Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Pomp & Circumstance

I’m packing my suitcase to attend my daughter’s college graduation. It seems like yesterday when she was deciding which college to attend and now, four years have flown by. During her college life, she would call with snippets of happenings about her classes, long hours at the library, writing a big paper, summer job prospects, preparing for study abroad, and the like. I’ll miss those conversations. Now, it’s time to step out into the “real world,” but first a little POMP!

After Commencement, there are parties, dinners, photographs, yearbooks, gifts and well wishes. It’s a right of passage, a send-off. Our sons and daughters are moving on and stepping into adulthood, and some of us as adults are graduating as well.

Graduation always does it to me. Graduation is about endings and beginnings, doors closing and opening. Soon I will hear the tunes of the familiar march, Pomp and Circumstance, which is virtually synonymous with graduation exercises in North America. Pomp and Circumstance brings images of graduates processing in flowing gowns with mortarboards with tassels swaying.

After the POMP comes the CIRCUMSTANCE, which can look differently as the graduates move forward with their life plans. For most, it’s employment, employment search, military or more school. It will be a time of new places, new independence, new people, new assignments, new opportunities and new challenges.

Life is a series of becoming, arriving and ending. We spend years preparing for the destination and often arrive at the destination only to repeat the process or find ourselves dissatisfied with the destination. It is said that life is about “the journey.” These words ring true as we know that a diploma or degree marks the beginning of lifelong learning. Many will take their life experiences and benefits to reenter the workplace or return for more training. People change jobs and careers several times or more in life. Change is more of the rule rather than the exception. Some people in their 40’s and 50’s with established careers are finding themselves back in the beginning stages again. In some cases, they find themselves competing with the new graduates except they have 25 years of experience, a full resume, well-honed skills, a proven work record and often, a family and mortgage. In today’s job market, nothing is certain.

Yes, grads, enjoy the POMP as CIRCUMSTANCES will weave in and out of your career. As the Boy Scout motto says, “be prepared” and may I add, continue to prepare, avoid complacency. Change is the future.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Go Green With Your Career Search

In April 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin launched Earth Day. It evolved after seven years of observation, discussion and planning to bring the environment into the "limelight." Today, I'm buying bottled water and see our air, ground water, soil, oceans and glaciers under siege. As we hear more about Going Green to save the planet, what can we do to Green our Career? Just like the environment, we cannot take anything for granted in today's workplace. Keeping our career path intentional and updated is necessary for career survival and redesign.

In honor of Earth Day, April 22nd, here are some ways to green your career:

Sustainability: It's can be tough to stay motivated in a career search, but to persevere and stay with it are necessary. Be the glacier and resist having a "meltdown!" Looking for work is work. So, eat healthy, go for a walk, get fresh air, join a work support group, hire a coach, etc. It's about survival, and you can do it. Remember, Darwin's Survival of the Fittest? The village blacksmith will not return and neither will hand milking or the keypunch operator. You have to move on, retool and renew. That means an investment in you.

Recycle - Reuse - Renew: When did you update your resume? Did you ever attend a professional development workshop or use a career tool that identified your strengths, interests or leadership style? I have talked with so many clients who discounted this kind of experience and shoved the results in the back of the file cabinet. In good times, we tend to think, that's nice, so what! Dig out the results and reread them. The results could be insightful.

Even if the resume or a performance evaluation is 5-10 years old, it can be a springboard. Dig it out, dust it off and remember who you were. It can provide direction as you ask, who am I today? Reflect, regroup, react. Just like paper or plastic, we can be "reused." Besides, it's spring and it might be time to spring clean your files and get reorganized.

Preserve: How can you preserve your identity and integrity? Some traits are timeless! It is important to "know thyself." Some workers think, it's over, I'm outdated, too old, too inexperienced, washed up. Hold on! A solid work ethic, good work record, willing to learn and retrain still mean something in today's workplace. We are not "throw-aways" waiting for the landfill. You are a valued entity in today's workplace, so market yourself, get grounded and persevere.

Save Energy: Like the new energy-saving light bulbs, they cost more, but save money and energy in the long run. How about you? Can you save an employer money and energy in the long run? Are you a good investment? Can you glow brightly and provide long-lasting productivity? Think about the value you bring to the workplace.

Increase Efficiency: In your work search, work smarter and be efficient. Focus your job search, schedule your calls and keep accurate records of your applications, follow-ups and responses. To stay efficient, you need a plan and a schedule for your workweek. A "hit or miss" philosophy or "when I feel like it" attitude will not serve you.

Keeping your career path green means you are aware, enlightened and alive. Spring is a season of renewal. The workplace is dynamic and your career path and credentials need to be dynamic too.

Quote for the Month - Celebration of Spring
and then the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. - Anais Nin

In Conclusion

Spring is here! Is your career and your life ready to green out and bud with new growth, new vitality and a fresh outlook? Coaching can help you clean away the old snow and clear the pathways. Give it a try with a complimentary session! Come on, take a risk, try someting different for different results.

I look forward to your questions, feedback and suggestions about this ezine for work/life balance and fulfillment. Whether you are a college student, growing your career, maintaining your livelihood, or eyeing retirement, we all experience ups and downs in the various stages of life.

I coach and write with your agenda in mind, where you are today and where you want to be tomorrow.

Thank you for taking time to balance our planet. It all starts with YOU!

If you are new to coaching and wonder if coaching could be helpful, contact me for a complimentary coaching session.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brett Favre - Career Lessons from #4

Brett Favre’s resume profile might read: 17 year career in the NFL with 16 years as the Green Bay Packer’s quarterback. Broke most quarterback records in passing yards, touchdown passes, and wins along with all-time franchise records. Holds the all-time consecutive start record with 253 games and a Super Bowl win in 1996.

Well, # 4, you sure look like # 1 in my playbook! And now that he announces his retirement, what lessons can we learn from #4 to help us catapult our career path to #1? What was behind the man, the athlete, beyond the numbers who accomplished this career legacy?

Work Ethic - What we saw on game day was just a small portion of his week. In fact, his football career at Southern Mississippi was almost cut short when he had a near-fatal car accident. Inquiry: What motivates you in the workplace?

Preparation - Whether he was in the weight room, reviewing game footage, analyzing plays, practicing, or doing mental and emotional preparation, there are many aspects of preparing for game day. Inquiry: Prepare for your work success. Success usually doesn't just magically appear.

Team Player - Brett has been called the ultimate team player, # 1 in team. He led by humility and was devoted more to the “we” than “me.” Inquiry: The old days of looking out for ME, #1 are self-centered and are about control. Remember, there is no "I" in TEAM. Move beyond your ego!

Leadership - What is it to lead by example? He started 275 consecutive games (including playoffs) from 1992-2008, which certainly earns a gold star for attendance! Inquiry: How can you become a Leader in Your Life? Take time to explore your leadership potential and skills.

Passion - For the love of game. Brett was lucky, he found his calling in life, yet millions of Americans are dissatisfied and feel stuck in their jobs. Inquiry: We spend a lot of time at work, so why not find something that your enjoy... something that gives you a sense of accomplishment, something that challenges you, something that gives a sense of pride, etc. Find it...life is too short to work in a deadend, lose-lose job. The longer you wait, the harder it is to make a change.

Strategy - Play to win. Work to win. Inquiry: Winning at work. Make it work for you.

Perseverance - He had setbacks…coaching and player turnovers, injuries, his addiction to pain medication, his father’s unexpected death, his wife Deanna’s breast cancer, even damage to his home in Mississippi from Hurricane Katrina. Inquiry: Life is not a "bowl of cherries," you will find pits. Take care of your health...mind, body and soul. What will serve you? Is it prayer, mediation, yoga, running, walking your dog, a massage, journaling...find it, use it. Don't forget to ask for help to cope with the pain and disappointments in your life.

Thank you #4! I look forward to seeing “what’s next,” but in the meantime, enjoy the time to pause and reflect on an outstanding career.

Barbara Wulf MS, GCDF, CPCC
Beckon Call

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Work It

Welcome to my first posting of Work It! I look forward to connecting with you as a career/life coach to help you create, redesign or revive your career path and life purpose. Whether you are just entering the work world as a Gen Y, seeing retirement on the horizon as a Baby Boomer or somewhere in-between, I hope my blog will speak to you, and you to me. I hope to talk about the changing world of work, how we work, the value of work (beyond the $), work/life balance, work fulfillment, life purpose, finding work that suites you, career change, quitting a job, resumes, job search strategies, entrepreneurship, leadership at work, volunteerism and retirement. You get the picture, right.

Just like the old song by singer, Peggy Lee, who sang, "is that all there is?" I will close and say, yes, that is all there is for this posting, but check backthere is more to come.

Barbara Wulf MS, GCDF, CPCC
Beckon Call

Beckon Call...what's yours?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your wild and precious life? - Mary Oliver, poet