Posted on

3 Solutions For Time-Crunched People Who Think They Are Too Busy To Network

We all have heard the career advice promoting networking. Yet, despite all the apparent benefits, many people fail to maintain relationships or meet new people on a regular basis. A lot of the blame is placed on being too busy to network. In my recent Work Reimagined post on “I’m Too Busy to Network!” I share 3 solutions to help busy people make time for networking:

As a former recruiter, I saw firsthand how the vast majority of candidates we hired came via networking. As a former HR director, I have also seen firsthand that career advancement results from networking – people with strong allies and supporters got the plum assignments and promotions. Making connections, deepening relationships and maintaining these contacts over time are critical. Unfortunately, networking rarely makes it to the top of our urgent to-do lists, so it is often an afterthought as we go about our busy days. As an experienced professional, your network is much more complex than when you started your career, adding to the difficulty in managing and maintaining these key relationships. Here are 3 shortcuts to help you maximize your networking with minimal time disruption:

  • Use online tools like TimeTrade or GenBook to schedule easily and flexibly

Trying to get together with someone  invariably means spending several emails just setting a date. Multiply this by everyone in your network, and you might be scheduling meetings all day! Use online appointment systems like TimeTrade or GenBook to schedule catch-up phone calls, lunches or coffee dates with minimal back and forth. For example, I block off several hours each week for serendipitous networking. Then, when I meet someone at a conference or when someone is referred to me, I don’t need to think about when I can pick up that conversation. I point them to my TimeTrade link, they see my availability, and they sign up directly.

See two more tips in my latest post for Work Reimagined: I’m Too Busy to Network!

Posted on

How do we know Truth?

My mother used to have a saying. She had a lot of those. But one she used to say a lot was: She/he wouldn’t know truth if it flew up and hit her/him in the face. And you know, sometimes she was right. Truth is, as they say, relative. But is it, really? Is there an absolute truth? Or, do we have enough light to just see the truth that is relative to the moment—ready ever to let that go for a higher truth in another moment? Well, if there is an absolute truth, I would say that it runs deeper and goes further than any one religion or tradition can encapsulate. And if that is true, then how do we know when we’ve run into—or been hit in the face by—truth? This show is going to delve into this muddy issue and give it some clarity. But not only that, for it is also going to illustrate some ways that we can know when we’ve been hit by truth. And along that way we’ll discover something about the mystery of knowledge itself. Don’t miss it.

Posted on

How do we know Truth?

My mother used to have a saying. She had a lot of those. But one she used to say a lot was: She/he wouldn’t know truth if it flew up and hit her/him in the face. And you know, sometimes she was right. Truth is, as they say, relative. But is it, really? Is there an absolute truth? Or, do we have enough light to just see the truth that is relative to the moment—ready ever to let that go for a higher truth in another moment? Well, if there is an absolute truth, I would say that it runs deeper and goes further than any one religion or tradition can encapsulate. And if that is true, then how do we know when we’ve run into—or been hit in the face by—truth? This show is going to delve into this muddy issue and give it some clarity. But not only that, for it is also going to illustrate some ways that we can know when we’ve been hit by truth. And along that way we’ll discover something about the mystery of knowledge itself. Don’t miss it.

Posted on

How do we know Truth?

My mother used to have a saying. She had a lot of those. But one she used to say a lot was: She/he wouldn’t know truth if it flew up and hit her/him in the face. And you know, sometimes she was right. Truth is, as they say, relative. But is it, really? Is there an absolute truth? Or, do we have enough light to just see the truth that is relative to the moment—ready ever to let that go for a higher truth in another moment? Well, if there is an absolute truth, I would say that it runs deeper and goes further than any one religion or tradition can encapsulate. And if that is true, then how do we know when we’ve run into—or been hit in the face by—truth? This show is going to delve into this muddy issue and give it some clarity. But not only that, for it is also going to illustrate some ways that we can know when we’ve been hit by truth. And along that way we’ll discover something about the mystery of knowledge itself. Don’t miss it.

