Are you ready to make a serious career move? Does your career put you in a strong position to make changes and grow? Can you deal with a crisis – a layoff or less than great performance review? Get ready with your Career Inventory, the foundation of your career plans.
It’s happened to all of us … that sinking feeling of, “What’s that all about?”
Are you really going to be stuck with the bad assignment, sent off to the Middle of Nowhere or even fired?
The truth is …
Responding to your fear can turn a bad dream into bad news. And most likely you can create the best outcome by asking a totally different question!
(1) Virtual assistant publicity
When I published my book, Making the Big Move, I needed to spread the word. But the logistics were daunting. For example, I wanted to send a press release to several hundred radio stations and newspapers. It is possible to subscribe to a database but you also need to set up software to send a thousand or so faxes. Apparently it’s not that hard But it takes time and knowledge.
Many authors and business owners need services to implement publicity. They can write a press release (although a VA who can write, too, would be a gold mine). What they need is someone to make the phone calls and send the faxes and get the names of the right people. And a sharp VA might also be able to set up bookstore signings for authors, for a fee.
(2) Virtual assistant to authors
When an author creates a book proposal, her task isn’t over. She has to send out query letters by the handful. An author can craft a query letter but once again the logistics can be defeating. A virtual assistant who knows how to set up letters, include SASEs and call ahead to see if there’s been a name change now that’s worthwhile! A VA can help with query letters or work with a writing coach who will be her alliance partner.
Do you enjoy getting technical? There’s a market for people who can format documents for kindle ebooks and Amazon CreateSpace print-on-demand books. It’s not that hard to learn but you do need an up-to-date Word program. VAs who understand grammar, spelling and heading styles will be especially prized.
If you’re artistic and you know a design program such as Photoshop, you can design ebook covers as an extra.
(3) Community introduction service
When people consider moving to a new place, they want to learn everything they can! They turn to real estate agents. But if they aren’t ready to buy a house, they won’t get helpful information about the community. Depending on the agent you choose, you may or may not get information directly relative to your lifestyle. You can offer a private service to show people around your town or community, customizing tours to fit individual or group interests. Charge a flat rate (and be sure you’ve got licenses and insurance if you’re driving people around).
(4) Home Concierge
Professionals who make hundreds of dollars an hour don’t want to stay home to wait for a package or delivery. Newly transferred executives may want to get to the office not stay home to let someone in to turn on utilities. Almost everyone needs a pet-sitter or dog-walker sometimes. You may be able to expand to running errands. (Make sure you’re licensed and bonded and choose clients with care.)
(5) Homemaking/Gardening Educator
As people retire or downsize, they often decide they’ll do more of their own cooking, weeding and cleaning. But if they’re professionals, they’ve probably paid someone to do these jobs often for years. Sometimes they want to hire more services. But sometimes they want to learn to do it themselves. How do you care for a hardwood floor? How do you make simple meals without burning own the kitchen? Why aren’t my tomatoes growing? A great service, offered through classes, in-person tutoring or even an online service.
PLUS ONE: Okay, this one does require some skill. Or maybe you can suggest a summer job for your teenager.
Can you hook up a DVD player to a television set and still record on video? Or can you just hook up a DVD player? I’ve been told that dozens of people buy a DVD player, then return their discs because they can’t figure out how to hook everything up!
What about mp3 players – iPods and iPads? Lots of people get them as gifts but never use them because they can’t figure out how.
Who hasn’t been there: working for a bad boss! The truth is, many bosses are bad simply because they haven’t acquired training or skills. Therefore chances are high you will work for a bad boss if your corporate career lasts long enough. Some companies even assess your long-term ability based on how well you can handle a bad boss.
Fast Company Expert Kevin Kruse wrote a terrific article: When You Work For A Jerk: A 6-Point Plan For Dealing With A Bad Boss. Read it here.
Kruse presents 6 career planning steps to take, which I will summarize in my own words with my own comments.
What are you contributing to the situation?
Career planning begins by distancing yourself from the situation. What are you contributing? Are you bringing baggage from previous jobs or even family history?
But don’t let anyone tell you, “It’s your fault.” You may be a misfit. Your industry or company may have a cultural style that’s not a good fit for you. For instance, academia typically has a loose management style with emphasis on unwritten rules.
Some people just can’t work for a boss, even after years of therapy and thousands of dollars invested in coaching. If you recognize yourself here, start taking courses in entrepreneurship and begin working with a coach to start your own business. You may not be a natural entrepreneur but chances are you’ll adapt better to business ownership than to life with a boss.
What’s really going on here?
Your boss’s unrealistic demands may reflect pressures from her own boss. Alternatively, she may be struggling with her own personal issues – a divorce, bereavement or illness. If your company culture allows her to bring her personal problems to the office, you may have to start looking – discreetly – for a new job.
Coach your boss.
Kruse’s article suggests saying something like, “About that item from a few weeks ago –
I’d be much more efficient with that new software for my computer. Did you want me to follow through? I can call Frank myself if you like.”
