Passion Vs. Purpose: What Should Come First For The Job Seeker?

St. Louis Post Dispatch career column

Below is an excerpt from my latest St. Louis Post-Dispatch Career Column.


As a Career Coach, the “passion or purpose” question is my version of “the chicken or egg” query — which comes first?!

Let’s take a step back. Many people think of purpose and passion as the same thing, but they are actually quite different.

Passions are things we love, but they aren’t always relevant to our careers. For example, many of us are passionate about things like football, musical theater, cooking or landscaping.

COULD there be a career path in these areas? Of course. But if we’re honest with ourselves, those of us who aren’t destined to be a pro athlete or a chef usually know deep down when these things are best classified as hobbies. We know when there isn’t a realistic, tangible connection between this passion point and our career. We’re either not athletic enough (or too old!) to be a professional athlete, we don’t have the singing voice to be on the stage, or we simply don’t have the desire to take our cooking or landscaping interest beyond where it already is.

A purpose is different because it truly motivates us to do what we do professionally, going beyond just something we really like. But it’s often very hard to put your finger on your purpose. Let’s start by looking at what kinds of questions will NOT help us realize our true purpose:

• How much money can I make?

• What perks or benefits come with the company?

• Can I earn a big bonus or commission check within a short period of time?

• How fast can I advance?

Why do I say these things can’t determine your purpose? Because while these are “motivations” to work, they will never be the things that give you true satisfaction and joy in your career.

True purpose starts by identifying where your interests, natural abilities and acquired skills/education cross paths…

Read the rest of this article at its original home here.

How To Handle An On-The-Spot Job Offer

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The good news is that unemployment is down.

An surprisingly stressful result is that many companies are giving job offers on the spot in fear that they may lose them to someone else!

Now, this is obviously a good “problem” to have if you’re the applicant. But it may surprise you to hear that you should not accept the job right off the bat. What I always tell my clients is to accept the “offer”, but not the job quite yet. That may sound crazy, but you owe it to yourself to go away and think about it before you say “I do” to the job. I talk a lot more about this topic in my book, From Desperation To Deal.

But don’t just take my word for it. Check out this article from U.S. News titled 3 Tips For Handling On-The-Spot Job Offers.

They reco:

  1. Prepare yourself before job searching.
  2. Study up on the company interviewing you.
  3. If you’re offered the job, respect the company’s timeline – and your own, too.

Read the whole article for more insight into how you should handle this tricky (but in the end good) situation.

7 Ways To Start Healthy Communication in the Workplace

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There is a lot of great advice out there about workplace communication (I literally just blogged about workplace communication etiquette!)

But sometimes we need good, tangible communication advice that goes beyond methodologies or best practices – and that’s where this article titled World of Work: 7 Ways To Communicate With Your Staff comes into play.

I love that this article outright states 6 transitional statements and 1 rule-of-thumb that set up good communication between coworkers:

  1. “Here’s what I appreciate about you and your contribution.”
  2. “Thank you” (personal and public).
  3. “What do you think?”
  4. “Here’s what’s happening and what you can expect.”
  5. “I have some feedback for you.”
  6. “Let me tell you about something I learned the hard way.”
  7. Finally, get to know your employees by name.

Read the whole article to get specific insight into how each of these statements can open up the lines of communication in your workplace.

And share ways you’ve discovered to communicate effectively in YOUR work environment!


Workplace Communication Etiquette 101

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When should you call a coworker instead of sending an email?

If they don’t answer their work phone, is it okay to call their personal cell phone right away?

How urgent should the message be to reach out via text?

Is it ever appropriate to use social media to contact coworkers about work issues?

Today we’re faced with communication etiquette questions unlike any other era of work before. We have so many ways to reach out to each other – are we even thinking about how we choose to communicate and why?

That’s where an article titled The Art of Interoffice Communication from The Memphis Daily News comes in. In the article, writer Angela Copeland breaks down different scenarios and situations in which we should take the time to actually consider how we contact our coworkers.

She has some really insightful, practical tips, like being sensitive of others’ time when using the phone, and keeping emails concise.

Read the whole article and let me know what workplace communications tips and best practices you suggest.

This Job Trends Infographic Is Worth Your Time

Whether you’re a job seeker or a hiring decision maker, this infographic from is definitely worth a look, packed with job trends that are relevant to all:

Image via

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You Won’t Believe This Job Openings Statistic!

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After many years of negative job openings numbers, we’re seeing some fantastic news as openings trend upward. Per this article:

The latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) showed that job openings jumped to 5.75 million in July, the highest since the series began in December 2000.

