Tag Archives: Job promotion

Career Progression: Attitude and Character

During speaking engagements across the country, I’m often asked about tactics to secure career progression. Though responses differ from audience to audience, there remains a shared set to follow.

FAQ #1: Just began an entry-level position, how can I keep the job and let my employer know she made the right choice?

Answer #1: If you were hired, chances are good your employer believes you have the skills to complete the job and WANTS you to succeed. Unfortunately, being able to get the job done doesn’t mean career progression or job security.

  • The most qualifying quality new hires can possess is attitude. For those faking attitude, don’t fool yourself, employers are smarter than a first grader. Look at it this way, if you were an employer, would you keep (and promote) employees with a positive attitude, a willingness to follow your guidelines without whining, and an eagerness to learn or would you keep employee who go against the grain and your proven processes?

FAQ #2: I was released from county jail last year and can’t get a job.

Answer #2: There is an indirect relationship between recidivism and employment: higher the employment rate, the lower the recidivism rate. This common reality is often ignored by politicians and businesses (we can get into that issue in upcoming sessions).

Though each justice-involved individual, circumstances, and consequences vary, there remain issues demanding immediate attention:

  • Keep it real. You are re-entering an un-friendly environment so best hold dreams on the ground level for now.
  • One way to get that job is to increase employer incentives by way of federal government programs and offering your services below cost. Yes, you heard it, consider working at a decreased wage (or even at no wage) for a designated time; getting in the door is more important than watching Jerry Springer!
  • Character is key… employers willing to give you an opportunity believe you will do the right thing. Now is the time to represent in a professional, courteous, and respectful manner.

In future articles, we will detail FAQs with real-life examples and open the floor for conversation. For now, we’ll rely on character and attitude to keep us on the right path.

2nd Chance University is a non-profit designed for those who have stumbled within our justice system as they regain their Commitment, Hope, and Empowerment.

I welcome your stories to be added into our series. If you chose to share or support, email me directly at dhuffman@2ndChanceUniversity.org.

Danny Huffman
321-972-8919

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Bridge Burning: A Matter of Trust

No doubt you’ve heard the cliché “don’t burn bridges,” but what does it mean in relation to professional development and does it really matter?

Blog 03-31-15 long pierGiven the vast digital networking system, what one does (or doesn’t do) often will find its way to the curious observer and/or potential hiring manager. In other words, YES, it does matter.

Burning bridges can be as simple as not giving a courteous two-week notice, to acting in a nonprofessional manner, and to searching for a job while on a current one (literally). To clarify reasons for the crumble, we’ll review each of the three paths mentioned.

  • Not giving a professional two-week notice. If employed and accepting another offer, professionalism dictates you give the current employer adequate notice to find a replacement or proactively train an existing peer. By not giving proper notice, the company could suffer financial loss, peer hardship, and/or customer disapproval.
  • Acting in a nonprofessional manner. If you’ve been in the workforce for any time at all, you’ve seen fellow (ex) employees do some rather unusual things during separation. Yelling, cursing, throwing things or bouts of anger will automatically drive an immovable chasm.
  • Searching for a job while on a current one. I’ve seen this more times than I wish to admit but for any employee not satisfied with their employment situation, this is fast-pass ticket out. Taking advantage of company equipment (computer, phone, and time) to search for and inquire about another job is downright unethical. Do yourself a favor and don’t rationalize by claiming the search has been done during breaks, that’s not going to fly.

If you are not happy with your current situation, do the professional thing, give proper notice and promote the transition for both parties (you and company). Most employers know if their workers are glad to be part of the organization so you’re not fooling anyone via covert actions. What you have done is break the bonds of trust.

Should you care if trust is broken? Yes.

Planning on mentioning the job you just violated on the resume or for reference purposes? Plan again… and if you don’t think the job will come up in searches, you may want to think again on that one too.

On a side note, if you happen to be in an industry-specific sector, many hiring managers and executives network at the most inopportune times. It is not uncommon for these individuals to discuss employee occurrences such as terminations, promotions, and bridges. Thus, after burning one or two bridges, there may be no more bridges to cross and finding a new job may be more difficult than expected.

