Quiet Quitting: What to Do Instead

Pictured: woman at work desk with head in hands

Quiet Quitting: What to Do Instead

September 12, 2022

Pictured: woman at work desk with head in handsHave you heard of the phrase “Quiet Quitting”? It is the latest hot topic in the world of work right now.

Before I get into it, let’s clarify: What does “Quiet Quitting” mean?

It does NOT mean quitting your job quietly, so no one knows that you’re gone!

Quiet Quitting is a behavior that is tied to a belief system.

From a behavior standpoint, it means you stop going above and beyond in your job. You do only what is required and nothing else.

From a belief system standpoint, it means that you’ve decided that your worth is not defined by how productive you are. You have decided that work is not going to be your whole life. It is going to be PART of your life.

If you are considering Quiet Quitting, I suggest you first pause and reflect on your work experiences before you start making any changes. The impact could be significant, so it is important that you first determine what is most important to you at this time in your life and career.

To help you in your consideration, I want to dig into three key aspects of Quiet Quitting that I mentioned above.

#1: What do we mean by going “above and beyond?”

Going above and beyond has a different meaning, depending on the circumstance.

Sometimes, it means going beyond the job description with the potential of being promoted. For example, let’s say you are offered the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities without a pay increase. This gives your manager time to determine if you can do the job well… in other words, you are given the opportunity to prove yourself.

Other times, going “above and beyond” is a requirement of the job. It shows up in the job description as: “extra duties as defined by the supervisor.” This gives your manager the ability to delegate responsibilities that you wouldn’t get if you just work within the parameters of the clearly defined job description. These are growth opportunities!

So, what happens if you are working “above and beyond” to an extreme level and giving more to the company than you are to your personal life? This can cause problems! You become stressed, resentment sets in, your emotional well-being is affected… and then the “quiet quitting” may suddenly make sense to you.

If how you perceive “above and beyond” is different from how your boss sees it, there is a conflict in expectations which needs to be addressed.

What should you do?

Take the time to evaluate two things: (1) What you want and (2) What you are doing.

Is the work you are doing that goes “above and beyond” being recognized with growth opportunities or are you being taken advantage of?

Where do you want to go in the future, and is the work you are doing “above and beyond” going to help you get there?

Before you start “Quiet Quitting,” see if there are ways to address the situation that are less passive aggressive. Talk to your manager. If that doesn’t work, talk to HR. Let them know what your situation is and see if they will work with you to come up with a more productive answer that serves you and them simultaneously.

#2: Your worth is not determined by how productive you are.

Being productive is just one measure of how well you are doing your job.

Measuring how productive you are is less about how much you are accomplishing during defined work hours, and more about the contributions and value you have brought to the organization.

Other ways to measure your worth – or success! – at work include:

  • Positive feedback from your manager
  • Recognition by others
  • Saving the company money
  • Improving processes
  • Doing a great job on a project
  • Leading a team successfully

The challenge here, then, is to get clear about what success looks like in your particular job so that you can get a clearer picture about how well you are doing.

What should you do?

Communicate with your boss about how the company determines your worth as an employee. Beyond being productive, what else do they want to see? When you are on the same page with your boss about their expectations, you’ll be clearer about what growth and advancement looks like, and it will be easier to feel satisfied and valued with that company.

#3: You have decided that work is not going to be your whole life. It is going to be PART of your life

In my experience working in the outplacement field for 20 years, I saw too many employees make work their whole life as they gave up time with their family for the company. I watched them miss their children’s ballgames, recitals, and important family. One day they were fully employed and the next day they were sitting in my office after a layoff and wondering what just. They just gave up so much for a company that didn’t think twice about letting them go.

I completely support not making work your life for that very reason. A company might one day lay you off and you have lost much more than your job. You’ve lost an investment in time and effort that was focused on your growth in a company that no longer wants you. Now what?

What should you do?

Starting right now, find a healthy balance between your work and your life. Set new boundaries for yourself and communicate them to your boss. Take time for lunch and use your vacation time! The company is not paying you to work through lunch or forfeit your vacation. Make sure you are rounding out your life with activities outside of work so that if you lose your job, you don’t lose your identity.

