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Advice

Via Forbes : 3 Ways To Keep Advancing Your Career Despite Economic Concerns

It’s easy to become paralyzed by job loss fears during times of economic uncertainty. Worrying about your company’s future could cause you to second-guess or outright dismiss your desire for career growth.

These concerns are real. Many people are already losing critical sources of income from business closures, layoffs and furloughs.

Protecting your livelihood as the world deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic should indeed be your top priority. While it’s a blessing to keep getting paid, working from home and dealing with new family dynamics will drain your energy and attention further.

But despite these massive disruptions to your way of life, you don’t have to stop your attempts to advance your career altogether. You may even have a unique opportunity to accelerate your efforts.

For most people, now is not the best time to launch a job search or ask for a promotion. However, changing the direction of your career could simply mean that you need to be more proactive in your current role. Here are three tips to help you get started and channel your fears into something productive.

1. Lean into chaos

Many people began 2020 struggling with a lack of engagement and motivation at work. Jobs (even good ones) can become stale over time and it’s common to get bored with roles that aren’t helping you grow.

Fast forward a few months and almost all workers have found themselves dealing with an unprecedented level of issues to address, including keeping employees safe, managing newly remote teams and maintaining client support even with significant personal and family demands.

There are a lot of workplace problems you may be dealing with right now, but an inability to be challenged is probably not one of them. To truly use this as an opportunity to advance your career, you’ll have to lean into the chaos even more.

You are sure to grow your business capabilities if you continue to look for opportunities to put yourself on the front line of contingency planning and problem-solving. Depending on what you do, leaning into the chaos can take many different forms. You may need to volunteer to help with dynamic scheduling issues or to address unique customer needs. You could be called upon to assist in forecasting, resourcing, and finding ways to operate more efficiently or simply serve as a stable and calming force within your organization.

Whenever possible, show initiative and be proactive in adding value where you can. There is no question that your company currently needs and will continue to need your assistance and support in the days to come. The present business environment is difficult to say the least, but you will emerge as a stronger leader because of your response in these challenging times.

2. Fill social gaps with passion projects

Think about that dream you plan to pursue someday: to write a book, build a business, go back to school or launch a nonprofit. These are the plans that pass through your mind frequently but you never seem to have the time to pay enough attention to them.

Now that your calendar is freed by cancelled travel, event and activity plans, this may be a unique opportunity to get started and shift your career in a different direction.

Begin by building a list of small but tangible actions you can immediately take toward your goal. Remember: the smaller the better. Avoid chunking together several tasks into large goals like writing a business plan or finishing a first draft. These actions can be broken down much further to include the many micro-steps it takes to work toward those outcomes.

For example, before you can draft a business plan, you’ll need to conduct market research. Before you can write a first draft of a book, you’ll need an outline.

Create a task list that is as granular as possible so that you can start the work and keep making progress without becoming overwhelmed by the longer commitment needed to complete your project.

Remember that you don’t have to launch or finish anything in the next few weeks. Your only goal is to use this rare moment of social isolation to your benefit. Work hard at creating this silver lining of greater career growth despite all that you are otherwise having to endure.

3. Care for your network

No single thing impacts your career trajectory more than the size and strength of your network. Now is the time to invest in it.

Social distancing efforts dictate that face-to-face networking be put on hold. However, simply caring enough to check in on the people you value most is an easy way to remotely enhance your relationships.

For email and text check-ins, make sure each message is personal and thoughtful. Do not copy and paste or send blast emails. Individual messages take more time, but they also help you connect on a deeper level. Make sure any message you send contains a personal reference to the recipient that would be completely out of place if you sent it to another person.

Social media gets a bad reputation, but it’s a great way to stay connected during these hard times. If you haven’t been active on any one social platform, you should make it a goal to spend ten minutes a day writing meaningful comments on the posts of friends and colleagues.

While liking a friend’s post is certainly appreciated, it will not leave the kind of impression that writing just a few short sentences will. Always opt for the higher yield on your networking efforts and take the time to say just a little more. Now more than ever, people are craving genuine connection.

It’s also a good time to give your social profiles a makeover. Update your profile picture and start posting meaningful content at least once a week. People are looking for distractions right now and will welcome an influx of positive and interesting perspectives.

Any time you attempt to advance your career, you will be challenged to learn to ride a wave of uncertainty while remaining calm and focused. This is a skill you’ve surely been practicing lately so you have an advantage already. With a little extra focus over the next few months, you could find yourself headed into the second half of the year much better off than you are right now.

