Posted on: October 30th, 2018 by
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Whoa.  Take a deep breadth.  Before you spend a lot of time and effort with a job hunt, ask yourself some basic questions:  What’s wrong with what I’m doing now?  Do I have a future to advance within 5 years?  Am I ready for a new, higher level assignment?  And most importantly, what do I want to do in the future and why?


Seeking another job somewhere else may not be necessary. You’re more likely to move up to the next level where you’re already known, than to make a jump somewhere that you aren’t known.  Have you utilized the educational programs available to you in your current job? Advanced certifications?  If you do decide to move forward and check out the marketplace, you should ask yourself “why”, then identify your potential targets and prepare for the change.


Here are some potential questions you should answer when thinking about a job change:


  • What do you really like about your current job? Why?
  • What do you really dislike about your current job? Why?
  • What would need to change for you to consider staying? Can you make it happen?
  • Is the current industry the right one for you? If no, what industry is the right one?
  • What high level of knowledge or skills would make you compelling in the marketplace?
  • Are your skills easily transferable to another job? Company?  Industry?
  • Will a change require relocation? Personal and professional implications?
  • Will a change affect your quality of life or the balance between work and non-work?
  • Are you willing to move down or across a level to gain greater opportunities?
  • Will you only move up the scale for compensation or benefits?
  • What does the marketplace tell you about opportunities? Requirements?
  • When you look at the next level, what are the weaknesses you need to address?
  • Will you need another degree, certification, courses or special training?
  • Will you lose anything with a move? Vacation, benefits, time off or incentives?
  • What kind of reference will you get? From whom?
  • Will you lose a mentor? Who will you learn from?


Here are some additional comments about the implications of a job change:


  • When considering a job change, always look two jobs ahead. Make sure the next one isn’t a dead end job, where you can’t get out or move from.
  • You’re a known entity where you currently work. You have earned your place as a performer and colleague. You start from scratch at a new job with unknown expectations.
  • Ask the, “What happens if” question: You don’t fit the culture? You underperform? You’re uncomfortable with the environment, boss or co-workers?  The job isn’t what you thought it was, or the job description is now different?  What’s your contingency plan?


The greater the level of euphoria without proper research, the greater are your chances for disappointment.  “The grass is always browner” can be a reality if your not careful.


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Posted on: October 23rd, 2018 by
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Ever think about how decision makers decide on who is promotable and who is not?  There must be a formula or guide to help understand how some people get promoted and others are left behind.  Based on my 40 or so years of experience, I see two sets of criteria that determine who moves ahead.  They are both very easy to see, but more difficult to execute.



  • Individuals who create new ideas to enhance revenue or reduce cost, or have a better way of doing things for efficiency or effectiveness, are recognized by the decision makers
  • Individuals who can take those ideas and help make them work are also recognized
  • Individuals who have no ideas, except how to maintain the status quo are overlooked



  • Individuals who see a problem and provides a solution are rewarded by decision makers
  • Individuals who see a problem and helps to develop alternative solutions are recognized
  • Individuals who can’t see the problem or work around the problem, are overlooked


There seems to be three kinds of people:  Those who make things happen; those who watch things happening; and a number of people who have no idea what’s happening.  It’s not difficult to spot a problem, but those individuals who do something about it, whether it’s developing alternatives or implement a solution, are the ones who move ahead.


Viewed through a different lens, there are Achievers and Grumblers.  You know who they are in your own organization.  Management decision makers also see the differences.  You have to decide which of the two types you are. Achievers get promoted.  Grumblers remain.


Supervisors and managers set the standards on expectations.  If status quo, non-problem solvers, non-engaged or Grumblers dominate the work force, the organizational results will reflect less than desirable outcomes.  The Achievers, engaged problem-solvers and idea generators will either leave the organization or become unproductive if management allows it.   When management sets the bar high enough, the Grumblers and their followers are forced to meet higher standards or be left behind.  If management maintains the highest standards, over time it becomes the expected culture of the organization, affecting hiring decisions, performance, and ultimately who gets promoted to a higher level of responsibility.


How can management raise the standards and culture of an organization?  By providing immediate and clear feedback.  Positive reinforcement is needed for what is being done well, and immediate, strong correction for what is not being done well.  When performance is at a high level, reward it with added responsibility and promotion.  When performance is not at standard or is dragging the organization down, provide corrective action.  If the negative performance persists, move the individual to a place where they can contribute to standard, or remove them.


If you consistently attack problems with alternatives or solutions, your performance will be recognized and rewarded over time.  If not, you are working for the wrong organization.


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Posted on: October 16th, 2018 by
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A recent survey listed the most secure and the least secure jobs and their comparable pay.  I found the information interesting in a number of different ways:


  • Of the most secure jobs, all required a college degree, advanced training, or specialized certification, except for a postal service mail carrier, or a court and license clerk.
  • Of all the most secure jobs, the lowest paid was the job of Paramedics at $33,000+ a year.  Everyone else was paid at a higher rate


  • Of the least secure jobs, there were none that required a college education, special training, or advanced certifications. The least secure job of all was that of an Actor.
  • Of all the least secure jobs, the highest paid was for Fishing & Forestry workers at $45,000 a year. Everyone else was paid at a lower rate.


So what does that information tell us?


  • Education levels, advanced training or special certification paid the most and were the most secure, even in economic downturns
  • The least secure jobs were also paid the least, did not require a higher level of education or special training and were most effected with an economic downturn


What reasonable assumptions can be drawn from this information?


