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Be Kind to Each Other


We all have bad days. Whether you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or someone cut you off on the way to work, it can make getting through the day difficult. What can make it even more difficult is when we look at each moment as a competition to the top.

Why do we assume that in order to do well at our job (or to win), someone else must lose? It’s a sad state of affairs when we look at those around us as competition. It’s sad to think of life as a zero-sum game.

Think of it this way. When you’re having that bad day, the one thing you need is a helping hand. But, if you haven’t given a hand to anyone else in the past, you’re unlikely to get the help you need. Alternatively, if you’ve spent time helping others over the years, you may be surprised to see help pouring in from those around you.

I heard a similar idea last year at a podcast conference I often attend, Podcast Movement. A speaker talked about how we, as podcasters, look at one another as competition. We each want to be number one in iTunes. We don’t want to help each other for fear that we’ll lose listeners. But, what would happen if we assumed there was room for everyone? What would happen if we assumed that we could all succeed in some way?

In this scenario, it’s likely that we would help each other more. We would talk to each other more. We’d share ideas, and suggestions. And, we would all be more successful — together.

I know. There’s a strong temptation to be “the best.” Going to school prepares us for this idea. In elementary school, our teachers may rank us by reading level. In high school, we fight to become the valedictorian or the best athlete. In college, we each want to earn the distinction of cum laude. There’s always a ranking. There’s a first place, and then the very first loser. Nobody wants to lose.

But, in real life, and in the professional world, things rarely work this way. We get ahead because of the people on our team. We get ahead when we lean on those whose strengths are different than ours – and when we share our talents with others.

In life, we rarely get ahead on our own with zero support. We get ahead when others help us. And, others want to help us when we’ve helped them. Even if we could get ahead on our own – what would the prize be at the end of the journey? Who would we share our winnings with? All alone seems like a pretty lonely place to be.

So, take the time to remember – there’s room for everyone. We each have a place at the table. And, the best way to get there is together.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Signs It’s Time for a Midlife Career Change


If you’re like most people, you think you’re the only one. Everything was fine for the first twenty years of your career.

You were focused. You were happy. You were going up the ladder. Then, you hit an age. Maybe it was thirty or forty or fifty. But, suddenly, everything changed.
You are no longer happy at your current job. Something just isn’t right. But, nothing has really changed all that much. And, still, somehow you just aren’t satisfied.

It’s so confusing. Chances are good that you worked your entire career to get to where you are. You’re at the top of the mountain. And, yet, it seems like maybe you were climbing up the wrong mountain. It can make you question everything you’ve worked for.

If this has happened to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. I talk to multiple people every single day who are having this very same experience.

We’re all just so secretive that we don’t talk about these feelings and thoughts out loud to each other. I wish we would. But, it seems that this kind of sharing might seem to indicate that we have failed in some way.

I prefer to look at it a little different. It’s more like this. You’ve conquered your original goal (the first mountain), and now you’re ready for a new one.

The priorities in your life have shifted. So maybe, you are no longer as motivated by money. Perhaps your retirement account is at a good place. Or, alternatively, maybe money motivates you more. Perhaps you want to catch up on your retirement savings.

Maybe you’ve learned more about yourself. You really don’t like managing people after all. Or, you really don’t want to work in a creative atmosphere where the expectation of producing new content never seems to go away.

Whatever it is, you’ve simply grown. You’ve changed. Growth and change are both good things. And, they’re an inevitable part of life.

Making a change midcareer doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean you’ll fail in the future. Your priorities have just evolved. It’s time to find something new that better aligns with your new goals and your new direction.

Start small. You won’t find the answer tomorrow. And, you probably won’t find it in your head, thinking for hours, devising the perfect solution. The answer most likely doesn’t exist in any certain personality test either.

Almost always, this career change happens by doing. It happens by getting out there and having conversations with other people in different lines of work. It happens by researching various companies. It happens by volunteering for projects outside of your comfort zone. It happens by trying new things, to find what works and what doesn’t.

