Danger or Opportunity?

Does being laid off represent Danger or Opportunity to you? 

I would assert that whether you see a lay off as an opportunity or not is all in your point of view. Many people mistakenly have being laid off as the same thing as being fired. When you are fired that means a company has terminated you based on performance or some other element  related to your work. However, when you are laid off, that simply means that there has been some sort of reduction in force or perhaps a change in the structure of the company.

If you can alter your perspective on having been laid off, then you can begin to see a lay off as an opportunity rather than a danger. Below are 3 ways that you could begin to look at a lay off as an opportunity:

1) Change in career-You can embrace your lay off as a chance to pursue the career you have always wanted, perhaps even open up your own business. Often times, job seekers can spend years or even decades in a career that is unsatisfying. Being laid off can give you the chance to re-invent yourself and what you are committed to. You can finally pursue what you are passionate about if you have not been doing so already.

2) Increase in salary-Yesterday, I was interviewing a high level executive who shared with me his story of how he was laid off in his prior position. At the time of the lay off he initially felt frustrated, as many people do. However, in the long run, he was extremely grateful for the upward mobility and the increase in pay the lay off afforded him.  It would have been unlikely that he would have ever left the comfort of his old job had he not been laid off. He would have probably spent the next 10 years trying to achieve the same level in his career and increase in salary that he accomplished in less than 12 months in a new position!

3) Move up the ladder-After being in a job for many years you can begin to plateau. Sometimes you need a little fire to jump start your ambition and drive. By being laid off, you can reevaluate where you want to be in your current career. By doing this, you can shift your energies and focus to pursuing a promotion that you had long forgotten you desired. A new company means new bosses, a new environment,  a new set of tasks to learn and opportunity for growth.

Opportunities can often come in different shapes and sizes.  Sometimes an opportunity might even be disguised as a lay off. It is up to you to recognize an opportunity for what it is and  to always be open to the possibilities that are available to you.

Top 3 Social Media Related Sites you MUST KNOW

Social Media is taking off and is going in a variety of different directions. There are new Twitter affiliate sites and other Social Media related sites popping up all the time. So how do you differentiate which ones to pay attention to? You could spend hours upon hours researching them for yourself or you rely on someone else to look through all the information for you, and give you some recommendations like I am about to do.

In the last 10 months, I have been inundated with Social Media information, as I am sure many of you have as well. It has now become part of my job to help disseminate what information you need to know. Below are a list of my top 3 favorite Social Media Related Sites that I would recommend you familiarize yourself with:

1) www.mashable.com This is the “How To” guide for using Social Media. In my opinion, I think it may be one of the most valuable sites out there for any Social Media questions you may have

2) www.hootsuite.com This site is a “Twitter Dashboard.” It allows you to see who is Tweeting both about you and to you. It helps you organize your Tweets by scheduling them in advance, and keeping track of who is re-tweeting your messages. You can also use this to help shrink your URLs so that you can get more bang for your buck. 

3) www.ping.fm.com This site allows you to “ping” your 140 character status update to as many affiliated Social Media Websites that you would like. Rather than taking the time to update your status on Facebook, Myspace, Linkedin and Twitter individually you could simply link up to your Ping account and send out your status update to all 4 at once. You can also use it to ping out your blog.  

To set up a private Social Media training or class email Jennifer at jennifer@jhccs.com  

For a full list of Top Social Media Websites go to: http://www.prelovac.com/vladimir/top-list-of-social-media-sites

The Fish Bowl: Are you IN or are you OUT?

I was recently having coffee with a friend where we were discussing the state of the economy and my upcoming book. I was explaining my rationale behind writing the book, is to inspire people to achieve their dreams and find something they are passionate about, that pays them well. During this conversation, my friend raised an interesting question: “What if some people simply have no desire do to be successful?”

I have to admit, I was rather dumbfounded by this. I asked her to elaborate, as this seemed like a foreign concept to me. Doesn’t everyone want to be successful in their own right? Her response was one that caused me to pause and think. She explained that we all live in a fish bowl, however, because the fish bowl is glass, and therefor transparent, it is almost impossible to see the fish bowl that you are in. She shared with me a cathartic moment she had experienced, where she was able to see herself from outside the fish bowl. What does this mean? It means that, from her perspective, most of us go through our day to day lives swimming about in our fish bowl, unaware that there is anything available outside of what we can conceive. For a certain few though, they realize the limitations the fish bowl imposes upon them, and they choose to live a life outside of the fish bowl, where things are less certain, but anything is possible.  

It is a fact that people who choose to live outside the fish bowl can still see into it, however, they embrace the uncertainty and the unease that comes from living on the outside. A wise person once said, “If you are not expanding, then you are contracting.” The same could be said for the people who choose to free themselves of their constraints. They are fearless in the face of the unknown, and in being unstoppable, they can often achieve their dreams.

The important point about the fish bowl is that those who are in the fish bowl and are content to be in the fish bowl, should not be forced to live a life outside of the fish bowl, outside of their comfort zone. If someone chooses to spend their life or career swimming in the fishbowl, with no ambition to ever attain success or even possible failure by leaving their comfort zone, those outside of the fish bowl should NEVER force anyone to embrace the alternative option.

