Category Archives: Career Development

New Year, New You: Nothing New

Next year I’m going to…”

Kyle Richner
Kyle Richner

In predictable fashion, the end of the year means promises will be made. For most, promises are made with the intent to come true until reality shows us otherwise.

Don’t have to be Nostradamus for this: By February, previous month promises and the intent behind them will fade into a distant memory. By March, justification and amnesia will kick in full throttle, until “Nothing New” rules the remainder of the year.

A bit gloomy prediction on my part, suggesting you will be failing on the self-imposed challenges being made over the next week. Here’s the problem many simply don’t understand or refuse to believe: in order for promises to come true, change MUST become part of the equation.

If nothing changes, nothing changes.”

Good news, defeat does not always happen; maybe there is a chance this year will be YOUR year of change, progress, and happiness.

Though no guarantee, there are specific guidelines to follow in your journey to the new you:

  • Active: Rarely does change become a reality for those sitting on the sidelines. For those wishing for better health, your dust-layered treadmill can no longer be used as a cup holder.
  • Attitude: Without believing change can come about, it will never happen. Psychologists have proven time and time that the power of a positive attitude can (and will) ignite change.
  • Visualize: In order for you to secure a destination, you have to know where you are going. Visualization is one of the most influential elements defining success. After all, without picturing the result, the path will never be defined or ventured.
  • Valley: Before beginning, recognize there will be obstacles (many call these temptations) causing hesitation. Preparing for a stumble allows you to develop preconceived options to overcome.
  • Career: Reflect on 2014 and perform a private inventory how the year went for you. Did you accomplish anything at work? Did you take any professional development courses or attend seminars? Did you cross-train or make yourself more valuable to an employer? If the answer is no, don’t blame others for career complacency (no raise or promotion).
  • Journal: During the first week of January (or final week of December), write three areas you would like to change. The key is to be specific. Don’t write: get a job (or promotion) without a plan on HOW you plan on achieving the goal.

What are YOU going to do this year? Are you going to play the armchair role, waiting around for something great to happen and then blaming others or circumstance once again 12 months from now?

New Year, New You? It’s not going to happen unless YOU make it happen. I’m not a betting man, but if I were, I would place my pot of silver that NOTHING NEW will define 2015 for you… as for me, I’ve got a plan and know 2015 is going to be one of the most progressive and successful years of my life.

Double Dare: Prove to me (mostly to yourself) 2015 is going to be YOUR YEAR.

To review and consider career development books and resources, including material designed specifically for those transitioning from military service, resume / cover letter construction, networking, and interview strategies as well as employment guidance for ex-felons visit www.edu-cs.com, www.CareerBreakOut.com, or www.2ndChanceUniversity.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com

Resume Dust Off

For most of us, the thought of a resume dust off is far from our mind. After all, these next few weeks are a time of cheer and holiday spirit… not a time for career considerations… or is it?

junk carIn an effort to keep Scrooge alive and kicking, I’m going to be a tad outlandish and propose we take a break from the cheer and update our resume while reflecting upon the myriad of professional accomplishments tucked away during the past 12 months.

Before etching scribbles on your resume, let’s take a quick skills / development / accomplishment inventory. Take out a piece of paper, a writing utensil, and a creative mind as you begin at the beginning…

If employed, during the previous 12 months did you:

  • Receive a formal employee evaluation? If so, take out your copy as we rediscover the contributions that make you valuable. Highlight the positive aspects of your evaluation, taking note on key phrases or words used to describe performance. Were goals defined and met? If so, list each, your direct involvement, and what affect your actions had on the company’s bottom line.
  • Complete professional development courses? If so, what were they and how did the knowledge transfer to work performance or customer satisfaction? By the way, hands-on or online courses are a great way to show how you want to progress within the company and industry.
  • Earn special recognitions? When it comes to claiming “I’m the right candidate for the promotion or new job,” nothing is more persuasive than a third party referral or award.
  • Save the company money? Companies are always looking for ways to save on expenses or expand revenue. This said, did you make any positive operational changes or suggest a better (more efficient) way to get things done? For example, perhaps you developed a spreadsheet to eliminate scheduling conflicts or introduced a morale-boosting program.

If NOT employed, during the previous 12 months did you:

  • Complete professional development courses? There are many free online classes to get you back into the industry world. Let potential employers know you are NOT one to be “sittin’ on a simmer.” You want to stay in the loop, keeping fresh on new ideas and industry standards.
  • Partake in networking events? Now’s the time to refresh on what professionals in the field have shared with you. Take a few moments to reflect key ideas and suggestions from peers, Incorporating key words into your documents. Truth is, you don’t want to be talking 2012 in 2015…that would be just smack.
  • Perform in volunteer work? Companies want employees who care about and give to their community. This is a winning combination and should never be taken for granted.
  • Continue formal education? Definitely a no-brainer here. Consider including relevant classes on your resume and/or cover letter.

Naturally the above bullets are merely a quick snapshot of potential progressions one can gain over the months, you may have more to add or less. Either way, keep a strong attitude and know you are the right person for the job.

Now that you have thought about the knowledge, skills, and accomplishments earned this year, it’s time to prioritize the top two or three areas most relevant to the industry/position of interest.

An effective way to filter the list is to think as a hiring manager. In other words, if you were a hiring manager, would you find the information valuable? If not, don’t use it. If you feel the information is something the hiring manager should know in order to make a well-informed decision, include it in your cover letter and/or resume.

Entering the New Year, keep a professional journal handy so you can list and detail the great things you do. Information from this journal can then be used during your next dust off as well as interview preparations.

I’ve decided to conclude this moment by repeating the final words from our last reading… yes, it was that important…

Do yourself a favor, stop sittin’ on a simmer and commit to making 2015 a year of fulfillment. I’m simply asking you to devote TWO hours a day, adding up to ten hours of career stretching weekly. If this sounds like I’m asking too much from you… you are stuck on a simmer and can’t get up!

Hoping your career journey is an exciting and rewarding one.

For those interested in a professional career document review/coaching session, securing cutting-edge career focused material, or other professional employment empowerment services, visit www.edu-cs.com or www.CareerBreakOut.com or contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com

Sittin’ on a Simmer

Woman ShouldersHeard it over and over again… “No one is hiring during the final weeks of the year so might as well wait until mid-January to get things rolling again.” Though there may be a sliver of reality to the quote, this is not the season to be “sittin’ on a simmer.”

No doubt you’re asking what does “sittin’ on a simmer” mean. Here’s a quick reality check and what you need to do NOW to get off the back-burner and back into action.

You are “sittin’ on a simmer” if you:

  • Begin your morning looking for excuses NOT to begin your morning (attitude leads the charge, positive or negative)
  • Remain in your pajamas, slumbering around the house waiting for something to happen
  • Have yet to perform industry research and uncovering trends which may be helpful to your career advancement (and during interviews)
  • Have not conducted any professional development (online) courseware
  • Allow your cover letter, resume, and references to collect dust (not updating value-added accomplishments)
  • Refuse to engage in networking events designed to highlight and share your KSA’s to potential contacts
  • Make a conscious decision to put your career on simmer until season’s end (what the heck… what’s another week of feeling sorry for myself?)

Enough of the sittin’, time to take a stand in your professional career by:

  • Making a commitment to yourself (an affirmation by any other name) that today IS THE DAY for action (I will NO LONGER play the victim… I am valuable and nothing or no one will distract me from achieving my goal)
  • Researching companies of interest (go to the library if you are without Internet access), examine their mission statement, products, competitors, key players, and New Year goals (this is also where LinkedIn can become your ace in the hole)
  • Reviewing accomplishments over the past 12 months and developing stories behind each accomplishment (placing you at the advantage during the interview process as this adds confirmation and credibility—not to mention confidence). This is where the STAR format comes in handy:
    • Situation: What was going that required attention; was money or labor being wasted?
    • Task: What needed to be done and what would have happened if nothing had been done?
    • Action: What was your involvement; did you come up with a time-saving process or a way to improve customer satisfaction?
    • Result: What happened as a result of your direct (or indirect) involvement? How much money did your suggestion save? Did ratings go up?
  • Committing to attend a minimum of two networking events (and make sure you bring a confident/winning attitude as well as a value-laden elevator speech)
  • Reviewing and updating all career documents (online profiles included). This means taking advantage of any company research, industry trends, and your STAR stories.
    • When it comes to reviewing and updating documents, it may be in your best interest to have a professional resume writer review your material and offer suggestions for improvement. The fee is industry-reasonable while the rewards are potentially high. On this note, our writers conduct this service remotely to clients all across the globe. If you go this route (with us or another experienced career management company), make sure you feel comfortable with the secured professional offering this service. Rates for a formal written review and coach consultation ranges between $250 and $500, depending upon which company you select.

Securing a dream position during the month of December can be challenging, but this is the season of dreams coming true. To be blunt, the final weeks of the year are an ideal time to give your career documents a holiday workout.

Do yourself a favor, stop sittin’ on a simmer and commit to making 2015 a year of fulfillment. I’m simply asking you to devote TWO hours a day, adding up to ten hours of career stretching weekly. If this sounds like I’m asking too much from you… you are stuck on a simmer and can’t get up!

Hoping your career journey is an exciting and rewarding one.

For those interested in a professional career document review/coaching session, securing cutting-edge career focused material, or other professional employment empowerment services, visit www.edu-cs.com or www.CareerBreakOut.com or contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: www.CareerBreakOut.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs

Seasonal Slow or Holiday Go?

December 2012 059With seven weeks to go until Christmas, many seeking employment or a career shift downgrade activities to a seasonal slow. Though I acknowledge the psychological rationalizations to slow to a turtle pace and enjoy the remainder of the year; that lack of action may not be in your best interest. As a result, I strongly recommend the second of two choices: holiday go.

According to recent labor report cards, NOW is the time many companies are hiring. True most opening positions are seasonal and part time, it does not have to stay that way.

Here’s a suggestion: Instead of not earning an income over the next two months, step out of your comfort zone and secure a part time seasonal position. For those afraid or embarrassed to work in retail (and yes, go ahead and admit you have an attitude problem needing resolve), there are benefits beyond standing on your feet. For example, you never know who your next customer may happen to be. Suppose he or she is a hiring executive at a company you have always wanted to work for, by treating the customer professionally and attentively, networking skills can push you into an interview.

True story: Several years ago I was looking for a receptionist and two office personnel. I happened to walk into a Kohl’s and was helped by a young lady with such professionalism that I asked her if she was interested in a position outside of retail. Needless to say, three weeks later, she was one of two selections I found during a holiday shopping spree.

Did you know: Part time often equates into full time… but this is not automatic.

Keys to transitioning from seasonal to full time

  • Always look and act professionally (to peers, supervisors, and customers)
  • Never complain
  • Let your supervisor know you are interested in continuing employment beyond the season
  • Be yourself
  • Don’t be arrogant
  • Don’t fool around, Tweet, or Facebook while on the job
  • Be positive and keep in the holiday spirit

Okay, so you are on the holiday go mindset… now what? Fortunately for you, I happened to be listening to the Clark Howard show this morning. A topic of discussion he presented was entitled “Who’s hiring this holiday season?” For a complete listing, is suggest taking a look at http://www.ClarkHoward.com and check it out for yourself. To summarize, here’s a peek at the top five companies hiring (based on projected hires):

  • UPS: hiring 95,000 seasonal workers
  • Macy’s: hiring 86,000 seasonal workers
  • Amazon: hiring 80,000 seasonal workers
  • Target: hiring 70,000 seasonal workers
  • Kohl’s: hiring 67,000 seasonal workers

Looks like NOW is NOT the time for a seasonal slow.

Hoping your career journey is an exciting and rewarding one, I am always here to help in the process.

For those interested in developing proven career success techniques or securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a career disadvantage, take control by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support or contact me at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com

Cross Country Career: Cover Letter Construction

Image by Matthew Wiebe
Image by
Matthew Wiebe

Our last discussion concluded with: “The cover letter hooks the reader by giving him/her a reason to continue and consider you as a potential candidate;” now it’s time to delve into cover letter construction and considerations for those interested in treading external grounds.

Hiring Manager Hesitation: I need help immediately, not four weeks from now.

How does one counter hiring manager hesitation?

  • Recognize companies typically need help now, not next month is the first step. Your job in the cover letter (and subsequent interviews), reinforce why you are worth the added few weeks.
    • What makes you worth the wait and temporary inconvenience? If your cover letter does not address the concern, you will (most likely) not earn an interview. Perhaps you are exceptionally adept or offer unique knowledge, skills, and/or abilities. If you do, your cover letter is the place to impress.
  • Recognize there is risk involved, for both parties.
    • Hiring and training new employees is an expensive endeavor. Though there always will be risk with any new hire, out of town applicants are at an added disadvantage. What makes you a solid hire not only resides in what you offer, but for how long. For out of town folks with limited work experience or a weak track record, supporting an ability to stay in place (and with one company) is paramount.
    • Hiring managers intuitively question motives. If you are seeking to relocate, motives will be questioned… if there’s a problem, get over it.
    • For the recent graduate, the potential disadvantage can be reversed to become your advantage by highlighting how the new city fits perfectly for your new career and life-long journey. Now would be an ideal time to reflect on what it is about the region that makes the area so attractive… perhaps the mountains, culture, way of life, family, etc.

Your cover letter should be no longer than one page, the accepted average length is 3/4ths of a page. Consider taking a four paragraph approach:

  • First paragraph: Introduce yourself on a professional level. Briefly highlight the purpose of the letter (refer to job posting) and a primary reason why you are the right candidate. It is fine to mention a solid reason why the new city is of vast interest. Do not exceed four sentences for this or any other paragraphs.
  • Second paragraph: Make a direct connection between your background (experience and/or education) to the position. This is the perfect time for you to introduce your brand or unique value (something most other applicants are unable to offer).
  • Third paragraph: Highlight the company and city, drawing on how the combination is what interests your LONG-TERM goals. This part is critical as the purpose is to get the hiring manager to think: “hey, this applicant is not just looking for a job or a way out of a bad situation, he/she is sincere for the long haul—I gotta give him/her a call.”
  • Final paragraph: Don’t waste your final opportunity to hook the reader. Remind the hiring manager of a primary reason why consideration should be given. Warning: don’t repeat what was written previously. At the conclusion, establish a call to action and ALWAYS thank the individual when applicable.

Relocating is more common than in any other time in our history. By taking the necessary steps to recognize a few hesitations (and desensitizing them), you will increase the chances for a call back.

Even for those not considering relocation, the above bullet points and insight should be incorporated in your cover letter (and resume).

Hoping your career journey is an exciting and rewarding one, I am always here to help in the process.

For those interested in developing proven career success techniques or securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a career disadvantage, take control by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support or contact me at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com

Cross Country Career: To go or stay?

DSC_0341Continuing from our previous cross country top three considerations, it’s time to evaluate emotional specifics and locate/resolve potential psychological/financial dissonance. I know you were expecting cover letter and resume tips this time but going there may be a bit premature.

Truth is: Before investing a great deal of energy in your career relocation decision, establish the groundwork.

We best begin with a balanced mindset by answering the following two questions:

  1. What are the top three reasons you do NOT want to remain in your current area? (Recognizing driving forces pushing you away must be dealt with… you know you want to leave, but why?)
  2. What are the top three elements you will miss after relocating and how will you resolve the emotional / psychological dilemmas? Though you may not want to accept it, there are fragments of your current condition you will miss. This could be anywhere from environmental to family to a favorite place to hang out… and throw in a friend or two. Purpose of this step is to ensure the right decision is made by recognizing and acknowledging what is really going on.

Once the above questions and answers are reflected upon honestly, decision time has come. If you have family or an attached one, I suggest discussing with those in your circle your determination to relocate. Being prepared by acknowledging both sides of the fence and discussing with a loved one or peer helps place considerations into perspective.

Truth is: Packing and rushing out the door rarely ends with success.

Once a final decision has been made and you are determined to pack your bags, take stock at the inventory of assets at hand and projected expenses. In other words, with an unclouded head, take a realistic look at:

  • Budget:
    • Are you financially prepared to live without steady income for several months?
    • Do you have a savings account or money in reserves?
    • How much money will it take to live to your satisfaction on a daily, weekly, monthly basis?
    • Are you emotionally prepared to sacrifice leisure items until your feet (and employment) are securely on the ground?
  • Housing:
    • Where will you be staying?
    • Where will your clothing be stored?
    • Have you priced apartments as well as cost of living?
  • Transportation:
    • Do you have a reliable vehicle?
    • What will you need to alter your driver’s license to fit the new state?

The top three considerations cannot go ignored (as they often are); to better prepare in the review/evaluation stage, perform due diligence by taking advantage of Internet research. A great beginning can be found at ONETOnline.org. At this free Internet source, information regarding job duties, responsibilities, and expectations are a click away. Additionally, on this site job postings and salary averages can be detailed.

If you know the city/state of particular interest, check out their city websites and get the “feel” of where you will be living. One area many of my clients neglect to consider is the weather. For example, several unhappy clients from Florida decided to relocate to Minnesota. They moved during the summer months, happy as a lark. Then winter arrived… suddenly the lark decided snow, wind, and plowing white stuff was never consideration. Three weeks into the season, they returned to a snow-less sunny state. For many, Chicago (or Minnesota) could be a deal breaker simply due to the weather.

Okay, you’ve spoken to several peers, family members, and/or friends about the move. You’ve also performed diligence and fully understand the basics of the relocation. Now what?

Remaining patient but progressive is the key to career (and professional) success. Next time we’ll look at one of the most important vehicles available at your fingertips, the cover letter.

The cover letter hooks the reader by giving him/her a reason to continue and consider you as a potential candidate. Even for those not considering a move, you will find value in what’s coming up in our next episode. In other words, don’t miss out.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a career disadvantage, take control by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support or contact me at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com

Cross Country Career

DSC_0135In a world where career opportunities are no longer limited to a tight neighborhood stretch, we are, by definition, without boundary.

Good news: The Internet allows job candidates to search and consider regions never before imagined.
Bad news: The Internet has taken your job search from a few competitors to literally thousands of candidates who are also claiming they are the right match.

Job Posting Insight: It is not uncommon for one job opening to receive over 500 responses from candidates far and near.

Recognizing all coins have two sides, how does one take advantage of a global market while, at the same time, not get lost in the crowd? Truth be known, there are no one-way or sure-fire ways to take complete advantage of worldwide opportunities, meaning each individual is left to create his or her unique advantage. Actually, this could be your gain… we’ll get to that later.

When considering a career-search, determining the geographic area must be top on the priority list. In other words, don’t take a gunshot tactic and send applications without regard to location; not only is this a waste of your time, it is a waste of time for the hiring manager. Thus, keep professional courtesy high on your list.

First step: When determining country or county, top three things influencing your decision to consider are:

    • Professional background and educational experience:
      • If you have minimal professional experience and education, hiring managers typically will not consider an out of state candidate. Here’s why: there may be plenty of healthy candidates in the area to choose from and with a large pool, hiring managers often select an applicant with the least amount of risk. For entry level or low-level managers, it is more common (though a few out of town folks can prove me wrong) to select from a nearby pool of applicants.
      • If you have a significant amount of experience or education, your value increases instantly and so does your reach. Additionally, the risk factor decreases, meaning the chances of you working out begin to sway in your favor. To the high-skilled advantage, the pool of applicants shrinks as fewer are able to support the many contributions offered, effectually magnifying a second look from the hiring manager.
    • Family: For the individual with a spouse and two kids (just an average family size), moving across the state or country is not only physically demanding, it can also be costly, financially and psychologically (imagine the nagging spouse and kids yelling “are we there yet” every two miles).
      • Advantage: If you are lugging a family around, chances are you are more committed to succeed in the new position (inherently more at risk to lose—who wants to hear the nagging spouse and kids on the rebound? Not me) than others in the area. Bringing this point up during a phone interview could give you an advantage, no, not the stuff about the nagging. Hiring managers recognize applicants willing to sacrifice and relocate for a position are serious about their intentions and more likely to stick around through choppy times.
      • Disadvantage: For the young stand-alone candidate, it is not uncommon for the hiring manager to discount applicant seriousness as the current open position may simply be a medium to relocate and, once in the new city, will look for a more interesting job. To mitigate this perception, if the applicant is able to show a proven job history, kudos to you. If you are a recent college graduate, you can use that for your advantage by creating a sincere interest to take your talents to conquer novel challenges. In many ways, it is easier to support cross-country traveling as a recent graduate than any other candidate.
    • Career interest: Follow your dream… period. If your dream career hot-spot is concentrated in a specific region, go for it… no matter what.
      • Advantage: Contrary to what many people think, phone interviews say much more than words. Hiring managers pick up on tone, pace, context, and patterns, giving clues about the person on the other end of the line. For the person truly interested in the job (and worth further consideration even if miles away), passion can be your trump card. When asked about a responsibility, if the voice speeds up, increases in depth, and “feels,” hiring managers take notice.

    • Disadvantage: If passion for the job is not displayed over the phone, no hiring manager would ever give second consideration to bringing in an applicant from afar. Here’s a few clues indicating noninterest:
      • Long pauses between sentences
      • Lack of questions from the interviewee
      • Monotone responses backed by “yes” or “no” answers
      • Lack of research and knowledge about the company and area

        Career tip
        : Confidence is contagious!

For those considering a move across the country (not the county), these three topics need time for conversation and reflection. But this is just the beginning of the career adventure.

First: the decision
Second: the design

In our next submission, we will take a few minutes to examine effective design methods one can use in cover letters and beyond.

Are your bags packed? If so, hold’em up as we need to chart out a map. Thing is, how can you hit the road without knowing the destination.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a career disadvantage, take control by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support or contact me at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs

Career without Care

DSC_0123Think about it, without CARE, there can be no CAREer. Several days ago the realization that the first four letters of career is a word all by itself rushed to the forefront of my imagination. Naturally, and for those who know me, forefront occupancy will never be enough as the next question rebounded recklessly: “Other than residing under the same roof, could there be a connection?”

For many, the concepts of career and care have nothing but a few letters in common. While it can be quite obvious for the satisfied few, a career without care simply never would do. Typically this is where I would ask: “How do you define your work and performance effort? Do you care about your career or does a distinction exist, if so, where?”

Unsure, here’s a quick list indicating four letters may be missing in your life: “if you…”

  1. Are unhappy
  2. Curse the clock for its apparent slow-motion tease
  3. Use vacation time the moment it becomes available
  4. Never arrive at work early or remain until the project is complete
  5. Wake up each morning with cold sweats, leg cramps, and a migraine
  6. Take an extra ten minutes in the kitchen area stirring your morning cup
  7. Daydream about winning the lottery, believing this will be your lucky week
  8. Can sleep only after artificial elements have been introduced into your body
  9. Multi-task with Facebook while texting more than work duty accomplishments
  10. Pretend to work the final 30 minutes of your shift… tip of the day, you’re not fooling anyone except yourself

As a career coach, I insist one cannot live contently without the other. In other words, if one does not “care,” there can be no “career.” Bet you’re asking for advice on how to put “care” back in your “career.” Am I right? Thought so.

I’m not a guru offering a sure-fire cure to career unhappiness. The resolve is as unique as you are and must come from you, actively. In other words, happiness does not enter unannounced or without conscious AND physical effort.

Good news on the side, it is NEVER too late for happiness… if you believe otherwise, well, I guess it may be too late.

Moments mirror: With such a grand portion of life defined by our career, it would be shame to regret what could have been if only… if only “Career held Care.”

By now, I hope you are scratching your head, not in confusion but resolve. NOW is the time to grab those four letters in your life and career, holding on tightly and never letting go. 

Truth is, there are no certainties other than this moment, not even this evening is guaranteed. I now ask one simple request, for the next five minutes, SHOW you self you care and then SHOW someone you love… little things like this will move mountains… just gotta trust me on this one.

Turning another year older today, I am…

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs

Promise Without Practice

Over the past month we’ve been accompanying David and his journey after being terminated from Chity College. Today, we are taking a turn onto a subject itching to get the rub.

DSC_0004Throughout my years as a career coach, college instructor, business owner, and employee, I’ve had the pleasure to hear excuses justifying poor behavior. Truth is, when it comes to one’s personal and professional life, promises are meaningless unless partnered by practice.

Before scratching your head, let me share what most have heard and many have used: “I get paid XX amount of money per hour and that is all I will give them, no more.”

If you’ve stated the above, reflect to your initial interview when you accepted “XX amount of money” to perform a job. Is your acceptance of a job at a specific rate of pay a promise with or without compromise?

To say it is with compromise is to say I will work at a pace “I believe” is equal to the amount of pay being returned for my labor. In other words, I will work half-ass because I am getting paid half-ass.

To say it is without compromise is to say “I agree” with my promise and will work 100% at all times. After all, I agreed to the rate and the employer agreed to my labor.

Focusing on your career, what are the consequences of promising without practice and what (if any) the advantages of practicing what you promise?

If You Promise But Do NOT Practice: Don’t second guess yourself, your supervisor knows…

  • Job dissatisfaction increases (latest statistics suggest over 70% of employees are not satisfied with their work—are you?)
  • First out the door (not talking about end of shift out the door, I’m talking about the first to fall prey to downsizing… if you wonder why, you need two doses of reality)
  • Limited promotions and positive recognitions (wonder why the other guy (or gal) is getting the promotion and increased compensation. Really?)

If You Practice What You Promise:

  • Recognition and rewards finding their way to you are enhanced
  • Job satisfaction increases as the constant inner complaining voice no longer haunts or drags the day
  • Your value as an employee magnifies through cross-training, team building, and attitude

When I moved to Orlando, many years ago, I responded to a job posting with a starting hourly rate of $8.65. Given my education and professional background, I was surprised to earn an interview. During the interview I was once again informed of the entry-level pay. I accepted the position, promising to practice without compromise or complaint.

Six months after hire, I was managing the department, two years later I earned the title “Vice President of Operations.” Not bragging, just supporting the concept that those who do not compromise their work ethics or performance are subject to positive reinforcements.

When it comes to character, what defines you personally and professionally? For a few moments, jot three promises you make consistently but fail to fulfill. Once completed, take a look at the proverbial mirror and scribe the many ways you justify not practicing what you promise. Don’t fool yourself, we all fail fulfillment, that’s being human.

If you are entering the employment scene for the first time or are a seasoned professional and desire promotional considerations, I suggest practicing what you promise. If you are not committing yourself completely even though you agreed upon the rate of pay, rethink that strategy.

Next time you find yourself making excuses to milk the clock, do a half-ass job, or pretend to perform, recognize the mirror reflects two ways.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a career disadvantage, take control by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support or contact me at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com

TI (10) Motivation: an elusive slinky

DSC_0272Motivation is a mysterious animal. One day she’s held comfortably among stable reminders as to why one works with diligence while the next day she slithers away like an elusive slinky, justifying a day-to-day humdrum. Once distracted from course, regaining ones most-wanted mojo can be quite the chore.

Examining David’s situation, being a victim of an illegal termination placed a heavy burden beyond the surface, affecting mojo like soul without shadow. I recently spoke to David and asked about the concept of motivation.

David: “Not sure why, but I can’t seem to get out of the funk. I’m researching positions and trying to get a grip on options. The hardest thing is getting the right mindset. You see, I committed myself completely in my last position and to have it all taken away like it was. I wonder if people get off on being mean. I wonder if Bertha got off when she did what she did.”

Danny: “I don’t think people are inherently mean or find their mojo by placing pain in others. Then again, what you say about Bertha may prove this theory wrong; who knows, maybe karma’s boomerang will come face to face to her soon. Truth is, everyone goes through tough times. Statistically speaking, the majority of employees experience downsizing. What you are going through is not yours alone, though it feels like it. Best thing to do is continue with positive affirmations and turn this challenge into an opportunity.”

David: “Challenge into an opportunity, seriously? I got fired, no challenge there.”

Danny: “I know it’s hard but take a look at how you define you. Not how others define you. Last week we discussed the idea of ‘living or existing.’ It’s clear you’ve been existing, not living. Again, you are not alone as most don’t live, they exist. Look around, people exist in the Thorazine zone, wasting good air while pretending to be alive. Truth is, most live in a walking coma.”

David: “Yeah, seems like by the end of the day I just go to bed without accomplishing anything except doing a good job at doing nothing. Guess I’m in the zone too. There are things I’ve been thinking about doing. One thing I’ve always wanted to do.”

Danny: “That’s it. The one thing you’ve always wanted to do. That’s where motivation fuels life and life, in turn, fuels motivation. I encourage you, as I encourage everyone, to follow that one thing. What is it you’ve wanted to do and how does it make you feel when thinking about that one thing?”

David: “Write a book. Not sure it would be a best seller but thinking about sharing my life, my struggles, and getting back up, how this could be an inspiration to others who stumbled or found life to be a heavy burden. I find passion and reason just thinking about doing it, is that the motivation you’ve been talking about? Problem is, what do I do once I know what I want to do?”

Danny: “Do it.”

The ability to recognize and capture motivation does not come with a set of directions. David had to undergo an unfortunate circumstance to find and pave what he truly wants.

What about you? Are you on the path forged by coincidence or one forged by your own dreams? Are you finding satisfaction in your work, in your life, and in your world? Are you motivated? If not, why not?

Why not, I ask? Here’s a clue, FEAR. Fear destroys motivation by trapping dreams inside a door-less room. In the beginning of this article, an elusive slinky was referenced to describe motivation. Upon additional reflection, I don’t think that’s an accurate statement.

Motivation is not elusive, it is either wanted or unwanted. Prove to me if this is untrue. Toy with me for a moment: In your life has good enough been good enough and will always be good enough? If so, you proved me right.

Hard truth: In life, there are no dress rehearsals… got it?

I coach people to live, not to exist. It brings comfort to know David is beginning to tread upon his dreams and is motivated to conquer personal and professional challenges. I think he wants it and looks forward to his story; no doubt it will prove to be interesting. As for you and your mojo, I’m not so sure…. Are you?

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how ECS can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
Blog site: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com