Career change is not an easy process, but the journey will take you to where you’re mean to be: a new life that is in alignment with your current and future priorities.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Don’t let your vacation stop you from switching companies

One of the number one reasons people are hesitant to switch jobs is because of their vacation time. They start with one or two weeks of vacation each year at their company. Then, as they stay at their job for a few years, more days are added on. After a while, they may find that they have earned four or five weeks of vacation per year. This much vacation can truly be life changing. And, all that vacation time took years to earn. It makes you not want to leave. Can you relate?

One of the biggest secrets to interviewing for a new job is this. Vacation time is negotiable. In other words, you can ask for more. This especially true at big corporations – for office jobs.

I get it. There’s a company handbook. The human resources team lays out the rules. Everyone starts with two weeks. When you start a new job, you start over.

In reality, everyone starts out with two weeks, until they negotiate for more. When you are negotiating your job offer, along with pay and your start date, you can negotiate for more vacation. Don’t get me wrong. You can’t ask for more of everything. If you ask for more vacation, you may not want to ask for ask for more money.

Often, it is actually easier for a company to give you more vacation than it is to give you more money. On the surface, this can be surprising, because many employees value vacation more than they value a few extra dollars.

If you’re thinking of switching, don’t let your current vacation stop you from looking for a new job. It’s very possible that your new job will be open to the idea of matching your current vacation time.

Wait until you have a job offer in hand to ask for more vacation. Then, ask if there’s room for negotiation around the amount of vacation. Explain that you love the new job, but that you have earned a certain level of vacation time at your current company. You would hate to lose that time.

In all likelihood, you’ll ask this question to the human resources recruiter. That person will have to talk this over with the hiring manager. Then, they’ll let you know if your request is approved.

If they do decide to approve your request, there’s one important thing not to forget. Get it in writing. Increased vacation days are often an agreement between you and your manager. If your current manager were to leave the company, how would your new manager know about the agreement? At a bare minimum, get your approved vacation time in an email, so that you could share it with a new manager.

It’s as simple as that. If you ask for more vacation, you very well might get it. It doesn’t always work. But, if you don’t ask, you will never know.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Continuous Interviewing

One of the hardest things about looking for a new job is this. Most people wait to start looking until they need a job. In other words, they’ve been fired, or they hate their work situation so much that they’re ready to quit. Does this sound familiar? The problem is, if you wait until you need a job, you’ve probably waited too long. The chances you’ll find a job on just the day you need it is low.

So, what can you do about this problem? I recommend what I like to call “continuous interviewing.” In other words, always network, always keep your eyes open for interesting job opportunities, and always be open to interviewing for a new job.

This process will keep you up to date on your industry. It will allow you to consider all opportunities to eventually find one that’s a great fit. It’s a proactive approach, rather than a reactive approach. In other words, if you wait until you need a job, your choices will be slim. If you always keep your eyes open for opportunities, you will have many options to evaluate. It will allow you to leave your current job when you want to, rather than when you have to.

I’m sure this sounds like a lot of work. It is a lot of work. But, it’s worth it. It gives you more choices and it allows you to make better decisions about your future. You may devote thirty minutes a week to continuous interviewing for one year. Or, you may devote over twenty-five hours to looking for a job in a short period of time when you’re unemployed. You’re spending a similar total amount of time either way. They’re just divided up differently.

So, how can you implement this idea of continuous interviewing? The next time a headhunter calls you to ask if you’re interested to learn about a new job, say yes. Talking to a recruiter isn’t an indication that you hate your job. And, it doesn’t mean that you have to say yes if they offer you something that’s not a good fit. A conversation with a recruiter is simply that: a conversation.

Visit Indeed.com and setup a job alert for your type of role. This way, you’ll be notified by email when companies in your area are looking for people like you. Sign up for the Glassdoor.com “Know Your Worth” tool to keep an eye on your salary compared to others in your area. Keep your resume up to date. And, update your LinkedIn profile to match.

Once these simple steps are in place, focus on networking. The more you’re able to get to know people in your field, the more they’ll think of you if something comes along. Continuous interviewing puts you back in the driver’s seat. It allows you to find the right job for yourself, at just the right time.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Talk to Strangers

If you’re like me, the adults in your life taught you early on, “Don’t talk to strangers.” You may have even heard the phrase, “stranger danger.” The idea is that strangers can harm you in some way. Staying away from strangers kept you safe from kidnapping or something else bad.

