I chose the niche of career coaching because I am passionate about helping people find a path that is rewarding, fun and lucrative. My commitment stems from personal experience. My career path was forged by taking risks, following my heart, and not being afraid to color outside the lines. I have a degree in information systems, and have worked as an interior decorator, a nonprofit fundraiser, and now a career and life coach. I know a bit about demanding bosses, getting promoted, and knowing when to leave – including reinventing myself more than once. This is why I am focusing more of my energy on helping others navigate the sometimes challenging waters of the workplace and exploring “what’s next” – including entrepreneurship. Critical to all of this is knowing how to listen to your inner voice, and trusting yourself.
First, let’s work on gaining some forward momentum – no matter what your path:
1. Get out of neutral. Sometimes we’ve stayed too long at our current workplace, and it shows. The excitement is gone, and we are doing that dreaded countdown from Monday through Friday. If (and ONLY if) you value your workplace, and are invested in staying there, make a conscious decision to “bloom where you’re planted”. Actively engage your manager about ways to improve your job performance, learn a new skill or take on more responsibility. Speak up in meetings.
2. Learn how to self-promote (without being obnoxious). There is some truth to the adage “nice guys/girls finish last”. The workplace is nothing if not competitive. And unfortunately just “doing a good job” will not necessarily get you noticed or promoted. It may make you a valuable member of the team. You’ll be known for being dependable and reliable – but perhaps taken for granted. Learn how to toot your own horn. Make suggestions and share good ideas. Become your own PR agent.
3. Dress for success. Appearances DO matter. If you come to work wrinkled and disheveled, people may not take you as seriously. It is sometimes said that you should dress the part of your next job. In my opinion, it’s not a bad policy. Take yourself seriously, and others will too. You don't have to spend thousands on a designer wardrobe. But a nice quality suit with a variety of tops or shirt and tie combos can go a long way. If your workplace is not so formal, you can buy some strategic pieces to mix and match without breaking the budget.
4. Get a mentor. We are all connected, and it’s important to seek guidance from people who’ve been there. A mentor can help you navigate the tough spots and develop strategies for advancement. S/he can be an invaluable resource for networking and job search. Think about an expert in your field with whom you can cultivate a closer relationship. It can be someone you know already, or you can pick someone who you’d like to learn from and reach out to him or her.
5. Know when it’s time to go. Sometimes it’s just TIME TO GO. Period. There may have been a leadership or political sea change at your workplace, or you are dealing with a difficult boss who is either intimidated by you, a micro-manager, or who just doesn’t like you for some reason or other. Or, as I mentioned before, you are just not into it anymore. Maybe you’ve hit a ceiling and there is no room for advancement. And of course, there is the option of entrepreneurship. Do you have a window of opportunity to follow your dream and hang out your own shingle? Be sure you have a good strategy for a strong start, but if you’re ready, go for it!
6. Take risks. Nobody got anywhere playing it safe. Well that’s not entirely true. People who play it safe are able to hold on to jobs for a very long time – and that’s great. If you want to be promoted, advance, lead, or make more money – it may not be the best strategy. Be willing to speak your mind, to disagree with your boss, to suggest a new idea that might help your organization succeed. If a position opens up at your workplace (or elsewhere) that you’re interested in, go for it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!
As always, here’s to you – and to your truth. My prayer for you is a fun, balanced and fulfilling life.
Until next time… Trina
Trina Ramsey is a career and life coach, specializing in personal transformation and career transition. With 20 years of experience in business and management, Trina is a "people person" and a change agent. Trina started her business, Perspectives Plus Coaching in 2009 after spending 15 years as a nonprofit fundraiser and experience running her own interior decorating business. For more on Trina visit trinaramsey.com. @PerspectivePlus or https://www.facebook.com/CareerTalkWithCoachTrina