Posts Tagged ‘career’

Finding a Different Road

June 14, 2013

your careerFor most of us, there comes a time when we need to find a new career path. Whether it is because we no longer are finding satisfaction in our present one, or the income potential is not there or the change has been imposed on us by a downsizing or re-engineering, the truth is that in today’s world, it is very rare for someone to start and end their career in the same profession.

Unfortunately, for many of us, this happens when we are in our late 40s or 50s and it is not that easy to start down a new path. It can be very frightening. What do I recommend? First and foremost, PIA: Prepare in Advance. Never take for granted that you won’t have a change in your work. Always have a Plan B. Prepare yourself to have choices.  Some of the saddest people I have encountered are people who feel they don’t have choices, they are stuck and cannot or will not leave a career until they are forced.

To have those choices, here are my four best tips:

YOU might be asking, why do I feel I can give advice on this? Well, like many of you it happened to me.

Before joining Chief Outsiders, I was with Prudential for 30 years, switching careers several times. I started as a tax lawyer, went to marketing, training, sales, and management, and then was asked to start field operations in Argentina, Poland, and Asia. I loved it.  However, after those 30 years, it became obvious to me that my opportunities to make a further contribution there were limited. It was depressing, but that was the reality of the situation. I had to leave. The change was tough.

But with every change, you have the opportunity to reinvent yourself. I don’t mean you change everything, but you have the chance to think about what went right, what went wrong, what you could have done differently, and what you want to do better in the future.

I liked marketing and sales. I enjoy the challenge of developing and implementing a plan to grow revenue. I enjoyed developing team performance and aligning sales and marketing teams. So when I was looking for my next career, joining a company that provided fractional and part-time CMO services to a variety of different companies fit my needs. But it’s totally different. When you are a VP and CMO with a big company like Prudential, you have lots of help, lots of benefits, and your title lends you immediate credibility. Starting over with a new company, developing my contacts, handling the administrative side, and finding health insurance was new. It’s a transition! One of my favorite quotes is by Benjamin Disraeli: “The secret of success is to be ready when your opportunity comes.” So many people I’ve met want guarantees that they will be successful if they do certain things, like get an MBA or take on a new position. There are no guarantees. But every time you take a risk, you gain new perspective and new insights, and you are prepared for more. Failure – and getting up from it – teaches you so much.

I recently moved to Charleston so in addition to a new career, it is in a new place.

Barbara-Lucey-410Barbara Fowler is a Partner and CMO with the Southeast Team at Chief Outsiders. They provide part-time marketing executives to help mid-sized businesses grow. Fowler’s specialties lie in sales and marketing synchronization, global business strategies, and family business turnaround techniques. A frequent speaker and writer on topics such as leadership, cultural diversity, and developing an environment of success, she has effectively led culturally diverse organizations and written and implemented training programs for CMOs worldwide.

The greatest obstacle women face

May 10, 2013

JaceyVDepending on my age, I have given a variety of answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Kindergarten: teacher, because I admired my teacher.
Fourth grade: famous author, because people praised my writing and why wouldn’t I believe I was good enough to be famous?
High school: lawyer, because writing isn’t a “realistic” career ambition, and I wasn’t as good as I’d once believed.
Post grad: No idea, but benefits and a living wage would be a good start.

When someone asks what you want to be, they’re really asking what you want to do. We make decisions about what we do in an attempt to be something else: financially secure, happy, respected, famous.

I’ve constantly changed my mind about what I want to do, but I’ve always wanted to be one thing: proud of myself.

This enigmatic, slippery state of being has proven impossible to grasp for more than a few moments at a time because it is a double edged sword. On one side, I’m looking to others to affirm me. I need someone else to tell me that who I am and what I’m doing is sufficient.

On the other side, my own standards are higher than anyone else’s. “Oh, you think I did a good job? Well, thanks, but I should have finished it earlier and let me point out the mistakes I made.”  

I’m writing in black and white here, but more often than not, I discount my achievements and place in the world until someone else affirms them, and then deflect the recognition when I do get it. It’s an exhausting, impossible quest, and I know I’m not alone.

At a time of unprecedented opportunity for women, my own experience leads me to believe that the greatest obstacle for women today is…ourselves.

