejudice. Statements such as: ―We have never hired a woman for this position,‖ ―We were looking for someone with a master‘s degree,‖ ―You have only three years‘ experience in this field,‖ allow you to demonstrate why these objections do not present obstacles to job performance. Frequently you can even suggest how a seeming disadvantage can be turned into an advantage. One client persuaded a prospective employer that the lack of an advanced degree would put him more on a level of rapport with the people under him, none of whom had academic training. His experience otherwise qualified him for the job, and he was hired, even though all his competitors for the job had academic certification. In most cases objections about your being qualified for a job turn out to be simple requests for information and reassurance. By recognizing this you can turn objections into opportunities. Sometimes ―corporate policy‖ is given as the reason certain qualifications are required. Corporate policy is created to prevent chaos in an organization. But in any sound business organization, corporate policy is responsive to changes and opportunities within as well as outside the company, and any organization that adheres to a rigid, inflexible set of policies does not survive for very long. Recently a client who applied for a job to a well-known organization in the communications field was told at her first interview that the company hired ―only from within.‖ This statement is frequently made by interviewers and reflects a desire rather 13 JOB AND CAREER BUILDING than a fact. As a morale-building policy, even when observed only partially, it is a valuable management tool. Our client asked the interviewer if anyone with her exact qualifications was currently in the company‘s employ and available for the job. The answer was no; corpo rate policy was quietly shelved, and the interview proceeded without further objections. It was concluded successfully. The organizational diagram is another good example of the ―human‖ nature of the corporate world. Few such charts (or totem poles) reflect the actual lines of power or of communications. Organizations are people, and people cannot be reduced to diagrams. One of the first tasks of any client, on starting in a new job, is to study the real relationships between people around him or her, as compared to the lines of authority established by the company. Throughout this book, human relations are discussed as an integral part of job and career building. The emotional aspect of human relationships sometimes becomes difficult to handle in negative job and career situations. This will be discussed in the following chapter. However, there is no intent here to portray emotions by themselves as a negative force. On the contrary, with an understanding of the role of the emotions comes the ability to benefit from their proper functioning. The emotions provide the energy for all great achievement. Knowledge of your own and others‘ emotional responses will enable you to turn problems into opportunities and to take control of your job and your career. Knowledge of your emotional responses is particularly important when you are faced with job and career problems, the subject of Chapter 3. 14 3. How to Solve Job and Career Problems In the first stages of seasickness, you are afraid you will die. Later you are afraid you won‟t die. The same is true of a job you don‘t like: At first you are afraid of losing the job; later you realize that it may be even worse to keep it. In this chapter I‘ll discuss two categories of employment problems: First, the trauma created by being terminated together with the resulting unemployment problems, and sec- ond, the problems of being unhappy with the job you have. Job Termination Trauma - Step 1: When a person is terminated, the first reaction is emotional. A rational understanding of the event usually follows much later, but in some cases, it is blocked from ever happening. Because your reactions take place at the emotional level, without much reasoned control, they can be dangerous to you. Here are some typical examples of negative emotional responses to being fired. Telling the boss off. This may make you feel better, but it can create a number of negative trends that you may find hard to control later, especially if you stay in the same career field. Stopping off for one or more drinks on the way home. This is a more common reaction than is generally realized. When in the twin grip of anger and alcohol, disastrous decisions are often made. Going on vacation in order to forget about the whole unpleasant event. In the first place, it doesn‘t work, and in the second, it will increase the amount of inertia you will have to overcome when you finally start your search for the next job. If you feel you deserve a vacation, the best time to take it is after you have accepted a job offer and before you report to work. This is usually possible, and such a vacation has great benefits, not the least of which is that you start your next job with a clear and refreshed mind. A variation on the ―going -on-vacation‖ theme is sitting in front of the television set or computer at home. Severance pay can be both a help and a hindrance, 15 JOB AND CAREER BUILDING depending on your use of it. Severance pay can finance part or your entire job search, or it can simply help you to put off the inevitable Next Step and add to the mountain of inertia in your path to the next job. You may be led by a negative emotion to make some understandable but wrong assumptions. One is that your family and friends will despise you for losing your job; you will be considered worthless. You may feel that everyone is looking at you as you walk down the street, as if your misfortune has suddenly become visible to the whole world. You may fear that being out of work means you probably won‘t get another job. The fact is that most people have been fired or laid off at one time or another. You are not alone. If having been fired meant not being