Career & Coffee

Resume Writing, Job Search, Industry News and Erin’s weekly musings on all things career.

When to Walk Away from a Job June 7, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Erin's Musings,Job Search — erinkennedy @ 12:50 am

I was listening to a client recently tell me how she is in this job that she hates. The boss is horrible to her and she now has ulcers, which she (and her doctor) suspect comes from the job stress. She doesn’t want to quit because she is afraid of not being able to find another comparable job.

Even in this tough economic climate we’ve been faced with this past year, there are times when you have to JUST SAY NO and walk away from a job.

Speaking from an experience back in my early 20’s, I can tell you why…

Recently laid off from my pharmaceutical sales job, I found an ad in the paper with the words “Sales Representatives Needed” screaming out at me. Not that I even liked sales. I didn’t, but at the time, I didn’t know what else I would be good at, so I stayed with it.

I arrive at the meeting place, a hotel lobby, around 6:00am and met the DM and two other reps. They start talking about what entrance they thought they’d be able to get in through. A small warning bell went off in my head, “Why can’t we just use the front door?” I ask naively. They all sort of looked at each other and chuckled…”new kid”. “They don’t let us in the front door, they don’t like ’solicitors’ so we find our own way in” chuckle, chuckle, wink, wink.

We get on the road and head over to this company that manufactures chemicals. The DM insisted we sneak in through the back door that says,’Authorized Personnel Only’. I didn’t like this one bit. First, OK, I am a very polite person… I like to be invited places, not sneaking in to a place–especially potential clients. The only time I ever tried to “sneak” in anywhere was a Def Leppard concert when I was a teen–and even then, my good manners told me it wasn’t the right thing to do. But I digress.

 So, short of skin tight black spandex from head to toe, I felt like I was on Mission Impossible (hear the theme song in your head?) creeping through the side entrance and hiding behind boxes until we could “come out” of our hiding spot. Seriously. Keep in mind that I am in a skirt, pantyhose, high heels, and a brand-spanking new white blouse. I didn’t think that I would be slinking around oily plant floors when I dressed for my new job that morning. That is how unethical these people were. Slinkers. My new word.

Now I am thoroughly embarrassed, hating these slinkers, and wanting to leave, but with no ride and not really knowing where I was, I was stuck–and with them for the entire day.

We try to act as if we belong as we brazenly come out from our hiding spots and waltz along the shop floor.

Until we are stopped by the shop superintendent, who didn’t want to hear what we were trying to sell, utterly disgusted that we snuck in, and marched us out the front door. I was very happy and nodded to everything he said, giving him my very best, ‘this is my first and last day of this awful job and I’m chalking this up as a terrible experience, sorry to bother you’ look.

This went on with 4 other “prospects” who all kicked us out. I was SO happy when that day was over.

I have never quit a job without another one lined up. In fact, I’ve never NOT worked since I was 15 years old. But in that instant, I knew I was never coming back. I had been listening to my instincts tell me from the minute I got there that it was all wrong, it wasn’t the job for me, that I would be miserable there. For once, I didn’t stick it out. I didn’t say, “OK, see you all tomorrow!”. I left.

It was the best feeling in the world and I was so grateful to not have to go back.

So, my point is this:  if you go to a job that makes your skin crawl, that goes against everything you believe in, or you are getting treated poorly, LEAVE.

I am the first to think, “desperate times calls for any ole’ job’, but there are lots of other jobs out there that are less painful and cause much less stress. Think of your mental and physical health if you are going to a place of work that you despise. It’s not good for you. I am a firm believer in the mind+body connection. If you are miserable, your health will start to deteriorate and THEN how are you supposed to work?

 

Brand New Website! May 19, 2009

Brand New Web Site                                           

I have been MIA lately… it’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog, I really have, it’s just that I’ve been doing something really exciting and had to wait until it was completed until I could blog again. It was worth the wait.

I launched a new website.

It’s been a long time coming.

For those of you who had to double check what you spelled when you realized the page you were on looked nothing like my old site, it really is the same company, Professional Résumé Services.

We’ve improved!!

I’ve had a vision in my head for a long time of what I wanted my new site to look like, but kept putting it off because it seemed like a lot of work, time, money, effort, work, time, time, time…

Then I met Carl Chapman.

Not only is Carl an SEO expert, designer and all around nice guy, but he also creates very cool websites. I took a look at a couple of sites he’s created and thought… SOLD! He has made this a very painless process and took over all of the work I thought I’d have to do (my old web host really didn’t do a thing for me except charge me a lot each month in fees—buh bye!). I like not having to think all of the time on what I could be doing to improve my site. We are all busy, so you can relate. I’ve never delegated a thing in my life. But hiring Carl has been wonderful. Ahhhhh.

