Job Seekers: Time to Rediscover the Library?

Another good sound piece of advice from Matt!

Career Horizons: The Blog!

I’ll confess, I’ve always had a soft spot for libraries. Whether it’s the quiet ambiance, the invaluable amounts of history they preserve, or the addictive chemicals I suspect might be present in book-binding glue, I’ve always enjoyed spending large chunks of quality time “among the stacks” throughout my life.

Honestly, though, I haven’t physically visited a library in years. Or even thought all that much about them, given that the rise of the web eliminated the need to rely heavily on such institutions for much of the research involved in the job-hunting process. Recently, however, I was prepping for a workshop and took a few moments to log into the King County Library System website (www.kcls.org) just to poke around — using my trusty library card — and I had a great time “rediscovering” some of the traditional resources that were available, as well as some new tools…

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Are you in the right job?

We all wonder from time to time whether frustrations at work are symptoms of bigger issues or simply a matter of getting our job done. How can we tell when its time to start seriously considering our next opportunity? We know that a job for life is not part of the employment equation in this era of job mobility, so what should we look for as indicators that it may be time to consider moving on?

Stress – Do you dread starting your work day? Does your stomach churn or body tense up as you head to the office? Do your boss or colleagues regularly make your life miserable?

Stuck – Do you feel boxed into a corner? Does your role lack growth potential? Is your company strategy shifting away from your skill set or knowledge base? Are there political realities that you can’t easily get around? Are your career discussions with your boss going anywhere?

Unchallenged – Do you feel underutilized? Is your work so comfortable that your are on auto-pilot? Have you stopped learning? Do you feel hungry for more ‘substance’ to your work?

Culture – Is the culture positive, negative or neutral? Do you feel in alignment with those around you (not that you agree necessarily, but that you have a similar value in your approach toward work)?

Wrong fit – Has your role shifted to things you can do but don’t enjoy doing? Do you miss working in your sweet spot? Are you a global big picture thinker in a detail oriented role? Are you an introvert in an extrovert capacity (or vice versa)?

Company crisis – Are finances squeezed so you don’t have access to the same tools to get your job done? Is your industry being impacted by competition or new technologies? Does it appear that down-sizing is inevitable?

Any one of these things show up in our day to day world so keep things in perspective. Don’t start to jump ship with the first recognition of dissatisfaction. Give it some time, see where the challenges can shift. Are there things in your control that you can change? Talk it through with a friend, family member or mentor. Engage a career coach if you think you’d like some help navigating this situation. Pay attention to what is happening around you and within you, that’s where you’ll begin to see what those next steps might be.

Paying it forward

How often does one think about ‘paying it forward’?  I know I thought it sounded good, but didn’t see how it fit into my life.  I’m considerate of others, give time and money to good causes, contribute positively to those around me which I thought was good enough.  Now I think differently and let me tell you why…

One busy Friday, I was making a quick stop at the grocery store (actually TJs) to pick up a few things for a home made pizza party I was going to.  I was in a rush but got everything into my cart, to the cashier, friendly banter back and forth, was ready to head on my way, only to discover there was no wallet in my purse.    Cashier was great, I could cancel or suspend the transaction.  I elected to suspend so was heading home for money to pay for the items when a woman with a card in her hand stepped up and said – ‘I’ll pay it.  You help someone else next time.’  Pay it forward.  Wow.

What a thoughtful deed – she saved me 45 minutes in an already rushed evening.   Startled me into gratitude.  Slowed me down.  Made me think.  STILL makes me think.  For me it was a huge kindness.  It made me think of how that might feel to someone in a more dire situation.  A small gesture of thoughtfulness, of humanity.  Are we so rushed & busy that we don’t entertain such acts?  Give it a try – I know I certainly will.