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Twitter and (the illusion of) Free Speech

This post appeared today on the Brand Camp University blog:  http://bit.ly/dfN1GU

 
 

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I work with a bunch of idiots: When & How to Cut & Run

We’ve all had days when we’ve thought to ourselves, ‘I work with a bunch of idiots…what am I doing here?’  Luckily, those feelings usually pass and we wake up to a better day.For others, those thoughts come on a daily, if not hourly, basis.  In fact, what inspired me to write this post was hearing several different people say basically this same thing to me within the space of a few hours.  If this describes the situation you are in, here are some things to consider:

-  How bad is this situation…really. Think about what the real issues are.  Is it the people themselves?  The work environment?  The combination of people? The tasks you are assigned? The hours?  The pay?  Do a rational assessment of what makes you crazy and think about whether or not you can change any of those circumstances.  Many times it’s all in the way you look at a situation that will determine whether or not it is worth enduring.

-  Can you afford to make a change? This is a very difficult economic time for many.  The job market is soft, the housing market is in the dumpster, and salaries are stagnating.  All of these factors affect people’s decisions on whether or not they want to stay in their current positions.  In fact, maybe some of those people who are driving you crazy also wish they could leave.  But before you make any decision, you will have to determine whether you need to have another job lined up prior to leaving, whether you can sell your home (if you plan to relocate) and whether you will be able to start somewhere else at a comparable salary.  The financial considerations may or may not give you the go ahead.

-  What needs to happen for you to make a change? In other words, how bad does it have to get before I have no choice but to leave? Think about your own situation, set some low-end benchmarks, create an exit plan and then stick to it.  For instance, you could say if XY&Z don’t change by December, I will start looking for a new job in January.  Only you can determine what XY&Z are.  And most likely they aren’t going to happen on their own.  Another realization you should make early on in this process is that nothing is going to change without action on your part.

-  Is there someone (anyone) you can talk to about it? Do you have a co-worker you can trust?  Someone who knows the situation from the inside who can listen and perhaps give suggestions?  Do you have a mentor in the company?  Mentors can be wonderful cheerleaders in times of frustration and anxiety.  In addition to someone inside the company, you should seek counsel from a trusted advisor outside the company.  This person can give you an objective outsider’s view and feedback on your assessment of the situation.  Perhaps they can also offer viable solutions that you had not considered.

- What’s the payoff if you stay? When you hate to get up and go to work in the morning, the thought of a great retirement package 30 years down the road isn’t all that enticing.  In your planning process, make sure to consider what you will be leaving behind if you decide to go.  What kind of unique benefits do you have, not just monetary, but lifestyle.  Is your dog allowed to come to the office?  Can you work from home a day or two a week?  Do you get tuition benefits that might earn you a degree and launch you into another career?  Think about and weigh the pluses of your situation (if there are any).

-  Deal Breakers. If you are being asked or pressured to become involved in dangerous, unethical or illegal activities, or a combination thereof, you probably should move quickly to find other employment.  The exception would be if said dangerous or illegal activities could be reported to the highest levels in your firm without repercussion.  That being said, protect yourself as best you can and determine an exit strategy.

There are any number of situations that will make you hate your job and the people you work with.  I can say this because I have been in jobs where I thought I would lose my mind if I had to sit there one more day.  Luckily that has not been the case for me in several years.  However, I know how depressing it can become when every day is a struggle and you can’t see light at the end of the tunnel.

If you determine that your situation is unbearable, just don’t waste too much time treading water.  It’s not good for your health, in any sense of the word.

 
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Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Career, Uncategorized

 

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3 Simple Lessons learned from Two Years in Career Services

As I start down a new avenue along my ever-changing career path, I think it’s a good time to reflect on where I’ve just been.

In June 2008 I started work at Syracuse University’s Career Services office.  And when I took the job, I knew literally NOTHING about the field of career services.  Sure, I had the right mix of experience for the my job working with alumni, but the only experience I had in terms of career was managing my own, and somewhat poorly at that.

So two years down the line, I feel like a know a little bit about careers and job search and interviewing, and especially networking….all those mysterious things that every job seeker wants to know about.  I’m going to share with you a few of the most important things I’ve learned.

1.  It’s not Rocket Science. If I can do this, so can you.  Meaning, if I can learn how to connect with the right people, learn about job opportunities and market myself, so can you.  How did I do it?  Listen and observe. The best places to do that right now are on Twitter and LinkedIn.  You can follow the most amazing people, and they are giving away FREE advice every day of the week!  It’s there for the taking!

2.  Degree/Major ≠ Career. Having managed a database with 1,700+ mentors for the past two years, I can assure you of this fact. Rarely, do you run across someone who is 5+ years out of college who is doing EXACTLY WHAT THEY THOUGHT THEY WOULD BE DOING.  The thing is, most kids growing up are only exposed to a handful of careers.  There is no way of knowing everything that exists out there, and on top of that, new career fields are being created all the time.  So when people get out of college they tend to go for the types of jobs they have *heard about*.  And that’s all well and good until they start getting exposure to the world of work and realize all the different things they could be doing.  At that point, it becomes essential that you follow what interests you, regardless of degree.  People do it all the time.  Take me for example, I have degrees in Psychology and Elementary Education.  Do I seem to you like someone who is pining away for a nice bulletin board covered with construction paper?  At one time I was…but the fantasy was better than the reality and I had to change gears.

3.  Most people are fundamentally nice. You know, it could be that there was some aberration and I was just handed the nicest people on the planet to work with, but I don’t think that’s the case.  From day one of my job in career services, I was able to interact with and assist and learn from some amazing people — students, alumni, recruiters, employers, faculty, you name it.  I could not believe my good fortune.  It seems that when you are in a position to help people, it works in your favor. People see *helpers* (for the most part) as being good.  Therefore, when they interact with helpers, they come in with their defenses down and their niceness up.  That’s a great way to interact with the world…so if you can position yourself as a helper, no matter what your career field or job title, you will be setting yourself up for success.

There’s lots more where this came from, but suffice it to say that grasping these three really simple concepts will take you places you never dreamed.

As I move into the new and exciting world of social media and become a communications professional, I will still continue to hone my skills in career and helping others find their dreams.  I will just be helping different people and using different platforms.  I hope you will come along with me on this journey and see what else we can discover and share.

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2010 in Career, Networking, Uncategorized

 

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