Showing posts from August, 2009

Knowing Who You Are

Ever wonder how others see you? Now someone at MIT has designed an application called Personas that will tell you how the internet sees you.

One of the most profound things that you can discover in life is to figure out who you are.

The funny thing is, Who You Are can change.

I have some clients who don't want to go back to what they had been doing. Who are ready to do something else. As one put it:

~ "I don't want to be that guy anymore."

This is not a trivial decision. It bears directly on one's identity. And sense of purpose and fulfillment.

Nor is this an easy decision. Nor is it without risk. Or cost.

And it brings a puzzle: if I am choosing to not go back to Who I Was, then Who Will I Be next?

Some people know what they want to do. My father was a cop. When he retired from the police department, we encouraged him to do something new, to keep busy. We suggested that he consult or teach. We were concerned that he wouldn't have enough to do. That he'd b…

Add Some Spice

Has your job search gone flat? Add some spice:

SUPPORT - Reach out and lend your support to others. Ask, "How can I help?" at least once a day.

POSITIVE THINKING - Focus on your strengths. Work on your goals. Develop your value proposition.

IMAGINATION - Utilize your creative capacity to envision yourself in different roles, different organizations, doing different things.

COMMUNITY - Get out of the house and meet up with others. Join a group. Start a group in your area.

ENGAGEMENT - Undertake a project and get your mind and heart in gear.

One more thought: watch the series of short vids by Gerry Crispin on youtube. I like his idea of NEON.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 15, 2009

Zen and the Art of Career Change

I came across a blog entry by Melissa Dutmers called Zen and the Art of Change Management where she writes:

~ "Zen emphasizes (that) wisdom and awareness are realized through meditation and mindfulness of daily experiences. Zen practitioners believe this provides insights which ultimately lead to enlightenment. For those of you that have tried to meditate and quiet your mind, you know that it takes practice and you realize your mind is difficult to calm."

Indeed. And when you have been downsized and are conducting a job search, it is supremely difficult to calm the mind.

So what is zen? Writer Stephen Warrilow says:

~ "Zen simply means present moment awareness - to be fully present NOW. To be fully present now, is to be fully conscious."

And it is something worth practicing. Dutmers offers some ideas for Change Managers that have applicability for job hunters:

~ Practice mindfulness.

~ Practice slowing down.

~ Practice reflection.

And Warrilow offers this insight…


The other day, in a brainstorming session with some fellow career coaches, we were talking about reinvention: the choice that some are making, in today's difficult economy, to make a change. To re-imagine, re-think and re-package themselves for a career change.

Then I came across Meg Giuseppi's blog on reinvention for Baby Boomers where she shares some points from career expert Brian Kurth, including:

~ Identify your passion. What have you always dreamed of doing?

~ Take a "vocation vacation", as Kurth calls it. Take some time to explore an interesting field. His Vocation Vacation "program connects career transitioners with mentors working in the exact job they want, so they can test drive the job of their dreams."

~ Find a mentor. Select someone who can give you a guided tour of a field that you are intrigued by.

How about an example. Say you always dreamed of owning your own bed & breakfast at the Jersey shore because you have long had a passion for run…

Working On It

HR Blogger Mike VanDerVort had an entry over the weekend about summing yourself up in three words.

The idea comes from UK management consultant Colin Beveridge who suggests that coming up with your three keywords "can be a powerful exercise in critical self-evaluation."

Mike says: "Before heading into a job interview, you should take the necessary time and come up with a short three word description of what exactly it is that you do in your work life."

Mike offers a few from folks he knows:

- Learn from conflict
- Help people think
- Make information useful

A friend of mine asked me what my three words would be. My initial answer:

- Working on it

But thinking about it some more, maybe the question should be: What three words best capture your strengths?

In that formulation, my answer would be:

- Creating. Facilitating. Sensemaking.

What would your three word summary be?

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 10, 2009


A dear friend has died. Today is her wake. Tomorrow, her funeral.

