One question I hear often from readers is about military transitions. Many members of the military devote the first twenty years of their career to the US Military. Around age forty, they’ll retire and start entirely new careers in the civilian world. I receive questions about how to successfully make this change.
The number one thing I see that trips up people transitioning is this. They don’t realize just how hard it is. And, neither do those around them. The military will often help people who are transitioning by offering a class about how to get a job. Many of the people I’ve met who have attended this class assume that the transition will be quick, painless, and easy. They also assume that they will be compensated the same or more than they were in the military.
To make matters more complex, their loved ones also believe the transition should be easy. Unfortunately, this is a problem not just with military folks, but with anyone looking for a job. Your family can never understand what’s taking you so long. This can leave the job seeker feeling lonely and deflated, as if they’re the only one who has ever had to work this hard to find a job.
If we can agree that job searching is hard, then what? The people I’ve seen with the smoothest transitions have done three things well. First, they’ve started early. They didn’t wait until they were out of the military to begin looking for something new. Second, they put their fears and limitations on hold. In other words, they were willing to step out of their comfort zones to explore jobs they may not have considered. And, third, they kept their personal expenses low. In the civilian world, a paycheck is not a guarantee. Especially in the beginning, if you can keep your costs down, it will be less stressful if your search takes time.
Beyond that, listen to yourself. When you are job searching, you’d be surprised at how many people come out of the woodwork with advice. Your great uncle Bob who you barely know will suddenly have an opinion on what you should be doing with your life. If you’ve spent your entire career in one field, this guidance can feel good. But, don’t fall into the trap. Great uncle Bob probably has no real experience in the work he’s advising you on.
Start early. Form a support group. Reach out to people who have been through this transition before. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you don’t know through networking site, LinkedIn. And, be on the lookout for companies that specifically recruit transitioning members of the military.
Last, but not least, be patient with yourself. You’re starting an entirely new career. This is hard for anyone – military or civilian. It takes time. It’s going to be hard. But, in the end, it’s worth it.
Hello everyone! This is Angela. I hope you’re hanging in there. The last few weeks have been tough, and it’s unclear when things may look up. If you’re like many people, you’re working from home for the first time.
I’m releasing a bonus episode today to answer some of your questions about how to work from home during the Coronavirus quarantine. I’m also sharing my tips on how to take care of yourself during this time — and what to do if you’re in the middle of a job search.
I hope you enjoy it. If you have additional questions I can answer on a future episode, please send me a message.
Stay safe, and best wishes,
If you were to look for a new job, where would it be? Very often, when we’re searching for a new job, we look in our immediate area. We look for something within driving distance of our home – in our existing city.
But, every now and again, a big change can be refreshing. A new city can offer new job opportunities. It can open up social doors that didn’t exist before. It can add excitement and variety to life.
If you’ve ever thought of making a big move, the first question is: where? And, frankly – where to even begin? If you’re over thirty-five (or even twenty-five), moving to a new city can feel daunting. Friends are no longer served up on a platter like they were in high school or college. In addition to friends, you’ll have to find new doctors, new restaurants, new everything. You’ll have to get a new driver’s license. The list goes on and on.
Many people never get moves off of the ground because of all of the pieces involved. This is especially true for those who are married and have children.
If you are considering a move, make a list of the things you value in a city. There’s no right or wrong thing that should be on the list.
Your list might include things like the population size. Or, maybe you want to research the average cost to buy a home – or the average income in the area. If you’re single, you may want to look at the number of single people who live in the city. You may want to research the political views in the city, to see how closely you align. You may want to look up the average temperature. And, you may also want to look up the crime rate in the places you’re considering.
Once you have this list, create a list of possible cities. Then, research each city using your list as a guide. When I’ve done this, I have put this data into a spreadsheet, so that I can easily compare the cities.
Another great source of information about cities is the LinkedIn Workforce Report. LinkedIn puts out data each month that will allow you to learn more about the job markets in large cities across the US. It can help you to understand where there are labor shortages, and which cities the most people are moving to.
Glassdoor also recently published a list of the 25 best cities for jobs in 2020. These cities were compared across three categories: hiring opportunity, cost of living and job satisfaction.
Moving is a big decision. It’s one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. And, it shouldn’t be put off. Moving to a new city is much easier when the job market is healthy. If you’d like to make a change, there’s no time like the present. Start your research, and you’ll be on your way.
One of the most frustrating feelings can be a loss of control. There are things you wish you could influence. You try. You go out of your way to plan for everything that could go wrong. This can feel especially true at work, where there are so many things that can impact your ability to succeed.
