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As a father of three young children, I’ve seen more than my fair share of finger paintings over the past few years.
Each of my kids is extremely proud of their artistic achievements and they are eager to show off their work.
Their little faces beam and their heads are held high as they describe the monster, castle, dinosaur or family portrait that is contained within their painting.
I hope that they never grow out of the feeling of pride that they get when they have the opportunity to display their unique skills.
I hope that they never stop aspiring to use their creativity to bring colour to the world.
My two boys, Hayden and Logan, love dinosaurs.
From the terrifying T-Rex, to the massive Brontosaurus, they love reading and learning more about them.
They are fascinated by all sorts of dinosaurs, make up stories about them and often ask questions about them, expecting that their wise old dad will have the answers.
Of course, the most popular question is, “Why did dinosaurs become extinct?”
My response generally is something along the lines of, “Because they couldn’t adapt and were unable to cope with changing conditions as effectively as other species.”
Over the years I’ve met a lot of people who felt as though they were stuck in dead-end jobs.
They may have been in the job for a year, five years, ten years or even more.
Some were in their early 20′s or late 50′s.
They all dreaded going to work, they hated Monday mornings and each wanted nothing more than to leave, but they don’t know how to escape.
It may be that they didn’t really know what they wanted to do next.
Or perhaps they needed to undergo more training or increase their skills before leaving, but struggled to make the time.
In many cases, it turns out that the fear of an unknown future is greater than their dislike of their current situation, giving them little motivation for taking action and generating such inadequate excuses for staying such as: Read the rest of this entry »
It’s possible to buy insurance for almost anything these days.
Insurance salesmen are peddling life insurance, house and contents insurance, car insurance, boat insurance, health insurance and travel insurance.
Such insurance is meant to protect us from the unforeseen circumstances that occasionally happen in life.
So what do I mean by career insurance?
I’m not talking about income protection insurance in case you get injured at work (although I’m told that’s a good idea).
I’m talking about ensuring that your career is safe in the years ahead. Protecting you from the unknown future that will be impacted by inevitable and inexorable change, technological advances, global competition and other unforeseen pressures.
Is there really such a thing?
Can you really buy insurance that protects you from massive change and from the possibility that your job (or even industry) may not even exist in the future?
In the immortal song by the Eagles comes this description of Hotel California, “You can check out, but you can never leave.”
I’ve met a lot of people who seem to work in situations like this.
Emotionally, they’ve checked out, probably a long time ago.
But every Monday morning, with a deep sigh, they meander into the office for another week of soul-sapping work.
And they feel that there’s no way out, no escape.
They need a job and they can’t imagine working anywhere else with the economy the way it is.
So they hate their job, they complain and assume that finding an alternative is just too hard.
What a crock!
You do have a choice.
As a career coach and resume writer, I spend a lot of time dispensing advice to clients.
Every situation is different and each client needs specific advice that relates to their particular areas of weakness or the job that they’re applying for.
But these ten interview tips are relevant for most situations.
Some are obvious, some shouldn’t need to be said, but sadly, I’ve seen each of these commandments broken at some stage.
So, here they are, my 10 commandments for interviews: Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve seen thousands of resumes over the years and have seen many mistakes.
I’ve seen diabolical spelling errors, poor structure and resumes that stretch to 10 pages long.
I’ve seen irrelevant information and even had a client whose email address identified him as a devil worshipper.
I’ve seen virtually every mistake that you can imagine, but the biggest error that can made on a resume has nothing to do with the words, length or template that’s used.
The worst mistake that you can make with a resume is to not use it.
There are a lot of skills that are helpful when you’re looking for work.
You need initiative, resilience, writing skills, the ability to utilise your personal network and of course, all of the relevant skills to actually do the job that you’re applying for.
But there is one skill that is more important than any other.
It’s a skill that when combined with the above attributes can help to jettison you into your dream job.
By my estimation, the average employee will spend approximately 2,000 hours at work this year.
That seems like a long time to some people, whilst for many others it won’t be enough time to complete all of their work.
Whether or not you’re daunted or excited about these 2,000 hours is a strong indicator as to whether or not you’re in the right job.
Either way, work makes up such a big chunk of our lives that it would be a shame to waste it being unhappy, unproductive or ill-suited for your job.
So let me ask you, what are you going to do with your 2,000 hours?
A reed warbler works hard to create a complex nest set within the reeds of its habitat and proceeds to lay its eggs, only for the parasitic and nefarious cuckoo to come along and lay a much larger egg in the nest.
The egg of the cuckoo hatches sooner than the warbler’s eggs and the young chick pushes the warbler’s eggs out of the nest.
It then starts to squawk.
The poor, oblivious mum and dad reed warbler respond to the cuckoo chick’s squawks and start to feed him.
He keeps squawking and the warblers keep feeding him.
Soon, he’s bigger than his adopted parents.
But they keep feeding him until he’s big enough to fly away and live independently, leaving the poor warblers to look at each other and wonder what happened.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this.