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Monday, June 8, 2009

Create Your “Career” Stimulus Package

In the past year, there has been so much discussion in the media about the Economic Stimulus Plan options and which proposals are better than the others - everyone has an opinion on how to improve the economy. Certainly, everyone should have an opinion because improvements in the economy start with your individual plan. It has been proven that many individual actions holistically impact not only the housing market or stock market, but energy, education, healthcare, taxes, etc. With that said, we as individuals also have an impact on stimulating our careers with a Career Stimulus Package!

So, let me explain and provide you with the analogies of the Economic Stimulus Package and your Career Stimulus Package. As with the 2009 Stimulus Package, there are billions of dollars supporting each of the following components: tax relief, state and local fiscal relief, infrastructure and science, protecting the vulnerable, healthcare, education and training, energy and there’s even an “other” category (source: Obama Stimulus Package 2009). Each one of these can actually represent your own individual situation and even more, they can represent your career growth. Just keep in mind, regardless if you are unemployed or employed, you can stimulate your career through this stimulus package.

  1. ONLINE/MOBILE/SOCIAL NETWORKING RELIEF. Relief often comes in different ways: financially, socially, emotionally, etc. In the career sense, you can relieve yourself from a mindset that is unfulfilling, complacent, and blasé. The perfect and inexpensive way to provide yourself with relief from this type of mindset is through networking via the internet using Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, or Linkedin. These online networking tools can be easily managed in the comforts of your own home, at your desk, or anywhere for that matter if you are using a mobile application. Connect with people, link to and follow organizations that are of the same profession you have an interest. Just the other day I linked to several talent acquisition and employment branding organizations on LinkedIn. I simply typed in the words “recruiting and branding” in the search field and the result was a list of organizations I could potentially link to for networking! There are so many more social networks and mobile sites to leverage, it can be a relief to be able to do this without having to attend a face-to-face event.

  2. FACE-TO-FACE NETWORKING RELIEF. Relief can also be defined as creating and leveraging an opportunity where you can efficiently and comfortably accomplish whatever career goals you set. For many, face-to-face networking is a relief as well, because it puts the human interaction in the mix. It can be exhilarating to put faces with names and have meaningful, in-depth conversations with people about your career and their careers. At Verizon, all employees can join affinity groups called employee resource groups to network and gain leadership development and educational opportunities. So, take advantage of the opportunities to engage yourself, talk about yourself and what you enjoy doing, ask meaningful questions to others about if they enjoy what they do and how they began their careers. Simply put, conversations should have both a give and take aspect. Also, naturally infuse your prepared elevator speech during your conversation in 3 – 4 sentences. You will find pleasure and relief in just knowing that you can build a network to stimulate your career growth through real life contacts!

  3. YOUR INFRASTRUCTURE AND SCIENCE OF YOU. You have a unique infrastructure and science about you that always has room for improvement. Rebuild or reposition your infrastructure with your next career phase in mind. Create your short and long-term plan, determine where you want to be and put yourself in the mindset to achieve your career goals in everything you do. That means assessing and refining your infrastructure in the following ways: (a) physically – the way you visually and verbally present yourself such as your professionalism and dress code, (b) intellectually – what you know and how you put information to use, (c) emotionally – how you feel about yourself and others is demonstrated in what you do, (d) spiritually – how you define and incorporate your beliefs, values, and ethical limits in your career plan, (e) socially – how you interact with others and if it is professional and respectful. These are just a few elements of your infrastructure and how you can refine it for your career goals.

  4. PROTECTING YOUR VULNERABILITY. Even when you create your career stimulus plan, you really have to stay on track emotionally because with reality, you will unfortunately have rejections. Not everyone will accept your plan, not everyone will need your talent. So, QTIP – Quit Taking It Personally. I’ve had to tell myself this so many times during my career, pick myself up and move forward. Turn those negative emotions around and stay positive. In addition, everyone has vulnerabilities and weaknesses and it’s important to identify what they are and work at turning them around as strengths. When presenting yourself, always do research before interviews or introductions to new networks; know your audience and what you’re going to say before you say it. Always back up your statements with the research and if you don’t know something, just say you don’t know, but you can find out. These are just a few steps on protecting your vulnerability in the world of unexpected possibilities.

  5. YOUR HEALTHCARE. As I mentioned earlier, your package starts with you and your infrastructure; and the science of you is extremely important. Likewise, being healthy is important to your career growth. Healthiness involves having a healthy attitude, healthy appearance, healthy work habits, and so forth. Remember, stimulating your career means stimulating yourself!

  6. YOUR EDUCATION AND TRAINING. Growth means learning and if you don’t have the opportunity to learn, you don’t have the pleasure of growing. Hence, leverage any opportunity to learn more about the profession you’re interested in and put it to use, whether it’s volunteering your services, job shadowing, or being proactive about adding to your work responsibilities. In fact, Verizon offers continuous learning sessions via webinars and onsite meetings. Life-long learning is encouraged at Verizon!

  7. YOUR ENERGY AND PASSION. The economic stimulus plan may be talking about our environmental energy and boosting renewable energy, but the energy for your career stimulus plan that I’m talking about is the passion you exemplify in everything you do and say! Whether you are interviewing with enthusiasm or speaking about your new assignment with eagerness, people notice if you have energy and they notice if you are engaged in your everyday tasks. When you create your career stimulus plan, think about what makes you enjoy your work, what makes you smile and look forward to walking into your office everyday. Turn on your excitement, enjoy what you do, and think about how your current situation is adding to your strengths for future positions.

  8. OTHER. Although every one of these components may not have a billion dollars associated with it like the 2009 Economic Stimulus Plan, they do require an invaluable amount of time and effort on your part. So, package these components and any other component you know will add value to your Career Stimulus Package!

In conclusion, use the components in this Career Stimulus Package to stimulate your mind, your networking, your infrastructure, your health, your education, and most of your energy! Stimulate YOU!

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