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2 Insights to Be Happier at Work

Considering that only 13% of the world’s workforce feels engaged, chances are you could use a boost to be happier at work.

In 2013, a Gallup global survey revealed that with only 29% of engaged employees, North America was the region with the highest employee satisfaction. That means that over 70% of people spend at least 8 hours a day feeling unhappy! If you are one of them, wouldn’t you love to learn how to get excited about going to work?

Celebrating career success

Celebrating career success

Factors that contribute to a feeling of disengagement

According to the American Employee Study (and my own experience), there are several main reasons why you may not be happy at work:

  • Not feeling heard. You don’t have an opportunity to speak your mind or, when you do, no action is taken.
  • Having no sense of why you’re doing what you’re doing.
  • Sensing that your bosses don’t know your career goals.
  • Not receiving training for your role.
  • Unfair compensation.
  • Not being recognized for your accomplishments.

How to get excited about going to work

If you checked off a few of the bullet points above, you’re not alone. Here are two amazingly simple things you can do to feel more engaged at work almost immediately.

  1. Align your career goals with your life purpose

Quite frequently, people have roles that don’t align with their life purpose, their interests or their passions. When this happens, it’s hard to stay engaged. Even when you receive a promotion, you don’t feel like putting in the effort for the higher position in an area of no interest to you. Say your passion is sales but you are in an administrative position. Even if they make you an executive administrator, you’re unlikely to feel more engaged.

You owe it to yourself to discover your interests and align them with your career goals

Look inside to figure out what interests you!

If you sense that this is the reason for your lack of engagement, take some time to find your passion, to figure out what your interests are, to discover what I call your inner red shoe/tie. That exploration may help you realize that you need a career track change, which may entail going back to school to get the right degree or certification.

Considering how much longer our productive life is, you can easily have several careers. Don’t let the lack of a degree stop you from feeling happier at work. There are tools out there, such as the Phoenix Career Guidance System, that can help you figure out what might be the perfect career track for you.

Once you have clarity around this, you’ll be better able to adjust your career path and, consequently, your daily work will be aligned with your interests.

  1. Take back control

There are times when you might feel you have very few options. For example, either you stay in a role that doesn’t fit your long-term goals, or you need to quit your job (something you can’t afford right now). This feeling of lack of control over your circumstances creates a lot of anxiety.

Not too long ago, a colleague of mine was about to resign from a job she loved after 10 wonderful years. She felt she had no other option. Why? A new boss had been hired to replace her admired retiring leader, and he wasn’t a good match for the position. He wasn’t interested in developing his team or in the initiatives they had been working on. He offered no recognition for a job well done.

Even when you think there are no options you can always make a decision to take back control

You can always make a different decision even when the options are limited.

Then my colleague decided that rather than accepting passively the new boss’s lack of leadership she would demonstrate her own leadership skills whenever she had the chance. She started organizing meetings with her team rather than expecting the boss to do so. She developed several new strategic partnerships for her company and became a mentor for a few junior colleagues. As a result, she re-engaged and was happy to go to work again.

So keep in mind that even in the face of limited options, you frequently have the ability to make a decision that enables you to take back control of your circumstances. As I mentioned above, that decision may involve furthering your education so that you are free to pursue a position where you are happier. It’s worth remembering that whenever you feel in control, you feel more engaged, and therefore more fulfilled at work.

You deserve to be happy. Explore your passions

There’s nothing like exploring what you love to be happier at work

Spending as much time as we do at work, we owe it to ourselves to be happy. Don’t let one more day go by without reviewing your situation and putting into practice these two suggestions. They will help you feel more engaged at work sooner than you think.

 

I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

Blaze A Unique Career Path All the Way to the Top

You can’t put her in a neat box. She doesn’t fit any Latina stereotype or female stereotype for that matter. Hers is a unique career path that she blazed one step at a time. Get inspired! Read on!

How often do you meet someone who’s excited about their career and a few minutes later you scratch your head perplexed: How did she get that job? When you look at her resume it’s hard to figure out how she went from one position to the next. It’s obvious to you she followed an unusual career path. She probably broke every rule any recruiter would ever advice you to follow. And yet… she’s wildly successful. Not only because she has a fantastic job but mostly because she loves what she does and it shows. Maybe that has been her secret all along. Pay no attention to the rules, the naysayers, or the box makers. Just define a unique career path that suits your personality, your multiple interests and talents and voila! You got yourself a happy life.

Cosette Gutierrez, an amazing example of unique career path. Get inspired! Read on!

Cosette Gutierrez, an amazing example of unique career path

So who is she? And what does her unique career path look like?

Cosette Gutiérrez, Senior Group Manager, Community Relations at Target (in charge of Target’s Education giving across key markets in the Northeast Region), a Member of the Board of Directors at the Association of Corporate Contributions Professionals, and Chairman Emeritus, National Board of Directors of the National Society of Hispanic MBAs.   That’s for her current occupations.

