Career professionals: whadda dey know?

The rate of people changing jobs has been growing month-to-month as the economy slowly recovers from its pandemic lows of 2021.

Information about work and skills is in high demand.  But a labour market study published during November 2021 shows that only 1 out of 5 adults (of about 15 million adults aged 25-64 in Canada) make use of career services to help with their career decisions.  The other 80% tend to rely on family and friends for career advice.  

Not surprising, since most career decisions are private matters, and most adults turn to people they trust for advice during different stages of their lives:

–       What to study while in high school.

–       What to do with a diploma or degree after graduating from college or university.

–       How to get out of the educated-but-under-employed rut.

–       How to deal with job loss or long-term unemployment.

–       How to advance in career once one is employed.

–       How to change jobs or careers without a major loss of income.

–       How to find a job as a newcomer to Canada.

–       How to retire but keep working.

As a career professional for 30 years, I’ve encountered all these situations and continue to do so as many of my past clients refer their family and friends to me ( thank you! ) to advise them on these important transitions.

Help is available

Studies also show that people who use career professionals to assist with these decisions have better outcomes more often than people who rely only on family and friends for advice.

I get it…it can be confusing to navigate the career services ecosystem to find what you need at any stage in your life because there exists a complex set of services—some provided by schools, some by government departments or third-party agencies (funded by government), or non-profit agencies, or private sector companies, or independent practitioners (like me).  The different career terms, supports and capacity used by these service providers adds to the confusion.

I am not the career professional suited for everyone.  It is important for me to know if or how I can best help you.  And to steer you in the right direction.  I need to earn your trust.

That is why I do my best to read these studies, to engage in continuous learning, to update my credentials, so that I can provide you with reliable and accurate guidance about work and skills in this country and elsewhere.  You deserve it!

Want a career change? See fastest growing jobs!

Here’s a list of the fastest growing jobs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  It shows their current average salary in USD plus their expected growth percentage by 2030.

 If you want to know the core job duties of these jobs, visit http://online.onetcenter.org/Type the job title into the search box in the right-hand corner of the page, and select the Tasks associated with that job.

How do you know if you’re suited for doing those tasks?  Whether you’ve got the talents or motivations to succeed in that career?  Read my answer below the list.

Fastest growing jobs

  • Wind turbine service technicians ($56,230): 68.2%
  • Nurse practitioners ($111,680): 52.2%
  • Solar photovoltaic installers ($46,470): 52.1%
  • Statisticians ($92,270): 35.4%
  • Physical therapist assistants ($59,770): 35.4%
  • Information security analysts ($103,590): 33.3%
  • Home health and personal care aides ($27,080): 32.6%
  • Medical and health services managers ($104,280): 32.5%
  • Data scientists ($98,230): 31.4%
  • Physician assistants ($115,390): 31%
  • Epidemiologists ($74,560): 29.6%
  • Logisticians ($76,270): 29.5%
  • Speech-language pathologists ($80,480): 28.7%
  • Animal trainers ($31,520): 28.5%
  • Computer numerically controlled tool programmers ($57,740): 27.4%
  • Genetic counselors ($85,700): 26.2%
  • Crematory operators ($28,420): 24.8%
  • Operations research analysts ($86,200): 24.6%
  • Actuaries ($111,030): 24.5%
  • Health specialties teachers, postsecondary ($99,090): 24.3%
  • Forest fire inspectors and specialists ($42,150): 23.9%
  • Interpreters and translators ($52,330): 23.7%
  • Athletic trainers ($49,860): 23.4%
  • Respiratory therapists ($62,810): 23%
  • Substance abuse, and mental health counselors ($47,660): 22.9%
  • Food prep workers ($27,080): 22.8%
  • Nursing instructors and teachers, postsecondary ($75,470): 22.4%
  • Woodworkers ($33,630): 22.2%
  • Phlebotomists, i.e. techs who perform blood tests ($36,320): 22.2%
  • Software developers and QA analysts ($110,140): 22.2%

If you’re going to make a career change, you want to be sure that it will work for you, provide you with some job satisfaction to keep you motivated to succeed, right?

Keep your job description aligned with what makes you happy and productive in the workplace, so that you operate 60 per cent of the time in a mode that comes naturally and effortlessly to you.

There is no such thing as a perfect job where you are 100% happy and satisfied all the time.  The world is just not organized that way!  The key to career success is to limit the downside of your job to 40% of your job duties.  That means that the remaining 60% of your job duties will be organized around your natural talents. 

This 60/40 split will energize you.  This is jobfit.  This is a key element of career success!

How to achieve jobfit

Sign on to my JOBJOY FOR LIFE™ Course.  You will identify and define your key success elements to ensure a jobfit.  Get the job that will energize and motivate you.  You can be recognized and rewarded for your natural strengths and motivations!  

Career change tip: Don’t make assumptions

According to many surveys, about half the working population is preparing to make a career change.  We read stories about exhausted nurses and teachers leaving their fields. Or service workers going back to school for IT diplomas. Or senior executives cashing out to sell real estate.

Many individuals change careers for good reasons. But just as many make decisions based on assumptions that could lead them down the wrong path. For example, a good many people have come to me with the intention of going into HR because they want to have direct contact with people and help them. That’s a noble motivation, right? Yes, but most HR duties are about managing processes not people.

Processes or people

HR is about using software and systems to effectively and efficiently deploy a specific resource in an organization—that resource is called talent, or human resources. When employees actually need help for a work-related problem, such as managing their stress or mental health, they are most often referred to a third party. If you want to work directly with people, then consider working in an employee assistance program run by a third party provider.

We need to substitute our assumptions with a reality check. Before committing to a career change, verify that your natural strengths and motivations align with its core duties and responsibilities.

Let’s use the HR scenario again. If by “helping others” you mean meeting with employees one-on-one to listen to their problem, then advising them on their options and helping them choose and appropriate course of action–then you may not enjoy sitting in front of a computer all day using PeopleSoft or some other software to review payroll complaints from workers spread across the country.

If what you really want to do is influence the thoughts, feelings, and behaviours of individuals towards some positive change, then identify which “jobs” in HR actually perform that function. Also, check to see what other careers are organized around that core activity.

You can make a better decision about a career change and what you need to do to make it happen with the assistance of my JOBJOY FOR LIFE™ Course.  

Get it straight from the horse’s mouth!

How to determine if a job is a good fit for you.

If you want to know what another career field is all about, how it really works—then get it straight from the horse’s mouth. This old saying refers to the old practice of opening a horse’s mouth to check its teeth to help a buyer determine its health—whether or not it will be a reliable and dependable investment over time–and therefore it’s actual value.

Talking to workers who have been in a particular field for 5 years or more will often give you a true picture of that field. Try and find somebody who is doing a job you would love to do. Here are some questions, you can ask anybody who is doing a job you think you might enjoy:

_    How did you get into your field? Is that still a good way?

_    What are the major responsibilities of your position?

_    What is a typical workday or week like for you?

_    What do you like and dislike about your position?

_    What are the critical skills and personal characteristics needed in this kind of work?

_    What are some of the major problems or issues that someone in your position faces?

_    What are the prospects for someone entering your field today?

_    What are the career paths of this profession? With experience in this field where can a person move?

If you get into a discussion about your background, you can ask:-

_    Given my background, what do you think I need to do to become competitive for a job in this field?

_    Can you suggest anyone else I might talk to?

JOBJOY SMILE

HORSE PUNS

You’ll stirrup trouble!

Quit foaling around.

He has a colt following.

It’s pasture bedtime.

You sound a little hoarse.

I’m waiting for the mane event.

He’s my mane man!

To be or not to be…that is the equestrian.

Don’t look, I’m neigh-kid.

Job change or Career change–which is right for you?

The pandemic has caused many people to re-evaluate their life priorities and surveys indicate that many plan on changing their job this year, some for a better or different job and some for a whole new career.

In terms of deciding what to do, it may be helpful to understand the difference between a job change and a career change.

Career is derived from its Latin root meaning ‘wheeled vehicle,’ which lent itself to the modern notion of a single, linear, vocational direction (the metaphor equating to: ‘following a particular path’ or ‘climbing the corporate ladder’), as working permanently in, or committed to, a particular profession, such as a journalist, nurse, teacher, police officer, engineer, and so on.

Job change is not necessarily career change; some job change involves promotions, or demotions, with the same employer, or a lateral transfer using similar or related skills with a different employer in the same career field.

For example, social media has wiped out many daily newspapers and magazines, and some journalists who’ve lost their jobs have made a job change to a Communications/Media Relations Specialist with a large corporation, a government department or a nonprofit organization. Instead of reporting the news, they now work to “make” news by having their employer’s activities reported as news.

