Don’t Wait Until You Hit The Wall, Career-Wise!

Posted on: May 29th, 2012 by
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Don't let this be you!


From a career perspective, there are different reasons people “hit the wall”, meaning their careers come to a sudden stop.  A few of them are:

  • Stuck-in-place:  There appears to be no upward opportunities for you
  • Underutilized:  Your going stale, in place, and can’t use your talents
  • Hostile environment:  Someone doesn’t like you, with more influence than you
  • Termination:  Either voluntary or involuntary
  • Downsizing:  The company is in a slump and you may take the hit
  • Reorganization:  There’s been a change of direction and your redundant
  • Spin-off/Take-over/Merger:  While in flux, your competing for your own job
  • And so on…


If you’re moving toward the wall, for whatever reason, here are some thoughts to consider:

  1. Never allow yourself to actually “hit the wall”.  It may be too late to fully recover
  2. Always take pre-emptive action.  Find a solution before you become the problem.
  3. Talk to your boss or a decision maker if possible about your situation, for a discussion of potential solutions
  4. Begin to put our resume together.  Collect data about the results you’ve produced.
  5. Give some thought about how to differentiate yourself from your peers
  6. Talk to a professional coach (at no charge) about the marketplace, your background and experiences, and some steps you can take for the better
  7. Prepare a job search strategy, both internal and external, so you are prepared for any eventuality
  8. With some help, quietly “test” the marketplace.  Find out what’s your probability of success and the potential time-line to connect with a more fruitful position and career


And lastly, when you know you’re about to hit the wall, initiate your contingency strategy immediately.  You don’t want to be the last one out the door because you weren’t prepared.

Hitting the wall is painful and avoidable.  At the very least, set up your basic foundation of information, documentation and contingencies.  Get some help if you need it.  You’ll be very happy you did.


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You Have About 25,000 Days To Make A Difference!

Posted on: May 22nd, 2012 by
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From birth to age 70, you have about 25,000+ days to do whatever you plan to do.

If you’re age 18 and graduating from high school, you have 17,000 days until age 65.

If you’re a college graduate and 44 years old, you are mid-way through your career and have about 8,000 days left to make your mark.  What are you planning to do about it over the 8,000+ mornings you have left to start a new day?

Do these sound like strange numbers and questions?  Not if you want to make a difference!


When you think about it, being halfway through your career is a real milestone.  You’ve spent time going to school, achieved diplomas or degrees, started a career, and moved through initial jobs into some kind of mid-way point.  The next few decisions will be critical to where you go from there.  They will determine whether you achieve your goals or not.

If you’re older than age 21 but not yet to 44, you have time to reconsider where you are versus where you want to be.  The next step needs to be validated and designed carefully.

If you’re between 44 but not yet 55, you still have time to accelerate your career to the highest level attainable.  You should be near your ultimate career goal by the time you’re in your early 50’s.  You’re at your peak performance and near the top of your game.

If you’re over 55, you’re on cruise control as you help those under you gain the experiences they will need.  That is, unless fate has intervened and stops your progress.

No matter where you are, you’ll need a plan to determine where you want to be, and by when.  Assess what you need to do to arrive at your destination at the time you desire.  Put together the strategies to accomplish your goals.  Build a Career Map.

Most times, plans and strategies work out differently in reality than they look on paper.  So you need contingency plans or alternatives that will get you back on track or come closer to your goal.

Whatever your situation, consider talking with a professional coach.  They can help you plan your strategies at the beginning of your career, modify your strategies toward the middle, or help you optimize what you want to achieve toward the end of your career.

The future has always been in your hands.  Make each day count


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Posted on: May 14th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

Networking can work for or against you, depending upon how you manage the process.  Too little or a timid approach will yield little help.  Overuse or pushy networking will reduce the number of people willing to help.  Either way, you lose potential opportunities to connect.  Here are 8 guidelines to help you connect with the right people in the right way:

  1. Develop your list – The people who know you best will be your greatest supporters and understand your abilities.  Make a list of at least 100, going back in time, with everyone you know, have worked with, grew up with, went to school or socialized as neighbors.
  2. Prioritize by category and potential – Create categories within the list (family, friends, work associates, neighbors, school, and so on.  Select each individual within each category and prioritize them by potential (high, moderate and low) of those who can assist your efforts the most, either by contact within industries, by level or connections.
  3. Develop your approach – Identify the best approach for each individual:  Email, letter, telephone, or through someone else.  Your objective is to find the most effective way to connect with each individual based on your relationship.
  4. Seek informational meetings – The easiest way to connect is to say, “I’m in the process of testing the marketplace and I’d like to talk about your industry and which of the various companies are growing”.  Always do your research so you are knowledgeable about the industry and companies.
  5. Anticipate warm engagement or rejection – Some of your contacts will embrace you and your search while others will not respond energetically.  Expect both responses, but don’t let rejection affect your journey.  Sometimes the people who you don’t hear from immediately will pop up later with information about an open position.
  6. Prepare your “pitch” – Stay true to your request for information about their industry or company.  Don’t ask them directly for a job.  They will ask you why you are testing the marketplace.  Have your rationale ready, what you’re looking for and why.
  7. Ask for referrals – Toward the end of your discussion, ask who might be a good connection for you to approach.  Hopefully there will be 3 or 4 names mentioned.  See if it’s OK to use your contact’s name or if they would mind making a phone call to them, or send your resume on to them with a quick note.
  8. Keep them in the loop – When you make connections with referrals, keep your original contact in the loop with feedback as to your success or not.  In this way if there is a follow-up necessary, your contact might be receptive to become more involved.