Here’s what we mean by a different career path. Prior to her current position, Cosette was a Store Team leader at Target, Senior VP at Bank of America, Commodity Manager at Honeywell International, Assistant VP at Citibank, and Product Coordinator at H. Muehlstein and Company. Her education? A BS from MIT and MBA from Indiana University. Yup. A Latina graduate from MIT who went from managing the procurement of Natural Rubber from Indonesia to banking to retail to philanthropy in one sweep lifetime.

Cosette Gutierrez

Cosette Gutierrez

Are unique paths created with a master plan?

How did this happen? Did you have a master plan for your career or did it just turn out to be a unique without you realizing it?

I definitely did not have a master plan for what my career would be like! I have always been flexible and eager to try new things, which led me to many opportunities. I always focus on a very simple formula for achieving success: Performance + Passion = Promotion.   Performance is about working hard, and striving to be the best at every job you have. You will never get to the next great job without being a rock star in the one you have today. Passion is about loving what you do, every day! If you don’t love the job, it is time to find another one. Life is too short to be doing something that you don’t love! When you perform, and you are passionate, it shows, and that’s how you will get that next role, where you’ll begin the formula again…Performance + Passion = Promotion!

What allowed you to think that you could break away from any preconceived notions of what your career should look like?

Believing in myself and my capabilities, and learning to not take “no” for an answer! If there is something that I want to do, but don’t know how, then I focus on learning how to do it. I’ve always been an avid learner, and focused on filling “my toolbox” with all kinds of skills. Some you use often, others not, but you have them there, and you’d be surprised when they are needed! Like public speaking for example. People always compliment me on my ability to speak to any audience, ranging from an intimate gathering around a dinner table, to a large room of thousands.

Cosette Dec 2014 American Latino Influencer Awards Miami

Cosette Dec 2014 American Latino Influencer Awards Miami

They are also surprised when I tell them I was an introvert as a child and hated speaking in public. While in college, I knew this skill would be very valuable, so I took an acting class, where I learned how to think and speak on my feet, as well as memorizing lines, and manage my emotions. At the time, my MIT classmates teased me about my “acting class”. Fast forward to today, I am very grateful for that experience as it allows me to shine in all that I do!

Sometimes being the first person in your family to do something makes it harder to stray away from the known paths and pick a unique career path

Were you the first in your family to go to college? Did that give you more or less freedom to choose a different career?

Neither of my parents completed high school. My aunts and uncles attended college in our native Dominican Republic, and my great grandfather was a self-taught doctor, so we knew that it was in my genes J. Navigating the U.S. college system was not easy, but I was extremely fortunate to have a mom who believed in me, and always pushed me to achieve more. She knew that education was the key to success in the United States, and I was encouraged to study, many times at the expense of being with friends, and going to parties. I grew up watching my mom work in the bridal business, something which brought her much joy, and she always told me to “do what you love darling”. So, as I began to navigate different career options, her questions were always “Do you like the job? Will it make you happy? Are the people nice?” Of course, she usually followed up with “I hope the pay is good”! As long as I answered yes to her questions, I knew that I’d be okay. Thank goodness, it has turned out better than okay!

Her unique career path took Cosette Gutierrez to her current job at Target. Here, about to get on the Target Jet! Read her story!

Her unique career path took Cosette Gutierrez to her current job at Target. Here, about to get on the Target Jet!

What would you say is the secret to your success? And let’s not chuck it to luck.

I mentioned Performance and Passion before, and will reinforce that Performance is critical to success. Work, work, work, work – successful people work really hard! My experience has been that successful people aren’t hanging around resting on their successes. Once they achieve something they have been pursuing, they move onto the next achievement.   In addition to hard work, having great mentors and listening to them, especially when you do not like what they have to say, is part of the success equation. I have been blessed to have strong mentors in my life, leaders who believed in me, and supported me in some of my craziest adventures. My motto on mentors is simple…if your mentors only tell you that you are awesome, it’s time to find other mentors. Find people who care enough to give you true feedback and push you to take risks that you wouldn’t think of taking.

FInd out how to find corporate mentors and career sponsors.

Cosette Gutierrez Quote on Mentors

Cosette Gutierrez Quote on Mentors

What would you say to women who don’t fit in a box? What’s the best way to go about creating your unique work path even when you have few role models to show you how to do it?

My recommendation is to make your own box! It’s much more fun that way than trying to fit into someone else’s box. I love it when people say to me “you did what?!?” Your life is only yours to live, and you should do so with no regrets. I’m saddened by people who live lives that are less than what they want or what they are capable of. There are too many people in our society who are happy with being average. Don’t settle! Take risks, and don’t be afraid to fail. There are learnings in every failure. The key is to not make the same mistakes twice.  Lastly, do not be afraid of asking others for help. You are probably not the first person to experience the situation that you are in, and for those of us who have been there before, it would be our pleasure (and our responsibility) to help you. You are never alone!

You can follow Cosette Gutiérrez on Twitter: @CosetteNYC

If you want to discover your unique career path, explore the RSM Step Up Program. You’ll be amazed at how fun it can be to start your own discovery journey. It’s You. Amplified!

 

Career Quiz: Are you ready to move up the ladder?

Career Quiz: Are you ready to move up the ladder?