She lived with cancer for many years. Though battling the disease dominated her life, it did not define her life.

She defined her life in a way that many of us do: Family. Friends. Faith. And finding ways to touch and improve the lives of others.

She understood that the point of life is living. And that we have a choice about how we live our lives.

At Mass this morning, we heard the scripture story, from the first book of Kings, of Elijah and the angel. Dejected, Elijah asks God to take his life, but the angel arrives with a message, saying to the despondent Elijah:

~ “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!”

My friend carried the cross of cancer for many years, never complaining, always getting up and going on with her life's journey.

She has passed on now to whatever comes next. She will be missed. And she will be remembered.

Posted by Terrence Seamon, August 9, 2009


Last week, I was part of a contingent of about 125 career coaches, volunteering to help our soldiers at the “Ultimate Warrior Career Workshops and Job Fair” held at the Fort Dix base. It was a great event.

I met with several soldiers, to review their resumes, and guide them in preparation for their transition from the military life back to the civilian world.

As my fellow coach Lisa Chenofsky Singer wrote at her blog:

~ "Assimilation back into civilian life is a tough transition for many. When a soldier returns from deployment, it’s typically the first six months that are the most vulnerable period. With the tight economy and high unemployment, recently discharged veterans are likely to face a tough time in this job market."

In talking about this with some of the other coaches who also were at the Ft. Dix event, I'm realizing (again) that today's job hunters and career changers need to become transitionists:

~ People who are "adept at transitions and more precisel…

What's Your Branded Value Proposition?

Listening closely in a conversation with a job hunter, I started to get a clear picture of what he thought he was good at and where his greatest passion was located.

He spoke of his ability to manage people, to drive change, and to improve the performance of organizations.

So I interrupted and said to him, "What you just said is your value proposition."

I recapped for him what I had heard him say. And then I recommended that he write it down and go to work on sharpening it.

In today's challenging job market, you must differentiate yourself. A way to do that is to develop your BVP, your personally branded value proposition, a pithy statement that says:

~ Who You Are
~ What You Do Extremely Well
~ And How You Bring Value to Organizations

In a blog entry from earlier this year, Silicon Valley talent marketer John Hyde said:

"So if you’re thinking about your personal brand in the context of landing that next great job, you may want to start by examining the value you provide to…

Your Career GUIDE

The other day, I had the pleasure of virtually meeting Hannah Morgan, the Career Sherpa, whose great motto is: "Expert in navigating extreme career terrain."

According to wikipedia, the term Sherpa refers to people who are employed as guides for mountaineering expeditions in the Himalayas. "They are highly regarded as elite mountaineers and experts in their local terrain."

Sherpa. I love that metaphor for those who assist job hunters! In the work I do with people in career transition, guiding them through difficult and often challenging terrain, I am a sherpa too.

As a guide, the process I follow has five elements:

Galvanize: I am a proponent of a fast start. Because many of those I work with have financial and family pressures to reckon with, I emphasize a Get Moving strategy that starts with Setting An Objective, Identifying Target Companies, and Working Your Contacts.

Understand: At the same time as we galvanize, we also have to delve into, and deeply understan…

"My Confidence Is Shot"

A job hunter contacted me the other day and said, "Terry, My confidence is shot. Any ideas?"

I always have ideas.

The best way to boost confidence is to do something and do it well.

The trouble with that, however, is that job hunters are in a tough quandary: they are not doing whatever it is that they do best. Job hunting, for most of us, is an unnatural thing: unexpected and uncomfortable.

Even those who are conducting their second or third job search in their career --and who know the drill pretty well-- will sometimes feel their confidence crumble to pieces.

So here are a few ideas that may help you to give yourself the "shot in the arm" that you need to regain your confidence, boost your spirit, and face the job search again.

Support: Seek out the support of others. Family. Friends. Former associates from your last company. A job search support group that you belong to. Your church community.

Positives: Give yourself some positive strokes. Remind yourself of the …