A career change, by contrast, is more difficult and involves moving from one career path to something completely different; for example, a journalist becoming a home renovator as an independent contractor.

Job change or career change—which is right for you? It will depend on your aspirations, preferences and circumstances. Your strengths and weaknesses will need to be factored into your decision. It may be important to do an objective evaluation of the pros and cons of each strategy for your situation.

What most people do in first 5 years of job loss … nothing, usually!

Only 1 of 5 individuals who lose their job are pro-active in finding another. Why?

During the pandemic, millions of individuals across North America were laid off or lost their jobs. How will they respond?

Many will, of course, look for another job in the same field.

But, if they do not find one, most of us assume that they take the situation into their own hands and do one of the following:

– go back to school

– move to another city or region

– sign up for an apprenticeship or trade

– become self-employed.

Turns out our assumptions our wrong. According to Statistics Canada, which looked at what workers did during the recession in 2009; most individuals do not adopt these seemingly obvious adjustment strategies.

There were differences depending on gender, age, level of education, and length of unemployment–but, generally speaking, whether it was in the first year of job loss or the fifth year, only 1 in 5 workers adopted even one of these adjustment options.

This helps us to understand why many employers are complaining about the difficulty of attracting workers to an economy that is starting to open up. Given a choice—supported by some economic security—most workers do not want to return to a dull, dirty or dangerous job (in general, these are the types of jobs that employers now want to fill)–and will wait until they must. Big surprise! Only a few it seems will use this period of unemployment to change their careers.

However, some white-collar workers with high levels of education also lost their jobs, and more may do so if the economy slips into a post-pandemic slowdown or recession.

This study from Stats Can indicates the most people, but especially this highly educated group, will ride out the effects of the pandemic in the hopes of getting their old jobs back or something similar within a year.

In other words, most people (4 out of 5) do not change their behaviour or make significant changes in their lives when they get laid off or lose their jobs.

Patterns of adjustment

For the 1 in 5 people that adopt an adjustment strategy, I have noticed the following in my 30 years of practice, which is now backed up by some statistics (remember, this is not most people but the 20% of unemployed people who adopt a strategy after losing their jobs):

– In the first year after job loss, the most common strategy among laid-off women is to enrol in post-secondary education.

– The longer the period of unemployment, the more likely both men and women will move to another region or city.

– Older displaced workers are set in their ways and do not want to change so they are less likely to move to another region or invest in skills, in both the short and long terms.

– Those with more education are more likely to become self-­employed or go back to school for another degree, especially if they already have a university degree.

Interestingly, the data from Stats Can, there appears to be little difference between people who lose a job and those who don’t when it comes to making adjustments to their work situation—neither group is inclined to make changes to their behaviour or their career.  

I am here to help those in the minority who must or want to make a change.

Example of Career Change as a Journey with a Clear Destination in Mind

As we get older, making a career change is more challenging for many reasons:

– we’re locked into a job that gives us economic security that we don’t want to risk;

– our identity is invested in our job—especially in the way that our family (you’re the breadwinner) and friends (you’re like me) view us—so there is little support for a major change;

– we might’ve tried a change previously and it didn’t work so we’ve lost confidence and don’t really believe we can make a change;

– we don’t have the desire or the energy to face adversity, it’s just easier to coast along with the devil we know;

– we don’t know where to start so we don’t do anything except daydream (news reports consistently tell us about 70% of workers fantasize daily about changing their job).

Whatever the challenge, there is a simple antidote that I have seen work everytime over the past 25 years–take one action towards what you want.

Did that action move you closer to your goal? 

If so, take another action.  If not, identify what was learned from that experience…then take a different action.   Baby steps!  We crawl, we pull ourselves up, we take a step or two, we walk, we run.  That’s life.  Same thing goes for career change.

For example.  A local client visited me 10 years feeling “stuck” in her government job.  She was thinking about going to law school.  After exploring the pros & cons of such a commitment for a young family, she decided against it.

Last year she returned.  She now had 18 years employment as a public servant but still desired a career change.  She had an idea in mind for developing her own business.  We discussed some options and developed a plan with specific action steps.

Action Steps

She took the first action of seeking advice from her network to evaluate the demand for the service she wanted to offer.  Her network was very encouraging.  At the same time, we reviewed all the legal and logistical requirements for starting a business in Ontario and established a timeframe.  She approached several contacts in her network to solicit them as initial clients…but they turned her down!  This took some of the wind out of her sails.

In the meantime, she found it difficult to choose between solopreneurship and registering as a corporation and received conflicting advice from lawyers, accountants and other professionals.

I encouraged her to continue prospecting with her targeted client base; in short, when faced with adversity, swim with your kind of fish.  She attended professional networking groups for business women, some of whom took her under their wing.  She started to feel supported in very practical ways.  She decided not to incorporate, then launched her business and immediately got referrals, new clients and projects.

Her side hustle keeps her busy outside of a 9-5 government job providing grant writing and social media management to clients. She says, “I couldn’t be happier!”

Next Step

We can now plan the next step to build her business to the point that she can go full-time by moving from solopreneur to employer.

Ten years ago this client had one idea that did not pan out…but her desire for a new venture was strong.  In the past year, she took her idea through baby steps to walking and is now preparing to run!

Career change is a journey with a clear destination in mind.  How fast you travel is not the issue.  The point is to enjoy the journey in the one life we get.

Fighting #FOMO with the write hack

We live in anxious times…especially in matters related to economic security.

We are all subject to pressures of competition, achievement, production and acquisition– fears, worries, anxieties about work and money are just part of navigating our economic rat race.

Most of us worry about finding a job, keeping a job, advancing with a job; we worry about paying our bills, making enough money to buy a home, or raising a family, or saving for retirement. We fear missing out on life’s many pleasures and promises.

Our anxieties are further fuelled by news reports highlighting precarious work with no benefits; corporate bankruptcies; failed government policies; the increasing reliance on robots, automation and artificial intelligence in our workplaces, and the replacement of jobs by such technologies. The future is uncertain.

Anxiety is a nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive unease and apprehension. It often manifests first in a general restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, sometimes panic attacks or compulsive behaviour. If it carries on long enough, it can develop into serious illness, such as depression.

I know the telltale signs for myself, such as pacing, ruminating, procrastinating, a vague and general restlessness that interrupts, even prevents, restfulness. When feeling anxious, I know that I make poor decisions, so I’ve learned to tackle my anxiety head on.

    The write hack

We all need a work around when it comes to dealing with our anxieties. One of the first things I do when such symptoms appear is to take out a paper and pen and do a very effective writing exercise (known in some circles as morning pages) that quickly calms my worries.

If you are feeling anxious about your work and money, try this: get up in the morning and write for 3 pages non-stop about your career decisions up to this point in your life. How did you make those decisions? What were you thinking at the time? What were you expecting in terms of an outcome?

Don’t judge or censor yourself, just write whatever thoughts and feelings come to mind. Don’t stop writing until you’ve completed 3 pages. If you get stuck with writer’s block then keep writing the same thing over and over until another thought comes. You must complete 3 pages.

Do this for 5 days as early in the morning as possible. [Of course, the sooner you start this exercise when feeling anxious, the better; it’s not a substitute for clinical treatment if you’re depressed!]

By the time the fifth day rolls around, I can almost guarantee your anxiety will dissipate to the point where you can look for patterns in your pages that reveal the roots of your anxieties. Some of those roots may be internal and grounded in biology, beliefs or behaviours. Some of them may be external and rooted in your experiences with work and money. You might want to share your pages with a close friend or a professional to help you find the patterns and move forward.

    How to Move Forward in your Career

It is my experience that this kind of mental/emotional house cleaning is necessary before you can move forward in life with good decisions and powerful actions. There is something magical about such simple writing exercises.

That is why JobJoy is collaborating with Phrase Strategy to help leaders move forward with their careers. Maria Ford, Phraseologist, refers to writing exercises as pre-marketing, and necessary for the growth and development of leaders. Read her most recent post to learn more about how such “magic” might help you.

How To Get Away With Murder of your inner critic

It’s the start of another year…but are you still haunted by an inner critic from your past? We learn as children to please others who are important to us, such as parents, teachers, peers and coaches. And when we earn their criticism instead of their praise, we often internalize that critical voice for the rest of our lives.

It doesn’t take much—a verbal criticism of something you said or did, a big red fail on a written exam, or a cold shoulder, a sharp rebuke, a stinging reprimand—and you never wrote another poem, or played another game of soccer, or sang another song, or designed another dress, or did whatever gave you joy, made you feel free, or deepened your sense of accomplishment. Because, after that…every time you tried, the inner critic reared its ugly head and crushed you with that ‘voice’ in your brain.

