Monday, January 03, 2005

A New Year (A New You)

Well, the new year has arrived. Like many, I have officially begun my quest of looking for a new job. Now I'm not looking for just any job. I'm looking for the perfect job. Is there such a thing as perfection? ... I'm not sure. However, I do know I need to be organized and very diligent about this important life altering task.

You are probably thinking to yourself ... Life altering? Is it that serious? Yes, people it is. Most of us spend greater than 40 hours working per week. Factor in the time we spend getting ready for work, traveling to and from the job and the occasional work assignments we take home.

Before adding those numbers up, I encourage you to do one of the following: take a sedative, gather your favorite snacks for some serious binging or, better yet, run down to your local market and get a bottle of wine.

Okay, did you add the numbers? See, I warned you. It's pretty scary. It also raises many questions ... Am I happy with my current job? Am I giving more to my employer than I am to myself? Is the rate of return equal to or better than what I am giving? Spend enough time on this task and you will come up with many questions and very few answers.

However, what most fail to realize is the answers are in front of you. There are two things you'll need in order to find them ... "Balance and Organization." These are two of my favorite words. Without them I am lost. Occasionally I lose track, but ultimately I find my two favorite pals.

By choice, I have spent the past 19 months without a job. This came with much sacrifice and strife ... Still, it needed to be done and I have no regrets.

My last job was very demanding. I spent greater than 50 hours each week at work and took my job home with me daily. When members of my team called out sick, I championed their cause and filled in during their absence. When the work projects doubled, I was the one that said, "Bring it on!" and when push came to shove with deadlines which had the team coming in early and staying late ... I was the one who told everyone to go home and I'll finish the project.

These statements are not made to toot my own horn. These are perfectly illustrated examples of a person who has a compulsive disorder (laughing-out-loud) or what I believe is a "High Energy Worker." High energy workers are employee's that thrive on the highs and lows of a job. The lows are spent getting your inner self and your team ready for the big moments. This is done by lending a hand to help each other, sharing some laughs, exchanging views to gain insight, learning tolerance and respect for each other and my favorite ... "Going out to lunch!" "Nothing can be finer than sitting at a diner being a whiner" during lunch. The highs are those hard working moments that help you appreciate the lows.

In my last job I spent so much time working ... and working ... and working, that I did something very dangerous. I lost myself in my job without realizing how much I wasn't nurturing the fun Paul outside of work. As a result, I was all work and no play. This was great for the employer, but not for me.

There was a day when I began to "blame" my employer. I was one of those people who said, "I'm being taken advantage of!" I would think to myself, "I know the employer is getting their monies worth, but am I getting mine?" With that one initial thought a "cancer" began.

However, my cancer was controlled, if there is such a thing. When inconvenienced, I would allow the cancer to get out of control. This was my way of releasing or venting my frustration.

The point of this banter is that I bit off more than I could chew, or at least I thought. High energy workers really don't bite off more than they can chew. We keep working to get the job done. Our goals are simple ... "Work hard, Be organized and Complete the project."

However, the fatal mistake we make ... Well, actually we all make, is we immerse ourselves in multiple projects. Sometimes these projects happen and we have nothing special going on in our lives other than the typical daily mundane activities. When something special comes along, we shift gears and find ourselves drifting towards those outside interferences and concentrating less on our work. The job doesn't become the priority. In essence we allow a "cancer" to infiltrate our minds.

We need to think about our priorities ... SERIOUSLY! For me ... Work is a priority and it should be for you too. Without a job we can't support the fun activities, by those special gifts and live like kings and queens ... And forget about happy hour too.

However, our priorities don't need to shift as much as how we balance and organize our daily activities and lives. People need to be strategic when mapping out their goals, especially as they pertain to work.

Now that I've have time to think and put things in perspective, I have created an action plan. Below is a checklist of what I have created for my myself. I have put together activities, goals, and questions that will put me on the right path for the right job.

Paul's goals:

1. Refresh myself through reinvention.

2. Find the perfect job.

Activities:

1. Reinvention: Creating a website which effectively defines me as a person along with my skills and abilities.

2. Create a variety of strong documents that emphasize and reemphasize my skills and abilities. Some examples: resumes (long & short version), a spreadsheet defining my skills, an online journal documenting my journey.

3. Attaching my resume to various search engines.

4. Generating a list of companies that might have jobs available and sending out cover letters & resumes.

5. Reviewing online employment sections of various newspapers.

6. Creating a personal list of questions that validate my direction.

Questions:

1. What is the perfect job? The perfect job is one where I am appreciated for my contributions, respected for my input, rewarded verbally for those outstanding contributions & monetary if appropriate, encouraged by my peers and working with a group that sees themselves as a team.

2. Will I work greater than 40 hours each week? Absolutely, because I know how to organize and create balance.

I truly hope to find a job with the elements of my last job. It was the perfect job! There are times when the priorities shifted, but I always found my friends ... "Balance and Organization."

My team worked very hard. We cared about the product. We had our moments, but because we worked together as a team, we never lost site of our goals. Feathers got ruffled on occasion, but we always took care of that when we "whined & dined" at lunch ... And maybe a few happy hours too.

The bottom line is all of us should be accountable for our actions. Know what you are getting into when you accept a job. Participate in the process by asking as many questions as you can during an interview. If you are lucky to be hired, be proactive and participate in your job thorough discussion and open dialogue. Keep an open mind.

Look for balance when you find yourself working greater than 40 hours. Because I had such great appreciation and respect for my coworkers, working overtime was never as issue. Being a little silly throughout your day can make all the difference in the world.

If you agree to accept a job ... Give it your all. Regardless, of the pay ...You accepted the job, so remember it was offered to you in good faith. With any job, you can grow, learn and if you have the right attitude ... Go places.

Finally, all of us must learn about the players on our team. Most people hired (we hope) are hired because of their skills and talents. However, when the team comes together, you will find that everyone works at a different pace & level and will always have a different set of goals & priorities. Never see that as a negative ... It's a positive. Diversity is the key to an "awesome" team ... Especially when you have a strong leader backing you up.

The "High Energy Workers" work the hardest. They go beyond the call of duty because its their nature. They never judge the team. They appreciate and respect everyone's contribution. They don't mind picking up the slack. However, they never want to be taken for granted.

I hope you will take some time to think about you current job, its direction and where you would like it to go. Create some obtainable goals. Try thinking about effective ways to market yourself. Most importantly ... Get in touch with "Organization and Balance." They are good friends to have. When used effectively ... They come through everytime.

Remember ... It's a new year. It can be a new you too. Take a chance. - paerki :)

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"I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires." - Susan B. Anthony

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