able to find another job, most of the population of this country would be permanently out of work. Many of your friends have been in the situation you are now facing. One assumption you can safely make is that no one will offer you a job while you feel and look like a walking disaster area. Employers don‘t hire problems, they hire people to solve problems. Job Termination Trauma - Step 2: Take Positive Action The Next Step is to take positive action. Start by enlisting the support of your family and closest friends by including them in your planning. They will respond with enthusiasm. Finding a good position is a full-time job that requires all the ingenuity and stamina you can muster. The time to begin is at 9:00 A.M. the next day. To counteract feeling worthless, take stock of your assets. They are illustrated in your achievements, both on and off the job. Write down as many of your accomplishments as you can remember, but list at least ten. An achievement is anything that you did well, enjoyed doing, and were proud of doing. This is not an idle ego-building exercise. Select specific events, not general abilities; write them down in detail and include results. When you have finished, study what you have written. Underline activities and results that occur in more than one achievement. Soon you will find a pattern of skills or talents. If not, add more achievements, even relatively minor ones, until you start seeing repeated successful actions emerging. If you find this difficult, ask someone close to help. The following are two examples of achievements from one of our clients: Five years ago I enlisted the help of my staff in reorganizing a complex filing system for my company. We relabeled all folders and created an easy-to-read index. As a result, the time it takes to find a document has been cut in half, and no document has been lost since then. The filing system is still in use today. All members of my family enjoy reading. Our home is full of books, but, until recently, specific books took a long time to find, and some books seemed lost altogether. So I built new bookshelves. I then sorted all our books into categories, labeled the bookshelves, and got my family to learn how the system worked and 16 HOW TO SOLVE JOB AND CAREER PROBLEMS to return all books to their proper places. Since then books have been easy to find, and I received many compliments from friends and neighbors on my system. It is easy to see that these two examples begin to indicate a pattern. This person took pride in bringing order into disorganized situations and in creating systems. An ability to get other people involved is also implied. Once an ability pattern or success pattern emerges, it can be reinforced by many other examples. The more examples you find, the more certain you can be that the ability, skill, or talent indicated is a genuine strength and should be part of any job you hold in the future. It should be a strong factor in your entire career. The Next Step is to write a resume or to revise the resume you already have. Make sure that the skills and talents you identified in your achievement analysis are reflected in your resume. Some of the achievements you write down may be stronger than the job description listed on your present resume and should be included in the revised version. If you are not sure what your next job should look like, it will be important to read Chapter 4, ―Setting Objectives,‖ be fore you rewrite your resume. You will spend at least a whole day and maybe more to accomplish the above. But you will now have a realistic objective and the documentation as well as the confidence to back it up. If you are under financial pressure, deal with that next, so you don‘t have to look over your shoulder constantly and worry about paying bills. For major debts, such as a mortgage or a large loan, visit the manager of your bank. When you explain your situation openly, together with your plans for dealing with it, your bank manager can often help you make a temporary arrangement to ease your burden. The manager now has a personal stake in the success of your job search. Also, as you know, bankers are good contacts to have in the community. Most people to whom you owe money will accept a goodwill gesture, such as a token payment, together with a written explanation of your situation and a commitment to resume full payments on acceptance of a job. If you are under heavy financial pressure, you may need to consider a temporary or part- time job. Experience shows that a 25 percent reduction in your salary expectations can more than double your employment opportunities. Such a job has two advantages: It allows you to look for a good job from a position of being employed, which will give you added confidence. And it reduces the loss of income considerably. For the latter reason it is called a ―Stop -Loss Job.‖ There are two types of Stop-Loss Jobs. The first is a job in your career field, but at a lower level. The second is a job in an unrelated field that requires little skill or experience, and is relatively easy to find. The virtue of this kind of Stop-Loss Job is that it may have flexible hours, thus allowing you to use prime daytime hours for interviewing. Depending on your inclinations, these jobs can include selling a product or service, working in a retail establishment, or driving a taxi. As a last resort or desperation measure, Stop-Loss Jobs may be damaging to your self- respect, but as part of a purposeful approach to bridging a career gap, they will have no 17 JOB AND CAREER BUILDING negative emotional implications. Is it fair to the employer to enter into a temporary relationship with the intention of leaving as soon as a better opportunity arises? The answer is twofold: First, seen from that point of view, all jobs are temporary; and for many clients, the Stop-Loss Job turned into a good career position through rapid on-the- job advancement, once they were able to prove themselves. Second, as long as you carry out your job to the best of your ability, you are meeting your obligation to your employer. Once the job no longer meets your requirements, or those of the employer, it should come to an end in any case. Some people become worried about how a position of short duration, at reduced responsibility and income, affects their overall work record or career progress. In Chapter 7, ―Building Communications,‖ I will show how to present your em ployment history. The case of a fifty-one-year-old man who was terminated unexpectedly illustrates many of the points discussed so far in this chapter. I was completely unprepared when my boss told me that my job was being eliminated. I was too stunned to react. I don‘t re member what I said to my boss. Among the thoughts that passed through my mind, the one I remember most was: ―How am I go ing to tell my wife about this?