Category: Career Coaching


8 Ways to Make Your Current Job More Bearable

Most of the places I’ve worked at in my career have been wonderful places of employment. However, there was one college I worked for that had low staff morale campus-wide. I was over career services for the students, but oftentimes staff would come to my office seeking job search help.

One of the perks of working for a college or university is your children get to attend tuition-free. The staff members coming to me were the ones who had stuck it out until their children finished school, and were now ready to move on. Because of the low staff morale, they lacked passion in their job. Some weren’t even sure anymore what they were passionate about. 

Are You Tied to Your Current Job?

This is something I also hear today from potential clients. People often contact me because they want to find their passion and get a job they can feel passionate about. However, they feel tied to their current job and don’t see a way out, at least not yet. Have you ever found yourself in this situation?

If you can’t leave your current job yet, there are ways to cope until you can develop an exit strategy. You may even be able to recapture your passion, or discover new passions by trying some of these simple suggestions.

How to Make Your Current Job More Bearable

  • Eat lunch away from your desk. No matter how busy you are, be protective of your personal time, even if you only get a half-hour lunch. If the weather’s nice outside, go eat at a picnic table or under a tree. If you can’t get outside, eat lunch by a window.
  • Have lunch with some of your favorite co-workers. Set a rule that you won’t discuss anything negative or anything related to work during those 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Get a little exercise. Spend part of your lunch or your break taking a quick walk around the building or do some stretching exercises. This will get your blood pumping and lighten your mood.
  • Volunteer to serve on a committee. Every company has various committees that need people from different departments to serve on. Find one that matches your interests and dedicate a reasonable amount of time to it (1 to 4 hours per month). Doing this will get you out of your daily routine and your everyday surroundings, introduce you to new people in other departments, give you purpose, and build your resume for when you’re ready to start sending it out.
  • Ask to represent your office at a conference. There may be money in the budget to send you to a local, regional, or even national conference. Not only will this provide you professional development, it will also expand your network and bring you a change of scenery from your current geographic location. If you can’t attend a several-day conference, see if you can attend a one-day drive-in conference or luncheon. A day away from the office while still being productive can help cure some of the doldrums.
  • Take a class. Your company may offer some continuing education opportunities you can take advantage of. If not, your local community will have numerous classes available to learn a new skill or hobby. This is especially important to make time for (1 to 2 hours per week for only a few weeks) if you’re no longer sure what your interests or passions are.
  • Update your resume. Make a list of all your accomplishments you’ve made in your current job and add them to your resume. Taking an inventory of this builds your confidence in your skills which in turn gives you the courage to start looking for something new. Just make sure you do this on your own time.
  • Stay focused on the things you like about your current job. Look for other opportunities that have those same positives.

Take the Next Step

I encourage you to come up with some of your own ideas. I also encourage you to not let yourself stay stuck. Recognize when it’s time to seek something new and start working toward it now. You want to be ready to move when the time opens up for you to do so!

If you need help coming up with a plan to make a smooth transition from your current job to your next job, start by completing the paNASH intake form!

You may also like:  “Feeling Trapped? 7 Ways to Cope”

paNASH Success Story: A better resume results in more interviews

I recently heard from a client whom I helped overhaul her resume for a career change. She made the changes I’d suggested for her resume, and ended up with seven phone interviews for opportunities from Maine to California. She has four more interviews lined up next week. Here’s what she had to say:

The new resume is working and you’re to thank! It looks good and the response so far has been very positive. I just had to be patient during the quiet season.

The quiet season she’s referring to is the time right around the holidays when hiring goes down. There’s an ebb and flow to hiring practices. Hiring, especially within certain industries, have their own seasons, much like sports do! So your patience is important during the down times.

Avoid a Cookie-Cutter Resume

What’s interesting about this case is my client came to me with a resume she’d had critiqued by a professional resume writing service. While the advice the service provided wasn’t necessarily wrong, it was somewhat out-dated. In fact, most of the info on the Internet in regards to resumes is very outdated.

Her resume was also what I call “cookie-cutter.” There was nothing about her resume that made it stand out from the competition. You can’t run the risk of having a cookie-cutter resume that doesn’t stand out among others’ or even your own. What do I mean by “your own”? You can’t use the same resume for every job for which you apply! It must be tailored to each and every job, and there are certain ways to do this.

