Archive for August, 2008

Something new around the corner?

August 24, 2008

Do you think adults still feel a shiver of anticipation as Labor Day approaches? I surely do.

All those years of back-to-school anxiety/excitement/preparation have left a mark on my emotional calendar. It seems like something new lies ahead, even though I haven’t been to school in years.

That feeling of newness might be a useful tool in your career planning. Do you:

  • yearn for something new?
  • think you have outgrown your job?
  • feel bored too much of the time?

Maybe it’s time for a career check-up.

Your resume can be your report card, showing your strengths and accomplishments. A qualified and seasoned career counselor can help you set goals for the coming year. Why should kids have all the growing?

And wasn’t it school where we first encountered the word promotion? Passing from one grade to another was more predictable than getting a workplace promotion. We knew what we had to do to pass, but it’s harder on the job.

If you would like to speak with a career counselor, please feel free to visit for contact information.

Enthusiasm: more revealing than you think!

August 19, 2008

Did you catch President George W. Bush being interviewed by NBC’s Bob Costas at the Olympics in Beijing?

I did, and was reminded of how passionate interests can add sparkle and energy to one’s whole presentation. This man clearly loves athletes and sports. During the interview, he was knowledgeable and chatted easily with the commentator on all aspects of swimming, basketball and beach volleyball. Leaning toward Costas, he laughed easily and looked like a happy man, willing to discuss his youthful years spent in China, riding a bike around the city of Beijing.

If this man were my career client, I would be asking him to describe the last time he was truly happy, and I fantasize that he would mention going to China to watch the Olympics.

Facial expressions don’t lie for long. It’s tiring to force yourself into an interest in something or someone for very long. You can find your true career path by identifying what you really care about. If you don’t know, ask a trusted friend to tell you:

  • when your voice reveals a surge of energy,
  • when your eyes light up with excitement or interest,
  • when positive feedback is particularly well-received,
  • when you say you wish (……) had gone on longer.

I have no idea if George Bush enjoys being the chief executive of the United States. I do believe, however, that he cares deeply about competitive games, and I hope he includes some involvement in sports as his life takes a new direction. Enthusiasm is a powerful career guide.

As all those people the age of Mr. Bush face retirement, I hope they remember that now is the time to move toward areas of passion and commitment, bringing those skills accumulated in jobs that they did/did not get excited about. In the next round of job interviews, remember what it looks like to speak with enthusiasm and energy.

If you would like to discuss finding your enthusiasm and/or letting it point the way to a more satisfying career direction, please visit my website at for contact information. This can be a very exciting process for you.

Recovering from a mistake: how sweet the victory!

August 10, 2008

If you watched the Beijing Olympics on Saturday, August 9, you marveled at the story of South Korea’s Park Taewhan, who earned a gold medal in the men’s freestyle 400 meters. Not predicted to win, Park is the kind of comeback kid that real people can cling to and find inspiration.

As the commentators explained, four years ago in the Olympics, this young man, the hope of the South Korean team, got so excited/nervous/distracted that he fell in the water while waiting for the starting signal. He was immediately disqualified from the race, and hid for a time in the men’s room.

How did he come back? How did he face his demons and stand there last night awaiting the starting signal? How did he focus on his pending performance and put the past behind him? What do you suppose he was thinking?

I don’t know how he did it, but I hope he writes a book about it sometime. It must be quite a tale of mental discipline and tightly-focused thinking.

Most people have stumbled on the job or during the job search. What about you? Have you pulled a blunder that made you want to hide somewhere? Here are some stories I’ve heard:

  • I lost my temper and said some terrible things,
  • I got caught making long-distance phone calls on the office phone,
  • I left a copy of my resume in the copy machine, where I had just run off copies,
  • I told the boss what I really thought when I was resigning.

If you cringe when you remember previous behavior, if you have let that painful memory linger too long, if you have held yourself back from career advancement because of that memory, maybe Park Taewhan is your new role model.

While we don’t yet know how his recovery happened, we can imagine that these four years have contained some degree of the following:

  • tough self-talk (Get over it! End the pity party!)
  • an increased swimming schedule, including kicking away the frustration,
  • pride in his personal, academic, and athletic growth,
  • trust in himself to be more focused in the moment.

If you would like to speak with a career counselor about recovering from blunders of your own, please visit my website at for contact information. We can find a way to get back on track.

A Professional Image for Women: what’s new?

August 8, 2008

Do you think there is one piece of advice that applies to all women searching for a job? In today’s diverse world, are there any constants for the woman preparing for a job interview?

According to Jessie Alexander, who has the unique and valuable credentials of career counselor and Mary Kay consultant, there are a few things to keep in mind, no matter who you are or what you’re seeking:

  • keep it subtle,
  • keep it fresh and natural,
  • take care of your skin.

Notice that Ms. Alexander’s advice is not specific about color or fashion. Drawing on her years in career advising, educating, and counseling with students of all ages, she listens to the concerns of the customer while developing an appropriate image for her chosen career field. The right skin care, followed by subtle and appropriate make-up, can help transform a woman into that successful person who feels good about herself and what she has to offer.

Still, we may hanker to try new looks and wonder if our friend’s new lipstick would work for us. There is an exciting new way to check it out. Mary Kay now offers a virtual makeover, wherein you can experiment with different shades of lipstick, blush, eyeshadow, hair color and style. You can go to to play with this new tool. It’s fun! You can also have a no-obligation conversation with Jessie Alexander about your career aspirations and the tools you may need to support you in this quest.

Remember, the goal is to present yourself as healthy, immaculate, attractive, and beautiful from the inside out.

You no longer hear about navy blue suits and a brown or black brief case. Now the message is about being confident, prepared, appropriate, qualified, enthusiastic, and ready to work.

Missing out on a job offer: you can still win

August 4, 2008

You geared up for the interview. You gained new focus, you studied the opportunity, you prepared for the interview by conjuring up relevant work stories and appropriate references. You bought a new suit (or at least got your old one cleaned!). You got a haircut. You prepared in every way you could.

You just found out you didn’t get the job.

Disappointment, hurt, anger, resentment, and jealousy are normal reactions, but you can’t afford to wallow in them for long.

Remember that something good happened. You got in touch with

  • your ambition,
  • your relevant, marketable skills,
  • your life goals,
  • career options,
  • potential.
  • a vision of what you really want.

This is valuable!

The next step is to keep going forward. Remember those interview points you prepared about what you want? They are still there. Your resume is still newly-focused. Your haircut still looks great. Your outfit is still clean. So go on! If this organization/university/corporation/association/small business didn’t choose you, you can scratch it off your list and move on to the next, similar place.

Do it! Use your new self-definition as a foundation for the next chapter in your career development.

If you would like some help in recovering from a rejection (or a series of them), please visit my website at to be in touch with a career counselor. You can learn to refocus your direction, away from rejection, toward career success.