This crushed economists’ expectations for a print of 5.3 million.

The quits rate — which reflects people who are comfortable leaving their current jobs — came in at 1.9% for a fourth straight month.

The layoffs and discharges rate fell to 1.1%.

These numbers are obviously great for all. So now the question becomes – is this the time for you to look for a new job even though you’re currently employed?

Or, if you aren’t employed and haven’t been able to find a job, what are you doing that’s wrong? I can tell you that it’s not you, but more likely the way you’re carrying out your job search strategy (or lack thereof).

If either of these scenarios fit you, maybe it’s time for a conversation…


How To Reinvent Your Personal Brand

personal brand

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One of the main things I work with my Career Coaching clients on is their personal brand – those things that make them unique and showcase their value above others in the professional marketplace.

But sometimes a brand needs to reinvent itself. Just think of the companies who DIDN’T reinvent themselves when the marketplace changed – brands like Kodak or Blockbuster. They were some of the biggest brands on the planet, but when their category changed and they didn’t, they got left behind in the dust.

The same thing can be said for our personal brands. Sometimes the market changes, business models shift, or we simply want to make a change happen ourselves because we’re not happy with our current career trajectory. When this happens, it’s time to reinvent your brand.

Mabel Valdiviezo recently wrote about this very topic in the Huffington Post. She tells the story of how she’s reinvented herself multiple times, citing 5 things you need to consider when reinventing your personal brand successfully:

  1. Know yourself.
  2. Know your audience.
  3. Don’t let barriers define you.
  4. Let challenges lead you to success.
  5. Protect your brand.

I hope you’ll read the whole article for more insight into each of these thoughts. And if you’re looking for help in how to reinvent YOUR career, don’t hesitate to reach out.

How To Navigate Your Own Career Development

St. Louis Post Dispatch career column

Below is an excerpt from my latest St. Louis Post-Dispatch Career Column. You can read the whole column here.


All too often, I see professionals go about their jobs month after month, year after year without addressing their job concerns — present or future. Why is this?

First, let’s address why we have concerns in the first place.

All professionals have needs that vary depending on the length one has been on the job. But usually concerns arise because job duties are changing, there’s a lack of direction, no pay increases and/or a general feeling the professional is not appreciated for what they do for the organization.

Sometimes, it’s not that simple. All the time, people feel tensions at work, but can’t put their finger on what’s really bothering them. As a Career Coach, this is often where I come in, helping people realize what they need in reference to their job or development. After that, we determine action steps, assuming it’s even the right time to deal with it.

Now, once concerns are realized, why do so many people do nothing about it?

From my experience in both HR and as a career coach, many people simply hope their employers are pleased with their work (even if the employee is dissatisfied), so when the next big change comes along in the department or company, the employee will hold on to their job. In other words, they settle.

This isn’t acceptable. If you see yourself settling, it’s time to take responsibility for your own career happiness!

Don’t know how to go about taking action? Let me give you an example… READ THE REST OF THIS COLUMN AT STLTODAY.COM.

The Importance of Communicating Employee Trajectories

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Here’s a somewhat alarming statistic! Per Mercer’s recent Employee Views on Moving Up vs. Moving On survey:

The New York-based consultancy polled 1,520 employed workers in the United States and Canada, finding more than half (51 percent) of these respondents saying they receive “no input” or “input only once in a while” from superiors on how to perform better in their roles. In addition, 78 percent of employees indicated they would stay with their current employer if they had a better sense of their career trajectory with the company.

What does this mean for managers? That simply having an annual conversation with your employees about where you envision their career going can pay back huge dividends.

Read this article for more insight, and really consider how you can impact your team with a simple conversation!

The Job Shapers Network Launches One Week From Today!

job shapers, career network

I want to remind everyone to register for the first meeting of the Job Shapers Network – St. Louis’ newest and most unique career network!

Learn all about Job Shapers Network, then register here. And of course, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact me.

Meeting Date:

Thursday, September 3rd (and the first Thursday of every month for 8 months)

Meeting Place:

Kirkwood United Church of Christ,
1603 Dougherty Ferry Rd.
Kirkwood, MO 63122

Meeting Time:

7:30am to 8:30 am. Doors open at 7am.


Online payment of $20.00/ MasterCard or Visa
Registration at the door: Cash or Check only.
Space is limited so online registration is encouraged.

Special Pricing:

Reduced rate of $15.00 a session if registered for the full 8 months.