This client’s original resume also didn’t include the “secret weapons” I share with my clients. Want to know what those secret weapons are? I’ll soon be sharing them in my upcoming on-demand coaching program due out this spring (subscribe here for updates). I’m also always available for a personalized resume critique in a one-on-one coaching session. Email me at lorib@yourpassioninlife.com to schedule a resume and LinkedIn profile critique!

Is It Time for a Career Change? Listen to the Whispers

You didn’t see a post from me last week. That’s because I recently had to undergo an unexpected surgery for a detached retina. I say “unexpected” because I didn’t know I was going to need such a surgery, but there have been signs of a problem for several months which I chose to ignore.

Why did I ignore them? First, I didn’t want to have to go through any out-of-pocket expenses for tests or treatment. Second, I didn’t want to face the pain of possible treatment. But, the signs didn’t go away. They started out as whispers and just got louder, and I knew what I had to do even though it was scary and somewhat costly.

Listen to the Whispers

Have you ever done the same thing? Have you ever noticed little whispers that something needs to change? Either in your health, your personal life, or your work situation? And when you ignored those whispers, did they eventually get louder?

I find this to be common among many of my clients. Most of the time they come to me only after the soft whispers have become deafening shouts. They’ve known for a while something in their work situation has to change or they’re personal life and health is going to suffer. Many wish they had listened to the whispers right away and started planning their next steps sooner.

The Consequences of Ignoring the Whispers

I wish I had sought help sooner from my opthamologist. I was lucky though. The retina specialist said my detachment was a slower progression than most, but if I had waited any longer I could have lost my sight in my right eye.

Sometimes the consequences of ignoring the whispers are much worse than the pain and expense of improvement. My recovery will take time, five to six weeks. The first two weeks were extremely painful despite how well I’m healing. I’m having to be patient with the time it takes to recover, and have faith that I’m healing properly. I’m just thankful I still have my eyesight in my right eye.

I share all this to remind you who are considering the difficult decision of leaving a job, changing careers, relocating, or even starting your own business. If the whispers have become shouts, don’t ignore them! Face the facts, push through the fear, and get the help you need.

I promise that career coaching, while it takes time, is not nearly as painful as eye surgery! In fact, it can be fun and is very freeing! Once you get started, you’ll probably wish you had started sooner.

Is it Time to Listen to the Whispers?

If you know it’s time to listen to the whispers (or shouts), let’s talk. Although I still have a few more weeks of recovery, I’m able to chat over the phone to help you determine if coaching is the next best step for you. Just take a moment to fill out the paNASH intake form and we can schedule a time to discuss your situation. I look (with both eyes!) forward to talking with you!

Lori Bumgarner, Owner of paNASH

Note:  due to my recent surgery, plans to launch the on-demand coaching programs have been delayed by a few weeks. However, I will announce in my newsletter and on this blog when they are available. Thank you for your patience!

A Proven Interview Hack

If you’re going through a job search, you know how competitive the interview process can be. And you’d probably like to know some ways to increase your chances of beating out the competition for an offer. Here’s a proven interview hack I recently shared on Quora.

My Favorite Interview Hack

My favorite interview hack is winning the interview with the questions YOU ask! When I landed my first job out of grad school, I asked my interviewers what made them choose me from the other candidates. Their response: “The questions you asked. Your questions showed us not only how knowledgeable you are, but also how much you care about the population you’ll serve in this role.”

The Questions You Should Ask

So, what kind of questions should you ask? There are six categories of questions you should be asking in the interview (because interviewing is a two-way street!):

  1. Questions you need to have answered to determine fit/questions related to the organization’s culture. For example, “How do you foster an employee’s connection to the organization?”, “How do you motivate your employees?”, or even “Do employees typically eat lunch together or at their desks?” (this one will tell you a lot about the company culture!).
  2. Questions that come up in your research you conduct on the company. This will be specific to the company, and will show your genuine interest in the company. Also, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, especially if they exhibit your ethics. For instance, in my interview, I wanted to know how one of the practices I would be required to carry out in the job wasn’t in direct violation of a federal law common to that industry. I think this was also the question that impressed them the most.
  3. Questions to determine future opportunities for advancement. For example, “What opportunities are available for advancement?” This shows you’re interested enough in the company to want to stay long-term.
  4. Questions to determine their hiring timeline. (Okay, these questions are really just for you and your own sanity.) When candidates go on interviews and then don’t hear anything back either way, they freak out. Yes, it’s stressful, and also rude of the company to keep you hanging. So, before you leave the interview, ask when they plan to make a hiring decision. Also, ask if they will be letting each of those being interviewed know the results, or just the one being offered the job. That way you won’t spend your time and energy fretting over what they decided.

