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Taking InventoryStatistics show that a lot more of us are beginning to think about moving on - to a new job, a new company or even a totally new career.  Let me just say: Hold on a minute.
Before you begin your search for that next opportunity, set aside some time to TAKE INVENTORY. Get clear about who you are and what you want so YOU control your career rather than it controlling you. Think about what you bring to the table, what you like and don’t like, and what would be a fulfilling "next step."

Here are some areas to consider:
Skills. What are the skills and competencies that have helped you succeed in your career so far? Which of them are transferable skills that will help you contribute regardless of industry or position? Write them all down.
Values. What are the things you MUST have in a company, a position, a leader to be happy and do your best? What motivates you?
Natural talents. What are those innate abilities that keep coming up in compliments and performance reviews? “You’re a natural at…” Fill in the blank.
Interests. What do you like to do? Think large on this one. You never know when an interest you haven’t really focused on so far may lead to a new opportunity…
Job Satisfiers. Or, as I like to call them, “the good, the bad, and the ugly.” What are the factors that have made your past work situations rewarding (the good), boring or frustrating (the bad) or something you never want to repeat (the ugly)?
Barriers. Here’s where you really need to “get real.” What are those internal blocks that have kept you from being all you want to be? Write ‘em down. Recognizing them is the first step in eliminating them.
Key accomplishments. Think back over your career and other areas of your life. What have you done that made a difference for your team, your department, your company, your community?
Salary requirements. In today’s job market, this is often one of the first questions asked, so it’s good to start thinking about this early. Consider what your basic expectations are and then, when you’ve determined your target market, do some research to validate your expectations.
Completing these inventories will take some time. However, you will be amazed at how much you’ll learn about yourself, and how the resulting personal career snapshot will guide you to “what’s next.”
Want to know more about how to “Get Real” about your career? Check out our online guide.
Whatever you do, don’t stop believin’.
Till next time,

Career, Career planning, Job search, The Get Real Guide to Your Career

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Dollars on My Mind

October 15th, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

Let’s continue our walk through The Get Real Guide to Your Career. We’ve been very busy in the last seven blogs taking inventory of who we are today. We’ve looked at skills we want to use, our values, the natural talents that make us who we are, and of course, we’ve even looked at the themes that are the foundation for our accomplishments and have established our career path.

No Running Away!

Now…it’s time to look at the one area people normally run away from screaming – the dreaded financial conversation. I can already hear you all saying “I’ll wait till Karen’s next blog. I’m cool with money; I don’t need to look any closer.” And…I can even hear “has she gone completely nuts? Why do we have to discuss money? I was having so much fun rediscovering who I am.” Yep…I’ve heard it all…and…I doubt there will be much that will surprise me. So, here’s a thought…just keep reading for a minute and see whether you can power through without shutting down.

The Financial Conversation with yourself…

I know that the financial conversation can bring up emotions we don’t want to deal with. The financial conversation can remind us of our upbringing, it can remind of us what we haven’t achieved and it can remind us of how incredibly lucky we are to be where we are today. My vote, let’s go with the last one and be very grateful for where we are today. Remember…success is defined by each of us individually, and we have to judge our success on ‘our terms.’ Our financial situation don’t define our success, and it is only one component of our life. As we look back at all we have learned so far, maybe we can take the “charge” out of the money conversation and realize our life is made up of multiple successes and experiences, and that darn money part is just a piece of the entire picture.

You’ve got to SEE it to internalize it!

So…let’s go for it. You might as well get out your paper and pencil because you know what’s coming. Ya gotta write it down. Ya gotta see it to internalize it and make some shifts.

As we begin thinking about what’s next, and the financial rewards we want with our new career role, we also have to think about our financial requirements today – what we will need to sustain our lifestyle while we look for that next opportunity. The first part should be fairly easy for us to define. What are your current fixed expenses? Those bills that you know have to be paid each month: mortgage/rent; auto and health insurance; car payment; child care. Well, you get it. We all have our fixed expenses, so really think that through and get it down on paper and total the amount. See that wasn’t so painful, was it?

Now let’s think about our variable expenses: groceries; gasoline; credit cards; eating out; entertainment; clothing; shoes (a girl’s gotta have a new pair of shoes – maybe that should be in the fixed category!) Again, you get the idea. Write down the approximate amount you spend in each category and get your total.

How about those savings? What amount of accessible funds do you have available (just in case you need them): savings; stocks/bonds; IRAs; change in the piggy bank; money stuffed in the mattress. Get it down on paper. I am in no way suggesting you use your accessible funds; however, it is always good to understand the amount of money you have, where it is and how to get it if necessary.

Remember, this is all so we can truly understand how much money we need/want to make in our next position. Some people will be thrilled with their current financial situation and will not want to take big risks for big rewards. Other people might want to take some bigger risks so there is a bigger payment in the end. All of this is an individual decision and needs to be based on what is best for you.

