Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Café Culture Careers

Work Coach Cafe is one of my favourite career blogs but a big reason I like it so much only struck me the other day.

It's like Central Perk from 'Friends' or the diner from Seinfeld, if such a place could ever exist online for your career.

A place to pull up a (virtual) chair and talk about what's on your mind. You don't need an agenda; You don't have to worry about being preached at; No one will tell you what's best for you or pretend to know your situation.

Sit down, share a story. That's all there is to it.

Work Coach Cafe stands out from its peers because it's more than just a waiting place.

Bus stations, doctors' reception rooms and airport lounges are waiting places. We only visit them to get somewhere else. They're a means to an end. We're not there by choice. We're only there because we have to be.

A waiting place is no place to talk about your career.

Don't get me wrong, there's nothing fundamentally wrong with waiting places. OK, some of them aren't well loved. The carpet might give you electric shocks, the seats can be uncomfortable and there's chewing gum stuck where you're trying to stand up or sit down. But they're just about OK in general because they serve a purpose.

Only because without them we wouldn't get to all those places we want to go.

A hastily assembled montage of 'just-passing-through' places

What I'm saying is this: Your career deserves more than a waiting place.

And you need more than a rushed, 'get-me-somewhere-else' conversation to do your career justice.

Work Coach Cafe is proof there are places where your work/life can be visited and re-visited, and the experience is a pleasant, refreshing one.

We can feel comfortable. We're not being hurried along. We don't have to wish we were somewhere else.

Our careers deserve all this and more.

New places to talk about our careers are appearing and - better still - they're starting to multiply too.


So what's your opinion?

Where do you like to talk about work - online or offline?

Have you ever been to a good waiting place?

What place does work/life fusion make you think of?

I'm keen to hear your thoughts!

All the best for now


Friday, 20 November 2009

Where do you want your career to go?

This is my favourite career question.

It respects your opinion
It asks you to look ahead
It wants what you want

There's real positivity in this question.

Even if you're not feeling on top of the world, this question can help you set that aside and think about what's possible for a moment.

We can't always give a zinger of an answer when it comes to career questions but this one won't let us escape with a downbeat response when others might.

No one wants bad things for their career.

Good things have permission to shine through with this question.

Where you are and where you want to be may be closer than you think

Plenty of career questions ask what you've learned from other people but this one doesn't let you off so lightly. It gives you the space to think and the inspiration to use it.

Other phrasings of this question (Where could your career go? Where should your career go? Where would you like your career to go? etc.) feel a bit wooly and uncertain in comparison.

I like this question a lot and plan to use it a lot more in the future, starting right now.


Do you like being asked career questions?

Is there a career question you like better?

Are there any career questions you don't like?

Where do you want your career to go?

After all these questions, I'm looking forward to some answers...

Have a great weekend wherever you are!


Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Who is That Guy?

You know the guy I'm talking about. He's usually on the cover of a book with a smile on his face and a gleam in his eye.

He's got neat hair and white teeth too. And he really, really wants you to be successful. But how important is your personal success to that guy?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying he wants you to do badly. I actually believe he wants you to do well. That guy knows what's best for you but there's one thing he can't know, and that's what you want.

That guy will probably sue me*

Figuring out what you want is a big part of career success. That guy did it his way but success at work might mean something different for you. You might value things differently. You might enjoy different things. You may have different priorities when it comes to grooming.

That guy won't ask what you want and really listen to the answer. But he's not all bad. It's not his fault. He is trying to help after all. And there's a great deal we can learn from him about figuring out what we want and getting motivated. He did that successfully after all.

We know his individual story but what of our own?

Maybe it's not up to that guy to ask us this question. Maybe it's up to us to find out more for ourselves.

Why not make it your business to find out what you want. Ask questions and explore your career for yourself. Find individual answers and make important discoveries based on your experience.

Questions like:

What's important to me?
What am I good at?
What keeps me going?
When did work last give me a good feeling?
Where should my career go in the future?

Share your career answers, ideas and questions below if you want to. Jump to That Guy's defence if he has helped your career move forward.

I want to hear what you have to say. That Guy doesn't have a monopoly any more.

All the best for now,


[*Disclaimer: Any resemblance between the above photograph of my Uncle Brian and any persons living or dead is entirely coincidental.]

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

What's stopping you?

If we're not careful, we can spend our careers wondering...

Can it be done?
Is it possible?
Can I do it?
What happens if I fail?

But - if you were careful - could you wonder like this instead...

It can be done.
It is possible.
I can do it.
Whatever happens I'll learn something.

What difference would it make to your career if you could?

Inspiration is like a beautiful sunset.
You don't have to be in a beautiful place to experience it.

All the best for now


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Fill the Void

Ending a job starts one of the biggest changes of routine most of us are ever likely to experience.

The place you visited every day of the week disappears overnight. It doesn't matter if you chose to leave or the choice was made for you, a change of routine like this hits just as hard.

Most of the things you did for your job [your - Ahem - skills that pay the bills] are put on ice temporarily. Colleagues and workmates are no longer with you everyday. The guy you bought your coffee or sandwich from, the lady who knew what paper you like, the ticket collector or car park attendant you greeted at the top and bottom of every day. They're all still there but now you're somewhere else.

So where does all this change leave you? What new routine do you adjust to? What are you doing with all of your time? Can anything possibly fill a void like this overnight?

Lots of space to fill: Worry or Opportunity?
[Wailea Horizon - courtesy of Rosa Say on Flickr]

If you're looking for a new job right now, you might have heard it said that, 'looking for a job is a full-time job' but have you ever found this to be true? Has anyone ever found this to be true?

When's the last time the person telling us this spent 8 hours a day at their computer, at the library, on the telephone, reading the job pages of newspapers and everywhere else a job search takes us? Even that 'full-of-good-advice' well-meaning person would have to admit that as a new routine, 'making your job search your new job' isn't a patch on the old one.

What you fill the void with - whatever it is - is up to you. And no-one does it overnight. No matter what they say.

Adjusting to change as big as this takes time and needs a steady, determined approach. You can adjust and you can build a new routine and it can start on day one. But it will work best for you when it's built on small, gradual steps to get your career back on track. You'll do all of things you already know you have to do. You'll also learn plenty of new things along the way. And you can do it without all that pressure and expectation on your back.

The steps we take to adjust to a new routine might seem small and insignificant at first but they all add up. And they can add up to something that fills the void when a job disappears overnight.

Pick a question if talking about voids has got you in the mood:

What helped you get back to work when you were searching?
What big changes did you face after leaving your job? How did you handle them?
What did changing jobs teach you about your career?
What new routine are you adjusting to right now?

Comment below and join the conversation...

All the best for now,