Posted on

5 Takeaways For Hiring Companies And Job Seekers From The Potentialpark 2013 Online Talent Communication Awards

I had the privilege of attending the Potentialpark 2013 Online Talent Communication Awards, hosted at the L’Oreal Matrix Academy. Companies were judged on career website, online application process, social networking communication and mobile communication. Top 3 company honorees based on all of the criteria were Accenture, General Motors, and Ernst & Young, in that order. Potentialpark shared its findings from surveying thousands of job seekers and reviewing hundreds of websites. While this was an event aimed at sharing insights amongst the hiring companies, I noticed key takeaways for job seekers as well. Here are 5 of my favorite insights from the event:

1)      Branding is a challenge given that a profile is made up of many different elements

On the company side, L’Oreal shared insights into how it conveys a global recruiting message across 26 diverse brands and how challenging this can be. So it is with job seekers: how do you convey diverse skills, industry expertise, personality traits and many times, multiple simultaneous projects into one comprehensive and cohesive online profile?

2)      Live experience influences the brand, and vice versa

A candidate’s experience when gathering information, applying, and then making decisions is informed by how he or she feels about the brand. But the feelings toward the brand are similarly impacted by the actual experience. So a company should mind both the subjective pull of the brand and the tactile activities. So it is with job seekers: how do you develop and maintain a personal brand that engenders good will, respect and credibility but also deliver on the in-person experiences during interviews, networking meetings and negotiations?

3)      Personalization is critical

Potentialpark found that job seekers liked companies who gave personalized career guidance – almost a “matching” service between candidate to job. I have found that recruiters and hiring managers want personalization as well from job seekers: why do you want this job? Why do you want this company? Why are you the perfect match to this role (i.e., solution to my problem)?

4)      Speed is critical

Another criteria held in high regard by job seekers is speed in the information gathering, application and decision-making stage. So it is with recruiters: job seekers need to know about jobs before they are posted, need to respond to scheduling and information requests almost in real-time, and need to decide quickly. If you’re looking for a job, how quickly do you pinpoint your target company’s issues? How quickly do you respond and make meetings happen?

5)      Presence must be felt across multiple platforms

Job seekers expect companies to have multiple platforms – website, various social networks, presence within professional communities. Similarly, companies recruit across multiple platforms. If you’re a job seeker, are you everywhere you need to be? Do you have a robust online presence? Are you active in social networks and live professional associations?

 

If it’s any consolation to job seekers, the job search is tough on companies looking to recruit. They also have a lot of work around keeping up with online tools and social networking. It was fascinating to see how company challenges parallel job seeker challenges. Perhaps this shared experience can bring more empathy to the process on both sides.

 

 

 

Posted on

Creative Problems Solvers are Golden!

The world is full of problems which is actually a good thing because the world needs problem solvers. This is one of the most important skills you can have as I coach people on this all the time. How do you become an indespensible employee? Solve problems! How do you land the next big job you want? Show future employers how you solved problems for your past emmployer.

Quantify the savings you were involved in: Did you save $50,000? Did you save $1,000 per month? Did you decrease errors by 50% and if so how did you do it? The devil, or the saving grace, is in the details. Tell me the story of how you creatively solved a problem and your story should have a beginning, a middle, and an end. For example, you could say something like this:

My company had to cut $50,000 from their budget and we had to show we could do this in 1 week. I brought a team of 5 group leaders and we met every day until we met our goal. We reviewed the budget line by line and cut a total of $60,000 in the end: $10,000 in car expenses for late workers – our new guideline: you could only take a car if it was after 8:30 pm. We stopped supplying meals for breakfast and lunch meetings, saving another $5,000. We only used overnight deliveries for urgent items, saving another $5,000. By the time we finished, it was a contest to see who could have the largest amount of savings. And in the end, we didn’t miss these services much at all and felt great about accomplishing this important goal for the company. My manager felt great and thanked the team in front of senior management.

Here is a link to an article written by Nancy Monson, author of Craft to Heal: Soothing Your Soul with Sewing, Painting, and Other Pastimes and Creative Wellness, where should outlines how to use creativity to solve business problems. It’s worth the read! http://vivmag.com/want-to-invigorate-your-career-increase-your-creativity-quotient/

Posted on

The Only Good Reason To Quit Your Job

This career advice post originally appears in my Work In Progress column for Forbes.com:

As a career coach, I talk to a lot of people who are dissatisfied with their job for a variety of reasons – pay isn’t competitive, work imposes too much on personal life, skills are stagnating, interest in the work has waned, etc. How do you know if you should try to make things work where you are or go elsewhere? There is really only one good reason to quit your job: you should quit your job when quitting is the next step to a better life. For many of the common job complaints, quitting typically isn’t the ideal response.

 

If you feel underpaid

Quitting your job will not make your life better in the short term. You will be even more underpaid, as your salary drops to zero. Your market value also drops, as you have less leverage with future employers now that you’re unemployed. A better solution would be to research your true market value and try both to negotiate a raise where you are and to find an alternative higher offer. You may need to quit eventually for that better paying job, but get the new job first.

