Category: Career Change/Career Transition


How to Be Patient When You’re In Between Jobs

Patience. They say it’s a virtue. Probably because it’s something rare. In today’s world, we don’t have to be as patient because we’ve grown accustomed to technology that provides instant results.

But patience is something I’ve been trying to learn for a very long time. I’m definitely seeing improvement, but I still have a long, long way to go.

Others have noticed and often commented on how patient I am in certain situations. What they don’t know is sometimes I’m just good at hiding my impatience (except when I’m on hold with the cable company). While my demeanor is calm, I’m still thinking in my head, “Hurry up! Hurry up! Hurry up!”

In other situations, I’ve just learned over time (often times the hard way) to exhibit true patience. This means staying peaceful when things don’t happen in my own time or I start to feel restless or worried.

5 ways to learn how to be patient during the job search

My clients often experience worry and restlessness when they’re between jobs and they’re not getting the results they’d like from their job search as soon as they’d like.

It’s easy to panic during this time when there’s no money coming in and the savings account is dwindling. Perhaps you’re currently in a similar situation.

So how do you be patient in the midst of such career and financial stress?

#1. Practice patience.

We all have an unlimited amount of opportunities to practice patience, whether it’s something small like sitting in traffic or waiting in the only open checkout line at the store. Or, whether it’s something big like trying to figure out your purpose in life or looking for a new job.

You can begin with the small things to start to practice patience. When you find yourself in those small annoying scenarios where you can choose to be patient or not, always choose patience. If you decide ahead of time you’re going to choose to be patient in these scenarios before they pop up, it will be easier to react patiently. If you mess up and become impatient, it’s okay. Trust me. You’ll soon find another opportunity to try again.

Once you start to become intentional in your patience, you’ll find it becomes easier, even for the big stuff like waiting to hear back from your last job interview.

#2 Be realistic in your expectations.

If something isn’t happening the way you wanted or in the time frame you hoped for, ask yourself if you have realistic or unrealistic expectations of the situation or the other party involved. And be honest with yourself.

The part of the job search where I see most of my clients having unrealistic expectations is in networking. They think they can just tell everyone they know they’re looking for a job and that should be it. This is not how networking works. So if this is your expectation, you’ll want to read my blog post “How to Be Realistic About Networking” and then readjust your expectations.

And when it comes to interviews, keep in mind companies are starting to take more time in making hiring decisions.

In addition, most companies tend to underestimate how long the hiring process will take. They may say they hope to have a decision by the week after your interview, but stuff happens and their work still has to get done during the hiring process. This sometimes pushes the process back a bit.

Just last week I had a client ask me how long she should wait to follow up with a company after her interview. She thought two to three days was reasonable. I told her it’s more like two to three weeks! Two to three days isn’t nearly enough time for a company to complete the other interviews, discuss among all the decision makers and check references, all while having to do their other work.

Always try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes to help you maintain realistic expectations.

And be open-minded enough to accept how things might happen in a different way or different time frame than you think they should.

#3. Do what’s in your control.

When I was coming out of grad school, I wasn’t too picky about geographic location for my first job. So, I applied all over the country to about 75 jobs. And I only got about a 10% positive response rate which is the norm. Therefore, there were a lot of negative responses.

How did I deal with those negative responses?

I told myself every rejection just meant I was one step closer to the right job for me.

This mantra helped me to be patient, stay focused on the things within my control and let go of the things not in my control.

The only thing I could control were my networking efforts, sending out resumes by the closing dates, and my emotions. I couldn’t control anyone else’s timeline and I couldn’t make them like me over a more qualified candidate. Trying to would’ve been a waste of my time.

#4 Don’t make important decisions when you’re emotional.

Speaking of emotions, it’s never good to make important decisions, especially career decisions, when you’re experiencing extreme emotion.

I once heard of something called the “SHALT” decision-making method. The premise of this method is to never make decisions when you’re sad, hungry, angry, lonely, or tired. I would also add to this list scared or afraid.

Fear is one of the biggest causes of bad career decisions. But taking a job out of fear of not making ends meet or because it seems to be the only offer available can often lead to going through the job search process all over again the following year (or sooner).

