Our Perceptions of Ourselves and Others and Their Impact

Our Perceptions

PerceptionsOur perceptions of who we are is our reality!

Our perceptions of others is our reality!

That is some pretty heady stuff.

What about others’ perceptions?

How others perceive you is their reality.

Do you know how others perceive you?

If you think you know how others perceive you, where do you derive that from? Did you ask them?

When our perception of ourselves is different from others’ perception of us, we run into problems at work. More than likely, it will cause us stress.

Roger Birkman and Perceptions

I just returned from attending the Birkman Next Generation Conference in Sugarland Texas. The conference was attended by hundreds of Birkman consultants who use the Birkman Assessment to help individuals and companies reach peak performance. This was the first conference not attended by Dr. Roger Birkman, who passed away at the age of 95 earlier this year.

Dr. Roger Birkman, a World War II pilot, was fascinated by the impact that perceptions had on pilot and crew performance. Dr. Birkman went on to study psychology at the war and later developed the Birkman Assessment.

The Birkman Method, as it is formally known, is a personality, social perception, and occupational interest assessment used to identify behavioral strengths, motivational needs, stress behavior, and occupational interests.

I have been using the Birkman Assessment for three years on hundreds of clients. I am still fascinated at what it reveals and how there can be major disconnects between our perceptions of ourselves with others perceive of us.

Examples

I am currently working with a gentleman who you could describe as an introvert. In the Birkman Method, he is referred to as low acceptance. He likes working by himself or with a small group of close colleagues. Many would assume he would want to work from home.

Does he want to work from home? NO! In fact, %^$& NO!

He very much needs to be around people. He does not necessarily want to interact on work projects with others, but he needs to be around people. You would never know this unless you talked with him about his need.

The world of coworking spaces has arisen just for these kinds of people.

I have written before about my client that I refer to as a Structured Anarchist.

Bob appears as a very orderly person. He loves rules and structure, or at least that is how he appears. In the Birkman Method, he is referred to as High Structure.

What Bob really loves is creating rules and structure. By the way, he is phenomenally good at creating systems. He just does not want any rules or structure placed on him when creating these systems.

Others’ perceptions of Bob did not align with Bob’s own perception of himself. He kept being placed in very orderly roles, but what he really wanted was to be placed in total and complete chaos where he could create order.

It was not until we worked through the Birkman Assessment that we identified this disconnect and he could articulate this strength. He no longer waits to be placed into a role, but he actively seeks out opportunities where he gets to create order out of chaos.

If you would like to learn more about Birkman Assessment, watch this excellent video below!

I came back from the Birkman conference charged up and wanted to share this video with you.

Do you see the impact that perceptions have on the workplace?

Feel free to reach out to me through my contact form if you want to discuss the Birkman Assessment any further.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Childhood Dream of Driving Trains Comes True – Case Study

Childhood Dream of Driving Trains

Childhood Dream

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We all remember growing up with our childhood dreams. Maybe it was to be a policeman or fireman or cowboy. For most of us, we let each childhood dream fade away. We went about our lives growing up, getting an education, getting married, having kids, and pursuing a career that put food on the table and paid the mortgage.

Sound familiar?

Let me tell you the story of Mike Martin.

Mike was born in the mid 1950s and grew up in New York State. He will tell you he liked anything with wings, wheels, or keels. He was fascinated by anything that moved.

After graduating from high school, he attended SUNY Farmington where he received an Associates Degree in Aerospace Technology. He then moved to Texas and started rebuilding airplane engines. When that company went bankrupt, he ended up working in machine shops. That was okay, but that was not going to get him ahead in his career.

At the time, people told him that he was a really good with people and should go into sales. Mike said okay!

Sound familiar? He did not follow his passion. He did what many of us do in that position—he did what he was told to do.

He spent the next 20 years as an outside sales guy…driving a truck and selling various maintenance supplies like cables and wiring. He liked being out and about. As years passed, margins on his commissions got leaner and leaner. It became very hard to make money.

Sound familiar? Many of us have seen our chosen profession whither in the new economy.

Now in his early fifties, he returned to college to get a Bachelors Degree in Pilot Science. Over the years, he had achieved his pilot’s certification and loved to fly planes. Remember that, as a kid, he loved anything that had wings, wheels or keels.