In the end, what I’m saying is this:

  1. Quiet quitting isn’t necessary. You have other options that are more productive and less passive aggressive.
  2. Evaluate what is important to you for your career. Where are you going and what do you  want to learn?
  3. Schedule a meeting with your manager to have an open honest discussion of what is expected of you.
  4. Create a life outside of work. Yes, there’s more to you than that! And it’s up to you to serve that side of your life.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Case Study: How to Get Support from an Absent Manager

Case Study: How to Get Support from an Absent Manager

July 18, 2022

Periodically, I invite a small group of early to mid-career professional women for breakfast and what I call, “Career Conversations.” I want to hear about the challenges they are experiencing in the workplace so that I can understand how to better serve them and others like them through my coaching and training.

The women who join me for this event are always very gracious as they share stories about their struggles and concerns; In turn, I offer guidance and help them come up with some new ideas for how to handle their situations.

As a new feature to my blog, I’d like to share some of their stories with you here as case studies. I’ll also share with you the advice I gave to help them in each situation. My hope is that you will find these conversations useful as well. I do have their permission, though I will use fictious names to respect their confidentiality.

Here is one of their stories:

Elizabeth has a manager who is consistently canceling meetings. She is frustrated because the manager is not providing enough direction for her to reach her sales goals.

The manager knew it was a new industry for Elizabeth when he hired her, so her asking for guidance was expected. However, the business has been growing, and he had less time to spend with her. When she reached out to him, his response was: “I am too busy because we are growing, so I don’t have time to meet with you.”

My advice:

I recommended that she send an email expressing why she needs his time.

During our discussion, we spent some of our time wordsmithing the email so that she had clear steps to move forward. Here is what we decided:

She should open the email by acknowledging the good news that the company is growing and that she can understand why his calendar is getting busier.

She should then state the reason she needs his help. For example, she might say: Since I am your only salesperson, I need you to help me understand best how to get the attention of new clients.

I also recommended that she include the following in her email:

  • What she has done to get herself acclimated to the new industry
  • What she has been doing to increase her knowledge of the industry
  • How she is broadening her network
  • How she is using LinkedIn to increase the company’s visibility.

These details will show her manager that she is not solely relying upon him to help her.

I also suggested she mention to her manager in a diplomatic way that since he has canceled the last three meetings, that they meet at a different time even if it means coming in early or staying late.

She should end the email expressing excited she is to see the company growing and that she wants to continue to be part of its success.

And finally, I suggested that in the future she should not wait too long to address concerns with her manager. This will enable the challenges to be rectified sooner and prevent them from growing out of hand.

Would you like to experience this level of support? Registration for my next workshop, Accelerate Your Career With Confidence is open now. Join me for a 3-month workshop that will help you improve your decision-making, feel more secure and confident at work, and work through the career challenges you face so you can build the career and life that you love.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Introverts: The Secret to Using Conversations to Build Relationships

pictured: a business woman and business man in conversation

Introverts: The Secret to Using Conversations to Build Relationships

July 4, 2022

pictured: a business woman and business man in conversationAre you an introvert who finds it difficult to engage in conversation with someone new? Are you the quiet one in a crowd?

Perhaps you’re worried that you don’t have anything to say that would contribute to the conversation? Or maybe you have something to say, but it’s difficult to find an opening when so many people are talking?

Here is what I want you to know: You have something to contribute! And you don’t need to be talking in order to participate.

By being a good listener, encouraging others to continue to talk, and showing genuine interest in others, you will leave a more favorable impression than the person doing most of the talking.

At the same time, we don’t want you to be completely silent, right? So, let’s talk for a moment about balanced conversations and a framework that you can lean on to help you find space for your voice.

In my book, You, You, Me, You: The Art of Talking to People, Networking, and Building Relationships, I present a simple framework that can help you create structure in your conversations.

The rationale behind this framework is for you to invite others to talk more than you, which is a perfect fit for your tendency to be the quiet one.

How do you do that? By asking questions to help you learn about the other person before you begin to share something about yourself. There’s a rhythm to it… You, You, Me, You. It enables everyone to share, and it creates a sense of balance in the conversation. You can put this framework to use through the questions you ask.

I’ve put together a guide to help you quickly understand and apply the You, You, Me, You framework. You can request the guide here or use the form below. If you want to go deeper, you’ll find my book helpful.

As Dale Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming more interested in others than you can in two years by trying to get other people more interested in you.”

How do you turn a networking conversation into an ongoing professional relationship?

Use the You, You, Me, You Framework to easily engage in smoother conversations that leave a great impression.

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Getting Comfortable With Small Talk

5 business people talking and looking uncomfortable

Getting Comfortable With Small Talk

March 14, 2022

5 business people talking and looking uncomfortableAre you comfortable with small talk? I’m not a fan of small talk, and I’ve noticed that many people struggle with it.

The thing is, we can’t avoid small talk. It’s an inherent part of how we communicate, even if we hate it.

The answer to our discomfort with small talk is to understand its purpose so that we can leverage it to have the deeper conversations that we seek, and to develop new relationships.

So, what is the purpose of small talk?

It leads to deeper conversation and opportunities that you might not have had prior to what feels like an unimportant conversation that’s going nowhere.

If small talk is so important, why do we struggle so much with it?

For one, I don’t think we realize what purpose small talk plays, so it’s easy to discount it.

That’s the big misconception: We tend to think that small talk is unimportant and something we just have to endure. But small talk IS important! It is leading us to a rich opportunity.

When we engage in small talk, we’re working with our conversational partners to create a connection and get on the same page. It may just feel like chatter, but it can lead us into deeper conversation and it can serve as the beginning of a relationship with the other person.

And for another…it just plain makes us uncomfortable! We spend a lot of our time during small talk thinking things like:

  • “What do I say?”
  • “What if I say something wrong?”
  • “Why is this matter? It doesn’t sound important.”
  • “What do they think of me?”
  • “Is this going anywhere?”
  • “Is this worth my time? Should I be someplace else…?”

These concerns are normal. The realm of small talk is a vague, uncertain space where we’re all just trying to find some solid ground.

To help you (and your conversational partner) have a better small talk experience, I’d like to offer three suggestions that can make it less uncomfortable and also get you into the deeper conversation faster:

  1. Say their name a few different times. The most powerful word for any of us is our own name. It gives them an amazingly positive feeling and it will help you leave a positive impression. It also helps you remember their name for your next conversation with them.
  2. Give them a compliment. Whether you say you like their name, the color of a piece of clothing they are wearing, or are impressed by something they’ve accomplished, a compliment is another way to leave a positive impression. On top of that is the fact that they have the same concerns that you do. They’re thinking, “What if I say something wrong?” and “What does this person think of me?” Giving them a compliment eases these concerns, enabling the conversation to move more smoothly into deeper territory.
  3. Think of small talk as less about talking and more about listening. This is your opportunity to get to know the other person better. Bonus: When you ask your conversational partner questions that invite them to talk longer, you start moving beyond small talk and into the rich, deeper stuff.

I think the most important thing about small talk that we need to remember is that we are not the only ones who are uncomfortable with it. Most people are! But if we can be strategic about how we engage with that initial part of a conversation, we can get a lot more out of where it’s leading… deeper conversation and building great relationships that serve us.

Are you ready to move beyond small talk into building a professional relationship?

Use this step-by-step guide to easily engage in smoother conversation and improve your confidence.

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Marking Time: Reflections on a Year

Jayne Mattson writing her annual letter

Marking Time: Reflections on a Year

January 3, 2022

Jayne Mattson writing her annual letterWhat do you do to mark the shift through the New Year?

Especially in times like these, with a multi-year pandemic and the difficulties of connecting safely with our loved ones, I believe that tuning in to the New Year can help us more consciously embrace what’s good in our lives.

At least… I hope so.

I began a new ritual last year: I wrote myself a letter that I would open one year later, and I invited my readers to do the same.

What I’d like to do now is ask: Was it useful? Was writing myself a personal letter at the turning of the year a useful endeavor?

Let’s find out…

As I opened my letter today, I was surprised to see that I wrote a four- pager. I don’t remember doing that and I don’t think of myself as a writer but apparently, I had a lot to say!

And as I read through my message, three themes rise up: Gratitude; Relationships; and Innovation. I can see how these themes made sense last year, and they make sense right now as well.

Gratitude:

My letter tells me that I woke up early January 2021 with a heart full of gratitude because the three top priorities in my life of faith, health, and connection with family & friends were strong.

I am an optimist by nature and tend to look at what is good to make it better. Even last year, mid-pandemic, I chose to focus on the positive things that happened in my life that got me through what are some of the most challenging of times for all of us.

Like many people, I had lost friends and family. Not being able to grieve fully in person made the losses even more painful. Despite that, I still felt gratitude for having them in my lives for so long and I cherished each memory we had together.

Relationships:

The physical was certainly difficult, but meeting people virtually seemed to alleviate it in many ways. (Good to note as we head into our 2nd pandemic winter.)

Since my relationships with family, friends and colleagues are extremely important, I found ways to stay connected. I am known as “the glue that keeps people together” and I embrace that as part of my identity – so much so that I wrote a book about building relationships just a few years ago. Bringing people together is second nature to me.