There are other ways to make ends meet and buy some time to avoid making a rash decision that could negatively affect the rest of your career. This can include cutting unnecessary expenses, selling or renting things you don’t use anymore, renting out your spare room, and working a side job or as a freelancer.

#5 Relish the time you have between jobs.

While you may be anxious to find your next opportunity, don’t forget to relish this extra time you have by spending it with your family, working out more and improving your health, and exploring your passions.

It’s also a great time to learn some new skills through online courses that will build your resume and make you more marketable.

Consider this time a gift to take advantage of while you can.

Be patient with yourself!

By following the above tips, you’ll find you have more patience than you thought you had. And, you’ll learn to replace the worry and frustration of impatience with the hope and peace of anticipation.

But it’s important to not beat yourself up if you fail at patience every once in a while. It will happen because you’re human. So remember to also be patient with yourself!

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How to Know if Your Burnout Is Killing You

For the past week and a half, the words “rest” and “burnout” keep coming up. Every conversation I’ve had this week has included the discussion of burnout and the need for rest from it. And just about every article I’ve read has mentioned the importance of rest and avoiding burnout.

Perhaps this theme is circulating because it’s now summer time (my favorite season!). Summer is typically thought of as a season of down time and rest.

But perhaps it’s circulating because so many of us have been working so hard we’re starting to experience the effects of burnout.

I have several new clients coming to me because they’re experiencing burnout in their current jobs and recognize a need for a change. I also can easily experience burnout if I don’t take time to rest.

And just last month, the World Health Organization redefined burnout as an actual syndrome linked to unmanageable chronic workplace stress. There’s been a lot of buzz about this new medical classification of burnout since it was announced. Perhaps this is also the reason the topic of rest keeps coming up.

Hidden Signs of Burnout You Shouldn’t Ignore

The syndrome for burnout includes several physical, emotional, and cognitive warning signs:

  • Inability to concentrate
  • Feeling like you’re constantly failing
  • Making careless mistakes
  • Re-upping a bad habit (i.e. if you previously quit smoking but started up again due to the stress from your job)
  • Dizziness and headaches

Do any of these things describe how you’ve been feeling lately? If so, first, do what you can to find the time needed to get some rest! Second, you might need to consult a physician. Then, you might want to consult a career coach to help you make some changes either in your current job or to a new job.

Quote: “If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to make time for your illness.” Unknown

Burnout is Toxic

In fact, if you want to live longer, a recent article says one of the 30 things you can do to live longer is to establish more balanced work hours.

The article criticizes the fact that our current work culture has made it acceptable to work over 40 hours a week, to work through lunch and breaks, and to come in early and leave late.

Another article states if management has little or no concern for work-life balance on a daily basis, this is one of  eight signs your workplace is extremely toxic.

This means you feel like you have to sacrifice your personal life and family for your job on a regular basis. Which is evidenced by more hours per week, little to no vacation time, and 24/7 availability for work communication.

How to Reduce Burnout by Making Good Decisions

This lack of balance has become our “new normal,” and it needs to return to the “old normal” if we want to be productive both in our jobs and our personal lives.

Of course this is easier said than done. It will require a culture shift in the world of work. While the shift has begun, it still has a long way to go before the pendulum will swing back to what’s considered realistic.

But there are things you can do as an individual to start making this shift in your own personal and professional life.

This includes learning how to negotiate win-win scenarios with your current supervisor when asked to take on additional responsibilities. This is something I help several of my clients with. In fact, I’m currently working with a client on this very thing.

It also includes learning to make good decisions when seeking new opportunities. Always choose those opportunities that support your personal mission statement and turn down those that don’t.

Think about what you value above a just the monetary return on an opportunity.

Quote: “There are four types of wealth:

  1. Financial wealth (money)
  2. Social wealth (status)
  3. Time wealth (freedom)
  4. Physical wealth (health)

Be wary of jobs that lure you in with 1 and 2, but rob you of 3 and 4.” @entrepreneursquote

It’s Okay to Rest and Do Nothing

It’s okay and necessary to do what it takes to recover from your burnout. This means getting the rest you need, and also spending some time just doing nothing.