Fair or not, people talk, people search, and people gossip. The manner in which you depart a company is fodder during networking events.

Truth about bridges, a strong foundation leads to many wonderful adventures while a crumbled foundation leads nowhere.

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com 321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

Landscape Melting and “Good-Enough-Disorder?” Think Again

Image by Morgan Sessions
Image by Morgan Sessions

“I did my job; what more do they want?”
Sharon

There are many excuses for doing just enough to get by, personally as well as professionally. Being a business owner and career coach, I’ve heard more than my share of excuses justifying complacent behavior over the years.

I don’t get paid what I’m worth, so why give more than I get paid?”
Sharon

Tell the truth, how many out there have not worked their promised potential simply because you believed you deserved more?

NOT good enough defined?

Personally:

  • Accepting defeat without putting up an honest attempt to overcome barriers
  • Giving up after one attempt or let down… stopping never will get you beyond
  • Allowing others to convince an attitude of complacency (guilty by association)
  • Believing negative self-talk, living each day as just another day
  • Convincing yourself you do not deserve better
  • Being satisfied with who you are… here’s a hint, no matter who or what you are, there is ALWAYS room to advance

Professionally:

  • Accepting an invisible status
  • Performing at the lowest denominator (just doing enough)
  • Lacking positive self-talk, affirmations, and/or visualizations
  • Taking extra time at the coffee pot, texting, or strolling the Internet
  • Not stepping up to the plate, taking charge, or being the go-to person
  • Always having to be asked to perform a function or making careless mistakes
  • Believing your worth far exceeds your production (self-delusion can be job threatening)

For those identified with the “good-enough-disorder,” don’t fret as there are ways to get unstuck. No doubt the first question one with this disorder would ask… “why isn’t good enough, good enough?”

Personally:

  • The core of humanity and civilization is progression, creating a better life for you, your family, and the community; without personal and cultural evolution, humanity would have never advanced beyond the Stone Age, meaning life without Facebook would be a reality.

Professionally:

  • Companies AND employees accepting complacency do not survive… period.
  • Employers seek candidates to hire and promote who are not satisfied with status quo, desiring those with the aptitude to go boldly beyond grey.
  • Complacent employees rarely earn promotions, pay increases, and are often downsizing victims.

What you can do NOW:

  • Take a clear look at yourself, your goals, and your life. Determine if the person looking back in the mirror is the person you were meant to be AND you are happy with who you are and where you are. If the answer is yes, you may be carrying the highly contagious good-enough-disorder bug. If the answer is no, the first step has been crossed… off to a good start.
  • Upon reading this article, take out a piece of paper and make a “reachable” commitment with action plan. In other words, on a personal and professional note, tell yourself a goal and then WRITE the goal (and action plan) on a piece of paper (the act of writing is an important step toward goal achievement). Clipping or drawing a picture also adds to eventual realization—be sure and post the picture wear you will see it EVERY morning as you begin the day.
  • Establish a time-line and stick to it.
  • VISUALIZATION: Imagine the new you or the desired product as if it has become a reality. Once your mind accepts this reality, achieving becomes more attainable.
  • AFFIRMATION: Each evening and each morning make a pledge that required steps will happen. Upon the evening, if steps were not satisfied, evaluate how you will overcome challenges on the following day. That morning, engage in self-talk, determining the goal will become a reality.
  • Association: Gather around peers, friends, family, etc. who challenge you to stand up to the goal and will not allow excuses to get in the way.

The good-enough-disorder has the capacity to stumble not only your achievements, but those around you as well (including family members). Ultimately, how you want to live your life is entirely up to you and if you decide complacency defines you, don’t blame the lack of promotions, employment, and satisfaction on anyone but yourself.

The final element purging the good-enough-disorder out of your system resides within the following:

Focus and
Single-Mindedness

With focus and single-mindedness, there is nothing which cannot be overcome. Remember there may be one peak atop the mountaintop, but there are MANY paths one can take to get there.

There are no excuses but the ones you convince yourself you believe! For the highly sensitive person, the above tips are exceedingly important. I know how easy it is to melt into the landscape (and wanting to melt into the landscape).