I whole heartedly agree with this idea for children. As a child, avoiding strangers helped me to keep myself safe in a number of potentially dangerous situations. Frankly, I still sometimes avoid strangers in public places for fear that “something” might go wrong. It’s like a residual reaction left over from childhood.

In reality, as a professional, strangers are the very people you want to talk to. I don’t mean the random people you pass in the street. I’m talking about the person you’re sitting next to at a professional conference. Or, perhaps there’s a new employee in another department you haven’t met. It could even be the person sitting next to you at a coffee shop.

I like to think of networking as making new friends. And, new friends are all around you. William Butler Yeats once said, “There are no strangers here; only friends you haven’t yet met.”

The same applies for LinkedIn. I’m often asked by job seekers whether or not to accept connection requests from strangers on LinkedIn. Most people prefer to only connect to others they have worked with before. But, if you’re in the business of looking for a job, connections are everything. Expanding your network means there will be a greater chance that you’ll know someone at the next job you apply for.

In fact, LinkedIn prioritizes candidates who have connections at companies where they apply for jobs. When you apply to a job on LinkedIn, LinkedIn sends your information (along with every other applicant) to the recruiter or hiring manager. LinkedIn has to decide who to rank first, and having connections with the company is one of the factors they consider.

On top of that, LinkedIn will let you contact strangers, if they are second and third degree connections. This means that you may be able to reach out to a hiring manager you don’t know – if you have enough first degree connections.

In real life, you may wonder what this looks like, especially if you don’t typically work to build your new connections. Take the time to introduce yourself to new people at events and parties. Ask the other person about themselves. Listen carefully. Afterward, follow up with the person on LinkedIn and set a time to connect again in person.

With enough practice, these sorts of interactions will become a bit more natural and less forced. And, with enough follow up, the strangers you meet won’t be strangers anymore. They’ll be business contacts. They’ll be friends. They’ll be people who you can turn to when you are looking for a new job at a new company.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

Running Away Money

I recently had the privilege of interviewing Margaret Heffernan. Margaret is incredibly impressive, with a career that includes running five companies in the United States and the United Kingdom, being a college professor, authoring five books, and giving multiple TED Talks. Originally from Texas, Margaret has lived all over, including in the U.K.

Margaret’s career is so impressive that it was hard to narrow down the questions to a list that would fit into one podcast episode. As you can imagine, the interview was wonderful. The insights Margaret shared haven’t left my mind since we spoke.

Margaret describes herself as someone that has always done work that she’s loved. At times, she was paid well, and other times she made very little. But, she was always happy in her work. I asked her how she was able to organize her career this way.

She made two important points that I want to share with you. When a job wasn’t the right fit, she didn’t hesitate to walk away – even if she had only been there for a short period of time. This reminds me of the way a company would quickly fire someone if they weren’t the right fit. But, as employees, we stick around out of some kind of artificial loyalty.

When Margaret worked in an environment where it was clear that succeeding would be an uphill battle, she looked for another job that was a better fit. This would happen in situations where perhaps the staff didn’t treat everyone fairly. Rather than take it personally, she moved on and looked for a better situation. This must have been a tough decision at times, given how important equality is. But, I think we can all agree that it’s easier to succeed in an environment that supports you and your talent.

The second tip Margaret he was gold, quite literally. She said she was always careful to keep enough, “running away money on hand.” I can’t tell you how happy this phrase makes me. Running away money is often referred to as an emergency fund. It is typically six to twelve months of salary (or living expenses) saved up. Most people place this money in a savings account for safe keeping.

Having a financial safety net gives you choices. It allows you to walk away if you really need to. It allows you to control your own destiny, not your company. Very often, when we upgrade our house, our cars, and our lifestyles, we are simply chaining ourselves to the very company we hate.

And as Margaret noted, just having the running away money doesn’t mean you actually need to run away. It often gives you a boost of confidence to be yourself at work. You know you’ll be okay, even if everything else falls apart. That added confidence alone makes things at work go better, and it keeps you from running away at all.

You can listen to my entire interview with Margaret Heffernan here.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.