Our country is at a crossroads, and I feel it is time to talk and share more. I’ve been inspired by the idea recently that’s it’s not simply enough to “not be racist” but we are called to be “anti-racist”.  I’ve also been affected by the phrase “White Silence = Violence.” I was reminded of the video I am inviting you to watch by a colleague this week. The video affected me profoundly a few years ago when I saw it at the Middle Atlantic Career Counseling Association conference. Click here for the video which also contains an article with additional insights.

Over many years my church has discussed the uncomfortable and initially foreign concept of white privilege. This video illustrates it in a profound manner. I also realize there are issues with the video. When I first saw it, I wondered whether there was sufficient professional processing of what could be a traumatic event for the black students featured in the video.  An article I read recently questioned whether students gave permission, ideally before and after. Another article pointed out that since the video was more about the symptoms of white privilege and not the systemic structures and history that cause it, this gives a quite limited view.

I humbly share that I think this is a good “starting place” on our “marathon” of addressing our history of slavery and racism that still impacts our country today.  I feel that it is by touching hearts and hearing stories that we can move forward on our necessary journey of healing, our journey honoring the oneness of humanity and dignity of every human being. Synchronicity has me sharing this on Juneteenth, a commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States, June 19, 1865.

I wait and wonder

               For those who are furloughed

               Will I go back? Should I look?

               How I ache for the familiar that I took for granted

               Even the parts I hated.

I wait and wonder

               For those whose jobs may be insecure

               Am I next?

               In the meantime, I feel guilty as a survivor

               Even if I don’t like my job.

I wait and wonder

               For those whose jobs have ended

               What can I find in these turbulent times?

               I’m not sure where I fit and what to do.

               Even if I’m motivated.

I wait and wonder

               For those who have been unhappy

               How can I change now?

               Maybe I better just hang on

               Even if I’m beyond ready.

I wait and wonder

               For those who are happily employed.

               How can I process this turmoil?

               I feel privileged as well as overworked

               Even as I feel grateful.   

I wait and wonder

               For those essential workers on the front line

               How long can I do this?

               It is taking its toll

               Even as I know it is important work.

I wait and wonder

               For those who own small businesses

               Will I need to close my doors?

               I can’t bear to face lost dreams and lost faces

               Even if I worked more than I wanted.

I wait and wonder

               For those working at home with children

               How can I do justice to both jobs?

               I feel like I’m not doing enough

               Even when I’m doing my best.

Rise up to self-awareness and self-care.

Rise up to learning and loving

Rise up to hope and help

Rise up to compassion and courage

               You are not alone.


By Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA, 2020, Litzinger Career Consulting, www.KarensCareerCoaching.com

Permission granted for reprinting with this byline.

I love that so many alternatives to New Year’s resolutions are emerging. For decades I have done a yearly reflection and set intentions and a theme.  This year I am writing a full page of an affirmation daily in a special notebook (inspired by Louise Hay) relating to my theme. Since manifesting involves feeling and faith, I verbally say the affirmations with emotion as I write; if I need help believing it, I recall a time in the past when I was in that space. My theme for 2020 is Manifesting Abundance and Joy Joyfully.

Three of my affirmations this year have been:

-I serve people with authentic love and prosper.

-I welcome financial abundance from Infinite Source.

-I am already prosperous and create more.

This notebook exercise is a self-designed 10-week course related to financial prosperity, though, abundance means more, of course, than money: good health, love, friendships, etc. My home equity loan for a $10,000 roof last year has been a personal motivator!

A few years ago, I created an affirmation from a five-step process that was quite helpful when I said it daily with emotion and belief. I share it with you as an example in case prosperity is on your intention list this year:

“I attract financial abundance of all types, including work that is of service to others, effortless, and deeply meaningful to me and uses my gifts optimally.”

It has been invigorating to read prosperity wisdom from many sources, which come from deep spiritual and psychological perspectives.  It is also exciting to think about how I can use more of my prosperity to bring joy to others as well as me.

I wish you inspiration and insight as you create and manifest intentions that bring you joy this year!

P.S. If you know anyone who wants to be happier in their career/job or more successful their job search, I am grateful for referrals.

Being from Pittsburgh I have always been proud of and inspired by Fred Rogers. Though I was a few years too old to fully enjoy his show, I felt connected and cried when he died in 2003. When I think of Fred Rogers, I think of kindness. I loved the book, The World According to Mister Rogers, and was further inspired when I saw the documentary about him last month. If we could all embody that kindness maybe there wouldn’t need to be business etiquette or civility training.   Read on to be inspired by a brief selection of quotes by Fred Rogers.

I hope Fred Rogers continues to inspire us for many decades. So the next time you get impatient with a coworker or customer, are tempted to send an angry email or text, or don’t know what to say, ask yourself, “What Would Mister Rogers Do?”

If you missed Won’t You Be My Neighbor, you can see it on Netflix. And be on the look-out for the movie, You Are My Friend starring Tom Hanks, currently being filmed in Pittsburgh.

Since I was in North Carolina this month visiting family and walking on the beach, I’m inspired to share and repost an article I wrote in 2016 following an earlier visit.  Perhaps it can help you if you are in search of the elusive “perfect” career (or perfect anything) and encourage you to tap into your intuition.

Repost from June 2016:

I was recently in North Carolina for my great-niece’s college graduation and received some insights on perfection and intuition. After a nice meal we all meandered along the beach. Naturally I started looking for sea shells.  With being mid-day, the pickings were slim.

I picked up one smooth amber shell that was lovely. But it wasn’t a complete shell, so I kept looking.
Next was a pock-marked amber shell.  Wow, so cool and intriguing. I wasn’t sure I’d seen anything like it. But where was that whole, ideal shell?
There it was, the next one…whole and perfect…and surprisingly boring. But surely this is the one I want, the one I was looking for.
The final black smooth shell was a contrast and much more interesting and exciting. Could it be that I like this and the other two imperfect partial shells better than the perfect one I sought and found?
Perhaps you are in search of the perfect career? Perfect job? Perfect mate? Perfect pet? (yes, I’m looking for another doggie now).  Intellectually we know there is no perfect answer or decision. Sometimes we find something different than we were looking for, and it is just right (like the 11 year old dog, Tika,  I adopted when looking for a 3-5 year old).
So even though it is good to have goals and ideals, it is also good to be open to what might present itself. Sometimes the quest for perfection could cause a person to not make progress or a decision.  An answer may come with that quiet voice of intuition that tugs at you and takes you perhaps to someplace unexpected.

A person can succeed at almost anything for which they have unlimited enthusiasm.” Charles M. Schwab, American Steel Magnate

The happiest and most successful people usually are pursuing something passionately. Employers want an employee with “fire in their belly.” Your job search could be a crossroads to pursue a “calling” which is actually the root word of vocation. Often we made early career and job choice with little guidance. A career change can be complicated, yet the rewards can be vast.

Reflect on trends in what you read, what you do when not required, and what gives you energy. Think about your past and notice patterns. Get help from a career counselor if your mind is spinning. Ask yourself, if not now, when?

Perhaps you’ll decide you can’t or don’t want to explore a new career passion now for financial or other reasons. At least bring that passion into your life whether via a class, hobby or community activity. It may be fulfilled in many ways whether for yourself or as an offering to the world.

I honor my passions whether in a career or personally.

Copyright 2018, Karen Litzinger, excerpt from in progress book, Inspiration for Job Seekers. Feedback is welcome at Karen@KarensCareerCoaching.com.  This excerpt may be shared with the entire credit blurb, www.KarensCareerCoaching.com.

Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.” -Hasrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A. S.

If we didn’t have darkness we couldn’t experience and appreciate light. Of course, we don’t want stay in the darkness that may come with aspects of career transition, nor would we wish it on anyone.  Yet it is an understandable reality.