For the HSP, take small steps… NEVER stop stepping! 

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.com

Week one on the job, an employer’s view

Image by Matthew Wiebe
Image by Matthew Wiebe

With job offer in hand and a new adventure on the horizon, cautions need to be taken to ensure your first week on the job (typically the most important) portrays not only that you are the right candidate but also that the hiring manager does not second guess his or her selection.

To better prepare your initial week on the job, let’s examine a few pointers from an employer’s point of view:

  • Timely: No doubt you made it to the interview on time, now’s the time to make sure the good habit continues. During the first week you will be looked at closely, including when your work duties begin (notice I did not say when you walked through the front door). It is recommended you arrive to the office 10 minutes early, allowing you plenty of time to grab a cup of coffee, get your good morning howdy’s out of the way, and warm up your seat. In other words, don’t walk through the front door at the exact scheduled time only to take care of morning rituals prohibiting you from being productive in a timely manner. Know your supervisor notices when coffee pouring and real work begins.
  • Attitude: Are you the same positive, team-playing, and confident person displayed during the interview or did you suddenly turn Jekyll? Recognizing people put their best face forward during interviews, companies are often displeasingly surprised at the stranger walking through the door… yeah, the new not-so improved you. One way to make a quick departure from your new position is to not be the person so eagerly anticipated by fellow co-workers. Advice: don’t fake who you are during the interview process as the “real” you will always surface, oftentimes with unwanted consequence.
  • Appearance: While running a former organization, I hired a receptionist to handle front-end clients, answer the phone, and be the front face. During the interview process (two formal interviews), the individual’s appearance was business casual and her professional appearance impressed all decision makers. Unfortunately on day two of her first week, she shed any semblance of what we had come to expect. Though individuality is encouraged, recognize there are lines in the sand… the first week is not the time to test the line… the first week is the time to become fully aware of cultural expectations and what is considered appropriate. The receptionist originally hired decided her true identity needed to be expressed… raw and unadulterated Gothic… being a conservative company dealing with conservative clientele, the line was crossed and she did not make it beyond a month.

Fair or not, the reality and consciousness of the company culture must be appreciated. Violating any of the above three bullets most likely will not work in your favor. No matter the position, try to place yourself in your employer’s shoes and then ask yourself: “would I want my new hire to…” Be honest with yourself as you evaluate actions, attitude, and appearance.

It’s easy to fool yourself into believing anything you want… it’s not so easy fooling your employer.

Seeking employment, promotion, or career transitioning support, self-help job development books and resources, including material designed for those transitioning out of prison, visit www.edu-cs.com or www.CareerBreakOut.com.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com
321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.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

Writing a Meaningful Self-Assessment

The annual review cycle begins with the self-assessment of your performance.

DSC_0045While it may be easy to get caught up in the details of writing the assessment and meeting deadlines, remember, it is important to focus on content. Don’t take this opening for granted, now is the ripe time to inform your manager of your achievements while discussing challenges, opportunities, and goals.

ONE THING TO KEEP IN MIND — How you perceive your job performance may be quite different from the evaluation by your supervisor.

You may be feeling confident in believing you’ve gone above and beyond job requirements until reality creeps in with a sucker-punch. The other side of truth does not always match. Truth is, your supervisor’s perspective may view your performance as being “average.”

For those not believing average can define them, average can be the product of many factors and not just the one or two you thought of. Unfortunately, factors include misunderstanding of expectations, a need for additional training, communication issues, or as simple as your manager not being aware of your day-to-day interactions.

Positive Shift: This is your chance to take control of your career by giving feedback and informing your manager of any training or resources necessary to future success. In order to do such a thing effectively, there’s no time like the present to take an objective self-assessment and then get with your manager for a realignment of sorts.

Is this a lot of work? Sure it is. Is this worth the effort… you bet’cha.

