Category Archives for Careers

How To Survive A Job Change Nightmare So Don’t Quit Within A Year

How To Survive A Job Change Nightmare So Don’t Quit Within A Year

It’s is your worst career nightmare! A super new job change that turns out to be not what you signed up for. The nice job title and great salary were perfect, however the job itself was not so.

No doubt about it, many corporate firms face a challenge recruiting the right talent. It’s also a big challenge for corporate employees to join the right firm. Even though the interview process gives you enough chance to connect, ask questions and figure out if the company would be the right fit for you, there’s nothing like experiencing the real thing.

What did you miss?

Remarkably, the departmental managers who seemed so smart and well drilled at the interviews can turn out to be far less efficient at doing their job. And then there’s a bunch of departments with conflicting priorities competing with each other. Or even worse the serious lack of clarity about the business processes.

The first 90 days in a company like this can feel like a very long time. And you may even wonder how did you end up in such a mess!

Sometimes these situations can lead to stress. If you’ve been a corporate employee for years like me, you’ll have seen colleagues suffering work related stress. It’s easy to get caught up due to tight deadlines, too much responsibility or a lack of managerial support. Some people try and tough it out, men and women. NO wonder they call us corporate soldiers!

But when you walk into a new job and this is what you experience after the initial ‘honeymoon period’, it can become your worst nightmare.

What perspective are you taking?

But here’s the thing: what if the problem is with you and not with the new company?

What! Yes, that’s right, what if the problem is you? Think about it, what if you are measuring your new company against your old one. It could be like comparing apples to pears. Maybe in your old company you had fancy offices, pleasant tasting coffee and a friendly buzzing environment; and the new office looks tired, the coffee stinks and the people seem more at conflict than connected.

Fair enough, but what if the problem is you?

Now, this may sound challenging to you, but how about it? Maybe, this is actually your time in life to grow to the next level. But, you are holding yourself back rather than releasing yourself from the past…

You are not alone

I remember a while back, a colleague, Pam and I changed jobs about a month apart. I’d gone in as a Senior Business Analyst and she’d joined as a Project Manager. There we were eager, excited and raring to help deliver projects, yet it seemed that the other departments were not quite as fired up as we were. It seemed as though ‘delivery focused’ meant something different in this firm. Frustration couldn’t sum up the situation enough.

The stress of working in this different way got to Pam, in the end and she went off sick for a few weeks. When she returned, she handed in her resignation.

What went wrong?

The main reason why Pam and other employees like her quit is a leadership issue. Self-leadership.

When we get out of alignment with our core strengths, we get vulnerable and start reacting to situations rather than responding. Instead of enjoying the challenge, we endure the problem. Rather than growing and becoming more we stay where we are.

You and I have the power to handle all the self-leadership opportunities that come our way. We have the power to work in any environment and deliver our best stuff no matter the change in circumstances we face.

We always have a choice…

  1. To quit
  2. Or to face the challenge head on using your winning formula

What is your winning formula?

How would you handle this new job challenge if it came your way? The simple answer is to be the best you, you can be.

Here’s a simple 3-step formula to help you do this:

  1. Get clear on who you are personally, professionally and psychologically – who are you when you are at your absolute best? The way you think, the way you connect, the way you behave…
  2. Show up to work in a 10 out of 10 way – when you operate at your best, you feel better about going about the day to day routine things. You prioritise, you focus and you deliver results
  3. Utilise all the success habits and routines that you’ve used in the past to help yourself and others!

This formula simple and effective and probably something you already know. The problem is people don’t always do what they know. So here’s your battle cry “let’s make it happen!”

So, what's next? 

Look- people like you and I change jobs every day. Some do it for money, some do it for status and some do it for more satisfaction in their life as a whole. Whatever the reason for change, you can succeed even in sub-optimal conditions. You have the power. You have the choice. You hold the key.

As the late Steven Covey stated, “there are two important circles in your life; the circle control and the circle of concern. The more you develop the circle of control, the less you have to worry about in the circle of concern.”

Be the self-leader you were born to be. And remember success starts on the inside.

Let’s make your next job change a success!

Donovan
The Career Energiser

Are you struggling to settle into a new job or feel like leaving an old one?  Take the FREE “CAREER HEALTH ASSESSMENT” by clicking here. It will be your next step towards getting the recognition, rewards and satisfaction you deserve.

