Simplifying Life

30 Runnymede RoadI am in that painful process of simplifying life. The last time I did it was about seven years ago when I downsized and moved into a smaller – yet very comfortable house. This time, I am selling my house ( tinyurl.com/ktp7ktq ) and moving to a new state. Some may think…are you really simplifying life by doing that? It sounds like a lot of work.

What I learned the last time I simplified life is it can be very painful going down this road. It requires you to re-examine every part your life and making many decisions on whether or not to keep something or to let it go. It may sound simple, but is not.

It is common to make those same decisions more than once – to revisit the item you thought you wanted to keep and ask,

  • Do I really need this?
  • When is the last time I used it?
  • Will I miss it if I give it up?
  • What is the impact of letting it go in my life?
  • Am I holding it for the memory or just because?

The Secret Weapon

Even though I believe I have become ruthless in my quest, I know there are things I gloss over or believe I cannot get rid of. To help me, I enlisted a close friend. That’s the secret weapon.

We are going through every room in the house and she is my quality control check. She keeps me on task, I know the reason she is here is to help me and I have given her permission to challenge my decisions.

Giving someone the power to challenge you as you go through simplifying life is critical. It eliminates fighting because you gave them the power and approval to challenge you.

It is important that she does not have any vested interested in what I keep or give away and that she only wants what is best for me. She understands my goals – move only what I really love or need and shed the rest.

The same process is useful if you are simplifying other areas in your life: finances, activities, commitments, and even friends. A friend once told me she fired all her friends (except for me – probably because I was long distance); she needed new ones.

After Simplifying Life

After I got through my last simplifying life initiative and the dust settled, I felt relieved that the extra stuff in my life that was gone. I was tired and satisfied. I did not miss the things that I had shed. I surrounded myself with the things that I loved. My home was still my home with less clutter and stuff. I am looking forward to that same feeling.

Tips to Adapt to Tough Economic Times

istock_000001275566xsmall-150x150I wanted to share insights C. Michael Reimringer recently shared with a networking group about how to cope and adapt to tough economic times. As he noted to me privately, many of these same actions were taken by our elders during the Great Depression. In 2008 our economy experienced similiar challenges and as you work your way back to getting on your feet, his comments may spark ways for you to adapt in your own life.

The new reality of jobs in the United States is we must adapt. Education, certificates, and accomplishments matter less as we get older (older than 21!!). Open our minds and explore all options. Reduce expenses wherever we live – when and if we find a job, it’s a bonus! Have fun cheaply!

All things we are already doing, however reluctantly, but now we actively plan and do deliberately now and forever more. Adapt to:

Less income by spending less:

  • Compare and reduce expenses depending on the options we choose,
  • Move to less expensive housing if feasible,
  • Cook and eat at home more,
  • Entertain by sharing a meal with friends and play cards or a board game or watch TV,
  • Exercise and eat healthy to reduce health care expenses,
  • Keep our current clothes, car(s), electronics, etc, working by repairs,
  • Buy used clothes, cars, and electronics rather than new or do with less,
  • Eat out for lunch once a week at a local restaurant rather than dinner,
  • Borrow movies and music from the local library rather than buying new,
  • Drive less to save gas and reduce car repairs by combining errands and shopping closer to home,
  • Explore new ways to reduce expenses and involve your family in the process if they are present.

Jobs reality by job hunting differently:

  • Talk with friends, family, current and former coworkers to find contract, part time, and full time jobs,
  • Job hunting by submitting electronic resumes usually does not work so don’t spend much time on it,
  • Job hunting depends on networking with people you know or meet and ask about jobs they may know of,
  • Jobs may be part time, contract, or full time,
  • Jobs may or may not be in work you want, enjoy, or have previous accomplishments and experience,
  • If you have a particular specialty, explore consulting or contracting in a different city or a different state,
  • Take advantage of RochesterWorks! and public libraries by using their resources,
  • Join one or two jobs networking groups, meet people, explore possibilities,
  • Move to a different city IF you receive a job offer, evaluate all options, and your family agrees it is viable,
  • Explore new possibilities (franchise?) and involve your family in the process if they are present.

Recognize and appreciate our own value and everyone around us regardless of money or job (if any):

  • Find joy in going out with family or friends to a park, picnic, or reduced price entertainment,
  • Find joy in belonging to a faith community or any other type of community and being active in the group,
  • Find joy by going for a walk every day even if our health only permits a 5 minute walk,
  • Find joy by talking with our health care provider and increasing our daily exercise gradually to 45 minutes,
  • Find joy by spending time with friends, family, and people we know,
  • Find joy by doing volunteer work with children in city schools to improve their reading and math skills,
  • Find joy by joining a choral group and singing at nursing homes and other locations,
  • Explore other things you have never tried and involve your family in the process if they are present.