  • The greatest single variable of all seems to be the factors of specialized knowledge, training, or education. When hiring managers have two candidates with very similar backgrounds or experiences, the decision makers will usually go with the person that has something special to add potential value to their organizational results.
  • Pay is directly related to the factors listed above. The more education, specialized knowledge, certifications or advanced training a candidate has, comes out ahead.
  • Core contributions (those that directly affect accelerated revenue or reduction of costs) are the most sought after factors in both security and pay. If you can affect either one, through your knowledge, skills or ability, you are more likely to be secure and paid at a higher level.
  • Increasing your education, certifications, training or advancing your skills through on-line courses or programs for certification gives you a distinct edge. It shows your employer or hiring manager that you want to advance your value and you have the motivation and drive to achieve a higher level of contribution.
  • The greater the automation that is possible in your industry or company, the less secure your function will be. Jobs that 5 years ago that looked secure may not be so now.
  • Product purchasing, courses, educational degrees, communications and books are all available on-line. However, so are hacking, phishing, scamming and identity theft.  The bad guys seem to be two steps ahead of the good guys in protecting your interactions.
  • When just starting out in your first job, having less security with less training, education or certifications but being paid more, over time you are more vulnerable to job security and will be paid much less than your counterparts.


Don’t prepare for the future by looking in the rear view mirror.  Those days are gone.


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Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by
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The future can be scary or secure depending upon a lot of factors.  Some of these situations you control, while others, not.  There are three basic situations that dictate your actions.


  1. Situations that you control. You make the decision and are accountable for the outcome.  Other people are affected by your decision and may try to sway your judgment.
  2. Situations that you can influence. You have the ability to alter someone else’s decision through your persuasive powers, usually around new or compelling information.
  3. Situations that you have no control or influence. You are helpless to affect the decision, whether it’s the right or wrong one, and are bound by the outcome.


Take a few minutes and examine your professional and personal life to identify those critical areas that may affect your future.  These elements determine your direction and goals.  Assess each one and categorize them into one of the three elements of Control, Influence, or No Control or Influence. You now have the basic elements to design your future.  Here are some steps that may get you closer.


VISION– What is the ultimate goal of your vision?  What does it look like?  Describe your vision in detail.  Use this “vision-picture” to find others who have already achieved your vision. The ones who “get it” are the ones who will most support your efforts as you move forward.


AIDES – What resources are required to assist your journey: People, financial support, education, prior experiences, mentors, certifications, others?  How do you align the support you need to the tasks that are required?  What steps have others taken to achieve your goal?


DO YOUR HOMEWORK– Research your vision.  What industries, organizations or companies are looking for people like you?  Do you fit their requirements?  What do you need to do in order to be an attractive candidate?  What do future trends say?   Are you in sync?


IDENTIFY IMPEDIMENTS– What impediments do you see?  Are they immovable or can they be overcome?  Are there resources or strategies to remove those impediments?  Who can help overcomer them?  Do you have the tenacity to break through the impediments?


DEVELOP A STEP-BY-STEP STRATEGY– Create a roadmap from where you are, to where you ultimately want to be.  Break it down into small steps that are achievable each year, then 5, 10 or 20 year period. The shorter the timeline, the bigger each step is required.


ASSIGN REASONABLE BENCHMARKS AND TIMELINES– Determine how long each step will take to reach each benchmark.  Build a timeline that is reasonable and attainable.  Track your achievements against your benchmarks and timeline. Accelerate when necessary.


IMPLEMENT STEP ONE– Begin your journey and move toward completing the first step toward your goal.  Sometimes you can jump ahead a step or two.  Adjust your plan as you move forward.  Be determined and focused on your ultimate goal.


“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there” credited to George Harrison of the Beatles


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Posted on: October 2nd, 2018 by
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Job-hopping is about moving from one company to another in order to advance your career.  We’re not talking about internal promotions or lateral moves to expand responsibilities or for further training.


Discussion of the job-hopping question is complex, because the implications of job-hopping are very individual and personal.  Much of it depends upon your age, compensation, function, supply/demand equation in the marketplace and the current economy.  There is not one answer for all situations.  However, let’s review some of the considerations you’ll need to assess for yourself:


  • Over 3 million people changed jobs in June 2018 with a strong economy, but salary compensation is still lagging from the past 10 years of economic malaise. The labor market is beginning to tighten, which puts pressure on companies to increase pay to both keep their high performing employees, but also to maintain their competitive positions.
  • Younger employees with higher education and better state-of-the-art technology skills will tend to do better than their counterparts who are older, have less education or work with older technology. With the economy strong, coupled with low unemployment, it makes it easier for the more skilled employees to leave one job and quickly find another.
  • On the other hand, older employees who have kept up with technology and are in management positions can command a premium if they are in high demand industries that are growing faster than the gross national product gains.
  • Some industries are being overwhelmed with programs and systems replacing hourly workers. These employees are feeling the brunt of the transition. Automation is replacing employees, giving companies a competitive advantage.  Coupled with offshore manufacturing, there are fewer employees, plus a downward pressure on wage gains.
  • The great equalizer is skills training. Two factors are at work:  Larger companies can afford to invest in their people while smaller companies that can’t find qualified workers are at a disadvantage.  New skills, however, make employees more productive and more valuable.  Those same higher level skills force higher wages and greater opportunity for those skilled workers to find other positions in the open marketplace.


So what does this all mean to you if you’re seeking a higher-level job?

  • Get all the education, certification, credentials, training and development that you can
  • Focus on attaining the highest state-of-the-art technology or functional skills that you can
  • Changing companies within an industry is easier than changing to a different industry
  • Stay away from companies that are automating, shrinking their workforce or in a merger
  • Be flexible. Many times opportunities can lead to careers you many not have considered


But be careful, because if the economy drops precipitously, the last employees in may be the first employees out the door.  Too many short-term jobs may brand you as a perpetual job-hopper who can’t remain loyal to one organization for any length in time.


Most employees leave an organization for more responsibility, money, and training or to move out of a hostile environment.   Make sure you know why.


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