I think we, as individuals, underestimate the influence of others in our young lives. We are, after all, social beings who want to be liked and loved by others. As children, we usually aim at becoming something that will please others long before we take the time to find out who we are.

Many individuals are channeled down a certain career path using ‘can do’ skills based on the advice of these well-meaning influencers. This can create problems later in life, not the least being stuck in a dull or meaningless job that fosters deep dissatisfaction.

Kill the critic

The best way to kill this inner critic is to replace it with your ‘authentic’ voice. Since 1986, research from more than 200 studies shows that creative, expressive and reflective writing about thoughts and feelings in a structured safe space helps individuals gain control over a negative life event. There are many exercises for killing that inner critical voice in order to make room for your own voice. Years ago, I had a lot of fun doing this one:

I found a list of the 1001 ways to kill somebody. I picked one that I felt would suitably avenge my inner pain. Then I wrote a letter to my persecutor describing in detail how I was going execute them. I was shocked at the depth of my anger and pain! These transgressions against our souls, our very beings, create deep wounds…the pen I held was my sword of vengeance!

How to get away with murder

Remember, this is an exercise, a form of creative play in a safe place, so a few words of caution are necessary: put your bloodthirsty letter in an envelope…but don’t mail it…you could end up in jail! Instead, burn it, bury it, cut it to pieces, do whatever feels right…but don’t actually send or give it to the transgressor. Kill that inner critic figuratively not literally–that’s how you get away with murder!

This simple writing exercise liberated me from an inner critic. It helped me trade in that ‘other’ for my own. Since then, I have expressed my voice through this newsletter and blogs, through several books, articles in newspapers and career magazines, through academic journals, as well as through creative writing, my own radio show, and at career conferences. It’s all fun; it gives me to have my voice engaged in meaningful conversations that influence others.

Reclaim your voice

If you feel that your voice has been swallowed up by the values and priorities of someone else in your life, then draw on this scientific method of killing that inner critic. Simple writing exercises combined with an experienced coach will help you think, feel and write your way though rigid beliefs or behaviours that keep you stuck in life or work.

Liberate yourself! JobJoy is collaborating with Phrase Strategy and its Essential Voice programs to help individuals to see reality in a new way and find their voice. Claim your freedom by uncovering YOUR voice! It will enrich and enlarge your life and work…

Real Job Security is knowing your Motivational Pattern

From our childhood to our current career, we tend to gravitate towards activities and projects that require our natural strengths. Why? Simple—we get pleasure from using our talents in situations that motivate us.

The problem is we do some things so naturally and effortlessly, we think, “Doesn’t everybody do it this way?” No, they don’t. You have a knack for achieving certain results using certain talents because that’s what energizes you—and you make it look easy. Other people might be able to do the same thing due to training or experience but it’s grunt work for them.

    What energizes you?

For example, some individuals get energized by having an impact on the physical world. If there is a piece of equipment, or machinery, or a vehicle, or a household appliance that breaks down or is performing poorly, they repair it, or restore it to its original state. You can tell it energizes them because you can hear them humming, or whistling or singing, or just bouncing around happily as they do what comes naturally and easily to them.

If this talent is caught early in life and channeled into a particular vocation then recognized and rewarded by an employer, they might even end up with a long and happy career as an aircraft mechanic with an airline, or a pipe-fitter in a refinery, or a mechanic in the military, or a maintenance worker for public transit, or one of hundreds of jobs available from hundreds of different employers.

Even if they lose one job, they can quickly adapt or retrain for something similar in another sector because equipment, machinery, and vehicles will always wear out, or break down, or need replacing and require individuals who have a knack for impacting such physical objects with their natural talents and learned skills.

The same is true if you like to have an impact on people, or like to control how, when and where a project or plan will proceed. Or, if you are energized by pursuing and reaching a goal or a target. Or, if you get juiced by engaging in a process of discovering, developing or expressing.

    Motivation matches right work

Each general human inclination can be narrowed down to reveal your particular motivational pattern, and that pattern can be matched to dozens of specific jobs in specific work settings.

This is true job security. When you take the time to understand your motivational pattern then you don’t have to worry if you lose a job because you will already know what other sectors of the economy will recognize and reward you for what comes easily to you.

Don’t let our volatile economy catch you by surprise. Get a JobJoy career assessment done today so that you can do some long-term planning for real job security.

You already have in your hands the right tools to repair and grow your career. Put them to work in your favour.

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