Carter Visit and Character Survey

When I traveled to Georgia last month to see President Jimmy Carter teach Sunday School, it made me think about the concept of character.

I want to share a bit of my trip and also a link to a free character strengths profile.

When I was researching my trip, I was heartened to see comments from Republicans about admiration for Carter as a person even if they did not agree with aspects of his presidency. I have admired his character and spiritual grounding for many years.  I first saw him when he campaigned at the Beaver Valley Mall and volunteered for his campaign as a senior in high school.  His message at the Sunday School Class was one of love, service and peace.  At 94 he was sharp and witty. If you want to check things out for a pilgrimage/bucket list, go to maranathabaptistchurch@yahoo.com. Plan on a long night.  I arrived at 3:03 AM and was car 35 winning me a seat in the third to last pew. People attending were from across the US as well as international visitors.

In thinking about character in the workplace I wanted to share some research, so here is a link to those of you who may want to delve in.  I moved in a different direction when I enjoyed some synchronicity with a mastermind group of career counselors.  Some of them use the Character Strengths Profile.  From my own experience of taking it, I prefer to address the four core parts of self-assessment (interests, skills, personality, and values…what you want from a job) separately.  The profile combined aspects, and I find it simply a nice self-awareness and self-development tool.

Click here if you would like to take the free 15 minute VIA Institute on Character survey.

As a reminder and motivation for us all about character, I’m listing the core traits as noted by VIA here:

  1. Wisdom: creativitycuriosityjudgmentlove of learningperspective
  2. Courage: braveryperseverancehonestyzest
  3. Humanity: lovekindnesssocial intelligence
  4. Justice: teamworkfairnessleadership
  5. Temperance: forgivenesshumilityprudenceself-regulation
  6. Transcendence: appreciation of beauty and excellencegratitudehopehumorspirituality

Finally, I’d like to close with a quote:

“I have one life and one chance to make it count for something… My faith demands that I do whatever I can, wherever I am, whenever I can, for as long as I can with whatever I have to try to make a difference.”

― Jimmy Carter

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Good Market = Good Time to Explore

A good job market is a good time to explore a career or job change.  Would you like to be happier?  It’s much easier to make a move when you aren’t worried about just hanging onto a job in a bad market.

Pittsburgh has been in the news multiple times this past year for a top job market. In January of this year WalletHub noted Pittsburgh as #15 in its list of Best Places to Find a Job from research of 180 cities.  In October 2018, Glassdoor put Pittsburgh at #1. Click here for the article.

A May 28, 2019 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article gave highlights of more good news. The Pittsburgh region has seen a record low unemployment at 3.8% in April. The good job market has resulted in overall pay rising at 5.4% compared with 1% in PA and 2.5% nationwide. Top growth industries currently are construction, leisure/hospitality, and to a lesser degree, education.

If you’ve been thinking about a next move….if not now, when? I’d be happy to help!

Work and Love Quotes

“Work is love made visible.”

 Khalil Gibran

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Confucius

“Everyone has been made for some particular work, and the desire for that work has been put in every heart.”

Rumi

“Do what you love. When you love your work, you become the best worker in the world.”

Uri Geller

“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.”    

Wayne Dyer

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”     

Steve Jobs

“Pleasure in the job puts perfection in the work.”     

Aristotle

“The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it. “   

Pearl S. Buck

“There comes a time when you ought to start doing what you want. Take a job that you love. You will jump out of bed in the morning.”

Warren Buffet

“Just don’t give up trying to do what you really want to do. Where there is love and inspiration, I don’t think you can go wrong.”

Ella Fitzgerald

“Paul and I, we never thought that we would make much money out of the thing. We just loved writing software.”

Bill Gates

 

“Never continue in a job you don’t enjoy. If you’re happy in what you’re doing, you’ll like yourself, you’ll have inner peace. And if you have that, along with physical health, you will have had more success than you could possibly have imagined.”

