“Life don’t go quite like you planned it” is a line from the Sugarland song It Happens. Many unexpected things happen to people every day such as car accidents, serious illness, failing a test and being laid off or fired. When things happen to you, how do you respond?
“Now it is poor me, why me, oh me.
Boring the same old worn out blah blah story
There’s no good explanation for it at all
Ain’t no rhyme or reason
No complicated meaning
Ain’t no need to over think it
Let go laughing
Life don’t go quite like you planned it
We try so hard to understand it
Instead of using time and energy to look for a reason or feel like a victim, make a plan for the next steps and start to put them in motion. Adjust your plans; I’ve found that unexpected events can turn into wonderful learning opportunities. Like Mia Hamm says “failure happens all the time. It happens every day in practice. What makes you better is how you react to it.”
The month of August ushers in the back to school season. Students of all ages anxiously await their first day and spend fair amounts of time and money preparing for it. Emotions run the gambit from excitement about new teachers and courses to apprehension about the challenges to come. This year brings many new challenges to my oldest child. She’s excited about them, but at the same time nervous about the added responsibility she faces.
As a Career Coach, I started to think about how the emotions and feelings about back to school time are similar to those felt by new graduates and job seekers. They are excited about new possibilities and opportunities to come, but anxious about how long it will take to find the right position and the challenges involved with the job search.
I would encourage everyone to keep a positive attitude and look forward to meeting the challenges ahead—not an easy task but one that is most likely to help you succeed, either in finding that “dream” job or in succeeding in the classroom.
Being on the receiving end of feedback is often stressful because we usually equate feedback with criticism. We need to stop thinking about it as criticism. The truth is the only way we learn and develop, personally and professionally, is through feedback. It is not personal but is usually a response to some action we have or have not taken. Feedback is not about blame but does offer an opportunity for us to work on some problem-solving.
If you think being on the receiving end of feedback is hard, it isn’t any easier being on the giving end of it either. Your boss doesn’t want to hurt your feelings and more often than not, will want to give you the benefit of the doubt. In reality, most new supervisors aren’t usually taught how to give feedback any more than we are taught how to receive it.
So what are we all to do? I think if supervisors can give honest, timely, tough messages to employees in the spirit of growth and development, and if we can accept it in the same spirit it will allow us all to build competent and cohesive work relationships.
Being able to both give and receive feedback with confidence and composure is an important skill in today’s workplace. It is a skill that takes time, practice and self awareness to develop.
What is the most helpful feedback you have ever received?
“Seeking a position where I can advance my career with an innovative, growing company” is a phrase I see all the time on resumes. But guess what? Employers really aren’t interested in what you are looking for! It tells them nothing that will help them determine if you are a candidate they want to pursue.
My advice? Always put employers’ needs above your own. Show them—on your resume and in interviews—how you can help them solve problems and achieve their business objectives. Point out the ways that your specific skills and qualifications are consistent with their needs, and back that up with specific examples of how you’ve used those skills and the results you’ve achieved.
In today’s economy, showing that you can bring value to the business will go a long way. In fact, employers have told me that this is truly “the most important step you can take in selling yourself and getting that coveted job offer.”
Recently, a student was telling me about a cover letter she wrote for a position. Her proof reader told her that she was whispering instead of shouting about her qualifications for the position. Throughout the interview process, you need to be proud of what you’ve done and willing to share it with your audience. The line “stand up and shout” comes to mind.
There is a fine line between being proud of your accomplishments and bragging. Bragging is when you go out of your way to over sell the things you’ve done. The goal is to make others feel inferior to you. This is definitely not the best way to win over interviewers. Being confident about your abilities, talking honestly about what you’ve achieved and focusing on how you’ve impacted your current organization is information that will impress interviewers. Walk the line and be sure to stand up and shout about how wonderful you are to potential employers through all stages of the application process.