Sometimes anxiety or depression can overwhelm us.  Allow yourself to loosen the grip of dark times to enable you to move through it.  See and greet it as a visitor who will eventually leave. Perhaps even ask powerful questions, such as “what can I learn from you” or “how can I lessen your impact?” Listen quietly.

Often energy can be shifted by taking a small step of action.  Perhaps it could be sending a networking email or hitting the apply button on a vacancy.  Equally as important are steps for self-care, such as exercise, an inspirational reading, a favorite song or a warm bath. Or take a small step to bring light to someone, even if simply a caring word to a cashier or a thank you note for a networking meeting.  That may help invite light in and lift some darkness.

If you are in that dark space too long, then consider professional assistance to help shift your heart, mind, and spirit to enable continued healing and career progress.  Eventually the light will shine again and then you can shine your own light to help others. And just maybe your darkness will add depth to allow you to better help others whether in your career or personal life.

 

I accept darkness as part of the human condition and take steps to move forward.

©2017, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA. May be reproduced or linked to with this statement and where possible a live link. Litzinger Career Consulting provides career coaching and speaking services. Info at KarensCareerCoaching.com

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” — Buddha

You may wonder “How can I be thinking about gratitude when I’m in a cloud of career confusion or buried in rejections or deafening silence from applications.”  This is when you need gratitude the most as a coping tool and to help give you perspective. When we focus on lack, it creates negative energy that can paralyze our actions and repel people who may be able to help us.

Each day look for things that are positive.  It could be something small like a beautiful sunset, a favorite food, an email from a friend, or a special moment with your child or pet.  Maybe there could be things about your search process you can be grateful for, such as an email reply, a job prospect, or a networking meeting even if only 5 minutes of it was helpful.  Perhaps there is even something to be grateful for about being in the midst of the search itself, whether getting to spend more time with family due to a job loss or recognizing your courage to explore a new direction.

Consider starting a gratitude journal writing down five short bullets about what you are grateful for each night before you go to bed.  If you’re stuck, then write down that you have a bed to sleep in or a roof over your head.  The next morning before getting out of bed think of one thing you are grateful for, and that can change the course of your day.

Each day I notice things and people I am grateful for.

While hanging out on the porch of Angel House in Lilydale, I enjoyed striking up a conversation with Adrienne who was vacationing with her daughter.  While I naturally didn’t start the conversation with the typical “what do you do” somehow chatting led to her sharing a bit of her work history (I guess that’s not uncommon that a career counselor’s conversation goes in that direction).

It turns out she recently retired now in her mid-eighties. [Full disclosure is that although I wrote down some notes, in my unpacking I can’t find them, so some editorial license here.]

She had actually retired already as an office worker. Then through conversation at a church activity with the Catholic Daughters of America, she started up again part-time though she wasn’t actually looking to. (Remember NETWORKING happens at all ages, and actually is the best strategy if you have a challenge such as age or gap in work history.)

I think she said she had been retired for seven years when she went back to work. I asked her why she decided to come out of retirement: She said she likes to keep busy!  Well, maybe that’s what keeps her so active and alert!  We met as she was doing a crossword puzzle and shared that she does a 40 minute walk daily.  I think that was the answer to my question of what keeps her so young!

May you be inspired to stay active and young at heart like Adrienne! And if you’d like some help doing that happily at a job, please contact me.

Welcome to the first blog entry of my completely revised, spiffy website! Thank you for your interest in my take on career planning and business etiquette to help people be more confident and competent in this aspect of life. Besides practical tips and information, I also like to share stories that can educate and inspire. So I would like to share links to five of my favorite older newsletter posts that are important to me or don’t quite lend themselves to be rewritten, yet still could be useful.

Take Your Passion and Make it Happen

Thank You Notes: My Etiquette Take on a Post Office Sign

Student Loan Forgiveness

Is a Degree Worth It?

Perfection Reflection and Intuition Insights