 

If you feel undervalued

Decide first what would represent the appreciation you are seeking – is it words of praise, is it a promotion, is it a raise? Quitting your job will not satisfy any of these conditions, as you don’t give your employer the opportunity to demonstrate its appreciation. A better solution would be to ask for what you want. Your boss may not realize you feel undervalued. You also want to make sure your boss understands your value and what you have recently accomplished.

 

If you no longer enjoy the work

Quitting your job will take you out of the work you don’t enjoy but it also ends whatever part of your job you still did enjoy. Furthermore, if finding another more enjoyable job is what you really want to do, quitting your job doesn’t immediately help you there and in fact might hinder your search as employers prefer the currently employed. A better solution would be to pinpoint exactly what you do enjoy and try both to arrange your current job to include more of this and to find an alternative more enjoyable workplace. Sometimes an employee is so unhappy that she can’t successfully find another job amidst all the negativity. In this case, quitting your job is a necessary interim step to a better attitude which leads to the better job and life. I’ve seen people quit without a job and still do well, but it carries the risk that the stress of looking for a job might lead to even more negativity.

 

If you are no longer challenged

You may need to quit your job eventually to get a more challenging job, but you also may find more challenge in the same company by moving to a different group or changing your role. You could also find more challenge outside your immediate job by taking a class or stepping up your role in a professional organization. If you determine the next ideal challenge requires returning to school or other extended preparation, then quitting your job might be a necessary step to better preparation to a better life.

 

If the environment (your boss, colleagues, company culture) no longer fits

You might be able to move elsewhere in the company. You might experiment with building relationships outside of work and seeing if this is enough. But we spend a lot of our waking hours in our work environment, so if you are unable to make a change where you are, quitting your job and moving elsewhere could yield a significant life improvement.

 

If your values feel out of alignment

If your employer engages in behavior you don’t believe in (it doesn’t have to be illegal but let’s say it’s a competitive, cut throat atmosphere and you expected a more collaborative environment), then you have to decide if this value is something you’ll learn to deprioritize or if you need to go elsewhere. You don’t have to right away, and burn your bridges. Hold onto your job while you conduct your search

 

If your work/ life balance feels out of alignment

Quitting your job may tip the scales too far in the other direction! As with the enjoyment, the challenge and the appreciation factors, first decide exactly how you define work/ life balance. Is it being able to telecommute? Is it changing the start or end times of your day? Is it being able to have weekends away from email and phone? See if you can change your current situation and look at alternatives elsewhere. It might be that your industry or role doesn’t lend itself to the work/ life balance you now seek, and you have to focus on a bigger career change, not just change employers. Or it might be that a small tweak where you are will be enough of a change.

 

If you get an unexpected offer elsewhere

Don’t just stay out of loyalty. Don’t just quit because you’re flattered. Determine how you would define your ideal next step, both professionally and personally, and weigh your unexpected offer against the prospects exactly where you are.

 

There are many reasons why you might be dissatisfied with your current situation. But, before you quit, ask yourself if the reasons for your dissatisfaction will actually be cured if you quit your job. Quitting your job could very well be an excellent response to a bad career situation. More likely, it is several steps away from what you need to do right now. Sometimes, it is even unnecessary, and your energy spent on quitting could be better used to improve your situation right where you are. Instead of asking yourself whether you should quit (or fantasizing about how you’ll quit!), ask yourself what the very next step is that you can take right now. The only good reason to quit is to improve your immediate situation. Before you quit, research how you can improve your situation further. Focus on how to improve the overall situation, not whether or not you should quit.

Posted on

SEX!!!

Okay, now that I have your attention—let’s talk about intimacy. Real intimacy—of which sex is but a small, though important, part. Primary relationships—these are those had between a husband and wife, or two partners, whether of the same or opposite sex. Primary relationships work when intimacy is the primary endeavor of the relationship. They work less well or stop working altogether, when intimacy is not the primary endeavor of the relationship. So, what do we mean by intimacy if we don’t just mean sex? Remember the Na’vi in the movie Avatar? They said it well. They said, “I see you.” What they meant was that they really saw the other person. Saw them for who and what they really were. Saw all the way down to their souls. Intimacy allows both parties in a primary relationship to really see each other. How do we learn to see and be seen this way? Do you want a solid relationship that has lastability? Don’t miss this show.