The following excerpt was taken from Shane Rodgers’ blog “The Career Advice I wish I had at 25.” We are all guilty of falling into one of these traps as we pursue our careers. None of these are necessarily bad, but we must learn to pace ourselves and keep the “big picture” in mind. If we are not careful, we will undoubtedly become burnt out with work or miss important personal events and opportunities. Read on to see how Shane advises us to keeping a good work life balance.
1. A career is a marathon, not a sprint
Life, and the careers we pursue to fill it and pay the bills, needs to be approached on a long-term basis. If you sprint you will wear out or start to resent work that you previously enjoyed. Allow yourself time to breathe and grow. Things will come if you work hard and allow yourself time to get good at things.
2. Deprioritize your career when your kids are young
If you have skills, commitment and passion, careers tend to take care of themselves. Over the long haul, it really doesn’t matter if you have a few years when your career is in canter mode while you prioritize young children. This should apply to men and women. Childhood is fleeting. When it is in its formative stages, you get one chance.
3. Management is about people, not things
It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that all people are equal, behave the same every day and have a generic capacity to perform. Humans are simply not made like that. Business guru Jack Welch says the workforce consists of 20 percent of people who are high performers, 10 percent that you should get rid of and 70 percent who do okay. The problem is the 70 percent. Most managers want everyone in the 20 percent. We need to be careful not to believe that the 70 percent are underperformers. Sometimes we need to celebrate the competence of the masses not the superpowers of the elite. As managers, we are not managing things, we are empowering people and making the best use of whatever it is they bring to the table.
4. Don’t just network with people your own age
Beware the whiz kid syndrome. Smart, young people have a habit of forming communities of other smart young people and feeding off each other’s energy. In the older world they are seen as “bright young things” that give confidence that the future is in good hands. Argghhhh. How many times have you heard that? Youth enclaves can actually be restrictive. Smart 20-somethings should make sure they network with older people too. In fact their networking should be about meeting useful mentors and career champions who can open doors and fast track careers. Similarly, older, successful people shouldn’t just sit in musty clubs talking about the 1970s. They should be proactively seeking out smart, young people who can shake them out of their comfort zone and open their eyes to new ideas.
5. Take the time to understand what your business does
I love the story of President J F Kennedy’s visit to NASA during which he asked a cleaner what his job was. The cleaner replied that he sent rockets to the moon. All of us should feel part of what our organizations actually do. We should take the time to be part of the big picture and always feel connected with the true objectives of our workplace. Don’t wait for someone to tell you or lament that internal communication is crap. Find out for yourself.
6. Never sacrifice personal ethics for a work reason
Crucial to workplace happiness is value alignment. If you work somewhere that compromises your personal ethics and values, get out of there as quickly as you can. Good people will be unnerved by things that don’t feel right. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. Bad things only manifest when good people don’t take a stand.
7. Recognize that failure is learning
As bizarre as it might sound, failing is not failure. Researchers recognize that failure is just part of a process to eliminate unsuccessful options. To misquote Woody from Toy Story, when we make a few mistakes, we are not failing, just falling - with style. Even fairy-tale princesses recognize that you need to kiss a lot of toads before you find a handsome prince. Thomas Edison articulated this best: “I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” If we fear failure we tend to take a minimalist approach to our jobs and the opportunities around us. Takes some risks. Sometimes failing spectacularly is the best evidence that we are alive, human and serious about aspiring to the extraordinary. There is no value in being ordinary when you have the capacity to be remarkable.
It’s the New Year! Are you actively pursuing a new job? It might be in your best interest to evaluate what the hiring trends are right now as many employers are seeking hard-to-find top talent.
Vicki Salemi, author, public speaker, columnist and career expert shares the most important tips to be as successful as possible during your job search.
Go where the needs are greatest. The hardest jobs to fill around the globe referenced in the survey include sales representatives, engineers, technicians, drivers, accounting and finance professionals, machine operators, secretaries and receptionists. If you're in the process of changing career paths, keep these hard-to-fill openings in mind, and tailor your resume to highlight skill sets and experiences coveted by positions that recruiters desperately need to fill.
Apply, apply, apply. Nearly one in four participants in the survey reported a lack of applicants. When the applicant pool lacks in quantity – and most importantly quality – it creates an instant set of challenges.
Countless candidates often feel like recruiters won't actually call them – or even that recruiters don't even read resumes! That's why it's important to remember that resumes do not go into some "black hole." Employers not only read them, they actively interview, scurrying to schedule time with them on the calendar. Essentially, they can't fill jobs fast enough!
So, instead of talking yourself out of pursuing an opportunity by convincing yourself that no one will contact you, go ahead and absolutely do it anyway – I bet you'll be pleasantly surprised by the responses you get.
Carefully read the job description. In the Manpower survey, one in five employers revealed that applicants don't have the relevant experience or technical skills for the job. While job seekers should apply to as many jobs as possible, it's also important to really review the job description and ask yourself if you're a fit – what are the red flags a recruiter will question? Is it clear that you'd be switching career paths, or that the role would require a move across the country? Succinctly address these issues in your cover letter to help the recruiter connect the dots.
Most importantly, ask yourself if you possess the requirements for the job. For example, when I recruited for positions that required a Ph.D. in economics, I had to immediately reject candidates without one. Yes, that meant even excellent candidates with impressive resumes including master's degrees in economics, because they simply did not meet the required qualifications.
Anticipate on-the-job training. While demonstrating the required technical and soft skills are essential to getting hired, the really good news is that once you're in the door, you can likely expect continued professional development as an employee. For instance, 53 percent of employers said they now offer training and development to existing staff, according to the survey.
Not only will this bode well for your advancement in your current job, but it will also provide plenty of new skills to market on your resume when it comes time to look for your next role. An extra bonus? If the training is external, you can network with instructors and participants to create valuable contacts within your industry.
Expect higher salaries. Since job seekers are in demand, companies are putting a high price tag on not only hiring, but also on the importance of making sure their people feel valued. Consequently, salaries are rising. Considering the average pay increase this year is expected to be 2.9 percent, according to Mercer Consulting, now is as good a time as any to explore viable opportunities, knowing that you can probably expect a salary increase when you leave.
Expect better perks. If there were ever an excellent time to look for a new job, it would be right now. In addition to boosting salaries, companies are realizing that they need to sweeten the deal with additional perks and benefits.
Whether they're offering sign-on bonuses, additional paid time off or free lunches, 27 percent of companies surveyed say they're providing additional perks and benefits to new hires. So whether you're looking for that extra week of vacation or free lunch every day, take advantage of the talent war by getting out there to find the job that will give you everything you want – and deserve!
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