For the next three weeks, we will share stories of job seekers who have applied for a scholarship (see the application form here), so you can see how important it is that we get them the help they want and deserve, but can’t afford. Meet Steve. who's tired of being led on by employers. Q: What’s the hardest part about unemployed long-term?A: The hardest part about being unemployed is how futile I feel my efforts have been and how confusing and possibly manipulative the relationship with employers has become. I feel as if I'm always being led on by employers. I started this journey, after completing graduate school, by working at an early stage tech start-up company. Thrilled to at least have a job given the recessionary economic climate, I started as a contract employee with an low hourly wage and no benefits-- clearly underemployed by definition-- but with the promise of evolving with the company's growth. I liked what the company was doing, it was relevant to my academic studies, and the idea of being entrepreneurial was largely attractive. Over the following six months, I continued to be "strung along", while adding value to the company (I created the essential content, devise performance metrics to inform strategic planning, and even got the company's product launched after two years of stalemate), and ultimately my experience culminated in being laid off. The work I had done, with the promise of a living wage and essential health coverage, was all for naught: The company was successfully acquired and C-level received a nice payout and I got a pink slip.Not to be discouraged, I was focusing on the silver lining and looking forward to seeing how my recent M.S. degree and new relevant technology skills would help my latest attempt to start a career. Unfortunately, the (just about) eight months to follow has yielded nothing but frustration. There were interviews that lead no where-- meaning weeks of frequent communication via phone calls, e-mails, in-person interviews, only to completely cease out of nowhere without any explanation-- a situation that has lead me to believe that employers view me more as an interchangeable and disposable widget in their machine, rather than human capital to benefit and grow with their organization. My latest experience has been a five week long hiring process with a local government agency I am-- or should I say was-- very excited to be a part of. They responded to my application within ten minutes of sending, I was phone screened and called in for an interview, I completed and successfully passed a two-hour exam on the quantitative skills the job required, and lastly was asked to provide two professional references and meet the agency's chief of staff. My interview with the chief of staff was perplexing as it was exactly the same questions I was asked in the first round of interviews. No offer was made and I was told they would "be in touch." I became even more confused when I noticed on the job boards I frequent that they had reposted the job notice for the position I had been interviewing for the day before I came in for what was supposed to be the final round of interviews-- and lead to believe they would offer me the job.An additional element of frustration in my job search has been the fact that wages are clearly decreasing while current students and recent graduates are saddled with excessive debts. I was told that making the investment in a graduate degree would allow me to earn a higher salary, but this is an absolute farce. It's unbelievable for me to reconcile that most of the positions I have been applying to offer the same salary range I earned almost seven years ago at my first job right out of college with zero work experience, except now I have almost fifty thousand dollars in student-related loans to pay back. These loans are in forbearance, continuing to accrue interest, and will be capitalized into the principal because I can't make payments being unemployed. I was even forced recently to give up my apartment and move back in to my parent's house. I was lead to believe that the type of work I would be doing after graduate school would be more fulfilling and offer a living wage and quality benefit programs, but these opportunities are few and far between in today's labor market.Q: What have you been doing to look for work so far?A: I have been networking through my personal connections, have attended workshops and used job boards through the career services at my graduate school, used internet resources like craigslist, idealist.org, nyc.gov/jobs, workforcenewyork.org, thejobnetwork.com. I read job search related articles in newspapers, magazines, and blogs.Q: Why do you feel our Job Search Accelerator Program can help you?A: I am just so desperate at this point I feel like I cannot leave any stone unturned. Steve* is one of the 30+ scholarship applicants we have received since launching Allies to the Out-of-Work. Want to know how you can help job seekers like Steve? Harnessing the power of the micro-fundraising site, Indiegogo.com, we launched a campaign to raise $10,000 that will give 100 long-term unemployed people a full scholarship to our Job Search Accelerator Program (JSAP). This program is helping hundreds of people find work. However, it’s not something we can give away for free. So, we are hoping to get donations from those of you out there who: A) Have been out of work recently and know how hard the job search really is. B) Know somebody long-term unemployed and want to sponsor them. C) Care about getting Americans back to work and on their feet.