If you’re not making at least 5 contacts a day your networking results will come up short.

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Posted on: May 7th, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future

There are 3 primary signs that tell you when to start looking for another job:

  • Your job results seem good but for some reason your appraisals and pay aren’t
  • You are subtly excluded from meetings, emails, or planning sessions
  • You find it difficult to go to work in the morning.  You sense something isn’t right.

Here are some telltale signs to look for:

Values are mismatched –  Values are usually hidden when interviewing for a job.  You only experience the organization’s operating values when you’re inside:

  • Your values of right or wrong are different from management, in policy or practice.  You find yourself at odds with decisions that you see as questionable.
  • The management style is inconsistent:  Bureaucracy versus engaging.  You are more participative and feel constrained by dictates or autocratic decisions.
  • Your decisions or methods are questioned without information or alternatives.  The plans or decisions you make are reversed without a chance to review your rationale.

Assignments are diminished The difference between what is written in your position description and what you’re actually asked to do may be vastly different:

  • You’re given tasks that are well below your abilities or rank.  Whenever assignments are handed out, you seem to get the less meaningful ones.
  • You are not invited to the strategy phase of a project, but are an afterthought.  Management will always go to the people they see as up to the task.  Is that you?
  • You always seem to get the “clean up” tasks where you can’t show competence.  You are never chosen to lead a project.

A sense of “doom” Many times you can’t put your finger on the issue causing you to question your “fit” in the organization:

  • Sometimes you don’t agree with decisions or methods of the boss.  Your performance appraisals are non-existent.  You never have meaningful discussions with your boss.
  • Your peers don’t see you as part of the inner circle.  There is a small group of people the boss always goes to, at the exclusion of others.  Which group are you?
  • Your projects are geared to your weaknesses, not your strengths.  You’re not given the opportunity to demonstrate your qualities in a favorable light.

So, what do you do about it?  There are basically three alternatives:

  • Have a discussion with your boss about your concerns and desire to perform
  • Stay the course and hopefully work your way through it over time
  • Quietly begin to put your job search strategy together

Contact me and we’ll set up a time to talk about your issues, at no cost.

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Posted on: May 1st, 2012 by
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By Bill Kaufmann, President of My Greener Future
If you don’t have a compelling resume, there’s no reason for companies to interview you.  Why should they interview an average applicant with no added-value strongly positioned in the resume?  Here is how to diagnose and fix your resume to get a telephone screen.

What’s your response rate? At a 2% response rate you equal junk mail.  At 10% you’re minimally adequate.  At 50% you’re “hot”.  Your resume must be compelling.  You must be compelling with both your resume and interview to become a primary candidate.

You get very few screening interviews. That means you’re not meeting the minimal requirements of the job, or everyone else is better than you.  You may be shooting too high and falling short.  Readjust your target, industry, level or compensation.  Something is off.

You get screening calls (that’s good) but no interviews (that’s bad). Your not hitting the key points they’re looking for in a candidate.  Practice short powerful responses about the results you’ve achieved rather than long-winded monologues about activities.

Your contact list isn’t providing you with great leads. Find out why your contacts aren’t working.  Revisit who you know that can refer you to knowledgeable people.  Ask those contacts for a few of their connections to talk about what’s happening in their industry.


Your resume is a “random walk”.  No target.  No focus. Key in on results.  Match them to the position description or ad.  Use an Executive Summary to put your best foot forward.

You are using a narrative form and give your life’s story. Define actions and outcomes, not just animation. Use bullets to highlight contributions in short, powerful ways.

No juice.  Your resume is boring. Differentiate yourself from all others.  Show your unique qualities or experiences that parallel the job to be done for today and tomorrow.

Put the most important things first. Use power words.  Use metrics.  Don’t highlight items that are less important, like community activities, unless they’re critical.

Make your resume easily readable.  Crisp. Clean. No mistakes. Use spell check and a contemporary font rather than a dated font.  Use “white space” to give a clean appearance.

Eliminate non-essential verbiage. Focus on the goal.  Figure out what they want, not what you want.  Get rid of peripheral add-ons unless they’re requested.

If you can’t put together a compelling resume, you’ll not get an interview.  It’s that simple.

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