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Learn the latest best practices on getting, managing, growing and transitioning your career for optimal success in a competitive and fast moving market!

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Viewing posts from: September 2018

From Daydream to Reality; Transition requires Research.

by Joan Tabb in Blog

Dear Joan,

I have just accepted an early retirement package after 25 years of working as an engineer in a high-tech company.

I enjoyed my work but always daydreamed of doing outdoor work, immersing myself in nature and playing a role in preserving our environment. I have been a lifelong birder. I am 55 years old, in good health, my wife continues to work and our kids are grown and on their own. I can afford to take a pay cut but still need to have an income.

Is this ‘daydream’ a flight of fancy or something I should really consider?

I value our thoughts on this.

—Brian the bird lover engineer

Dear Brian,

What would the world be without our daydreams! Some of the best inventions, innovative ideas and remarkable people have started with their dreams!

But does that mean to throw caution to the wind and look to hug trees for a living??? Not necessarily.

I’ve had several clients in your situation and the prudent thing to do is to make a transition and exploration plan.

Identify the key values and work style preferences that drive you. Reflect on the actually skills and strengths you bring to a work environment.

Then begin your research. Look for organizations that support the outdoors and the environment. Set up informational interviews with staff members there. Informational interviews are typically 30 min sessions where you ask to get the inside scoop on a job or profession.

You are not there to ask for a job. You are to prepare some thoughtful questions so you can learn more about what it’s really like to do a job for an organization you are attracted to. Also, assess what your financial income needs will be. Perhaps you might set up a lifestyle where you work part time as an engineer and part time as a volunteer, outdoors, supporting a cause you love. Brian, this is the time for careful planning, exploration and discovery.

It is often the time people come to see a coach to help build and execute on a transition plan that includes accountability and structure. Most folks need that.

Good luck and may your dreams take flight!

—Coach Joan

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Dealing with a Controlling Manager

by Joan Tabb in Blog

Dear Joan,

I’m a lawyer and I’ve always loved my work. I’ve been at the same firm for 8 years and was on track toward being partner within the next couple of years. I’ve earned consistently glowing reviews and pride myself in using good, careful judgement in all of my business dealings and I have a robust and growing client base. The problem started three months ago when I was assigned to work for a new partner in the firm. He is the most controlling manager I have ever had. I can’t make any decisions without him looking over my shoulder.

In fact, he asks me to review, in advance, any and all client communication. It is counterproductive, demoralizing and frankly, I have never been this frustrated and unhappy in my work before. My wife can’t stand to see me this miserable. Should I just quit and look for a new job?

Please help!

—Larry, who at present is a very unhappy lawyer

Dear Larry,

I feel for you. This sounds like a very uncomfortable and difficult situation and unfortunately, one that is not that uncommon.

You and your manager have a style clash. You tend to be an independent worker and he is very high on control. I  suggest that you consider not taking his behavior too personally. Why? He either has been treated this way himself and is modeling familiar behavior or, more likely, he has probably been burned before by subordinates who acted impulsively or improperly and the consequences fell to him.

My suggestion is that you ask to talk to him about the style situation, and how you really want to earn his trust.

Suggest that for the next say 3-week period, you meet with him on a daily basis, and discuss not only your current workload, but communicate your strategies and your thinking in full. Let him get to know you and become comfortable with your judgement and decision making style. Additionally, send him a detailed full status report twice a week with any special concerns, red flags or questions. After that 3-week period, ask for feedback, and if it’s positive, ask him if you can meet less frequently but continue to do weekly detailed status reports.

Larry, I have seen this strategy work, a systematic process of earning trust toward more independence.

Best of luck to you and onward to earning your partnership in the firm.

—Joan, the career coach

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