Turning Your Passion Into a Career

Posted: September 28th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Turning Your Passion Into a Career

When I was little I remember watching my mom bake cakes for hours on end. I would fall asleep to the sound of the mixer whipping up her newest concoction and wake up to the scent of freshly baked cakes and goodies. She has 80+ State Championship baking awards; baking is my mother’s passion. Unfortunately, she only pursued it as a hobby selling cakes to country clubs and friends while working her way up the corporate ladder at United Airlines. Imagine if she’d spurred the great cupcake craze or become The Cake Boss before Buddy was ever born! Her journey isn’t over yet…Susie’s Goodies may become a hit, outside our family, yet.

Passion is a fire that burns within you; it can’t be taught. It’s the areas of life that motivate you from within, that bring you joy and happiness without thinking. This week, while watching one of my favorite news-magazines, 60 Minutes, featuring Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the founders of South Park, I was reminded just how powerful passion is when combined with commitment. Park and Stone began as college buddies in Colorado getting along mostly, according to them, because their humor styles only blended with one another. These friends and business partners have been entertaining fans with their famous South Park animated comedy characters for over 15 years tackling nearly every off-color, faux paus subject most writers would avoid like the plague. The two write, direct and voice over each episode within 6 days delivering one episode a week and somehow found the time to produce an Emmy-Winning play, The Book of Mormon. This award-winning Broadway hit is sold out for over 9 months and makes the South Park show look mild when tackling tough topics. Religion, Sex, AIDS, the topics they make light of go on and on and the critics laugh as hard as the audience.

Secret To Success

The secret to success, for Stone and Parker as well as any professional, is to find what you have a passion for and make a commitment to it. When Stone and Parker hit the road to L.A. with their big dreams and passion, they found success accompanied by an initial $100K investment for a movie. When the $100K ran out and the movie basically fell flat, they stuck together, stood by their passion and headed back to Colorado where their found a new $1,200 project for a holiday card. It wasn’t much but it was a start, and it paid. That card became a viral sensation before viral networks and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter even existed. The success of one card turned into a contract for a few episodes that ultimately became South Park.

How You Can Make This Happen

Step #1: Identify Your Passion
Step #2: Seek Knowledge (Find A Mentor, Coach, Guide)
Step #3: Get Involved (e.g. community, volunteer at small co./start-up, apprentice, etc)

Translating your passion into a successful career takes time, commitment and the conscious choice to do so. The “South Park Guys” are comedians with funky senses of humor at heart, they translated this into successful careers by identifying outlets that were lucrative. In the process, they opened themselves up to creating a strong partnership built on trust and respect with one another. Join me on Saturday, 10/8 at 9:00a.m. for a 1 hour TeleSummit: “Motivated by Passion: Igniting the Fire Within” to explore how to find your true passion, what it takes to tap into the fire within, how your inner passion translates into a career, real-life stories of 10 people, just like you, that made it happen!

Unemployment Worries Raise as Layoffs Loom

Posted: September 20th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Career Coach, Job Searching, Unemployment News | Comments Off on Unemployment Worries Raise as Layoffs Loom

It’s no surprise that worries about being unemployed are elevated. Just last month Bank of America announced plans to layoff 30,000 and the United States Post Office asked Congress to cut 120,000 jobs. With the most recent hires likely to be the ones that lose their jobs first (a strategy known as last in the door, first out the door) many fear that their already depleted unemployment benefits will be gone when they need to apply yet again.

Lack of Loyalty
With unemployment trending at 9 percent, give or take a few points, it’s likely we will see additional layoffs. This is the reality rather than a prediction and in August, I had an influx of calls from professionals that were surprised to hear their positions at companies they had been loyal to for 10, 15 and in some cases, 20 years say goodbye to them with less than a day’s notice. Loyalty in today’s economy is to shareholders, the bottom-line and keeping the doors open. If you want to keep your family fed and a roof over your head, you need to give up the idea of loyalty to a single company just as they gave up the idea of loyalty to employees. (I say this as someone whose mother has worked for the same company for 28 yrs.)

