You might feel compelled to take a job, any job, at any employer. But are you sure that's best for your career? How much happier or successful might you be if you worked at a company that invested in you, trusted you and partnered with you?
Through my work as a career coach and radio host, I get the opportunity to see how companies really work. What I've learned is that there are tell-tale signs of great employers (that you want to work for) and not-so-great employers (that you'll want to avoid.)
Here's what to look for...
Tell-Tale Signs of Great Employers:
They invest in their employees' careers. One of the things I value as a coach are organizations that value their employees. Vermont Country Store (VCS) is one such organization. I had the pleasure of working with the company as an executive coach earlier this year. I was impressed with the investment VCS made in their executive team on down to entry-level employees with coaching programs, mentoring programs, training programs. If every organization did this, it would create a completely different and more effective corporate environment.
They trust their people to get the job done. I recently interviewed Hopstop CEO Joe Meyer on what a day in the life is like for a technology start-up CEO. Joe said that working at Hopstop isn't about punching a clock for him or his people. He has autonomy and so do they. In fact, they have no vacation policy (people can take time off as they need.) Rather, it's about getting high-quality results and Joe knows his team takes that responsibility seriously without him having to micromanage them.
They partner with their employees. This fall I worked with an information services firm in NYC to kick-off a new kind of career development program focused on collaboration. The training team led by collaboration expert Janet Wise and I customized one of my career workshops to spark a lively conversation about what it really takes to get and stay motivated at work. Employees, managers and executives left inspired to create the kind of work environment that inspires them.
What do you feel are the tell-tale signs of a great employer? I'd love to hear about your experience. Comment below and share what you feel makes for a great place to work...
I’m excited to participate again this year in Job Action Day created by Quintessential Careers. It is a day of empowerment for workers and job-seekers -- to put your career and job in the forefront, making plans, taking action steps.
In support of Job Action Day, I’d like ask you to reflect on your “core genius”–who you are, what do well naturally and what you feel compelled to do. You see, I find most people are not operating from their core genius and that is the reason for so much career pain and frustration.
Why? People are shoehorning themselves into only what’s out there (which is shrinking). They're revising their resumes to become what an employer or recruiter wants them to be, focusing their job search on the latest hot field, and/or spending thousands getting degrees because they don’t know what else to do and figure another credential couldn’t hurt.
This may have worked in the past. But in the new world of work, shoehorning is not the way to real career opportunity. For one, you may not genuinely be interested in that new hot job/field (beyond the paycheck), and two, what’s hot can change overnight or worse, can be outsourced.
Start your Soul Search by identifying the value you provide to others by naturally being who you are and doing what is it you most enjoy doing. Get specific about what it is you bring to the table by looking back over your life and noticing what people tend to come to you for help with. Then make a list of your best, most fun projects or moments. Lastly think about what you would do with your time if you didn’t have to worry about making money.
All of these clues point to your core genius. It’s not something new. You’ve been using your core genius your whole life, you just haven’t formalized it yet into a career.
Formalizing your core genius in your career might feel strange at first. To get used to operating from and valuing your core genius, Research your new career by piloting projects with friends or family. Create your elevator speech (try this easy-to-use pitch wizard) to describe what you do and practice saying it to others as much as possible.
As you get comfortable with formally sharing your core genius, focus your Job Search on the role that is the best fit for you to put your core genius to work. This may be a full-time job but it can also be your own business or project-based contract work. You may even want to informational interview potential customers of your core genius to understand the way they’d most like to be served – by you as an employee or by you on a project or contract basis.
After years of working with my career coaching clients and SIRIUSXM radio listeners to uncover their core genius and formalize it into career, I know each and every one of us has unique value to offer through our work. We don’t need to look at the want ads to find our next opportunity. It’s waiting for us to define, create and dedicate our time to. Are you ready to take these actions to Soul Search, Research and Job Search and uncover your core genius?
Please check out these posts from fellow career experts that are joining me in supporting Job Action Day 2010: