Feature: Pursue Your Dream

Feature: Pursue Your Dream

Feature: Pursue Your Dream

In tough economic times, it may seem out of place to talk about pursuing one’s dreams. For many of us, such an endeavor is far too lofty and maybe even dangerously naive when just finding a job is the order of the day. Having been out of work myself from time-to-time, I am very respectful of this view. I’ve also learned, however, that it is absolutely wrong. The time to get it right-the time to acknowledge and act on your dreams-is when other things are going wrong. Here’s what I mean.

The pursuit of Happiness is a key component of the American Dream. It is a right we all enjoy in this country, but one which is often misunderstood. The Declaration of Independence declares the sanctity of the pursuit, not its outcome. It doesn’t say we have a right to happiness, but instead, that we have the freedom and the ability to look for and find it. Said another way, in the United States of America, we all have the potential to follow our dreams.

And there’s the rub. You can’t pursue Happiness unless you know what will make you happy. And, you can’t know what will make you happy unless you know who you are and what you have the potential to become. To my way of thinking, that’s the definition of Happiness with a capital H-to uncover and experience the person you are destined to be. To achieve the fullest possible expression of your inherent gifts, your talents.

This view of Happiness is clearly tied to your work. It’s not that other aspects of your life can’t give you deeply positive feelings-what might best be described as Joy-obviously they can. But Happiness is different. Recent research indicates that happiness is a cognitive, not an emotional state. It occurs when we overcome a challenge we view as meaningful and worthy. In other words, we are tested in a way that produces our best efforts, that stretches us to perform at our peak and even beyond that point, beyond our own expectations of what we can do. And, the only place such challenges routinely occur is at work.

That reality brings me back to our current economic situation. I see it as a window of opportunity for you to realize your potential. For you to find the work that works for you. The kind of employment that enables you to excel. The jobs that will present you with meaningful and worthy challenges and thereby position you to achieve the excellence that will make you truly Happy.

In stronger economic times, such transitions are frenetic. Whether a move is voluntary or involuntary, we push as hard as we can to make the fastest possible shift from one employment situation to another. We don’t want to lose a minute of what the good times can do for us, so we put our heads down and race from spot A to spot B. As a consequence, we give ourselves little or no time to think about whether we are doing the kind of work we should be doing in order to execute our pursuit of Happiness. Basically, we guide our career based on an assumption rather than on a conscious decision. And, with at least one study finding that over half of all Americans now daydream at work about doing something else, it’s clear that those assumptions are often horribly wrong.

The bad news, of course, is that the current pace of hiring is much slower. The good news is that the current pace of hiring is much slower. That delay is your window of opportunity. It’s your way to test and validate your assumptions or find them off-the-mark and change them. Taking the first step through the window is the hardest. In fact, there are at least two ways you can slam the window shut and never take advantage of it:

  • You can spend the time you’ve been given grousing about how difficult, how unfair, how downright terrible the current situation is. That might (momentarily) make you feel better, but it won’t move you through the window.
  • You can redoubling or triple or quadruple your efforts to do what we have always done in the world of work. You can expend more effort, but that effort doesn’t help if you’re still on the other side of the window looking in.
  • So, how do you do it differently? How do you climb through this window of opportunity? For starters, use the space you’ve been given in this lousy economy to lift your head up, not put it down. Raise your perspective. Why? Because for maybe the first time in your working life, you can. You have the space to look beyond the horizon you’ve traditionally accepted for yourself. The conventional wisdom is to describe this as an exercise in “thinking outside the box.” I think it’s better thought of as a chance to remove the handcuffs we consciously or unconsciously shackle ourselves with.

    Here are the three most common handcuffs:

  • We went to college to study X, so that must be the kind of job we should pursue. It will make us happy because we’re getting a return on our investment in education.
  • We’ve spent the last Y years in this field, so that must be the kind of work we should pursue. It will make us happy because we’re getting a good return on our investment of time and effort.
  • We made the most money doing Z, so that’s what we should continue to do. It will make us happy because we’re getting a good return on our investment in acquiring experience.
  • Why are these handcuffs? Because as out-of-place as it may seem in a country that prides itself on its allegiance to capitalism, the pursuit of Happiness is not an investment decision. It is something much more profound. Exercising the right to look for and find the meaningful and worthy challenges in your work is a spiritual commitment you make to yourself. It’s not about dollars and cents, but about what makes the most sense for the person you truly are.

    The pursuit of Happiness is your right to build a career in which you earn two paychecks: one measured in money and the other measured in fulfillment. To do that, however, you must only accept employment that enables you to express the unique gifts with which you have been endowed. I urge you to make that commitment. Right now. While you have the chance.