Via Economic Times : How to execute a plan for a good performance review

Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone and ace your annual appraisal.

It’s that time of the year that you detest. As the financial year closes next month, you are due for your annual performance appraisal meeting. You dislike being evaluated for the ups and downs of an entire year. However, understand that the review meeting has three goals. Firstly, to give you managerial feedback on what worked well and what didn’t. Secondly, to help you modify your approach and execution and achieve better outcomes both for you and your employer. Finally, to take a call on your responsibilities for the future as well as to decide on your increment. Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone.

Plan ahead

Look up the HR policy. Ask senior members about what to expect, if this is your first review in the firm. Who will conduct your appraisal and when? Do you need to submit a self-appraisal in advance? What are the parameters that will be considered for your salary increment and promotion if any? Once you are up to speed, you can plan the actions you need to take.

Critical incident record

Since the review judges your performance over the entire year, both your manager and you need to review major milestones in your journey. Go through your notes and emails to make a list of your achievements, metrics for their measurement, and how they stack up against the goals and targets set for you at the beginning of or through the year. Don’t forget to log any praise, incentives or awards you may have received for your outstanding work during thi ..

Dummy evaluation

Carry out a mock evaluation of your performance from the perspective of your manager. What were his KRAs and how did you contribute to them? How do you measure up against your team mates whose performance is also being reviewed by him? Is it a company policy to force rank each person against the others? The higher the degree of realism and honesty you bring into the dummy evaluation, the lower will be the risk of you being surprised during the actual review. These insights will also help you plan your contributions for the next year.

Areas of development

Now focus on the second purpose of the appraisal. Think through your shortcomings, how would you like to grow in the coming year and prepare to discuss the areas of development that your manager is likely to bring up. Bring a workable plan to the table and your manager is likely to view your constructive approach in a positive light.

Next year’s goals

What kind of goals do you want to achieve in the next 12 months that are both important to your manager and will progress your career? How will you add value to your team or enhance the contributions of others? List out prospective goals, projects and the resources you will need. Ideally, this part should occupy a major portion of the review meeting and lessen the burden of criticism both for your manager and you.

Prepare your manager

An ideal review meeting has no surprises. This is possible when your manager and you have been reviewing your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis. If that has not happened, bring up the topic of review with your manager right away. That gives him a month to think through. Then, share your preparation with him in writing. This helps him remember your contributions, understand what you are thinking and reduces the burden of uncertainty for you.

Be open to dialogue

Confirm the place and time with your manager in advance. Expect to receive feedback and rehearse how you are going to respond to criticism, tough requests and challenging questions. This is a professional meeting so steer away from emotional responses . Treat the appraisal meeting like any other project review and strive to engage in constructive two-way communication.

Always be closing

The ABC for a salesman is – Always Be Closing. Your approach during the meeting is to seek closure on the past and an agreement on the future. Pick on the points that matter most to you and negotiate on reasonable targets and fair incentives for the coming year. If there is no official record of the meeting, then write an email to your manager thanking him for the meeting and enumerating the goals that you have agreed on. This will serve as a blue-print for your future. In case your manager needs to submit the review to the HR, then follow-up until that is done so that your increment is not delayed.

Dealing with disaster

1. Reality check?

Were you blindsided by a terrible appraisal while you expected a moderate to good review? Firstly, acknowledge your hurt and anger. Once you have calmed down, do a reality check. Speak with trusted colleagues to review your manager’s inputs and be open to acknowledging your errors, if any. Thereafter if you still disagree, you can discuss it again with your manager or the HR.

2. Job at stake?

Did the criticism imply that your job is at stake? If yes, recognise that it is not just a question of your performance alone and that business circumstances may dictate such decisions. Acknowledge that your employer has the right to terminate or replace you, just as you have the right to switch jobs. Plan accordingly.

3. Comfort zone?

Recognise that there is no free lunch. Inaction is not a strategy here. You can either choose to switch jobs or vastly improve your contribution in the present one. Step out of your comfort zone to figure out what the market will pay for your experience, skills and history at your current role. If not, then what’s your plan to up your game and rebuild your image?

4. Fort or linchpin?

There are two sure fire strategies to protect your income stream. The fi rst one is to become irreplaceable in your current role where you construct a fort around your turf and become indispensable. When the cost of replacing you is high, your job is safe, but you will not grow. The alternative is to become a linchpin, where your attitude and people skills make you invaluable for any task.