When you find yourself in a frustrating situation, it’s important to step back for a moment. Ask yourself what’s really in your control, and what’s not. So often, we get caught up in the pieces not in our control. We wish for different outcomes. We play out different scenarios in our minds. We spend a lot of time and mental energy thinking about what went wrong, and what we could do differently.
But, the thing is, you can’t beat yourself up. If you’ve done your best, you have to let the rest go. Now, does that mean you should accept things that you don’t agree with? Absolutely not. You’ve got to take note of them. Write them down in a journal, so you can keep track and remind yourself later. Don’t dismiss your feelings.
Then, when you’re in a better space, reflect on what really went wrong. What was in your control, and what was outside of it? Sometimes, the things outside of your control are related more to company culture than to any one thing. There may have been something you could have done differently. But, there may have also been larger forces at work.
With that said, acknowledging the impact of outside forces on your life is important. For example, if you’re working in a toxic work environment, pay attention. If you’ve done everything within your control and things are still too difficult to feel comfortable, it may be time to move on.
Now, I’m not suggesting you run from job to job. Every job has pros and cons. Simply running from place to place won’t fix the issue. But, sometimes you come across a work culture that’s more than you can bear.
Perhaps you don’t feel safe at work. Or, maybe workplace gossip is intense. Or, you may have an overly negative and critical boss. Whatever the issue is, you have to be honest with yourself. If you’re truly unhappy to outside forces that are impacting you, you have to look for other options. It will allow you to take your control back. It will allow you to find your power.
You don’t have control over the behavior of other people. But, you can control how you react. You can keep a positive attitude in the face of difficult times. You can decide when it’s time to move on. Keep your focus on what is within your control, so that you can move past what isn’t. This will not only allow you to take control, but will prevent what’s outside of your control from controlling you.
Loyalty is an interesting idea. Companies expect it. Many demand it. You must be a loyal employee. You must put the company’s best interest first. Even if you don’t agree, you should toe the company line. Otherwise, your worst fears could happen. You may find yourself without work.
What I find interesting however is this. In the past, companies offered loyalty in return. Companies provided pensions. They provided security. You could work at one company for thirty years and then retire comfortably. You could even work your way up the company ladder. It was reliable.
Unfortunately, companies are no longer able to provide the same level of loyalty to employees. Or, perhaps they choose not to. Whether it’s a more competitive market or different expectations, retiring from one company is much less likely today than it was forty years ago.
But, despite the market changes on the company side, most employers still expect the same level of loyalty from you. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about honesty and integrity. Of course, we should all be honest. Every day, we should do our best work.
Many companies expect you to stick around through thick and thin. They expect you not to look for a new job; not to return the phone calls from recruiters. Honestly, it seems that because most jobs are considered ‘at will’ and you can be fired anytime, loyalty is expected in exchange for a job – now. But, next week, next month, and next year aren’t guaranteed.
So where should your loyalty lie? I would argue that it should lie within ourselves. In today’s job market, you’re the CEO of your own career. Think of yourself like a small business or a consultant. You are in the driver’s seat. You have to be. It’s your job to build your resume over time. It’s your job to seek promotions. And, it’s your job to be sure your training is up to date. With all that said, it’s also your job to protect your reputation by showing up each day – by doing your best and by being honest.
You cannot simply turn over your loyalty to a company. Much like a romantic relationship, loyalty must be earned over time. You cannot blindly give up your power. You cannot assume you’ll be taken care of.
If you think of yourself like a small business, you’ll be off to the right start. Your employer is like your client. Do the best work for them each and every day. In exchange, they’ll compensate you. But, like a small business, you never know when that client will decide to move in a new direction. So, you have to be ready. Small businesses are always looking for their next client. They’re networking. They’re setting up a situation where they are not dependent on any one revenue stream.
Do your best today, but be loyal to your future vision.
When is the best time to leave your job? Have you ever wondered when you should look? Most people wait until things are painful. Change is hard. It hurts. So many people wait until the daily pain at work outweighs the pain of change.
Here’s the problem with this idea. When you wait until the pain is too much, you’re letting someone else control your outcome. You’re waiting for the very last straw. You’re waiting for the last thing to go wrong. You’re allowing external factors to drive an internal decision. You’re allowing someone else to decide when you should leave.
And, on top of that – if you wait until you’re at the last straw, your entire outlook changes. You’ll be running away from the things you hate rather than toward the things you love. You’ll be impatient. You may be stressed in interviews. You might be willing to take less money or less vacation. If you’re not careful, you may even share your work sob story with your future hiring manager or future colleagues.
