I originally posted the story of my first furlough on my LinkedIn profile the day before I headed back to work. I was surprised by the response I got in the comments and overwhelmed by the private messages.
It gave a voice to many who had similar experiences. Those who had lost their balance, boundaries, and understanding of their worth to the organization.
TODAY I share this with you as a reminder that you deserve a job you LOVE, but your job should not define who you are in life.
The world is changing, and everyone has their own experiences. Every experience is real; the fear and pain is real—this is my experience of spending 30 business days on furlough – and mine alone.
Here is how it went down - I got the news on Wednesday that I would be starting furlough the following Monday. I am one of those crazy people that loves to go to work EVERY DAY. For someone who has worked consistently for as many years as I have, it was hard news. My...
Do you believe that the grass is greener?
I absolutely believe the grass is greener, but like everything else in life, it is situational. The key to a good move is running to something instead of running from something. To do that, you have to make sure that you have gotten the most out of your experience with your current employer.
The benefits of tenure are often underestimated. However, time in position gives you certain milestones that will take longer to develop when frequently changing jobs.
Take problem-solving, for example; it is easy to walk into a new situation and be a superstar. But can you build and sustain a long-term strategy of success? Can you beat last year's numbers? You build real grit when you stay through the good times and the bad.
Let's talk about relationships, and be honest...not everyone has been a joy to work with during your career. However, longevity in a position helps you build your influencing skills....
Think back as your career grew - who was there for you? Every leader that has popped in and out of your career has had some significance, but you probably did not realize it at the time.
A few stood out as I reflected on how the leaders I had worked for impacted my growth and career.
My first leader
My first leader approached every day looking for a way to build my confidence and help me succeed. She would pull me aside and say, "you know, if it were me, I would do it this way." Or, "you know Lisa (her boss) would be very impressed if you.........." and she would follow it up with "take it - it's your idea," she would smile and walk off. She let me cut my chops, make lots of mistakes, wanted me to feel good about myself and become confident in making decisions.
The one that gave me the big break
I knew what I wanted to do, but HR said that I was "in no way qualified." Way to let you down easy! So he protested and said that he would do without if they were not...
It wasn't my plan to write about closing the loop, but it came up in three conversations this week. So before we get started - here is a recap of the stories shared with me this week.
One connection of mine told of a story where two separate people had reached out because their company needed someone with her skills, but she never heard back.
The second example came when a friend told me of her frustrations with people reaching out to network, but once she responds, she hears nothing for weeks. She was especially frustrated because they were the one that needed the favor.
The third was a client discussing the age-old story of being ghosted by a recruiter.
Do any of these situations sound familiar? With each person, I tried to play devil's advocate about what may have happened. The job filled faster than they expected, life gets busy, and delivering bad news is never easy. But is it fair to make excuses for these people?
Before I get on my soapbox, we have all done...
One of my favorite leaders always discussed the career arc when presenting potential candidates to the team. He wanted to know that they still wanted more; even if it was not moving to the next position or level in their career, they needed to want to achieve more, be more and give more. If they had stalled out and lost their curiosity, they were not getting the job.
So, where are you in your career arc? Have you reached the goals you set out for yourself? If you are living your dream, what is next? Many hit the goals they set out to achieve but then get lost in day-to-day work and wake up unsatisfied or exhausted. Just a thought, even if you currently believe there is not another title ahead of you - there is always room to grow. When faced with success, why do we become complacent to our own limiting beliefs? What can you do to make sure you aren't already sliding down the back end of the slope?
But wait -before investing more time in work, step back...
This past year has been an eye-opening experience for everyone. No one I know is the same, and there have been a lot of lessons learned.
These are just a few that stand out to me.
Difficult decisions had to be made. Of course, leadership is always full of difficult decisions, but these were some of the hardest in your career because of the uncertainty of the moment and the impact on so many lives.
This leads to it was not personal; it was business. We saw leaders in anguish, trying their best to figure out the magic combination of balance sheets, furloughs, and inevitably in many cases, layoffs.
Everyone sacrificed. Our front-line workers gave and gave beyond what was humanly possible. Many professionals worked more hours than ever and faced situations that, at moments, seemed impossible. On the other hand, many feel guilty because they were not there to help with the solutions due to being furloughed....
Sound like a weird question? It is a metaphor I often use when asking clients what size company they enjoy working in? This is an important question when dreaming about the possibilities of your career.
It is a personal preference, and you should try all sizes. Still, eventually, most professionals find a company size that they feel most comfortable working in for one reason or another.
Not sure what size pond you prefer? Here are some pros and cons to working in each size company.
Large organizations are great because they offer so many different career paths. The further you progress in your career, the more opportunities you have to lead large teams and work cross-functionally with departments that may not exist in other companies. But, being a great leader is important, or your team may feel like a number and get lost in the crowd.
It is easier for your teams to be recognized in a medium-sized organization than a larger...
Some of my most interesting work conversations are with friends, colleagues, and clients who have had a rough day at work. They are ready to flee for various reasons. They think their boss doesn't like them. They are overworked, underappreciated, behind on a project, or not enjoying their job as much as they had previously.
And then I remind them, everybody has dysfunction at work.
You know, that small part of the culture that is thinly veiled on Glassdoor. During the interview, when you asked about it, they glossed over it with a generic answer. Then when you left the interview, you wondered if you should be concerned (there is always a little truth to it, but remember it may not be the full story).
Here are a few examples of the dysfunction you may experience on a bad day:
What? You were ghosted again? Let me fill you in...
It's not you. It's them. Human Resources is working on its relationship with Talent Acquisition, again.
At the beginning of the pandemic, when leaders were trying to save their companies, their best employees, and their customers, they were faced with difficult decisions. As things began to look dire, many cut their Talent Acquisition teams because they could not imagine the next time they would be hiring. The loss of this institutional knowledge and the networks their former recruiters had cultivated over the years has disadvantaged many organizations.
This leads to one of many reasons why you may have been ghosted. Last week alone, I had four people ask if I could recommend a contract recruiter and I spoke to two more contacts who had just added contract recruiters to their teams. In other words, talent acquisition teams (aka - recruiters) are stressed. They are pulled in all...