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.
CAN'T ATTEND LIVE? That's okay. You'll have access to the recording and the workbook after the session!
Look, I'm just going to say it. Not everybody should work for themselves. Right now, there's this huge craze about working independently, being self-employed, being your own boss. So much of this came out of the pandemic because people realized they wanted to have control over their careers and not be at the mercy of their employers' needs. But if you're looking to take control of your career, becoming self-employed is not always the best solution.
Still, there are many benefits to being self-employed. Let's take a look at those benefits before I dive into how you can take control of your career without having to quit your job and take on self-employment.
Benefits Of Being Self-EmployedBigstock
Self-employment isn't for everyone, but if it's right for you, you'll likely reap these benefits:
- Independence - No boss, no problem! As a freelancer or independent contractor, you won't have to answer to anybody but yourself and your customers.
- Control - Being self-employed is a great way to regain control of your career. You get to control your pay rates/salary, the jobs/projects you work on, and when you sit down at the computer and get the work done.
- Flexibility - Life is unpredictable. If work-life balance and flexibility are important to you, you'll likely enjoy one of the best benefits of being self-employed: having the ability to structure your workday how you want to.
- Satisfaction - When you're a freelancer or independent contractor, you can pick and choose which jobs you take, eliminating the work you don't find inspiring or meaningful so you can focus on the work that does inspire you and align with your passions.
- Freedom - You're free from the "golden handcuffs" that have held you hostage in your career up to this point.
As you can see, there are many benefits of being self-employed. Self-employment has a lot to offer professionals who are self-disciplined, responsible, good at time management, and self-motivated. If this sounds like you, and you're willing to give up traditional employment for the chance to be more in control of your career, why not give self-employment a try?
The decision to embark on self-employment is not always that easy...
Working For Yourself Gives You More Control (But Is That Right For You?)
@j.t.odonnell Not everyone should work for themselves... #workplacerenegade#learnontiktok#careeradvice#joblife#jobsearch#careeradvice#careertiktok#careers#jobs @j.t.odonnell ♬ original sound - J.T. O'Donnell
Twenty years ago, it was all about getting a corporate job. You didn't hear a lot about entrepreneurship back then, but nowadays everyone is talking about it. It almost feels like if you aren't self-employed or own your own business, or if you don't at least have the desire to do those things, there's something wrong with you.
A lot of people were not built for self-employment. But they also don't want to go back to the traditional work environment where the employer is at the top and they're at the bottom wearing golden handcuffs and feeling like they have no control over their career or future. And I get that. I think that's why 40 million people quit their jobs in 2021—because they're frustrated. But not all of those 40 million people should be their own boss.
So, what do you do?
You Can Take Control Of Your Career Without Becoming Self-Employed
Well, for the last 20 years, I have been teaching people how to become "Workplace Renegades." A Workplace Renegade is an anti-employer. They're about empowering themselves so that they can build a decent relationship with their employer. They want to work with the employer, not for them. They want trust and respect. They want to attract the opportunities that are best for them. And it still means working a full-time job with benefits—that structure that a lot of people need. In return, you're giving the employer what they need.
But you need to understand one thing...
There are seven rules to becoming a Workplace Renegade that will enable you to get a full-time job that gives you the trust and respect you want and deserve so that you don't have to become self-employed to have control over your career.
How To Become A Workplace Renegade & Take Control Of Your CareerPhoto by Blaz Photo on Unsplash
If you would like to learn what those seven rules are, check out my new book Awakening Your Inner Workplace Renegade: 7 New Rules for Transforming Your Career & Finding Your Professional Purpose.