5. Direction check?

While you are grappling to protect your income, take a step back to evaluate the direction your career is taking? Who do you want to become in next 5 or 10 years? Are you picking up the right skills and experiences to progress in that direction? This is a great time to realign your priorities, make changes and seek a better role.

Via Market Watch: Mid-career? Your job is at risk — here’s what to do now

Seven clear ways to change your mid- and late-career mindset

Congratulations. You just got that promotion you’ve been working toward. You are a vice president or a director or an executive vice president or a senior vice president or the chief something or other. It is well-earned recognition of a great career. Enjoy it.

Oh, and get ready to be fired.

Mid- and late-career management is being hollowed out by consolidation, technology, the gig economy and globalization, leaving experienced workers unprepared to navigate the new world of work. According to a study published last year by ProPublica and the Urban Institute, “more than half of older U.S. workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire, suffering financial damage that is often irreversible.”

While you may not be in any short-term risk, you need to start acting like you are. Too often when experienced workers who have developed the skills to rise within an organization find themselves displaced or stuck among a shrinking cohort, their skills, expectations, and experience fail them. And the older they are, the greater the risk — and the tougher it can be to find something new.

Why? Because their skill set is narrow, their networks are limited, and their mindset is still based on an old idea — that with more responsibility comes more security.

This is no longer true. Organizational structure is changing fast, becoming leaner, less hierarchical and more fluid. Simultaneously, the commitment of companies to employees is becoming more transactional. Remember all those talks you’ve had about your “career path”? The very idea is dated, meant to give you the illusion of a long-term commitment and to build a sense of dependence on the organization.

The mid- and late-career mindset needs to change.

Old deal, new deal

The old deal was clear: Work hard, develop specialized skills and rise in the ranks. Status, security and stability followed. Today, there is a premium on agility, adaptability and collaboration, all skills that are very different from the ones that got most middle managers this far. Even the biggest organizations are becoming cross-functional and team based, working with resources both inside and outside the traditional organization.

Those who can adapt will both shore up their value within their organization and be better prepared should they find themselves on the outs.

Here’s how:

• Adopt an “untitled mindset.” You are not your title. You are not defined by your job. In fact, in today’s world, it’s useful to think of your job as a project. Hopefully, it will be a long-running project, but it is a project, nonetheless. And understand that projects begin and end. Rather than thinking in terms of a career growth path, try defining a series of projects within your organization. Form a team, accomplish a project, disband the team, and move on to the next project and the next team. In this world, job titles and even job descriptions are less relevant than your contribution and your ability to draw on the right resources.

• Develop a portfolio of projects. What is really important that you get from your work? Is it structure? Prestige? Access? Money? Impact? Companionship? Purpose? Something else? Get involved in outside projects that can provide some of these things. And, not incidentally, use those projects to develop new skills, to expand your external network and to test ideas. You will find yourself energized in new ways while you hedge the risk of being completely dependent on your employer.

• Save for the worst case. Be ready to provide your own financial security for longer than you might think should you find yourself unemployed. Start an emergency fund that can extend your severance. It will give you the flexibility to try new things, to wait for the right opportunities, and it can keep some of the stress of the situation at bay.

• Embrace ambiguity. Disruption, volatility, restructuring, new business models, new partners, agility – all these bring with them real ambiguity. And with ambiguity comes the opportunity to stretch, to innovate and to develop your own skills.

But first, you have to recognize ambiguous situations and treat them differently. For many mid- and late-career people, this can be uncomfortable; experience seems to count for little. Developing a comfort with ambiguity and pushing in the face of that ambiguity to do things that don’t come easily is an essential survival skill whether you work in a big company, a startup or independently.

• Always be learning. The world is moving fast. Keep up. The knowledge and skills that got you this far are just the ante. Read everything. Try emerging technologies and platforms. Admit what you do not know and acknowledge that what you do not know can be important. Rediscover your curiosity.

• Know your story. There was a time when your title and your company name were your story. Your job title was your calling card, your identity, a source of pride and a shorthand that everybody understood.

Today that answer traps you in a narrow box. Your resume is not your story. It is all those projects. It is all those networks. It is all those ambiguous situations that you navigated. It’s the missed opportunities as well as the success. It’s the hard-earned lessons learned.

