The Aftermath of Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

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A few weeks ago I was listening to a new radio station (KJZZ-Phoenix), which I’ve started to love because they go deep into news-making topics. They shared an interesting perspective about the fallout of all these harassment claims being launched. From Hollywood leaders to politicians, and now, Matt Lauer! Not the golden boy of daytime news TV!! How the mighty have fallen, but there are still some victims being affected, although they’ve never said a word or made a claim.

It’s the women who are part of certain male-dominated fields.

KJZZ pointed out the systemic repercussions against women. There may be no concrete damage done when the male colleague tells a dirty joke in a staff meeting, but the problem emerges when the woman in the room reacts. If she is not accepting, then her career and the perception of her could be at stake. If she is no longer seen as a team player because of her unwillingness to go along with the crude office humor, somehow, she is viewed as a threat to the system. Hence the cards may be systematically stacked against women.

This is not an excuse for women (or male victims -- who may be the minority in a female-run organization) to not be social, do their best work, or to participate in below-board humor. It is simply an awareness for those of you who may not understand the pain behind the headlines that a lot of women are facing in the workplace everyday.

Yes, there are plenty of great organizations where this has never been an issue (and I’m fortunate to have gone relatively unscathed during my 9.5-year corporate career) so please don’t think I’m male bashing here. There are decent men and women too.

The re-emergence of sexual harassment issues into the limelight is one of the many dimensions that will be discussed during Project 2020. If you haven’t checked it out, be sure you do.

Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: The one who will tell you like it is and help you get to where you want to be in your career. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation. pushcareermanagement.com

What Are You Saying About Your Career?

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It’s nearly the end of the year and by now most people have counted themselves out. They’ve reached the conclusion that there is no way that their goals (career or otherwise) will be achieved this year, so they’ve checked out and started thinking about 2018. But reminder…

YOUR WORDS HAVE POWER!

If you’ve caught yourself saying any of the following, this message is for you:

1.     No one is hiring this time of year

2.     I just can’t take any more rejection

3.     I don’t know what more I can do, I’ve tried everything

4.     I just can’t afford that

5.     No one is willing to help me

6.     No one can see my value. All they see is ________.

7.     It’s a shame no one cares about all the experience I bring to the table

I could go on and on, but you get the gist. Now, let me give you some truth to combat the falsehoods you’ve convinced yourself of.

1.     Actually, the holiday season is a remarkable time of year for hiring activity. Some businesses intentionally slow down around this time and that allows time to map out business needs for the upcoming year. Hiring actually peaks around December and January.

2.     Rejection is hard, but perhaps instead of viewing a “no” as rejection…try to see it as crisis averted. You don’t want to be in/at a place where your skills aren’t valued and you are not accepted.

3.     If you haven’t talked to me yet, you have not tried everything. Typically, a free 30-minute consult can help rejuvenate you and re-ignite your energy for your search. Reach out to me (click here) or an expert in the area you’re struggling with before you call it quits.

4.     If I had a dollar for every time someone said they can’t afford something (that they absolutely needed), I’d have like $50,000. The bottom line is we invest in what we deem a priority. Whatever investment(s) you need to make, understand the nature of investing is to give you a return.

5.     Stop…people are willing to help. But they expect you to do your part. Don’t ask people to pass along your resume when you haven’t even proofread it. It’s full of errors and typos, but you want them to stick their necks out for you? Get honest with yourself and self-evaluate.  Phone a friend/accountability partner to get clear about how you may be standing in your own way. Check out this article for more insights on why you’re not being referred.

6.     Sometimes ignorance exists in the decision-making process.  Consider yourself lucky to not be called in to work for someone who, if not for their desperation, would have otherwise chosen someone else. Focus on your skills and what you bring to the table. The right person in the right time will see your value and not measure you against stereotypical biases.

7.     We do care about your experience, but it is your job to know that we mostly care about your recent, relevant experience. If you’re stilling holding on to your flagship project from the early 80’s, then we may have a problem. What have you done lately? Focus on that!

Keep gratitude in your heart during this season of Thanksgiving and keep these scriptures in your mind as you set out to change the words you’re speaking over your life, career, and other situations you may be facing right now.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue…Proverbs 18:21

I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life… Deuteronomy 30:19

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: The one who will tell you like it is and help you get to where you want to be in your career. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation. pushcareermanagement.com

Do You Have a Vision For Your Career? 6 Questions to Ask Yourself

(Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash)

(Photo by Daniil Kuželev on Unsplash)

When we hear the term visionary, it’s often applied to leaders, but who’s leading your career? Isn’t it you? And if that’s the case, then don’t you need to have a clear direction or vision for where your career is headed?

This past week I’ve spent some intentional time just thinking about the future of my business/career and it was very eye opening. Someone asked me once, what help I needed (or how they could support my business) and I realized in that moment (a few years ago) that I had no idea what they could do for me because I hadn’t thought about where I was going next and what resources it would take to get there. Since that day, I knew I needed to start getting clear on what the future could look like for me (notice I said COULD, because we must stay flexible and open). But here are some of the questions I asked myself:

1. What do you want to do now, next, and in the next 5 years?

2. Why do I want to do this?

3. By when do I want to achieve it?

4. What will it mean for me when it becomes reality?

5. What obstacles are between me and my goal (real or perceived)?

6. How will I measure/track my progress to know when I have achieved it?

I encourage you to take a few moments and think through at least one goal you want to accomplish in the next year and one goal for the next 5 years. Then follow this series of questions to guide you through planning it out. Too often, I see the “where do you see yourself in 5 years” question come up during interviews and too many stumble over their responses because they’ve never actually thought about it. As always, I am your proactive career navigator and this is another important element to your career journey. Comment (or email me) and let me know what challenges you’re facing, otherwise, keep pushing!

Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: The one who will tell you like it is and help you get to where you want to be in your career. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation. pushcareermanagement.com

Are You Wired for Your Work?

Photo credit by Randall Bruder on Unsplash

Photo credit by Randall Bruder on Unsplash

A fish may consider itself a failure if it can’t climb a tree. But it wasn’t wired that way, so why would it hold itself to a completely unreasonable standard? It was never meant to be a tree climber!

Many years ago my pastor said something to this effect and it really opened my eyes to the fact that we’re all wired or designed for a specific purpose. Much like how hammers are designed to drive nails into the wall, we have a reason to be here. And just because a hammer also happens to be a good paperweight…that’s not what it was built for.

I think about how difficult it was for me to fit into my role as an engineer. Don’t get me wrong, I did my job well but it did not feel effortless. I always had to ask questions, do significant research, and review my notes; I often second-guessed myself. It didn’t seem intuitive to me.  Then once I was laid off and I had quiet time to reflect on what I should be doing (vs. what I had been doing out of sheer habit), I realized I was doing the wrong work. Now that I’m in the career management space, things just come naturally. I tend to just know what to do even without reading a lot of heavy textbooks. You could say I’m a natural. And I believe this is what it’s supposed to feel like when we’re doing the work we were wired to do. Even normal activities, things like (classes, sermons, reading books), I hear messages in the context of careers. It’s kind of scary actually but it’s more validation of my wiring.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m good at many things…but I strive to be excellent. Just because I’m good at washing dishes, doesn’t mean I should be a dishwasher. Just because I’m good at arguing my point, doesn’t mean I should be a lawyer. And just because you’re good at what you’ve been doing, doesn’t mean it’s what you should continue to do. (Although, sometimes you should).

Consider this an encouragement to not beat yourself up for not being the best at the work you do. Instead, honestly ask yourself if you’re doing the right work. Back to the fish… I’ll bet if you put it in the ocean, it would show you all the wonderful things it was capable of.  Are you where you’re supposed to be?

Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: The one who will tell you like it is and help you get to where you want to be in your career. Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation. pushcareermanagement.com

Why You Aren't Being Referred

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“Hello connections, I am seeking a new, full-time opportunity where I can leverage my skills in operations, leadership, and customer satisfaction. I would greatly appreciate any referrals or recommendations you have  (1).png

It’s paraphrased but it’s still very familiar. The problem with this type of message is…

We have absolutely no idea what type of work you’re looking to do. Do you have any idea how many industries have operations leaders? This type of outreach does at least attempt to connect with one’s network (which is a good thing), but it does not give your network the critical information they need to actually help you.

What needs to be included is:

  • Your specific, targeted job title(s) - a clear message. What exactly do you want to do and what is it called in the marketplace?
  • The industry you’re looking for. Are you looking for something in financial services, manufacturing, or government? They’re all very different.
  • What bottom-line impacting skills will you bring to the table? Are you a $100k P&L leader or a $2B P&L leader? There is a difference.
  • Another helpful hint…consider sending these outreach letters to specific people that actually know you well enough to refer you (in a private mail). Because regardless of how well written your appeal is, professionals should never refer you if they don’t know you. You must be able to demonstrate your ability to do the job. Be honest with yourself.

Keep in mind…changing professions/industries is a much more difficult sell. You must put in the time to demonstrate how you’re qualified to perform in the new function or industry. This takes work and your examples of cross-functional success can go a long way with your network audience.

Once you craft your more-focused appeal, and you send it to specific people that can vouch for your actual performance, give them a little grace. You don’t know how busy people are or if they’re dealing with personal matters. Just because they didn’t respond in 24 hours doesn’t mean they hate you.  Sometimes they just have other stuff going on. So allow them time to respond and you take ownership of the appropriate follow up (1-2 weeks).

If you’re still struggling to get your network to help you, you may need someone to tell you the truth. I’m very good at that, especially when it helps you to stop spinning your wheels.

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Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: The one who will tell you like it is and help you get to where you want to be in your career. Click here to schedule your complimentary consultation. pushcareermanagement.com

How to Prepare for Your Resume Update

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Next month, September, is National Update Your Resume Month. And in expectation of its magnificent arrival, I want to give you some practical nuggets to get you in position for your resume update.

If you’re anything like me, sometimes you sit down to tackle a project and then you get frustrated because you don’t have everything you need. Then one hour later…you’ve run out of time. Vow that this resume update project will be different, and get busy pulling together these items:

1.     Start thinking about the next step in your career plan. What is it called? What skills are required to achieve it? Does it pay what you thought it would? Start referencing job postings to see what employers are looking for.

2.     Review your past performance appraisals. What were some of your major accomplishments? What was the financial value of the projects you’ve worked on? How many patients did you care for at one time? How much did you save your organization (time or money)? What were the customer retention numbers before and after your arrival in the role?

3.     Pull any letters of recommendation you’ve received and/or ask to be recommended. Using LinkedIn is a great way to get a formal recommendation and let it be known to the world. It’s one thing to think you’re awesome…it’s another thing entirely for someone else to say it.

4.     Document your trainings. How have you stayed sharp within your profession? Did you deliver any classes? What conferences did you attend? Think about lunch-and-learn workshops that exposed you to new skills. Don’t discount online trainings that your employer offered. Not everyone cares enough about their career to keep developing, so make sure you’re giving yourself credit for the amazing things you’ve done to stay relevant.

Update Your Resume Month does not mean you have to hire a professional writer, but if you know that writing and articulating your accomplishments is not your strength…then do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation with me to build a strong, effective resume for you.

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Written by Brenda M. Cunningham: Career Transition Specialist at Push Career Management, LLC. Whether you are unemployed or ready for more in your career, she builds powerful portfolios that capture attention and coaches professionals to land their ideal positions at their ideal pay. www.pushcareermanagement.com

Company Layoffs: (Employers) Act Like You Know

Heads up employers!!! When you have employees who do a great job for you day-in and day-out, then your company falls on hard times…it is critical that you support these individuals who have given so much of their lives to you.

You know, like I know, that you hired them and paid them based on a 40-hour workweek, and they consistently put in 60-80+ hours for you. Since they were paid a salary, they didn’t even receive overtime pay!

You also know, like I know, that these employer-rating sites like Glassdoor.com are rapidly emerging as one of the first places prospective candidates will go to find out about your company culture. And what’s being said about you matters to your future hiring endeavors.

Finally you know, like I know, that providing quality outplacement support is the right thing to do when you have a sudden need to restructure or reduce your workforce. This is especially true for your long-term staff who haven’t looked for a job in 10+ years.

I remember my own fateful day, just like it was yesterday. I was called into a room and essentially told my services were no longer needed. I think I was surprised because I thought I was doing a great job. Nonetheless, suddenly I had no job, and only a glimpse of the confidence I once knew. But there was one silver lining…my company provided me with something called outplacement services and I was told that this outplacement company could help me with finding a new position.

The big-box outplacement services I received was helpful on some level, but lacking in other areas. For example, they provided resume assistance, but not resume development. They offered job search suggestions, but not a job search plan/strategy. They offered a place to make phone calls, but didn’t advise who to call or what to say. And this is why Push Outplacement Services was born. I knew it was time to offer a more comprehensive and practical solution to these shell-shocked and loyal professionals who had just lost their job.

So employers, act like you know and do things differently from here on in. If you are facing layoffs, be sure to secure a quality, people-and-results focused outplacement services provider.

 

To learn more about outplacement services, and how Push Outplacement Services are different (as well as how you can partner), complete the form to download your free resource, Outplacement: The Ultimate Win-Win, Reputation-Saving, Risk-Avoiding, Employee Benefit

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FATIGUE, Your Job Search’s Worst Enemy

FATIGUE, Your Job Search’s Worst Enemy

Perhaps you’re just bogged down mentally because you’ve been stuck in the same position and keep getting passed over for promotion. Maybe you’ve been in an unfruitful job search for a long time and you’re wondering if you have the will to keep jumping through all the job search hoops that a modern transition requires.  In short, there is hope. What I’ve found works for me is having a carrot to dangle. You know, a small victory.

Stop Pulling the Race Card!

Stop Pulling the Race Card!

I’ve purposely avoided writing controversial articles because I prefer to be drama-free and to focus on education. But this topic of the “race card” is an important one, especially in light of Black History Month. Black History Month is celebrated for all of the major accomplishments contributed by African Americans, so why are so many from this population still pulling the race card when they don’t get certain, targeted opportunities?