New Year's is here - a time to reflect and plan and to party, too. No matter what you have planned for today, take a few moments to write down on paper (or type it into your smart device) what you would like to see happen in 2016 for you, your family and your career.
Every year, I make my list of "resolutions" and I then make a plan to make them happen. In 2016, I will be juggling my entrepreneurial pursuits for The Next Step, two part time jobs and my family life.
For my entrepreneurial pursuits, I plan on having more public speaking events, using more social media techniques and tricks to build out more content and to share more of my journey as I try to balance it all.
For my part time jobs, I plan on rocking it as an adjunct again (I am the prof who brings in real life/real world aspects to the classroom, which always makes me an interesting teacher, imho). I also will continue to pursue becoming licensed in math grade 7-12 in New York so I can teach full time on that level (maybe).
For my family life, I hope to be a little less "connected" to my devices and business to carve out time to just disconnect and enjoy life.
What are your plans for 2016? I hope to be part of your journey, too as you think about your career and/or your educational needs. Share below, if you would like to or reach out to me via any of my social media or chat function below. Happy Hunting and a happy, healthy and successful 2016 to all of my readers, social media followers and clients!
Whether you are first beginning your career or a seasoned executive, sometimes you are the captain of your career and sometimes you wind up growing organically within roles that were without your real choice. So you can wind up being involved in account management but you are thinking about moving over to some other role or you have a back office job and you really want to be a front office person. Do you know how to make that transition?
I can speak a little bit about back office vs front office. If you are serving other parts of your own company then you have internal clients, which is great and can be quantified in terms of career growth in that you can do things faster and / or cheaper, therefore saving your company money. However, it is a non-tangible asset, so to speak compared to the person who deals with external clients and who has an impact on the real bottom line by controlling a pipeline of some sort of revenues to your firm. This is how you wind your way up to corporate and potentially c-suite type jobs. Not everyone wants this path but sometimes you want to do more and /or build your career to the most lucrative that you can.
At times, when you find your jobs, you wind up moving with the current. The company needed an X person and you were hired as said X person. But are you happy doing that X role? Did you always dream about doing something else? How do you get to that something else? How do you differentiate yourself from the role that maybe has become too synonymous for you - sometimes being so good at your X job keeps you stuck in X job - but also maybe gives you job security so you have to weigh the good with the bad.
If you have time this holiday weekend, particularly as it is the weekend of making promises to ourselves, think about what you truly want your career to be like in 2016 and beyond.
Do you have a short term plan? Do you have a long term plan? Do you know how to make either of those plans? Are you currently unemployed (if yes, check out my insights on how to find your next step when unemployed http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/career-plans-while-unemployed). If you are employed and unsure of what your next step should be, check out my advice on that here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/planning-the-next-step
Think about over the New Year’s weekend the following:
Then think about finding a coach or some other resource (such as me) to help you execute on your plan. I will be onsite in early 2016 at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning with seminars on how to take your next step and also training on project management as a career path (see link below). These are two excellent steps for you to consider taking to get to your perfect next step. Have a happy and healthy new year and Happy Hunting!
Ideas to include in my College Readiness Boot Camp Seminars
As a teacher and educator since 2003, I have learned a lot about the average college student. Of course, these students I teach mainly reside in the NYC area as I teach locally but a lot of said students do come from other places as many people want to be in and around NYC for career and just adventure. It is funny as we “New Yorkers” take it for granted and in fact do not think much about our home towns – especially when you live in the suburb and not in NYC proper but anywhere I have ever lived or traveled or worked, everyone wants to come here – I guess that old Frank Sinatra song “if you can make it here, you’ll make it anywhere…” still holds some weight.