Women continue to rise to leadership positions in almost every industry, proving their competence and value. It’s inspiring, but I can’t help but wonder: for every woman succeeding publicly and privately, how many intelligent potential influencers have we lost to their own insecurities? How many have believed the outdated script that their ideas are not worth sharing? How many have sold themselves short, waiting voluntarily in the wings without even trying out for the part?

My own self limiting beliefs have held me back personally more than any outside opposition. No legislation, corporate policy, or cultural enlightenment will make a difference if we don’t first believe in ourselves.

A note to myself, and you, too:

Your value doesn’t depend on what you accomplish. You have a lot to offer, but no one will know until you believe you are valuable and competent, that your ideas are worth sharing, that your skills and knowledge are beneficial to the people around you. Whether those people are your coworkers, husband, children, or friends, everyone is missing out when you live life as an apology instead of a statement.

Jacey Verdicchio loves good books and deep conversations. You can find her on her blog, The Balanced Wife, where she pursues exceptional living and often falls short. She lives with her husband, Michael, and dog, Jack.

The Job Coaches: Tests could help find right career

March 9, 2012

“Many people look forward to the new year for a new start on old habits.” — Unknown

photoJanice was determined that she would break free from her old habits this year, especially her job. She was miserable at work, feeling like the proverbial square peg in the round hole. Janice knew she didn’t enjoy her job anymore, yet she didn’t have a clearly defined sense of what she would like to do. She wanted to better understand her career strengths and occupations where those abilities could best be used.

Perhaps you’re like Janice, feeling burned out and wanting some new career ideas. Perhaps you’re part of the 45 percent of Americans who, according to a recent Conference Board survey, are unsatisfied with their jobs. If so, consider starting the new year by taking some self-assessments. These tests can help you gain better insights into your abilities and interests, then aid you in identifying career options that match your personal preferences.

Having this personal profile is good for making informed career and life decisions. As Carol Kleiman, former business columnist for the Chicago Tribune stated, “It is important that your future job or career fit your personality.”

Where do you find the ability, values, personality and career assessments? The Internet offers self-directed assessments. Self-directed means that you can take the test and review your own results. You do not need a certified third party to analyze and interpret the data. Some tests are free; others charge.

The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth created a new Center for Leadership, noting that “effective leadership starts with intimate knowledge of yourself.” If you want to increase your knowledge of your strengths, weaknesses, what you like/dislike and gauge potential career options, here are some self-assessments you can check out.

–If you want to look at career choices that link to your job performance strengths and preferences, investigate the free Career Steer assessment at

–The Career Interest Test, at, costs $29.95 and identifies general types of work (broad categories like accounting, engineering, human resources, marketing, etc.) that might be right for you based on what you like, and want, to do.

–The Keirsey Temperament Sorter at is a free assessment providing insights into how you respond to people and situations as well as how skillfully you get along with others. This information can be helpful in determining if working with groups of people or on your own is right for you.

–The Princeton Review Career quiz matches your interests and work style to careers where those interests are involved. The test is free:

–The work of Carl Jung, a Swiss psychiatrist, into personal tendencies and preferences is the foundation for the Jung Personality Typology Test. This is offered for free at and can offer insights to your personality and preferences.

–The free Career Values test helps you understand your values and what you want in a career: items like independence, creativity, knowledge, status, precision, earnings, etc. Find the test at to help define what standards and principals are required for you to feel satisfied and engaged at work.

–The Kolbe A Index identifies your natural talents and how you take action. Your method of operation is then matched to careers in the Career MO assessment. The assessments are found at and cost $63.95 when taken together.

Use this information about your interests, values, natural talents and personality as data points in making the career decision that’s right for you.

Jane Perdue is CEO of The Braithewaite Group.The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing For assistance, make an appointment; a donation of $10 is requested for appointments.

The Job Coaches: Take steps to retool skills, rethink options

September 30, 2011

Dr. Dorothy P. MooreBy Dorothy Perrin Moore

A new beginning requires re-examining one’s skill set. To assist, academic institutions are offering programs that address the needs of workers in transition.

Among the types of offerings are certification programs, part-time career re-engineering and more. The objective, perhaps best stated by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is to enable people to “reconnect, renew, refuel, relaunch, re-enter, retool, reinvent, rekindle, reinvigorate, redefine, re-create, rethink, re-establish and re-equip.”