If you wait until things are bad, you may also risk being laid off or even worse, fired. As attractive as some company buy out packages may be, the stress of looking for work when you don’t have a job is much higher than when you do. Just recovering from a layoff takes time.
So, when should you look for something new? I’d argue that you should always keep your eyes open. In today’s job market, you cannot assume your job is secure.
But, the topic of when to leave makes me think of a friend — and social parties. Years ago, a friend shared to me that she likes to leave a party while things are still fun. Most people wait to leave until the very end. They wait until it’s winding down. But, by then, guests have potentially had too much to drink. It’s later than you might like. And, the party has typically gone downhill in some way. But, if you leave on a high note, you have a wonderful time with no bad memories of the party’s aftermath.
The same applies at work. Leave while you still have a positive relationship with your colleagues and your boss. Leave after you’ve done a great job on a project. Don’t wait until things are spiraling down. Don’t wait for the last straw.
Looking while things are good also allows you to find a job that you want. You’re not desperate. You need to be paid fairly. You have requirements around benefits, such as vacation. You may want a job that’s considered a promotion. Perhaps you want to work in a new part of the business.
When you aren’t at the final straw, you can take your time. You can evaluate options carefully to find something that’s the right fit long term – not just the right fit right now.
Have you ever had a panel interview? It’s one of those job interviews where you show up and instead of one person interviewing you, three do. Or, if you’re really lucky, five or six will. I’m not talking about a situation where you have one interview after another. I’m talking about a single interview where you’re facing off with multiple people at a time around a single table.
If you interview people, you should know that panel interviews are scary for the candidate. I’ve seen this at all levels, from right out of college to senior executives. Very rarely are people comfortable with this kind of interview format. If your goal is to be welcoming, avoid this interview setup if you can. Or, provide as much information to the candidate ahead of time so they can prepare.
If you’re the candidate, you should know that the company doesn’t intend to scare you. They have probably scheduled you for a panel interview because it takes less time. They can interview you all at once. Also, a panel interview is not a place where you’ll find yourself attacked by the panelists.
In your mind, you may picture an adversarial meeting at work. It’s you versus a team of people when something goes wrong. But, that should not be the case in a panel interview. You don’t yet work at the company and should be welcoming and kind.
In a panel interview, it’s very likely that each person will have one or two predetermined questions they will ask you. And, it’s also possible that not everyone in the room is excited to be there. They may also be nervous. Or, they may be doing the hiring manager a favor by participating in the panel.
Before you have a panel interview, ask the human resources recruiter for an agenda of the people you’ll be talking to. Use that agenda to research each person, so you’ll be prepared in advance. During the interview, stay calm and be friendly. Treat each person equally and with respect. Be sure to shake the hand of everyone you meet.
Afterward, send each person a thank you email. Don’t send one mass email. Send a separate email for each individual person. If you can, customize each email to reflect something that aligns to the person’s background or something they honed in on during your interview. But, keep it positive. Don’t use the emails to apologize. Thank the person for their time and keep going. If you’re feeling especially interested in a role, take the time to also send a hand written thank you note to every person. If you do this, you’ll very likely be the only candidate who did – and it will make you stand out in a good way.
Remember: every interview is practice for the next one. And, you don’t have to answer every question perfectly to get a job offer.
Today’s workforce is more casual than generations in the past. Many companies allow employees to wear jeans and tennis shoes to work. And, we’re being more open about our personal lives.
There are many advantages to this. Openness can help to move us closer from diversity to inclusion. It’s about being able to bring your entire self to work.
The digital marketer in me has made friends with colleagues on social media in the past. In the world of digital marketing, social media is part of your toolkit. It’s another way you get your job done. But, this is a rare phenomenon that doesn’t apply to many jobs. So, this takes us back at the original question. Should you follow your boss on Instagram? Should you comment on your employees tweets? And, should you connect on LinkedIn?
I may be old fashioned, but this is my take. Social media is for your family and loved ones. If a colleague is close enough, then perhaps they should be considered. But, beyond that, work should be separate.
There are many things in life that are best kept separate from work, whether it’s politics, finances, or love. Your social media life is one of those things. On top of the party photos that may appear on your Facebook wall, you may share your opinions on the current political climate. You very likely are sharing things with your close friends that are different points of views than your colleagues share.
The last thing you want is for your weekend activities to have an impact on your work. In your mind, it may make no difference. But, you never know when someone may treat you differently based on what they see in your social media. And, they’re not going to tell you.