After graduating, he worked at an executive airport for awhile but found the work environment less than inviting. So what did he do? He returned to sales!

Sound familiar? When things do not initially work out, many of us revert back to what we know.

He looked at becoming a school teacher. That was a tough transition.

That is when Mike found Career Pivot.

Birkman Assessment

He took the Birkman Assessment and it told him the following:

  • His core interest is music. As most of you know, it is tough to make a buck in the music industry.
  • He was well-suited to piloting, driving, operating, or navigating transport vehicles or material moving machinery (e.g., aircraft, automobiles, water vessels, construction cranes, locomotives, tractors)

Sound familiar? It was his childhood dream!

We talked about what motivated him. We talked about what made him happy.

He had to be playing music and he got to do that through his church. He now realized how important it was to him. Now he just needed to get to driving something, being outdoors, and helping people.

Following His Dream

Mike looked at the Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) but they had no positions.

He then looked at Houston Metro Rail and saw that they were expanding. He applied to be a Light Rail Vehicle Operator.

They replied back and asked him to take an assessment. He passed. He did not think they would want him.

They asked him to come in for an interview. He studied up for the interview by reading an article on how a gentleman had become a driver for the London Underground. He prepared cards with all of the questions he thought they would ask him and studied those cards right before the interview.

It was a panel interview where they asked him to open and close a special drivers seat. The secret was there was a special pin that had to be removed to get the seat to close. He did it flawlessly. In fact it was fun. They were watching to see if he would get frustrated.

After the interview, they took him out into the rail yard to see if he could physically do the job; throwing some switches, climbing in and out of the train, and walking the yard.

This is when Mike started to get excited. This was his childhood dream. He was going to get to drive a train.

Several weeks later, he was told to report for a 10-week training program. Mike moved his RV to Houston and started the class. He was being careful. He did not want to rent a place if he did not make it through the training.

He made it with flying colors!

Mike drove trains for a few months, but was moved to the team testing the new red line. He gets to spot problems and propose solutions.

The money is decent. With overtime, he does okay. More importantly, he loves what he is doing! His family is still in Austin and he goes home on the weekends.

He wants to move up to be a supervisor and a trainer. He sees himself working there for as long as he wants.

This was all triggered by a simple assessment pointing him back to his childhood dream.

His childhood dream came true in his 50s.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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Are You Defined by Your Job?

Defined by Your Job?

definedFor many of us, our own self image is defined by our jobs. When someone loses their job, they may feel they no longer have value or purpose.

This topic was brought about by Dustin McKissen, who wrote a post called If You Lose Your Job, Remember This. Dustin wrote about his father after losing his job:

My dad is also good at more than just building things—he is a good guy, with a good heart, and people love him. I love him. He is a great Grandpa.

But when he lost his job, he lost part of himself.

When you feel like you’ve lost a part of yourself, the search to find that missing piece can take you to some very dark places. It did for my dad, and much of the last 15 years have been hard on him, and the people that care about him.

My Own Father

My father was an economist for the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). In 1978, my father was handed a retirement package and was asked to leave. He was in his late 50s and was not ready to retire. Financially, my father and mother were fine. The retirement package kept my mother living well into her 80s.

However, the retirement package killed my father. It took another 15 years, but it killed him.  His entire self image was defined by his job. Dad had twice pursued a PhD in economics, but each time a child came along, he put it aside. When he pursued University teaching positions, he was always turned down. He did not have the paper credentials.

He eventually landed a teaching position at York College, but by that time, he was pretty beat up. His mental health declined and that is what eventually killed him. He was defined by his job.

IBM Meltdown

During the holiday season of 1992, I ruptured the L4/L5 disc in my back. I decided to take three months of disability and let my back heal rather than be operated on. I do not like doctors with sharp implements.

While I was gone, IBM nearly went bankrupt. IBM discontinued the famous full employment pledge. Thousands of employees were given generous retirement packages to leave. Just like my father, who would pass away a few months later, this was a death sentence for many. They viewed themselves as IBMers. It was who they were.

When I returned to work in early April of 1993, I was clear. I had had a moment of clarity while I was out on disability. I saw what was important to me and it was not my job. I was not defined by my job.

My definition of myself was further reenforced by what I saw when I returned to IBM.

How We Forget!