For these students each one of them are trying to do better than their parents. They feel that this might not be possible, though. They know the sad truth is that the chances of them doing better than their parents is at risk; they hear and see it every day on the news and just by watching their older peers graduate and remain in retail and / or unemployed. I do not necessarily agree with “impossible” but I will say that it is “harder”. For me, I was the first person in my immediate family to get a Bachelor’s degree and the first in my whole family to get a graduate degree. For my kids, this will not be the major achievement for them – they would need to get a doctorate to kind of, so to speak, “beat” me – not that it should be a competition but as parents we also want our children to do better than us.
Students today definitely need help and assistance in standing out in the job market that is saturated with older generations who are not settled and / or postponing retirements and more. But they also need help in dealing with stress. I have watched my college classes trying to manage stress; I have had students tell me about their peers committing suicide or about their own or their friend’s substance abuse problems – and it does not happen less each year but more.
I always tell my classes that they have a lot on their plates and to realize that self-care is important. I recently read something talking about the stress levels of college students and how it is at an unprecedented high level and that more and more people are diagnosed with mental health issues and medications needed to maintain a sense of balance. And I can agree; I see it. It is everywhere. The new normal is one of stress and anxiety for most of our young people today.
I equate it to my students with the fact that way back when I was a “kid”, the big national tragedy we dealt with was the Challenger explosion and although that was terrible it did not equate to our lives as none of mine or my friends’ parents were astronauts. It was something bad but it was not really applicable to us. When most of my students were the age I was when the Challenger exploded, 9/11 happened and that was something that WAS applicable – how many parents work in large buildings in large cities or who fly for work or who are firemen or police officers, etc etc. Compound these worries with the overall interest in doing well in college as it will affect their whole lives and knowing that the cost of college is something they need to recoup then it leads to massive amounts of stress.
I do not have the answers but I do think it is important to make the points that the world changes rapidly, most students are more comfortable hiding behind technology as opposed to really engaging with the world around them. I think it is important sometimes to disconnect, to not watch the news, to just focus on the improvement of yourself with skills and knowledge that happens in college. The focus should be on doing well in school and getting real life skills for your next step, finding internships and work positions while in college and finding the ways that work for you to balance it all in a healthy way. So many students will pop Adderall medication (that does not belong to them) to try to focus and maintain energy levels when you can focus on having a healthy routine that helps maintain focus on school and fun activities. Of course, some students are abusing other types of medications and / or falling into illicit drugs such as heroin. That healthy mindset, though, and how to manage the stress and activities does need to be taught and modeled for the younger among us as most college students are just high school kids with a year or two more in age. So when you start college, you are assumed to be an adult, however you most definitely are not (yet).
I am trying to integrate some of these items into my college readiness boot camp seminars that I hope to be launching in early 2016. The ability to focus on how to be ready for college both in doing well and in keeping mentally well as the impacts of stress and anxiety can be so detrimental for all. Even my age group know the cautionary tales of our peers “burning out” in college despite being by all accounts “ready” for college – just getting to that taste of “freedom” and “adulthood” and choosing all of the wrong things instead of the right ones or getting overwhelmed and flunking out or worse.
My idea for preparing high school students for their next step is to help achieve some balance and to talk about putting the iPhone down – finding a balance between doing well and trying to do better than our parents. I think even as career professionals and entrepreneurs, these lessons are important. Being able to know when to stop “working” and start “enjoying” life and also knowing what is truly enjoyable and what is destructive.
What do you think about these insights in college students? Are they applicable to those of us working and/or running our own businesses? Let me know in the comments what else you would want your high school aged self and /or your children to know and be ready for regarding their next steps? Happy Hunting!
Last week of 2015! Can't believe how fast time flies...I hope everyone had a great holiday weekend and got to enjoy family and friends - I definitely did! A little too much food, fun and friends...
I thought I would ease back into blogging this week - and it is another short week because it is the last week of 2015. I have had a lot of great milestones in 2015 and as we all know, I round up so I am technically "40" - but really 39, just in my 40th year...