If you’re like me, it’s hard to just do nothing. But The New York Times published an article by Bonnie Tsui which assures us we’re doing something important when we aren’t doing anything at all. Tsui says,

“We need to rest, read, and reconnect. It is the invisible labor that makes creative life possible.”

I had the opportunity to do so a week and a half ago. Every summer I take a weekend to myself to drive up to Kentucky to the Abbey of Gethsemani for a silent retreat. I spend a weekend in silence reflecting on the first half of the year, reading, and thinking about how to be more intentional in the remaining half of the year.

It is so tranquil and renewing to my mind and soul. I always come back rested and refreshed. (Click here to read more about what a silent retreat looks like and how to sign up for one yourself).

Since tomorrow is a holiday (and not a stressful one like the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays), I encourage you to spend this holiday and this weekend getting some quiet time and some rest, both alone and with your family.

Doing so will give you the clarity and energy you need to make some necessary changes moving forward in your career. Whether it’s learning to manage your manager, carving out some work-life balance, or making a career change to something healthier. Let me know how I can help!

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Stop! Watch Out For These 10 Red Flags in Your New Job

You’ve finally found a job and have accepted an offer. Maybe it’s an offer you’re extremely excited about. Or maybe it’s an offer you took just to have a paycheck until the right job comes along.

Either way, it’s important to beware of any red flags you may notice in the first 90 days of your new job. These are things you DO NOT want to ignore!

What are those red flags?

Author and president of MathCelebrity Don Sevcik gives a great answer to this question. He’s spent over 20 years in what he calls “the corporate America cube farm” for a variety of companies, including Fortune 500 companies, mid-level companies, and start-ups.

Here are his thoughts on ten red flags you shouldn’t ignore.

The following list was originally published on Quora by author and business owner, Don Sevcik. He graciously allowed me to publish it here under a new format.

#1 of 10 Red Flags

Has your job, in the first few weeks, suddenly morphed into something different from the job role on your employment contract?

And, if you call management out on it, do they use silly phrases like not “being flexible”?

Congratulations! You’ve found your first red flag.

Note: if you learn nothing else from this post, “Flexible” and “Team Player” are code for “do more work, but don’t expect to get paid for it.”

Learn this quickly. Because the most important thing every morning is waking up, looking in the mirror, and being able to respect yourself.

Red Flag #2

If you work in a job as a “doer,” such as developer, builder of things, etc., do you find yourself booked up in many meetings?

Consider this red flag #2.

“Doers” should not be in too many meetings. Because (gasp!) they need time to actually do stuff.

If management cannot squash this early so you can do what you do best, you’ve found yourself at a mis-managed company.

Red Flag #3

In the first few weeks of joining a company, do you notice lots of “cliques” and keep running into “unexpected, unspoken rules”?

If so, you’ve dug up another red flag.

I remember years ago working at a company doing development. In my interview, I was crystal clear when I said, “I don’t like filling out a lot of paperwork to push code. I just want to code, test quickly, and push it out there.”

Alas, three weeks after getting hired, management “revealed” that every code push needs a three-page document filled out, a web form filled out, and three layers of approval just to get a change in. It was ridiculous.

The more red tape, the bigger the red flag.

Red Flag #4

Does your company push “social-time” off hours and unnecessary get-togethers? Do they overly push charities and social justice groups?

Congratulations, you’ve found another red flag.

Nowhere in any standard employment contract anywhere should it state you must be active with charity or social justice causes if you choose not to be.

Note from Lori: some of these events can be good in building your network and in giving back to the community. I think what Don is trying to say here is when it gets to be so much that it takes time away from your family or causes undue stress, then beware of this. The operative word in his statement is “unnecessary.”

Red Flag #5

Does your company value “in-office” time more than they do results and accomplishments during your work hours?

If so, you’ve found another archaic, and detrimental red-flag.

If I get eight hours of work done in two hours, then what I do after that shouldn’t matter. Because, it’s not like corporate will pay you more for additional effort.

Great bosses will let you leave early and give flex time when you pump out work quickly.

Red Flag #6

Do scheduled meetings always run over time, or start late, or both?

Time wasters are another red flag.

Also, meetings, especially corporate meetings, are notorious for posturing and politics. And if you aren’t a fan of meetings like me, then this is a HUGE red flag.