Look at your life. Are you content to simply “go with the flow,” and live a life where you might not ever achieve your dreams, but you might have a great life? If living a simple life works for you, then there is no need to change. If instead, you are someone who wants everything that life has to offer, and is not afraid of possible failure, then embrace your fears in working towards success. Acknowledge that you have spent your entire life being comfortable, but if you are truly committed, you can choose to leave the fish bowl and carve out your own path. Failure may come, often more than once, but if you persevere the rewards on the other side of the glass with be plentiful.

My benefit is to offer people tools to set measurable goals, minimize fear, and achieve their dreams. For information about working together please email me: jennifer@jhccs.com 

Show Me Your PEP!

Over the years I have had the chance to get to know hundreds of C-level Executives and hiring managers, the question on all of their minds, when you go in for an interview, is: “How are YOU going to make my life easier?”

Regardless if they are the executive you will be directly reporting to, or the Human Resources Manager responsible for hiring you, they all have one thing in common, they want to look good. Everyone has someone they are responsible for reporting to, even a CEO has to report to their investors and/or board members. In an interview, it is YOUR JOB, to convey to the person that you are interviewing with how you are going to make their life easier and make them look good to their superiors.

One of the ways you can do this is through giving examples of your PEP. Employers want to hire people with PEP. What is PEP? PEP is Productivity, Efficiency and Performance. In order for you to effectively share your PEP with the executive during your interview, you must be able to clearly communicate what you are going to do for them and how doing that will alleviate some of their stress, while making them look great at the same time.

To find your personal PEP, look at your past work experience, and pinpoint examples of where you have increased the overall Productivity, Efficiency and/or Performance of the organization that you worked for. It is important to be able to explain the problem that you solve and the group of people that you solve it for in relation to the position you are applying for. You should be able to concisely explain what actions you have taken in the past that have had you be effective, and how that effectiveness, in turn, led to a smoother and less stressful working environment. 

It is not about you, it is about them. Do not just tell the executive WHAT you did, but also tell them how that impacted the company’s performance and how you will be able to apply your PEP in your next position. Find out what problem is that the executive needs solved, and then formulate a solution and explain how that plan will be executed effectively. By doing this, you will be able to make a strong case for why YOU should be the next person they hire. 

Soaring towards Success

In interviewing 6 figure earners for my book, I had the chance to speak with a Captain for a major airline carrier who has been in the business for close to 30 years. Although airline pilots are union and their salaries are predetermined, after your first few years, there is definitely an opportunity to earn 6 figures, and to still have the time you have always wanted to travel the world as well. I was surprised to learn that pilots only get paid from the time the brakes are released for take off to the time when the brakes are set upon landing. Pilots are ONLY allowed to fly 1,000 hours a year. What are they spending the rest of those hours on? For this 6 figure earner, vacations and golfing were definitely at the top of his priority list.

Being a captain of a major airliner is not all fun and games though. As enjoyable as it sounds to jet set around the world, you are also 100% responsible for the lives of the people on your plane. This 6 figure earner I interviewed not only is a captain, but also spends his spare time training other pilots. As we all saw from the plane crash into the Hudson Bay earlier this year, having an experienced, well trained pilot to land the plane safely in an emergency can be priceless.

What does it take for a pilot to get hired on with a major airline? Well for one thing, it is not easy. It takes many hours of training, and flying before you can even be considered to work for a major airline. In addition, if you are not someone who comes from military background, you often have to pay tens of thousands of dollars to get all of your ratings. Today, getting your ratings can cost upward of 40-50k. The Captain I interviewed did not have his Bachelor’s Degree when he began his pursuit of becoming a pilot, but said that in today’s day and age, it would be almost impossible to become a pilot without it. He also did not have the 20/20 vision, which was required to become a fighter pilot at the time he began his flying career, but he did not let that stop him. He invested all of his time, money and energy into getting his ratings and learning how to fly.

There were many obstacles in the way of the Captain I interviewed, but with every hurdle he encountered, he became even more resolute to get his pilot’s license and become and amazing pilot. From when he was a little boy of only 6 or 7, he had always loved airplanes. He would often join his father at Miramar Airbase in San Diego, where his father worked, and stare in fascination at the planes for hours on end.  His biggest obstacle, as with many things, was timing. You had to be at the right place, at the right time, with the right qualifications. It took many years of investing both time and money by the time he was finally able to get paid to fly. He learned an important lesson in perseverance during that period of his life.

By the time he was finally ready to pursue landing a job with a major airline, a recession had hit! This meant airlines were laying off, and after all that hard work, he was left with very few options. At the time, he was bartending, and began to consider giving up his lifelong dream of becoming a major airline pilot. He even considered changing his career path to becoming an air traffic controller. Despite all of the hindrances he encountered, he never gave up and chose to ride out the recession.

Finally, after years of chasing his dream, he landed a job as a commuter pilot and was paid relatively well given the times. Then, only a short time after he had accepted his commuter pilot job, an opportunity arose to work for a major airline, but it was for far less money. Regardless, he took a leap of faith and went for it. He knew that, while he may have to take a pay cut in the short term, in the long run his decision would pay off, and he was right!

Now, after over 20 years of working for one of the top airlines in the world, he gets to pick and choose where he wants to fly, when he wants to fly, and gets paid to do something he loves and has been passionate about since he was 6 years old. If you learn anything from this Captain’s story, just remember that sometimes life may seem hard, insurmountable obstacles may seem to get in your way, and recessions may happen, but if you never give up and go after your dreams, you too, can live the life you have always dreamed of!