A Journey of 1000 Miles

A journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. So said the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in the fourth century BC. Wise words then, and they still apply today for anyone embarking on a new venture.
In my practice, I talk with a lot of people in career transition. Some of those transitions are by choice, but most are not. It’s an unfortunate fact of modern life that as business needs change, so do the staffing needs. The days of working for the same company your entire life have come to an end, and most of us will go through some changes during our career. That means we will all start new journeys, perhaps several times.
Taking that first step on a new journey can be very hard. What step to take? What direction? How fast do I have to move? If you are in that position for the first time, it’s really hard to take that first step. Even if its not the first time, it’s still really hard to start! Every journey looks different, starts in a different place and has a different destination – which may not be at all obvious as you begin.
It helps to have a guide; a Sherpa, so to speak. You need someone who will not judge, criticize, or let you dwell in the past. A career counselor or an outplacement provider can help you take that first step with purpose and direction, and start you on that journey to the next destination. They can help you make sure your goal is the best possible fit for you, and provide encouragement along the way.
If you need help with that first step, don’t wait to find your Sherpa to help you start that journey in a positive, purposeful way.

Helping Them IN – Better career transition

In the world of career transition, practitioners often focus heavily on the “out” in outplacement. I even find myself locked in that mindset from time to time – helping people transition “out” of a job – because leaving a job is where I connect with someone in a career transition.

The “out” may not be the best way to think about a career transition. Job loss may be painful and feel like the end, like it really is “out” with no way back in. I think we should look at it from a different perspective; a career transition is a beginning of something else, we just need to discover what that is. Career transition can be “in” as well as “out.”

All the wisdom of the world can be found in the words of Mr. Rogers, even for those in transition.

“Often when you think you’re at the end of something, you’re at the beginning of something else.” ― Fred Rogers

Isn’t that a much better way to think of what happened? You aren’t going out a door with nothing in sight. You are opening a door and seeing a wide horizon and vast possibility.
I would be the first to tell you that is easy to say and harder to really believe. Losing a job, when the termination was out of your control and had nothing to do with your performance, loyalty, or skills, can be very hard. Right here in the city in which I live, a major employer is reducing its workforce dramatically and the reductions have little to do with job performance, only numbers. Many, many people have found themselves without work after years with the company.

With a good career coach or outplacement counselor, a person who finds himself in this position can shorten the time living with shock, disbelief and sadness and grab that door handle to open a new world of possibilities. He or she may need coaching and support, but look what lies ahead! This could be the opportunity to make a complete career change, to try something never attempted, to follow a long-held dream.

My goal for my outplacement clients is not to provide “out” placement, but turn that into “in” placement – a new and better beginning for their careers.

The Importance of Work

As I get ready to celebrate Labor Day this weekend, I was thinking about this holiday. My natural curiosity led me to look up the history, which began with a workers’ march in New York City in 1882. Congress made Labor Day an official holiday 12 years later in 1894, spurred by an American Railroad Union strike in June of that year.

Why do we still celebrate today? I believe it is because work is important. Aside from the last barbecues and outings of summer, the holiday celebrates the value of work and those who perform it. Labor Day gives working people the opportunity to pause and reflect on the value of what they do.

That value is not only measured in what hard work means to businesses and to our country, but to each person. Each of us must define our individual worth in some measure, and for many, that measure is the work we perform. Promotions and salary increases are tangible measures of our work and our worth to our employer and to ourselves. Work defines us, provides a source of self-esteem, and gives a sense of pride in job well done.

What happens when a person no longer has a job to define his or her value? Losing a job is devastating, not only financially but in terms of a worker’s self-esteem and self-value. Job loss can be especially hard if it is a result of circumstances beyond the worker’s control, having nothing to do with performance. A worker who is used to being rewarded for a good job, performing his or her best, and gaining self-respect as a byproduct will need some kind of support to maintain drive and the will to move forward.

This is where a career counselor or outplacement provider can help. Support to move forward to a new opportunity can maintain a person’s sense of worth and value, which in turn will make it easier to find a new position quickly. Employers, if you need to lay off workers, please consider this as the best thing you can provide to help them transition to a new place.

Work is important. I hope everyone celebrates the opportunity to work this Labor Day!