Career Matters Vol 2

Anne Gottlieb Angerman, MS

For many people, fall is a time of transition: kids going back to school, shorter days, end of daylight savings time, falling leaves. No matter how satisfied we are, the seasons help us remember that we need to let go of some things and move on to others. Because fall is a time of transition and change, it can be a good time to reevaluate your career even though it is a slow economy.

Here are some tips to help you stay focused in a tough economy, especially if you are thinking about a new job or a career change:

#1 Stay in control
No matter how difficult things are in your life, there are always areas that you can control. What are the critical things you need to do to continue moving forward in your life and career? What can you control? Whether it is cleaning up the house, sending resumes out, or exercising, there are always things you can do.

What are crucial things you need in your life for peace, joy and stress reduction? Is it walking your dog, eating chocolate, doing yoga, a family dinner? What are things you can do every day that will make a difference? Accomplishing small things each day can make a change. Doing for others is also helpful. Keep in mind you are living in a country where you have freedom and choices. You live better than probably 90% of the world.

#2 “With a little help from my friends”
Research shows over and over again that stress is greatly reduced by having support from friends and family. Networking, networking, networking. Fortunately, it works. In tough times, this is probably one of the best ways to get a job. The old adage- “It’s not what you know, but who you know” makes a big difference. Let friends and family know you are looking for new work by letter, E-mail or phone and be specific about what you are looking for.

#3 Know and Honor Yourself, especially your abilities.
The more you know about your own abilities and how to incorporate them in your life, the more successful you will be. What kind of work makes you feel like time is suspended? What activities would you do even if you weren’t getting paid because you enjoy them so much?

“One of the primary characteristics of happy, productive successful people is that they see themselves in a future that feels positive and attainable.”

“A defining characteristic of people experiencing stress, depression, burnout, boredom, is that they do not see themselves in a future that feels positive.”
From The Lemming Conspiracy-How to Direct Your Life from Stress to Balance by Bob McDonald and Don Hutcheson.

#4 The economy will change.
History shows that we will not be in this situation for the rest of our lives. We have all been in hard times and know that eventually we move on and the situation does improve. Look at how you handled yourself during other challenging times or observe how other people react in tough times. We are never too old to learn lessons.

Interesting Research about Career Development
Harvard Business Review-1999 “How to Stay Stuck in the Wrong Career” by Herminia Ibarra

This article looks at the difference between the person who yearns for change yet stays put and the person who takes the leap to find renewed fulfillment at mid-career.

The article states that “finding one’s mission cannot be accomplished over night.” It takes time, perseverance, and hard work. It stresses the importance of TAKING ACTION vs. reflection and DOING, instead of planning. Instead of looking for a 10 point plan, accept a crooked path. We have to be open and flexible. People in transition often spend too much time reflecting and researching instead of acting. We need to get out of our heads and need to act. The article also emphasizes the importance of trying out new activities and roles before making a major commitment to a different path.

Can People Self-Report Abilities?

The Highlands Ability Profile measures people’s innate aptitudes. A research study was done to see if people could “self-report” their aptitudes without taking a formal assessment, such as The Highlands Ability Profile on a CD.

A study at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia by Dr. Tom Tavantis and Peter Marabella looked at how well people can predict their own abilities. Through testing and research, they found self-report did not produce accurate results. In conclusion, a self assessment of one’s own hard-wired abilities is difficult to obtain and not accurate.

Following Peter Drucker’s emphasis on “knowing oneself and increasing productivity,” it may well make sense to pay attention to having people use assessments instead of self-report to identify driving abilities and align with work roles.

Research on Assessments with CSU graduate students

A sample of Colorado State University graduate students from ages 22-48 were required to take the Highlands Ability Battery, Myers Briggs, Strong Interest Inventory and True Colors as part of their training in a Counseling and Career Development Course. They were asked to rank the effectiveness of all four inventories in guiding for future careers decisions. The rankings were the following:

The Highlands Program – 48%
Strong Interest Inventory -28.5%
True Colors – 19%
Myers Briggs -4.5%

The study helps to show that students found The Highlands Ability Battery was the most helpful for guiding future career decisions.

Career Matters offers the following programs for people experiencing career change, recent college graduates, students, those recently laid off, or anyone who wants to make a life change.

Programs with Career Matters
Programs with Career Matters Assessments are the best way to gain more insight into oneself, one’s abilities and temperament. The three assessments most utilized are:The Highlands Ability Profile available on a CD, the Strong Interest Inventory, and the Myers Briggs.

Career Action Plan
This 60 minute session focuses on a client’s work history, education, present goals, and issues. The client receives feedback on strengths, career possibilities, leads, and an action plan to follow.

Career Assessment Program
This is our most popular program. It includes taking the 3 1/2-hour Highlands Ability Battery available on a CD, Strong Interest Inventory, and the Myers Briggs. A 2-hour feedback session integrates results from all the tests. Clients will receive information regarding careers that match abilities, interests, personalities, and compatible work roles, and industries. The test is applicable for ages 16 and up. This has been very popular with new college graduates and also those who have been recently laid off.

From a participant of this program: “Thank goodness for The Highlands Program and the way it is designed to give such specific feedback on a person’s gifts and styles of work.”

Group Assessment Plan
This is a 3-hour group session with other people in transition that includes feedback on The Highlands Ability Program. Participants will learn about aptitudes, skills, optimal work environment, compatible work roles and possible career suggestions. All programs include a plan of action.

The next dates for group assessments are:
October 20, 2003 6:00pm-9:00pm
November 17, 2003 6:00pm-9:00pm
January 7, 2004 6:00pm-9:00pm

Womens Career Vision Group
A 6-week group for women wanting to develop themselves, create meaningful avocations or passions, or wanting to make a career change. Starting on Tuesday, Jan. 13th at 6:00 pm.
Call 720-489-9409 for more info and costs.

Also available is our popular half day programs for corporations: focusing on your unique abilities. Lunchtime and keynote speaking offered.

Individual coaching is also available.

Book to Recommend:
The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers: The Guide for Achieving Success and Satisfaction by James M. Citrin, and Richard A. Smith, Crown Business Publishers, 2003.

Available from and local bookstores. Written by consultants from a head-hunting firm, the book offers valuable and specific information about five patterns to manage your career. For example, one of their patterns is: Find the Right Fit. If you don’t have passion for what you are doing, move on to something else. It is well written, an easy read, and very interesting case studies.

“Ambition is achievement’s soul mate. Action is the matchmaker that brings these affinities together so that sparks can begin to fly
and we can set the world on fire.”

Simple Abundance by Sarah Ban Breathnach