"The best place to finding a helping hand is at the end of your own arm." --Swedish Proverb
The last eight months have been quite the career whirlwind.
I took a high school counseling position in August. I was ready for a switch after seven years as an elementary school counselor. I was ready to get back to working with high school students.
After only two months, I figured out it wasn't the right fit. I finished the semester and was granted an early release from my contract.
In January, I jumped into the retail world. I'd had two previous experiences in retail and enjoyed both even though they were part-time. But this was full-time, this was working every other weekend, this was a heavier emphasis on sales...and this wasn't me. At the end of March, I will be unemployed again.
Eight months and two jobs. This isn't like me. Previously, I had three jobs in education over a span of 25 years.
So, yeah, the last eight months have been pretty eye-opening. You would think I would be anxious about my situation and there is a little bit of me that is. I'm 51 and looking to start over new...again. However, it's also an exciting time too.
"Opportunities don't happen, you create them." --Chris Grosser
That's right. You create opportunities by taking control over what you want out of your career and there are constructive ways to do this.
5 Steps to Finding the Right Career for You by Ashley Stahl in Forbes (9/27/18) outlines how one can systematically go about finding the right career, whether you're looking for your first opportunity or are seasoned and searching for some clarity. The five steps include taking career assessments, listing your options, looking for overlap, networking, and asking a mentor.
When it comes to career assessments, there are a lot of free ones out there that take anywhere from 10-30 minutes to complete. While you may have a good idea as to how the assessment will come out, take a couple of them anyway. Your ideas will either be reinforced or you might find a surprise or two.
While listing your options is necessary, so is making a list of your pros and cons. I didn't do that when I applied for my retail job. If I had done so, I probably wouldn't have completed my application. While I liked the idea of being with a company where I could work with people, I quickly discovered that commissions, evening hours, and working weekends made it heavy on the cons list. Now I know.
Looking for overlap made the shift from education to retail a potential fit. I still got to work with people, educating them about products, and was in a social environment. Sometimes we need to view overlaps with a problem-solving lens. What's a problem you see in a company that you have the ability to solve?
I've always had a narrow minded view when it comes to networking and asking a mentor. I felt like they had to be face-to-face situations. While those are an options, there are others. One can be in Facebook groups for networking and learn via professional development books, videos, and podcasts for mentoring. A virtual mentor is anyone from whom you can learn. Check out some of the books I've read recently and a snippet of what I've learned from these mentors here.
The big takeaway here is to look outside the box when it comes to your job search. Gone are the traditional days of finding a job. Think creatively and go after what you want boldly!
I know I am!
I'm just as guilty as the next person of being oblivious to my surroundings at times. I'm only thinking about myself and not about how my actions could be affecting others.
I think most of us get in our own bubble and get focused on what we are doing. It's not necessarily a negative thing but it can become one when it has a negative effect on others.
Case in point, I currently work in the retail world and we close at 9:00. We have closing responsibilities to complete before we go home. This can take anywhere from 5-30 minutes on average depending on the amount of foot traffic we've had. I can accept a longer closing time when we've had a busy day and evening.
However, last night as the announcement was being made that the store would be closing in five minutes, two customers brought items back to the fitting room to try on. Everyone working handled it like a champ as we had most of our duties completed and we were still able to leave right after those customers left the building.
But it left me thinking, did those two customers have any idea how they affected the people who were working? Not only did it affect the fitting room stylists but also the sales associates on our side of the floor as well as the entire first floor staff as we all leave at the same time. If one department gets done ahead of another, then it's all hands on deck to help out until we are all done. Those two customers had an effect on the 15 employees who were waiting to go home, some of whom had been working nine hours.
My guess is that those two customers had no clue that their actions five minutes before closing time could impact others. They were in their own bubble.
Like I said at the beginning, though, most of us are guilty of doing the very same thing unintentionally. We don't think about how our actions impact others who are on the periphery.
So, here's the challenge. Start noticing how your actions may affect others no matter what environment you're in, whether it's with your loved ones or the strangers you come into contact with when you are in public. We all have the ability to see outside of ourselves. The key is to put it into practice.
In other words, it's time to pop the bubble.
"There is a 'no matter what' aspect to my relationship with progress." -Josh LeJaunie
I love this, because when something is so important to us we have this type of attitude. We will go after it with all we have. A go big or go home kind of energy.
What is it that drives you?
Sometimes I fall into the trap that if I can't do things a certain way, don't have an allotted amount of time, or the environment isn't quite right, I let that get into my head and fall into 'paralysis analysis.' I get so caught up in the planning and thinking about doing something that I fail to engage in the action piece (which, by the way, is the most important piece).
Or, I think that if I don't do it all, then I'm failing. For example, I used to work out 1-2 hours a day, 4-5 days a week. I was an absolute beast! I went after work and got to the gym around 4:00 and then left to go home around 5:30-6:00. Now I rarely work out for 30 minutes, 2-3 days a week.
Why? Because I fell out of the 'no matter what' attitude. I adopted the go big or go home mentality and I went home instead of going big. Sure, life has changed significantly. I'm in a completely different job situation where my work hours shift and I work every other weekend. It's not as convenient for me to work out as it used to be and so I gave up rather than make sure I worked out 'no matter what.'
I think it's important to give ourselves grace during a season such as this. I worked with a customer yesterday who had decided to get back into physical activity. She joined her local YMCA and decided she would like to do water aerobics classes. She came in to buy a couple of swimsuits. She is doing everything right to plan and prepare to get back into the game. She has even run into people she already knows who are taking classes. I hope she gets that 'no matter what' attitude.
Like on the days where she would rather stay home, I hope she goes to her water aerobics class no matter what.
The same can be said for myself. Instead of thinking I need one or two hours to work out, take the time I do have and get the most out of it. Instead of thinking I need two hours to edit and revise my book, take the time I do have no matter what and make progress toward finishing and publishing it.
No matter what, when we adopt the 'no matter what' attitude, we are making progress toward our goals.
And that's exactly what matters!
I'm a lover of life, an eternal optimist, and I have an intense desire to add value through simple living and positive vibes.