Meetings should have an agenda, allow no rambling, and get to the point quick. As in, who is doing what, who needs help, and when can we expect things to get done.

That’s it. No more.

Red Flag #7

Are you having a hard time finding a document about annual raises and bonuses? As in, you do “x” and “y”, and this is how you advance. And when you ask about it, does your manager hem and haw or avoid the subject?

You can find this red flag in 90% or more corporate jobs.

Red Flag #8

Do most people at or above your level use unnecessary buzz words to describe something? As in, can you find a word from grade 5 to grade 7 on the Flesch-Kincaid reading level to replace their silly buzzword, and not only keep the meaning of what they were trying to say, but enhance it?

Congratulations, you’ve found another red flag.

The key to communication is simplicity and clarity. And buzzwords violate both those rules.

If we can’t have a simple conversation about “my contract” and not my “annual incentive protocol,” then that’s a problem.

Red Flag #9

Are the dumbest people in the company promoted and are the superstars passed over or marginalized?

You’ve uncorked another red flag.

And this, like red flag #7, happens at 90% or more of corporate companies. It’s red flag football, and you never score a touchdown.

#10 of 10 Red Flags

Does your new company change “direction” every 2–4 weeks?

Pat yourself on the back detective. You’ve found another red flag.

If management cannot figure out what to do, and they get paid large coin to do one job, then you’ve found yourself in an insane asylum. Best to pull the cord and exit stage left.

Pay Attention to the Red Flags

Thank you to Don for sharing these warning signs.

I don’t promote continuing to interview for jobs after accepting an offer. But, I do recommend you keep your finger on the pulse of your new company and your eyes open for a back-up plan if things don’t work out in the first 90 days.

This includes maintaining your networking relationships and staying active on LinkedIn.

Even if you’ve done all the research you could possibly do before accepting an offer, there’s always a chance things will change.

Your supervisor could change due to a promotion or transfer.

Your role could change due to a merger or acquisition.

Anything can happen. So pay attention to the red flags!

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How to Tell If a Company Is a Good Fit for You

You know your current job is not a good fit for you. You feel stuck, so you went looking for something else.

After sending out countless resumes and enduring grueling interviews you now have an offer on the table for a new job with a different company.

You have a pen in hand ready to sign the offer letter.

STOP!

Don’t sign it yet!

At least not until you know the company is a good fit for you. First ask yourself the following questions.

“Good Fit” Questions to Ask Yourself

Do my personal values match up with the company’s core values?

By now you’re probably already familiar with the company’s core values. Especially after having researched the company in preparation for your interview.

But are you 100% clear on your own values? If not, you’ll want to spend some time in reflection on what’s most important to you in your life.

Sub-questions of “Do my personal values match with the company’s core values?”

If you are clear on your own values, do they match up with the company’s core values?

Or are you just so ready to get out of your current job you didn’t even consider this?

Or do you think it’s not really a big deal if there’s no real alignment in values?

If you’re so ready to jump ship from you’re current job you’re willing to overlook incompatible values, you’ll likely find yourself feeling stuck in your new job. Do you really want to go through another job search again next year?

Also, what may not seem like a big deal now, will soon become a real issue. An example to illustrate this is in marriage. When you’re in love and excited about getting married, opposing mindsets on things like money and child-rearing may not seem like a real problem. But when you’re eventually and inevitably faced with a financial crisis or a disciplinary issue with a child during your marriage, real problems will arise.

If you don’t share the same mindset in values as the company making the offer, don’t sign anything! Instead, keep looking for a company whose culture is more compatible.

And this time in your interviews, don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions about a company’s culture and values. (Yes, you can and should ask questions of them since interviewing is a two-way street!). Challenge them to give examples of how they “live out” their core values.

Can I be my authentic self at this company?

This question is a good piggy-back on the previous question. If your values don’t match, then you’ll be forced to pretend to be someone you’re not. This isn’t something you can keep up for very long without feeling emotionally drained and exhausted.

Instead, you want to make sure you’re saying “yes” to an offer that supports your personal mission statement and “no” to those that don’t.

Still don’t have a personal mission statement written out? What are you waiting for? A personal mission statement is imperative in helping you make good decisions in life, like what job offers to accept.