Innovation:

The last theme in my letter was about how over the previous year I had leaned heavily into innovating as I created new marketing channels for my business.

I hired a Marketing Consultant and a Web Designer who helped me rebrand my business and create an amazing new website that I still am so proud of!

It was challenging work because it made me get very clear on who I help, how I help them, and how I want to find and connect with the people I serve.

That work was hard, but it was so worth it! I’m still using that marketing strategy now and I’m looking forward to leveling up in the new year with Live video on LinkedIn!

As I look over last year’s letter, I have some very specific takeaways:

Writing that letter was helpful. I feel like it’s creating some powerful cohesion between where I was at this time last year and where I feel like I’m going now as we head into the new year. I can see the flow of the themes and it brings confidence and clarity that I would not have had if I hadn’t written myself that letter last year.

Noting the themes between then and now is powerful. I can see the flow of ideas and direction. As I look back, it gives me a sense of accomplishment; as I look forward, I feel conviction about where I’m headed.

The themes of Gratitude, Relationships, and Innovation feel to me like a balance of past, present, and future. I like how that feels – being grateful for where I’ve been, cherishing what I have, and being planful about where I’m going.

Will I be writing another letter this year? Yes. In fact, I’ve already started it.

And I invite you to write one to yourself as well. The flow of time can sweep us away if we let it. Marking time with letters to ourselves can help us be more intentional about where we’ve been, what we want, and where we’re going.

Will you be writing a letter to yourself? Let me know in the comments! Then next year when it’s time to open my next letter, I’ll tag you and we can both open our letters and share what we’ve learned!

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Speaking Up: How to Confidently Assert Your Boundaries at Work

Speaking Up: How to Confidently Assert Your Boundaries at Work

December 13, 2021

Early in my career, I had a manager who would berate his employees during our staff meetings.

Whenever I saw him do this to my colleagues, I would talk ask them after: “Why don’t you speak up?” The answer was usually just a shrug, or a question: “What would I say?”

Then one day, it happened to me. My manager scolded me right there in front of my colleagues. I was embarrassed, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me.

As soon as the meeting was over, I went into my manager’s office and said, “I would like to talk to you about that you said to me in the meeting this morning. When you said _______, I felt disrespected, specifically because you said this in front of my colleagues. I welcome feedback, but can you please do it behind closed doors?”

He said: “I am sorry. You’re right. I won’t do it again.” I’m happy to say that he stopped speaking to me that way during meetings!

Sometimes people just don’t realize that how they’re doing something is having a negative impact, and they don’t see how else they might do it that could provide better results.

There are three elements at play here that I want to bring to your attention: boundaries, confidence, and assertiveness.

When my boss berated me in front of my colleagues, he crossed one of my boundaries: I will accept feedback, but only in private. As soon as he crossed this line, I knew I had to say something.

This is where confidence came in. Confidence is based in courage, and courage doesn’t exist without fear. Going in to talk to my boss wasn’t easy. I wasn’t sure how he was going to take it. But talking to him about it was essential. I had a boundary to defend!

And in fact, I demonstrated that boundary by talking to him in private. I like to think that me doing unto him the way I wanted him to do unto me is part of why it went well.

And lastly, we all need to be assertive. Assertiveness is about communicating in a clear and direct manner. It’s about using the right language so that we can get our message across with respect so that we are heard without hurting someone else’s feelings.

I think there’s a fine line between assertiveness and aggressiveness that we have to walk carefully, especially for women. If we push too much, they’ll be offended and put off; if we push too little, they won’t take us seriously. Walking this line takes practice.

I often help my clients work out how they want to respond to situations like this. Here are two things that I have them think about:

  1. What is the action or behavior that didn’t work for you?
    example: my boss berated me in front of my colleagues
  2. What is the action or behavior that needs to happen instead?
    example: I welcome feedback behind closed doors

Then use those two pieces of information to help you craft an assertive statement that clearly describes what you need.

Again, this takes practice. But if you work with these situations intentionally, you can help to promote an atmosphere at work that will enable you to thrive!

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Drawing Lines: How to Maintain Healthy Boundaries at Work

How to maintain healthy boundaries

Drawing Lines: How to Maintain Healthy Boundaries at Work

December 6, 2021

How to maintain healthy boundariesDuring a recent presentation, I asked my audience – a group of early-career professional women – this question:

“Which professional boundaries do you find difficult to maintain?”