A clear and well-written self-assessment has the following attributes:

  • Restates objectives. Paraphrasing job objectives gives the manager a clear picture of how well an employee understands job performance expectations.
  • Highlights most significant achievements. The assessment doesn’t need to be lengthy; however it should highlight major achievements during the review period. Don’t forget about achievements made early on in the performance review period. (This is where keeping a journal can be your career advantage—you don’t want to forget accomplishments) States why the achievement matters. Show a cause and effect of the contribution. Describe how the achievement has profited the company. This information should paint a clear picture of how important your job is to the company.
  • Emphasizes when your actions were an important factor in success. Employee conduct or behavior is commonly taken into account in the performance rating. Be sure to bring up specific instances where behavior made a positive difference in the outcome of an objective. Acknowledges challenges. The word “challenges” has a negative connotation. However, overcoming a challenge shows you are able to achieve goals despite setbacks or obstacles. These obstacles may be technical, personal, or even limited resources available that an employee may need to rise above.
  • Offer specifics to improve performance in the future. Be detailed when writing the self-assessment. Tell/Show how your performance will improve and give a timeframe for the progression.

Following these simple instructions increases your chance of getting eyebrows raised from your manager and entices them to see the added value brought to the company by your exceptional work performance.

The key here is how well you organize. Keep detailed notes with numbers when applicable. Truth is, most managers want you to succeed and wants you to show how you completed the task. Throw in positive bottom-line results and you may be the winner the company is looking to promote.

Hope to see you at the finish line,

Your CC Connection
Tammisha Willis

The Promotion WAS Mine!

DSC_0169So… you were so sure you were the next one in line for that promotion. Feeling confident, you began dreaming of a new life until you sense pinching fingers. Upon waking up you were told the chosen one was NOT you. Difficult to digest, to say the least.

The good news is that you CAN get through this. Let’s take a look at “twenty tips” to get you through a promotional disappointment:

  1. The first day you find out. Calm down to begin with, you CANNOT change what happened.
  2. Abstain from speaking to anyone right away or at least think twice about what you are going to say… who you are kidding!!! Think five times before you speak to anyone at your workplace.
  3. Go to the restroom and wash your face with cold water, time to get the bad mood off your face.
  4. Don’t behave resentfully.
  5. Don’t shelter or focus on negative thoughts. This may be the perfect time to take a quick break, walking off the negativity.
  6. It is expected your co-workers will ask and it is ok to say “This is disappointing” “I really wanted it.”
  7. Remember people won’t mind knowing you are disappointed. What everyone will mind is the endless whining about the rejected promotion. This makes you look BAD.
  8. GO HOME and scream to the top of your lungs how much you wanted this, or speak to your other half or whomever you tell your things too (preferably no one from your workplace) and spill it out, talk about till you can talk no more.
  9. Truth is, you will not be able to focus on an action plan YET, therefore DISTRACT yourself with a positive outlet.
  10. Go to the gym and run, run, run till you drop for the next few weeks to clear your mind.
  11. Ok… a few weeks have passed and everyone forgot about it and you should feel a bit better about it. LET’S MAKE AN ACTION PLAN!
  12. Do a vision board! It’s fun and can re-ignite focus by placing yourself in the future. Career roadmaps are a proven method of getting back on track.
  13. Ask yourself why do you want a promotion? Take for example, more pay, different responsibilities (more challenge), or a new career
  14. Learn the goals of those who have a decision making role in your career.
  15. Ask questions about the goals of the company but DON’T ask questions on “what are you doing for me.”
  16. Focus in the future and PLAN on making things better.
  17. See any career stumbling blocks as a learning opportunity.
  18. Request a meeting with your manager and ask for a review. What can you improve on? Learn your weakness and strength on the job.
  19. Start focusing on the things you need to improve on and TAKE ACTION.
  20. “The brick wall is not there for you, is there for the ones who don’t want it” (Pausch, Randly 2007)

Believe in yourself! Good luck… I am confident the next one is yours.

Career disappointments are never easy. Unfortunately we have all experienced the wrong side of either not getting that promotion or not given the opportunity to prove ourselves. You are not alone… so get over it and get on with life.

Truth is, now is the time to refocus and walk with confidence. With a professional plan in hand, the road to success may be just one or two steps away.

Azalia C. Arias
Your CC Connection