Fast forward a few years later. I left IBM on my terms in January of 2000. I went to work for a successful high-tech startup, Agere, which was acquired by Lucent. Then, in July of 2002 I had another moment of clarity: I had a near fatal bicycle accident.  I had a head on collision with a Toyota Corolla, where our combined speeds exceeded 50 miles per hour. By the way, I lived!

The following year, I pursued getting my Texas High School Math teaching certificate. I taught high school math at an inner city school for almost two years. I was very successful. It tore me up emotionally and physically.

When I left teaching, I was lost. I wrote a post on this called Dealing with that Directionless Feeling, which is found daily on Google search.

Ten years earlier, I became determined not to be defined by my job, but I was struggling…just like my father! The difference now was I wanted to be defined by my life purpose and not my job.

Job Club

I have served on the board of directors of Launch Pad Job Club since 2006. I have seen many who have been laid off who struggle with the lose of self image. Whether the job loss was involuntary like my father and fellow IBMers or voluntary like my departure from teaching. It still stinks!

I have to go back to the time when I returned to IBM and remind myself it is my choice on how I define myself.

I am not defined by my job! I desire to be defined by my life’s purpose!

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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Career Reinvention – A Model for Change

Career Reinvention

Career Reinvention

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I thought of the term Career Reinvention while listening to a Marshall Goldsmith coaching webinar.  He talked about facilitating organizational change. The principles he discussed are directly transferable to career reinvention.

He used the model to the right to guide organizations through organizational change.

We can apply this same model for career reinvention.

Notice that, in one dimension, we have the positive and negative symbols. Another way to look at this is that one direction is either pushing you toward your goals or taking you away from your goals.

In the other dimension, we have what we want to change and what we want to keep.

Creating

Creating is positive change. What do you want to add to your career? How do you want to positively change your career?

Creating the career you want…what stops you?

  • Fear?
  • Stereotypes? Perhaps you were you told that you were a certain type of person. Maybe the responsible one, the rebel, the quiet one, the pretty one, etc. How does that affect you today?
  • Financial requirements? Do you feel you have to make a certain amount of money?

Can you visualize what you want to become? Can you work backwards to find the steps you need to take?

(More: Career Reflection – A Twice a Year Duty)

Preserving

Preserving is keeping positive things in our career. What current aspects, tasks, or rewards do you want to keep?

You do not need to change everything! What do you want to carry forward or preserve from your current career?

What talents do you have that you want to build skills upon?

There are many characteristics in our careers that have been successful. Even if they have become obsolete, it is important not to discount them.

Marshal spoke about a philosophy or model for change created by  Frances Hesselbein, former CEO of the Girl Scouts of America. It is called tradition with a future. You never want to put down the past. You cannot move to the future by replicating the past but, on the other hand, we can honor where we have been.

(More: Talents versus Skills: Do You Know the Difference)

Eliminating

What are those negative things in your career that you want eliminate?  This is a two step process:

  • Knowing what to eliminate
  • Knowing when to eliminate them

If you do not eliminate things, you cannot create. There is not enough time.

You may eliminate talking when you are angry, or making destructive comments about others. Another idea is eliminating toxic friends. Do you have toxic friends from your current career who are telling you how hard it will be to change?

Accepting

This letting go of the past. Who do you need to forgive?

What are those negative things in your career that you do not like but are willing to accept? Maybe it is the commute or the bad coffee at work. How about your age? You cannot change how old you are. You cannot go back to being 25.

This is all about making a positive difference and not about proving how smart or right we are.

This is all about letting the things go that you do not like but at this time, are going to move on and not deal with it.

(More: The Key to a Successful Career Shift: Asking for Help)

Career Reinvention

So what is positive in your career? What is negative?

What do you want to keep? What do you want to eliminate?

Let me know what you think of this model. Can it work for you? Are you ready for Career Reinvention?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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You can also download my latest white paperStrategic Networking – A Career Pivot White Paper

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

The Best of Career Pivot for 2013

Best of Career Pivot

Best of Career PivotI want to thank everyone who has read this blog for all of your support.

Most Viewed in 2013

I wanted to highlight the most viewed blog posts for 2013 that were written in 2013:

There is an obvious trend! I blogged about Long Term Unemployment and Baby Boomers last March as I prepared for a presentation on the topic. Traffic to the website doubled that month.

The other topics were related to resources, social media and talents and skills.

Most Viewed from Past Years

These are blog posts that were written in 2011 or 2012 that get found everyday by people searching:

So you can see there is a lot angst out in the work world on what to do next?

Does that surprise you?

It surprised me at first but not anymore.

As we move to 2014 and beyond I want to wish everyone a joyous and prosperous 2014!

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Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Happy Holidays from Career Pivot

Happy Holidays

Happy HolidaysI want to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.

I want to congratulate everyone who found their dream job in 2013.

I want to remind those who have been among the long term unemployed that 2014 will be the year they find their next gig.

This is the time of year to count your blessings and give thanks for what you do have.

This is also a great time to plan for 2014 and develop your 2014 career development plan.

Finally, I want to thank everyone who read this blog, made a comment or shared it socially.

A lot was accomplished in 2013:

All of this could not been accomplished without your support!

THANK YOU!

I wish everyone a happy holiday season and a prosperous new year!

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

The Key to a Successful Career Shift: Asking for Help

Asking for HelpAsking for Help

My colleague was in her 20s. I was old enough to be her father. But I had switched careers in midlife to be a math teacher in an inner city school, where I could tell that she knew what she was doing. I, on the other hand, was ready to jump out the window.

(More: This post first appeared on PBS NextAvenue.org in February of 2013)

So I asked her for help. Begged might be a better word. If she would give me her lesson plans, I figured, I would follow her every move, like a little puppy dog — a 6-foot-4-inch puppy with hair loss and wrinkles — until I got the hang of teaching. Voila!

Advice From a Career-Design Coach

I’ve made seven career changes, currently work as a career-design coach for other boomers and just wrote Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers. My experience and research has shown me that asking for help is the biggest hurdle people in midlife face when shifting careers. But it’s also the essential first step.

We really struggle, however, before asking others for assistance. It’s hard to swallow your pride, forgo speeches to new, young co-workers that begin “I was doing such and such before you were born” and instead say, “I need help.”

Men Are Often the Most Reluctant

Asking for help changing careers is especially tough for men. (Kind of like asking for directions.) I know that’s a blanket generalization, but research backs me up.

Women tend to work cooperatively; men tend to compete for the alpha position. And requesting guidance is a definite concession of the alpha spot.

5 Strategies to Ask for Help Shifting Careers
But if you’re considering a career shift — whether you’re a man or a woman — and want to increase your chances of success, I suggest you adopt these five strategies to ask for help:

1. Craft a sharp elevator pitch. To get answers to your questions about entering a field, you need to be able to clearly state the type of work you want to do. A 30-second elevator pitch is the best way to get your message across. (Next Avenue’s work and volunteering blogger, Nancy Collamer, has tips on how to create one in her post, “The Perfect Elevator Pitch to Land a Job.”)

Once you’ve perfected your elevator pitch, share it not just with others who already have a job like the one you want, but with everyone you meet. You never know who’ll have the keys to unlock the door. Gratefully accept any advice or offers of introductions.

2. Ask for AIR. When you seek out someone in your prospective next career, offer to buy him or her a cup of coffee or lunch. But don’t request an informational interview; that says you want a job and can scare people off. Instead, ask for AIR: advice, insights and recommendations.

Advice Tips on what it takes to break in and succeed.

(More : Asking for AIR – Advice, Insights, and Recommendations)

Insights The kinds of things someone usually learns after years in the field: the skinny about its culture, politics, pitfalls and key players. You want to learn who is on top and why. Then you’ll have a better sense of how to make your own way.

Recommendations Find out who you should talk to next and ask, if appropriate, for an introduction. Request names of good books to read and classes to take, as well as industry groups that can help you start networking effectively.

3. Cultivate your tribe. A tribe is the group of your friends and relatives who are pulling for you. They’re the ones who’ll hold your hand through the career shift and support you when you’re discouraged.

(More : Cultivating Your Tribe for Career Success)

Asking for help isn’t just about getting questions answered; sometimes, it’s about assisting you emotionally when things aren’t going well. Your tribe will be there for you when you make mistakes — and when you triumph.

Make a habit of connecting with members of your tribe individually, meeting for coffee or a walk. Share the latest steps of your journey. They’ll help you stay sane and likely draw inspiration from your story.

