What Does Time Management have to Do with Career Success?

The short answer is: Maybe not what you think it does. No, I’m not about to give a lecture on time management and why it’s important to your career success. I’ve struggled with time management enough over the years to know I have no business preaching it to others! However, in researching what some experts say on the subject, I’ve gained food for thought. I’d like to share that with you in case you find it useful, too.

Avoid Saying “I Don’t Have Enough Time”

If you want to achieve career success–or success in any area of your life, for that matter–it takes time and effort. That doesn’t mean you can use lack of time as an excuse for not moving forward. Sure, you’re busy. We all are! (Most of us, anyway.) The question is, what are you busy AT? time management & 24-hour days

Whether or not you want to admit it, you do have time. How you use your time is what makes the difference. When you know where you’re heading, you have to decide how much time you will devote to reaching that destination. Not just “can devote” but “will.”

After all, as Zig Ziglar puts it, “We all have twenty-four hour days.” Basically, every situation where you decide to do something other than work on your career success means you’ve made a choice that takes you in another direction.

Is that wrong? Maybe not, if you made the choice consciously and for a good reason. So it depends on the situation and why you chose what you did.

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Job Offer & Employer Loyalty: It’s a 2-Way Street

If you accept a job offer, what happens if another–possibly better–offer comes along almost right away? You might think, “Multiple job offers? I’d love to have that problem!”

However, what if the second job offer surfaces after you’ve started your new job?

Job Offer–Your “Loyalty” Dilemma

Recently I read a post on Ask The Headhunter titled “Should I quit Microsoft after a week to join Facebook?” (I obviously can’t quote it all here, but it’s worth clicking the link to read the whole item.)

In his post, Nick Corcodillos makes several key points. These two stood out to me in particular:job offerjob offer 2

  1. You do not owe the first employer a guarantee that you’ll stick around indefinitely. Employers don’t provide such a guarantee to their new hires.
  2. You need to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples before you decide to jump ship and take the second offer.

I love how Corcodillos puts it regarding employer loyalty–or lack thereof:

“Sometimes employers make a new hire walk the plank early or even before they start the job — it’s a business decision.”

In other words, the company that hired you could decide next week to let you go–and as far as I know, you have no recourse in an employment-at-will state. [Caveat: I’m not a lawyer!]

So what should you use as a guide to making a decision?

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Employer Value: What Have You Done Lately?

Your employer value proposition matters hugely. However, you might also have to contend with this attitude: “What have you done for us lately?” That’s true whether you’re conducting a job search or preparing for a performance review. You need to do what it takes to stand out in the eyes of employers.

Employer Value vs. “You’re only as good as your last ____________”your employer value

You probably recognize the saying above. It has been around for decades, and sources attribute it to different individuals. I particularly like this version by tennis great Arthur Ashe:

“I tell myself that it is crap about how you’re only as good as your last game. I tell myself that my record stands. I tell myself there is too much emphasis on winning. But I must watch that I am not just telling myself these things to explain my losing lately or to excuse myself from not trying hard enough.”

In other words, avoid making excuses for weak performance in your job or career. Your employer value record needs to stand on solid ground. Furthermore, it must tell a compelling story about why the employer should hire or retain/promote you.

Employer Value and Competitive Advantage

competitive advantageVirtually every business needs a competitive advantage if it expects to succeed. It must offer value its target customers can use–and do it in a way that prompts them to invest hard-earned cash in the product or service.

Your long-term career success also depends on competitive advantage, unless you’re the only person in the world who fits a position’s requirements (unlikely). Employer value represents a critical piece of your advantage. Why is that?

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Optimistic Job Searching: Why You Should Try It

more-springs Optimism can produce a powerful impact on your next job search. In a world where frustration and pessimism appear to dominate the scene, that’s important to remember. Hence, optimistic job searching can be crucial.

This blog post will “read” somewhat differently than my usual entries. That’s because I’ve grown tired of reading and hearing mostly negative news. I figure it’s time to do my share in spreading optimism to counter that trend.

Optimistic Job Searching

optimistAm I being a Pollyanna? No, I don’t think so. (“When you put a positive spin on everything, even things that call for sadness or discouragement, you’re being pollyannaish.”—Dictionary.com.)

I prefer to call myself a realistic optimist. That means I know life can get difficult, but I don’t buy into the notion that it has to stay that way or that we don’t have choices. For example, if you look at your work life and decide you need to launch a job search, do you start by looking at all the discouraging aspects? Maybe a better—and more productive—choice would involve noting possible challenges but refusing to let them block your progress.

In fact, I urge you to focus the lion’s share of your attention and energy on identifying factors in your favor. What do you have going for you that employers need to know? The value you can bring to prospective employers should provide a firm foundation for your job search. If you have trouble clearly identifying your value, correcting that problem would make a good starting-point.

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Job Satisfaction and Career Progress: Are You Where You Wanted to Be?