I often encourage my clients to draw on analogies to dog training. If you keep saying “yes” to unreasonable requests, you’ve trained your boss to keep asking. You probably can’t refuse a request outright but you can emphasize choices: “If I work on X, I will have to put Y on the back burner. What would you like me to do?”
A boss who’s not coachable is like a dog who can’t be trained. You learn to work around it or somebody has to find a new home.
Are you gaining something beyond a pay check?
If you’ve saving large sums of money so you can take time off later, gaining a marketable skill or paying dues for a big promotion. you should hang on if you’re not risking your sanity.
Will this situation go on forever?
My friend “Professor Bob” says, “You don’t like the dean? No problem. He’ll be gone in a year or two.”
Of course, in some situations, nobody moves. And that will probably include you! If your boss hasn’t moved on, where will you be? You’ve got to start searching for a new position, within the company or outside.
Sometimes you have to walk, no matter what.
Kruse emphasizes that sometimes you have to quit and you shouldn’t wait too long. “Great talent,” says Kruse, “always has options.” You have to be CEO of your career. When you stick with a bad boss for too long, you might actually be lowering your chances of succeeding elsewhere.
And if you’re bad boss is transforming your environment so much that you hate your job … check out this video:
Of course, your company may have rules about blogging related to your job or even your profession. Find out the rules and get legal advice from a qualified attorney if there’s any ambiguity. This career advice may need to be adjusted for your own situation.
(1) Use a blog to showcase your professional knowledge. You’ll be able to draw attention of prospective employers, colleagues and mentors. Be especially careful not to trespass on your own company’s policies when you choose this route.
(2) Use a blog to explore areas where you might start your own business, especially an online business. This strategy is the easiest way to test your own passion for a topic. If you find yourself eagerly posting over a few months, consider taking further steps. But if you’re bored after a post or two … well, time to move on.
(3) Use a blog to practice your writing skills. These days most of us write in short bursts. Some of us text so we don’t even use full complete words, let alone sentences. A blog keeps your writing skills strong because you might need them.
(4) Use a blog as a journal. Keep track of your progress for a job search, a difficult assignment or your day-to-day struggles. You can set up a private blog with access limited only to those who have a password. If you’re in a tough situation and you’re documenting a problem (again, I’m not a legal expert), a blog can be extremely valuable because you’ve got a record of dates and times.
To set up a secure blog, you would choose plug-ins that offer privacy. If you don’t know what a plug-in is, keep reading.
(5) Use a blog to explore extracurricular interests and provide an outlet for your creativity. Depending on your situation you might opt for a private blog or a membership blog limited to your bellow aficionados.
(6) Use a blog to enhance your skill set to become more marketable. You’ll end up learning a lot about the Internet and about resources as your blog grows over time.
(7) Use your blog to earn revenue, by promoting your own products or affiliate products. If you’ve got a wildly popular blog you can sell advertising. It’s not as easy as some career advice suggests but it’s not impossible either.
But to get started you’ve got to have a blog. I’m recommending WordPress because it’s the most widely used right now. That means it’s easy to get affordable support and training.
Recently I learned about an affordable way to get started in WordPress for just $17, with a set of training materials. You can download these materials and get started immediately. You will get enough information to launch your blog or blog website and more. You can have your blog up and running in a matter of minutes. Just click here:
When you come to a crossroads in your career, you know you have to make a decision. If you are a mid-life, mid-career professional, you know your decision can have long-term, serious consequences. Your decision can impact your finances and family as well as your ability to enjoy a career and lifestyle.
Therefore, it’s helpful to understand your decision style. What are you most likely to do when confronted with a challenging decision?
Today the question has become even more critical because often we make decisions about situations where we have no knowledge. In fact, sometimes there is no way to predict logically what will happen after our decision.
I’ve identified two kinds of decision styles: jumpers and clingers.
Faced with a cliff, jumpers will leap. They won’t always check for safety nets. They’ve landed on their feet before and expect to do so again.
Clingers hang on to their metaphorical rock. They agonize over questions like, “How will I know if I’ve made the right decision?”
Jumpers buy round trip tickets. Clingers go one way. Jumpers figure, “I’ll find a place to stay.” Clingers want hotel reservations.
Once you know your style you can make it work for you.
Jumpers are likely to take big actions that can lead to trouble or to big rewards. In a more treacherous environment, their challenge is to take smaller steps and take a few moments to plan even one small action.
A jumper’s greatest assets include willingness to take risks and almost always a high-energy approach to new projects. A clinger tends to have a solid track record, a reputation for steadiness and reliability, and planning skills.
Clingers tend to plan – and plan action – before taking action. They need to take a step – ANY step! – because they tend to analyze so much they never get around to taking action.
It’s especially important to recognize your style before you hire a coach. Many coaches like to encourage their clients to take action, but if you’re a jumper, you need someone to tell you to slow down. If you’re a clinger you’ll need someone who will walk you through the next steps – but beware of anyone who pushes you so enthusiastically you crash and vow never to do this again.
So … are you a jumper or a clinger? Comment below!