Career Quiz: Are you ready to move up the ladder?

Do you sometimes wonder whether you’re ready to move up the ladder?  Do you question your interest in taking on more responsibility or even going through any required training?

Undoubtedly, in order to move up the ladder you’ll need to take some risks and accept stretch assignments that present you with challenging situations. You might need to work extra hours and perhaps learn a new skill. The advantage is that more and more companies are looking for ways to promote their female and diverse talent. So if you have an inkling that you want to move up the ladder and expand your career opportunities this Quiz can help you assess how close from your goal you are. It will put you in touch with signs you ought to be looking for and strategies you may need to devise to move up the ladder in your career.  Go ahead, take it and then tell us how it went!

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Now, are you ready to find out if you have Executive Presence? Take our Quiz! 🙂

Do you have Executive Presence? Take our Quiz and Find Out!

Do you have Executive Presence? Take our Quiz and Find Out!

Do you have Executive Presence?

Right now, the buzzword for female advancement in the workplace is executive presence, a desired trait for certain leadership positions. But for many women, that concept brings up a good deal of questions. What does executive presence mean exactly? Are you born with it or can you acquire it if you don’t have it? Who determines if you have executive presence or not?

The fact is that executive presence is itself a pretty elusive concept, one that is more in the eye of the beholder than anyone would admit. At its worst, it’s used in the expression, “He/she doesn’t have executive presence” when selecting a candidate for a top executive position, which is code for, “The candidate doesn’t look like the executives currently serving in our organization,” which in turn is often code for, “The candidate is not a middle-aged white man.”  So saying that someone lacks executive presence is often nothing more than a way of saying that they don’t fit the leadership mold in that company.

In this situation, the first question you should ask yourself is how much you need or even want to fit the mold before you go about changing your style. In some cases, not fitting the mold is actually good. If the organization is looking for someone with a different experience and perspective, having a diverse background or a style that’s unlike that of the reigning executive pool works to your advantage. The next question you must ask yourself is if executive presence is a requirement for the type of role you’re interested in —for example in finance or human resources. Continue Reading the Article

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But if, at critical points in your career, you’ve heard the feedback that you lack executive presence, you might want to consult with trusted advisors on ways you could develop a bit more. The truth is, no one is born with executive presence, but there are some basic traits on which to build the executive presence required to lead. Some things you can learn – such as maintaining eye contact, speaking with clarity, controlling your body language. But others – such as inspiring confidence, intelligence, and making snap decisions that are consistently good ones – may be more a function of your psychological makeup and not something you can pick up from a coach.

If you want to be a leader in your organization, however, it’s critical to hone your executive presence to attract the attention of those who can offer you the right opportunities.  So take this quiz and find out if you already have the kind of executive presence needed to be promoted to the highest levels of a company, and what else you could do to refine what you’ve got.

Should you find out that you lack some of the characteristics that are inherent requirements of a person in a leadership role, you can redirect your career path towards one that better aligns with your internal assets.  And if you still want to pursue a leadership role, one option might be to seek a leadership role outside of a large corporation where certain rules apply. There are many successful women making a huge impact in all sorts of organizations where they can channel their interests and valuable talents.

Photo Credit: landofart.ru

Taking Risks At Work: Accept That New Job Challenge

Taking Risks At Work: Accept That New Job ChallengeIt’s no secret that women face a multitude of challenges in the workforce. Now a recent study by Catalyst confirms that working women are often evaluated on their performance while men are rewarded for their potential. In other words, ladies, you have to prove yourself to your employer. One way to do that is to accept what is called “a stretch assignment,” a challenging opportunity that is outside your comfort zone.

But how do you accept the challenge if you don’t feel ready? My advice is to take the phrase “Fake It Till You Make It.” seriously. The truth is that you don’t have to be 100 percent prepared before taking on a new task. As long as you are about 70 to 80 percent ready, you should consider accepting that new project. Why? Because you will learn the rest as you go. And that’s the name of the game of career advancement.

When you turn down an offer to do something new and outside of your comfort zone in your job, you are sending several messages to your superiors or colleagues:

  • I’m not a risk taker.
  • I’m not willing to learn something new.
  • I’m not interested in developing my career.
  • I’m comfortable where I am at and I don’t want to challenge myself.

If your professional goal is to continue paving your career path upward, sending these messages to your employer won’t bode well for your future. The idea is not only to jump at a great opportunity, but also to seek them out yourself.

So what if you are presented with one of these stretch assignments and you are not sure whether you should take it or not?

  • Consult with your mentors.
  • Identify people who could help you with the areas of knowledge you’re missing.
  • Verify that you have plenty of transferable skills that will help you in the new position or project.
  • Be open about your experience and talents with the person offering you the opportunity to set up realistic expectations during your learning curve.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help to get started.
  • In many companies, once you turn down one or two of these assignments, you are generally dropped from the “high potential” list. Which means, they’ll be investing much less effort in helping you advance your career or get a pay raise, Leading with “yes” is the best way to take charge of your future and to make sure as many doors remain open for you.

This article was originally published on Mamiverse.