All-Time Most Popular

Did you know four little words form a simple question that, in my experience, has a serious impact on your career decisions? Related: How To Make Wise Career Choices Let me prove it to you: Imagine you are in a room full of strangers. In order to strike up a conversation, besides introducing yourself and asking a person their name, what’s one of the first questions you’ll ask? ANSWER: “What do you do?” There it is. A simple question that is so commonly used in our society, most people ask it absent-mindedly, in the same way they ask a friend, “How are you?” However, the question “What do you do?” has a much more serious implication. That’s because, as soon as we hear a person’s answer, we begin to size them up. Admit it, when someone states what they do for work, we immediately start to think about the profession, our past experiences with people in the field, and then in turn, make generalizations and assumptions about the kind of person they are. In short, we start to decide how much respect we feel we should have for this person. Now, do I think this is a fair or accurate thing to do? Of course not. How many professionally successful people lead miserable lives? Yet, it’s the truth: career identity plays a huge role in how people are viewed. Which leads to this next observation… It stands to reason, if we A) know we are going to be asked this question, and B) recognize we are going to be evaluated on our response, then it’s likely that lots of us choose a career based upon its capacity to impress others. For those of you thinking, “Sure, lots of folks probably pursue a career to gain respect, but not me,” I challenge you to look deep inside yourself. Can you honestly say that your current career choice wasn’t rooted in some initial desire to impress others? And, for those of you who are pondering the possibility that you’ve been pursuing career success to gain respect, let me prove my point with two additional questions: 1) If you had to stand up and introduce yourself to a room full of strangers, besides your name, what’s one of the first things you would tell them about yourself? ANSWER: What you do for work. 2) Think of the most successful person you know. Now, ask yourself, “Did I automatically choose someone with career success?” In other words, did you associate the word ‘success’ with professional accomplishments? ANSWER: Most likely, you chose someone who has accomplished a great deal in their career. Yet, perhaps you can also point out that this success has come at a cost in some other area of their life. (i.e. relationships, health, etc.) My point is this: as a culture, we place a lot of emphasis on our careers as a way to define us as people. But why? Who benefits? Isn’t the goal to create our own happiness? Then, how does being obsessed with professional success as a way to determine self worth help us? Perhaps, it’s time to stop impressing others and start impressing ourselves. For many of us, when work isn’t going well, life isn’t going well, right? Yet, here’s the thing: career success doesn’t guarantee a happy life. In fact, the way many people pursue careers in America leads to very unfulfilled lives. No wonder so many people are dissatisfied with their careers – they’re costing them too much. I say it’s time we start to take the pressure off one another and get to know each other differently - and, hopefully, better. So, here’s what I propose: Starting today, stop asking the question, “What do you do?” and instead, simply ask, “What do you like to do?” Now there’s a question that will give us much greater insight into who a person really is. What do you think? How will changing what you ask people change what you learn about them? More importantly, will it change how you view them, too?

SHOW MORE Show less

Another year has gone by – that was fast! Over the last 365 days, we published over 2,000 articles. Woof! Missed a few of them? Here’s a quick recap of our top 10 articles of 2013:

SHOW MORE Show less

In case you missed them, we had some fantastic webinars this year. We covered topics from how to get hired on LinkedIn to career happiness. Here’s your last chance to watch these valuable webinars before they go into the CAREEREALISM vault!

SHOW MORE Show less

I read this article on AOL Jobs that said studies show convicted felons have an easier time getting hired than the long-term unemployed. I won’t deny the facts: People who have been unemployed for an extended period of time are discriminated against. It’s terrible, but it’s the truth. In the last few years, I’ve worked with over 1,800 job seekers inside CareerHMO, many of whom had been out of work for a long time. (The longest had been out of work four years!) Here are three techniques that helped them get back to work and beat the unemployment stigma:

SHOW MORE Show less

Okay folks, I’m going to give it to you straight: There are certain phrases when used in a LinkedIn summary that have the same effect as nails on a chalkboard. In other words, it’s such a turn-off as a hiring manager, it’s hard to focus on your profile as being credible after reading them. This is the profile summary someone asked me to review. I’ve underlined the phrases that make me want to cover my ears and run from my computer screen yelling, “NOOOOO. Not again!”

SHOW MORE Show less