To learn how to write your own mission statement, check out my blog post “How to Make Your Big Decisions More Simple” or purchase my latest book Personal Branding: Why You Need to Know What Makes You YOUnique and AWEthentic.

Does the company provide products or services I find meaningful?

If you don’t believe in the company’s products or services, you’ll have a difficult time in your new job. Even if you’re not in sales.

While you may have been able to feign enthusiasm for the product during the interview, you won’t be able to keep this up on a daily basis.

Your lack of enthusiasm will not only make you feel stuck in the wrong job once again. It will also become obvious to your colleagues and supervisors. When this happens, you risk being let go. Then you’ll find yourself once again in another job search.

Look for a company who provides a product or service you can get excited about!

Is the work in the role I’m best suited for meaningful to me?

Even if you’re good at a particular job, this doesn’t mean you may like it.

There are a handful of things I’m good at but hate doing.

Before accepting any offer, make sure at least 60% of the job duties are meaningful to you. This refers to not just a match with your values and skills, but also your interests.

In addition, you know a job will be meaningful if it supports your personal mission and goals. This is why I can’t stress enough the importance of having a personal mission statement.

Don’t settle!

Be honest with yourself in the questions above. In doing so, you’ll get unstuck and find a job with a company that’s a good fit for you.

Don’t settle for anything less!

Posts related to “How to Tell If a Company Is a Good Fit for You”:

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Career Advice No One Will Ever Share With You (Re-post)

As a career coach, I’m always responding to career-related questions with various tips and career advice. I recently received a question asking,

“What are a few unique pieces of career advice nobody ever mentions?”

This is a good one because there are a lot of possible answers to it, but I chose two answers to reflect what most of my clients don’t know when they first come to me.


Career Advice Tip #1:

If you work for someone else, you still need to think like an entrepreneur.

Why? Because no one’s job is secure.

You have to view your employer as your client. And if your “client” decides not to continue working with you, you have to be in a good position to quickly land your next client.

You do this by becoming a good salesperson of your skills.


Career Advice Tip #2:

If you work for yourself, then you need to think of each meeting with potential clients or potential investors as a job interview.

For instance, I have several consultations with potential clients each week. Therefore, I’m going on job interviews EVERY SINGLE WEEK of the year!

I know I have to clearly express the benefits of my skills as a career coach.


Determine Fit

In either scenario, you not only need to sell your skills.

You also need to treat the situation as a two-way street. You need to find out if your next job or your next client is going to be a good fit for you.

This is why I always suggest job seekers ask their own questions during a job interview.

These questions should be ones to help them determine if the company (i.e. “the client”) is who they really want to spend 40+ hours a week with for the next several years.

**Check out The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview for sample questions to ask when being interviewed.***


Be Selective

For me personally as a business owner, I’m selective in who I take on as clients.

Therefore, not only do I present the benefits of my services and make sure they’re a good fit for the potential client’s goals, but I also ask questions to find out if they’re the type of client I’ll want to work with.

I start with questions in my intake form and ask additional questions during the initial consultation.

I’m looking to see how serious the person is about my coaching program.

I’m also looking for someone with a teachable spirit, an open-mind, respect for others, courtesy, and professionalism.

Someone who doesn’t possess these qualities is not a good fit for me or my company’s mission or programs.


You need to be selective too.

If you’re a job seeker with multiple job offers, be selective.

If you’re an entrepreneur with multiple potential clients, be selective (even when you feel like can’t afford to be!).

Here’s how.

Before walking into an interview or a meeting, take some time to do an inventory of:

  1. your skills and strengths,
  2. how you uniquely demonstrate those skills and strengths,
  3. the benefits of your skills and strengths,
  4. your needs and wants,
  5. your deal-breakers,
  6. and the questions to determine any potential deal-breakers or to determine if the other party can meet at least 60% of your needs and wants (because you’ll rarely find a case that meets 100% of them! — BE REALISTIC!).

Choose only those opportunities that are at least 60% compatible with your inventory.

Keep in mind also numbers 1–3 will give you leverage to ask for numbers 4–5.

Following this advice will help you develop good habits and preparedness for those times when you find yourself at a career crossroads.

career advice