Make Your Own 2014 Forecast

2014 is fast approaching and we are going to get all kinds of forecasts coming to us in the news. HERE is one from a group of economists (Aren’t they all) predicting a year of steady but slow growth. We have been out of the Great Recession for five years. Really? I haven’t seen it and I still speak to people who are worried about their jobs or haven’t fully recovered.

And any growth projected has to be hedged with concerns of Washington and what is going on up there. The instability overseas in about all areas of the map may also have a huge effect on the US. Again, like last year, buckle up it may get wild.

But that is macroeconomics–big picture. How about in my house, what can I do? There are some steps I would suggest to make 2014 a better year for you and your career.

First, get away from the TV. This is an election year and the mud will be flying. The parties can’t even get along with themselves on things that will help the country. They are really going to be slinging it to get reelected. And the trend for political advertising has been getting higher and higher.

Second, check your qualifications on education and certifications. Make sure you have what you need. Having 75% of the qualifications that a company is looking for on your resume isn’t good enough anymore. The competition has gotten tougher. Make sure you measure up.

I am currently working on a resume writing certification. It is not easy and other things keep coming up. But I just have to keep it a priority and keep in mind why I decided to do it in the first place.

Training classes are a great way to broaden your network. That would be part of my deciding what classes to take, who will be in it.

Third, reach out to your network. Have you contacted every one of your LinkedIn and FaceBook connections this year? All you have to do is say hi. In person would be best. The holidays make connecting and meeting with people much easier.

Also, is there anyone you need to meet? Take the initiative to make the opportunity happen.

Fourth, check your budget. (Tim, have you lost your mind? A budget, really?) Well at least get a grip on your expenditures. Are there any expenses that you can cut back on, even temporarily? This will help lessen the fear and desperation you/I often feel when the bills are too close or I fall behind. It is easier to have confidence when you are not struggling to stay afloat.

And last, research the next step you want to take in your career. I have worked mainly with people who had this choice to change jobs forced upon them. There are jobs out there and will be next year. Determine what job you would like to do and then make the moves that are necessary to get there. It may be with your current company. If so, start taking on new roles to get the experience and show the managers your abilities to do the new job. Who knows, they may be currently looking for someone.

As always, your career is in your hands. There will be some bumps in the road, are you prepared for them? But make your career development a priority. You may be surprised where you end up.

Three Easy Ways to Get Hired with Facebook

Confused apeI understand a lot of the confusion people have about using social media. It seems that every day we have a new site popping up or changes to the ones we already use. Every time I go into LinkedIn I have some trepidation about what I will find added, missing, or changed. My groups recently looked odd and I don’t know if it is a change or my computer. And LinkedIn arbitrarily rolls out new changes so one’s profile may look different from someone in another area. And we humans just love the uncertain.  (I say sarcastically.)

I saw this post recently about using Facebook in your job search. It is on Joshua’s Waldman’s website and he is a dependable authority on social media. He lists three methods you can use to get a job by using Facebook. (Click here.)

I was in our job service room one day leading a class, and one of the regulars was up front giving his knowledge. He matter-of-factly stated that you should never go on Facebook. That it is just a waste of time.

As Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend.” There are some good reasons to use Facebook. I give some of them in this earlier post.

If you are still hesitant to use Facebook, LinkedIn, the phone; its okay. You don’t have to. But look at what they have to offer and then make an informed decision.

Good luck in your search whether it is for a job or for the next step in your career. If you have something that is bothering you, except for Congress, please leave me a comment or email me at I will get back with you and I may use it in a later post.

And if you know anyone who may benefit from anything you learn here, please send them a link. Thanks for stopping by.

When You Are Facing A Crisis


Facing a choice.
Facing a choice.

I have a client who is starting to have a crisis at work. Things are beginning to change. Their hours are being cut back. What would you suggest that my client do?

You may be finding yourself in the same type of situation. But in your case, it’s not the job that is changing, it is you. You just feel that you want something different. Or your priorities are changing. You want to spend more time with your family. Feel more challenged. You want to build or make something. Contribute more to society. Or, maybe, you just don’t know, you just feel…uncomfortable.

So what will you do?

One of the hardest things for me to do is to slow down, think, and really look at where I am going. I would much rather just put my head down and barge through whatever is in front of me. This is how many of us act in our careers. We get a good start and then we just follow the ruts. Is anyone’s job like following the hind-end of the lead dog?

What I suggest is that you sit down, take a pen and paper, and make lists 1) of your listpriorities, 2) your skills and options, and 3) what you have going for you now.

Is what you are facing a real threat (either to your job or your ego)? What is important to you? (My feelings got hurt but so what?) What is your goal? Do you want a manager position? A six-figure salary? To watch your child play soccer? Travel?

How would you like your life to look? Write it down.

Now, what do you need to do to get there?

I believe that you need to write this down. This makes you slow down and flesh out your thought, give it more detail. Do you want a promotion? To what? In the same department? Can you get it at your company? Do I really want a promotion or more freedom, or the ability to use a different skillset, or…

Sometimes it happens when your brain is running and you aren’t in control. Can anyone say bedtime? That is okay. Go with it. However, if you are driving, please watch the road. (For some reason, my brain can go in all sorts of directions when I am driving.)

The key is to take a real look at your thoughts. Hold them up to the light. What do you see? Daddy always told me I should … My eighth-grade teacher suggested … Stop! What do YOU think? What do YOU want? Sometimes they are right, sometimes not. They can be one piece of what you use to make your decision.

Ask why? Okay, then ask why, again. (For my Lean Six people you do your five whys, but that would drive me bonkers.) Allow yourself to really look and think. For many of us, it will be a new experience. And very uncomfortable.

I hate doing this. But before I left my job this summer, I spent a lot of time thinking about my motives and possibilities. I explored many options and rejected several. I talked with a lot of people and reached out to others, some I had not met before. I asked complete strangers, “What do you do?” It is not something you can do in an hour or in one afternoon. You will find that each time you go back, you will be able to go deeper and uncover something new.

This is NOT the same thing as worrying. Worrying is dwelling on things that are out of our control. To look for the worse and getting desperate. Worrying saps your strength and leaves you feeling helpless. Worrying is kryptonite.

What we are talking about is identifying where and who we are, and planning how to become who we want to be. Often, we just let this develop and then we can’t understand how we got here.

I was at my last job for eight years. Every so often I would evaluate where I was and did it line up with what I wanted to do. Over time, your priorities and interests will change. Do not let yourself become stuck in the rut of your job, your company, or your position.

You have choices.  You may choose to stay because it is a good fit. But let it be a choice you make and not a rut you feel trapped in. Many times we choose to ignore looking at our choices because we are comfortable with the status quo.

I challenge you to sit down and look at your situation, your goals, and your options. Then you decide how you can take control.

A boat adriftA ship adrift rarely ends at the right port. (If no one has said this, I’ve got dibs.)