I have so much to be thankful for and definitely need to take some time this week before we sing Auld Lang Syne to make sure my business objectives, goals and yes, resolutions are in order. Some of my resolutions or plans are included here - what are yours for 2016?
Don't forget to join me at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning for my seminars and courses or hire me directly to help you take your next step - I can help you achieve your new years' resolutions for career, education and more! Happy Hunting!
Before the holidays kick off in full swing, I wanted to send out this new VLOG. Check it out and enjoy your holiday weekend! Be back with more new content on Monday! Happy Holidays & Happy Hunting!
Simply check out your LinkedIn profile and follow these quick steps. If you would like to do more, contact me about my 14-step improvement process for LinkedIn Profiles here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/store/p5/LinkedIn_Review_and_Edit_.html
My quick advice:
What do you think of these quick tips? Have you tried any of them? Happy Hunting!
I just wanted to take a minute to talk something that can be tricky for some people – that of achieving their college degree after the age of 22. For many, it is something that is a challenge because their careers and or lives took a different path than others. Today we have a very high level of college graduates but there are still people for whom life got in the way and they did not complete their requirements, course work or maybe did not even start a college degree program.
I happen to be extremely lucky that I completed my BS and MBA before 22. And even luckier that I did my MBA in Rome, Italy with St John’s University as a Graduate Assistant.
For those who have not been as lucky or for whom life has just gotten into the way, I want to talk about going back to school after being out of school for a while (or maybe never starting).
I have been an adjunct since 2003 and for some classes, I taught students balancing working full time and/or family life and trying to finish their degrees. I have always been understanding for those students as I try to be for all students, of course.
For those of you considering as your New Year’s Resolution getting back to finish (or start) that degree, I want you to know that it is possible to balance but it can be tricky. It pays to be honest with your Professors and let them know you are balancing school and work. It is not good to lay it on too think, though, especially because some adjuncts are also balancing tons of stuff – although an adjunct will have more understanding perhaps than a tenured faculty who is teaching for many years and maybe forgot what Corporate America can be like (no offense; I hope to be a tenured faculty someday, too…)
Even if you never “use” it; there are many people who have found their careers stagnate because they never received their BS or BA degree. Even just having an Associates is not always enough. I recently met a potential client who has associates degree only and I was talking with him about going back to get the BS. It means everything to yourself and your potential future – and it is something that can never be taken away from you. It becomes a part of you and will always help and not hurt. In other words, the only potential downside is if you pick a school you cannot afford. If you find a school that fits your budget and has the degree that will hopefully lead to your next step, what are you waiting for – go for it! If you are not sure where your next step is or should be, consider a liberal arts major to just get that piece of paper.
If you already started the journey back to your degree, congratulate yourself and hang in there. If you did not start it yet, feel free to reach out to me for advice, questions or just words of encouragement. Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions or other information about continuing your education. It might never be the “right” time but now is a great time to go for it! Happy Hunting!
While shopping for everyone’s must have items for the holidays, do not give up on your job shopping for your new next step. Also, when you have a few days "off" from work (maybe), spend some time catching up with my #profadvice on managing your career and more.
If you are shopping for a new job, try not to get disappointed with the lack of communication as you will probably not hear back from anyone because the holidays are so busy for everyone. Do not get discouraged; understand that most every office goes to half-staff either planned or on accident because everyone is more focused on planning their events and fun stuff for the holiday season. That being said, do not give up on your search because it is possible that your resume will be seen right after the holidays. Early spring is a great time to find a new job because once the holidays are over and the New Year has officially begun, people are thinking about achieving the rest of their performance goals by the year-end for their particular companies.
Ways to be ready to be on the top of everyone’s minds for the new jobs opening up is to consider following these quick tips for holiday job shopping:
If all of my content and lessons have spoken to you, please check out my seminars being offered at Wagner College to help you prepare to take your next step: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-workshop/
Have a great holiday and spend some down time catching up with my content, lessons learned and videos to help you prepare for finding your next step in your career. Happy Hunting!
