Topic of the Week Castaway--Surviving a Go Nowhere Job
· DO remind yourself there are good jobs out there.
· DO nonstop information interviews.
· DO celebrate little victories.
· DON'T write off your current company.
There is nothing more hopeless than being lost in a job that's going nowhere. And speaking of lost, did you hear about when the New York City library found a ledger than showed that President George Washington has racked up 220 years of late fees on two books he borrowed but never returned? Both books were due on November 2, 1789. One of the books that Mr. I-Couldn't-Tell-a-Lie didn't return was the "Law of Nations." The librarian said he'd wave the fine, but would love to get the books back.
Those books are undoubtedly lost for good, your career doesn't need to be. But it takes a plan. I'll give you three Do's and one Don't to get into a job that's going somewhere. For more ideas, check out the newly revised "Create a Career" section at workplace911.org.
DO remind yourself there are good jobs out there. It is easy to forget that there are good bosses and good jobs out there. They do exist. So don't get dragged into misery-loves-company kind of thinking. We spend far too much of our lives at work to assume that during most of the time at work we have to be an anvil, constantly getting hammered on. I'm not suggesting that there is always a happy ending at work, just that if you are willing to put in the effort you can often land in a satisfying job.
DO nonstop information interviews. One key to getting into a job that's going somewhere is to always be talking to people about what they do. Dick Bolles, of "What Color Is Your Parachute?" fame coined the phrase "information interview." This is when you talk to the people who actually do a job that you are interested in doing, rather than talking exclusively to people who could hire you. He suggests very simple questions, "What do you like about your job," "What don't you like about it" and "Who else should I talk to." Not only will you learn a lot, but you could also discover a new direction for your career.
DO celebrate little victories. I'm a big believer in celebrating at work. Celebrate delivering projects on time, celebrate big sales, celebrate ending a feud with a coworker, celebrate everything. Because there are so many times at work you will get beaten up, it's important to grab positive energy wherever and whenever you can. Celebrate even the smallest accomplishment.
DON'T write off your current company. Okay, your current job is nothing to write home about. But that doesn't mean that there aren't challenging jobs with a big upside at your company. Prowl. Offer to join committees and task forces. Volunteer for difficult projects. Opportunities for advancement are out there but they're not going to come to find you, you're going to have to find them. Also keep your eyes out for great bosses. The right boss/mentor/coach can have a great influence on your career.
Follow these tips and a great career won't be overdue for you any longer.
About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via [email protected].
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