Spend some real time thinking about the arc of your experience. What are the through lines? What are the critical moments? What’s your story?

• Tell it. Over and over. Make the time to network. Do not wait until you must. Rather, one of your projects should be meeting with people purely for the purpose of hearing more perspectives and sharing yours. Too often, the day-to-day work overtakes the things we think of as “nice to do.” Networking is not a “nice to do.” It’s a must do. It will make you more valuable to your organization and it will make you better prepared for change in every form it may take.

I am not suggesting a late-stage pivot or a second career, although either could be an outcome of adopting this mindset. I am suggesting that mid- and late-career managers need to make significant adjustments to how they approach their careers. They must expand their skills in order to manage a structural change for which nobody has trained them.

This much is irrefutable: Having a job no longer solves for stability. It can provide some sense of security for as long as it lasts, but don’t mistake short-term security for long-term stability. With the right mindset, however, stability can come from you, not from your employer.

Via Forbes : Feeling Bummed About Your Job Search? Here’s How To Boost Your Confidence And Find The Career Of Your Dreams

The job search is hard—really hard. It’s hard because it’s unpredictable, it’s unpaid, and you have absolutely no idea when it’ll end. On top of that, there’s the potential of unending rejection. It’s easy to see why people stay in the wrong jobs—they want to avoid the often terrifying process of finding another one.

With that said, there’s a need for people to be their best at work now more than ever before. Businesses need energized, engaged employees in order to come up with the innovative ideas that will set them apart from competitors. Younger generations (such as Gen Z and the Millennials) also have a new set of desires—they don’t just want a job, they want a job that they love, one that provides meaning. This trend, combined with businesses’ need to have people perform at their best, makes it clear to see why job hopping is on the rise. Things are changing rapidly on both the employer and employee sides, and it’s causing jobs to do the same.

This means job searching every few years is going to be the norm, and we need to learn how to embrace it. The faster you can identify when a job isn’t the right fit for you, come up with an exit strategy, and confidently move on to your next opportunity, the better it will be for your happiness and your career.

OK, I know that sounds easier said than done. So, here are five ways to build your confidence and shift your mindset to seeing the job search as more than just a necessary evil.

1. Build Your Career Vision

In a quickly changing world, career visions are no longer about where you think you’ll be in 10 years. Rather, consider what you want to achieve in just a few years, and make sure it’s energizing for you to think about! Having this top of mind will help you when you’re making decisions. When you come across a new job opportunity, ask yourself: Will this set you on a path to actualize your vision? If not, then the answer is no. Skip the application and spend your time and energy on something that will be a better fit.

2. Learn Your Zone of Genius

Your Zone of Genius provides two data points that are absolutely essential to feeling fulfilled at work: your Genius and your Purpose. Your Genius is the kind of thinking or problem-solving that you’re best at, and your Purpose is the impact on the world or others that’s most meaningful to you. Know these two things, and you can confidently assess whether or not a potential job is a great fit for you. If you can’t be challenged intellectually or fulfilled by the impact that you’re having on others, then you can be confident in knowing that it’s a clear no.

3. Get Clear On Your Deal Breakers

You must be clear about the kind of work culture that you need in order to do your best work and what values align with your own. This is a great way to establish fit—and it’s your job in an interview to ask for specific evidence that people are actually living and breathing what the organization says they are. You also need to know your own personal red flags. This gets easier over time once you’ve had a few different types of work experiences, but start keeping a record of the deal breakers you’ve experienced so you don’t make the same mistake twice. It’s common for everyone to be on their best behavior in an interview, but know that things often change once you’re in the job. Ask specific questions and do some back-channel research about your deal breakers so that, if they’re present, you can easily walk away.

4. Constantly Build Your Network

When you have a strong network, you can lean on it during a job search—and that can be a huge confidence builder. After all, almost everyone’s willing to help someone who’s in transition. With that said, connecting with people needs to be something you do regularly, not just when you’re looking for a new opportunity. Building meaningful connections takes time.

5. Build an Emergency Fund

The further along you get in your career, the more likely it is that your job search may take six to 12 months. Having a financial cushion during that time is the greatest gift you can give yourself. This might not be realistic for everyone, but it’s something to start planning for as soon as you can. Nothing builds confidence more than being able to say no to jobs that aren’t right and having the patience to wait until you find the right one. If it’s not possible, don’t fear. This just means you’ll have to job search while you’re still employed. You’ll have a period of time when your schedule is pretty packed, but it’s necessary to remove the fear of not being able to pay the bills. In the meantime, start saving for your next big job transition as soon as you can.

