GenX


I had an amazing time speaking to the Big Ten alumni crowd at Northwestern University in Chicago (sold-out!  Thanks, everyone, for coming…and thanks to NAA and WAA for organizing).  My topic was the 8 Steps To A Successful Career Transition — and Work/Life balance since work and life are not mutually exclusive.

What strikes me most when speaking to university alumni association groups across the US, is that the concept of SIMPLY being HAPPY and attaining a work/life balance is a universal interest.  Last night’s group was comprised of GenY, GenX and BabyBoomer alumni.  It was 50/50 Men/Women.  Being fulfilled in one’s career and being happy are goals that reach across every race.

Happy.  Yes, happiness.  When was the last time you answered in an affirmative that you were HAPPY in your work?  Believe it or not, a 2006 Harris Poll’s result indicated that a full 84% of people are NOT happy in what they do.  Now, I ask “What the ____?” over that.  How can SO many Americans be unhappy in what they do.  Life is so short.  Don’t they get it?  Are you one of them?  If so, time to pursue some happiness.

Well, as it turns out, it’s the “F” word (fear) that keeps people from pursuing happiness.  We talked a lot about fear last night.  People shared their fears of financial insecurity, loss of identity (ie, “I’ve been an attorney for 20 years.  It’s all I know.”), fear of failure and fear of what family and friends are going to think of a prospective career change.  I recommend Dr. Susan Jeffers book, “Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway” to anyone who is facing fear.

I’m happy to report that I think several hundred people are starting today with a renewed sense of change and optimism in their pursuit of happiness.  It CAN happen.  I’ve worked with thousands of people over the past six years.  I know first hand.  I’ve seen the banker become a happy dog trainer.  I’ve seen the music executive become a happy hotel manager.  I’ve seen a computer sales exec become a happy yoga instructor.  And the list goes on and on.

But the key to pursuing happiness doesn’t occur in a vacuum.  It’s all about finding a mentor in your chosen field(s) to help you make the transition.  It’s a must.  If there’s ONE thing that I wanted everyone to learn from last night’s discussion is that MENTORSHIP, MENTORSHIP AND MENTORSHIP is the key to pursuing and finding career happiness.  See steps #4 and #5 in the 8 Steps:

http://www.briankurth.com/Career_Change_in_8_Steps.html

With that being said, please join the Big Ten alums in their pursuit of happiness — on the job and in life.

Are you ready?  When are your going to start?  What would hold you back?

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Hi Friends,

One of the coolest things about what I do is that my career coaching clients and speaking engagement audiences are so diverse. This includes age diversity.  I will speak with a GenX client one hour…then give a speech to a Boomers audience….and then conduct a workshop with GenY recent university alumni.  Additionally, I get to partner with a lot of really cool experts across all three generational groups.

One of my favorite Generation Y experts is best-selling author and speaker, Lindsey Pollak.  I asked Lindsey to guest blog for me today.  She has provided us with some excellent tips on how GenY’ers can compete for jobs in this ever-challenging marketplace.  Enjoy and learn!

Cheers,
Brian 

www.briankurth.com

www.vocationvacations.com

Author of “Test-Drive Your Dream Job:  A Step-By-Step Guide To Finding And Creating The Work You Love” – Hachette, 2008.

 

It’s Not Easy Being Green:

5 Tips for Young Job Seekers in a Competitive Market

It used to be so easy: entry-level professionals applied for entry-level jobs; mid-level professionals applied for mid-level jobs and senior-level people eventually retired.

Ah, the good old days.

Today, due to the economic recession, it feels as though everyone is competing with everyone for a limited number of positions. When this happens, the lowest ones on the totem pole are particularly vulnerable. According to a survey from Qvisory and the Rockefeller Foundation, nearly 19 percent of young adults are unemployed or looking for work.

What can you do if you’re a recent grad competing with experienced professionals who are willing to take a step back? Here are some suggestions:

1.  Seek out honest feedback. Find someone you trust—a former colleague, relative, career services professional, etc.—who will be candid. Do you say “like” or “you know” too much when you talk? Should you dress less “slacker”? Are you applying for jobs you’re really not qualified for? Take this feedback seriously and address any areas where you’re getting in your own way.

2.  Become an active user of LinkedIn.com. LinkedIn is the largest and most active professional social network, but many young professionals are unaware of it. Don’t miss out on this resource! (Full disclosure: I am a global campus spokesperson for LinkedIn.) First, set up a profile that includes keywords an employer might use to find someone with your skills. Include all experience you have, including unpaid internships, volunteer gigs and extra curriculars. Next, scour other profiles to uncover potential employers and professionals who might agree to an informational interview (alums from your college are ideal). Finally, use LinkedIn to help others with suggestions, job leads and recommendations—the more people you help, the more people will offer to help you.

 3.  Network face-to-face. While online networking is very important, still the best way to make a strong impression is in person. Make sure you are networking across generations to maximize your chances of finding out about opportunities. Don’t feel intimidated if you are the youngest person at a networking event, say at a Rotary Club meeting or a college alumni gathering. Sometimes you have the best chance of making a memorable impression when you’re different from everyone else.

 4.  Play up your assets. Sure, older professionals have an advantage in the experience department. Let that go and focus on what you do bring to the table as a young person. In cover letters, networking conversations and interviews, place emphasis on characteristics and life experiences you can offer, such as enthusiasm, knowledge of the youth market and technical savvy.

 5.  Don’t ever put yourself—or your age—down. No matter what, don’t make fun of your age, joke that you’ll be working for someone as old as your grandfather or laugh about how “clueless” you are. If you’re comfortable with your experience level, others are likely to respond in kind.

Overall, be confident, be willing to learn and maintain a positive attitude. That’s appealing at any age.

Lindsey Pollak is a Generation Y Career & Workplace Expert and the author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World. Visit her career advice blog at http://www.lindseypollak.com/blog.