Posts Tagged ‘outplacement services’

Finding Balance at the Speed of Life

October 27, 2010

“There is more to life than increasing its speed.” – Ghandi

Yes, I know I’ve used that quote in my writing many times, but if you’re in transition, losing sleep over the future, negotiating for a new job, or hopeful that an offer is going to be your light at the end of the tunnel, Ghandi’s wisdom bears repeating. I’m reminded of traveling from Paris to Lyon, France, on the TGV high-speed “bullet” train years ago. High above the ground, the train clocked speeds of 125 miles per hour and more. The countryside literally flew by.

Doesn’t it seem like life right now for most of us is a speeding bullet train, with the added uncertainty of the stability of the tracks? We’re speeding faster and faster into an uncertain future, teetering on the rails of life, like a roller coaster dipping and climbing … and we’re holding on tight.

I know all too well of which I speak. I used to be Superwoman! Since summer’s end, though, I’ve been behind in everything – I’m like a hamster on a wheel, squeakily spinning it with as much velocity as I can muster, but to no avail. Yes, I’m moving faster, but the complexity of all of the issues and events of life during this recession have slowed me down mentally and emotionally. I’m “still kicking,” but with less clarity, more confusion, and more of a sense of overwhelm-ment than ever before. Superwoman has flown off the planet, and I’ve been left holding a five-pound bag containing ten pounds of overdue everything: blogging, twittering, phoning, reading, writing … you name it. Stop the world!!! I want to get off!

Can you relate?

Trust me, I have always been one focused professional, never making excuses about my shortcomings, always returning calls promptly, meeting deadlines, and going the extra mile for my commitments. But, I’ll admit that right now, I’m wondering when I’ll get my balancing act back in swing. If you’re wondering the same thing about yourself, you are not alone. The uncertainty of what our economic future might be collectively, and even more unsettling, what it might be for each of us individually and our families, is enough to knock even the toughest players off their game.

Are you losing sleep over the loss of a job – whether it’s your own, or a loved one’s? Are you uncertain of what changes landing a new job will bring? I just went through that with my husband – eight months of executive unemployment.

My husband and I are thrilled about his new job, and I’ve never seen him happier. However, wait for it – wait for it – we are now in a “commuter marriage.” His new job is three time zones and about 2000 miles away! BUT, and it’s a BIG but (go ahead, laugh, it’s a fun pun!) – we are so thankful that during this time of unparalleled recession for us and our peers, we are blessed with work.

Are you watching the clock on your finances, tossing and turning as the plans you made for retirement have unraveled? I get it. Retirement? What retirement? The AARP Association reported in its most recent bulletin that 51% of American households won’t be able to maintain their standard of living once they retire. In fact, we must change the notion of seniors as “non-contributors” in our society, and allow them to be productive way beyond what we have traditionally considered “retirement age.” It’s an economic necessity to keep us from plunging the largest demographic in human history into poverty, all at once. Thank goodness, “50” is the new “30.” We Americans are going to need to extend our working years into our 70s.

For now, I’d like to suggest you look at some productive ways to keep going to meet the road ahead of you, wherever it leads. I want your “take-away” today to be a renewed energy and resolve, courage to keep going, an “aha!” moment, or just plain inspiration for staying the course. I’d like you to take some action right away:

  • Look at yourself as part of the solution to our tough times, even if you’re in transition right now, looking for a job yourself. Doesn’t that give you a perspective of potential, instead of fear or lack?
  • Get out and circulate in the community, and consider taking a volunteer position or a “day” job in a busy place that will keep you meeting new people and feeling like you’re contributing to life.
  • Be proactive about the upcoming mid-term election and get out and VOTE! The biggest issue of this 2010 election is JOBS, hands down. Be a part of the buzz. No matter what your political party or inclination, pull that lever in the polling booth. It’s powerful! And while you’re at it, why not volunteer to help build a great turnout?
  • Count your blessings and start each day anew, with expectation of great potential in everyone you meet and everything you do. Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Look for a “break” and the good in everything you see!

