Letting Go Opens up New Career Possibilities

Why it’s important to let go of our old (outdated) definition of success, so we can open ourselves to new possibilities.

When I was a kid I wanted to be an attorney. Actually I wanted to work hard for the general good and I thought being an attorney was the way to do that. Growing up in the shadow of Watergate will do that to a kid. My family was filled with teachers so my declaration was not well understood.

the benefits of letting goAlthough they did not know how to deal with my goals they were supportive.

I moved forward in my career with dogged determination. I advanced quickly in labor relations and human resources.

I had an image in my head of what defined success – recognition, rewards, the accoutrements of folks at my level.

Yet something was missing. I did not get pleasure from those rewards. I needed to throw off the old ideas I committed to so many years ago about what my life would be. It was hard and really scary. But business is good since I left go of my original impressions of what I thought I wanted for my life.

Recently my daughter and sister encountered the opportunity to redefine their paths. My sister Martha had several careers as a teacher (remember it is the family business!). When she did not get tenure as a professor she had to reinvent herself. The process has been difficult and really scary. I mean REALLY scary. But over the last year she has found another way of utilizing her skills and strengths that seems to allow her to express herself and earn a living.

My daughter Marissa had been a political operative working all over the US in political campaigns and most recently in Washington DC for a consulting firm. She decided to change careers. Her path takes her to get her MBA in St. Louis this summer. She left her position a few weeks ago. This decision was difficult and really scary. But since she left she has had three consulting gigs that will provide earnings between now and when school starts in July and maybe while she is in school.

What is happening here? Perhaps letting go of our old definitions of ourselves opens us up to new opportunities we could never imagine before. It feels like magic. Something special is happening here! I have seen it happen with clients too.

In his article, “Letting Go for the Life You Want“, Hale Dwoskin shares that letting go of our emotions can free us up from long standing problems and challenges, melting stress and opening us up for new opportunities. He suggests letting go is an invitation to the possibilities that life has to offer.

The minute Martha and Marissa let go of their previous definitions of success they opened up possibilities they never imagined. Magic!

So here is the challenge to you. What old images have you held on to for longer than they are useful? Can you even imagine what might happen if you let go? It is worth exploring your definitions of success to see what magic you can find!

What are you Doing to Advance your Job Search?

Your job search marketing plan should be about action. What are you doing to advance your job search?

What are your goals this day, week or month? How many calls will you make? How many meetings do you challenge yourself to have?

All of these items are necessary to move your job search forward. In this video, Katherine Burik encourages you manage the action that is necessary to move your job search forward.

If you need help putting together a plan you can live with that moves your career forward, just call The Interview Doctor. We can help!!

A Creative Way to Negotiate Salary in Job Search

We get questions about salary all the time.

Last week a client asked how to respond if someone asks his salary requirements. He has been with his employer for over 25 years in key sales roles. He is paid very well, perhaps more than some companies are willing to pay for comparable positions. So this is a tricky question for him.

tips for negotiating salary during job searchI just ran into a great article at Quora that addressed this question in a great way. We do a lot of reading here at The Interview Doctor and so should you! You never know where you will find great advice so keep your ears open. Quora is a question and answer website where the community of users creates, answers and edits questions. I highly recommend Quora for the wide variety of interesting questions and answers you can find.

The question was If your last salary was very high, is it better to tell a potential employer it was actually lower?”.  Several people supplied answers but my favorite was the answer provided by Antone Johnson an attorney who has worked for some pretty famous huge tech companies.  He references “Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1,000,000+” a book on executive job-changing by John Lucht (see how much reading we need to do to stay up to date these days?).

Responding to the salary question is tricky for anyone but for people at the higher income level it can be really tough because total compensation is based on more than salary. Every company has a different way to motivate executives with compensation so it is hard to know what to say. Respond with a number too high and you are out of the running. Respond with a number too low and you might lose out because the company thinks you are not at the right level to handle that particular job.

Antone Johnson (through John Lucht) suggests a multi-level approach that leaves you room to negotiate.