In this book, you’ll learn:
- The seven new rules for career success
- Why the old rules for career success are outdated
- How to awaken your inner Workplace Renegade so you can finally find the career success you want and deserve
Buy the book and start awakening your inner Workplace Renegade today!
I promise you the seven new rules will change your mindset completely so that you can get those jobs that you want and deserve and finally take control of your career—without having to become self-employed.
P.S. If you're serious about taking control of your career, I'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Event Subscription! I look forward to answering all of your career questions in our next live event!
Every hiring manager looks for different skills in the job candidates they're hoping to hire. Not only are job candidates being evaluated on the hard skills they possess; they're also being evaluated on their soft skills—the skills that don't belong on a resume but can be identified during a job interview. It's these soft skills that separate the good employees from the great ones. Executives, managers, and other leaders within an organization keep this in mind when interviewing job candidates and reviewing the performance of current employees.
We recently asked our leading executives what's the number one skill they need to see in every employee who works for them.
Here are their responses...
John Schembari, Senior Education Executive
Growth mindset. We live in a world of constant change. Even the best-laid plans are often shifted due to unexpected circumstances. For example. educators had no choice but to switch to teaching remotely during the pandemic. There was no time to become comfortable with the technology first—we had to dive in! To remain profitable, many companies also need to reconfigure services and/or products from time to time and the most successful employees are those who are always open to learning new things. One can teach skills—the core competencies needed to do a job in many cases. However, it is not as easy to get inside someone's head and affect an employee's will unless one is able to tap into that employee's intrinsic motivations. When a growth mindset is already present, this makes any change—even difficult ones—just a tad easier to implement.
John Schembari is a current K-12 teacher/school leader academic improvement coach and former school building and district administrator. He loves to draw, travel, swing dance, and read nonfiction.
John Cox, Advertising & Marketing Executive
Image from Bigstock
Curiosity is one of the top things I need out of each of my team members.
That is, they must possess an acknowledgment of the fact that no one of us knows everything and they must be curious in proactively seeking out new knowledge to add to their personal toolboxes.
In my team’s work on brand development and activation, and more specifically, digital marketing, it especially holds true that the industry, best practices, and tools used are ever changing and evolving. Maybe that involves consuming the latest books, blogs, podcasts, or following subject matter experts on LinkedIn.
In total, each team member must really have a passion for lifelong learning and constantly seek out new ways to stretch and grow in their own expertise and in the execution of their work.
John Cox has 20+ years of performance excellence in advertising and marketing, leveraging Google-certified skill sets in pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and paid search strategy, web planning and conversion measurement, and creative direction and graphic design.
Mark Taylor, Product & Operations Executive
Image from Bigstock
Clear, concise written communication. Less is more.
For example, when it comes to project status “decks,” my expectation is no more than one page (two at a push). So:
1) On-point title: sets the scene.
2) Background: one or two single-sentence bullets (the story so far).
3) Status: three to five single-sentence bullets detailing tasks completed since the last update (bad news first please).
4) Next steps: two to three bullets detailing key tasks to be done next (win my trust by making sure that these tasks are clearly reflected in the “Status” section when we have the update next time).
Make removing every word from the deck until it stops making sense a game.
And don’t confuse ruthless editing with time wasted on “perfection.” The process of creating crystal clear prose with no excess fat is a pathway for you to get a deeper understanding of the project’s current challenges.
Mark Taylor has 20+ years of risk, technology, and product management experience working in global and regional financial services firms in the UK and the U.S. He's managed teams of 40+, successfully addressed 100+ regulatory issues, and has saved companies $15M+.
Steve Barriault, Global Technical Sales Management
Image from Bigstock
Resilience in front of adversity.
Look, sales and field engineering are not for the faint of heart. They can often be exhilarating, but there is no doubt that they can be hard.
Each time that you step into a new account (or even an existing one), life can throw you a curveball. The budget you thought was there for your project is gone. The client forgot to tell you one key factor in their development environment that will make your deployment hell—assuming they knew anything about it at all.