Time to do some discovery work on what you are looking for from a total compensation perspective. It is important that you understand your salary/income requirements prior to your search. This will be based on your target market – including geographic location, industry or type of organization, position/function (all coming in future blogs). Look at your requirements in the following five categories. List what you: a) would like, and b) what you are willing to take in each category. Be realistic. Or…maybe you can dream a little bit and have two lists. Why not? One that is realistic, and one that is completely out there in dreamland. You are going to write that book you know is in you, get on Oprah and become a zillionaire!!

  1. Base salary

  2. Commission

  3. Bonus

  4. Benefits

  5. Other (stock, signing bonus, extra vacation time, etc.)

See, that wasn’t so bad, was it? The salary conversation is often the hardest one to have and you need to really think it through. That is why it is so important to be clear about your requirements and be able to clearly articulate them. The more prepared you are, the easier it will be for you to answer the question “what are your salary requirements?” You don’t want to hesitate…you want to be sure of yourself…and say exactly what you want. Remember…if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will.

Hope this helped, and you don’t have knots in your stomach. In fact, I hope this exercise took the knots away. You are now clear about fixed and variable expenses. You are clear about your compensation requirements, and you are very, very proud of where you are today.

Your success is defined by you and for you!

Remember…your success is defined by you and for you. Don’t let anyone else place their values on you and tell you what success looks like for you and your life!

Here’s to the greenbacks coming your way!!!

Till the next time…Karen

Bruce springsteen, Career, Jersey shore, New jersey, Performance Reviews with The Get Real Guide to your Career, Professional and team leadership

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Show Stoppers

October 15th, 2012

By: Karen Colligan

As I sit here trying to write my blog about Show Stoppers – those things that stop us in our tracks and keep us one step from achieving what we want to achieve – I think…what is stopping me from writing this blog? Oh…that’s right…I have to be creative, provide substance and most of all give the reader a reason to read. Just a little bit of pressure, wouldn’t you say? At this moment, my preference would be to stop thinking and do almost anything else instead of sitting at my computer. Maybe I’ll go do laundry. Now, that is a sad state of affairs! With that said, the important element is to “push through” the negative self-talk and write something meaningful. I’ll try my best.

Yes, we all have that little person sitting on our shoulder that says to us “are you crazy, you can’t do that” or “you do not have the guts to pull that one off” or “you’ve never done that before, what makes you think you can do it now?” There is not a human being alive who does not have doubts about something they want to achieve. For some, those doubts will fuel us. For others, those voices will stop us in our tracks and paralyze us. It is easier to go do the wash. Yes, indeed this is true.

Stand tall, be confident, provide the reasons you are the right fit and candidate for the position and push through that F-E-A-R. Own it, make it yours and get that new job.

Fear is an overwhelming emotion. Susan Jeffers says – “Feel the fear and do it anyway.” Well, that’s very easy to say; however, making it a reality is taking it to another level. What we have to do is really think through what our personal Show Stoppers are. What stops us in our tracks and prevents us from getting that next work assignment? What stops us in our tracks and prevents us from taking the leap and becoming an entrepreneur, going back to school for something we’ve always wanted to learn – doing whatever will help us fulfill our dreams? It’s that darn four letter word – F-E-A-R.

As I began to write The Get Real Guide, I realized that in a lot of my personal career development work the focus was on accomplishments, skills, etc. No one was asking me, “what is preventing you from doing what you want to do?” Now, I did all types of work around what I wanted; however, I wasn’t answering that dreaded question – What gets in your way? I realized that I was very similar to others, yes, I was confident, yes, I wanted more and yes, I had “stuff” that kept messing with my head. I had to address that “stuff.” UGH…is just about all I had to say.

So, yep, if you have read or worked with me, you know what is coming next…ya gotta get stuff down on paper. If you can see it, you can own it and then you can do something about it. So, what’s on your list? Write down 5 Show Stoppers that have gotten in your way in the past. The reason I say 5 is because we don’t want you to get carried away and then completely get overwhelmed by what you think you have to “fix.” Five is plenty. This can be tough because you have to own what you don’t do well. Here are some Show Stoppers from The Get Real Guide. Do any of these resonate for you – argumentative; arrogant; closed-minded; defensive; fear of success (it ain’t just failure some of us are afraid of); insecure, lack of goal setting; perfectionist (yep, I said it – are you a perfectionist?); timid.

Now, take a look at your list. As you look at your list of Show Stoppers, think about specific times when they have impacted your life, your decisions, your career. Why and how did they make an impact? As you look at each one, write down next to it what you are going to do the next time it rears its ugly little head. An example – fear of success. As crazy at it sounds, a lot of people are afraid of success. If this is on your list, how are you going to overcome it? What success are you afraid of? When did it impact you? What do you want next for yourself where you believe it will show up? What measures are you going to take to squash it? You want to be thinking about this prior to ‘it’ showing up. If you have an opportunity for a job promotion, or you have an opportunity to interview for a new job in a new company, be prepared and show ‘em what you are made of. Stand tall, be confident, provide the reasons you are the right fit and candidate for the position and push through that F-E-A-R. Own it, make it yours and get that new job.

Doesn’t that all sound so easy? Hardly! It takes work. It takes confidence in yourself and it takes a plan. And, you know what, you are worth it!

Till the next time… Don’t Stop Believing!!!