As you face tough economic times, are there any tips that have worked for you?

Thinking about changing your career?

Are you dis-satisfied with your career and thinking about making a change? Perhaps you have been in the same job for many years and just want a change or you realize that they profession you chose earlier in life was not what you were passionate about.

If this sounds like you, chances are you:

  1. Want a change
  2. Don’t like some aspect of what you do
  3. Can articulate what you are good at
  4. Have a good idea about what you do not know
  5. Are not sure how to go about figuring it all out

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It is all a bit confusing, because the possibilities are endless and you don’t know where to start.

Here lies the quandary. There are many ways to recast your career. How you do it will be unique to you. Are you taking a sharp right turn by changing some of what you do or how you do it? Or are you taking a 180° turn and re-inventing yourself?

To be successful in either approach, think about whether you can do it alone, with some help from your mentors or if working with a career coach to deliver results. Bottom line, you will work harder than you ever thought with deep thinking, reflection and researching your options that have been narrowed down through the process.

I think that people underestimate how long it takes to figure out what you want to do with the rest of your life. Let’s be clear – no one can tell you what you should do in a matter of minutes.

Someone may guide you based on career assessment work you have completed. Many of my clients take the Strong Interested Inventory to find possible career fields other than where they are working today.

One approach I use in career coaching is to explore how intersections of your strengths and preferences open up new career opportunities to explore. When you find that sweet spot there is nothing more satisfying.

Just know that no matter how impossible it may seem to get to the place you want to be, you can do it. One step at a time.

Career Development Carnival: March 2014

Career Development CarnivalThis month’s Career Development Carnival had a theme to challenge the creative juices of our career experts: Which came first? The Chicken or the Egg?

We asked them to think about the conversations they have with people who believe that one action or thought has to come first and ask the question…does it really? Usually there is no one right answer and yields some discussions and debates.

If you find the career expert’s comments interesting be sure to let them know by sharing their post within your social networks or by commenting directly with your personal comment or question.

April’s Career Development Carnival will be hosted by Hannah Morgan at CareerSherpa.net.

Job Search Resources

Why Do Recruiters Post Fake Ads?

Chameleon Resumes Blog with Lisa Rangel

Which comes first? The job opening or the job posting? Sometimes recruiters post ads anticipating open jobs that are not really open yet. Are these really fake job ads? Learn inner workings of a third-party recruiting function to help you become less frustrated with job postings.

How A Functional Resume Format Can Hurt Your Job Search

The A-Plus Advisory Post with Karen Silins

How use of a functional resume format is truly seen by both HR/Recruiting/Hiring Managers and ATS Systems.

Career Exploration

The value of doing nothing, or not much

Search for Authentic Leadership with Dan Ryan

“Taking time for reflection can be a great way to get started on your career exploration, especially if you are in the midst of hectic times. Take some time to extract yourself – you’ll be glad you did!”

Who, What and Why before the Resume

Elephants at Work with Lynn Dessert

No doubt you are itchy to get that resume circulating quickly. Getting it done quick may not get you the job you want because it fails to tell your story. To get it right, ask these questions.

Reputation Management

Do You Have A Reputation?

Career Sherpa.net with Hannah Morgan

Everyone has a reputation! The question is- how do you market your reputation in a way that resonates with future employers?

Career Management

You must go to college Before you start a business

Hell In the Hallway with Deborah Mourey

College is great but it’s not for everyone and these days, with college debt so high and more support for entrepreneurs, there are many alternatives to ‘college.’

Position or Experience

Workplace Communication Blog with Beth Sears

Looking for a position is exacerbated when they look for experience and yet you cannot obtain a position to get the experience. This post offers suggestions for getting experience before you have the actual position.

Personal Branding

Personal Branding, Resume or Job Search Targeting: Which Comes First?

Executive Career Brand with Meg Guiseppi

If you start with your resume, and neglect targeting, research and branding, you’ll probably be in for a protracted job search.

Who, What and Why before the Resume

istock_000002137707xsmallTransitions are difficult for job hunters and career changers. You often fret about getting things right and defining what is the most important thing to get done first. Frustration and confusion sets in early, especially when everyone you ask has an opinion…and it is different.

More often than not, the resume rises to the top because it is your calling card or introduction to a potential company or recruiter. Without a strong resume, you can’t get that coveted interview … right?

The resume is easy to fix or tweak quickly. But you’ll soon realize that everyone has an opinion especially when you ask people who are not professional resume writers.