Johnny Carson

The people who make it to the top – whether they’re musicians, or great chefs, or corporate honchos – are addicted to their calling … [they] are the ones who’d be doing whatever it is they love, even if they weren’t being paid.”

Quincy Jones

“If it falls your lot to be a street sweeper, go out and sweep streets like Michelangelo painted pictures. Sweep streets like Handel and Beethoven composed music. Sweep streets like Shakespeare wrote poetry. Sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will have to pause and say, here lived a great street sweeper who swept his job well.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

Salary Negotiation: Do It!

Only 55% of people negotiate salary following an offer while 70% of senior managers expect some negotiation.  Candidates are leaving money on the table!  These are survey results from the Robert Half staffing firm released on February 13, 2019, and include 2800 workers and 2800 senior managers. Complete survey: http://rh-us.mediaroom.com/2019-02-13-Survey-55-Percent-Of-Workers-Negotiated-Pay-With-Last-Job-Offer

Women are typically the big losers in the salary negotiation game with only 45% reporting they tried to negotiate pay in their last job offer as compared to 67% of men. Younger job seekers (ages 18-34) are more likely to negotiate than older workers (55+) at the rate of 65% versus 38%.

Workers in coastal metro areas are more likely to negotiate with Miami, San Diego, San Francisco, and New York City topping the list of negotiators in the 70% range.  At the bottom were slightly more Midwest cities of Minneapolis, Cleveland, and my hometown of Pittsburgh, whose job seekers only negotiated 42% of the time.

Negotiation Tips:

  • Challenge your FEAR: It’s highly unlikely an employer will rescind your offer if negotiation is respectful. The worst response may be “I’m sorry, there isn’t any flexibility in our budget.”
  • Do your research: Use resources like Salary.com, Glassdoor.com, and PayScale.com for data on salary ranges, including by location and industry. Supplement this with networking.
  • Delay initial discussion: Don’t mention your salary expectation first during interviews. Sidestep it with “I expect your salary would be competitive with the industry.” or ask “What is the position budgeted for.”
  • Ask for time: If you are caught off guard by a verbal offer, thank the employer and ask for time to think about it stating you may be back in touch with a couple of questions. You can ask for time even after the final offer, reminding the employer that it is a big decision that you, of course, want to consider thoughtfully.
  • Go a bit higher: Ask for at least a few thousand more than your ideal number so you can land on a comfortable number after the employer’s likely counter offer.
  • The ask after the offer: Begin on a positive note, demonstrate research, and highlight a strength. “I’m very excited about the offer and I think we could see during the interviews that we are a good fit.  Based on my market research, your $xxxxx offer is at/below the median for this position, and I’m wondering if there is flexibility for a salary of $xxxxx?  With my background/experience of ________, I’m confident I will be a quick and valuable contributor. “ Stay positive and upbeat.
  • Allow silence: After you make your ask, stop talking and wait for a response.
  • Prepare another ask: If the employer counters about budget or Human Resources policies, consider following up with, “I understand. I’m wondering if there is anyone you could follow-up with to ask about flexibility?”
  • Compensation is more than salary: You may negotiate for vacation, professional development, remote working options, or equipment.  Prioritize what is most important. If you don’t get something, it may give you leverage for something else.
  • End on the positive: Thank the employer for their consideration. Regardless of where things stand, restate your appreciation of the offer, and also your interest in joining the organization if that is so.

Gratitude Meditations and Humor

Perhaps you have some gratitude prayers from your own religious tradition. If not or you are more secular in philosophy, here are a couple to consider for a daily practice from the Robert Emmon book, Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier.

From Garrison Keillor, Prairie Home Companion
Thank you, Lord for giving me the wherewithal not to fix a half-pound cheeseburger right now and to eat a stalk of celery instead. Thank you for the wonderful son and the amazing daughter and the smart sexy wife and grandkids…Thank you for the odd delight of being sixty, part of which is the sheer relief of not being fifty. I could go on and on…List your blessings and you will walk through those gates of thanksgiving and into the fields of joy.

