career values

The Match of Self-Talk: How Inner Dialogue Matters for Endurance

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Self-talk is a thing. For better or worse. Your inner dialogue matters.

I was reminded of this when I was on the tennis court for the first time after 13+ year hiatus of match play. Prior to this break, tennis WAS LIFE. In the past on the court, I beat myself up with words when I missed a point or was down.

Coming back last week, I was determined not to fall into those negative mental traps, but just like years before, with the swing of my racquet, I was bullied by my thoughts. I was both physically and mentally out of shape!

But something happened. I needed the focus to move forward. Out of breath and tired, I had to reframe my self-talk for SURVIVAL - I had to talk myself into playing the very next point!

Job seeker, where do you need to talk yourself into taking the next step? Language matters so much that researchers in a 2014 study found talking to yourself in third-person is more effective than referring to yourself as 'me' or "I".

When you need endurance, train yourself with positive thoughts.

Instead of: I can't do this another day.

Say: You can take the very next step, Meg. One foot in front of the other.

Just a Monday morning PSA: Be kind to yourself.

Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? How has it helped or hurt you in your career success?

My Career Journey: Ready Pause Go Podcast

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I'm having a bit of a vulnerability hangover 😂 BUT today, I fulfill a bucket list item, by being a podcast guest. Check out episode 24 on the Ready Pause Go Podcast.

I spill all about my career journey and motherhood, in addition, to resume and LinkedIn tips if you are blowing the digital dust off your resume during your career pause.

Are You Facing Obstacles? Return to Work with Confidence!

Flexjobs surveyed over 900 Stay at Home (SAH) parents about their decision to return to work. 58% of SAH parents surveyed took more time away from work than they expected. What obstacles did they face to return?

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The study found their barriers were:

Don’t want or can’t be in an office full-time: 59%

Don’t know how to find a job that fits my life: 54%

Don’t know what I want to do for work: 36%

Don’t know where to begin: 34%

Don’t have networking contacts/stayed in contact with them: 33%

Not sure how to balance career and family: 31%

Need an updated or new resume: 30%

Don’t want to go back to the same career: 27%

Lack of confidence: 25%

The local job market isn’t great: 22%

Haven’t kept up my skills: 23%

Need guidance or coaching: 19%

Commuting to work is prohibitive: 17%

Are you stuck in your return to work strategy? Start by unlocking your career focus! Download our free DIY tip sheet to get started and gain confidence!

Does Your Career Still Fit?

I've been buying cheap sandals my whole life- flat, floppy and flimsy, trendy-in-the-moment sort of sandals. And you know what? My feet hurt. Are you feeling the same in your career? What once worked for you no longer does?

This season, I took the time to research and investigate. I went to a store (gasp!) and tried on several brands. I found a pair that fit, where my feet feel supported (I didn't know that was a thing!) and I can walk longer than a block before my feet hurt. Now, I probably wouldn't have worn this pair of sandals years ago - but they are the best fit now.

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Are you in a career that once fit and no longer does? Do you feel the pinches of your ill-fitting role? Worn-out? It's time to do an analysis of YOU!

Take a minute to evaluate your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT).

Strengths + Weaknesses: Look inward and identify your unique value proposition.

Questions to ask:

- What do I do well?

- What can I improve?

- How do I compare to my peers?

-What comes naturally to me that seems to be like work for others?

Opportunities + Threats: Look outward at your current organization and/or where you want to go ( a career pivot to a new industry, another company, new role, etc.)

Questions to ask:

- What positive opportunities face me in my current (or different) organization?

- What obstacles do I face?

- Are the specifications for my job changing? Does it still suit me well?

The more you know, the more well-suited career decisions you'll make. Walk confidently toward a career that fits you now.

Need help unlocking a new job target? We can help with six free, DIY tips. Get them here.

Work is Stressful: Five ways to combat the Daily Grind

No matter your gender, seniority or generation, stress at work leaves no one untouched. According to LinkedIn, the number one stressor is workload (as it relates to work-life balance) followed by future job security and career direction/purpose.

This report found executive Gen-Xer's are the most stressed followed by Baby Boomers and then Millennials.

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How can you combat work stress to ENJOY your life and work?

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✔︎ Learn to say no. Know and understand your own priorities in both your work and personal life. When you say no to something, you are saying yes to something else.

✔︎ Upskill. Own your own professional development as an eager student to add to your skill set.

✔︎ Own your life (and work) as a journey. There is always time to pivot or recalibrate your career trajectory.

✔︎ Laugh! Find humor in small things.

✔︎ Do something you love. Whether during work or personal time, make time to do what you enjoy. Running? Re-decorating? Reading? Just do it!

What are your keys to less stress?

Personal Policies for your Job Search

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Why is it so hard to say 'no' as an adult?

The word easily tumbles out of my kids' mouths like granola bar crumbs from their wrapper.

Is it because we are afraid to disappoint (who are my people pleasers?), don’t want to appear lazy or is it just a lack of boundaries?

My friend taught me this idea of having personal policies. For example, when I take my kids to the local zoo, I have a personal policy that I don’t visit the snakes. So when it is just me and the kids (sans husband), we avoid the ‘desert’ section of the zoo. Silly, I know, but a personal policy nonetheless.

What could personal policies look like in your job search?

✳️ Consider only positions that require 25% travel or less.

✳️ A two-hour time limit per day on job search activities.

✳️ One self-care activity in your daily regimen.

✳️ Target companies with a high value for innovation.

What are your personal policies? How do they extend to the workplace or your job search?

Career Passion: Destination or Process?

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“Do what you love.” “Follow your passion.” How many times have you received similar career advice?

I love what Angela Duckworth said in Adam Grant’s WorkLife podcast to “develop your passion" not follow it.

We treat career like a calling – something that needs to be found like uncovering a secret treasure. With this philosophy, there is even a possibility of missing it if we don’t dig around enough.

I love the idea of career passion being developed rather than found. It isn’t a destination; it’s a process. Have you missed opportunities by pursuing a singular focus? How can we encourage others in their career pursuits based on inquiry and learning rather than a linear, planned path?

Little things matter BIG!

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My library book haul this weekend is all about the little things. Daily decisions, little moments and even small, mundane choices. I'm learning the small stuff matters. They make an impact in life and in resume writing.

Magical little life things:

+ Playing board games with my son on sick days.

+ Exchanging secrets with my daughter at bedtime.

+ A lit candle and music playing during dinner prep.

Small resume touches:

+ Periods at the end of bullet points to tie a bow on a high-impact statement.

+ A clean, custom LinkedIn URL (instead of the gobbly-gook link provided).

+ Bolding a professional accomplishment to make it pop.

+ Sharp, distinct action verbs.

What small things are making a difference in your life or your job search right now?

Do you have a Free Range Career? 3 tips to coalesce your Professional Experiences

When we talk about a 'career path' it gives the sense of a linear direction, but when I look at back at my professional history - my path is not well-worn or straight, but squiggly and intersecting. 

Have you roamed in wide open professional spaces creating trails instead of a well-worn path? Perhaps wandering from job to job has been your MO and now you are getting tired of lacking direction. Maybe your career path is similar to the chickens that lay the free-range eggs that you eat for breakfast. You like me, have a free range career. 

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If you are ready to gain a sense of direction or connect the dots of your wanderings to find a meaningful true north, start by nailing down a career target. To start:

+ Reflect on your professional paths. Take note of the wanderings that brought you to life and which drained you. 

+ Identify your key skills. What are you known for? What problems are you an expert at solving? 

+ Uncover your career values. Discover what motivates you and is most important to you. Is it prosperity? Creativity? Achievement? Discern the career values that are unique to you.

Need more tips to clarify your career focus? Download them here.



Wanted: Flexible Work Schedules

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Do you want more control over your time at work? You are in the majority.

According to Robert Half, an HR consulting firm, 88% of employees surveyed wanted a flexible work schedule with only 62% of employers offering flexibility. 66% wanted a compressed work week with only 17% of companies offering the option.

While employers are slow to the punch, experts say flexibility is in our future. A tight labor market will catalyze this direction.

So when it comes time to negotiate for your next role or advancement in your annual review - think 'out of the office' and propose flexible solutions that are conducive to both your employer and your personal/work life balance.

Check out the recent CNBC article about the topic here.