We are coming to the end of the fall season, and in the Sacramento Valley we are feeling an early winter. After four years of severe drought we are getting rain and frost. Seeing damp streets with the breeze bouncing leaves up on our lawn, reminds me of an activity in Carol McClelland’s, The Seasons of Change: Using Nature’s Wisdom to Grow Through Life’s Inevitable Ups and Downs. She says:
"Take a walk and notice the season. What are some of the signs
of winter? Notice lingering traces of fall. The seasons are
a great reminder that things are always changing, growing,
My favorite evening activity is to walk outdoors and notice the season. I find the changing seasons are most interesting whether it is a cool breeze on my face contrasting with the warm sun on my back or the bright Christmas lights in contrast to the cold dark winter night.
The seasons remind us that change is normal but unexpected change or changes that come fast and furious can feel dark, unsettling, and confusing. McClelland calls the darkness the Winter Solstice where there is hope in the darkness. The work of a counselor or coach often intersects with a sense of darkness or confusion. Bringing light, hope, and clarity to the challenging times is like the natural movement from the darkness of winter to the bright resilience of spring.
Unexpected change can cut into plans and expectations like an axe into wood, but expected change can be more like a slow slice into fresh bread. Instead of feeling the clamor of separation, the slow slice is made easier if there is a plan for how to share the fresh bread. Is that too much analogy for you? Personally I could smell the fresh bread and feel the anticipation of what comes next. I’ve learned to be optimistic and find joy in expected change. I start feeling a little sad in September with the yearly expectation that our swims and weekly trips to the lake are ending, so I start planning winter trips like a train ride from Sacramento to Denver in the winter. Last year riding through the snowy mountains was a peaceful winter adventure. The colder days are perfect for contemplating and writing.
Enjoy the coming winter season. If you get stuck in the Winter Solstice, contact a counselor or coach to spring you back to life before you even turn your calendar to March.
When you accomplish something or have a small success––it doesn’t matter how small it is, give yourself a WooHoo! It's even more fun if you share your WooHoo! with someone else and then High Five. You might even want to give yourself a nice WooHoo! to energize yourself for your next success. Here’s what to do:
Feel your success in your body. You can energize your mind and body in a matter of seconds to start opening up your posture for success. WooHoo!
I read about writers who love to take the train. It sounded like a writer's dream. Since I want to write another book, possibly scifi, I couldn't wait for the opportunity to write on the train. I was picturing myself getting so much work done during my ride.
It was so much fun to talk to people ahead of time about my upcoming train trip and hear about the trips they want to take on the train. The conversations and stories turned out to be a highlight of taking a train trip.
I found the best part of my 2-day train trip was relaxing while watching the amazing scenery, serenity, and sharing stories with other passengers in the dining car. We talked about Dr. Who, science fiction, gardening, and vegetables. I even got praise for my book, Vegetable Kids in the Garden from people interested in gardening and vegetables. It was a fun place to network.
There are so many ways to talk about yourself, become yourself, and reach out to others in unconventional ways. I didn't write much on the train, but I found that taking time out to see nature, talk with different people, and gain a new perspective inspired me to do the work I want to do. I was excited about hearing more stories, talking to people, and finding creative ways to use social media.
A career is more than a resume and a business is more than selling a product. Doing something different, finding a new perspective, sharing interests and a bit of our lives is part of creating career success.
Your style shows in how and when you work and play. It is your brand––what you show to the world. You brand your work with more than what you say to your audience.
You show your style in what you do, how you look, what you say, and how others perceive or react to you.
What’s inside is the substance. Without that you don’t have a resume, profile, book, or whatever you want to show people. But unless you can draw the person in to see the substance it goes nowhere.
Take a moment to think about your business. Imagine what you want your customer to feel when they meet you. Do you want them to feel relaxed or energized? Do you want to look efficient and functional or warm and fun? Do you want your voice to sound warm and passionate about what you do or cool and professional?
Whether you have your own business or you are in the business of looking for a job, working for an employer, or writing you want to find the style that truly reflects the you that you want to present. Notice how your customer or employer reacts to you. Are you getting the result you want?
Style matters because it is how you show yourself to others. Unless you attract your audience with your style, they will never see the real you and what you have to offer your employer or customer.
The holiday of gratitude is coming this week. But even though Thanks is in the name, some may not feel very thankful if they are working rather than spending time with friends and family on Thanksgiving.
Many people are working on Thanksgiving Day as well as other holidays, some providing necessary services so we can enjoy the holidays, while others are working to earn extra money and benefits.
Although everyone appreciates people working in necessary support services, many Americans are not supportive of stores being open on Thanksgiving. Retailers open on holidays to keep up or get ahead of what other stores are doing. What do you think about the trend toward retailers opening on Thanksgiving to get ahead? Is it a service to customers and employees or just another way to make a profit?