Managing a job search is something we all have to do, and this will only increase in frequency over time. The sooner you can start seeing the experience as one that allows you to be more yourself and a chance to create new opportunities, the more likely you’ll end up creating the career of your dreams.

Via Entrepreneur : The 9-Step Quick Guide to Rehabbing Your Career

If you feel stuck in a job you’ve outgrown — or never really wanted — these 9 tips can help you get unstuck and find work you love.

One of the most important phases of your career rehab journey is creating your Rehab YOU career blueprint. Become the architect of your career by considering your desired career path, location, salary, scope, organization type, benefits and perks and mentors. You’ll start to feel more confident in your career renovations as you craft your vision of your dream career. Here’s how to get started:

1. Be a brand, not an employee

Most employees don’t see themselves as brands because they don’t feel empowered by their company’s leadership or don’t like what they do every day. As you rehab your career, you’ll identify your strengths, subject-matter expertise and professional experience and use those to create your brand.

2. Build your brand by “dating” jobs

As a professional career coach, I always advise my clients that it’s healthy to “date” jobs until you find the one you love. In other words, don’t be afraid to try a job for a limited time and then move on; it’s OK to find a new job every 12 to 24 months. The more professional experience you have, the more you learn and the more you can earn. Not only do you build your personal brand as you date jobs, but you’re constantly building your professional network as well. My motto is: Date jobs and marry the dream. Until you find your dream job, define your purpose and execute your passions, you should date jobs before settling down.

3. Market yourself like an ad

As you date jobs and develop your personal brand, learn how to market your new experience and skills using social media. Some of the best authors, speakers, actors and athletes use the internet to market their personal brands. Use your resume and LinkedIn profile to socialize your brand and connect with other professionals in online groups and forums.

4. Be you, sell you

As you market yourself and test what works, be ready to launch your personal brand by focusing on authenticity. You’ll soon be selling yourself to industry leaders, recruiters and hiring managers, so the real question is: What are you selling to them besides your resume? Where is the real you?

You can launch your brand by selling yourself through presentations, blogs, websites, white papers and courses that will enhance people’s perception of your professional experience and you’ll become more comfortable selling your authentic self by going to job interviews, speaking at conferences, attending meetups and participating in networking events.

5. Network like a hustler

Networking is a critical asset to rebuilding your personal brand. While professional networking isn’t easy for everyone, no matter what your personality type, you need to expand your network to take advantage of all the career benefits of professional networking.

Professional networking expands your industry knowledge as you learn from others and it opens doors to new career opportunities. Besides networking in person, you can network online using social media, virtual events and online learning platforms.

6. Get paid now: Money, power and respect

No one wants to go through the process of designing, building, testing and launching their revamped personal brand without getting the pay, power and respect they deserve along with their new role. You need to learn how to negotiate your salary, benefits and incentives using the professional experience and education you already have. That sounds easy, but most professionals don’t take the time to research the correct salary range for their city and state, leaving them at a disadvantage when negotiating. It’s time to take back your power.

7. Don’t overcommit to work

The career rehab journey is all about letting go of what doesn’t work for you and deciding how your career should be renovated, developed and managed. Your career should always be centered around work-life balance. It’s important to eat right, exercise, spend time with your family and take vacations. Put your physical, mental and spiritual well-being first while still having an awesome career.

8. Commutes worth the coins

According to 2016 U.S. Census Bureau data, the average one-way commute in the U.S. is 26.1 minutes. That adds up to 4.35 hours a week and more than 200 hours (nearly nine days) per year for full-time employees. In my experience as a career coach, professionals who have a long commute tend not to have great work-life balance and aren’t as excited about their jobs as someone with a commute under 30 minutes. You need to find a job that gives you more career opportunities close to home and provides telecommuting options throughout the week.

9. Stay focused on you

Career rehab takes a lot of work. But the most difficult part is maintaining a healthy career lifestyle and a solid personal brand as you do it. It can be hard to sustain a good work-life balance, a healthy lifestyle and a good working relationship with the jobs you date. We have to care for ourselves, our families and our careers without falling into patterns of neglect that can tear away at the “good bones” of our careers. Career rehab isn’t a one-time renovation but a lifestyle, but you can learn to maintain your personal brand as you deal with the ups and downs of life.

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