How can this approach assist the woman in transition who has no definite job prospect? First, she should focus on a personal profile based on an inventory of her talents. This will enable her to examine the full spectrum of job and career options she is capable of filling. It requires thorough research on prospective firms in fields of her competency. Then, she must use this knowledge to build more flexible approaches for new career options.

The position you are seeking may only exist because you show an employer how your set of skills can contribute to the firm’s bottom line. Developing a new profile and self-image can lead to creating a job niche. For example, assume you are a recent journalism graduate or laid off reporter, but the newspaper business has reduced columns and coverage due to a fall in subscriptions and advertising. How do you take your set of writing skills, which the majority of people in the labor market do not have, and turn it in to a creative position?

If you present yourself as a reporter primarily, you have not renewed, refueled or relaunched. You may be presenting the image that narrows your job opportunities. In short, you are showing employers your skill set in a closed box. The real skill you have is the ability to write, to articulate, to communicate, to market, to state things clearly, to improve the numerous essential documents all firms generate. Market it.

Suppose your background is in fabric design, but due to the large number of textile companies that have left the Carolinas, there appears no way for you to get your foot in the doors that remain. How can you use your creativity to launch your job search in new directions? Looking at the field more broadly is one beginning. Closely examine the spectrum of jobs that are being advertised. Visualize where additional openings might occur. Then determine what business skills might best fill out your resume for these potential openings. You might want to add some courses in marketing and advertising from your local college or technical school to expand your job search opportunities and also to develop new networks, friends or associates who may recommend you to an employer.

There are other avenues. If you are still in school, you are probably already aware of the vast array of services offered by the institution’s career service center. Graduates, and sometimes those unable to complete a degree, may not be aware that these services also are available to them. In many cases, institutions wave fees for the services in the interest of building goodwill (and possibly attaining future contributions). Many extend the services to members of the community as well.

If you elect retooling by taking a new program of study, it will be important to determine as nearly as possible what your future set of skills will be and how they will relate to the job market. Watch out for quick fixes that have no new jobs attached or require a substantial investment on your part. Stay focused on the return on investment for your time, effort and dollars.

Most of all, remember that you are the framer of your image and skill set. The steps you take in retooling are important.

Do the homework. Effort and perseverance count. Make at least three new contracts every day. Stay healthy, avoid hibernation and keep up your exercise and fitness program.

Dorothy Perrin Moore, Ph.D., is professor emerita of business and entrepreneurship at The Citadel.

The Job Coaches are experienced volunteers from the Center for Women’s Job Counseling Program. Ask them a question by calling 763-7333 or e-mailing If you would like further assistance, make an appointment. A donation of $20 is requested for appointments.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post and Courier Friday, September 18, 2009.

Stay connected to your career

August 19, 2010

By Hannah Morris, the owner of HBM Human Resources & Career Consulting, and has 15 years of experience in Human Resources management, recruiting and career counseling. Additionally she is the owner of Pots & Petals, a gardening business

Q: I’m taking time out of the workforce to be a stay-at-home mom. What should I be doing to keep my skills and experience relevant and up-to-date?

A: If you have made the choice to stay at home with your children for an extended period but you plan to eventually return to regular, full-time work, then there are several things you might consider doing to keep your skills, knowledge and credentials updated. Here are ten suggestions:

1. Read! Continue subscribing to industry magazines or newsletters that will provide you with the latest information and updates about what is going on in your field. Additionally, consider starting a book club in which your group reads and discusses books about business-related topics.
2. Maintain your memberships in industry or business-related organizations. By continuing to attend meetings you will stay connected to people in the business community. Once you begin looking for a job again, these networking contacts will be essential. Your active membership in such an organization is something you can definitely include on your resume.
3. Join (or start) a networking club/meeting with other moms who are taking a break from their careers. Without a doubt there are other women who have made the same choice to stay home with children, but ultimately plan to go back to work. Seek out women in your neighborhood, children’s school, or other community group who are also interested in networking and mentoring one another.
4. Attend continuing education seminars and educational programs. Take advantage of classes and programs related to your area of expertise or other business-related topic. The Center for Women is an excellent resource for this type of event. Also check with industry organizations and local colleges and universities to find out when and where they will offer training or continuing education classes in your area.
5. Volunteer in your field. Use what you know to benefit those who may not be able to pay for your services. Although a paycheck is great, volunteering still allows you an opportunity to utilize your knowledge as an expert in your field and could be a nice addition to your resume.
6. Manage a community, school or non-profit project or event. Even if it is not specifically related to your career, taking a major role in the planning and execution of this type of event will allow you to use the same organization, prioritization and management skills needed in a work environment.
7. Look for consulting opportunities in your field. Taking on an occasional project for a client is a great way to keep your skills fresh, to build your resume, and earn a little extra money. The best way to find this kind of opportunity is through networking. Utilize your business contacts and pursue connections through family, friends, and neighbors.
8. Keep your resume updated and your interview skills polished. You never know when you might be asked for a resume. A great consulting opportunity may arise and you want to have your resume read to send out upon request. Make sure you have a nice suit that fits well and makes you feel confident. Take time to practice selling yourself as the best candidate for the job.
9. Keep your licenses and/or certifications up-to-date. Stay on top of what training or coursework you need to complete to maintain your credentials even if you are out of the workforce. If it is important to have certifications in your field, be sure that you are keeping yours up-to-date in preparation for when you return to work.
10. Have a mentor. Contact a former boss, co-worker or other professional whom you respect and ask them to be a mentor to you. Get together every couple of months for coffee or lunch to catch up on business-related news and to get advice on what else you can be doing to keep yourself prepared to re-enter the workforce.

If you are staying at home to be with your children, enjoy this time. It won’t last forever. Little children grow up and the older they get, the more time you will have for your own pursuits. You will have a chance to get back to your career. For now, make an effort to keep your skills, knowledge and connections in tact to help smooth your transition back into the workforce when the time comes.

First appeared in Moxie section of The Post and Courier on Friday, August 14, 2009.

Finding the job that makes your heart sing

August 12, 2010

By Barbara Poole, a master-certified coach and president of Success Builders, Inc.

Q: I feel like I’m at a crossroads and I’d like to take this opportunity to find a job I really want the next time around. But that’s just the problem: I don’t know what I want. How can I figure this out?

A: There’s a silver lining to the clouds in the current job market. When jobs are plentiful and people find themselves in transition, they often go immediately back into a similar job in the same industry, the only real change being a new employer. While it can make for a fast and efficient job search, it can also lead to feeling unfulfilled, and that nagging sense of “more of the same.”

In today’s economy, finding your next position can be a bit more challenging. There’s no obvious “next assignment,” and the process of finding a new job takes longer. Although it can feel like a scary time, it can actually be a great opportunity to consider what you really want, and redirect your efforts to finding a job that will truly make your heart sing.

Many people operate under the misguided notion that there is one “right thing” out there that they should be doing, if only they could figure out what it is. In reality, for most of us there are plenty of things that we could do well and really enjoy. The trick is to do some good matching along a number of important dimensions that will have you headed in the direction of a good fit for you.

Start by considering what you are gifted at. Sometimes it’s hard to identify your natural abilities because you don’t have to think about them — they come effortlessly to you. Maybe you’re a born organizer; or perhaps you’re a great conversationalist. Your natural abilities are those strengths that are simply a part of who you are — you were born good at them and you would enjoy using them on the job.

Next, think about your interests. What do you find stimulating and compelling? If you want some easy clues, consider the subject matter in the magazines you subscribe to. Cooking magazines? Fashion? Science and technology? Notice what captures your attention.

What is your personality style? Are you gregarious and outgoing, or are you more reserved and quiet? Your personal style is an important clue to career possibilities.

What do you care deeply about? Your passions reflect your core values, and having a job that reinforces them will be fulfilling and satisfying.

Finally, consider how you like to work. Some people thrive on being in one place in front of a computer screen. Others need to be in motion, out and about, or they can feel caged in. Do you enjoy dressing to the nines in a business suit? Or is casual wear more your cup of tea?

By assembling these clues like a jigsaw puzzle, you can begin to see pictures emerging of the kinds of jobs you might really enjoy. Then it’s time to get busy converting these possibilities into action.

First appeared in the Moxie section of The Post & Courier on Friday, August 7, 2009

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