Traditions are important to many people and change can be disruptive. "It is healthy for employees to get a day off during the holidays, especially for Thanksgiving Day because it really is a time to show gratitude." said W. Ballard, the Assistant Executive Director for Organizational Excellence for the American Psychological Association. Can you be grateful for your job while working on a holiday especially one with Thanks in the name?
For those who choose a career where they know they may be working on holidays to help people in crisis and emergencies, they are often thankful they can be of service on holidays. Those without families in the area who want to earn extra income are thankful for their jobs in retail.
Whether you are working or expecting someone for dinner who ends up on the job, you can create a holiday of giving thanks for the opportunity to work.
You need your own bag of tricks if you are over 50 and want to keep working, find a job, or start a business. In some ways there are more opportunities than ever before, but with the evolving economy and workplace, there are also more choices, challenges, and uncertainty.
Baby Boomers are expected to work longer according to National Institute on Aging, “Growing Older in America: The Health and Retirement Study.” But are they working better? Some are and some aren’t. As workers move into their 60’s the workplace and sometimes retirement options may get even more difficult.
Working after retirement age
There are many reasons people continue working after the typical retirement age of 65. It may be either because of necessity or choice. If a person loves their work, feels valued by what they do, or feels needed at work they may want to continue working as long as they can.
Alternatively if a person has no retirement benefits they may need to work longer than they would like to at the same time hoping their health lasts long enough to work as long as needed and social security lasts the rest of their lives. They may need to depend on family or support systems as they get older. While working full time may take a lot of time and energy, it is important to take time to make a plan, make time for relationships and family, and look at options.
There are those who retired early to save their retirement income because of changing retirement tiers. Retiring in their late 50’s or early 60’s leaves years of retirement for many with choices about what to do in their retirement years.
Those who had enough retirement income to live a frugal relaxed retirement, had a stressful working environment when working, or had health issues may decide to volunteer or work seasonally when needed.
Some were forced to retire with little or no retirement and find them selves looking for work in an employers market. They may end up taking work they don’t enjoy to make ends meet. Keeping an optimistic cheerful attitude at work can improve the working environment and taking time to walk in nature, exercise, have a hobby or visit friends and family will promote a happier healthier life and work.
Retirees who have a large nest egg may choose to travel, work when they want to at something they love to do, volunteer, or start a business. The freedom to do what you want and follow your passion may be the ideal retirement, but there are many ways to find smaller pieces of time to nurture your interests.
Flexible Work Schedules
Retirees who can afford it often look for flexible work schedules so they can travel and visit friends and family.
A part time business allows those with a creative entrepreneurial spirit to experiment with their creativity and try something they never had time to do previously.
Retail is a hot market for seniors providing full time, part-time, flexible, or seasonal work.
Sales of Technical and Scientific Products is an example of a career for the over 50 group that offers a healthy compensation for those with a college education and technical experience.
Retail Sales Workers also have a bright future with less compensation and less education needed, but seasonal or part-time work hours allow time for extra activities while earning an income.
So Many Choices
For some it may seem like they are locked in a box of working with no way out, while others bask in freedom, but you make choices at make at every age. Your career is a patchwork of choices that make a pattern for your life. Choose your pattern and make your choices count. You will rearrange the pieces, mend the raveled edges, add and take away parts as you develop the pattern of your career. Do your research, hire a career or financial professional, talk to friends and family, and create a beautiful picture of your life and work.
Nancy Miller is a Career Counselor and Coach who received a Master’s Degree at age 50 and went on to write her first book, “Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success” and her first children’s book, “Vegetable Kids in the Garden” after age 60. Plan your career development, watch for unexpected opportunities, and enjoy every decade of your life and work.
I would love to hear your stories of work over 50. I will be writing and sharing more on the topic. Contact Nancy, firstname.lastname@example.org.
You won’t want to miss the many articles on November 2nd, Quintessential Careers Job Action Day 2015. They will be available to browse on the website.
What is the hidden job market and why is it hidden? The hidden job market is where you find unadvertised jobs. Sometimes they are jobs that don’t even exist yet, and the job seeker shows the employer where there is a need. Employers don’t have time to sift through volumes of resumes sent by job seekers who just want a job. They want employees who share their vision and values and want to work for them. These are the employees worth investing in––employees like Dave––who found his dream job not by sending out resumes on job boards, but by knowing his values, what he wanted to do, and finding a company he wanted to work for. He did his research and then took immediate action.
Dave never thought he could do what he loved at a company with values he respected. He knew that he wanted to do something helping people and found that solar energy could help people take control of their energy bills, help reduce carbon in the air, and put water back in the ground while helping to secure a better world for his children. He applied for 5 different jobs at a major solar energy company, SolarCity, with no responses. Then, after doing online research he learned that they tend to hire people who are recommended by people who work at the company.
Dave didn’t waste any time getting down to the local Home Depot, one of the stores where SolarCity generates leads. He introduced himself to the Field Energy Specialist who was working that day. After an hour of informal informational interviewing, Dave asked him for a recommendation. He didn’t leave the store until the Field Energy Specialist put his name in the computer and pressed the “send” button.
Dave got a call the next day. After all the effort to get his dream job, he has embraced the new position with passion and hard work.
In this example, Dave found work he valued and a company he respected. He knew what he wanted, did his research, and didn’t give up when he got rejections. As Dick Bolles says on Job Hunter's Bible website, "After each rejection, take comfort in the fact that you are one NO closer to a YES.” Dave learned what it would take to get a foot in the door. When job seekers hear they need to know someone to get an interview, they often get discouraged and say they don’t know anyone. Dave shows us one way to get to know someone in a company that is accessible to the public.
Thank you, David Tooman, Field Energy Consultant at SolarCity for sharing your story. If you would like to know more about Dave’s path to success, you are welcome to share a comment. We would love to hear your story or that of a client who found a job in the hidden job market.
Need help finding the not so hidden job market? Contact Nancy J. Miller, M.S., Career Counselor/Coach for a 30-minute conversation to see if coaching is right for you.
Just for fun, take a moment to check out my new educational fiction book, “Vegetable Kids in the Garden.”
Write about events you are involved with before and after you attend. Sharing events lets your audience know that you are learning about your business, job, or product, shows what you are doing, and connects you with your audience. Blogging about events helps your business and career in many ways. Here are just a few.
Shows you are learning and growing.
A colleague, client, or customer may be interested in attending.
You can tell about interesting things you did in the area.
Show you connected with people.
Something you learned that would be of interest to a larger audience.
Write about the event when you decide to attend and then a month or two before you go. You can explain why the event is important to you, what activities you plan to attend, and what you expect to do for fun.
After the event you will want to share your enthusiasm for learning, new products or skills, and recreation. Events are fun ways to share more about your business and career development. You will want to share your blog on many social media channels and emails to your friends and colleagues. Writing about an event reinforces your enthusiasm and helps you plan and reflect on the event. Start blogging and have fun sharing with customers, clients, colleagues, and friends.
If you need assistance writing your blog contact Nancy Miller, Personal/Career Coach.
We each have a voice and something important to say. Who is it you want to speak to: Your customer, client, prospective employer, or colleague? It may even be your spouse, child, or friend.
But you won’t know what you want to say until you know who you are speaking to. Although traditionally we spoke to friends, colleagues, and prospective employers by phone, in person or through resumes, proposals or letters; more often we now speak through social media. We chat through Facebook and post our accomplishments on Linkedin. Young people are often turning to forms of social media that are even more immediate. When you know how to create your audience you will build relationships in the moment when opportunities arise. View the slideshow below for more ideas on how to create your audience.
Photo by Pzurek, www.stockfreeimages.com
It's easier to build trusting relationships through people we know and work with and by extension with the people they know. Many jobs and opportunities come through close connections and you can grow your reputation and build your network beyond your neighborhood and even country of origin through social media. It's worth the effort to think about who your audience is and what you want to say to them.
Adapted from "Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success" pg. 187
When thinking of time, I can easily be fooled into thinking that everyone is in the same time that I am. It felt like an April Fools Day when I missed a call from a Linkedin connection who was in a different time zone––or maybe I was out of time. Time zones are arbitrary lines we draw in time. We now work in a global economy where time can be elusive.
We work with clients, colleagues, and employers who live in different parts of the country or the world. When we make connections through social media, friends of friends, or colleagues we may not know what time zone they are in. It is so much fun to talk to people from different parts of the country and the world. Amazing how we can touch people’s lives and learn from different cultures and people.
When I connected with a career professional who wanted to talk to me about coaching, we agreed that she would call me at 11:30. At 9:40 she sent me an email and asked if I was ok and could we talk at a later time. I realized I hadn’t checked her time zone so I was expecting her call at 11:30. Neglecting time differences could mean missing a business opportunity.
I worked with an illustrator in the Philippines on my children’s book, “Vegetable Kids in the Garden.” His night was my day. We had an awake time overlap for a short time in the morning and evening. I needed to be aware of the times I could reach him by email to keep the project moving at a steady pace. His artistic talent made it worth the effort, and I also learned a little about his world.
One of my first coaching clients was in New Jersey. I wasn’t used to working in different time zones when we made the appointment at 7:00 P.M. When I realized that was 10:00 P.M. for me, I changed it to 6:00, which worked well for both of us. Fortunately I caught my mistake before I missed my client call.
Now I am used to working with coaching clients, colleagues, and entrepreneurs from many different time zones, but still it is easy to forget that time is fluid rather than static. It is 10:00 A.M. in California in the United States of America, but what time are you?
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