    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 is not about self-improvement, but about 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

    CFO magazine queried employers to determine which kinds of jobs they are most likely to send offshore. The list and percentage of companies indicating that they have already moved such jobs to another country follows:

  • IT 57.1%
  • Finance/Accounting 31.4%
  • Customer Relations 17.1%
  • Research & Development 7.1%
  • Legal 1.4%
  • What should you do if you’ve built your career is in one of these fields? Make yourself indispensible. Don’t be satisfied with performing routine tasks routinely. Look for ways to expand your contribution to your employer, either by enhancing the value of what you already do or by enlarging the boundaries of your contribution and doing more. For example, if you’re an Accounts Payable person whose role is to handle invoices for the western states, you could:

  • produce a series of reports that show how variables impact on paying speed (e.g. when during the month the invoice is first sent, to whom the invoice is sent)
  • and/or

  • ask to handle payables for a new business unit or program in addition to your regular responsibilities.
  • Although not an ironclad rule of thumb, what tends to get offshored first are those functions that are routine and repetitive and for which the cost of labor is thus a critical factor in success. What tends to get offshored the least is creative or talented work, even when it is applied to a function deemed routine and repetitive.

    Monster published a study of men and their desire for “Dad-friendly” benefits. The results affirm a growing trend among men to be more engaged in the lives of their children and more committed to child rearing activities. Among the 1,000+ fathers who responded:

  • 66% of those with toddlers said they would take advantage of flexible work schedules if they were offered by their employer;
  • 71% of those with a child under the age of 5 said they would take paternity leave if it was offered by their employer; and
  • 48% of those with school age children said they would use paternity leave if it was offered by their employer.
  • Why should these findings be of interest to you? If you’re in transition and a Dad who wants to be more engaged with your kids’ lives, look for companies which offer “Dad friendly benefits.” Use those benefits (or the absence of them) as an evaluation criterion when considering alternative employers and job offers. If you’re not in transition, know that such benefits are being offered by employers and, if yours doesn’t, press them to do so, as well. Why should they care? Because employers are increasingly concerned about retaining the talent they already have (that would be you) and increasingly sensitive to the potential claim of reverse discrimination when they offer such benefits to their female employees but not to their male workers.

    The School of Medicine at Stanford University conducted a study which found that one-in-eight Americans exhibit at least one sign of Internet addiction. Although the research was completed in 2006, it is particularly relevant today. Since stress often triggers compulsive behavior, today’s difficult economic situation is likely to increase the incidence of the disorder. Who is it most likely to affect? According to the study, the typical sufferer is a single, college-educated, white male in his 30s. What happens to them? They spend 30 hours or more per week on nonessential computer use, sapping both their on-the-job performance and productivity in the process. What do they do online? They constantly check email, make blog entries, visit travel or news-related Web-sites and chat areas. In other words, they are not visiting porn or gambling sites or playing online games. They’re busy doing the kinds of things that employers typically permit online, but they are not contributing to the work that needs to get done. How does this apply to you? First, recognize that Internet addiction is a bone fide illness that can undermine and even derail your career. Second, get acquainted with its symptoms and periodically give yourself a thorough self-exam to see if you are showing one or more of these signs. Third, if you think you might be having a problem with compulsive Internet use, get help. Check with your employer to see if its Employee Assistance Plan covers such situations and, if so, take advantage of it. If not, ask the HR Department to recommend a resource for you to use. Whatever you do, don’t ignore the problem. It’s a real and insidious threat to your livelihood.

    WEDDLE’s 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. 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. Called WEDDLE’s WIZNotes-Fast Facts on Job Boards, they’re a quick reference to job openings on the Internet and an inexpensive job search aid. Each WIZNotes includes compact, but complete profiles of the key sites that specialize in a specific career field or employment situation. There are WIZNotes for:

  • Sales & Marketing professionals,
  • Finance & Accounting professionals,
  • Engineering professionals,
  • Human Resource professionals,
  • Scientists
  • Women Professionals
  • Managers & Executives,
  • and

  • Recent Graduates.
  • Plus, there are WIZNotes on:

  • Finding a Job on the Web
  • Writing a Great Resume
  • All you have to do is select the WIZNotes that’s right for you. Each volume has exactly the information you need to find the right job boards and career portals for you. And best of all, at $12.95 each, WEDDLE’s WIZNotes are a bargain to boot! To order your WIZNotes, click here or call 317.598.9768. 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:

    AllRetailJobs.com

    http://www.allretailjobs.com

    Post full time jobs: Yes

    Post part time, contract or consulting jobs: Yes-All

    Distribution of jobs: International-USA, Canada

    Number of jobs: 40,000

    Salary levels of jobs: $31-50K/yr, $51-75K/yr

    Offer a job agent: Yes

    Resume database: Yes

    How long are resumes stored: 6 months

    Restrictions on who can post: If registered

    Other services for job seekers: 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 is not about self-improvement, but about 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.