So, now I have this new website that showcases what I offer, is fun to look at, and easy to maneuver through. Plus, I’ve been able to add things to the site I always wanted and it has allowed me to expand my product and services offerings.

Having said that, I hope you stop by my site and let me know what you think of it.


Here is the link:     http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com

Until next time…

 

B.R.B. or Hang Tight! May 2, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 11:34 pm

Hi everyone! I haven’t abandoned this blog, but have been told not to post anything until I get the “OK”.

 

Somethin’s cookin’ here, but I can’t tell you what it is.

 

You’ll just have to wait and see.

 

I promise you’ll like it, though. I’ve been posting every day, just haven’t published them. Saving them for my big surprise.

 

So, wait for me. OK?

 

Promise?

 

See you soon!  🙂

 

This Llama needs a Job April 23, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 12:10 am

THIS LLAMA NEEDS A JOB


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Meet Sweetpea.

Sweetpea is 5 years old and was born to a life of luxury.

Day in, day out, Sweetpea grazes in the pasture, drinks fresh water from a constantly filled water supply, and eats as much sweet feed, rolled oats and cracked corn as her heart desires.

Sweetpea has a luxurious coat of fleece and fiber, the softest fur you can run your fingers through. She is groomed yearly and has regular checkups. She has produced 2 healthy offspring and is great with (human) children.

Sweetpea needs a job.

She is bored. She paces the fence line, trying to catch the eyes of passing cars by doing her best poses and tricks. She says the past 3 years have been devoted to the care, feeding, and weaning of her babies. She is now ready to work full-time, she wants to contribute… to talk with other “grown ups”.

Together we created her résumé and she was quick to point out her strong points:

1- Leadership. She is the oldest female in the herd and all the others follow her lead.

2- Sales and Marketing. With her quick poses, tricks, head tosses, and trots, people stop to admire her and immediately decide they have to have a llama, hence boosting sales of all llamas ready for purchase.

3- Team Development & Management. She quickly trains her newborns to adapt to the ways of the herd. The other members grudgingly follow her lead and are sometimes not happy about it, but she encourages group synergy by praising accomplishments (proper hay chewing techniques) and motivating them to work harder together (“alright, on three… toss the head to the left, then back to the right… now stretch it to the sky. Just like that. Great job!”).

Sweetpea adds that she is flexible when it comes to pay, but she would lean toward a position that offered fresh veggies daily (versus the old soggy ones in the back of the crisper drawer). Travel is a consideration, but relocation is out of the question.

She looks forward to working with you and says she can be reached by email or on her iPhone.

Thank You.

 

Gen Y — getting a bad rap? April 18, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Erin's Musings,Interviewing — erinkennedy @ 12:44 am
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I’ve had this post tabled in my “draft” box for a while because  it just wasn’t finished. Then today I read Penelope Trunk’s blog, “4 Frequent questions about Gen Y answered” and my brain kicked in.

 

I am wondering if Gen Y is getting a bad rap.

 

For a couple of years now, all I’ve heard about is how the Gen Y generation don’t want to work. They think nothing of quitting a job after a year. Coddled by their parents to the point of complete lack of understanding of the pressures facing them in “the real world”. You have to talk to them gently. They can text, type, talk and listen… all at the same time.

They think it’s OK to come in to work at noon in Berkenstocks and toting an iPod.  And still be the company President in a year.

 

Some employers say it’s frustrating. They are stuck between a rock and a hard place because boatloads of baby boomers are retiring and Gen Y is moving in. They are more technically savvy and can do the work in half the time as their older peers. Their older counterparts are going to have to learn to work with them, if they want to work collaboratively at all.

 

I am seeing it in a different way. I have 4 nieces and nephews (ages 18-22) in college and they are all incredibly hard working (and I’m not just saying that because I adore them). They all held jobs through high school and still in college, while juggling sports, chores, friends, etc. They have turned out to be very respectful young adults and they don’t expect to be given anything. Now perhaps they are in the minority, but judging by their roommates and friends who are doing the same thing, they seem to be in the average.

 

True, Gen Y professionals don’t have the mindset, “stay at your company until retirement”, and rarely will they stay long enough to leave an impact, but in this economy is that such a bad thing? When I was in my teens and early 20’s, my parents kind of gave me the “Oh well, deal with it” shrug if I complained about a job. They also gave me the “You’re not living here if you don’t have a job and are going to college” look/talk. Needless to say I moved out at 21, went to school full time, and worked full time while paying for my own education.  ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

I am so glad I did. What a sense of accomplishment. The kids today are told they can come back to stay. 65% of kids move back home after college and they are OK with it, whereas I would have been mortally embarrassed to face friends AND family if I moved back to Mom and Dad’s. Times are different today. Parents parent differently today and kids expect things from their folks (imagine that!) but that is a whole other story!