Native American tradition
We thank Great Spirit for the resources that made this food possible;
we thank the Earth Mother for producing it,
and we thank all those who labored to bring it to us.
May the Wholesomeness of the food before us,
bring out the Wholeness of the Spirit within us.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Buddhist teacher
Waking up this morning, I see the blue sky.
I join my hands in thanks
for the many wonders of life;
for having twenty-four brand-new hours before me.

Five Levels of RESPECT

When I was asked to do a full day training on business etiquette and professionalism, I knew I needed to find more meaningful motivation than the hundreds of guidelines and “rules.” My inspiration came in the middle of the night from Aretha Franklin: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. That is what etiquette means to me! As part of my training I highlight 5 Levels of Respect:

Self – Taking time to learn business etiquette and demonstrate professionalism shows respect for you. Shooting from the hip is not allowing you the best opportunity to shine. Sometimes we don’t know what we don’t know.

Customer or Client – This is the level of respect most people think of and try to honor since it is the core of business. If one isn’t respectful to customers or clients, there are usually consequences. People like to do business with those they like and respect.

Coworkers – Treating coworkers with respect not only makes the culture more pleasant, but more productive. Yet with the tension of every day interactions, politics, and pressure, this may be the most challenging level to stay at a high level of respect.

Company/Agency – What an employee says and does reflects on the company and its reputation. This is a responsibility for employees to recognize and for employers to address.

Profession – To the outside public, even in a non-work setting, what you do has an impact on how others view your profession. You may be the only person someone will meet in your line of work and generalizations may be made. You may not care to think of this impact, but it may occur just the same.

Here is another thing RESPECT means to me:

R  emember

E  tiquette

S  o

P  eople

E  njoy

C  aring

T  eamwork

Copyright 2018, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA. Litzinger Career Consulting, Pittsburgh, PA.  May be shared digitally with this by-line and live link to www.KarensCareerCoaching.com.

What Would Mister Rogers Do?

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.

Perfection Reflection & Intuitive Insights

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.

Karen Speaking at March 29 Hiring Pittsburgh Expo

Even if you feel a job fair may not be worth it, I propose that it is valuable even if you just have face to face conversations with two to three employers that you are interested in.  Even if they advise you to apply on-line, at least you have a name for the first sentence in your cover letter.  Even if the company is not currently looking for positions that you are seeking, at least you could do some networking to learn about company culture and organization and perhaps get a name for follow-up.

I invite you to…

HiringPittsburgh 2018 Career Expo

Thursday, March 29, 2018, 11 AM to 2 PM

Duquesne University Power Center Ballroom

Click HERE for details, registration, employer lists and a quick 5 tips to prepare.

I will be speaking at 11:30 on:

Get Out From Behind Your Computer…

…..and Get a Job Through Networking.  Whether you like it or not, it is “who you know” that gets most people hired. Research shows that big Internet job boards have a success rate of only 4-10%. Networking is not asking people you know if they know of any open jobs! And please don’t get caught in the reactive, but tempting, offer of “I’ll pass your resume.” Come to the workshop to find out what you should be doing and saying instead.

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Work Launch Free Programs through Carnegie Library

A way to jumpstart a job search or supplement career coaching is through the four days of programming at four branches of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.  It will include job search strategy sessions, such as tips on LinkedIn and on-line applications, and employer information sessions, including with FedEx, Rivers Casino and Duquesne Light.  The last day of the event is a Career and Community Resource Fair, featuring 20 employers and service agencies.

Registration is not necessary, but recommended.  So even if the registration period ends, you likely can still attend, but you may want to call the branch first to check.

Tuesday, March 20 – Friday, March 23

Click HERE for a link to the four branches and detailed program schedule.

Litzinger Career Consulting can help you use the information with personalized job search and networking coaching, reviews of cover letters and resumes, and video mock interviews.