When I look at the resume, it sometimes become obvious why you are not getting contacted for jobs. It is quite simple – your resume fails to tell your story or to peak the interviewer’s interest. More time and attention has been spent on wordsmithing than being clear about who you are, what you want, what you have to offer and why you are the best person for that particular job.

Once you become clear about who, what and why – you narrow the job choices. You focus your efforts on jobs that meet your criteria instead of applying to everything that remotely sounds like you.

You have probably heard some advice about casting a wide net; I recommend a narrow net provided you are clear about who, what and why. Too much time is wasted chasing job opportunities that are not a good fit personally or professionally.

So, let’s get back to the who, what and why. At first you may say, I know who I am and what I want. If that is true – is it reflected in your resume and actions? Or do you find that you are schizophrenic in your approach? Ask someone who doesn’t know you well that will give candid feedback. No tip toeing around here.

If you are clear, anyone should be able to pick up your resume and know exactly what kind of job or career you want in life. If it is not clear, don’t worry – you are not alone.

When you go through any type of transition in your life – a loss of job, divorce, move to a new area or other significant change, take an opportunity to recreate or cast your life in a different way. Even if you are happy with your life, it is a time for reflection and reaffirmation.

Once you become clear, that’s the time to put it all down on paper.

 

Pattern: Comparing yourself to others

One of my clients likes to compare what he is doing to what other people are doing. Sometimes, the pattern of comparing yourself to others is productive and other times it becomes divisive in what you are trying to accomplish.

For example, when he is job hunting, he wants to know why he has not found a job as quickly as someone else he knows.  After all, it only took them two weeks to find a job and a month later he doesn’t have one.

It’s a pattern with him. He’s competitive to the point of not being forgiving. The pattern is so strong, he fails to realize and celebrate what he is doing right. He forgets that his path or journey may be very different from the person he is comparing himself to. Here are a few of things we talked about:

 Your skills, training and experiences will be different.

Just because someone is going for the same jobs as you are or worked for the same company you do, it does not mean that both of you bring the same level or combination of skills, abilities and experiences to the next position. No two people are alike.

Your relationships will be different.

You’ve heard it before and I will say it again, people find jobs through the people they know. You will have different relationships than the other person. Even if you know the same people, the relationship will be different. People like to help people they like, know and trust.

You may have a different agenda.

The other person may be looking for a job, you may be creating a career or entering into a new phase of life. Some people don’t care if they stay with a company for short time; other people want to find a company that they can stay with for their entire career. Your goals will be different and that drives how you conduct your job search process. Those kinds of steps take longer because you will be pickier.

Look at the big picture, not just one step.

If you are focusing in one activity – they got the job in less than two weeks, you may be losing the sight of they also left that job within the first six months because it was not a good fit. Making good choices is more important that landing quickly. Too many people take the first thing that comes along and subsequently find they are going through the process all over again.

Comparing yourself to others is defeating.

If comparing yourself to others is defeating and does not inspire you, stop doing it. Set your own standards and measure yourself on how you are doing with your goals. Remember to reward yourself along the way.

How Parents can help their Child’s Career

First of all, kudos to the parents who realize that their child is struggling in their career and want to do something to help them. What you do and how you do it impacts how your child reacts to your help. Depending on the age of your child, they may take advice from you about their career, or not. 

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More often, they are at that age where your relationship is a little awkward. They are striving to be independent and let’s face it; taking advice from their parents doesn’t fit with their perception of independence.  So what do you do?

Parents – avoid giving direct advice

You may have many life lessons to share that would be valuable to your child – I don’t want to discount what you have to offer. Wait for them to ask for it and then give it small doses.

Figure out if you want it more than they do

It is OK to want the best for your children. However, if you want it more than your child you may need to curb your enthusiasm. It’s their career and until they ask for help, they probably are not ready to receive help. You don’t want to be a helicopter parent.

Transitions are a vulnerable time

Let’s think of it from their side, transitions into a career or new life stage is challenging. It’s a vulnerable time in their life – fear of being seen as unsuccessful, a failure, weak or unskillful. They want to be seen as strong and successful in your eyes so coming to you with these concerns is difficult. Even career experts who are parents realize that if the advice comes from someone else, there is a greater chance for success.

Provide the Gift of Resources

One of the best ways you can help your child is to offer support. That support could be in the form of:

  • Sharing resources or articles from the internet (don’t bombard them – a quick note saying you found this interesting is all you have to say)
  • Introductions to people (offer to make the connection but let them initiate the contact)
  • Financial support to work with a career coach (let them make the final decision on who they want to work with)

Bottom Line

Your child has to want to do something about their situation. You may give support financially or with other resources, but they have to be in the driver’s seat on making decisions that affect their career or life transition. If you take away that sense of independent thinking, it will affect their progress towards their goal.

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