career help

You Don't Have to Figure Out Your Career By Yourself


Before I work with any client I always ask them one question:

“What is the #1 thing holding you back from career success?”

To this question I get dozens of answers. Dozens and dozens. Like way too many dozens of eggs left over from Easter dozens. But all of those answers are rewordings of one single problem. Always.

“A clear focus on what I want to do/should be doing.”

I hear you. So loud. So clear. Trust me when I tell you I know the frustration. The feeling that somehow everyone else has been let in on some secret that you’re not cool enough to know.

The secret though? That’s bullshit. Most people feel the same way you do!

Why? What the hell man?! It’s because we’re not taught how to manage our careers. We’re taught what to know to get certain jobs and sometimes how to get jobs, but rarely, if ever, how to manage our careers once we’re in them. We are left to our own devices and frazzled HR directors who have no time to have a career growth chat because they have to run payroll, get the new benefits system up and running and talk to Joe about not wearing his daisy dukes even on casual Fridays.

So what then? What are you supposed to do?

For starters, you absolutely don’t have to figure out your career all by yourself. Below is a roundup of some resources you might find helpful:

You could start with career blogs. There are so many talented people out there writing and offering help, to you, for free. 

Besides mine (the awesomeness you're in right now) you could try: Laura Simms an amazing coach with a stellar blog or The Career Sherpa.

You can also hit up some super comprehensive, totally interactive websites like: The Muse or Career Contessa.

If you're a more tactile cat and you prefer a good book try picking up a copy of Born for This by Chris Guillebeau or A Job to Love from the School of life.

Want someone to do the heavy lifting for you? Leverage recruiters and even temp agencies! Their job is to analyze your skills and place you in a job you’d thrive in. You could try some national agencies like Premier Staffing or Robert Half.

You could try taking a few tests. I personally am not a fan of these and I don’t use them in my practice but many people really like them and find them useful. There is one called Strengthsfinder that many companies rely on. Once you know what your strengths are you can make sure you are focusing on those in whatever role you’re in because working to your strengths = happiness.

Oprah apparently has an awesome (and free) career assessment test too!

And of course there are career coaches. Now I know private coaching isn’t an option for everyone - but it truly IS the most comprehensive option. That said, many coaches offer lower cost group programs or self-paced online courses. There are so many amazing coaches out there - you just need to do a little research to find the best one for you.

See what I’m getting at? Don’t feel like you’re left to your own devices. Try one, two or a few - whatever feels good to you. But don’t leave your career to chance. Figure out what you love to do, want to do and make a plan.

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Visualize Work Not Sucking

Visualize Work Not Sucking

Career fulfillment is a 100% personal concept. Fulfillment doesn’t mean you need to wake up every day with hearts and rainbows in your eyes about your job, but it does need to mean that you get true satisfaction from it - beyond a paycheck. What is fulfilling for one person could be a nightmare for another so you will need to define what “fulfillment” means -  for you.

10 Ways to De-Stress Your Job


Let’s say you love your job. Dang you’re lucky! Let’s say you like your job. Well done. Ok, let’s say you hate your job and can’t wait to clock out. Looks like you need a new job, but I digress.  What so all 3 of these have in common? Stress. Yup. Even if you love your gig, there will be times when you’re stressed out and wondering if you made the right decision.

No matter how you feel about your job, here are 10 ways to ease your stress levels and make your work a better place to be. 


1. Do Meaningful Work

I don’t mean you have to save all the trees, manatees or homeless budgies (although I’m pro all those things) - you just need to do work that is meaningful to you. The more connected you feel to your work, the more it aligns with your values the more you will be energized, and not stressed by it. Having a sense of meaning makes employees happier and happier employees are just less stressed. 

If you’re struggling to find meaning in your day-to-day work, try taking some time to ask yourself “Other than to pay the rent, why am I working so hard?,” “What is this work’s purpose?”  There should be at least a minimum of meaning there. If you absolutely cannot come up with a single bit of meaning - it might be time for some career change.