Finally, lighten up on yourself. Take a breath! My message here is “If I can do this … you can do this, too.” But it takes courage, acceptance, patience, and resolve, and the willingness to see that the struggles many of us are experiencing this year are the gateway to truly understanding what it means to be human, and to live a life of purpose, passion, and transformation. It can be a pathway to self-improvement and a new happiness in the simple things in life.

You can do this! Honest!

Di Chapman is the Founder and President of Words To Your Advantage Speaking and Writing Service; and the Chief Communications Officer for Power Connections Inc. executive outplacement, coaching and career management service. Her Linked In profile is at www.linkedin.com/in/DiChapman. You can also follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/InspirationalDi.

Attitudes That Transcend Platitudes

April 16, 2010

The Enormous Potential of an Uncertain Future

“When nothing is sure, everything is possible.” – Margaret Drabble

Oh, my goodness. You’ve just made it through tax time… and to top it off, perhaps you’re “in transition” looking for work, or in a job situation that needs to change. Maybe it’s time to pay school tuition, or pick a college. You might be dealing with a health or family issue that is draining your “reserves” of energy, time, and resources. Given one, two, or ALL of the above, it’s perfectly normal to feel stressed, possibly depressed, or absolutely overwhelmed. And, honestly? Platitudes are probably the LAST thing you want to hear.

I understand. But, one thing life has taught me with absolute certainty is that every day holds the potential to create the life you wish to have. Again and again, timeless wisdom tells us that the potential of an uncertain day, an uncertain future, an uncertain circumstance, is unlocked by an attitude of expectation. Every day offers new moments, new hours, and new opportunities that can be full of expectation for a new you – and it starts with attitude.

But don’t take my word for it. History is full of wisdom from those who have gone before us, giving us quotations like the one above. When you need a “shot in the arm” to keep looking for work, or inspiration to “keep your eyes on the ball,” or the mental fortitude to “get up and get going” another day, try to consider the proposition that there is often truth in the platitudes that swirl around us. I’ll take that a step further, and tell you that there is also fruit to bear that goes beyond the direct advice they give…. The platitudes about attitudes are just the beginning. You know, The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. And there is always more than one road to your future, or as Lt. General Hal Moore says, “There is always one more thing you can do to influence the situation in your favor.”

As an entrepreneur for most of my adult life, I am a firm believer in the power of expectation. I meet each day with the anticipation that it will bear fruit – whether my time is booked with clients – or not. I expect to make a living each day, and I take it a day at a time. Funny how a “freelance writing and media production” business that started out by taking it one day at a time, hitting the pavement, shaking hands, introducing myself wherever I was, and whenever I could, blazed a trail to … now, over 20 years later. Did I travel in a straight line from “zero to making a living?” Did I create everything I dreamed I would have in the form of stuff? Hardly. So far, my life has dealt me a very trying hand, losing two brothers and both parents at a very young age, having a tumor removed, watching my husband lose his job in this recession, investing in a business that failed, and dealing with a malicious identity theft, just to give you a few examples of some of my own challenges along the way.

I’m acutely aware of how immobilized the events of a lifetime can make you feel, no matter what your age or circumstances. I’ve experienced it myself, and I’ve seen it hundreds of times in others. So, for just a few moments, I’m asking you to suspend your doubts and disbeliefs about the possibilities for good that await you today. I’d like you to withhold your skepticism as you read this, and muster your courage to imagine that your future can hold even a fragment of the dreams you have. Just for now, hear me out. Read on to see some of the ways that I “reset my attitude” on a regular basis. For me, it’s about delivering quality service and products in my business, creating daily happiness, and plain old survival. For you, it could be about something else. Just for now, in this moment, consider a few tips and actions that can make a difference in your life:

  • Set out to give a slice of joy to someone today. Notice I said a “slice.” You don’t have to bite off more than you can chew. Perhaps for you it means a “whisper,” a compliment, a “thank you,” a phone call, an E-mail, or a wildflower. Acknowledge and accept the perspectives of others. We’re all doing the best we can right now, in the “shoes” of our circumstances. If need be, set your ego aside for just one moment and reach out to others; “put yourself in their shoes.” There is something you can offer someone you know or love that won’t cost you a thing. And you know what? It can give you and them the possibility of a new outlook, or infuse your lives with a little optimism. This simple act alone can take your attitudes beyond platitudes.
  • Get out on foot. Take a walk, and say “hello” to everyone you meet along the way. Notice everything, and marvel in the characteristics of your neck of the woods. Is there something you can do to help your neighborhood? Do you know the neighbors around you? Do you know their habits and routines? Admire their canine companions and their efforts to exercise. We Americans have become way too sedentary, and that lack of motion in our lives affects us in more ways than one, physically and mentally. There is a whole world out there, right in your own neighborhood, your own town, and your own city. You won’t see it or experience it any other way but on foot. Taking a walk will clear your head, make you healthy, and introduce you to new friends and new ideas for charting a course to a more healthy and vibrant life.
  • Do your routine tasks in a different way. We are the habits we do every day. Deliberately changing one thing daily can change everything. You’ve heard the platitude “You are what you eat.” Take this to heart literally AND figuratively. Your daily routine keeps you in the place you are NOW. Take a look around you and catch a glimpse of yourself in a mirror. Your daily routine has created the images you see. When you learn something new, your brain physiologically changes. When you alter your diet and exercise habits, you reshape your waistline. When you make an effort to listen to someone else’s story, you expand your beliefs and your tolerances. When you take a new route to the market, or venture into a new one altogether, you see things you’ve never seen before. When you visit a coffee shop that’s off your beaten path, you meet new people. When you make new choices, you create a new future.
  • YOU are the architect of your life. There is a famous quotation that is often mistakenly said, “Circumstances make the man.” The actual quotation by James Allen is “Circumstances don’t make the man, they reveal him.” Who you are is attributable in large part to how you have responded to your circumstances. I grew up in a home where my parents loudly opined about all of the politics of our country. As a young adult, I mimicked their words and attitudes boisterously as well. Then one day, with the emergence of a new issue that I felt strongly about, I realized that I could change my opinions if I wanted to. A light bulb literally went off in my head. “Wow. I don’t agree with my parents on this issue. In fact, I don’t agree with their politics at all anymore.” I gave myself permission to change my beliefs in mid-stream, and I’ve never looked back. At my core, I ceased to be the person I was at a young age, and I have taken responsibility for that ever since. My actions reflect who I am.
  • Let yourself EVOLVE with the transformation of a new decision. Make the decision to trust that your life will bring forth a new bounty. You CAN be different than you are now. As human beings it is hard-wired within us to fear the unknown, and to be terrified of change. But, as much as our fears give us comfort because they are what we know, they also bind us tightly, and can imprison us with self-doubt and inaction.

Simple changes in your attitude and routine can affect literally everything about you and bring on a new job, a new relationship, a new outlook, new horizons, new friends, and a new body, just to name a few of the potential benefits. If you take it one day at a time, you can move beyond the platitude “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” and create today, tomorrow, and ultimately your future, what it stands for, and your legacy. I don’t know about you, but to me, that’s something worth thinking about.

Di Chapman is founder of Words To Your Advantage, a speaking and writing service; and the Chief Communications Officer for Power Connections Inc., an executive career management and outplacement company. Her website is www.dichapman.com.

“The Girls All Get Prettier At Closing Time”

March 22, 2010

No offense, but this line from the country western song says it better than any beautifully crafted phrase. It’s bad enough that you’re on the street, pounding the pavement again after a lifetime of executive achievement, constant promotion, and picking and choosing between “cherry” offers. Your entire career flowed uninterrupted  as it paved an impressive trajectory right into … now. And, honestly? You need to face it. The year 2010 could be the year when you get a job offer that is “less than perfect” than what you had in mind.

Look, I know this totally sucks. Truth be told, if you are one of the elite FEW in this world who are independently wealthy; if you can be comfortably retired due to careful financial planning throughout your working years; or if you have just decided “To heck with it, I’m dropping out of this rat race,” perhaps you can just sit this one out. But, if you’re reading this column, chances are you need to work to support yourself and your family. And that means you might just want to consider offers you would have laughed at before 2008, 2009, or 2010.

