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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.

160 | Toxic Workplace & Narcissist Boss – Dr. Karlyn Borysenko, Zen Workplace in New Hampshire

Episode 160 is live! This week, we talk with Dr. Karlyn Borysenko in New Hampshire.

Karlyn is the Principle at Zen Workplace. She is an organizational psychologist and performance coach. Karlyn helps individuals find greater happiness and fulfillment in their professional lives, and works with organizations to help create amazing environments for their teams that drive productivity. She will also be speaking this year at SXSW at a session called “Zen Your Work: Creating an Ideal Work Experience.”

On today’s episode, Karlyn shares:

  • What elements play into an ideal work experience
  • How to start designing our ideal work experience
  • How to identify whether or not you’re working in a toxic work environment
  • How to deal with a boss who is a narcissist
  • What to do if others find you intimidating

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Karlyn, visit her website at www.zenworkplace.com. You can also learn more about her talk at SXSW by visiting www.sxsw.com.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send me your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

Treating Employees with Dignity

Part of my job is to work with professionals who have recently become unemployed. It’s incredible how many people are impacted by layoffs each day. Often, the person was let go due to something outside of their control. Their company reorganized and laid off an entire department. The employee had a great track record of loyal service.

Ultimately, the company had to look out for their own best interests. Perhaps they needed to eliminate a department that uses out of date technology. Or maybe, they need to scale back operations in order to survive. Even though an employee is sad to lose their job, typically they understand that this sort of thing happens.

This is the part that I don’t understand, and I’m not sure if I ever will. Approximately eighty percent of those I speak with have had the same experience. They went to work one morning, and started to do their job. Then, their boss called them and asked them to come to their office for an unplanned meeting. The boss informed them of the reorganization and told them their job would be ending – effective immediately. The person was then walked out of the building.

Company reorganizations are a part of life. The situation I just described doesn’t have to be. Without fail, when I speak to someone who has gone through this experience, they’re broken – often for months or years. They have gone from a loyal, productive employee one day to a hopeless, crying person the next.

It seems that the company feels that if they give the individual some kind of financial payout, this procedure is acceptable. In reality, the sadness and depression the employee is facing is only partially about money. What it’s really about is losing their identity. It’s about being walked out of their workplace as if they’re a criminal. It’s about being suddenly separated from those they have considered their second family for years. It’s like going through a death.

It seems there’s an assumption that a jilted employee may strike back. They may doing something to get retribution while they’re still in the office. I have never seen a single job seeker who was given advanced notice do anything other than be appreciative that their company gave them a heads up.

Companies are slow to implement new strategies. This means that very often, big layoffs were planned months in advance. Months when the impacted employees could have been planning their next move, if they had more notice. This time would not only help them plan, but it would help them to avoid the giant emotional loss that comes along with being walked out of a building you have worked in for so long.

Try to be empathetic with the employee. Put yourself in their shoes. They aren’t just a number. Employees are people who have given years of their time and their heart for their companies.

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

158 | Unhappy at Work – Kathryn Gates, Therapist at Gates Therapy in Austin, TX

Episode 158 is live! This week, we talk with Kathryn Gates in Austin, TX. Kathryn is a psychotherapist and fitness specialist who works with adults, teens, couples and families. Kathryn’s mission is to support her clients in healing their pasts and embracing their creativity to find their unique life purpose. This is Kathryn’s second time as a guest on the Copeland Coaching Podcast!

On today’s episode, Kathryn shares:

  • The types of issues employees are the most frustrated with at work
  • How to decide if you’re in the wrong job — or the wrong workplace environment
  • How Kathryn was able to transition her own career from personal trainer to psychotherapist
  • How to reduce your stress at work

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Kathryn, visit her website at www.gatestherapy.com. You can also check out her new e-book, Do NOT See A Therapist: until you’ve done these 5 things, available in March on Amazon.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send me your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

 

Love Your Job

The month of love is upon us again. Happy Valentine’s Day! It always happens just after we create our latest New Year’s resolutions. We’re often still thinking about career goals, and future plans. All these goals bring up an important question. Do you love your job?

If the answer is no to this question (and you have fallen out of love with your job), this is the perfect time to make a change. The first step is to identify what you like (and dislike) about your current job. Being in tune with your feelings will help you to spot your perfect job, and career, in the future.

If you don’t love your job, what is it that would make you want to go to work every day? Are you looking for more meaning? Would you like a bigger paycheck? Do you prefer more autonomy and respect from your boss? Perhaps you want all of the above.

What do you like about your current job? Hopefully, there are good parts to your less than ideal situation. Do you feel that you’re working on something with a purpose or a mission that motivates you? Does the job give you flexibility in your daily schedule? Maybe there’s something else that you enjoy about your work.

When we’re unhappy at our current job, we often start by looking through job postings for the perfect job title. We assume that the right title and job description will make all the difference. Although this makes perfect sense, it’s rarely that straightforward.

Finding the right job is often about finding the right situation. It’s about finding a supportive boss, and good coworkers. It’s about finding a reliable company in a stable industry.

Would you agree? The perfect job title doesn’t mean much if you hate your boss, or your workplace. Alternatively, you might be willing to make a little less money if you could just find a job you loved to go to each day.

Remember, finding a job is a lot like dating. If we breakup with one person, but we don’t take the time to reflect on what went wrong, we very well might end up in another equally unhappy relationship. This is often the case when we run from one job to another due to a difficult situation.

Once we have a good idea of the pros and cons at our current job, we should start building up our professional network. Even if we’re not ready to switch today, we will need our network when we are. Plus, finding a job through networking gives us a higher chance of success. We may already know our future boss. Or, a friend may share how great their company culture is.

Like dating, the more you know about the company going in, the more likely you are to find a match. After all, finding a job you love is all about fit.

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

154 | Making Meaning of Work – Amy Wrzesniewski, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Yale University

Episode 154 is live! This week, we talk with Amy Wrzesniewski in New Haven, CT. Amy is a professor of organizational behavior at the School of Management at Yale University. Her research interests focus on how people make meaning of their work in difficult contexts, including stigmatized occupations, virtual work, and the absence of work. She also researches the experience of work as a job, career, or calling. Her current research involves studying how employees shape their interactions and relationships with others in the workplace to change both their work identity and the meaning of the job. She teaches both on managing groups and teams, and global virtual teams.

On today’s episode, Amy shares:

  • The tie between purpose and meaning in work
  • How closely our career is tied to our identity
  • Why we may regret our occupational choices mid-career
  • Whether or not having purpose at work can increase your success
  • A common mistake job seekers make
  • The impact of unemployment on our identity

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Amy, find her on the Yale website and on YouTube.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!