Their answers showed that:

  • 66% struggled with committing to their personal time outside of work hours because they continue to check emails after the workday has ended
  • 22% had difficulty saying “no” to opportunities that did not align with their lifestyle needs and values

This same audience agreed that the challenge is further exacerbated when you have goals and desires around your work including:

  • Wanting to be recognized and valued for your work
  • Feeling respected by others
  • Getting feedback in private
  • Being valued for their willingness to express differing opinions

It’s easy to feel torn between reaching for our career goals and protecting our personal lives. It might be tempting, even, to forgo our boundaries and personal lives for the sake of our career goals.

I caution you against that mindset. Once a boundary is given up, it’s much harder to regain. Plus, that’s a short-term approach. I’ve thought it myself: “I can do this for a year…”. But one year turns into three, which turns into a lifetime of imbalance.

It’s not just that you’ve opened the door and now you can’t close it. It’s more that it’s a habit that you’ve created within yourself. You don’t even see it happening… but habits are pervasive and difficult to change.

We’re also talking about setting other people’s expectations. If you don’t maintain healthy boundaries in your current job, it can be difficult to reestablish the boundaries you want without changing jobs altogether. If your boundaries are so compromised that you’re miserable, that’s a viable option… but if you can stop it from happening in the first place, you’ll save yourself a lot of pain and frustration.

So, decide right now what you want your career to look like and how you want that to balance with your personal life. It’s better to create stricter boundaries now that you can loosen later than to create loose boundaries that are almost impossible to tighten.

This problem of maintaining healthy work/life boundaries is not new, but it has gotten worse with working from home. These lines get fuzzy when they exist within the same four walls.

I encouraged the women in my audience – and I encourage YOU - to clearly define what your boundaries are:

  • What boundaries do you want to create and maintain?
    Be specific! Examples: No checking email after 7pm, or only take on opportunities that are in line with where you want your career to go.
  • What does crossing the boundary look like?
    Again, be specific. Envision it so that you’re more likely to see it when it happens.

Once you have a clear definition and understanding of your boundary, your next step is to have a conversation with your manager. When you are both on the same page about what you each expect, your boundary will likely require less management and, should lines start to get crossed, it will be easier to get back in bounds.

Want a little bit of accountability? I’m here for that! Tell me in the comments below: What’s the boundary that you want to maintain?

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The Career-Growth Gender Gap: It’s still here but we’ve got plans

women can take action to change the career-growth gender gap

The Career-Growth Gender Gap: It’s still here but we’ve got plans

November 22, 2021

women can take action to change the career-growth gender gapIf you are a woman and early in your career path, there’s something you need to know:

Women face challenges in their career growth that men do not.

If you think that we’re beyond the gender problem, I invite you to think again… because we are not!

In fact, women face TWO specific challenges:

First - Women don’t move up to the next level within their first five years at the same pace as men

Second - Because they don’t get promoted, women do not develop the same leadership skills as men within this same time frame.

These two steps are essential for career growth!

Researchers call this the “broken rung.” According to a 2019 study by McKinsey and LeanIn.org, these obstacles that prevent women from progressing in their careers.

Here’s the thing:

If you don’t get promoted, you don’t get into the pipeline for further promotions. Instead, you play a game of catch-up and it’s easy to continue to fall behind.

So… what can you do about this?

As an answer to that question, I’d like to tell you about a wonderful group of early-career professional women that I recently had the wonderful opportunity to speak with.

They were enrolled in a year-long program designed to address these common career-growth challenges that women face in the workplace. These women knew that they had to take control over what they needed and wanted in their careers. They were aware that if they were going to remove the obstacles they faced, they needed to understand the challenges that created them.

As part of their program, these women identified their values around what is important to them in the workplace. With that in mind, I spoke with them about three key areas that build upon what they value in the workplace.

  1. Work boundaries
  2. Confidence
  3. Assertiveness

These are foundational factors that support their values. (If you want to identify your own values with regards to the workplace, download the Corporate Culture worksheet.)

Here’s a quick summary of these key areas and how they support and align with your values:

Work Boundaries reflect how you want to be treated in the workplace. Keep in mind: You should treat others the same way you hope to be treated. Following the Golden Rule can serve a guiding light.

Confidence helps you define and establish your boundaries.

Assertiveness guides you towards using the right language to get your point across clearly and tactfully when your boundaries are threatened or compromised.

What I find most exciting about these key areas is that they are skills. That means you can learn them and practice them so that when you need them, you’ll be ready.

Here is what I’m hoping you’ll take away from this:

  • You have to choose to take control over what you want and need in your career
  • You can take action to combat the challenges you face
  • Finding support through communities and a career coach can help you make these things happen for yourself.