‖ I remember dimly that someone told me that stopping for a drink on the way home after being fired was a no-no. I‘m not even sure I would have been able to get it down if I had tried. One of my assumptions was shattered when I presented the bad news to my family. My wife, refusing to collapse from the shock, reminded me that the life we had together was built on something stronger than the permanence of my job. So we decided to start at 9:00 AM. on the dot the next morning to make plans for my becoming re-employed, before I had a chance to start feeling sorry for myself. The first problem I needed to deal with was the feeling that everyone was looking at me. I thought of buying a new suit (which I couldn‘t afford) and of all the t hings I had read about that would improve my appearance and make me look younger, such as dying my hair.My wife came to the rescue again, reminding me that my suit and gray hair had not been a problem before. The difference was that the satisfaction of having done a day‘s work would be missing now. But why should it? I had read somewhere that finding a job was the most difficult of all jobs. There ought to be lots of opportunity for doing a good day‘s work. Right there my wife and I decided on a 9 to 5 schedule with plenty of opportunity for overtime. We also decided on taking our weekends, or at least Sundays seriously by doing the less expensive things we most enjoyed as a family. We also made a point not to avoid people. We decided to talk openly with our friends about my situation and feelings. We have been told by many of our acquaintances since then that they were inspired by our attitude. The next thing we had to tackle was the one most likely to cause fear. The subject of money. Despite my chronic disinclination to budget, I actually enjoyed the project of taking stock of our financial resources, cash and otherwise.We dealt with the more difficult subject of debts in the following way: Every one of the people we owed 18 HOW TO SOLVE JOB AND CAREER PROBLEMS payments to received a letter explaining my problem, and containing both a small token payment and a promise to bring the account current as soon as I was employed again. The biggest obligation was the mortgage on our house. I made an appointment with the manager of the local branch of my bank. I must say that I learned more about the good side of human nature during that period than in all the time I was gainfully employed. Our next step was the organizing of a job search. Here I hit a snag: The culture we are living in considers being unemployed as some sort of disease. Although I felt my attitude was positive, I also know that in my profession available jobs were known to be scarce, and competition was intense. To be realistic I had to consider the possibility of a six- to ten-month period of unemployment, and I felt that my resources, as well as the patience of my creditors, would not stretch that far. I had heard that the availability of jobs doubled with a one- quarter decrease in salary expectations. So my wife and I set an arbitrary period of six weeks of concentrated job search before deciding to settle for a temporary, lower-level job in order to stop or reduce the loss of income. Just as we were about to start on the latest crop of newspapers, it occurred to me that I now had a unique opportunity to make a mid-career adjustment in my professional activity. Although I had, by and large, enjoyed what I was doing, my job had been mostly administrative in character. Those ideas that I was able to contribute to the improvement in our firm‘s product were considered to be outside my normal duties and had not been rewarded financially. Yet there had been many such instances, and I decided to include them in my resume. As we were preparing a new resume, my wife and I became quite anxious to get a reaction from a few friends to my expanded job objective. At first some of them doubted the wisdom of changing my objective during a period of unemployment. But when they heard me talk about it, they agreed that my apparently increased sense of self-worth would be a point in my favor during the coming interviews. The four productive days spent bringing our finances in order and making job-plan decisions not only resulted in a resume I could feel good about, but generated a sense of satisfaction in me that had been absent in my work for some time. I believe many of my interviewers were favorably impressed with my attitude. In the end, one of the first people I had seen called me some weeks later to tell me about an opportunity he had heard about. This resulted in an interview and eventually in a job offer that I accepted under favorable conditions. As a result of this experience, I have made a few resolutions that I am determined to keep: ―I will never again be caught by surprise by an unforese en development in my company. ―If I see a change taking place, I will stay in close communi cation with my employer so I have an opportunity to adapt myself to the change. ―I will set aside a certain amount of money as an insurance policy against similar occurrences. 19

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