Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Work Close or Work Smart

Recently I met with a female client, who is a mom and a person who always puts her family first. She is out of work, and her skills set is such that she believes she will have to commute a fair distance in order to find employment. Culturally, her position in her home is that she works, commutes and does everything else as well. Therefore, she was frequently exhausted and does not look forward to resuming that lifestyle again.

I coached her to realize that she can either work close (and that may just not be possible, given her skills set, her home location, and the impact of the economy,) or work smart..ie outsource whatever she can (yes, even if that means spending money on housecleaning, grocery delivery, etc). I cautioned her about the message that she gives to her spouse and children when she tries to do it all. Telecommuting is not a given, and frequently not available in government connected jobs.

Such is the dilemma in many a modern American family. What is your choice...work close or work smart?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Not on LinkedIn?

I recently met with a new client and discovered that she is not on LinkedIn. I must admit..I am amazed. LinkedIn is one very powerful source of information for any job seeker. If you must have one online presence only in your job search, then LinkedIn it is...and the reasons are numerous.

If you do not know what LinkedIn is, or how to get started, take the time to figure it out to consult a career coach who will guide you through it. It is worth the effort.

"Discrimination Against The Long Term Unemployed"

"60 Minutes" recently ran a story about an innovative program underway in CT to fight discrimination against the long term unemployed. As with age discrimination and discrimination by gender, race, etc, this is illegal; however, that does not mean it does not exist and happening all the time.

Is such discrimination avoidable? Sure it is....How?....by keeping your skills current. Any potential employer is going to ask what you have been doing while you were out of work...and the answer is  volunteering to keep your skills up as well as to learn new skills... taking classes...many free and online...and  attending industry conferences. All of the above also provide networking opportunities...the best way to gain new employment.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Leaving No Stone Unturned

Recently I met with a new client, and discovered to my amazement that she is not familiar with LinkedIn. She has been unemployed for over 6 months and until we began to work together, her networking consisted of talking to a few friends about her skills and on their suggestions sending resumes into the black holes of online job boards. She is also looking in the private section only; her spouse told her that securing a state or federal position takes too long. Had she started a good search 6 months ago in both the federal and private worlds, she might just have secured a good position by now, especially since she has skills that are somewhat in demand. This client has not understood up to now the importance of leaving no stone unturned! The modern job hunt today requires paying attention to any and every possible job source. It takes time, skills an dedication. You work at least 40 hours per week; be prepared to search 40 hours per week.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Report

http://www.bls.gov/news.release/ecopro.nr0.htm. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently issued the above report and set off a firestorm amongst folks like me about how to use this information when ooaching and counseling clients. After some debate, I concur with anyone who suggests caution. These are projections, nothing more. No one has a crystal ball. Take any projections like these, combine them with what is going on in your working area, and from there. I live and work in Northern Virginia, where we have been protected in a large part by the federal government. That is changing; the federal government continues to shrink; cuts have arrived in DOD spending. Will the private sector in this area pick up the slack? That is the prediction...stay tuned and be aware.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Time Out

Today I scheduled a meeting with a client who literally cannot come to see me unless she an get a Saturday morning appointment, which, luckily, I offer. Otherwise, she would have to invent a "doctor's appointment" in order to take a few hours off. Granted, she could hardly tell her employer that she has an appointment with her career coach, but making an employee, especially in a small business, account for every moment of "time out" when the employer does not hesitate to take as much of the employee's personal time as is deemed "needed to do the job" is hardly fair and hardly right. Yes, we are seeing more and more of this in the present economy, but that does not justify it. So, Mr. or Ms. Small Business Owner, look at your policies, both written and unwritten, and think again about them. Yes, there are those employees who will always violate the "rules"; then again there are also those employees who deserve to be treated as human beings with needs not necessarily covered under any HR policy manual; tending to their physical and mental wellbeing is important and part of every employer's responsibility.