4. Admit your weaknesses to people who could assist you. One of the hardest parts about asking for help when changing careers is telling others what you don’t know.

Say you’ve been a curmudgeon about social media, proudly (if privately) never joining Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Since social media can introduce you to people in your new field and help you stay up on its latest news, now’s the time to confess your ignorance to someone you know who’s an ace at social media and ask for an informal 101 course.

5. Say thank you. Every time someone is useful in your career transition, show your appreciation and spread the word. If his introduction led to a job interview, tell him and express your gratitude. People like knowing they have helped.

The Bottom Line
I’m firmly convinced that nobody makes a successful career change without the help of others.

You may start off feeling like a panhandler. But you’ll quickly see that, in addition to a free cup of coffee, your questions give people the chance to show off as experts. And that makes everyone feel good.

Just be sure to be as willing to give as good as you get. While you’re asking for help, someone might ask you to share insights. Do so with gusto. Karma works!

This post later appeared on Forbes.com in February of 2013!

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Are Baby Boomers Ignored by the Career Industry?

Baby Boomers Ignored

Baby Boomers ignored?

Why am I asking whether Baby boomers feel ignored?

Last week, I dissected the Forbes Top 100 Career Websites list. Career services are a booming business and particularly servicing the millennial generation.

There were close to thirty websites that provided general career services. There were half that many that specifically target the millennial generation.

Career Pivot was the only focused on career issues for baby boomers who either cannot or do not want to retire.

Well… that is not quite true, My Lifestyle Career and Encore focus on baby boomers but are a bit more focused.

Baby Boomers are not used to being ignored!

Why is this career industry ignoring baby boomers?

Let’s time travel back to 1999. Did any of you have any question about your ability to retire back in 1999?

My guess is NO!

The AARP website was all about retiring to the good life.

Other than Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com and other smaller job boards, the online career industry did not exist.

Let’s fast forward to 2007. We had survived the dot com bust and the stock market was roaring. The online career industry had been launched with websites like Indeed, SimplyHired and of course, LinkedIn. The first millennials were just starting to graduate from college and starting their careers.

Then came 2008 and the start of the great recession. It was first time a lot of baby boomers realized that retirement would look very different than they planned.

AARP still had virtually nothing on their website related to careers.

We are now in 2013 and AARP has just launched their Life Re-Imagined website. Hmmm… are they finally realizing that 80% of baby boomers will not retire as planned?

Baby Boomers have always redefined just about everything about their lives.  We are just late coming to this party. It appears that career services are waking up to the special needs of baby boomers but more on that next week!

What are your plans?

Do you plan to retire? I do not plan to retire but to work less at something I love!

Do you feel ignored? Do you feel baby boomers have been ignored?

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career

Forbes Top 100 WebsitesCareer Pivot made the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career

We made the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your Career list with a website that is only 19 months old. I say “we” because I could not have done this without your support. I first want to say

Thank You!

Let’s take a look at who is on the list!

In this post, I want to point out websites that might be very useful in managing your career. My next post, I will be looking at what is not there.

The list is loaded with big names:

  1. CareerBuilder
  2. About.com/Careers 
  3. Bureau of Labor Statistics
  4. Dice.com
  5. Glassdoor
  6. Idealist.org
  7. Indeed
  8. LinkedIn
  9. Monster.com
  10. Recruiter.com
  11. Salary.com
  12. Simply Hired
  13. TheLadders
  14. Twitter
  15. USAJobs

All of these websites are well established and funded. These are either corporate, government, or non-profit.

What sites on the Forbes Top 100 Websites should you consider following:

My Lifestyle Career
Thinking about working on a part-time basis during your retirement? Career coach Nancy Collamer, author of Second-Act Careers: 50+ Ways to Profit from Your Passions During Semi-Retirement offers advice on career reinvention, lifestyle-friendly income ideas and the best resources for boomers eager to leave the 9 to 5 workplace behind.

Note – Nancy is a regular contributor to PBS NextAvenue. I have reviewed her book on Amazon. You can read my review here.

Jibberjobber
Jibberjobber was originally designed to help people organize and track their job search—but has since evolved into a “personal relationship manager” that allows you to manage your job search and optimize your network relationships for the duration of your career. The site was designed by Jason Alba during his first real job search in early 2006. Membership to the website is free, but users can pay to upgrade their account to Silver ($60/year) or Premium ($99/year) status—which offers additional features.

