CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

When you’re on the way, it helps to share the load

Archive for September, 2012

Young Workers Want to Learn, Like Everyone Else

Monday, September 24th, 2012

A very interesting point was made that young workers are jumping ship quickly because they aren’t learning enough.

Immediately I had to ask: Shouldn’t all of us want to be learning?

If we are in jobs and work environments where we aren’t learning, all of us run the risk of getting stale. There aren’t many things more detrimental to a career than stagnating. Even if we have no interest in changing jobs, expanding our ability and effectiveness in our current roles makes everyone more valuable as employees.

Add in the flexibility that new perspectives bring and we have an all around winning proposition.

One message to consider out of the findings is the pain companies cause themselves. As cuts have taken away in-house training options, companies need to keep their workforces flexible and up to date. Non-traditional training options like mentoring can provide growth opportunities that also strengthen engagement within the company. Plus with the right frame of reference the learning can be far deeper and more effective.

I’ll leave off with a quote from a former boss who described his approach to training like this:

My job is to make you the best you can be, and then make an environment where you don’t want to leave.

Maybe each of us can take someone under our wing and help them be their best while making them want to stick around.

Internet Self Image

Monday, September 17th, 2012

A little while back I was asked whether the handsome gent in the heading image of this site was me by a contact I have not had the pleasure of meeting in person.

For the record, it isn’t. I can’t claim to be that good looking.

The question led me to an interesting thought about online personas. For better or worse, our online footprints present a particular image to the world which may or may not be putting our best foot forward. But beyond the horror stories of the drunken photos and off-color perspectives reaching the ears of current or potential employers, there’s another presentation type that might be hurting you.

One of the realities of the internet is that a person can present themselves however they like. That presentation might be honest and realistic, or it could be an illusion that came about intentionally or unintentionally. The fact is, however you appear someone will accept it at face value.

Something worth trying is googling yourself. Enter your name and your current home city or suburb into the magic box and see what comes back. As you eyeball the results, consider the following points.

  • Is everything you have posted about yourself true? Intentional trickery doesn’t do anyone much good in the long run. Sooner or later the truth will beam through whether we want it to or not. Proving to be less capable, skilled or knowledgeable than you present yourself to be is a very fast way to develop a bad reputation. Look at the message you are sending out and ask yourself if you’re being honest with everyone.
  • Has anyone else posted something that isn’t true? You may not be able to control this, but if someone is posting overly positive or negative messages that you can’t live up to or would hate to have spread, it’s worth encouraging a realistic picture.
  • Could you be confused with someone else? Yes, this happens. I regularly get email for roughly half a dozen people around the globe named ‘Peter Fitzgerald’. My name is so common, and I get such interesting people emailing me by accident, that I felt the need to search out other people with the same name to see what they did and where they were. The counterpoint is that there may be some less-than-pleasant people whose information might appear in search results for you.
  • Do the messages that you want to share show up? If you’re engaged and succeeding with what you do, that’s a message that should be shared! Find ways to have your successes communicated out. If you’ve spoken at a conference, user group or committee meeting, get it in the speaker lists and meeting minutes posted online. If a high-profile project launched, share it in your LinkedIn profile. Get the good word out!

We all like to put our best foot forward and the internet provides a wonderful platform to do just that. Use it! Know what you look like to potential employers and clients and make it the best, honest message it can be!

And if you need help figuring out where to go next, try contacting me.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

Be Aware of Your Choices

Monday, September 10th, 2012

In everything we have a choice. Even not making a choice is a choice.

Think about the last week. In all likelihood through most of it you got up, went to work, performed some duties, came home, spent time in some leisure activity, and slept. Rinse and repeat.

Let’s just take one segment, how about that whole “went to work” piece? How did you get there? Did you drive, walk, bike, or catch a bus? If you drove, did you drive the same way each day? Did you stop for coffee? Did you travel with anyone? Did you listen to the radio, CD or mp3s on the way? Did you move quickly or slowly? Did you feel rushed? Did you smile or wave at anyone on the way? Did you see people you knew that you didn’t connect with? Did you meet someone new and chat?

You answered all of these questions whether you know it or not. Even if you weren’t aware that the question was asked, you answered it.

Every step along the way, your choices shaped what came next. Your opportunities expanded and contracted at each point. You had control at every fork in the road whether you chose to exercise it or not.

Some choices are more difficult or carry more consequences than others. A choice to speed brings the risk that the next person you talk to might be the police officer pulling you over. Not going to work at all might mean you no longer have that job to go to.

Even so, you have a choice, and you made it. Whether you consciously decided or let the default option carry the day, it was your choice.

Take one area of your life that is on auto-pilot and consider carefully what choices you are making. If you need to start small, try looking at your commute or what you eat for lunch. Are you following the same pattern day in and day out? Are you happy with that pattern or is there something that you’d rather change?

Just by being aware of the choices you make, you have changed them. You made a decision not to let those choices be automatic.

When you’re ready for a bigger challenge, take a look at the area of your life where you find the least joy and ask yourself: What decisions am I making here?

(And if you need a little help getting there, try dropping me a note or call.)

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.

What Are You Going to Change This Month?

Monday, September 3rd, 2012

If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend watching Matt Cutts TED talk, “Try Something New for 30 Days”. When you’re done, or if you’ve seen it before, read on below…

Much as the video has been shared around the internet for some time, it still holds up as a great call to action.

Make a choice of one thing and do it for a month. It doesn’t have to be big or life changing to start with, but it should be something you haven’t done before.

Need an idea to get started? Here’s a few random ones:

  • Eat somewhere or something you haven’t every day
  • Take a photograph of something every day
  • Make contact with someone different every day
  • Read an article on a different website every day
  • Smile at everyone you pass in the hall or street

Most things will feel a bit silly or uncomfortable at first, but keep it up and see what happens. Some changes stick and some don’t, but the effects go far beyond that immediate action.

For myself, I’m not going to travel home along the same commute two days in a row this month.

Take the challenge and let me know what you’ve taken on. Make this month awesome.

Peter Fitzgerald is the founder of CareerSherpas.com and is currently working on his first book, connecting individuals with ideas and opportunities, and attempting to learn the bagpipes.