Washington DC Career Adviser – Jim Weinstein
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Wisdom from Dr. Wayne Dyer

Wisdom from Dr. Wayne Dyer | Washington DC Career Adviser – Jim Weinstein | Scoop.it
Jim Weinstein is one of the best career coaches in Washington DC. As a career counselor in DC, he has helped numerous individuals attain a fulfilling career. Jim is also a life coach and assists people in finding the right balance between their personal and professional commitments. In this article, Jim pays tribute to renowned motivational speaker, Dr. Wayne Dyer, and elaborates on his most famous quote “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”.
  
Wayne Dyer passed away a month ago. He was the author of a chain of dozens of “self-help” books that began with YOUR ERRONEOUS ZONES, published in 1976 and which sold 35 million copies. He was an influential and effective motivational speaker, becoming known to many more millions through his frequent exhortations during PBS pledge drives. Because he has been a powerful influence on the way I view the world, and how I work with my clients, I wanted to pay tribute to him by elaborating on one of his most famous quotes:

“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”

This is a fundamental tenet of psychology. In fact it might well be the most accurate one sentence description imaginable of the way psychology works. But before delving into psychology, let’s look at how this statement applies to the tangible, physical world.

Many of you will have seen above drawing:
Depending on what you are focused on, this can either be a rendition of an elegant young woman wearing a white scarf over her hair whose head is turned away, or of an old “hag” in profile whose apparently toothless mouth and bony chin are buried in her coat. Both versions of this image are “correct,” but which one is seen at any given moment depends entirely on the observer.

A simpler version of this concept is captured in the classic “glass half full / glass half empty” duality. Each way of thinking about the glass is correct, but they are conceptually different. A pessimistic view might focus on the emptiness, whereas an optimist would focus on the fullness. Each would be looking at the exact same thing but assess it very differently. So by switching from the pessimistic to the optimistic view, or vice-versa, the glass would in fact appear to change. Of course the glass with the liquid in it did not actually change objectively, but it did subjectively, which is what counts.

Moving from the very specific - how one looks at a glass - to how one looks at the state of the world, the same dynamics can be seen. Satisfaction with the direction of the country, or optimism about the world's future, varies dramatically over relatively short periods of time. This variance rests much more on the news that people read/hear rather than on actual changes in their personal circumstances, and on which news sources they tune in to. Viewers of Fox News have a decidedly more bleak view of the future than do viewers of MSNBC. Realizing this, the stations pitch their stories to the public in ways that will most appeal to their audiences, which then reinforces the pre-existing views, and so on in the vicious cycle.

“Changing the way you look at things” applies of course to personal situations as well. In the field of psychology reframing is a way to change the meaning of things occurring in ones past and present. For example, getting fired need not be interpreted as resulting from ones weaknesses;* rather it can be a manifestation of a mismatch in values or personality between employer and employee. As such, getting fired opens up the opportunity to find a work situation in which one fits more comfortably.

For most people though, their ability to effectively reframe on their own is very difficult because they are used to a pattern of thought that leads to predictable conclusions. An outsider (particularly one trained in using reframing, like a therapist or coach) can find reframes that feel genuine and that therefore resonate.

I'll close today's post with a saying from the Talmud that expresses the issue I've discussed above somewhat differently:

"We see the world not as it is, but as we are."

* What’s most important about any dramatic career, or life, development is to analyze it carefully to determine what lesson(s) can be learned to apply to the future.
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When Emotion Trumps Logic

When Emotion Trumps Logic | Washington DC Career Adviser – Jim Weinstein | Scoop.it

Jim Weinstein is one of the best career coaches in Washington DC. As a career counselor in DC, he has helped numerous individuals attain a fulfilling career. Jim is also a life coach and assists people in finding the right balance between their personal and professional commitments. In this article, he shares his take on a book about moral psychology titled “The Righteous Mind,” by Jonathan Haidt. He also talks about how the relationship between thought and emotion transforms when it comes to subjects like morality, political views, and religious beliefs. Every now and then I post about a website, article or book that has either inspired or challenged me. Today's post is about just such a book - a book about moral psychology (?!?!) titled The Righteous Mind, by Jonathan Haidt.I consider myself to be a cognitive/behavioral therapist, practicing a school of psychology that emphasizes the role of thought in dictating emotion. Many of the over 200 blog posts that I've written deal with ...

