Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How Positivity Opens Doors in Your Career

Curt Rosengren, On Friday 8 April 2011, 3:10 SGT

I write frequently about how what's happening between your ears plays a big role in your career potential. A change in how you view the world--as a place of limits or a place of possibility--literally shrinks or expands the options available to you. And I don't mean that from a metaphysical "manifestation" perspective. I mean it from a common sense, logical perspective.

As humans, we are pattern-seeking creatures. It's what we do. Something happens, and our brain decides what box it fits in. When you see the world through a lens of lack and limit, that sets the pattern your brain is looking to match. So when negative things happen, it reinforces that worldview. And when positive things happen, they are both minimized in importance and truncated by waiting for the other shoe to drop. A perspective of possibility and potential, on the other hand, does the opposite.

All of that has an impact on what you'll be willing to try and how you will interpret whatever results you get. And what you are willing to try by definition defines what you have the potential to achieve.

If you want to craft and refine your outlook, a great place to start is by paying careful attention to the language you use. Is it limiting or expansive? Does it assume the best, or does it assume the worst? Often the language we use is habitual, a knee-jerk response.

Eliminate these four phrases from your career vocabulary, and you'll open doors for your future:

I can't

In a decade of my Passion Catalyst work, I have seen this assessment turn out to be wrong so many times. It might feel real, but often it's not. The reality is often something completely different. On closer examination, "I can't" frequently means things like, "I could, but I don't see all the options yet." Or "I could, but I'm not willing to do the hard work it would require." Or "I could, but not immediately."

They won't

Unless you happen to be a mind reader, steer clear of this one. You don't--and can't--know how other people are going to respond until they do. Need help from someone in your job search? Reach out and ask. You're guaranteed to not get it if you don't (in which case "they won't" is spot on). Want to collaborate with someone on a project? Again, don't assume you know the negative answer.

Even if you're right that "they won't" eight out of ten times, that still opens two doors that would otherwise have remained closed forever. Imagine the cumulative impact of that over the course of your career.

It's not possible

When I hear this, one of the things I often ask is, "Do you know that for certain? Can you prove it?" Often people just default to this without really thinking it through. "It's not possible" often winds up being, "It's possible, but it would take a lot of effort," or, "It's not possible in my current scenario, but if I make these changes it could actually be possible."

A good question to ask if this phrase comes up for you is, "What if I HAD to make it happen? How could I?" Stretch your creative problem-solving.

I have to

People have so many ingrained rules about what they have to do, and often they're little more than unquestioned assumptions installed by other people (parents, teachers, past bosses, etc.). If you find yourself operating according to a set of have-to expectations, ask yourself, "Do I really? Why? What if I didn't?"

Now, of course all of these are going to be accurate on occasion. There will be times when you really can't do something. And there will be times when, yes, you really do have to do something. But there will also be times when these assumptions simply aren't accurate.

If you take yourself off autopilot by questioning your assumptions when these phrases come up, you'll open the door to possibility and potential. And step-by-step, you'll leave that knee-jerk perspective of limits and lack behind.

After years as a professional malcontent, Curt Rosengren discovered the power of passion. As speaker, author, and coach, Rosengren helps people create careers that energize and inspire them. His book, 101 Ways to Get Wild About, and his E-book, The Occupational Adventure Guide, offer people tools for turning dreams into reality.

Monday, April 04, 2011

10 Signs It's Time To Quit Your Job

Chances are if you are lucky enough to have a job, the thought of quitting sounds ridiculous. With the unemployment rate at an all time high, most people are thanking their lucky stars to be employed.

But even in a bad economy some jobs are just not worth it. Are there any telltale signs you should be looking for when trying to decide if you throw in the towel? Here are ten signs to look for to determine if it's time to find a new job:

You Aren't Learning Anything New

Yes, you want to know how to do most of your job. But there are also things you want to be learning; otherwise you are not growing professionally. If you have stopped learning at work, it's time to find a job where you will learn new skills and grow professionally.

You Never Have a Day When You Wake Up Excited To Go To Work

If you wake up every morning Monday through Friday and never feel excited to go to work, that is a problem. It means you aren't enjoying your job and it is diminishing your quality of life. If you wake up every day and dread going to work, it's time to consider quitting your job.

You Spend More Time Surfing the Web Than Doing Your Job

When you are at work, you are supposed to be productive. Otherwise, it's a waste of your time and the company's money. If you are bored and surfing the web most of your work day, you may want to think about looking into job options where you'll get more stimulation and responsibilities.

You Don't Like Most of Your Coworkers

There are always one or two coworkers in the office that most people can't stand. But if you don't like most of your coworkers, chances are your days aren't very enjoyable because you have to work with them day in and day out. If you can't stand most of your coworkers, it's time to think about finding a company whose employees you mesh with better.

You Aren't Making Enough Money to Pay Your Bills

If you are working your butt off and not getting paid enough to pay your bills, you might be overqualified and underpaid for your position. Go find a job that pays what you deserve.

You Spend Time Looking For Other Jobs

If you are spending time looking for other jobs while you are on the clock, it's obvious you want to leave your job. So keep looking for new jobs and as soon as you find a good one, take it and run.

You Haven't Gotten a Raise in the Last Two Years

If you work hard and benefit the company you work for, you deserve to be rewarded for that. If your boss hasn't given you a raise in the last two years, ask for one. If he or she says no, get out now.

Your Boss Sucks

Sometimes bosses suck. But if your boss sucks all the time and takes advantage of your time, it's time to find a new job.

The Company Isn't Doing Well

This sign varies from company to company. You must keep in mind that we are in a recession and if sales are down but the company isn't in jeopardy, this sign may not apply to you. However, if business is down to the point where it looks like the company is going to go under, start looking for a new job NOW!

You are Stressed All the Time

You are supposed to enjoy life, not be stressed out all the time. If you spend most of your days stressed about everything that going on at work, you are not at the right job.

Know any other signs that you should quit your job that weren't listed above?

Ashley Jacobs is the college correspondent for personal finance blog Wise Bread.