Keeping things separated can also help to increase your perceived level of professionalism. I’m often asked to speak on topics around executive presence. Executive presence is very much related to how people perceive you at work. And, it will impact whether or not you’re promoted or thought of for more advanced work.
So, as tempting as it is to want to be friends on social media with your colleagues, think twice. There are many pitfalls to this that you may not see now. And, you may want to take it a step further. You may want to make a universal policy that you don’t friend anyone on social media who you currently work with. That way, no one person will get their feelings hurt when they realize that you’ve friended someone else, but not them.
The one exception to all of this is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an excellent way to maintain and grow your professional network.
In this month of love, we spend some of our time reflecting on those who are special in our lives. It’s also a great time to reflect on our job, and whether or not we love doing it. Think about how you feel on Sunday evening. Are you neutral about work on Monday, or do you dread it? Are you able to relax on Sunday evening or are you filled with anxiety and dread?
Your relationship with work isn’t all that different than your relationship with a significant other. If you aren’t excited to be there, or even worse, if you hate it, it may be time to break up.
The good news is, in today’s career environment, people are switching jobs all the time. If you think you may be ready to move on, take the time to plan out your next move.
What is it that you dislike about your current job? Is it the people? Is it the hours? Perhaps the commute is just too long.
What would you like to see in your new role? What industry would you prefer to work in? What role do you want? What’s your target salary? What type of work environment would make you happiest? What commute would you like to have?
Begin to outline what you want in a new role. Think about what would make you happy. As you go through this process, try not to create a list that is only things that are the opposite of what you hate today. For example, if your current company has people with a certain personality, you may want to avoid people with that personality. However, think deeper; think about what types of people you would like to work with.
As you create a new role for yourself, you want to try to move toward something more positive. This is different than moving away from something negative. If you get stuck in the cycle of running away from something, you may quickly find yourself in a new situation that you also dislike.
While you’re doing your research, be sure to check out Glassdoor.com. Current employees leave reviews of their company to let you know whether or not they love their jobs. This can also be very enlightening. Just like travel reviews, you shouldn’t take every review at face value. But, if you read enough reviews, you may begin to see a pattern – positive or negative.
As in a relationship, don’t wait until things completely break to move on. Pay attention to the signs and plan your exit. Don’t wait until you find yourself in crippling emotional pain that can make working impossible. You deserve a fresh start. You deserve to be happy, or at the very least, not miserable. If you start looking, you will find that a new company will value you and your skillset – and you just might love your job again.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately. It’s not new, but it certainly seems to be increasing. When you are a customer and something goes wrong at a company, the company doesn’t resolve the issue until you get angry.
Can you relate to this experience? You have a problem with a product or service you received. There isn’t an easy way to get it addressed. So, perhaps you visit the company website. They try to funnel you to a frequently asked questions page. When that doesn’t work, you try live chat. You quickly learn that the live chat person on the other side isn’t a person at all. It’s an automated bot. So, you begin to ask for a real person. When you finally get a real person, they often don’t have the power to truly help you. They likely also haven’t been trained to have all the answers either. If you get very angry, eventually, someone knowledgeable will be assigned to help you. Companies often have a special team to handle angry customers. Then, suddenly, your issue will be resolved! In the meantime, you’ll be left with a headache and some level of exhaustion from all the work it took to get there. Depending on the company, this process could take minutes, hours, or even days.
I observe a similar phenomenon in today’s workplace. Often, it’s the loudest, most aggressive people who are able to push their agendas through. You may have even found yourself escalating issues at times when you would prefer not to, in order to get things done. And, you’ve probably had that headache and exhaustion.
It’s quite an unfortunate state of affairs when our currency is our anger. Whether you’re a customer or you’re at work, it should not be necessary to escalate to such a level to get resolution. People should be willing to follow through on their commitments. And, they should be honest and straightforward when they cannot.
As you go through your day, I hope you might take this idea into consideration. It may not help as much when you’re working to push an agenda through. But, I hope that when you are the gatekeeper, you may not require the other person to use anger as their currency. Try to be more flexible. Do what’s right, and what you would want if you were on the other side of the conversation.
They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Don’t require everyone to be a squeaky wheel. Help out when you know it’s the right thing to do. We should not be required to spend our days generating anger and frustration simply to achieve simple tasks. Life is too short to spend so much time in these negative emotions.
Let’s find our way to another kind of currency: honesty, commitment, and respect. Treat others with these things, and reward those who treat you with them.