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The Power of Apology

Jim Weinstein is a highly acknowledged career development counselor in Washington DC with 18 years of experience in life consulting, psychotherapy private practice, and career counseling. He is well known for providing his clients with effective advice as well as an expert opinion related to career - how one can find a suitable one, survive in it, and can be successful in his or her career. He has assisted hundreds of his clients with career transition in DC, along with significantly improving their career and life satisfaction.      

In this article, Jim has described the power of apology, a few of selfish reasons to apologize, and the essential elements that must be included in your apology.

Apologizing isn't an awful lot of fun. In the act of apology you are revisiting something that happened to you that was wrong or bad, hurtful or untrue (or maybe all of the above). No wonder apologies occur so much less frequently than transgressions. But there are other facets to the displeasure of apology which I will write about here.

You may often feel an urge or responsibility to apologize but don't because of the feeling that by apologizing you are letting the other person off the hook. Perhaps you feel that apology per se is fine, but to apologize first suggests primary culpability, and therefore you hang back because you KNOW it was the other person who was mostly to blame. And you can't very well say, "I'll apologize if you do too" (well maybe you can in certain somewhat jocular circumstances but as a general rule conditional apologies don't squarely address the harm inflicted). So you wait for the other person to apologize first.

Sometimes that can involve a very long wait. I hear of divorces initiated by a refusal of apology, siblings who haven't spoken to each other in decades, grandparents who have never met their grandchildren. How sad. That is the price that you might have to pay if you can't look yourself squarely in the mirror and say, "Maybe I was wrong. Maybe I misinterpreted. Maybe I didn't fully understand."

Face it, conflict between two people in relationship (whether platonic, romantic, filial, marital, or even corporate) is generally due to "misdeeds" by both people," misdeeds that in and of themselves aren't such a big deal but that serve as triggers for pent up resentments.

So let's look at a couple of selfish reasons to apologize:

First, failure to apologize for your contribution to a situation that went wrong allows those resentments to continue to fester. Apology can clear the air. Second, contemplating making an apology also provides an opportunity to examine your own behavior with a critical eye and to recognize character or behavior flaws that too often remain I acknowledged because you are so intent on being in the right. If that opportunity is taken you are less likely to commit a similar error in the future.

For the power of apology to be fully unleashed it would be ideal for your apology to contain four key elements:

1) Regret. The words "I'm sorry" fulfill this requirement, but consider an even deeper phrasing such as "I wish I hadn't......" The regret also needs to include acknowledgment of the other person's pain: "I'd like to apologize for causing you the upset that I did."

2) Responsibility. "I'm sorry that you got upset when...." includes no responsibility. You need to make it clear that you understand that something you did caused (at least in part) harm.

3) Willingness to make amends. This element is what elevates an apology from the routine to the heartfelt: "What can I do to make it up to you?"

4) Forgiveness. Apologizing simply  because you feel you should is less than ideal. Seek to truly forgive.

Forgive and you shall be forgiven!

* I use the term "misdeed" loosely, as often the perceived misdeed is not objectively "wrong" but traces to some previous incident(s), often a long string of them:

"Why are you always late? You know that drives me crazy."

"Can't you pay attention when I'm telling you about my day? You never seem to care."

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Attitude is Everything

Jim Weinstein, a renowned career development counselor in Washington DC believes that when it comes to ensuring a fulfilling career, having the right attitude is a must. An employee with a positive attitude not only tends to be more productive, but is also able to cope with stressful situations at work more effectively than those with a pessimistic outlook. Through his intelligent advice, Weinstein has helped numerous people make a smooth career advancement and career transition.

A couple of weeks ago I sat with a client in her early 50s interested in changing her career focus but unsure about which direction to move. She has been in the same Department in government for the past 15 years, working in the broad area of "environment," and seemed quite bright. Her track record attested to her competence: she'd received numerous promotions over the years. But everything about her appearance shouted "I've given up," from her posture to her facial expressions to her clothes to her hair.

I began to dig into her job and personal history to try to understand the root of her defeatism and soon realized that she is holding on to a few negative stories: first, "no matter whom I will talk to ( in job interviews ) they're always going to go with a younger person." Second, "I've been doing the same type of work for a decade and a half so people are going to question my ability to move into a different field." Third, "I'm not any good at selling myself." The counter arguments I raised during the session were summarily dismissed with very little reflection.

Now, I can accept partial responsibility for the impasse. After all, my job is not merely to deliver advice, but to deliver advice in a way that is embraced by my clients. And people vary widely in the way they accept guidance. Most respond quite well to the way I generally deliver advice: clearly articulated, often backed up by examples of how that advice has led to success in various initiatives (whether that be improving a LinkedIn profile, interviewing techniques or changing hair styles). But some clients are so firmly wedded to a particular view of themselves that to suggest that the view might be inaccurate or distorted feels very threatening. Donning my psychotherapist hat, let me hypothesize that they aren't prepared to revise their identity. A "I am less....(intelligent, experienced, outgoing, etc.)" story about themselves provides for them an explanation of why they're feeling stuck and unhappy. The problem with that explanation, of course, is that it becomes self-fulfilling.

I often write about the stories people tell themselves, because time and again I've seen how the story shapes their lives, whether in career, family, relationships, or self-image. Now this is not to say that their stories are untrue. It's just that the story is constructed from a particular (negative) perspective. Changing the perspective (by doing such things as focusing on past successes - even if small - or by learning about others with similar or worse issues who have managed to overcome their barriers to success) is imperative for forward movement.

I also recognize that there are certain realities that may seriously hamper one's prospects. For example, In many career situations, all other things being equal, a younger person, a Caucasian, someone who graduated from an Ivy League school, or a person whose parents are well connected will have a much easier time landing a job. But one can't change one's age, race, educational history or parental connections. People MUST learn to play the cards of the deck they're dealt (War being the only major exception I can think of...even Go Fish can be played strategically). As in poker, you may need to bluff, acting confident even if you're not. But for God's sake don't sit out the game!


StevenBlyth's insight:

Career Development Counselor Washington DC, Career Transition

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The Five Levels of Leadership

Jim Weinstein, a renowned career coach in DC is an MBA with distinction from Harvard and a Masters in Clinical Psychology degree holder.

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Jim Weinstein, a renowned career coach in DC is an MBA with distinction from Harvard and a Masters in Clinical Psychology degree holder. As a career development counselor in Washington DC, he provides creative, actionable solutions to his clients, which help them to ensure a rewarding professional journey. In this article, he talks about the five levels of leadership – Position, Permission, Production of Results, People Development, and Pinnacle level.

I am a great admirer of John Maxwell. In May 2014, Maxwell was named the #1 leadership and management expert in the world by Inc. Magazine. I often assign reading one of his books to clients who are interested in developing their leadership skills (I particularly like The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership). Today I will write about another book of his that is simpler to summarize, The 5 Levels of Leadership.
 
Maxwell posits that there are five ascending levels of leadership, each of which he designates with a word beginning with the letter P. The first is leadership based on Position. At this lowest level of leadership people follow you because of your title. They have to if they want to keep their jobs because you're the boss. Leaders who don't advance beyond this level don't get nearly the best out of their people. It's the level that typifies most bureaucracies (including, unfortunately, governments, whether national, state, or local).

The second level is entitled Permission (I'm not sure how that word fits the description that follows, so this label is a little confusing, but bear with me). At this level leadership is based on the relationships the leader is able to construct with his/her subordinates. Likeability is very important here, as people are more likely to follow a leader that they like and with whom they feel connected. That connection is based on the leader LEARNING from them, LISTENING to them, and OBSERVING them carefully. This equips the leader with the ability to deeply understand his/her people and stoke their motivation. It's also a level at which the leader puts particular emphasis on BEING OF SERVICE to the subordinates, which is made possible by the leader's familiarity with what's important to those lower on the totem pole.

