CareerSherpas: Climbing the Mountain

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

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The One Thing You Can’t Get More of: Time

Monday, January 7th, 2013

It goes without saying that I’ve been conspicuously absent from the blog this year. There are a lot of reasons for that, but top amongst them is the fact that I’ve had a terrible work-life balance. I admit it fully, and have been working to get things back than even keel for months. It has taken a lot of careful soul searching and prioritization, finding the things that are most important and giving them the driver’s seat.

Sadly that has meant putting my work to expand Careersherpas on hold while family and the (very consuming) day job project got my attention. It also means that my work on the book and other side projects had to wait. Things on my goal list have had to languish and wait expectantly for days when more energy and brain space was available to revisit them.

The advantage in all this was that I’ve received a valuable object lesson in managing priorities, and acknowledging what really matters to me. It is a gift I was grateful for this holiday season.

So much of our lives are taken up with the little things that we all need to be woken up sometimes. No matter how much this applies to you, today is a new day!

Stop, now!

You’ve taken the time to read this post. Set yourself a timer to spend five to ten minutes asking yourself what you missed doing in the last year, the last month, the last week, or even the last day. Whatever comes to mind was important to you.

Now, make time for it. Block time on your calendar. Schedule those vacation days. Commit to an open slot for being in your child’s classroom. Whatever it is you missed, take five minutes and put aside time for it.

Tell someone that you’re doing it, then don’t change the plan.

You’ve made a decision that this is important to you. You’ve set a time where you won’t miss it. Now you just have to do it!

If you’re ever tempted to back out remind yourself how it felt to miss out.

That regret stops today.

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.

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.

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.

The Hero’s Journey – The Union of Opposites

Monday, September 12th, 2011

The world is full of paradoxes and divisions if we choose to see it that way. More often than not these are fabricated divisions growing out of fear and ignorance which aren’t necessarily real, but are taken as accepted truths.

In the progression of legendary journeys the “Union of Opposites” often revolves around reconciling the differences between the sexes or between some conflicting parts of the heroine’s personality. We see similar dualities overcome by bringing together different cultures to share and understand one another. Around the world we’re faced with news of the disharmonies between western and arabic cultures, racial inequalities and backlashes against immigrant populations.

In organizations we see silos built up to separate groups who are both intertwined and interdependent for success. Functional areas who jointly support large, value-driving processes often don’t communicate enough to see how the different parts interact. Pain in one group is diminished in the face of the easier solution in another.

More important to your career is the internal struggle to reconcile opposing perspectives. Open your eyes to the way different pieces integrate into a cohesive whole. The small changes made in one place can create large variations for someone else and realizing this lets you negotiate successful outcomes for everyone.

The objective is not to see the world in black and white or good and bad. Bringing together the different thoughts on your own is usually impossible. Reach out and find someone who sees the situation differently and really listen to what they have to say.

What you’ll probably find is that the “bad” responses and interactions are actually “good” for someone else. Find ways to bridge the gap and find ways to make both sides “good”. You’ll quickly find allies on the “other” side who are interested in solving issues for everyone. The successes that come from those solutions let everyone join in the rewards as well!

Shift your perspective to include more and see the success that follows.

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.