I wanted to jot down some of my discussion points for my upcoming seminars at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning. Here is a snippet of some of my Prof Advice on how to be poised to move up in your career; either within your company or outside of it.
What do you think of some of these items? Have you done any and had success? Have you done any and not found success? Let me know in the comments, via chat or via twitter. Happy Hunting!
As you are preparing your new year resolutions, think about your career and how you can get to that next step. Have you been enjoying your work? Is every day an adventure? Is every day a (good) challenge? Is there more for you at your company? Are you too entrenched in your position – like when people talk about you they say the “ABC Guy” so everyone knows you as your role?
It can be very hard to move on when you ARE your role. Any role I ever had the first thing I did was write an operations manual on how to do said job and as I wrote it, I improved on the role and added to it but not too much that it would become my next role but to have a training manual and a plan for the next person to take over so that I could move on the something bigger and different. When I worked in corporate America, I was always planning and thinking about my next move and it is much the same right now with my own business. I am always thinking about how to grow my business, how to share my business and how to move things forward. Do you do that with your career?
How do you get ready to move on to a new and better opportunity? How do you make your higher ups know you are ready for a new challenge and /or interesting in being promoted or rewarded? You cannot just tell them; you have to show them. Do you know how to show this?
One great way to show you are ready to move up and on in your current company is by working on your own career goals and focusing on things such as training to help you do this. I am offering some great career based training at Wagner College in the spring (see links below for the Project Management training program and test preparation for the PMP exam courses) but I am not the only "class" in town. There are lots of training and other skill based programming you can take to make yourself more marketable and more worthwhile to the company you currently work at or even to other companies, too.
If you are interested in figuring out how to move on, I am offering a seminar on How to Take Your Next Step that includes positioning, interviewing tips and more on how to get to manage your career. One thing I do for all of my clients, whether via the seminars or one on one through my website, is to map out a career plan with their input as my own particular brand of coaching based off of my experiences as a professional and a professor helping many people launch, create and redirect their careers.
What do you do when you are ready to move up and on? How do you prepare yourself? Do you know the tricks on how to prepare for your next step? Happy Hunting!
Despite having been an entrepreneur for many years, this is the first time I am really running this business like a large company. What do large companies do over the holiday season? They send packages and / or small gifts / magnets etc to clients, business partners, and more. I am working on sending some lovely platters of food from Not Just Bagels (another small business located here on Staten Island) to my colleagues at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning. I am even getting a small platter to bring to my children’s music lessons teachers and of course sending stuff to my children’s school, too to thank the teachers and staff for a great year.
Other people are getting my magnets (if you want one, register your address with my Website and I will send you some magnets with the year 2016 mapped out for you, too) with a note of good cheer.
I remember at any corporation I worked for, we would get the corporate holiday card and sometimes the corporate holiday sponsored party. My first holiday party was such a fun time; I won the DVD player with the raffles we did and everyone was upset because I was the newest employee and had won the best gift of the night … I remember offering to put it back up for raffle and I think that was how I walked out of there with the prize and some newfound colleagues who grudgingly said, “Ah, you work the hardest so you deserve it.” It was an off the record compliment that meant a lot to me and I am remembering it 15+ years later…
Please keep in mind this holiday season the key to surviving your office holiday party is to not get drunk. End of story. Do not drink too much, at the minimum. Some other quick professional tips for enjoying your holiday work parties, whether it is your first party or your 20th are:
Have fun and be merry / holiday / festive but remember that for many an office party is just something that adds stress and anxiety as you need to (or should) behave a certain way. A lot of companies discontinued these types of events but if you are still scheduled to be at one, try to be professional, network and have fun. Happy Holidays and Happy Hunting!