The third level is Production of results. People like to follow winners, and the leader at this level consistently wins. The winning creates momentum, which makes problems easier to solve. At the Production level there is a lot of leading by example, modeling behavior that produces those winning results.  People have more reasons to follow because the team gets things done and succeeds – more than just a connection to the leader. Leadership without results ultimately doesn’t keep followers motivated. But if the leader has a vision that has been clearly articulated and modeled, followers will embrace it and continue to be led on the journey .

The fourth level is centered on People Development. There are three important aspects to this level: a) recruiting the right people; b) positioning those people so as to get the best out of them (i.e. putting them in the right slot with the right responsibilities), and c) equipping them with the resources they need to succeed. This will create an environment for ownership where each person wants to be responsible. Of course coaching others to develop their talents, abilities, and skills is an integral part of this level.

Finally, the fifth level is the Pinnacle level, the level at which people follow the leader because of what that leader has achieved. Leadership based on admiration. But Maxwell cautions that in order to sustain that highest level the leader needs to cultivate leadership qualities in those lower on the ladder.

Note that generally you will be at different levels vis-a-vis the others in your organization. A new employee, for example, is most likely to view you through the lens of the Position level, while at the same time a peer of yours might view you at the Production level. It is important for you to figure out where you stand relative to others that you work with in order to maximize your ability to lead them, and to work on moving up the leadership scale in your interactions with them.

It just so happens that this week I am reading a recently published, comprehensive biography of one of the world's greatest leaders, Napoleon Bonaparte (for those who want to learn more about Boney the book is entitled simply Napoleon, by Andrew Roberts). Napoleon generated fanatical loyalty among his troops: even in defeat they shouted "Vive L'Empereur." It was interesting to apply Maxwell's five levels to him, and to see that they fit quite well (although in his case, as is true of most others, the levels were not fully consecutive). Visit http://dclifecounseling.com for more info.

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Jim Weinstein : Career Coach in Washington, DC Area

Looking for career counseling in Washington, D.C.? Jim Weinstein is a licensed psychotherapist with over 15 years' experience as a life and career coach.
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What the Job Description DOESN'T Tell You

What the Job Description DOESN'T Tell You | Washington DC Career Adviser – Jim Weinstein | Scoop.it

Jim Weinstein is a renowned career development counselor in Washington DC with a number of achievements. He is a Jeopardy! Winner, MBA with distinction from Harvard, a Master’s degree holder in Clinical Psychology, and co-founder of 4Therapy.com. In his successful career, he has helped numerous individuals make a smooth career transition and advancement. In addition to working as a career advisor in DC, he is a life coach and provides relationship counseling.

I always ask clients who want help with "selling" themselves - whether in print/electronically (e.g. a resume) or in person (an interview) - to pay close attention to what the potential employer is seeking. As obvious and logical a principle as this may be, it is too often violated. A surprisingly large number of people concentrate on what they feel are their strengths without tailoring their resumes at all, and in interviews fail to shape their strengths narrative to the employers' needs. They are too wrapped up in the presentation of their "brand."*

How does one go about determining those needs? In many cases, they come from the job description that is posted for any job that is advertised** Unfortunately, in many cases that description is so broad and/or vague that it provides little guidance. For example, a large percentage of published job descriptions mention facility with multi-tasking. What exactly does that mean? Is it literally suggesting that a candidate be able to do two (or three) things simultaneously? Probably not, since that is essentially impossible. It may suggest that the employer is looking for someone who can handle a heavy workload, or short, high-pressure deadlines. Or someone who is going to be reporting to a couple of different bosses. That's quite a range of possibilities.

Among other frequently listed requirements are: communication skills, interpersonal strengths, and high energy: other overly broad and vague descriptors. So how does a candidate determine what the employer is REALLY looking for? Through smart intelligence gathering.

By smart intelligence gathering, I mean identifying people who are in a position to have a good idea of what set of qualities is truly being sought and then finding ways to connect with them so as to be able to get the real "skinny". That intelligence gathering, if done properly, will suss out information that may be even more vital than the qualities listed in the job posting, for example information about the organization's culture (hierarchical? creative? democratic? informal?). Information about the financial health and growth prospects of the organization. And perhaps most important, information about the prospective boss. A micromanager? A tyrant? A perfectionist? A "snake"? Someone on the outs with Management, or a favorite? The more you can find out about your prospective employer and your prospective boss the better you will be able to tailor your "pitch." And the better you will be able to determine both whether it's a job you can compete for and, as significantly, whether it's a job you will like a nd succeed in.

Perhaps the best tool for this information gathering (other than a close personal inside connection) is LinkedIn, which will allow you to identify current and past employees who will be able to shed light on the true nature of the job (see "A LinkedIn Primer," my post of....... for a description of exactly how to go about this).

One other valuable source of information - your interviews for the job. Ask smart questions that can help you get a real feel for the organization. Questions like: "What kind of person / personal qualities tend to succeed here? Which lead to failure?" or "If you could change one thing about the organization, what would it be?" Also don't overlook more quantifiable measures, like the typical workday hours or whether people actually use their vacation time.

In closing, let me say that in the absence of hard information to the contrary you should go with what the posted job description says in tailoring your approach. But understand that there may be a lot more to learn about your liking of, and success in, a job than what appears in the job description.

*A personal brand is of immense value in spreading general word about your availability, and in writing the what I call "generic" resume that you supply in all situations EXCEPT when applying for a specific job. Remember, however, that your brand is meant to have a very specific appeal which may not align closely enough with a desired position's requirements relative to your competitors.

**Keep in mind that a large number of jobs do not have published descriptions. They may be "advertised" through word of mouth, or created to accommodate a particularly talented future employee.

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Procrastination

Procrastination | Washington DC Career Adviser – Jim Weinstein | Scoop.it

Jim Weinstein is one of the most successful life coaches in DC. He is an MBA with distinction graduate from Harvard Business School and also holds a Masters in Clinical Psychology degree. As a career counselor, he has helped scores of people in Washington DC make the best of their careers through his expert guidance. In this article, he shares some insights on procrastination.

Procrastination is a problem that quite a few clients of mine report having. So here’s a look at the procrastination “landscape.”

1. Definition:  

Putting off actions or activities that were planned or scheduled for actions or activities that are less important. Or, relatedly, putting off actions or activities that are less pleasurable in favor of those that are more pleasurable, irrespective of their relative importance. A pretty simple concept.

2. Prevalence:

Procrastination is more common than you may realize. Statistics show that somewhere between 20 and 25% of the population employs “chronic” procrastination. This number has increased dramatically over the past few decades (it was reported at a level of 5% in 1978) as life has become increasingly complex.

3. “Foundational” Causes:

By foundational causes I mean those that are deeply held and fairly constant across time. Examples of these:

 a) Low self confidence/fear of failure - If you don't believe you are capable of performing a task satisfactorily, you will be reluctant to embark on it.

 b) Rebelliousness - Although this is a childish emotion, many adults manifest it in surprising situations.  Refusing to do something you are supposed to can provide an (illusory) sense of power and control.

  c) Mental health issues - Depression can make it virtually impossible to take initiative. Anxiety can be paralyzing. ADD's associated inability to focus for any length of time on a project can derail progress practically as soon as it begins, and makes distractions exceptionally hard to turn away from.

  d) Disorganization - If you haven't learned how to organize the competing priorities of life at a relatively   early age it is very difficult to order and tackle projects methodically. So it is easy for you to get overwhelmed and just give up.

 e) Overoptimism - Some people are chronically Pollyana-ish in assessing their ability to get something done  on time.

4. Situational Causes - These are causes that arise only in specific circumstances:

  a) Distraction - The phone may ring, or a tone alerts you to a text or an email that just came in. It can be very difficult to let the incoming message go to voicemail, or avoid the temptation to check that email or text.

  b) Interruption - Someone drops by your office just as you're beginning to work on that presentation that  is due tomorrow. You find yourself caught up in the conversation that ensues and are reluctant to terminate it and go back to work.

  c) Overwhelm - You think about all of the things you need to do today, or this week, and it just seems impossible to get it all done, so you retreat into undemanding and therefore more pleasurable activities (turn on the TV, head for the refrigerator, surf the Web).

  d) Mood - Everyone is subject to mood swings, but many people use the fact that "they're just not in the  mood" as sufficient reason to procrastinate.

 e) Perfectionism - Some people feel that they need to perform perfectly, and the recognition that they can’t do a perfect job causes them to delay even starting.

5. Negative Impact of Procrastination:

 Chronic procrastination can have a devastating effect on just about all aspects of life. At work procrastination can easily lead to missed deadlines, a severe enough pattern of which can lead to termination. With your partner, in your family, or with a friend a failure to deliver on time / to accomplish tasks when promised can lead to mistrust and resentment. Finally, chronic procrastination can easily undermine your self-esteem, leading to depression, or create heightened anxiety due to the fear of the consequences of procrastination.

6. Techniques to deal with Procrastination:

 a) Create the right environment - A cluttered desk at work or a home office that also doubles as the TV room are invitations to distraction and resulting procrastination. Find a quiet, orderly place where you can more easily focus on just the task at hand - perhaps the local library.

 b) Schedule yourself - I am amazed at how many of my clients don't have a single calendar which contains all of their "to dos." Whether on your phone (preferred because it's always with you) or in a notebook list everything of importance that needs to be done in one place and refer to it frequently.  

 c) Take small steps towards completing a project or task - It's easy to feel intimidated and overwhelmed by something that you know will take quite a long time and involve some drudgery. Schedule only 15 or 30 minute blocks of time to tackle a small piece of the whole, and space them apart.

 d) Create incentives - Most people deal with a tendency to procrastinate by trying to push themselves into getting things done: will power. It can be easier to be pulled into working on a project by building in a little reward for working, perhaps a snack, or allowing 15 minutes to play a video game or check emails for every 15 minutes of productive work.

 e) Accountability - There's a reason that so many people hire trainers at the gym; working out is inherently unpleasant for a lot of people and having someone to report to makes it easier. Perhaps you can arrange to report to your significant other about progress you are making (but careful: this also entails the possibility of creating new relationship strains).

 f) Set artificial deadlines - If you have a persistent procrastination habit that traces to overoptimism try creating deadlines that are earlier than required; you could create a due date of July 27 for a project that  is actually due on August 1. While this is unlikely to actually "fool" you, if you're committed to breaking the procrastination habit it can be helpful.

Procrastination is indeed a habit for those whose behavior is rooted in situational issues. For those whose procrastination is more related to "foundational" issues, professional help from a therapist, coach, or professional organizer will most likely prove to be a wise investment.

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Job Hopping

Job Hopping | Washington DC Career Adviser – Jim Weinstein | Scoop.it

Jim Weinstein is one of the most successful Career advisors in DC. He has been practicing career counseling in DC for many years and has helped numerous unhappy employees find out the real, underlying reasons for their job dissatisfaction and guided them to a fulfilling career.

 

In this article, he shares his views on “Job Hopping”, something which is believed to be a red flag for employers and a career killer for an employee. Mr. Weinstein, however looks at both sides of the coin. Have you ever been worried about what it would look like on your resume if you left a job “too soon”? What exactly is “too soon”?

 

According to the most recent available data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics the average worker (the average of all ages of workers) stays at each of his or her jobs for 4.4 years. But younger workers appear to switch more frequently: ninety-one percent of Millennials (born between 1977-1997) expect to stay in a job for less than three years, according to the Future Workplace .

“Multiple Generations @ Work” survey of 1,189 employees and 150 managers. And according to Business Week's Richard Florida,people under the age of 30 are changing jobs on average in less than two years!!


Younger workers today have seen how little job security there was during the Great Recession, so they plan defensively and basically consider themselves “free agents.” After all, corporations and organizations exhibited very little loyalty to their employees during the downturn, so why should the employee be loyal?


The resumes of my clients in their early 30s list on average close to a half dozen jobs. This can indeed cause raised eyebrows, especially from older hiring managers, but what is key is that:

 

1) There is a credible and palatable explanation for the numerous shifts and, even more importantly,

 

2) that accomplishments and results are clearly articulated so that an employer can understand the value that you will bring, even if it’s for only a couple of years. Said another way, be careful about switching until you can cite accomplishments and results.


Switching employers relatively frequently can offer a number of benefits. First, there is the fact that you are more likely to get a compensation increase by moving. It may also help you to get promoted quicker, although the data suggests that longevity in a job is correlated with advancement within an organization.


Second, every time you switch jobs you are going to need to acquire new interpersonal and political skills if you are to successfully navigate the new corporate culture you find yourself in. And of course you may need to acquire new technical skills as well, since the job demands will be different in a new position.

Third, working at a number of different firms in positions that have disparate requirements offers the opportunity to become more sure of what you like and don't like: culturally, functionally, and relationally.

 

For example, you may be surprised to discover that although you are a very organized person you enjoy a loose organizational structure. Or that the project management aspect of your job is more appealing than the analytical part. Or that you are less averse to an overbearing boss than you might have imagined.

 

If you find yourself switching jobs more frequently than you would like because of difficulties you repeatedly encounter in the workplace, take stock of what role you may be playing in the dysfunction.


For example, if you consistently find yourself working for bosses whom micromanage perhaps it's related to your being unreliable or sloppy.

 

If you find yourselves being undermined by co-workers maybe you are somehow threatening their job security or alienating them. Sometimes it's hard to see what part you are playing in problem situations - if so, seek the opinion of a professional. I'll be happy to figure it out with you.

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Contemplating a Midlife Career Shift?

Jim Weinstein is one of the most trusted career coaches in Washington DC. He has been practicing career counseling for many years and has successfully counseled people from all walks of life – from fresh graduates seeking to explore prospective career options to experienced professionals contemplating a career change. In this article, he has discussed the implications of a Midlife Career Shift to help mid-career professionals make an informed decision.

I was interviewed last week by U.S. News and World Report on the subject "The Financial Implications of a Midlife Career Shift." The answers I chose to give the reporter related less to the financial implications than it did to the broader set of issues involved in contemplating a midlife shift.
In this post I will elaborate a bit on two of the issues to be considered in contemplating this topic.

1. Dissatisfaction with one's current career naturally leads to thoughts of shifting, but insufficient attention is generally paid to ways of improving one's current career experience.

Here are two examples:

- "I thought I'd enjoy being a lawyer, but as the years go by I'm finding it's all about billable hours and seventy hour workweeks."
This is a common complaint that I hear. It may be possible to tweak the situation at one's current job to add some more meaning to work (volunteering to lead a "social responsibility" initiative of the firm's) while examining ways to increase your productivity so as to reduce the time spent on the job. Questions to ask yourself: Are you taking full advantage of the possibilities of delegating? Could you be better organized? If you're a perfectionist what can you do to ease up a bit? Have you asked peers or superiors who are more satisfied for their suggestions?

- "After fifteen years of being a policy wonk I am tired of seeing my ideas and my hard work wind up in a report buried on someone's desk rather than leading to action in the real world."

Yes, policy work most often winds up with no, or very very long-term, impact on reality. And even if that impact that occurs it is difficult to track one's contribution to it.

Presumably one specialized in an area of policy because of a deep interest in an issue. By focusing less on the impact of one's work and more on the intellectual interest of it, while at the same time seeking opportunities outside of the workplace to have an impact, you may find a sufficient level of fulfillment to shift your overall life satisfaction.

2. Money is the most common, and most easily measured, mark of career success. But its importance is generally overemphasized.

We live in a consumerist society. Money (income or assets) can be counted. The benefits of it can be easily visualized (a big house, a fancy car, an exotic vacation). But when it comes to work, how does one "count" the value of autonomy? How can one visualize the advantages of feeling that the work one does has a valid and meaningful purpose?  How does one measure the satisfaction of knowing that one is growing and learning?

Beyond work, relationships and experiences are the things that generally contribute the most to most people's overall happiness. Throwing around a football with your son, watching your daughter perform in the school play, a family vacation at the beach, or the surprise birthday party given by your friends, are contributions to life's richness that money simply can't buy.

The key point here is that the tradeoffs involved in a career shift need to be weighed fully and carefully. Yes, they involve money and time, but don't overlook status, or variety, or geographic flexibility. What's more, career choice can impact health and longevity: what is the fitness that comes with the ability to exercise regularly, or the extra year of life that reduced stress can bring, worth? Visit http://dclifecounseling.com/ for more info.

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Tips for More Productivity

Jim Weinstein is a well-known Career Advisor in DC and his expert advice has been instrumental in setting hundreds of people on the right path in their professional career. Whether you have recently joined a new company or are thinking of a career transition in DC, he can guide you to a fulfilling experience at your work. In this article, he shares some useful tips with the readers on how they can achieve job satisfaction through improved productivity.

BEWARE PERFECTIONISM! - Remember the old 80/20 rule: 80% of the results you want can be achieved in 20% of the total time allotted. While this is not literally true in every instance, the fact is that the quest for perfection (whether writing a recommendation or report, rehearsing for a speech or meeting, or researching the best recipe for artichoke pesto) often results in using up time that would be better allotted to other tasks. Furthermore, if you tend to be a slow producer you are much more likely to miss a deadline by trying to dotting every i and crossing every t.  Then there's the emotional cost of perfectionism: feeling that nothing is ever perfect results in an inability to feel satisfied. This is not to say that accuracy is unimportant; certain projects need to be perfect. Just make sure you know which ones do and which ones can be completed satisfactorily with a lower level of attention to detail.

CALENDAR ALMOST EVERYTHING - Too often we rely solely on our memories to contain the "to do" list. When memory fails (as it frequently does) it throws off our planned activities and results in either slapdash results or inefficient use of time due to the unscheduled interruption. Enter any task of significance on your smartphone, or on a little paper booklet that you should carry with you at all times. Then be sure to consult these records frequently so you'll know what remains to be done.

SET PRIORITIES - In order to set priorities you need to know all of the tasks facing you in the immediate future, and then select the ones that deserve your immediate attention. Cleaning out the attic or weeding the garden is usually a less important task than finishing a document you've told your boss you will have done by week's end.

TAKE SMALL STEPS, ONE AT A TIME - I often find my clients paralyzed by the thought that the project they need to undertake (or complete) is so complex or unappealing that they put off the effort necessary to take it to the final stage. Frequently they characterize this state of mind as "feeling overwhelmed." Then, to avoid that very unpleasant feeling, they will procrastinate or escape into a mindless activity (like watching TV, checking Facebook, or playing an online game). Virtually any project can (and should) be broken down into small parts. For many people tackling those parts one at a time will enhance productivity.

MAKE BETTER USE OF TECHNOLOGY - I am continually surprised by the underutilization of the internet by most people as a tool to help solve problems. I have previously blogged about the importance of Google to advancing one's career ( http://jimwein09.squarespace.com/blog/2012/11/18/google-an-underused-career-tool.html ); in a broader sense Google (or Bing if you prefer) should be the first place you turn when confronted with difficulty concerning just about any project. Remember, there are virtually no original problems. Someone somewhere has faced the same struggle as you, and that person's solution can most likely be found on the internet. Then there are apps specifically designed to enhance productivity: calendaring and "to do" apps (e.g. Wunderlist), apps that store all your passwords (e.g. Keeper), apps that make it easy to schedule meetings with a number of different people (e.g. Doodle), even apps that show you how you are spending your time (e.g. RescueTime).

DELEGATE / PAY OTHERS TO DO YOUR WORK - One hallmark of people with low productivity is that they create bottlenecks to their output by trying to do things they are under qualified for, or postponing things that could be handled by others. If you have people who report to you, be sure you are appropriately delegating. Those people are there to help you accomplish the organization's tasks and goals; the organization is unlikely to care about who actually does the work as long as it's done. And if you are attracted to the idea of solving complex problems yourself make sure that you are not spending dozens of hours on a task that could be handled in half an hour by an expert to whom you could turn for paid help. Visit dclifecounseling.com for more info.

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Life Coaching, Career Coaching Client Testimonials - Jim Weinstein

Want to see life coaching and career coaching client testimonials? See what others are saying about Washington, D.C., life and career coach Jim Weinstein.
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