 

So, what’s the conclusion to the story? Perhaps we judge too harshly EVERYONE in the Gen Y generation. There are still good, hard working young professionals out there, wanting to find a good job and stay there for many, many years. Not ALL people in their 20’s are “slackers” and reside in the “what’s in it for me?” mentality. Maybe they will help transform the workplace into a more flexible and friendly place to be– while still getting their work done and rescheduling their yoga times to evenings. Who’s to say? Anything is possible.

 

For further reading on Gen Y and what is available in the workforce, go to: http://mashable.com/2009/01/30/generation-y-social-networks/ Dan Schwabel’s Gen Y blog or www.BrazenCareerist.com.

 

Dressing for Career Success (and what NOT to wear) April 9, 2009

I recently commented on the ‘What Would Dad Say’ (jobdig) website where GL Hoffman wrote the interesting post,  “Someone should Say it, so it might as well be me”.

The post was about Megan Joy from American Idol. GL wonders if she was booted off because of her singing, or because of her arm tattoos. Of course I had to reply to that. What was she thinking? She is a beautiful girl, but has this tattoo that runs the entire length of her arm. If not a career in music, who in the world would hire her? Don’t get me wrong. I think some body art can be really beautiful. I’ve seen some tattoos that have wow’ed me. I remember when I was about 20, my girlfriend and I wanted to get tattoos (this was before all the rage, mind you, so we thought we were crazy rebels!). We had just broken up with our boyfriends and wanted to celebrate our independence, I guess. Can’t remember the exact reason now, except that we wanted to get one. (Young, silly and free).

When I told my open-minded mom this, she said: “Well, as long as you can live with it when you are 80 and it is saggy and faded, go ahead. And don’t forget, if you ever plan on getting a job in the ‘real world’, employers will discriminate against you.”

The last part really hit home. Well, both parts did, but I knew that when I was done with college I would have to go out and get a “real job” and didn’t want to wreck my chances by getting a tattoo where a prospective employer might see it.

Whether we admit it or not, covering oneself with tattoos/piercings/body art DOES affect our chances of being hired. I know I am probably angering some folks reading this, but it’s true. I know that any of my executive clients would think twice about hiring someone with tattoos crawling up the neck or one of those gigantic ear things in their ears. I don’t normally think of myself as ‘narrow minded’, but I know when it comes to appropriate dress in the workplace, we need to be as professional as possible.

True, some companies embrace or support body art, but most don’t. Companies strive to maintain a professional front, so hiring someone with a stud through their tongue or in an eyebrow goes against everything the company is trying to do.

Keep in mind when deciding on your next tattoo that you may end up NOT working at the job you want because of your appearance.

 

Ode to Coffee April 1, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 9:09 pm
Tags: ,


As I was sipping my piping hot, freshly ground Starbucks House Blend, I thought, “ahhhh”. I’m not sure what it is about coffee, but I love it. Caffeinated or not, I love coffee (hence the blog name). The smell, the taste, the culture. I need it, have to have it, would hate to live without it.

I am from a family of huge coffee drinkers. My parents always had a pot of it going. I loved the smell, but hated the taste of it (they drank it black). When I was 19, my boyfriend at the time drank it and, wanting to impress him of course, I started as well. My love affair with coffee continued long after college and long after the boyfriend. What a wonderful courtship it has been. I’ve always been happy to drive out of the way to hit a new coffee shop or try out a ‘flavor of the week’. When a Starbucks moved into my sleepy little farming town, WHOA!. You would have thought they put a mega mall in town the way everyone was talking about it.

Besides the wonderful smell and strongly bitter taste, it DOES have some good health benefits. Did you know that some health experts say that people who drink coffee on a regular basis are 80% less likely to develop Parkinson’s Disease? WebMD also goes on to say that it “lowers your risk of diabetes, cavities and colon cancer. It can uplift you and treat headaches.  There’s also some evidence that coffee may help manage asthma and even control attacks when medication is unavailable. Overall, the research shows that coffee is far more healthful than it is harmful,” says Tomas DePaulis, PhD, research scientist at Vanderbilt University‘s Institute for Coffee Studies.

So there’s that.

The reason why I named this blog, “Career and Coffee” is because it seems my career has revolved around coffee. I can always rely on my faithful cup of joe to get me though the next resume, next article, next blog post, and so on. Every job interview I’ve been on, there was a stop to pick up a coffee beforehand. Every workshop I’ve done was with coffee in hand (or somewhere in the room).

Career and Coffee seem to go hand in hand in my life. So, here’s to you coffee!