Career Change Tips

career-changeHow often have you contemplated doing something entirely different than what you are doing right now? Before quitting your job, look at the bigger picture and the implications of making a change or not doing so. Will you be proactive or just let things slide and continue? What’s really at stake? Let’s examine a more systematic approach to finding answers that work for you.

1. Look at the issues that make you crave change and outline your goals.
What are you satisfied with about your current situation? What are you dissatisfied with? Is it your boss or the culture of your organization? Or do you really want to change careers? Outline your goals- for example, more money, more time off or more flexibility. Write it all down.

2. Work to understand your inner critic.
Observe thoughts that trap you with fear and prevent you from achieving your objectives. Write these down on a piece of paper, then crumple it up and throw it away to symbolize your freedom from thoughts that interfere with your goals and dreams.

3. Recognize recurring patterns in your life.
What makes you happy? What are your recurring interests and social needs? What makes a work environment feel good or not so good to you? Write it down.

4. Network and investigate career interests that map to your goals and needs.
Once you’ve identified your patterns and desires, start thinking about careers that make sense for you. Give yourself one to three months to explore your curiosity by finding people who do these jobs and talking about the pros and cons of their work. Explore anything and everything until you’re satisfied — or until your time runs out.

5. Make a plan that takes your financial situation into account.
Change is never simple, but having a plan that outlines your steps and financial requirements makes it doable. Will your new career require additional education, a small business loan, time off from work or relocation? Make a plan with financial considerations and a realistic timeline that you can follow through on.

©MWeisner2015

Take the Stairs to Achieve Success

stairway to successIs it willpower or discipline, and does it really matter? How decisive am I on a daily basis only to have to modify my plan before I even get started? According to Rory Vaden, author of Take the Stairs: 7 Steps to Achieving True Success, choosing to take the escalator over a flight of stairs is a deeper indicator of how you operate overall and may be quite telling. When you select the easier shortcut of stepping on those moving stairs, is it really about getting to another floor more quickly or is it a statement about how you function in other parts of your life? He calls this the “escalator mentality” and it may be emblematic of avoiding the more challenging effort of full engagement in a given activity.

Sometimes shortcuts are smart and sensible, but they can also be deceptive. When we get in the habit of automatically looking for the quicker solution, we may also be setting ourselves up for traps. It is particularly tempting to seek the easy way out when it comes to making difficult changes like reaching a goal weight or reducing debt. But these shortcuts can also take a toll on self-discipline and don’t always take you where you want to go.

Evaluate your decisions– is this taking you where you want to go?
• Be flexible- find success in making small changes first; bigger ones later
• Manage your time – when is the best time to focus on this activity?
• Prioritize and Succeed!

Keep in mind that we are not all Luddites, attached to doing things the long, hard way and not make use of the technology that is readily available. It makes sense to view each situation independently, with a heightened awareness that the easy/faster way may not always be the best way. However, after an exhausting day, that escalator may also be just what the doctor ordered!

©2013 Maureen Weisner

If the Shoe Doesn’t Fit…

cinderella584Is what we think we want more compelling than identifying what we need? Cinderella’s stepsisters might be a quarrelsome lot on that point, for try as they might, that darned glass slipper just would not fit on their feet. One of my first summer jobs was in the shoe department of a women’s clothing store, so on a daily basis I witnessed some very surprising behaviors. Many customers were determined to make a purchase based not on comfort, color or style, but on size. Naively, my own experience with footwear was never based on the latter consideration. Imagine feeling visibly hobbled by one’s own decision to pay for something that important, that crucial to your well-being overall health that you would override sound judgment in favor of pain. I am not a Luddite and admittedly there are times when some sacrifice to comfort in favor of fashion is warranted, but on a daily basis your feet are neither too big nor too small. They are just right for YOU and if that shoe doesn’t fit, take a deep breath and place it gently back in the box where it belongs, waiting for Cinderella to claim it.

It is one thing to vainly attempt to wedge oneself into footwear or apparel that is not the proper size and quite another to base decisions on emotional factors that are a vanity of another sort. For example, investing in technology is an area that changes so rapidly it is hard to keep up and at the same time there is cache in having the newest “tools” at our fingertips. Does it announce to the world that we are smart, trendsetting players, not to be confused with the generation that is wedded to antiquated methods of doing business? Or does it mean that we have a drawer full of discarded items that were never understood or integrated into our working day?

Step back, assess and ascertain if your next purchase will be an enhancement or a costly choice and above all, please refrain from limping around your office when your cell phone rings.

© Maureen Weisner 2013

“Rule” Book Revisions

untitledI want an ice cream cone. Not a two scooper or what seems like a pint balanced precariously atop a fragile looking sugar cone. I want a kid-sized serving which is still entirely too much but at least it could resemble a portion in proportion. My request for less was denied. At this stand there were no small sizes on the menu and apparently no flexibility in responding to customer requests.

•    When are rules really meant to be bent or broken?
•    What is their purpose after all?
•    Control?  Uniformity? Simplicity?

It wasn’t a question of cost, as I was willing to pay. It did not seem like a radical request and as a family owned business, isn’t responding to customer feedback important for continued success? Basic business principles would support listening to your patrons and perhaps modifying your method of delivery. So, where is the disconnect?

IS YOUR RULE BOOK WRITTEN IN CONCRETE OR SAND?

If you are a business owner or entrepreneur yourself, how willing are you to look at your operations with fresh eyes? Often times we put systems in place, get them up and running and promptly forget to revisit the process again. We become comfortable and may only pay attention when something breaks down. Is too much “ice cream” making you complacent or do you need to change places and be the client/customer for the day!
•    How curious are you?
•    Compose one inquiry that would open up new conversation
•    Remember, if you ask the question of your client/customer, staff and more, be prepared for the answer and accompanying follow-up

© 2013 Maureen Weisner

Control is an Illusion

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“You cannot control the wind, but you can adjust your sails!”

I’m not a sailor. I’m not familiar with nautical lingo and barely missed being knocked overboard by the boom coming through. (Who knew that, “lower the boom” was not just an expression?) I can, however, appreciate the awareness and flexibility of those skilled at the helm as they focus on the mechanics of operation while I tighten the straps of my life vest. There is beauty in this ballet at sea as the wind is indeed the “engine” moving the boat along in concert with the sailor who engages it. On board everyone is involved in some manner by taking direction, shifting position or moving out of the way. Sometimes it is a speedy ride and other times it can be a struggle to get anywhere. Sometimes there is no wind at all and you are left floating in the middle of the river.

• What do you do when you are forced to slow down?
• Frantically seek a fix?
• What do you do when faced with an unexpected change?
• Dig in deeper or step back to refocus?

We are all experienced “sailors” in some fashion, perhaps not on water exactly, but in life’s situations. We cannot always control what happens. What we do have control over is how we respond. Experience teaches us that some things are salvageable and sometimes from the very worst chaos, from the least likely place, opportunity is revealed.

• What might you be missing?
• Which way is the wind really blowing?
• Who can you bring on board to create a solution?
• What if you did nothing?

©2013 Maureen Weisner