Here’s where it gets good!

These last two types of questions you should ask are the real hacks!

  • 5. Questions to show your initiative and to help them visualize you in the job. For instance, “What results would you like to see from me in the first 90 days of the job?”, “What will be the first projects I’ll be working on once hired?”, or “When we sit down to discuss my performance a year from now, what will success look like”? Wording questions this way helps them picture YOU as the person in the job!
  • 6. Questions to get them to verbalize what they like about you. In #5, it was all about helping them visualize, now you need to get them to verbalize! You want them to convince YOU why they should hire you, which will in turn convince them to hire you. (Yeah, that undergraduate degree I got in psychology is really paying off here!) For example, “What part of my resume stands out to you the most?” or “What made you choose to interview me out of all the other applicants?”

You should always have questions of your own prepared for an interview because interviewing is a two-way street. When you’re asked, “What questions do you have for us?” never say, “None.” If so, you’re for sure to lose the job to someone who shows more interest with their questions.

More Interview Hacks

Want more interview hacks? I’ll share numerous interview tips and hacks in my upcoming online workshop, Steps to Acing the Interview. Subscribe to the paNASH newsletter to receive notifications once it’s available!

It’s a New Year. Time for a New Career?

New Career:  The Question

“How long does it take to realize you’re in the wrong job?” This is a question I came across yesterday on Quora. I’ll share my response with you. But first, I want to ask, are you also wondering if you’re in the wrong job? Or is it already clear you are? Could it be time for a new career for you? It’s a new year, so why not a new career, especially if you already know you’re in the wrong job?

New Career:  The Answer

While the question posed isn’t, “How do you know you’re in the wrong job?” but instead “How long does it take to realize it?”, my response answers both questions:

The quick way to figure this out:

It doesn’t take long if you spend a few minutes taking some personal (and honest) inventory. Here’s an exercise that tends to work much better than a traditional pros and cons list:

  1. Take a sheet of paper and divide it into three columns. The first column should be the things you must have in a job (your “dealbreakers”). The second column should include the things you’re willing to compromise on. The third column should be “icing on the cake” things (things you would LOVE to have in a job, but don’t necessarily need to be content).
  2. Now compare your list to your current job. Does your current job have at least 60% of the things listed on your sheet of paper? Or at least 60% of the things from the “must have” column?
  3. If not, it’s time to start looking for the right job.

I say this because I always tell my clients you should love at least 60% of your job. Nobody loves 100% of their job 100% of the time, but if it’s less than 60%, you’re in the wrong job or career. This helps you stay realistic when considering different opportunities.

I’ve personally found this exercise to be more helpful than a pros and cons list when it comes to big life decisions. It also helps with analysis paralysis and keeps you from overthinking or second-guessing your decisions.

The more in depth way to figure this out:

Another thing that’s helped me personally and also helps my clients is to spend some time coming up with your own personal mission statement. This may take a little time to nail down, but it’s well worth it. Why? Because you can use it as a filter for your decisions.

For instance, my personal mission statement is: “To boldly pursue my passions and purpose, and to teach, encourage, and inspire others to do the same, resulting in lives overflowing with joy, peace, and fulfillment.”

When I’m faced with a difficult decision, I look to see if the choice in front of me supports my mission statement or not. If it doesn’t, I don’t select that choice. This helps me to live authentically and be true to my purpose.

One of the things I do with my clients is take them through a program I call Personal Branding: How to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic. Part of that program includes teaching you how to write your own vision statement, mission statement, and unique differentiators, which also prepares you for the interview for the right job!

New Career:  The Time to Decide

So where are YOU in this all-important decision? If you know it’s time for a new career, we can help you figure out your options and how to make the transition. Don’t wait until the end of 2017 where you’ll find yourself in the same situation. Shoot me an email today and we can set up an initial consultation to help you get unstuck and start moving into the right career!