We are still facing gender challenges in the workplace, but we are not victims to them. You can take specific, focused action to support your own career growth. When you do the work, success will follow.

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Need a new job? Start here.

Sign: I quit

Need a new job? Start here.

November 1, 2021

Sign: I quit

You’ve likely heard of the “Great Resignation” a term recently coined by Anthony Klotz, a Management Professor from Texas A&M, who predicted a mass and voluntary exodus from the workforce

Well, it’s happening. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, four million Americans quit their jobs in August 2021, alone. The highest departures are among the 30-45 career professionals with the 20-25 being the second highest.

Employees are leaving for many different reasons.

They are leaving the company. They are disappointed with how the company has treated them during the pandemic. Many companies have focused more on profits than the people who help them make the profits, and now they are facing the consequences.

They are leaving their manager. Even if the company might be great, but their manager has not been supportive or concerned about the impact that COVID has on the mental and physical health of the people they manage.

They are leaving the job. The role they once loved has changed and, with going remote, the responsibilities may have grown while growth opportunities have diminished.

If you have left your job or if you are thinking about doing so, it is essential that you assess the factors that are driving you to leave. The pandemic may have been the catalyst to help you make your decision, but there’s always something deeper going on. Digging into your unique “something deeper” is essential for helping you move forward. If you don’t know the “why” of such a big decision, how will you know if the next job you find is the right one?

To begin understanding your “why,” answer the questions below:

About the company:

  1. What is it like to work there?
  2. What is the culture like?
  3. Looking at your answers to #1 and #2 above: What is a match for who you are and what is not?

About the manager:

  1. How is their management style congruent with how you like to be managed, and how is it not?
  2. In what ways do they support you in your professional development, and how do they not?
  3. How do they care about your overall well-being, and how do they not?

About the job:

  1. When you think back when you were first hired or promoted into the most recent role, why were you excited about it?
  2. What did you hope to learn, and did you learn it?
  3. In what ways do you find your role challenging, rewarding, or demanding… and in what ways do you not?

Your answers to these questions can help you define what you are looking for in your next role.

When we cut to the chase, every theme of the “Great Resignation” points to the fact that employees are leaving their jobs because they are not happy. They want something else that their existing company, job, and manager are not able to provide.

If you have left or are thinking of leaving, make sure you clearly understand your reasons why. Your answers to the questions above will help you create the path to a new position that will fulfill you in the ways that you need.

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Having trouble finding a job? This might be why.

How to find the right job for you

Having trouble finding a job? This might be why.

October 18, 2021

Are you struggling to find a job?

Not just any job… the right job. The job where you’ll be happy, with a company whose culture fits you well, and where you can see yourself staying for the long haul?

You, my friend, are not looking for a job; you’re looking for the next step in your career. And unfortunately, it’s no surprise that you’re struggling.

The process of looking for a job is convoluted and bottlenecked. Almost every job seeker goes to the same big places to post their resume and look for jobs, and almost every company goes to that same place to filter through the chaos in search of that one perfect person who checks all the boxes on their job listing.

Unfortunately, this will stay as it is so long as everyone keeps doing what they’re doing.

I think it’s interesting that both job seekers and companies with job openings all go through this same process over and over, even though it’s convoluted and difficult to work with. I recently wrote an article addressing how companies could do things differently.

I’m wondering… did you know that you have options?

Posting to LinkedIn and the common job boards is just one way to try and find a job. But since most other people use that same process, it’s going to be incredibly difficult (if not impossible) to stand out.

So, what can you do instead? You can tap the hidden job market.

This means you’re going to have to do something active rather than passive.

When you distribute copies of your resume to LinkedIn, job boards, and directly to companies, you’re actually being very passive. It’s a lot like throwing your resume into a huge haystack of resumes and hoping the person reaching in just happens to grab yours.

If you really want the right job, you’re going to have to get active. When you actively job search, the people who have a job opening that fits you will already know about you. They won’t reach into the haystack; instead, they’ll download your resume from their email, or even just pick it up off their desk.

What is the “active” action that will make that happen? You’re going to have to talk to people.

Here’s the thing: The best jobs are found through your network.

It’s ok if you don’t have one yet, or you do but you’ve let it languish. We all need to build our networks, and then we need to maintain them.

If you’re looking for the right job right now, the best thing you can do is reach out to your network. Get connected and stay connected.

If your next question is, “But what do I say?” I’ve got you covered! Here are some of my recent articles that will help you be strategic in how you connect with your network:

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