I constantly balance running a small business with my other career(s) as well as with my personal life. It is an interesting balance. It is one that I have been doing (on and off) for over a decade. Here is what I learned about how to become an entrepreneur:
"Just Do It"
Not to steal from Nike, but the idea is to just do it. Think about what it is you have to offer the world – be it a product or a service and then think about how to offer it. There are so many options with technology today for small businesses, which I have created a post (or two) about already. You can have a website up and running with integrated e-commerce capabilities faster than you would believe.
This and all other aspects of going from zero to launch are covered in my course Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning. I am skilled at teaching and doing these topics. I have helped small business owners become small business owners. In fact, I have even helped some undergrads conceive, develop and launch their own businesses over the last 10+ years as an adjunct. I have always pushed my students to present (as you well know if you read my blog) and to make things actionable, interesting and potentially lucrative, I have had them create their own business plans and “launch” their own businesses.
Some students did it just to get the “A” but some of them did it to really have a “back up” plan and some did it to shock me - the first year I did this, one of my students started his own p*rn site. I should have known that would be an option and I learned to have a list of the companies that could NOT be created/ presented after that experience!
I treated my classes like mini-incubators to get them thinking and launching these initiatives. I have even gone so far as to push some of them to get patents on their ideas because the ideas have been that innovative and that amazing. I even did this as a student; when I was an MBA student in Rome and my group had to invent something. We "invented" a wireless mouse for computer use. This was in 1999 and I do not think it existed yet but we set up a business plan and a production model and more. It got us an "A" and years later we met to talk about it and we realized one person from our group was missing... so we tend to think that missing person actually patented the idea and is retired in Belize or something... But, I digress.
When I teach, these are all college students who come up with real plans and some actually execute them. I also do this as a consultant through my business and have helped people launch and / or plan to launch their businesses. Imagine what you could accomplish if you decided to take your years (however many) of real work experience, life experiences and more and package that into your new business – your journey into entrepreneurship can begin in 2016 with a very experienced guide/teacher if you register soon!
What do you think about being an entrepreneur? What would you want to launch? Happy Hunting!
Managing your own business requires you to manage growth in your business, as needed. Sometimes you start slow and grow slowly. Other times you start and grow quickly. No matter what you need to be flexible and ready for anything (as best as possible).
The best way to do this is to have a business plan and have it be a living document. What does this mean? If you have a business plan, we are in very good shape. If you do not have a business plan, check out my quick tips on how to create a business plan included here, too.
To create a business plan, follow these simple steps:
To keep your business plan live and active, consider these tips and advice from this entrepreneur since 2004:
What do you think about my advice on business plans? If you are interested in learning more, please consider joining my course at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning by registering here: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/entrepreneurship/.
This weekend is my birthday. I love my birthday. I have always loved my birthday but even more now that I am getting older. You see, I love getting older. I know that is bizarre for anyone, most probably even more so because I am a female. But I love getting older.
I think it is because I have always felt my age held me back. I was one of the youngest MBA students in Rome, Italy at St John’s when I got my MBA. I was called the “bambina” and although it was sweet, I did not like it at all. I wanted to be the “vecchia” and not the “bambina”.
When I started my career at Merrill Lynch, I wanted to be older. I pretended to be older. When my birthday came around, my manager was so sweet and got me a cupcake and asked how old I was and when I said 23, she said she forgot because I acted so mature… I was not acting, though. I was born an old soul.
I have always been waiting for the time when I could represent a career and share my lessons learned and be able to really share. Recently, when subbing at a local school, the professional development was given by someone who has taught for over 40 years and I found myself jealous – of their stories, of their longevity and of just their career and lessons learned.
That is a weird thing to be jealous of because I guess that means I also want to be in my 60’s. As I close out my 38th year, I realize that I rounded up to 39 almost a year ago. I never experience my age because as soon as the day after my birthday comes, I round up. I have been doing this for as long as I can remember.