Oh, and you travel for work? What do you do when the airline throws a wrench in your plans?
Trust me, I went through it all.
The best sales and field engineers are the ones that can deal with this. When facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, they make a plan, execute, and when they fail—and fail they will!—they try again. And again. And again. Until it works or the clock times out.
No experience? I can deal with this with education. You made a mistake at times? If you never did, I would say you are not trying hard enough.
But when the going gets tough, you can't stop and get discouraged. And that needs to come from you.
Steve Barriault is a multilingual presales, sales, and business development management professional with 20+ years of experience in the sales and marketing of software & technological solutions worldwide. He's built sales infrastructure from the ground up, going from $0 to millions of $ through both direct sales and distributors.
Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive
Image from Bigstock
The most important skill I look for in an employee is their willingness to learn. This includes being open-minded to new ideas, sharing their thoughts and insights with co-workers, and being able to think on their feet and solve problems at a moment’s notice, with a “can-do” attitude. These skills are crucial for an employee’s personal and professional growth and contribute to the company's overall success. The willingness to learn allows employees to adapt to new challenges, develop creative solutions to problems, and continuously improve their skills and knowledge. It also helps to foster a culture of innovation and improvement throughout the organization.
As an employee, focusing on your willingness to learn is essential to staying relevant in your career while maintaining a competitive edge in the marketplace. As the business world is constantly evolving, employees need to be able to adapt and acquire new skills and knowledge to stay current and relevant in their field. Learning new skills also enable employees to be proactive in identifying and addressing challenges and opportunities, which can lead to greater success for both the employee and the company.
Lisa Perry helps companies build leadership brands, driving loyal customers & delivering profitability. She does this through a process that builds brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize, and grow their brands.
Andrea Markowski, Marketing Executive
Image from Bigstock
Combining the many bits of knowledge and skills gathered over your life and applying them to your current work role can make you stand apart as a valuable asset.
For example, I learned a practical structure for theatrical acting and directing while in college. As a marketing director today, I use a modified version for a strategic framework.
How can this be? Well, both the art of theatre and the art of marketing possess crucial elements of audience psychology and message communication.
Would just any marketer know this tie-in? Probably not.
Is this something an employer would ever teach me? Nope.
When you successfully adapt a learned approach to a different function, you bring a fresh perspective through pattern recognition and critical reasoning.
Your ability to connect the dots from your past jobs and life experiences to your current role brings creativity and innovation that just can’t be taught. It is a skill I seek and highly encourage in team members.
Andrea Markowski is a marketing director with specializations in strategy development, digital tactics, design thinking, and creative direction. She has superpowers in presentations and public speaking.
Ana Smith, Talent Architect & Global Learning Strategist
Image from Bigstock
Self-awareness would be the skill that I would like to see in every employee I work with!
The main reason is that self-awareness is a mindful consciousness of your strengths, weaknesses, actions, and presence. And therefore, self-awareness requires having quite a clear perception of your mental and emotional states.
When you have a deep and meaningful self-awareness, it allows you to react to different situations and understand what triggers habitual responses for you, how you relate to other people, and why you feel the way you do toward certain individuals, amongst other areas.
Self-awareness is very important and can bring benefits in both your personal life and professional life. For example, it can help you identify what you like about your job and how to build a successful career path that can keep you motivated and fulfilled by your work.
How do you build this skill? These are a few ideas:
- Assess your own capabilities - with a high level of self-awareness, you’ll see where you can excel and where you can grow.
- Find a peer coach - someone you trust and respect who is willing to support you in your self-awareness journey.
- Practice mindfulness - being aware of your surroundings without imposing any personal biases.
- Be willing and open to receiving feedback - in order to grow you need to listen to different perspectives.
And let's not forget that like with any skill, it is a journey!
Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the "red thread."
What's the #1 skill you need to see in every employee who works for you? Join the conversation inside Work It Daily's Executive Program.