Archive for January, 2008
Wednesday, January 30th, 2008
Christine OKelly was climbing the ladder and on her way to a top when she packed up, moved the family to the desert, and discovered a new way to go broke. In her post “How I Ditched My Job and Never Had To Come Crawling Back“, Christine tell about her comeback from a challenging career change. Drop by SelfMadeChick.com to read her story or visit FranchiseWhale.com to hear an interview with Christine.
Note: This is the first time I’ve posted a title that looks like the traditional “get-rich” information that you will find on some other blogs. That is not the intent of this post or the U-Turn blog. And no, I didn’t get paid to post this. But I did choose this title because I wanted you to read Christine’s story. I found Christine’s blog about a month ago and regularly read it because I find her career change inspiring. I hope it inspires you also.
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Monday, January 28th, 2008
A few years ago I was amazed at the hours my sons would spend on the computer cruising MySpace. I even threw up my own MySpace page just to try and be cool. But it never really caught on for me…guess its not my generation.
But TeeBeeDee at TBD.com is for my generation. This new social network was developed specifically for the 40+ crowd. I’ve been watching the site develop over the past several months and recently signed up for the free membership to learn a little more. My review in one word – FINALLY.
The first thing you notice at TeeBeeDee is the clean, uncluttered design. A lot of thought has gone into making the site work for those of us who didn’t grow up with a laptop in our crib. After signing up, I made some quick edits to my profile and stepped out for a look around.
My first visit was to something called real life scripts. Real life scripts are somewhat like a forum where you pose a question and members post their script of how they would answer the question. For example, one situation was, “I need to convince my boss that it’s okay to work from home.” The scripts that were offered ranged from telling your boss, “Wouldn’t it be nice not to have to see me everyday?” to a more helpful response from career coach Gordon Miller.
Like a number of social networking sites, TeeBeeDee has member organized groups on just about any topic. A quick scan of the popular groups include Sex Talk, Go Back to College, Spirituality and Consciousness, and Career Change Workshop (hosted by none other than Gordon Miller). The latest addition to the TeeBeeDee groups is a U-Turn Ahead group for sharing career change experiences (guess who hosts that one).
So, if you are looking to network with other midlifers, grab a free membership and spend some time over at TeeBeeDee. While you are there, sign up for the U-Turn Ahead group. And be careful, it can become as additive.
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Saturday, January 26th, 2008
Here’s the deal, WAH(web)Mommy (who, by the way, has one of the coolest blog designs on the Net) was tagged to post seven weird facts about herself on her blog. I was enjoying reading them until I got to the bottom of the post. There I saw it…I was being tagged to write seven weird facts about myself.
Well, keeping with the career change theme of this blog, I’ve decided to post seven strange job related facts about myself.
1) I was a waiter for Olivia Newton-John and her date. To make it even stranger, the dinner was under a circus tent in the middle of the field on a horse farm. So let me explain…it was Anita Madden’s famous Kentucky Derby Party being held on her horse farm in Lexington, Kentucky. I was a waiter for the Marriot Hotel that was catering the dinner. Olivia and her date were the only guests at my table. That was 24 years ago and we both looked a lot hotter.
2) I was paid $20 to paint a 12 foot mural in a church Sunday school room. It was my senior year of high school, and I was really into art (paintings, drawing, ect.). The scene was a creek running through the countryside with trees, butterflies and a couple other animals. Was it good? Nope. I was really disappointed, but the church folk seemed to like it.
3) Two weeks after I got married, my wife and I moved into a group home to care for six troubled teenagers. And we are still together today! My wife and I…not the six boys. We worked in the home for a year. That work lead to me getting my Master’s in Social Work and a career in nonprofit administration.
4) When I was a teen, I worked as a bouncer at our county fair. Okay, this one needs some explaining. The main attraction at the county fair in Harrodsburg, Kentucky is the horse show. I got a job working in the reserved seating. I had to check a list of names to be sure no one without paid reserved seating was in the section. At the end of the week, I would make another $20-40 helping the carnies break down the rides. It was my one week summer job.
5) I once made a nearly $200 tip tending bar for a reception with the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Jeane Kirkpatrick. She was speaking to the Fort Worth, Texas Chamber of Commerce during her last year as ambassador, and I was assigned as the bartender for the reception before her speech. The tip was 15% of the bar tab for only about 40 guests. They liked to drink.
6) I created the term jobrepreneur to describe those of us who start a business while remaining employed. Jobrepreneuing is not so weird, but the word sure is. I first used it on this blog a couple months ago. I needed a word to describe what I was doing, but couldn’t find the right one. So, like any good wordsmith, I slammed two words together! BTW, did you know that Coryan is also a word smash? It combines the names of my sons, Cory and Ryan. My real name is Jim Lockwood.
And I’ve saved the best for last…
7) I once sold Avon products door-to-door. I was the second leading salesperson in our region despite being a 20 year old man selling in the housing projects. I had just graduated college and needed money for a car. This was the only work I could find in our small town. I sold five days a week for six months, even recruiting other moms to sell for me for a small commission.
I hope you enjoyed this little break from the regular U-Turn posts. Now, I’d like to see some weird facts from Ben at TheBlogscape.com, Tish at BloggingGal.com, KoTa at Ko-Ta.com, and Shari at ExpressMarketingMemo.com. You’ve all now been tagged! BTW, these are all great blogs, so check them out.
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Thursday, January 24th, 2008
Jobrepreneuing (yes, it can be a verb) is the art of starting a business without leaving your job. Most jobrepreneurs consider this arrangement simply because they can’t afford to quit work and wait for the business to generate sufficient income. But some careful consideration will reveal other advantages to keeping that day job besides money to make the house payment.
Here are seven ways to take advantages of keeping your job while starting a business:
- Use your job to identify business opportunities. Many successful businesses were started as solutions to reoccurring problem. And what better place to identify problems then at the workplace. Years ago I knew a fundraising event coordinator who started her business in just this fashion. Karen worked for a small nonprofit organization that had put on their own fundraising events for years. But with the increased resources needed to put on these events, the agency was considering dumping one of their major events. Karen, who had always worked at these affairs, saw an opportunity. She and a friend started an event planning business specializing in nonprofit fundraisers. After a few months the business was doing so well that Karen left her job to run the company full time.
- Consider your employer as a potential first customer. This works great if your new business can fill a need of your current employer. Just be sure the work is not already a part of your job description. Schedule a meeting to present your business idea and how you would deliver the product or service. It’s important to keep everyone informed of what you are doing (especially your immediate supervisor) and avoid anything that would create conflict or competition for your employer. If your new business would be competition, it’s best to leave your job first. By the way, Karen’s employer was her first customer.
- Fund your business with your paycheck. Not only can your current job make the house payment, but you can also pay for business expenses. Use your salary to invest in your business. Set up a separate bank account for the business and be sure keep your personal and business finances separate. Planning is the key. Only invest money that you can afford to risk.
- View your current employer as a potential investor or partner. This is really a great idea if your business idea is complimentary to the work of your employer. For example, if you work for a moving company and you are wanting to start a file storage business, your employer may make a great partner. Prepare a presentation just as you would for an outside investor or partner and schedule the meeting. You want to show your employer how their involvement will strengthen their business and provide a good return on their investment.
- Take advantage of training opportunities. If your employer provides or pays for trainings that would help you in your new business, sign up immediately. When starting a new company, it may be difficult to pay for such trainings. So, go to the all day workshop on becoming a better salesperson, it will make you a better employee and business owner. Consider attending trainings on accounting, sales, marketing, planning, and technology.
- Consider coworkers as potential partners or employees. There’s nothing wrong with identifying key individuals that would benefit your company and offering them employment, or even a partnership. Be selective and have these conversations away from the office. It’s important to respect the boundaries at work. I also suggest you limit these offers as the good will of your employer is a benefit you don’t want to easily lose.
- Use the business reputation of your current employer to your advantage. If your employer is considered a leader in their industry, that can really work to your advantage. It may reflect well on you for your potential customers who know where you are employed. Again, be considerate of how you promote yourself. You don’t want to say your employer is endorsing your work if, in fact, that is not the case.
For more reading on being a jobrepreneur, check out Cassandra Black’s article at AssociatedContent.com.
[Original Photo Credit:Maveric2003]
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Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008
Okay, your burned out, feeling unmotivated, and maybe considering a career change. But do you really need to change jobs? Maybe what you really need is a change in your current work situation. It might be a promotion or a transfer, or it could also be a much simpler change.
Here are four simple steps to getting changes in the workplace:
1. Identify the source of your frustration. Are you bored? Is the work too challenging or easy? Are co-workers a problem? Are the tools and resources you need not available or of inferior quality? Take a good look at why you are unhappy and try to pinpoint what it is that needs to change.
2. Decide who can make the change happen. Once you know the source of your dissatisfaction at work, you can then identify the person who can make the change you desire. Most often this person will be your boss. It’s usually the boss who controls office assignments, allocation of resources, work partners, and job duties. Be sure you know who it is that controls the thing you want changed.
3. Find out what is important to that person. Now that you’ve decided who holds the key to making the change, you need to find out what is important to them. You need to know their motivators. For most people, they are motivated by looking good to their supervisor. Other motivators could be making their job easier, having a positive relationship with coworkers, and making more money. Find their motivator and you will have the key to making workplace changes.
4. Use the motivator to convince them to make the change. Simply stated, you need to sell them on the idea. When requesting the change, be sure to explain how the change will benefit them. Don’t focus on your needs, but show them how the change will make things better for them.
Yes, the steps are really that simple. Figure out what needs to change, who controls it, what motivates them, and then use the motivator to convince them to make the change.
For a humorous example of creating change at work, visit JobSchmob.com and see how Doug got his boss act on the change Doug desired. Doug definitely knew what would motivate his boss. By the way, I don’t recommend Doug’s strategy, but it makes the point. Read Doug’s story>>>
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Sunday, January 20th, 2008
An article appearing online at DallasNews.com, titled ‘08 Changes in the Workplace presents eight changes you can expect in the workplace this year. The author, Diane Stafford of The Kansas City Star, predicts:
- Few new government regulations for the workplace.
- More attention given to the environment.
- Employer sponsored health/lifestyle programs.
- Continued increase in healthcare costs.
- An increase in baby-boomer retirements.
- Legal challenges over veteran job protection laws.
- A focus on workplace security and safety.
- A continuation of the trend toward shorter job tenure.
To read the entire article, click here>>>
What changes do you expect to see in 2008?
[Photo Credit: el copilot]
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Friday, January 18th, 2008
I’m starting a new feature on U-Turn Ahead called “Coryan Recommends.” Every week or so I will point you to one of the many great resources on the Net for those considering a midlife career change. This week’s recommendation is the New York Times Shifting Careers Blog at http://shiftingcareers.blogs.nytimes.com.
Located in the small business section of the New York Times online, the Shifting Careers blog showcases the knowledge and writing talents of Marci Alboher. If it is true that great content is critical to creating a great blog, then Marci’s posts pass the test. Her style is engaging while the information she shares in insightful and resourceful. And, like any good blogger, she is alert to the wealth of information around the blogosphere as can be seen in today’s post, “Friday’s Links: Dads Go Back to Work, Freelancers Name Their Rates.”
The Shifting Careers blog is a regular read on my stingy RSS list. I suggest you give it a visit.
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Thursday, January 17th, 2008
Short Timers – a term most commonly used in the military to describe someone coming to the close of their tour. But for the rest of us, a short timer is (according to UrbanDictionary.com) someone who “after turning in [their] resignation, [they] end up not giving a damn about [their] job during the remaining two weeks…”
A short timer is leaving this job and sees nothing ahead but the change. It can be a great feeling…the anticipation of change, of doing something new and, hopefully, more fulfilling. But being a short timer means the potential for problems. If we mishandle our departure, it can have some nasty effects.
Once you’ve given notice you want to remember the golden rule of effective short timing: Do no harm to your reputation. You’ve worked hard for a good reputation. And even if that reputation was tarnished before you leave, you can do some mending by leaving on a positive note. So here are some strong recommendations (rules, if I could enforce them) for your final days on the job:
- Do not tell your employer “how you really feel”. In other words, don’t take this time to tell your boss what a jerk she is or how terrible the company treats it’s employees. This is not the time to start complaining. They really won’t listen (hey, your just a disgruntled short timer), and it will only make you feel better for an hour or so. But you risk breaking the golden rule, and you don’t want your future employer or customers hearing about your unpleasant departure. Take the advice of my mother, don’t burn any bridges. So, what do you say if asked why you are leaving? Say something general like, “I’m looking for a change” or “it’s a good opportunity for me.”
- Do your best work during those final days. Work off the motivation that you will soon be on that new job or running that new business. Don’t start dragging; instead, kick it up a notch. Organize your workspace, complete all unfinished projects, and prepare notes and instructions for those who will fill in behind you. The added benefit is that this hard work will be better recognized BECAUSE you are a short timer. The boss will never expect it. Surprise him!
- Don’t make any commitments to your employer beyond your scheduled work. Many short timers, with all good intentions, make promises to train their replacement or come back and help out for a while. But reality kicks in when they are in the new job and find no time or motivation to keep these self-made obligations. So, avoid making any promises and focus on being the best employee while you are at work. Don’t try to ease the pain of your departure with any such promises.
What would you add to the list of short timer recommendations?
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Tuesday, January 15th, 2008
To grab attention, you need to set yourself apart from the pack. We can do this in many ways, but using humor and creativity have to be the most fun. So, check out this eye catching ad for the Silberman’s Fitness Center! For some fun photos and more clever advertising, visit Sutra Photos. More Clever Ads>>>
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Monday, January 14th, 2008
According to Dr. Mel Miller, director of an Australian organizational psychology consulting firm, boredom in the workplace is growing. The problem, it seems, is that work is becoming repetitious, meetings are too long, and workers’ attitudes and health are getting worse. Read Hannah Martin’s recent article in Business Sense to learn what can be done about workplace boredom. Go To Article>>>
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