Why that Terrible Job is Actually a Blessing

MP900422409 300x199 Why that Terrible Job is Actually a BlessingYes, you read that right. Your terrible job is a blessing, and I’ll tell you why. Years ago I made a break for it and left the corporate world. It was a relief to get out of there and go on my own. Politics, micromanaging managers, layoffs–you name it. It sucked, to use a technical term.

I’d planned never to return to corporate, other than the occasional contracting job as a writer/editor. But as time went on, I forgot what it was like to sit in a cube all day and hate every minute of it. So, when I had an offer to go to a short-term contracting assignment that would require me to go back into an office, I said yes.

Little did I know what I was getting into. The job turned out to be nothing like I expected (is it ever?).

The project was dragging on into its third year. But was supposed to have ended in half that time. It sort of reminded me of that little three-hour cruise that Gilligan took. And the way things were going on the project, it was as disastrous as a shipwreck.

Sure, we’ve all been on projects from Hell. It comes with the territory of being in the workforce. But this one was different. This one came from beneath Hell. As it went on and on, I got more and more depressed. Why had I said yes to this? And when would it end?

As three months got extended to six, then 12, I resigned myself to my fate. I’d made a decision to work on the project, and it’s never a bad thing to get a regular paycheck, but at what cost? Going into my second year there, my day consisted of copying and pasting documentation from one document template into another. All day, every day. Imagine doing that for months. Copying and pasting—pasting and copying. No writing, no editing, no thinking.

When the assignment finally ended abruptly, I was relieved. And right after I left, I immediately started writing my novel. The same novel I’d procrastinated on for several years. The time I spent on the project reminded me what was important to me. It forced me to accept the responsibility for my choice and showed me to make a different one the next time around.

That terrible job may be the shove you need to get on with your life. The discomfort might be prodding you to stop trading the days, months and years of your life for security that really isn’t secure.

So, bless that terrible job–it’s sending you a message. And if you listen, it’ll show you how to take your frustration and create something meaningful.

Trust that you will line up with more rewarding work. You may already know what it is you’d rather be doing. But all you need is that push. There really is a much better way to show up in the world.

Are you listening?

Are You Tired of Chasing Success?

00387541 214x300 Are You Tired of Chasing Success?by Deborah A Bailey

If you’re a “Type A” person (like I am) then it’s all about being busy and getting results. At the end of the day you want to see what you accomplished. You set goals and expect to achieve them on a regular basis.

The catch is that when you’re in business for yourself, you might not see those results as quickly. When you make a change or introduce a new product, the result may not be as evident until time has passed.

Sure, it’s great to think that you can do something today and see it come to fruition tomorrow, but is that realistic? The overnight success we all seem to crave might take years to show itself. Are you looking at the big picture or do you just want what you want right now?

In corporate, many of us just did what we were told. When I went to my appraisal meetings, I could point to a list of tasks I’d completed and then wait for my (minuscule) reward. But in the entrepreneurial world, things are not that nice and neat. As the CEO, you have to take the long view. It’s not just about getting work done today, then getting a new task tomorrow. It’s about doing work today that will have an impact on what happens tomorrow, and the day after that.

You could say that my work on the job had an impact on the company. True, but how often have you done work on the job (if you’ve been an employee) and you had no idea what your impact was? We might have been told about the short-term goals, and sometimes the longer-term ones, but usually we went from one project to the next. The end result was that we had no idea what our work was worth, and whether or not it served any real purpose.

But when you are the one running the show, you don’t have that luxury. It’s not about being busy for the sake of looking busy or having something to put on your appraisal.

The decisions you make right now about funding, or expansion or hiring may (or may not) have an impact today – but you can bet they will over time. It can be easy to chase that bright shiny thing because you want to see it all happen right now.

And when that bright shiny thing promises you that it will give you everything you want without risk – today, in a week or in 30 days – it’s tempting to be all over it.

The Type A part of me loves stuff like that because I want to be sure…and be in control. I want to complete my task so that I can get my reward right now. I want to skip all the discomfort and go right to success with no side trips.

Would be nice, wouldn’t it? But that’s not how it usually happens.

You will be uncomfortable. You’ll make mistakes and stumble from time to time. Plans will go awry and some people will give you the side-eye because you’re not doing it the way THEY would have.

Getting what you want may take a long while, or it may happen much sooner than you expect. But doing busy work or running after this or that just so you can feel a sense of accomplishment (or quick, effort-less, no-risk success), will usually not lead you anywhere.

3 Ways to Boost Your Job Search

ebook3 200x300 3 Ways to Boost Your Job SearchIf your job search has hit a wall, don’t give up. Frustration can stop you in your tracks, but there are ways to boost your search. Submitting your resume to job boards will probably not yield the results you want if that’s all you’re doing.

Spend More Time Networking

When you network you can find out about jobs before they are posted. Most jobs never end up on job boards because they’re known to people in the inside, first. You’ll increase your chances of success if you have a strong network.

Grow your network by attending business and social networking events. And don’t forget non-business social events, and your daily activities. If you volunteer, are a member of a book club, involved in an organization–you already have a network. Reach out to people and let them know you’re looking out for opportunities. You never know who knows who, and who might know about your ideal job.

Take advantage of social networking by making sure your profile is up to date. Connect and build relationships with like-minded people. As they get to know you (and you get to know them) you will increase the likelihood that you’ll find out about opportunities.

Do Your Research

Have you looked into the job requirements? Will you have to have specialized training or certifications? Do you already have the skills, or do you have to take classes? What is the salary range? Whether you are looking for a position within your current industry or looking at positions in a related field, do your research first.

More importantly, if you know what’s required for the job, you can play up those points on your resume.

When you’re on the interview, mention facts you’ve learned about the company. Show them that you’re up to date on trends and important developments in your industry.

Update Your Resume

Does your resume have the right keywords? Did you include details about your present (or last) position? Look at job ads for the position you want and note what is mentioned in the job requirements. Use those phrases and keywords in your resume to increase the possibility that your resume will be found in database searches.

Match your online profile to your resume so that everything is consistent. Lots of recruiters look online first, and you want all your skills and accomplishments to be easily found in those searches.

Want to know more quick tips to enhance your resume – or to update it? Check out my new book, Secrets of a Great Resume on Amazon.com.

Copyright © 2014 Deborah A. Bailey

Secrets of a Great Resume

ebook3 200x300 Secrets of a Great ResumeCould your resume be holding you back?

Buy your copy of Secrets of a Great Resume today on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HWI6BH4

You have the skills and the experience…but still no response. Been out of the job market for a while and not sure how to deal with gaps between jobs? Concerned that your age will work against you in the job market?

Day in and day out, you send resumes to employers for jobs you know you are perfect for, yet you’re not receiving any calls for interviews. In today’s ultra-competitive job market, you can’t afford to go unnoticed.  Your resume needs to stand out from the stack of other job applications the hiring manager is looking at.

When you’re not sure how to highlight your key strengths or how to format your jobs and education, updating your resume can be a stressful process. But it doesn’t have to be!

This easy-to-follow book covers:

  • How to format and structure your resume for the best results
  • How to craft a compelling summary
  • How to use social media to get your resume in front of the right people
  • How to quickly create a cover letter template
  • What keywords are and how to use them

This book is perfect for:

  • Experienced professionals seeking corporate positions either as full-time employees, contractors or consultants
  • Professionals returning to the workforce who need to quickly update their resumes

 

Buy your copy of Secrets of a Great Resume today on Amazon.com: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HWI6BH4

 

7 Mistakes New Business Owners Make

00396113 199x300 7 Mistakes New Business Owners Makeby Deborah A Bailey

For many of us, starting and running a business isn’t something that comes naturally. In school we’re instructed in how to choose careers, not start businesses.

If this is new to you, you will not learn how to do it after just one class in marketing, sales or writing a business plan. You will have to adjust your entire way of thinking.

Here are some mistakes that new business owners should watch out for (some of them will be familiar to you even if you’ve been in business for a while).

1. Spending lots of money on things you don’t need.  If you aren’t selling a lot of products you may not need a shopping cart. Don’t plan on big product launches or obsess over having thousands of social media followers if you’re just starting out. You’ll be setting yourself up for failure if you try to follow the gurus (who have built their businesses over time) and believe that you can achieve the same success in 5, 8 or 10 easy steps.

2. Not wanting to spend any money on things you do need. There are a lot of free applications and online tools, and that’s great. But at some point you must start to invest in your business either by hiring experts to help you, buying tools, or by investing in training. You may be able to do lot of things on a shoestring, but if you want to grow your business you have to invest in it.

3. Wanting to stay in your comfort zone. If you are doing something you’ve never done (which is something business owners deal with everyday) then you will feel uncomfortable at times. If you let fear stop you from having new experiences, your business will suffer.

4. Letting other people define your success. At one time or another we’ve all been drawn into the group-think about what defines success. Is it making 6 figures? 7 figures? Going on exotic vacations? Having 20K followers on Twitter? There as many definitions as there are businesses. You can go broke following someone else’s idea of what success looks like. Yes, you can model successful people, but if you’re trying to recreate their experience it won’t work. Either you’re following your own path or you are not.

5. Not knowing how to sell. The good thing is that you don’t have to act like the stereotypical used car salesman in order to do so. If you believe in what you’re selling and you enjoy sharing it with others, that’s half the battle. However, don’t get caught in the trap of believing you can put your business on auto-pilot and it runs itself. It won’t. Even “passive income” products have to be marketed and sold. You’ll have to get out there and get the job done.

6. Believing that you can achieve huge results with very little effort. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. There are a lot of claims being made in order to cut through the noise and get our attention. Do yourself a favor and read the fine print. You’ll usually find something that says, “results are not typical.” Often the results that a few people achieve are represented as the average result of using a product or service. Don’t let desperation lead to you to make choices you’ll regret later on.

7. Not being clear on what you really want. What does your ideal business look like? Have you created goals for what you want to achieve? Do you have a vision for your life and your business? If not, it’s time to start creating one. If you don’t know where you’re going, how can you get there?

We can all learn from mistakes, so don’t beat yourself up for making them. Building a business is a journey, just be open to learning and growing as you go along.

Copyright © 2010 – 2013 Deborah A. Bailey

Get Off the Goal-Setting Treadmill

MP900448599 200x300 Get Off the Goal Setting TreadmillDecide What You DON’T Want This Year

We’re coming to the end of another year. Planning to make New Year’s resolutions? It’s fine to want to make a fresh start, but what about all those goals we set last year? Do we even remember what they were? Sure, they all sounded great last January, but somewhere along the way they stopped motivating us.

Sometimes the problem is that we end up setting so many goals that we become overwhelmed. We have such great plans for making this year different than the last that we end up with more tasks than we can handle.

Unfortunately, our ambition to reach higher and higher can keep us stuck in striving mode, always focusing on what we haven’t done instead of enjoying what we’ve accomplished. If your life is beginning to look like an endless quest to climb the next mountain, you can end up burned out and frustrated. When our happiness is based on what we have yet to achieve, it’s hard to find satisfaction in our everyday lives.

So, how about setting some “ungoals” for the New Year? Put the goals away, step off of the goal-setting treadmill and give yourself a break. Flip your way of looking at goals and make a list of what you don’t want for the coming year.

What Don’t You Want?

Not sure where to begin? Instead of setting a goal of finding your dream job (or staying employed in your current one), make a list of the things you don’t want to experience this year — or ever again.

Coming up with ungoals is easier because we often dwell on what we don’t want in our lives, rather than on what we do want. Especially if negative people or downbeat news stories influence us, we can begin to believe that we’ll always be trapped in bad situations. Ungoals can help you to get to the root of what’s bothering you. They can be things like staying stuck in a dead-end job, staying in credit card debt, or not exercising regularly.

If you find it difficult to reach the goals that have been on your list year after year, focus on getting rid of the things that are keeping you stuck in the same experiences.

Write Them Down

Maybe you’re really not into journaling, but when you write down your ungoals they’ll move out of your head and into reality. It’s easy to keep ignoring the irritants in our lives; we can put them on the back burner as we distract ourselves with other things.

You can include something about each ungoal that really makes you uncomfortable. For instance, if under credit card debt you list something such as “impulse buying,” you’ve identified something you can stop doing right away.

Instead of writing down a goal and having no idea how to reach it, this method allows you to create automatic steps to eliminate the things that are keeping you stuck.

Once you get your ungoals down on the page there’ll be no more hiding from them. You’ll have to be honest about why things are not the way you want them to be. You can stop hoping that someday things will be different, and accept that you have the power to eliminate the things that are holding you back.

Keep It Simple

If we try hard enough we can probably fill pages with the things we don’t want in our lives: bad relationships, dead-end jobs, the extra ten pounds that won’t go away. Having a long list of things we don’t want can be just as oppressive as holding on to a list of goals we’re always stretching to reach. Keep it simple by starting with the items that are the major roadblocks in your life. Once those are cleared, you may find that the smaller irritations disappear as well.

Also, don’t expect that your ungoals will completely disappear from your list in the next 12 months. Even if you have to take baby steps to clear them out of your life, you’re still making progress. Don’t be hard on yourself if it takes time to eliminate them.

Don’t Dwell

Once you’ve written down your ungoals, put them away for a while. Don’t sit there and dwell over how they came about or why they continue to frustrate you.

If you’ve had the same goals on your list year after year, is it because the goals were unreachable, or have you been reluctant to change what you’re doing? Use your ungoals as a starting point to bring things into your life that you really want. Once you take action and change the behaviors that led to the negative results, you’ll be scratching them off of your list in no time.

Make a Fresh Start

If you begin to make changes but slip back into old behaviors, don’t beat yourself up. It takes a while to get used to new habits. Remember, it’s not about making goals at the start of the year then forgetting about them, or giving up when things don’t go as planned. We’re always reinventing ourselves, not only at the beginning of the year, but throughout our lives. You can make a fresh start no matter what. Set your ungoals and get clear about what’s keeping you from the life you desire.

Originally printed in Working World Magazine.

Five Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneur

00442372 300x199 Five Ways to Think Like an Entrepreneurby Deborah A. Bailey

If you looking for ways to reinvent your career or make the leap into entrepreneurship, now is the time!

Though there are a lot of people starting businesses these days, entrepreneurial thinking is not restricted to business owners.  Learning to think like an entrepreneur will give you skills to succeed no matter what’s happening in the economy.

Let’s take a look at the traits of successful entrepreneurs.

Having a vision – What do you really want to achieve in your life? What do you enjoy doing? When you have a vision for what you want to accomplish, you can stop running in circles. You can stop following what other people are doing, or listening to well-meaning people who think they know what’s best. Do you want to follow your passion and live your purpose? Start with a vision.

Being creative – Creativity isn’t just about art! It’s also about thinking outside the box in order to solve problems and find new ways of doing things. When you connect with your creativity, you are open to solutions that may come from places you never expected.

Trusting your intuition – How often do you listen to your “inner” voice? It may be hard to do when there’s so much going on around you. When you learn to trust your own judgment, you can trust that you know what’s best for you.

Taking risks – It’s possible that in order to achieve what you want, you may have to try something completely new. Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone? That’s what risk taking is all about.

Taking action – Once you have gathered the information you need, it’s time to take action. When you’re proactive you get to decide the next step, as opposed to having it decided for you. And don’t forget – choosing not to make a decision is also a decision! When you let things happen by default, you can end up being a victim of circumstances instead of being a victor.

Remember, you have to be it before you can do it. Whether you decide to become an entrepreneur or not, you can think like one. Instead of waiting to be chosen you can choose success!

Copyright © 2012 – 2013 Deborah A. Bailey

Deborah A. Bailey is author of two non-fiction books including, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life .” She’s also the creator and host of Women Entrepreneurs Radio, a weekly internet talk show. Her fiction work includes a short story collection and a novel, available on Amazon.com.
For more information, visit http://www.BrightStreetBooks.com.

What Happens Before the Business Plan?

DBC Think Final front 264x400 What Happens Before the Business Plan?

Now available!

“Think Like an Entrepreneur: What You Need to Consider Before You Write a Business Plan” by Deborah A Bailey is now available at these booksellers:

Amazon.com

Smashwords.com

“I think you have done an excellent job. I think it’s one of the best business books I have read about taking the leap into entrepreneurship!” – Julie Barnes

Following in the tradition of Deborah’s first book, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life,” the book includes a mix of motivational and practical information that gives you the “real deal” on what you must do before you go into business.

An exciting addition to this book is a series of interviews with women entrepreneurs who share their secrets and strategies on what to do (and what not to do) when starting out.

Download an excerpt here!

Get your copy today and find out what to do before you write your business plan!

Read another review here: http://advantage-marketingblog.com/2012/03/26/connect-like-an-entrepreneur/

Are You Missing Out on this Success Secret?

Has the churn in the economy made you anxious about your career? Are you business dreams on hold – or have they fizzled entirely? If so, you’re not alone. But one of the worst things you can do is to stop investing in yourself or your business.

Ups and downs in the economy are inevitable. Making choices based on fear will not help you to succeed (as you probably already know). So what’s the secret that successful people know? They continue to invest in themselves no matter what is going on in the world. They seek out opportunities to learn, to grow and to prosper no matter what the economy is doing. Hiring a coach is a success secret that really isn’t a secret to high achievers.

When you’re inside your own head it’s difficult to know the best action to take. You can end up going around in circles weighing this option or that option – and never make a decision! A coach can be objective in a way that a friend, family member or colleague can’t.

So how do you choose the best coach? First, have a conversation with them to find out if it’s a good fit. Even if the coach has the qualifications you’re looking for, you may not feel comfortable working with them. Don’t be afraid to say “no” if it’s not right. This is an investment that has to feel right in your head and your heart.

Here are some ways working with a coach can help you:

  •  If you want to make career changes, a career coach can help you identify a career plan and what steps you should take.
  •  It’s hard to make decisions in a vacuum. Having someone else to brainstorm with can help you to see opportunities you hadn’t thought of
  •  When we get stuck in fear and can’t take action to move forward, a coach can be a partner who provides support and motivates us to get going.

Successful people will always have a career or business coach working with them throughout their careers. Even career and business coaches will have their own coaches!

A coach has no agenda other than working with you to identify ways to be more productive, make your business more profitable or help you to focus on what you really desire. If you want to achieve your goals, hiring a coach is an investment that will always pay off.

Copyright © 2011 Deborah A. Bailey

Recipe for Success

j0422850 300x240 Recipe for SuccessMy mom usually makes pies for the holidays. This year I wrote a couple of recipes down just in case I decided to try them for myself. The reason I haven’t done it so far is because I know my pie won’t taste the same as hers. We may follow the same recipe, but the result won’t be the same. Each person puts something a little different into the thing they’re creating.

It might be a bit of a stretch to compare pies to careers, but in this case I think it’s similar. Everyone brings a part of themselves into everything they do. It doesn’t matter if there are already other people doing that work – you will bring something to it that no one else can.

During this time of year there’s always a lot of introspection about where we’ve been and where we’re heading. It’s easy to get discouraged if we think we can’t compete with people who are already doing what we want to do – or we think we are entering a seemingly overcrowded field. When I was afraid to move forward, I was always finding reasons why I should stay put. Thankfully I didn’t let any of them stop me.

So I guess it’s okay if my pie doesn’t taste like my mom’s. Her pie doesn’t taste like my grandmother’s. Each of us can add something to the mix that is uniquely our own.

Copyright © 2010 – 2011  Deborah A. Bailey

Excerpted from the book, “Think Like an Entrepreneur: Transforming Your Career and Taking Charge of Your Life”