So, perhaps the primer below will help you adjust your perspective on the jobs you consider before you dismiss any that don’t “fit” into the neat little package that you call “your career.” In almost everything we do in life, there is almost always more than one way to achieve a desired end. Your job hunt is no exception. This is not the time to stubbornly turn down flat job offers. If you’re having a hard time right now believing this, perhaps some talking points might help you adopt a new attitude and a new plan:

  • Did you get an offer that is not what your idea of a “future” was? Not the right company name you had planned to put on your resume? Not the image you had in mind? Let’s be straight about this. Tell yourself it’s time to take a new perspective on the number of ways you can accomplish a goal and move toward your future.
  • Get over yourself! The events surrounding your job loss and subsequent search for your next opportunity are not all about you. No sir. No ma’am. Your job hunt is about you, your family, your community, your peers, and your contributions to all of them; and theirs to you. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do to remain a member of the team and get back in the game. So, get over it! Moping, isolating, or snapping at those you love is extremely unproductive, so start anew each day and with each interview. If you get an offer, look at the glass as half full. Then, figure out a way to completely fill it.
  • Set your ego aside. No matter with whom you interview or for what, your unemployed status is not someone else’s problem. So, act politely and graciously toward every interview and every offer. You’re not a gang member or schoolyard bully. No arrogance or cynicism, or criticism is allowed of anyone you meet during the interview process. Act like a grown-up and mind your manners.
  • Listen to advice from those you know well. If you’re a displaced senior management executive, this one can be very tough, but friends, peers, and even family members might be able to point out some things about job offers that will help you make your decision.
  • Consider ALL offers. Show genuine appreciation and thanks to everyone who interviews you or meets you for coffee during this period of your life. You’re in good company right now. Believe it or not, we’re all doing the best we can, and hoping for the best for our future, even the one who’s interviewing you for a job. We’re all in this together.

Once you’re back in the swing of a new job, your entire picture will change. Your esteem and confidence will pick back up. More importantly, you’ll once again be sitting at the lunch table with the guys who are employed, and there is tremendous power in that.

For now, remember that the only thing truly certain in life is that things will change, no matter who you are. Terrifying as that may seem at a time like this, it also holds great promise. Taking an offer for a job that might not be the one of your dreams is not necessarily the end of the road. It could be a portal to a future that holds more than you ever imagined.

Diane Y. Chapman, Founder and President, Words To Your Advantage Speaking and Writing Service; and Chief Communications Officer, Power Connections Career Management, Coaching and Transitions Service

So – here you are!

January 14, 2010

It’s January 14th, 2010, and here you are – browsing a site called “The Daily Job Hunt.” Ouch! Perhaps this HUGE detour on the road of life was not in your personal strategic plan. Or – “Ouch!” again – you are in a frying pan in your current position, and you recognize handwriting on the wall that says it’s time to move on.

We’re glad you’re here at The Daily Job Hunt, reading our strategies, no matter what your circumstances! Today’s job hunting process forces you to examine your perspectives about who you are, how you see life around you, what you believe is your true purpose, and how you define your personal brand.

We know, we know! It sounds overwhelming, doesn’t it? Who’d have thought that job hunting at an accomplished stage of your life would require so much self-examination? Or such willingness to take a good look at yourself in the mirror, metaphorically and literally, to honestly evaluate the impression you give to others?

Ahhhh…. perhaps you’ve been the leader at the top of the totem pole for many years. That’s tough. We absolutely FEEL for you…. Nonetheless, we are going to give you real world STRAIGHT TALK about what it’s going to take to get you to the next destination in your career.

Most of us have a tendency to see “the job hunt” literally like a hunting expedition in the wild. You are chasing down potential job leads and networking situations with all of the fervor of King Arthur. You’re “hunting” them down to do what? KILL them? A piece of advice: Don’t fight it! The job hunting process serves a purpose with the right strategy. It can change your life for the better if you do it right. It can be – wait for it – the best thing that ever happened to you!

Make a commitment today to see your job hunt as a chance to EVOLVE and make progress in your journey through life. Make a commitment to transform yourself and the image you project to the world while you are shaping up to land your next act. We won’t sugar coat it: You’ll never get a second chance to make a great “first impression.”

This blog is about the power of “Back to Basics” job hunting. It’s about straight talk. Let’s change your life. Let’s start now.
Di Chapman
CEO, Words to Your Advantage Speaking and Writing Service