  1. Start with a statement about how interested you are in the position. “Of course compensation isn’t my main focus; I’m more concerned with the professional opportunity, growth potential, or … “ something like that. If vagueness won’t work, go to the next level.
  2. Give a wide range that leaves you with maximum flexibility. “In recent years, my total (cash) compensation has been in the $X to $Y range”. X is the lowest salary you’ve earned in the last three to five years and Y is the highest including all forms of compensation in your best year (salary, bonus, equity vesting). Antone advises us to be creative.
  3. If they probe further, you can probe to see if their number is higher or lower. If the company budgeted a number at the higher end for the position, the you provided in your stated range should be in their range. If they budgeted a lower number you can clarify by explaining that your higher number was the result of a fabulous year with a huge bonus but your base salary was within their range.

I love this approach. Remember, postpone salary discussions as long as you can. You want to make them fall in love with you because then they might be more creative and flexible with salary. But if you have to discuss salary I love Antone’s approach based on Lucht’s book.

See what you learn when you read?

Seven Reasons to go to Graduate School

My daughter Marissa made her selection. She is going to Washington University in St. Louis for her MBA starting this fall! I am very proud. It got me thinking, when should you go to graduate school or seek additional schooling?

is MBA worth the costGraduate school is very expensive and time consuming. It takes two years and a bucket of money. Getting out of the workforce for two years to attend full time is very risky.

Imagine the opportunity cost – what else could you be doing with that money?

Here are some thoughts:

  1. Career change if you want to go into a field that requires an advanced degree or for which an advanced degree will enhance your experience.
  2. When there is a gap between your education and experiences and what the employers want. But don’t make an assumption. Be sure by asking questions. Marissa is moving out of a political life into the business world. Her education and political experience support a political life not a business career. The degree and experience in grad school will help her choose a field and translate her political experience into business credentials.
  3. If you have been out of the workforce for a while additional education can bring you up to date on current trends especially in highly technical fields.
  4. When the credential is required to do the job you want. If you want to be a doctor then grad school is mandatory. If you want to advance in business perhaps not. If you want to be a CPA then you need education to get that credential.
  5. If you did well in the academic life and are likely to do well in grad school then the degree, done well, can enhance. If you floundered in college and hated the academic life then seek out a program or a way to get the credential that fits with your academic style. Marissa was a great student so grad school is a good idea. But she learns best hands on so she sought out a program that emphasized experiential education where she will be a better fit.
  6. If you have the money it is a great idea. If you rack up significant student loan debt then find another way to get the credentials. The debt might not be worth it. Marissa has been saving so she will minimize debt.
  7. If the program itself is highly ranked then it is worth more than the same program from a low ranked school. Marissa selected the program ranked highest by several rating services including U.S. News and World Reports. She checked with employers and alumni to the jobs she can get when she graduates.

Marissa did the research and made a sound choice but there are no guarantees. Time will tell what she does with this choice!!

Final advice? Do your homework before deciding to go back to school. Make sure your decision is worth the investment!

Interview Doctor Celebrates 10 Years of Helping People make a Great Career Match

The Interview Doctor is proud to announce a new website to support our individual and corporate clients in their efforts to make a great career match!

Every business requires a few fundamentals: a business plan, an Internet presence and an obsession for something you love.

find best job for skills matchThe website is a part of that Internet presence and it is a big deal. A website makes even a tiny business look legitimate. A good website conveys your point of view to your customers. It is a visual demonstration of what you offer. It is a great way to share information and help people learn.

The website should not be static. Your business changes as it grows. So your website should change to reflect your business growth. This is our third website iteration since we opened our doors in 2005. Each change clarified our intentions and offerings a little more supporting our clients with laser-like focus.

We love this new website the most! We love the simplicity the most. When I look at the new website I sense a new clarity and focus – the same clarity and focus we want our clients to adopt as they seek to make a great career match.

How can we help you make a great career match today? Reach out to us and get started if you are ready to make a change and see results!