Feature: Become a Career Activist

Feature: Become a Career Activist

Feature: Become a Career Activist

The most successful people in the world of work understand the importance of professional development. They know that the heart of a healthy career is one’s expertise in their profession, craft or trade. More than simply being competent, they want to be experts in the knowledge that defines their field and masters of its application on the job. While that level of capability will likely set them apart from many of their peers, however, it is not enough to ensure that their careers are truly meaningful and satisfying.

What’s missing? A commitment to effective career self-management. That activity is often confused with the continuing education that marks a savvy careerist, but in actuality, it’s very different. Professional development provides the continuous learning that is essential for a successful career, but it cannot achieve that end by itself. Only savvy career self-management can do that because it alone encompasses professional development and all of the other activities that will ensure you achieve the goals to which you aspire at work. It is a big job and one that only you can offer to yourself and only you can accept. I call it appointing yourself your very own “career activist.”

What does the role entail? It is the practice of:

  • knowing yourself, your values and principles, your priorities and dreams;
  • understanding what interests, motivates and, ultimately, fulfills you in the workplace;
  • designing a career plan that will make you competitive for employment opportunities that can deliver those benefits to you;
  • implementing that plan on a daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly basis in your career; and
  • continuously assessing your performance and adjusting your course to ensure your work always advances you in your quest to be the best of who you are.

    In short, a career activist accepts the responsibility of taking charge of their career. They commit to investing the time and effort necessary to accomplish goals they will cherish both during and after the one-third of their lives they will spend at work.

    Now, I know what you’re thinking so let’s get it right out in the open right now. It’s hard enough these days to do everything you have to do in the job you already have, so why would you want to take on the additional burden-the extra work-of being a career activist? In my view, there are at least several reasons for doing so.

    First, too many employers today act like bullies. These organizations talk a good game about the importance of their workers, but the way they manage them belies their words. In reality, they view you as a cog, not a cognitive being. They view human resources as the management of a supply chain of disposable carbon-based widgets, not as the leadership of human beings with talents to be engaged in the accomplishment of a mutually beneficial mission. In that kind of perverse environment, you have only two choices:

  • you can bounce from one dissatisfying job to another at the whim of employers who care more about quarterly earnings than they do about genuine relationships with workers;
  • or

  • you can pick and choose among employers and accept only those jobs that will work as well for you as they will for the organization that hires you.
  • A career pacifist gives up and lets the bullies push them around; a career activist confronts the bullies by taking matters into their own hands.

    Second, we now have a better understanding of what proactive career self-management entails. It is a personal commitment to doing all of the following:

  • keeping yourself at the state-of-the-art in your career field;
  • building recognition of and stature for your personal brand;
  • acquiring ancillary capabilities that can extend your potential range of contribution on-the-job;
  • pacing your work so that you both stretch yourself with appropriate challenges and rest yourself for sustained peak performance;
  • evaluating alternative employment opportunities continuously so you identify and, where appropriate, successfully compete for those that will best serve your career goals;
  • expanding the flexibility and courage you bring to the examination of nontraditional roles and paths in your career; and
  • using your talent in some way that will benefit others in your community or around the world.
  • Career activists see the accomplishment of these tasks as their primary occupation while the work they do for employers is a second job. That’s not self-indulgence; it’s savvy career self-management. By ensuring that they are always at the top of their own game, they also ensure that they will deliver a fulsome return on investment to the organizations that employ them.

    Finally, for the first time in history, you now have easy access to the tools and information you need to be an effective career activist. All you need is access to the Internet. Whether you use your own computer and Internet service provider, the local library’s or a government employment center, you can find all of the following and more online:

  • open jobs in your home town, in other regions of the country and even around the world;
  • career counselors and coaches who can help you identify your career strengths, frame your career goals, and plan and execute a successful job search campaign;
  • resume writers with the expertise to help you craft a career record that will differentiate you from others and highlight your special capabilities;
  • articles and information based on surveys and studies that probe the ever-changing needs of employers and their impact on the job market;
  • research on specific employers and their cultures, missions and values so you can pinpoint those organizations that are most likely to advance your career objectives; and
  • networks of peers in your career field, enabling you to meet and get to know more of those who might be able to help you advance your career in the present as well as the future.
  • Career activists take advantage of these resources in a planned and methodical way that ensures they will always have the knowledge, the insight and the tools they need to achieve their career goals.

    In the 20th Century, it didn’t matter all that much if you ignored your career except for those rare times when you were actually looking for a new or better job. Try and do that in the 21st Century, and you’re likely to find yourself pushed around and even knocked down by bullying employers. In today’s world of work, only the fit will survive, and the only way to get fit is to be a career activist.

    Thanks for reading,

    Peter

    P.S. READER’S ALERT: Don’t miss the write-up below on our latest book-WEDDLE’s Guide to Staffing Firms & Employment Agencies. The American Staffing Association reports that one-third of those who take part time or contract jobs through a staffing firm end up being hired full time by their employers. That’s why this book is “a practical path to full and part time employment”.

    P.S.S. Don’t forget to send us your new e-mail address if you move.

    This Issue’s Sponsor: Recognizing Richard Rabbit

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is this year’s first choice for summer reading.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Make this the summer when you figure out how to meet the person of your dreams-the one who lives inside you. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. So, don’t delay. Make sure you have Recognizing Richard Rabbit packed in your suitcase for your summer vacation.

    Section Two: Site News You Can Use

    Henry Givray, CEO of SmithBucklin Corporation, delivered a presentation recently on “The Passion of Leadership” at the annual conference of the American Society of Association of Executives. What’s that got to do with those of us who are not CEOs or managers? As my longtime readers know, I believe that everyone has both the DNA to be a leader-it is an inherent part of every person’s character-and the opportunity to serve as a leader-to become an informal but influential pacesetter in the organization for which they work. So what did Givray have to offer? In his view there are four dimensions to leadership. They’re summarized below with some commentary from me.

  • “who you are at the core” (sadly, lots of us don’t know the champion we have the potential to be, but you can discover yours with my new book, Recognizing Richard Rabbit);
  • “what you do”-what he really means is what you were meant to do: the application at work of the special talent with which you’ve been endowed;
  • “what you inspire”-the positive impact you have on others by being your own true self and expressing your special talent; and
  • “what you enable”-the results you achieve by expressing who you are and what you do best at work.
  • Every person has the potential to excel in each and all four of these dimensions. Those who chose to realize that potential are the ones who enjoy a healthy and rewarding career.

    Susan RoAne, author of Face to Face: How to Reclaim the Personal Touch in a Digital World, recently offered some tips for improving your connections in the job market and the workplace at large. Among her suggestions (with some commentary from me):

  • Never part a stranger. Whether it’s your tired feet at a conference or the traffic you endured on the way to a meeting, always look for what you might have in common with everyone you meet.
  • Have an express elevator speech. For most people, the typical 15 second quickie introduction is too long; keep it to 7-9 seconds and just enough information to pique their curiosity.
  • Practice the magic words of engagement. If you want to get someone into a conversation with you, offer your view about a topic and then ask, “What about you?”.
  • Go first. Only seven percent of the population is comfortable starting a conversation so in most cases, it will be up to you to get the dialogue going.
  • WEDDLE’s has announced the release of a powerful new tool for job seekers. Called WEDDLE’s Guide to Staffing Firms & Employment Agencies, it’s a comprehensive listing of such organizations organized by their occupational, industry and geographic specialties.

  • Some people prefer temporary, contract or part time employment. It gives them freedom and flexibility in their careers.
  • For others, it’s a foot in the door-the American Staffing Association reports that one-third of those who take such positions are ultimately hired full time by their employer.
  • Whichever is your preference, this book is the fast way to find a job, even in a difficult economy. To order WEDDLE’s Guide to Staffing Firms & Employment Agencies, call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here.

    WEDDLE’s also offers a number of other publications that can help you land the job of your dreams, even in today’s tough job market. They include:

  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet. Called the “Zagat of the online employment industry” by the American Staffing Association, it provides full-page profiles of 350 of the best job boards in a range of occupations, industries and locations;
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Directory of Employment Related Internet Sites. The “address book of the online employment industry,” it lists over 9,000 sites and organizes them by the career fields, industries and geographies on which they focus; and
  • WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide to Association Web Sites. The key to the “hidden job market” online, it details the employment resources and capabilities that are provided at the Web-sites of over 1,900 associations and societies.
  • Finding a job in the present environment is difficult; finding a great job is even more difficult. Part of the challenge is knowing where to look. With over 50,000 job boards in the U.S. alone, there are lots of places where you can waste a lot of time and effort. How can you avoid that trap? Be a smart consumer. Get the gold standard of job board guides: WEDDLE’s. They will help you identify the job boards that will work best for you. So, don’t delay! Call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here to place your order today.

    Section Three: Site Profiles

    Site Spotlite … from the pages of WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guides and Directories

    There are 50,000 job boards now in operation in North America and an equal number operating elsewhere around the world. The key to a successful online job search, therefore, is knowing where to find and how to select the best sites for your specific employment objective. WEDDLE’s 2007/8 Guide identifies 350 of the top sites worldwide and provides the information you need to determine which job boards will deliver the best opportunities for you. For example:

    ExecuNet

    http://www.execunet.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-Contract, Consulting

    Distribution of jobs: National-USA

    Number of jobs: 2,600

    Salary levels of jobs: Up to $600K+/yr

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: While active member

    Restrictions on who can post: Active members only (fee-based service)

    Other services for job seekers: Discussion forums for networking, Assessment instruments, Career information, Links to other sites with career information

    Member, International Association of Employment Web Sites: Yes

    Get Recognizing Richard Rabbit Today!

    This issue of WEDDLE’s newsletter is brought to you through the generous support of Recognizing Richard Rabbit, Peter Weddle’s big bestseller in a little book that is this year’s first choice for summer reading.

    Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a fable for adults, young and not so young. In the genre of Who Moved My Cheese?, it’s a tale about some forest friends who make an amazing discovery by trying to help one of their own. They don’t uncover the key to organizational change, however, or to setting strategic goals for the enterprise. No, Recognizing Richard Rabbit is a much more personal book and its gift is unique to each and every reader.

    This story opens the door to genuine self exploration. It is all about finding the secret to authentic living. To being your own true self. How does Recognizing Richard Rabbit do that? Unlike traditional fables, this tale unfolds in two synchronized parts: one in fiction-the fable, the other in nonfiction-a parallel self-interview. In essence, you are invited to tap both the creative and the analytic sides of your brain-to probe the whole of your inherent talent-so you can find the pathway to the person you were meant to be.

    Make this the summer when you figure out how to meet the person of your dreams-the one who lives inside you. Get your copy of Recognizing Richard Rabbit today. All you have to do is call WEDDLE’s at 317.598.9768 or click here. So, don’t delay. Make sure you have Recognizing Richard Rabbit packed in your suitcase for your summer vacation.