Job satisfaction and career progress sound like great goals, something to pursue eagerly. However, what happens if you think you’ve done that and then discover what you’ve achieved isn’t what you wanted? Maybe you “wake up” one day as you’re preparing for work and think, “I don’t want to do this!”

How did that happen?

Unrealistic Career Progress Expectations

One possibility: You started with unrealistic expectations (your own or other people’s). The world would be your oyster, with a pearl inside. Your career trajectory would resemble a rocket blasting skyward.carer progress

Guess what? Only a handful of people achieve that type of career take-off and sustain it. When you begin with high assumptions about your career prospects that aren’t anchored in reality, you set yourself up for disappointment. Also, we can probably all think of people whose career did take off like a shot and flopped badly later. Would you like to be one of those? I didn’t think so!

No Job Satisfaction Guarantee

No one should guarantee you will always achieve job satisfaction and career progress. If they do, run the other direction fast! They’re promising you the moon–something they can’t deliver. Only a few astronauts have ever reached the moon; most of us remain earthbound.

So there’s no job satisfaction guarantee and no assurance of permanent career progress. Where does that leave you?

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Protect Your Job Search & Career–Avoid Companies that Value Profit over Integrity

All companies want to make a profit–unless they’re a nonprofit! It’s a fair business goal. However, when you’re planning a job search, you should avoid companies that value profit over integrity. Why? Partly to protect your job search (and  your career) from deception, abuse of trust, and more.

If you engage with employers or job-service promoters that lack integrity, you place your professional well-being at risk.

An Example of Unethical Job-Search Companies that Value Profit over IntegrityProfit over Integrity

Some time ago, I mentioned job-service promoters that value money so much they exclude integrity as a consideration. It related to information published in an Ask The Headhunter blog post by Nick Corcodillos. Now he has provided a recent update: FTC Halts Fake Jobs & Resume Repair Operation. Although the FTC case is in progress and things could change, here’s  information provided in the post:

FTC Halts Fake Job Opportunity and Resume Repair Operation

Alleges defendants tricked consumers into paying advance fees of up to $2,500 for placement and resume services for jobs that did not exist

February 25, 2019

The Federal Trade Commission charged two companies and their owner with bilking hundreds of thousands dollars annually from consumers for sham job placement and resume repair services. A federal court halted the scheme and froze the defendants’ assets at the FTC’s request.

Integrity not Dishonesty

Do Employers also Rank Profit above Integrity?

Sadly, I’ve seen stories indicating that such companies exist. They subject job seekers to rudeness and misinformation. For example, they use a bait-and-switch approach that makes a job opportunity sound much better than it is. In some cases, they withhold background information that might prompt you to reject a job offer. While some actions involve outright dishonesty and deception, others boil down to behavior that’s legal but not ethical.

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Hammer Home Your Employer Value Message!

In my January 2019 ezine, I published an article titled, “What’s Your Value–Do You Know It?” Basically, the article centered on the theme that you need to have a real-world view of your value to employers and present it well. In other words, you need a compelling employer value message to get your candidacy off the ground.

However,  the story has more pieces to it than that. You can have all the employer value in the world and still not receive a salary offer that makes good sense. For some time now, employers have bemoaned a talent shortage, but many of them have avoided paying a realistic salary for people to fill the holes.

Why Your Employer Value Message “Isn’t Working”

If your value message incorporates the right elements and still “isn’t working,” it could be missing the mark because:jobs target

  1. You still haven’t thought it out carefully and fine-tuned it so it will hit the target.
  2. You’re aiming it at the wrong audience (wrong company, position, influencer, etc.)
  3. The companies you’re targeting are paying attention to the wrong sources. They aren’t listening to what candidates with seriously high value are trying to tell them.

You can take action to correct problems #1 and #2 above. On the other hand, you might have little luck with #3. As the saying goes, “You can’t fix stupid!”

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Job Success: Is Your Boss Creating Barriers to Your Progress?

Job success can sometimes be elusive and uncertain. Ideally, smart bosses should want their employees to succeed–it can make them look like good leaders. However, not all bosses are smart in that regard!

Is your boss putting up barriers that impede your career growth and on-the-job success? On the other hand, does it sometimes just seem that way to you?job success problem

Is Your Job Success in Jeopardy–Are You Being “Shut Out”?

I recently read an article in Harvard Business Review titled, “What to Do If You Think Your Boss is Shutting You Out.” The article makes a good point about the importance of verifying whether you’re exaggerating the situation or experiencing something you need to take action to resolve. Furthermore, it recommends four actions you might want to implement. Briefly, these are:

  1. Revisit Your Assumptions. First, verify that your boss is treating you differently from the way they treat everyone.
  2. Repair the Relationship. If you can tell that your relationship is not as trusting or cordial as it had been, look for a way to get back in their good graces. It can be important to show your boss that you value them and their leadership….
  3. Don’t Let Poor Management Affect Your Performance. …Don’t spend so much energy focusing on your relationship with your boss that it undercuts your sense of purpose or your job performance.
  4. Reach Out to Build a Base of Indirect Support. Establish mutually beneficial relationships outside the one you have with your boss.

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