Sunday, August 22, 2010

Are You Addicted to Career Advice?

Whether you're unemployed and looking for work or just poking around to see what opportunities are out there, one thing is for certain: the abundance of job-related advice articles is staggering. In fact, every day it seems that the major search engines and news channels posts at least one if not multiple new articles on how to change careers or find a job.

Most of them include an interesting twist -- the introduction to a job you never considered (i.e., elevator repair work), news about high paying careers that only require limited education (i.e., technical jobs that you may qualify for with a 2-year degree or 18-month certificate), jobs with a twist (i.e., telecommuting, developing industries, stimulus-related opportunities), or career moves that appeal to your own special interests (i.e., jobs in sports, creative jobs, green jobs, event jobs were you can shop or play video games and earn money.)

What's great about these articles is that they can open your horizons to something you may not have previously known about or considered. But in all fairness, most of them don't actually tell you who's hiring for these positions beyond a generalized reference (schools, hospitals, government agencies, etc.) or provide a step-by-step guide for getting from where you are to where you want to be. And ultimately, for career advice to be genuinely helpful, it needs to go beyond simply informational.

I enjoy these articles as much as anyone -- and I enjoy the writers who pen them. Many of them are colleagues who regularly call and quote me. If you're looking for inspiration or someone to give you a fresh idea, these articles are the best! But if you're serious about making a change, challenge yourself to take a genuine career assessment such as the Green Light Scoring Model and then begin investigating industry-specific career resources that can help you go from dreaming about your ideal job to actually obtaining it.

Did you know the 2010 Creating Job Security Resource Guide includes more than 130 industry-specific resources? It includes the Green Light Scoring Model. And it's available online and in a bookstore near you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

When Your Confidence Takes a Hit

I was talking to a lady yesterday who spent a large portion of 2010 unemployed, until recently. Her unemployment benefits were running low and she took a "bridge" position. Once she started working, she found the pace of the office to be more than she bargained for.

This lady who prided herself on providing excellent customer service to 25 patients a day, was now working with a team of six to process 270 patients a day, making it impossible for her to give any customer more than the most basic of processing. Every day she was struggling to keep up with the software fields, phones, insurance and minimal greeting requirements. In a world where a seemingly simple question like, "Does heart disease run in your family?" once might have taken three or four minutes while the patient explained, she was now asked to hasten their response with, "Yes or no please." She was miserable.

She explained that she was half worried about and half hoping to get termed daily; even though she had taken exact notes of what buttons to push and what fields to populate, the pace and the environment were totally overwhelming to her. When tears began to roll down her cheeks as she whispered, "I've never been unable to keep up with the work but this compromises everything I believe in," it was evident that her beliefs weren't her biggest challenge.

Her confidence had taken a major hit. She was treading water and going nowhere. The job paid less than she made in 25 years and at the same time took away everything she valued about working in a patient-focused environment. And once she voiced that, she could start creating a plan to find a more suitable position for her qualifications.

Has your confidence taken a hit? Has the economy made you doubt your own value? As the marketplace changes, some jobs do become more sought after while other fields become flooded with qualified candidates. It's important to be able to accurately assess if one of these scenarios applies to you. But through it all, while the marketplace may change, your value never lessens. You just need to feel secure enough in your skills and experience to adjust your sails to the economy rather than dropping them completely when your boat is bobbing around on an angry sea.

For the quick, easy-to-use tools you need to jumpstart your career today, visit