How To Discuss Politics At Work

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I recently came across a Business News Daily Article titled Talking Politics At Work? 8 Tips To Keep It Civil, and I hope you will read it.

What a refreshing acknowledgement of a topic that will always be relevant, no mater how much we may not want it not to be!

Let’s be honest, talking politics at work can be awkward. But the reality is that it will happen, and as our next presidential election gets closer, it’s more likely you will be engaged by coworkers about political candidates and elections.

That’s why I like this article so much. It calls out 8 things you should consider in order to make talking politics with coworkers a positive experience, not the kind of thing that ruins working relationships forever.

Each tip has more insight here, but this is a topline review of the tips:

  1. You don’t have to participate.
  2. Not everyone has to agree with one another.
  3. Be careful when working at nonprofits.
  4. Be vague.
  5. Don’t be a poor sport.
  6. Know when a conversation is getting heated.
  7. Talk about something else.
  8. What happens at the voting booth matters most.

What do you think of these tips? Let me know in the comments!

The Job Each State Googles Most

So here’s a fun journey down the online statistical rabbit hole!

As I recently read in this article, a company called Zippia used Google Trends to identify the most Googled job in each and every state – and the results are a bit surprising!

Here in Missouri people apparently have a secret dream of being a tornado chaser, while California is full of Lion Tamer dreamers and Texas is referee-obsessed (but considering that state’s love for football, maybe it shouldn’t be THAT surprising!).

Take a look at the map Zippia put together below – which is most surprising to you?

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5 Signs of Career Burnout

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I recently saw a Forbes article titled “Five Unmistakable Signs of Career Burnout” that I think everyone should read.

I feel so strongly about this because I think the word “burnout” gets over-used. People often claimed to be burned out when in reality they are just going through a tough time. But to be truly burned out means you are likely done with a job completely, possibly even finished with your career.

Now those are some high stakes!

So how do you know if you’re going through a temporary stage of disgruntlement or you are in fact burned out? The Forbes article identifies 5 key signs:

  1. You don’t care anymore.
  2. You don’t see interesting challenges ahead.
  3. Small annoyances irritate you more than they should.
  4. You can’t focus.
  5. You can’t pull yourself out of it.

I hope you will read the article for more insight into each of these warning signs.

And if you have ever suffered from Career Burnout, I’m curious to hear your story. What was the biggest warning sign for you?

How Journaling Can Help Your Career

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Most of us stop writing in a journal or diary after the teenage years – but according to this article and a recent study, there’s definitely reason to journal in your adult life, especially if you’re going through a career change.

Per the article:

In a study, job seekers who wrote about their emotions in losing their jobs were more likely to find new positions than those who didn’t write about their feelings. The study focused on a group of professionals who had been laid off and were invited to participate in a project that involved writing for just 20 minutes a day for five days.

According to the study, in the first three months following the writing week, 25 percent of the job candidates who wrote consistently in their journal about their emotions landed a job, compared to only 5 percent of the job candidates who chose to not to write or just listed their job search activities. The results are interesting and support the idea that emotions influence your job search and acknowledging them can lift your spirits.

What interesting research! I have seen first hand how acknowledging and engaging with your emotions while simultaneously crafting a job search strategy can make a huge difference in the results of your career.

I highly encourage you to consider journaling, but you can also achieve this combination of emotional + strategic processing by having consistent conversations with a mentor, Career Coach or counselor. The real point is that burying your emotions is detrimental to your career path, and opening up to them can increase your chance of reaching your goals!

What are your thoughts on this concept?

Do You Know Your Personal Brand?

Do you know your personal brand? This is an essential concept to understand, and I hope you’ll watch the video featuring Mark S. Lee, an expert in branding, who explains how to create a personal brand for companies and people.

In a Career Rut? Here’s What To Do.

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I recently came across a article that posed a very relevant question from a concerned professional:

What should I do if I believe I have reached my “peak” in my company and professional growth is stagnant? I posed this question to HR and managers only to receive dull feedback, which makes me feel they have no ideas or suggestions. I suggested I earn another bachelor’s degree in a field we need, but the tuition assistance program only permits me to take classes directly related to my current position. I have my letter of resignation ready to go and am simply waiting for the job market to improve, but I hate to start over again and prefer to avoid it if possible. What should I do?

This is a very applicable question to so many people. While we may know in our minds that “we can always be growing,” sometimes it just doesn’t feel like it!

The article calls out 3 things you can do, and I highly encourage you to read it.

