How To Choose A Career Book

Standard

cropped-img_18951.jpg

There are thousands of career books on the market in the self-help category.  We often read books about how to achieve something we desire: I want to be 20 lbs lighter, I wish I had a high-paying job, or I want to have less stress in my life.   We gravitate to the ideal state and want to read about what it will be like when we get there.  I suggest that the best chance for eventually realizing this dream, is to start from where you are today, taking one step at a time.  The book you need is the one that gets you started.
Many of us are looking for tips  on how to advance in our career, find a new job, or become a better manager. A book with high impact will stress slow but steady improvements, starting with the job or skills that you have right now.

To find the right book, I suggest a quick self assessment:
1) What job do I have today? 
Are you an individual contributor or a manager of others?  How many years of work experience do you have?  What would be the next likely move for you?  If you are in an entry-level position, then reading a book intended for C-Suite executives may leave you confused about how to improve productivity and performance in your cubicle tomorrow morning.  If you are a mid-level manager, then you already come with a set of your own experiences which may go beyond the author’s recommendations.
2) What problems are you having at work today?
Take some time to study your environment at work.  Do you feel your place of employment or the people you are working with are holding you back?  Are you holding yourself back? Often our thoughts about others and our work location can give us the biggest tips on what we need to concentrate on personally.  How can a personal change impact the way I am viewed or treated at the company?   By exploring this line of questioning,  you probably can quickly identify what work skills need improvement.  If your desk at work looks like my teenage son’s bedroom, search for books about organization, productivity and time management.  If you are having trouble connecting to coworkers, search for books on teamwork and continuous improvement.  Identify what appears to be an external problem, and then internalize it.
3) What kind of learner am I?
Do you like short stories or thoughtful reads in small print?  Do you like the theory or fact-based evidence about success, or would you prefer light stories?  Would you enjoy reading about how others achieved success, or do you want the author to talk directly to you? The book that you are most likely to finish, is probably the right purchase for you, even if it is slightly off-topic.  You will retain the material and find something to take away, if you enjoyed reading it.
Congratulations!  Just by doing this short assessment, you have taken the first step  forward in your career.  You have identified what you want to work on, and can begin to search book titles.  I suggest reading a preview for each book where the title appeals to your situation while keeping in mind the type of style you desire.  Most booksellers allow you to read the first few pages for free, and you can determine the style, tempo and subject matter from what the author leads with in the first few pages.  That is how I wrote my book.   If the preview is short and to the point, the book will be to.  If the preview is personable or thought provoking,  so will be the next 20 chapters.
Good luck and connect with me online!

About Joyce Jarek:
Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Can I Shop on #CyberMonday during #Worklife ? Advice about #jobs & #IT policies

computer screen image
Standard

With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, most of us will be picking up coffee on the way into work Monday morning with five days of work in front of us.   However, the Monday after Thanksgiving can also have a “holiday-feel” as retailers hype up Cyber Monday – supposedly THE DAY to shop online.  If you are tempted to browse in between meetings, have you considered whether it is OK to shop online at work?

Every workplace has different norms and policies.  What is your company’s IT policy?  Using company hardware or the web  interface for personal use is often strictly prohibited, or at best, it can only be used for a limited time during the day.  Most companies will have the capability to monitor every email, every website visited, and all documents created and stored on your computer.  One time I called the help desk and the service representative asked me if I owned a Harley (which I do). He had tracked the websites I visited where I was looking for new shocks for the bike. Cyber attacks are on the rise and the company has every right to protect their equipment, their information and intellectual property.  Company security is everyone’s responsibility – not just the IT department, and your mobile device, tablet or laptop may become a gateway for hackers.

In addition to the cyber security issues, we need to be mindful of keeping up our productivity as the holiday season kicks off.  What do you need to accomplish before the work year ends?  Most work place activity slows down to a crawl during the last two weeks of December, so this is your time to kick it in high gear and wrap up some projects.

I suggest making your Cyber Monday wish list tonight, and hitting the GO button when you get home.  The good news about Cyber Monday is that it lasts until 11:59 p.m.  I wish you a great start to the holidays, and if you decide to shop online on Cyber Monday, here is a quick link to get you started!  www.cybermonday.com

 

 

#Career Thanksgiving Therapy for #postgradlife & #cubiclelife dwellers

Standard

Having Black Friday off without having to take a personal day is one of the many things in corporate life that I am grateful for. Please “Like” this post and raise your thumb if you need a four day weekend – RIGHT NOW!

First Job book Jacket in red and green

Get ready, Launch, Gain Momentum, Pull Ahead

In my book First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates, I dedicated a section on keeping fresh at work.  In the self-help world, many will refer to this as work-life balance.  Many of us with competing priorities are frantically trying to live up to this standard and believing that it must be possible since so many refer to it.

Truth exposed – there rarely is harmonized balance between work life and personal life.  At any given point, work will win, family will win, or you will win!  And something will lose.  Thanksgiving weekend is when work loses.  The six million people that will board planes, trains and automobiles today are fleeing quickly, while “work”  awaits Monday in darkness, cold and stillness.  Don’t you feel better already with that imagery in mind?  Relax – you aren’t getting any farther behind and no one is  getting ahead of you this weekend since everyone is gone!

You can’t do everything well all at once.  This weekend is Thanksgiving Therapy for you and your family, but work or school must be prioritized next week.  You will need  to think about wrapping up year-end goals and hit it hard for the next two weeks before holiday joy sets in again.  Your personal life may lose for awhile.  Work isn’t a coast to the year end finish line – there will be a slight up hill climb to December 31, so give it a little thought today as you depart – commit to the sprint over the next two weeks before you begin to coast.

Here are some ways to make work lose this holiday weekend.

Wednesday – quiet catch up with your closest family members whom you haven’t seen for awhile.  Take someone aside for a coffee or a beer, be sincere, be loving, be real about what you are dealing with and anxious to learn about them.

Thursday – on this meat-filled holiday, absorb yourself into family and friends, and veg out on the couch.  After cooking and cleaning up – try doing nothing.

Friday – SHOP!   Give in to the madness!  But buy at least one thing that will center you as you sprint the next two weeks.  Some new tunes, a new coffee mug, a tablet?  Work is still losing – but there is just a hint of focus coming on.

Saturday – plan today something fun and different for Saturday.  What is the one thing you will talk about Monday over the cubicle wall when your coworker asks the ritualistic Monday Question – “What did you do this weekend?”

Sunday – Safe travels everyone, get home early, get quiet, get ready.

I wish you a blessed and safe holiday weekend and for the workforce who doesn’t receive time off because you are needed to make the world hum and buzz – I am thankful for you!

Joyce Jarek is the author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  Pick up a copy as an early holiday gift for you through the link www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html