Peter Madrid

Towering above others

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Be visible. Be a resource. Be creative.

In these tough economic times, if you can set yourself apart from the pack with such attributes, chances are your superiors will notice, and lack of job security will not become an issue.

That advice holds true for two groups of individuals: Those who currently have a career and are employed and those who have been laid off and are looking for a new career.

For those looking to hang onto their jobs amid corporate downsizing, John Komar, a career counselor and managing partner at Komar & Associates in Mesa, says, “Protect your job. If you have a job these days, protect it.”

His first piece of advice is to take on tasks no one else wants to do. If your boss needs someone to work on a Saturday, volunteer. That kind of assertiveness will be appreciated and make an impression.

Next, monitor your own performance very closely. Know where you stand within your company .

“It’s easy to do in some careers than in others,” Komar says. “Sales, for instance. It’s a numerical measurement. Make sure you understand how your performance is monitored, especially if you start to slip in some areas.

“Be current. There is a tendency with people to get comfortable and kind of relax. In this current economy that’s a dangerous thing to do. The best attitude is to ask, ‘How can I improve? What do I need to do be current?’ It could be as easy as taking a seminar or learn a new type of software. Just have an assertive attitude.”

The challenges may appear more daunting for laid off workers looking for employment in a  field similar to what they were doing, or those choosing to pursue a new career. Don’t fret.

“The first thing to ask yourself is why was I laid off,” Komar says. “If it was the entire department, it’s OK. That’s just tough luck. It doesn’t reflect on you.”

If it is you, then you need to get positive feedback in the exit interview. Ask that person to be honest with you. Sometimes that’s difficult to face up to, Komar says, but it’s a matter of making an honest assessment.

Another reality check is to ask yourself if you want to go back into that particular occupation.

Komar suggests doing something different and being open-minded about other careers.

“It’s called setting a career scenario. Coming up with new ideas.”

He recalls a client, an air-conditioning tech who was injured on the job. When they worked on career scenarios, nothing else appealed to him. That kind of work was all he wanted to do.

“We started talking, and I asked him what he likes to do around the house. He said he loves to cook. One thing led to another and we put him in culinary school.

“Now he’s the head chef at a resort in Mesa. All you have to be is open minded.

“Why not?”

Choose new life, not new job

In his book on career and life-planning, 48 Days to the Work You Love, author Dan Miller draws from his expertise in creative thinking to help individuals find the work they love.  He guides readers through 48 days of life-changing direction towards understanding and achieving the work they were designed to do in life.

Miller shares his process for positioning individual’s work and life experience in order to develop a focused, balanced, and truly successful plan. He offers men and women, young and old, reassurance and encouragement about their vocational direction.

A very practical book, 48 Days gives people the tools to recognize and make the most of their abilities. For all these reasons, consider it a “life success” book, rather than merely a career manual for getting a job you dislike less than the last one. Other career books offer helpful tips; Miller’s offers his readers hope.

48 Days To the Work You Love
By Dan Miller
Broadman & Holman

Taking ownership of our careers

In a time of change it is important that we take ownership of our careers and the work we do. We must first start  with ourselves:

• Do we have the courage to examine our strengths?
• How we communicate and deal with others?
• How we handle conflict?
• How we deal with change?
• How we listen to others?
• How we deal with our bosses, our staff, peers, vendor partners etc?
• How we brand and market and sell ourselves?

Source: Network

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