Your Career Management Resource Centre

Author: Sandra Boyd

Career vs job sphere in cubes to illustrate a great work opportu

Career Management + Career Accountability =Life Time Employment

Some of us are told education is the key for success; others are told to work for a large company, the government or a bank, and the expected result is a job for life. The truth is that in a very volatile marketplace in the 21st century, there is no one ingredient for success. You need to apply a number of strategies and approaches to ensure your marketability. You are the only person that can secure life-time employment.

People today need to deal with greater uncertainty in the marketplace and a good way to do this is to take ownership of your career. It is clear that individuals who consciously invest in their careers stand out from other employees.

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To take your career in your own hands, start with implementing these simple strategies:

1. Assessment & Mindset: Through self-assessments and self awareness, know your strengths and areas that need improvement, and determine if those are what are in demand in the marketplace. Make sure your skill-set is up to date. Know what you need for today, and for tomorrow.  Understand the challenges and influences within and around you.

2. Reputation Awareness: Everyone has a reputation, and it is important to manage yours effectively. Understand your own credibility and track record, and how you are perceived by others. Speak to a manager, colleagues and even friends for feedback on their experiences with   you. Do some self-reflection through someone else’s eyes and then determine what qualities and characteristics to keep working on and what should remain the same.

3. Network: Cross network and really get to know the people on your team, within your company and in the marketplace. Taking the time to network is a crucial investment in your career. “Coffee” and “lunch” are important skills to learn and have. Networking while you are in a position is equally as important as when you’re looking for a job.

4. Sharing Goals: Managers can’t read minds, so give them a sense of who you are, what you want and your expectations. Seek out your manager, don’t just wait for your quarterly or annual review. Have ongoing career conversations in formal and informal settings.

5. Understand your Why:  Why do you do what you do?  We know the difference between a person that is truly passionate and aligned with what they are doing and the person that just shows up to work.  If you can, always articulate “why” your value to the organization will be clear.

 

I Love My Job

What Eulogies and Careers Have in Common

According to Common last Words of Dying People in the Huffington Post over 56% of dying people talked about their careers and how important they were in their lives.  Yet Careers are easily dismissed as not important especially as people step into retirement or during the later stages of our life.  How many times have we heard “your career won’t be mentioned on your grave stone or Eulogy, nor will the number of hours you spent at the office”.  Why not?   I want my career to be mentioned on my gravestone and in my Eulogy…

‘Here lies Sandra Boyd Career Consultant’

I am proud of the work I have done and how I have supported so many people in their career.  I am proud of the fact that I have only done work I am passionate about and guided my children to find work they enjoy.

We spend such a large portion of our waking hours working and we should at the very least like what we do and the people we work with.  I have spent my career coaching and supporting other people in their careers and I am saddened when people tell me they are “waiting for a package” which in some cases they wait years in silent misery.  When people tell me they hate their job, the people they worked with and the company they work for yet they will not even consider writing a resume to at least explore finding an opportunity more fulfilling. 

We get one life but we can have multiple career or job opportunities so why not actively manage your career.  I don’t believe that every person is meant to jump out of bed each morning excited to go to work but if you feel like you are going to throw up every Sunday night dreading Monday morning it may be time to at least consider looking at the job market.

Passion is not only for work some enjoy their jobs but save their passion for other aspects of life.  My husband is passionate about golf, music and his family, work is not his top priority but he has a job where he respects his colleagues and likes the work he does.  He has been able to find that balance.  I on the other hand, have no hobbies, I can’t play golf and a good time for me is reading a book that directly relates to my work. You don’t have to want your work to be the focus of your Eulogy but you want to ensure you are not stuck in a job you hate with no way out.

Always ensure you are familiar with your options:

  • Have an up to date resume
  • Network with someone outside your company at least once a week
  • Ask for feedback to understand from your peers how they value their work environment
  • Research the job market on a regular basis
  • Understand the market trends inside and outside your industry
  • Know your skills, attributes, strengths and gaps and recent accomplishments so you know how relevant they are to what employers are looking for
  • If you don’t want to leave your current company explore internal opportunities
  • Never have a mind set of “waiting for the package” people will know or feel that you have given up and don’t care – find the positive side of your work
  • Spend at least a few hours a month reviewing your career and ask yourself if you are satisfied or if you need to make changes
  • Seek a professional career coach if you are confused and need to think through your next step – invest in your career

Be willing to step outside your comfort zone so you can at least feel comfortable in the job you are in.

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Managers & Employees – How You Need to Behave During a Termination Meeting

I have been privy to thousands of corporate transitions, including my own, and in the process I have observed both good and bad behaviours from managers and employees. The impact of a termination for many of us is a defining moment – in an instant my finances, family and a million emotions flashed before me, all while I smiled and thanked the individual for the news. I know many people are thrilled with the news about their termination or have been waiting for a package, but in my professional opinion if you did not choose to leave there is still a piece of you that feels the loss.

My experience has taught me that the majority of people conduct themselves in a very professional manner and walk out the door with their professional dignity intact. However, there is a small percentage of managers and employees that behave inappropriately and leave a lasting impression that can never be reversed.

I have seen employees scream, cry, threaten suicide and even become violent. On the other side, I have seen managers act cold and calculating using the termination meeting as a place to review all the wrongs the employee had done in the past to justify the termination. 

My caution to managers and employees is to simply behave in a way that is professional, dignified and respectful during a termination meeting because after all the work you have done for a company, that is how you will be remembered.

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Below are some best practices for both managers and employees during this life altering meeting:

Managers 

  • This is the last meeting the person will have with the company. Remember to treat them with the same respect they received during their first meeting. 
  • Keep the meeting brief and to the point. Do not forget your compassion.
  • Remember, this meeting is not about you, therefore, regardless of your relationship with the employee it is time to keep your emotions in check.
  • Allow the employee time to talk or show their emotions, if they cry hand them a Kleenex and sit quietly.  It is your job to allow them to walk out of the room with dignity.
  • Practice makes perfect. Prepare for the meeting and then prepare one more time; practice your brief, book a room for privacy, ensure the documentation is correct, double check details like the spelling of their name, be clear on next steps such as when the termination is effective, who they should call if they have questions, etc.
  • Listen with empathy to their concerns and questions and help them understand that although you may not have all of the answers that day, you will provide the answers after the documentation has been reviewed.

 Employees 

  • No one remembers how you join a company, but everyone remembers how you leave.
  • The exit meeting is not the place to ask “why” or demand to know the reason you are being terminated. It is also not the time to demand to speak with the CEO or another executive. This demand will always be remembered and I assure you that the executive team always knows when an employee is being terminated.
  • This is not the time to ask if you can go back to your desk to pack and say good bye to your colleagues. It only serves to make it difficult and awkward on everyone, including your friends.
  • At the end of the meeting look the person in the eye, say thank you for the opportunity and shake their hand. It is time to leave the building. Remember, you will need these people in the near future for a reference, or simply for their good will about your brand.