2. Follow Your Path

I’m not talking ‘Follow Your Bliss’ style here, I’m talking career path. If you are reaching your career goals by following the path you designed, you will feel fulfilled, make better decisions and be less stressed. 

3. Find a Buddy

Work wife, desk husband, cubie bestie. Whatever you call it. Find one.  According to the Harvard Business Review, work friends make us more productive and generally more happy and less stressed. Even if it’s a colleague that you have a good rapport with and only occasionally have lunch with, personal connections on the job are good for your morale. 

4. Make it Personal

Your space that is. You want to feel comfortable, at ease and just short of ‘at home.’ Plants, personal pics, a cozy wrap thrown over the back of your chair, a customized screensaver, or a hand drawn pic from your weird little niece… decorate your space and make it feel like you.   

5. Don’t Be a Dick

This should go without saying, but if you’re nice to people, they’ll be nice to you and help you when you need it. Seriously, say ‘Please’ and 'Thank You' and mean it.  Be grateful when others help you out, smile genuinely, say ‘hi’ to the temp receptionist and not only will you actually be happier and less stressed out, but you’ll be contributing to a kinder workplace, which makes everyone less stressed out… it’s a very non-vicious cycle. 

6. Take a Break

From a particular task. From your desk. From the account guy who drives you bonkers. A cleared out head allows you to view problems with fresh grey matter. This goes for a 5 minute walk to the supply cabinet all the way to a full 2 week vacation. The ability to take a step back, breathe, refresh and revived - relieves stress, allows you to be more productive and creative. 

7. Diet

AKA: Don’t Eat Junk, Drink Water & Get Off Your Butt. For some reason, for a lot of people see ‘work’ and ‘life’ as having different rules. You spend an inordinate amount of your ‘life’ at ‘work’ so it stands to reason that if you wouldn’t pound a handful of jellybeans, a chocolate donut and a double espresso for breakfast at home, than you shouldn’t at the office - even if it is free in the breakroom. 

The better you eat, the more hydrated you are and the more you move - the better you’ll feel. The better you feel,  the better mood you’ll be in and the less things will amp you up and stress you out. 

8. Get Organized, Systematized and Automated

You know what’s stressful? Digging through pages of emails for that one little thing your boss wants to discuss right now.  Organizing your files, systems, documents and processes will reduce unwanted stress by like 827% percent. If there is an email you need to send weekly and you forget till last minute and stress out about it? Find a way to prep, calendar and automate that puppy. Organize your digital files in a way that makes sense and make sure to keep on top of it. Will it take a little time up front, oh yeah, will it keep you from ugly crying in the 3rd bathroom stall, yes indeed.  

9. Breathe and Respond…. Later

So back to that account guy who pushes every one of your buttons. He’s always going to be that guy. Always.  If you stress out and focus on making him not that guy, you’re in for lots and lots and lots of pointless stress. 

Next time he sends out an email that is condescending and uncalled for - do not respond. Immediately anyway. Step away from the moment and, personality differences aside, formulate a non-emotionally charged response that focuses only on the issue at hand. Don’t let him bait you. Just cuz he’s an ass doesn’t mean you need to get on his level. 

10. Keep a List Of Wins & Reward Yourself

At the end of each day, week or month take a few moments and write down your wins. They can be tiny or huge. Having a record to go back through will remind you of just how much you’ve accomplished and will give you ammo for your next raise discussion. Keeping a record of successes is an emotional reward in itself, but feel free to physically reward yourself for a job well done. A piece of chocolate for that successful sales call, a spa day for that killer presentation being completed or tickets to your favorite metal band? Whatever will make you feel relaxed and accomplished - go for it. 


Incorporate these into your daily worklife and soon enough you’ll be a stress free coolio cucumber. And if you need more than 10, what you really need is a new job. Have a plan for that yet?


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