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Take the Reins of Your Own Career

If you currently feel boxed in, what steps will you take to make a difference?

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Pandemics aside, many people feel stuck in their current position and along their current career path. They might have a boss who is not encouraging, or be in a company that is not supportive.

Yet, no matter where you happen to be, you can take the reins of your own career to ensure that you are constantly adding to your store house of experiences, skills,  knowledge, and insights.

Consider the case of Randy. When Randy was in his first few months working for a consulting firm, he recognized that attending local industry trade shows, expositions, and career conferences would both help to propel his career and make him a more valuable resource for his firm’s clients.

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Repaid or Not

Sometimes Randy would ask his bosses for reimbursement to attend selected events. On occasion, they’d say, “Yes, go ahead. Spend the three days at the conference, we’ll foot the bill.” Often, they did not capitulate. They would not foot the bill. In such instances, Randy elected to pay his own way to attend selected conferences.

Although he was paying several hundred dollars and cumulatively, several thousand, Randy knew it was vital to stay current and aware…

He knew as well that it paid to establish key industry contacts, to determine what information people were gathering or seeking, and to gain new ideas and insights to share with his firm as well as his clients. In some cases, the conferences proved to be even more vital than Randy had originally presumed.

Asking Critical Questions

Employable talent, like Randy, devotes the time and maintains the discipline to periodically update their knowledge, skills, and information in critical areas. They ask key questions of themselves:

* Am I worth it?
* Will what I am doing make a difference?
* Will what I am learning keep me in the groove?
* Will what I seek to attend potentially add value?

Invariably, people like Randy end up attending conferences as opposed to staying away, taking the extra course, reading the authoritative book in the field, and so on. In other words, they are proactive. They don’t wait around for someone to give an offer to boost their career, they give themselves their own boosts.

Webs of Wonder

The corollary to Randy’s strategy today can be formulated partially on the Internet via webinars, specialized videos, self-study, and other learning tools. Opportunities for continual learning abound. Some resources are free, some are for a fee.

To be sure, the web lures many people in many different ways. Untold numbers of individuals are lured by news and sensationalism, social networking without specific career objectives, and other endeavors.

Forward-thinking individuals, who intend to rise in their career, approach the web in a totally different way. They seek key Youtube discussions and instructions that will add to their perspectives and storehouse of knowledge. They will sign up for online courses.

These individuals will read the long and involved articles written by the luminaries in their respective industries. In short, they are predisposed to use the web as the career enhancing tool that it certainly can be.

And You?

How about you? Are you among them? What different sites will you visit this week, that have the potential to enhance your career prospects? What will you read? For what would you sign up? What steps will you take to make a difference.

The onus is on you. No one is coming to guide you, but thankfully, you can craft an effective path for yourself. You’ll be just fine.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Business

Smart Move in a Rough Economy: Help Your Boss to Shine

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives

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Making your boss look good can only reflect favorably on you. Both your boss and his or her supervisors will appreciate this.

The best way to make your boss look good is to handle your work efficiently and thoroughly. If your boss is fair, he or she will give you credit for the work, increasing your chances of promotion.

If your boss is not doing his or her share of the work, leaning on you unfairly without giving you the credit, it’s still likely that you’ll be promoted when your boss is promoted. That person knows you’ve been doing more than your share, and he or she won’t be able to take a new position without your help.

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Becoming a Mentor to Others

Maybe you’re only 27 years old, or perhaps you’ve only been with your present firm for a year and a half. Yet, with your previous experience and achievements, you may already be in a position to serve as a mentor to junior members of your organization. This can be accomplished on an informal, ad hoc basis, and you can literally choose the amount of energy you’re willing to commit. Helping junior members always looks good to those above you, especially at performance review time.

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives. This three-way strategy includes reviewing your job description, deciding precisely what your department’s goals are, and determining your company’s objectives:

Your Job Description

First, knowing your job description and honoring it, or amending it if necessary, protect you from any misunderstandings. It will also give you an idea of the part you play in the total picture of the organization, an important factor in your work satisfaction and chance of promotion.

Your job description ideally contains all the important activities of your position, the knowledge you need to have or acquire to perform those activities, and some sense of your overall role. If your job description does not adequately detail the information you need to know and the responsibilities you have, now is the time to change it.

Company Goals

Second, learn and understand the goals of your part of the company. By whatever method your organization is broken into groups — department, division, project team — your group has objectives.

Goals are important to guide actions as well as to mark milestones. Knowing your group’s goals will help you to set priorities for your own work and make wise decisions concerning how jobs can best be done.

What is the Mission?

Finally, be aware of your organization’s mission. Any organization, from the smallest business to the multibillion-dollar corporation, has a mission. If you don’t already know it, find out. Your organization’s brochure, annual report, promotional literature, or employee handbook will have the mission spelled out.

The mission will unify and give meaning to all the division or department goals. Although conflicts among divisions will occur because of the nature of different responsibilities, a solid base can be produced when all employees realize the overall mission of the organization.

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Business

Lessons of the 2020s: Unanticipated Events Happen

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being as well as on our time

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By now, nearly everyone has mentally marked the first few years of this decade as strange and, for those on the right, entirely upsetting. While we can’t guard against the unknown, or anticipate radical moves emanating from Washington DC, we can seek to do our best with what we have and what we know.

Each day when you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the products and tasks unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off.

How do you react when you are humming along, and all of a sudden, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you thought was complete.

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To Be Flustered No More

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

I believe there is, and it involves first making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately encapsulates the new task that you need to handle. Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Anticipating the Unexpected

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations. Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting.

So… when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed ‘knowing’ that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course. The key question for you is: can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions?

The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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