Career Calling

August 16, 2015

Career Advice from Walt Disney

Few people changed American popular culture more than Walt Disney.  From Mickey Mouse to his theme parks, Disney could be said to be as creative in his field as Steve Jobs was in his.  What was the secret to his success?  Disney himself might have captured it best in these words:

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Disney’s words should be taken seriously by anyone looking for a new job or trying to change careers.  It’s important to make plans before we act.  However, too often making plans becomes a substitution for doing something.  If you want to make a change, follow Disney’s advice — “begin doing.”

October 10, 2013

Looking for a Better Deal

One of my clients, let’s call him Fred, is an executive in his mid-sixties.  He’s told me more than once that he plans to retire at 70, so I was surprised last week when he informed me that he’s interviewing for a new job.  He’s happy with his current position, and he’s been with the company for six years.  When I asked why he’d consider leaving.  Fred answered, “I might get a better deal,” adding that he thinks the new position could pay him as much as $10,000 more a year.

His response opened my eyes.  Even if someone is only going to work for three or for more years, a annual salary increase of $5,000-$10,000 is a lot of money.  Fred then put his decision in a better perspective:  “How do I know what’s out there if I don’t look?  Going on this interview might convince me that my current job is great, or it could give me a chance for something better.”  Throughout his career, Fred has consistently moved when he found a good opportunity.  He didn’t stay with an employer out of a sense of loyalty or, worse still, fear of change.  Over the years, he’s been laid off a few times, but his approach to the job search has always led him to find new opportunities.

My take away from this story is that a smart professional never stops looking for a better deal, especially in an economy where most employers are stingy with raises and generous in giving more work.  Changing jobs can often bring a higher salary and other perks.  It can, as Fred pointed out, also show that the current employer isn’t so bad.  Looking for something new brings perspective, which is good in any aspect of life.  Start looking.  Who knows what you’ll find?

September 5, 2013

When to Keep Your Job Search Confidential

I advise everyone to network and let your friends and families know that you are looking for a new job.  There is one important exception to this advice.  If you work for a company that fires or punishes employees looking for work, you have to be careful in how you look for work and network.

One of my clients works for an organization that would demote her if it learned that she was looking for work.  Some companies will even fire employees who are seeking a “better opportunity.”  What can you do if you work at such a company?  First, limit your networking to people who you trust.  Beware of sharing your job search plans with any co-workers, clients, or vendor who might accidentally inform your boss.  Similarly, don’t post your resume on a job or change your LinkedIn profile to indicate that you are looking for work.

If your current employer is the kind that punishes or fires employees, you need to be careful about how you move forward.  However, you still need to find a way to look for something new.  The key is to talk to the right people and keep your voice low.

March 14, 2013

Posting on Job Boards – A Caution

Over the past few months, I’ve noted how some of my clients have found jobs by posting on job boards such as Careerbuilder and Monster.  During a recent seminar, I learned a potential danger of this strategy.  The presenter talked about how his former employer had the HR department screen posted resumes for the names of current employees.  He didn’t say if those employees were fired, but employers in several states (often called “at will”) can legally dismiss employees who are looking for work.

What should you do?  First, look at the options and settings for posting.  Some job boards will let you post anonymously.  If you do this, be sure to make both your name and company anonymous.  Other boards will let you block a company from searching your resume.  However, if your employer is using a third party service, that option will not protect you.  Take the time to check all of your options before posting.

How serious is this threat?  Consider it as a risk and proceed carefully.  I have never heard of an employee being fired for posting a resume, but it is a possibility.  One way around this problem is to maintain an updated LinkedIn profile.  Since LinkedIn is a social network, it is a way to let other professionals see your value without telling a current employer that you’re looking for a new job.