We are living through one of the largest skills gaps in human history. Related: The ‘Skills Gap’ Issue For Job Seekers Mid-lifers and Millennials alike are unskilled for the demands of the workforce today and into the future. This skills gap has been driven by a technology surge in the early 2000’s that has spawned a new era of employment. These new areas of employment include an integration between business, marketing, and creative services. Many Baby Boomers who are currently in the corporate environment today have the appropriate skills and business acumen for the day to day operations and administrative tasks of their job. However, many of them are lacking new media marketing skills as well as skills in creative content development. What employers are looking for today and into the future are employees who are multi-faceted. The old school approach of getting a college degree in a specific field and throwing new skills out the window after graduation is over. These days, you must constantly be learning and re-learning new skills that are associated with your field. It’s no longer good enough for example, to simply be a marketing manager. You must also have a keen sense of content development and online marketing skills as opposed to just traditional marketing. As it pertains to the skills gap, Millennials are also at a tremendous disadvantage as they were educated in a college environment that doesn’t provide educational diversity. This can largely be blamed on a higher education system that hasn’t evolved with the needs of employers today. Both mid-lifers and Millennials can rejoice in a solution to gain the skills they so desperately desire without going back to college and without breaking the bank. The solution is online education. When I say online education I am not referring to distance learning programs from accredited universities. I’m referring to programs from industry-leading education platforms such as Lynda.com or Udemy.com. For less than $50/month Lynda.com gives you access to an ever-expanding catalog of courses taught by industry-leading experts from companies such as Adobe, Apple, and Microsoft. Udemy.com is also a valuable platform. Udemy has democratized education by offering individuals the ability to create educational courses based on their fields of expertise.' Although you may be skeptical about the quality of educational courses taught by regular people, fear not. Udemy courses are rated by students giving you an indication of the quality of each course. Udemy also offers a 100% money back guarantee if you are dissatisfied with a course you purchase. Both of these outlets offer beginner, intermediate and advanced level training in some of the hottest and most in demand skill sets of today including graphic design, web design, computer programming, app development, coding, Microsoft Office, video editing, social media marketing, and more. While skipping a 4-year degree or an MBA in replacement for higher education online may not be fully accepted just yet, it’s closer to mainstream adoption than you may think, as employers today are more interested in verifiable skills as opposed to simply having a college degree. A survey by Gallup states that “only 9% of business leaders say that the school on a candidate’s diploma is “very important,” compared to 84% assessing knowledge in the field and 79% looking at applied skills.” If you’re getting left behind in your career as a result of a skills deficiency, fear not. There is hope for you and it doesn’t require you to go back to college.
We get it. Looking for work can be scary, especially if you’ve been at it for a long time and haven’t gotten any results.
Understanding which fears are getting in the way and how to overcome them will make all the difference. Sometimes you might not be aware of which obstacle is getting in the way of your goals. If you want to overcome these fears once and for all, we invite you to join us!
In this training, you’ll learn how to:
- Utilize strategies for coping with your job search fears
- Be confident in your job search—from writing your resume to networking
- Face your fears and move forward
Join our CEO, J.T. O'Donnell, and Director of Training Development & Coaching, Christina Burgio, for this live event on Wednesday, October 5th at 12 pm ET.
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You hate your job. You find yourself complaining about it daily to your family and friends. Every Sunday night, you tell yourself that you're finally going to quit and find a new job because you just can't take it anymore. But you don't.
Instead, you go to work, come home, complain, and start the whole cycle over again. You're completely miserable in your current job, but you're absolutely terrified to find a new job. Why?
You're Afraid Of The Unknown
Yes, starting a new job can be scary. You have to adapt to a new work environment, make new work friends, and even learn some new skills—and you don't know if you'll even like it after everything's said and done. What if it turns out to be worse than your last job? What if they don't like you? What if you don't fit in? What if you don't perform at the level they expected? It's similar to starting at a new school where you don't know anyone, where anything is, or how your teachers are going to be.
The truth is, starting a new job can be intimidating. You're walking into a new situation and you're not sure what to expect. The best thing you can do is get to know the company as much as you can before accepting a job offer there. Learn it inside and out, make an effort to get to know people you'd be working with over LinkedIn or coffee, and ask questions that can give you insight into the company culture.
You're Not Confident In What You Have To Offer
Don't feel like you've got what it takes to make it anywhere else? Afraid to find a new job because you don't want to look like an incompetent employee? If you think you're lacking the skills to succeed elsewhere, take an inventory of your skill sets. Then, compare them to the skill sets that are required for the jobs you're considering.
What are you missing? Where do you need to ramp up your skills? Do you have additional skills that could lend themselves to the job? Make a list of the skills you have and the ones you need to develop.
You're Not Really Sure What You Have To Offer
You need to understand what you have to offer so you can market yourself effectively to employers.
Again, go in and take a look at your skill sets. Think about past accomplishments at work. What have you achieved? What are you proud of? What problem do you solve at your current company? Make sure you quantify your work experience on your resume so employers know what you have to offer and can see the value you provide as a business-of-one.
You Don't Know What You Want To Do Next
You want to find a new job, but you have no idea what you want to do. All you know is that you hate your current job and you want out. If you're having trouble figuring out what you want to do next, you need to take some time to explore.
Research different jobs, industries, and companies. Talk to people about their work—why they like it, hate it, and what excites them about it. Take some time to figure out what interests you and what projects energize you.
You're Afraid Of The Financial Repercussions
What if you don't get the benefits you have at your current job? What if you have to take a pay cut? What if it takes too long to find a new job and you run out of money? Research competitive salary rates using Glassdoor's salary calculator before you look for a new job. Also, research the companies you're interested in to learn about what kinds of benefits they offer employees.
It's important to understand what your priorities and must-haves are in your new job. The last thing you want to do is accept a job knowing that it won't meet your needs because it will just result in you looking for a new job in a few months. However, understand that you might not necessarily make the same paycheck as your current job. Research so you know what to expect.
If you're terrified to find a new job, you're not alone. We hope that by identifying these fears and following the tips above, you'll have the confidence and courage to look for your next job. Remember: you'll never know what you can do until you try!
Need more help with your job search?
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
To begin, what are the lean wastes?
TIM WOOD — Who Is This Guy?
Time — It’s Ticking In Your Head!
Do engineers waste time? NEVER!!! Are you sure? How long did it take you to look up a part number for your last project? Have you spent hours on the internet combing for the perfect transformer? Did you rework the drawing because it was missing information? All of these take time.
Time is an engineer’s best asset. With any project, more time is always preferred. Despite our best efforts, everything has a deadline, and you will be out of time. So why do things take so long to accomplish?
Much like production, everything an engineer does has a process—formally or informally. If your process requires you to do unnecessary tasks or wait in a queue for information, it all takes away from our time.
Review what it truly takes to complete a task versus the total time to complete an action. The difference is your opportunity. How can you make tweaks or eliminate wasteful tasks to improve your time?
Inventory — How Can Engineering Have Inventory?
In the classical sense, engineering typically does not have dozens of parts on their desks or stacks of products on the shelves.
How many projects are on your desk needing your attention? How many drawings need revisions from production markups and changes? Do you have software programs written for customers? How many documents need approval?
Each of these “soft” products is inventory. Thinking broader, any accumulation of work ahead of you is your inventory. The more projects, tasks, and activities on your desk, the higher the inventory for you as a worker. How do we deplete inventory?
For administrative tasks, plan a time every day to work through the tasks. Approvals in the ERP system are complete at 9 am each day. Drawing reviews are scheduled at 2 pm on Tuesday. Some days you may have five or more of these tasks, and other days you may have none. Scheduling your time to complete these tasks is essential.
Larger tasks can be managed the same way. Use large blocks of time with no meetings to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Make sure you take action weekly on these tasks to prevent overwhelming inventory numbers.
Finally, do you need to do this task at all? Delegate or eliminate the work. Is it necessary? Am I the right person to do it? If the answer is no, get rid of it!
The goal is to minimize your inventory and focus effort on where you add value.
Motion — Do I Need To Leave My Chair?
Unlike production where work may be completed in different physical locations, engineers typically work in their station and may even be sedentary. So how do I eliminate motion?
Do you walk to meetings twice a day in a different part of the building? Do you need to cross the room to use the copier? Are you required to deliver signed documents to another member of the team? Is your telephone or headset across the desk?
Motion is trickier in an office setting; however, with some creativity, you can eliminate the waste. Can my meetings be scheduled back to back to keep from leaving your office as often? Do I rearrange my desk for better optimization of my mouse, keyboard, phone, etc.? Think outside of just walking back and forth.
Waiting — Why Can’t I Get Any Answers?
How often do you need to wait for a customer to agree to a specification? Does accounting owe you a price for the transformer you are quoting? Is your boss sitting on the drawing approval needed to submit to the customer?
Each time an engineer waits for an answer or another process, this leads to waste. You cannot proceed without someone else’s action. You rely on someone’s actions to complete your own.
How do we eliminate waiting? It is inevitable to be waiting on someone. Can you send an email ahead of time asking for their help to approve the drawing? Could you call your customer asking for clarification versus sending an email? Could you walk something to the accounting department asking for their attention?
Find ways to eliminate or minimize wait times. Take proactive actions to ask for assistance. Ensure all the necessary information is available to the next person in the process. Look for those subtle little items that add up over time.
Overproduction & Overprocessing — Why Do More Than You Are Asked?
Both of these wastes involve doing more than what is expected. Throughout my career, I have been encouraged to under-promise and over-deliver. Why?
Of the wastes, I would say these two are the most difficult for engineering. We are expected to (over) produce products that exceed customer expectations.
Experience will tell an engineer when enough is enough. Over-designing a solution is a waste. Making more drawings than are necessary is a waste. Look for opportunities where you are handling the same item more than once. Can I do both tasks at the same time?
Be careful of the trap of tinkering with a project simply because you have time. If your work is complete, meets the need, and is robust, stop. Continuing to tweak is an example of overprocessing. Learn from your mentors what finished looks like!
Defects — I Hate Doing Something Twice…
Defects are an enormous opportunity for anyone to eliminate wastes! Who likes doing the same task twice because it was wrong? If an engineer needs to do rework, the results are wasted.
Similar to the goal of “zero” safety incidents, engineers need to strive for perfection. This goal is philosophically correct, and reality shows our human side. Mistakes will occur.
How do you eliminate these defects? If you make a mistake, begin by correcting it, and follow up with changes to keep the mistake from returning. Write a procedure, make a checklist, and educate yourself (and your team) to prevent the error. When you have “extra time,” check your work. We all get tunnel vision on projects, so taking another step to verify your efforts is valuable!
When mistakes occur, learn from them. Do not swipe them aside as a trivial element of your work. Take time to make improvements to eliminate the chance of error in the future. We all make mistakes… Some of us learn to keep from repeating them repeatedly.
Is TIM WOOD My Friend?
The concept of eliminating wastes is paramount to a lean journey or continuous improvement. Look around every aspect of life, and you will observe wastes. Knowing what wastes look like is the first step. Your best opportunity is to find ways to eliminate them from your work. Make something better, eliminate an unnecessary step, error-proof your processes, and make things better.
So is TIM WOOD my friend? For years, the answer was no. I had no time for him in engineering because he worked in production. Now that I see him clearly, I embrace him and use him to make me, my team, and my company stronger.
YES — TIM WOOD is my friend!