In honor of my upcoming year change, I wanted to reflect on my journey. I am still surprised at what I can accomplish, what I have accomplished and what I have still left to do. I am not where I thought I would be but I am happy where I am; and I think for any of us, that is all that really matters.
I have found a way that works for me to balance my skills and what I can share regarding lessons learned, content and to be an educator while still focusing on my family and what I need to do at home. It is not easy and there are trade-offs. There is more I could be doing if I did not do the pick up, drop off, taxi service, homework help and more that I do – but it is part of what makes me feel so fulfilled as a person is this role as “mom” – it is my first “job” / priority and more.
Still, though, with all of that, I am able to manage, promote and grow this business. I can use my iPhone or my laptop on the go to add content, share things and create videos and more when I am in my “downtime”. I can use my degrees to be an educator at the local colleges to have a “career” (even without my doctorate). I can also be a teacher in K-12 as I prepare to be certified in math grade 7-12 in NYState. There is a lot of movement and growth going on and whereas some people would say, “Well, almost 40, you should be settled or give up” I say no way! Life is about learning and growing and I am so happy that every day, I can do both. I love getting older and am so happy to celebrate this year’s birthday with a successful, growing business that allows me to continue to grow professionally while I can also be around and do the things I love to do with my family.
I will not be Jack Benny and stay “39” forever; in fact by Monday, 12/14, I will be officially saying I am 40! So if / when you see me, don’t say I look young and don’t call me bambina - I relish getting older and being able to stand up and use my wisdom, lessons learned and more to help others with their careers, next steps and more! Find out more below on what I am doing to help people take their next steps! Happy Hunting!!
There is so much to share on interviewing and I wanted to build out a little more on the act of interviewing, more so than just how to answer one specific question. The ability to shine on an interview is all in your hands, if you can make a connection with the interviewer(s), the job is (potentially) as good as yours. One way to make an connection with an interviewer is with the usage of the coined word "bragalogue" or in telling stories to detail the answer to a specific question that shows your abilities and people skills all wrapped up into one package.
When answering questions, try the following tips to be personable and friendly by maintaining eye contact and smiling. For the questions that detail your abilities, try to tell stories. Make your stories poignant, funny, self-deprecating and more in varying degrees. Do not make them all have the same tone – provide a level of entertainment to the interviewing process, if you are skilled at telling a funny story. If you are not good at telling funny stories or worry about keeping the story straight, practice it so many times until it becomes like second nature to you to tell these stories. Do not tell stories for every question asked and also watch your time. Do not drone on and on about the intricate details of XYZ project but instead, if you are using this project to detail your toughest decision (for example), then just focus on the part that was the tough decision and then gently allude to the overall results of the project.
The questions you should answer with a story or a bragalogue are the ones that require showcasing how well you can do this (new) job. So when asked to talk about your greatest success, use a bragalogue. Detail how you succeeded and why. I always had a myriad of stories for answering the “story” questions, such as:
I will say that you should not use a "story" answer for every interview question because I would be cautious of seeming like a story telling entertainer and not a potential employee. I think there is a balance for every bragalogue or story that you tell, to also have quicker and succinct answers that hit the interviewer’s main interest. Try to understand what that interest is – it goes around the type of position and also the culture of the company.
There is a balance to interviewing that includes listening and responding to cues from the interviewer. It is something that can be taught but some people instinctively know how to react to others. My upcoming seminars with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning will give intensive interviewing bootcamp style training on how to be ready for your next step, click below to find out more and to join me in early 2016 to be ready for your next step. Also, I have written blog posts about using body language on an interview and also other interviewing tips; check out my category “Interviewing tips” here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/category/interviewing-tips.
So as a recap, use vocal inflections and personal connections with the interviewer while answering. Use the story mechanism to answer some questions but not all. Do not ramble. Keep your answers to a few minutes but not more than 5-7 minutes. It should be a give and take, not a monologue. What do you think about using the story (or bragalogue) to answer interview questions? What are your go-to stories? Happy hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen