Ahhhh New Year’s. As John Lennon once sang, “…and what have you done? Another year over and a new one just begun.” What have you done in 2008? What’s happened to you at work this past year? Despite the global and economic uncertainties that have lately consumed our thoughts, some people are sure that their positions remain secure. Others haven’t experienced this amount of worry in a long time. Yet worries don’t help move anything forward. So, as an alternative to worrying about the future of work, perhaps this new year is a good time to try to remember (as the old 1960’s song appealed) what was good about the job, the bosses, the clients, the achievements and the milestones; and remember, too, the impressive people you’ve met or lost along the way this past 12 months.
Many employees are feeling a sense of higher risk for speaking up in this tenuous economic time and, yes, there are plenty who are going along now with ideas, policies, procedures and management demands, etc., that, in other times, would not sit well. Currently there’s a palpable feeling of, “I’m just going to keep my nose to this here grindstone, be thankful that I have any job at all and hope like hell this all blows over sooner, rather than later!”
Ah, this quintessential Shakespearean question challenging identity and labels (posed in Romeo and Juliet, Act II, Scene ii, 1-2). How does this quote metaphorically apply to the name labels we attach to workplace departments? Three decades ago we called a business’ central administrative area, Personnel; then came Human Resources, and now, many organizations have rightfully evolved this area’s label further along the “name-game” path to People Resources and other assorted variations thereof, eg. People, (as in Vice President or Director of People).
A couple of new studies have identified the alternative of switching to low stress jobs for workers who are overcome with the stresses of their current positions, particularly in this current economy. You could, perhaps, secure one of these low stress positions if you really want to make the career move, but a catch twenty-two may exist, as the switching of jobs, itself, potentially brings on different stresses while dealing with the challenges of a new job learning curve and the demands of retraining. If you have a high stress job and are determined to stick it out, right where you are, and ride the waves, you can fortify yourself, and lower at least some of your job’s stress, by practicing smart stress reduction strategies, such as:
Think back to the events leading up to securing your first professional position (or, for that matter, an important personal or professional relationship, too). If you’re like most, your first real position plunked you miles from where you thought you’d land. Chances are, even if you weren’t totally enamoured with that position (or relationship) at the start, it helped get you where you are today (and, hopefully, that’s a good and satisfying place). Chances also are, your first position came your way thanks to at least a little luck and good timing. Or do you prefer to credit chance, synchronicity or mere coincidence that you were in the right place, at the right time, for the right job/to meet the right person? Personally, when I reflect on my career path, I whole-heartedly acknowledge serendipity. I certainly wasn’t planning a career as a speaker and writer, but that’s exactly what happened. How about you?
Last Sunday, while I was at the gas station, a woman locked herself out of her car–no, no, not me!. Her car was still running (purse and keys locked inside). A man offered to help her (he, coincidentally was a locksmith and had the means)…for $30.00!!! Overhearing this, and at the risk of sticking my nose in others’ business, I commented “Wouldn’t it be nicer if you helped her, just to be kind…to be chivalrous???” He replied that, in this economy, he had to make a buck anyway he could and that, “How else am I going to pay for my locksmith’s license?” So what does this mean??? He cruises gas stations on Sunday mornings hoping to find people who’ve locked themselves out of their cars??? This is his business strategy for making money/for earning a living???
A recent Harvard Study revealed that customers/clients consistently come back to people they like. Apparently, 80% of the inspiration to do that is based on the friendly and caring personality of the service provider…the positive way in which the service provider relates to the client. A mere 20% of a client’s inspiration to return to a specific service provider is based on skill. Pareto’s (80/20) Principle strikes again!
Marsha Sinetar’s, Do what you love, the money will follow, is a great name for a book and a great professional philosophy to embrace, as well. Too bad I didn’t appreciate that premise sooner in my own life–but better late than never. Because of my advocacy for this latter day personal perspective, as a mother, I’ve strongly championed my children to move towards that which really interests them, to the exclusion of that which was merely practical to know. Hence, my step-son is completing a degree in Fine Arts with a specialty in bronze sculpting, while my daughter completed her Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in 2008, majoring in Classical Civilization, with a minor in Canadian History (with special emphasis on WW I and II).
Story Three (The Ghost of Wisdom Yet to Come): The Guy Who Took The Road Less Travelled, From Fisheries and Wildlife, Through Marketing and Communications, on His Ultimate Professional Way to World Religions and Cultural Anthropology
Wishes and dreams of what you might professionally do “one day” aren’t goals until you take a little action. And those fledgling goals, born of a little action, don’t grow up and truly manifest at work or elsewhere unless you persevere and believe.
Story Two (The Ghost of Wisdom Almost Present): My Lady Dianna: An Eloquent, Funny and Insightful Communicator About Whom Most Have Never Heard, Nor Read
When I was 21 and just starting out in my first real job, I was employed by a large organization that was always swamped with… Read more »