I’ve also written my own book that covers similar territory – From Cornered To Corner Office. I’m obviously a bit biased, but I believe this book is a must-read for any professional who feels stuck or stalled in their career. Even if you think your career is going well, you never know when unexpected obstacles may present themselves! This book will prepare you for when that day may come.

Tax Info Every Job Seeker Should Know

IRS job search tax breaks

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In the long run, Career Coaching always pays for itself – the counseling you get on salary negotiations, bonuses, vacation time and simply being employed faster take care of that!

But what about in the short run? Is there a way for a job seeker to make their job search and career coaching more affordable? The answer is yes, courtesy of the IRS.

First off, Uncle Sam’s not dumb. The deduction that the IRS provides for job hunters isn’t set up for people who answer a want-ad here or there. The people who get the biggest refunds are the unemployed people who get professional help with their search. Why is this? Because the more money you ultimately make, the more money the IRS makes. That’s why it offers a deduction that helps those who seek professional help – because they’ll be making more money sooner. It’s also why:

  • If you’re unemployed with a severance package, the IRS will charge its full share of income taxes on your check, but it won’t tax your outplacement benefits (job-search coaching paid for by your former employer) if that’s part of the package
  • If you’re employed, but need more work, the IRS won’t tax money you spend on school and training to get ahead in your career

Please see your accountant on what you need to do to document all of your expenses and get the full potential of your deductions.

Why It’s Important To Sometimes Say NO to Good Things

Career Advice

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As we begin a new year, we naturally begin taking stock of our lives.

What do I want to do more of?

What do I want to do less of?

How should my daily schedule or regimen change?

The thing we often don’t want to admit, though, is that the answers to these questions often dictate that we have to start saying NO to things. And in the case of our busy lives, that often includes saying NO to things that are inherently good.

This recent Harvard Business Review article does a nice job of not only giving testimonial to the kinds of good things we sometimes have to say NO to, but it also points out questions we can ask ourselves to help determine whether we should say YES or NO. Questions like:

  1. What are my top priorities?
  2. What is the total commitment?
  3. What is the opportunity cost?
  4. What is the physical/emotional cost?

Read the whole article for more insight, and really ask yourself – are there things I really want to do in 2016 that I should say NO to?

10 Ways To Bridge Your Job Search Gap In 2016

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Many of us enter the new year with a 2015 goal we didn’t achieve: get the right job.

If this is you, know that you are not alone! There are many people who hoped to have this leg of their career journey finished, but the reality is that sometimes a job search just takes longer than we think it will.

If this is you, it might be worth your time to read this article that calls out 10 ways you can enhance your job search in 2016. You might be surprised to find some tips and tricks that you didn’t consider last year.

The list calls out your “CV” multiple times – if you’re not familiar, this stands for curriculum vitae, which is basically a longer form resume. You can learn more about the difference here.

Here are the 10 tips at a glimpse:

  1. Join a networking group.
  2. Contact the company directly.
  3. Review your CV.
  4. Optimize your LinkedIn profile.
  5. Change your range.
  6. Do voluntary work.
  7. Consider a new path.
  8. Improve your social media presence.
  9. Experiment with multimedia.
  10. Take your CV on the go.

Read the whole article for more insight, and let me know what plans  YOU intend to make to step up your job search in 2016!


An Alternative to The “Career Elevator Pitch”

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Ah, “the elevator pitch” – the much maligned speech that you can give someone in 30 seconds or less that sells them on who you are and why they should meet with you.

This process is dreaded for a reason. It’s awkward, sometimes intrusive, and hard to pitch perfectly.

So this year, consider an alternative – something I call your own unique value-added profile. This is a dynamic story that illustrates your brand, how you work, and the value you can bring an organization.

This is different from the “the elevator pitch” because  your value-added profile is what you will use during an informational interview, or networking opportunity vs. an aggressive pitch to someone.

The first thing you need to do is to find your own voice. But how do you know what “your voice” really sounds like? This goes back to your key success patterns that this entire process starts with. I work with my clients to develop a unique way of positioning themselves as the aspirin to their potential employer’s headaches. By leveraging the things that make you – and them – a success, your voice will be loud and clear.

It’s very important not to fall into the old resume talking patterns that so many people fall prey to. My solution is to let go of old school methodologies. One of the best ways to master this is to learn by example. I give my clients a recording that features other clients and their value added profiles that led to success!

So the next time you have a networking opportunity, or in an informational interview, your value added profile will help you stand out as a unique, beneficial contributor.

If this topic interests you, read more about it in my book, From Roadkill To Road Map.