Note – I personally know the Jibberjobber founder, Jason Alba, and he is a true visionary in this arena. I use Jibberjobber in my business and recommend it’s use to my clients. Jason recently published his latest book 51 Alternatives to a Real Job. I have not read this book as yet but plan to write a review before the end of the year.

Pivot Planet
Pivot Planet, a resource for finding real-life career and start-up business advice shared by experienced advisers who can answer your questions and offer insights into their profession anywhere, anytime (for $50+ an hour), is the brainchild of Brian Kurth, founder of the in-person career mentorship company VocationVacations. Pivot Planet connects people around the world looking to “pivot” from an existing career to a new one–or to enhance their current job skills with expert advisers working in hundreds of fields. The advisers provide one-on-one video and phone sessions—and some even offer the option of in-person mentorship.

Note – Brian relocated to Austin Texas in the last year and I have gotten to know this fine gentleman. He has a true passion in helping people. In fact, PivotPlanet was in the NY Times last week — Taste-Testing a Second Career, With a Mentor. Great read

Personal Branding Blog
Founded in 2007 by Dan Schawbel, managing partner at Millennial Branding, a Boston-based company that does research and consulting on Generation Y, Personal Branding Blog offers information about how to create your personal brand. The blog includes video podcasts, interviews with branding specialists, research reports, articles and games. Schawbel is also a Forbes.com contributor and the author of Me 2.0, Revised and Updated Edition: 4 Steps to Building Your Future and Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success

Note – I write a weekly blog post for this website that appears every Sunday. The same article appears the following Wednesday on this blog. Personal Branding is key to every baby boomers future. It is important that you get a thorough grasp of this topic.

Next week, I will make some observations of what is not on the Forbes Top 100 Websites for your career list.

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my whitepaperDon’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest  curated content relating to baby boomers.

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

Baby Boomers – Are you making adolescent decisions?

Adolescent DecisionsAdolescent Decisions?

Are you put in the position to make adolescent decisions?

Many baby boomers are making the same decisions that they had to make when they were adolescents.

Think about it. When you were young:

  • You had no money
  • You had no stuff
  • You knew you needed to work for the next 30 or 40 years
  • You needed to make a career decision

Now a lot of baby boomers are in a similar position:

  • You have no money or at least not enough to retire on
  • You probably have a lot of stuff that costs you money to keep
  • You know you need to work for the next 10 or 20 years
  • You need to make a career decision and possibly multiple career decisions over the coming years

See the similarity?

Can you make better adolescent decisions now?

Most of us when we left home and made our first career decisions, made those decisions in a vacuum. We did not know what we did not know!

We certainly know more today and can make better decisions.

Why are we having to make these decisions?

Whole industries and job categories have gone away!

Many are being forced to make these decisions kicking and screaming.

Let me tell you about John.

I met John shortly after I started my business. John had been a successful photo journalist for a major newspaper. John saw that photo journalism was going away along with the newspaper business going into decline.

During the last decade, he retrained and became a home inspector. He had a business inspecting homes when they were to be sold. Just as he was making a go of it, the great recession hit. We know what the great recession did to the real estate market.

John once again made a move into the energy efficiency market place where he partnered with contractors to help home owners determine how they could save money by making their home more energy efficient. John enjoyed the green energy part of the job but he was a salesman which he did not enjoy. However, he learned a number of sale techniques that he felt comfortable with.

John could not make a go of it financially and took a job working in a boutique home improvement store. He is making half of what he made as a photojournalist. However, he is making a go of it!

He is now looking at moving back into the new home business as that segment of the market improves. If all goes well he should return to his previous earning potential.

All of the shifts has been stressful on his marriage as his wife became the primary provider. To put it bluntly this whole transition has not been easy on him or his family!

I had coffee with John last week and for the first time since I have known him I saw optimism in him. He has learned something new at each step of the way. Kind of like when we were adolescents making adolescent decisions.

The difference is we have obligations that we did not have when we were young. We have spouses and children. It would have been easy for John to throw in the towel and give up. It probably would have wrecked his marriage. He did not give up and is willing to make yet another transition. Kind of like when we were adolescents making adolescent decisions.

Are you making adolescent decisions?

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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Marc Miller Career Design Specialist