A New Approach
It’s time for a new approach: being loyal to you and your family. Put your needs first while avoiding being selfish. Do what takes care of your needs and that can mean taking care of your company and it’s clients as well.  Stay true to who you are and your work ethic while branding your skills, accomplishments and expertise in a way that presents itself best to a company with a healthy financial situation.  When is the last time you thought about the best way to take care of your needs rather than your client, or company’s, needs? This is the new way to approach your career.

Worry Later, Work Now
When I was young I was a stress puppy; one of those people who thrived on worry and stress. Then, at 23, while an executive at a Fortune 500 company, I got shingles. If you don’t know what that is, it’s a very painful nerve-based disease that’s caused by stress and is usually found in the geriatric population – yes, geriatric. I had stressed my system out so much that I had a geriatric disease, at 23. During my 3 week stress-induced vacation I read a statistic that said 92% of what you worry about never happens. For all I know, I read it in a newsletter written by a faux professor – but I believed it and it’s been my motto from that day on.

If you want to worry about layoffs and unemployment, do so. I recommend you focus on working – either in your current position or on a targeted job search strategy that will get you into a job and career to utilize the skills you’ve spent years acquiring and perfecting.

Interview Strategies That Work

Posted: September 14th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Interview Strategies That Work

Your resume did it’s job and landed you the interview. Now it’s your time to turn on the charm and ace the interview, only problem is figuring out what works during those precious 60 minutes you have with the decision maker.

Bring Your Personality
According to Kris Plantrich of Fox News DC’s Job Shop, you should bring your personality. Kris says “Remember that the interviewer is looking for much more than just your qualifications. If that were all they wanted they would make their decisions based solely on the resume. An interview is a meeting between two parties and so you are encouraged to be active in the discussion. Hiring managers are looking for someone that is eager to learn and succeed, someone that feels like a good fit for their office, team or department and someone that really wants to work for them.”  The article continues noting that interviewers also want to see if you are someone that can learn and promote their products, services, and company in a confident and positive manner. It is up to you to show your personality and who you are as a person. It won’t help either party if the real and authentic you is not present at the interview.

Be Prepared
This advice seems like a broken record and yet I could retire if I had a dollar for the amount of times I meet candidates that have done next to no research on the company. With the world of Google at your fingertips, searching a company’s website isn’t enough anymore. As Caroline M. L. Potter points out on Yahoo! Hot Jobs, before any interview, you’ve got a considerable amount of homework ahead of you. Make sure you carefully research the company at which you’re interviewing and try to learn as much as you can about the position and your interviewer as possible.

One executive revealed to Caroline that a potential employee was so unprepared that he “got his companies confused and repeatedly mentioned the strengths of a competing firm, thinking that’s who he was interviewing with.” Another called his interviewer by the wrong name throughout the entirety of the meeting.  Always give yourself a few extra moments to prep for your interview, either on the train or subway, or while you’re waiting in the lobby. Review people’s names, the company’s focus and your potential responsibilities, and go in with a clear head.

Dress For Success
One tip I gave during Monday’s Windy City Live appearance at ABC that started a ripple of whispered conversation through the live audience was to match your wardrobe to the company’s colors. This slight shift in attire has consistently hit home runs with hiring managers for over a decade by answering the “fit” question. For men, add a tie that coordinates with the company’s color (e.g. interviewing at ABC, put on an ABC blue tie) and for women, integrate a scarf or blouse that matches the company’s colors. Top it off by polishing your shoes (and nails), having a freshly trimmed haircut and a well-tailored suit. Yes, a suit regardless of how casual the environment – remember, you’re interviewing for the position – you don’t have the luxury of dressing as if you work there just yet (hopefully soon)!  Need a budget-friendly suit option? Check out Nordstrom Rack, Filene’s Basement or Macy’s when they have sales for complete suits! I bought a scarf on sale this week at Nordstrom on Michigan Ave. for $24 (reg. price $115) – sales are a job seeker’s best friend.