Donovan Grant is a Master Coach who helps IT Professionals to be more powerful so they can have more productivity, progression and passion in life and career! For more training and development wisdom for IT Professionals by an IT Professional vistit www.donovangrant.com.

When It Comes to Your Career Success, Honest Feedback Doesn’t Lie

IT professionals are always striving to successfully deliver the next project. It’s in our DNA.

We live for turning business problems into dynamic digital solutions. We help to make a difference in the world of technology every day.

“I think it's very important to have a feedback loop, where you're constantly thinking about what you've done and how you could be doing it better” ~ Elon Musk

The question is, are we actually performing to the best of our abilities? The obvious answer you will hear in most team meetings or 1-2-1 catch ups is “I’m busting a gut to deliver!” Are you busting a gut in the most optimal way? Look, this topic might touch a nerve for you but I have to ask the question “do you know what your friends and colleagues really think of you?”

“In a growth mind-set, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.” ~ Carol Dweck

Like everyone, you are probably proud to be praised about the things you are strong at, and what about your blind spots? We all have blind spots. We develop habits and routine ways of doing things and sometimes become so blinkered that we inadvertently block out new ideas, opportunities and growth in our career.

I remember being approached by a senior colleague to provide him some 360 degree feedback. My question for him was ‘do you want honest and developmental or pat on the back stuff?’ He chose the former and I duly obliged and he’s still speaking to me! J The thing is, not all of us can handle finding out our blind spots.

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfils the same function as pain in the human body. It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.” ~ Winston Churchill

career directionLet’s be honest: while some colleagues may have no fears about letting you know what they think of you, others will choose remain diplomatic and professional. They will hide their true feelings. This could be detrimental to you, them and the wider team because you miss out on the chance to grow and be even better.

Benefits of 360 feedback

Here a three massive benefits of having 360 feedback post-project or quarterly:

Gain insights about yourself that you may not be aware of

Get first-hand knowledge from the people you are involved with involved with day to day

Make it easier to decide your ideal coaching and development plan going forward.

“We all need people who will give us feedback. That's how we improve” ~ Bill Gates

You may have come across 360 in many forms. For some companies, there’s a formal questionnaire or survey depending on the level and for some it’s a more informal 3-5 question survey. You can even make the 360 totally anonymous.  It doesn’t really matter how you go about collating the data, what’s important is that you get it and it can provide benefit in your career development.

Here’s a challenge for you: Arrange your own 360 feedback within the next seven days. Don’t wait for your manager to initiate one or wait for the end of project. Get it planned and get it done. Treat it like your own mini project.

Here’s your 4-step plan to get a simple and effective 360 review done:

  1. Get a list of participants you want to take part. I suggest colleagues who are peers, seniors, juniors, as well as clients.
  2. Create your survey questions with the following questions:

    1. What are the things that I do best?
    2. What is one thing that I could do better?
    3. What other advice do you have to help me be more successful and perform better?
  3. Send out the survey and ask for it to be returned in one week (or get someone to send it on your behalf to help with anonymity)
  4. Review the feedback with your manager/colleague and draft up your development plan

“Feedback is a gift. Ideas are the currency of our next success. Let people see you value both feedback and ideas.” ~ – Jim Trinka and Les Wallace

So, where are you right now on your professional development journey? While you continue striving to successfully deliver the next project, remember to give yourself the gift of feedback. Build, measure, learn and grow. Become the best that you can be. It’s in your DNA.

I’m inviting you to enjoy the gift of feedback, you deserve the best!

Donovan
The Career Energiser

Are you missing out on recognition despite all your hard work delivering projects?  Take the FREE “CAREER HEALTH ASSESSMENT” by clicking here. It will be your next step towards getting the recognition and rewards you deserve.

Donovan Grant is a Master Coach who helps IT Professionals to be more powerful so they can have more productivity, progression and passion in life and career! For more training and development wisdom for IT Professionals by an IT Professional vistit www.donovangrant.com.
 

How To Turn A Career Failure Into A Career Success?

Let’s be honest. No one likes to talk about failure in their career, however if failure ever stops you in your tracks, I urge you to read on…
A lot of people say they can handle failure, but can they really?
If you go do a google search of the phrase “how to handle failure”, you’d find over 138,000,000 suggestions. That’s a heck of a lot of suggestions and I’m sure they’re all decent too. So, at least you know where to turn for help.
What is failure in your career?
So, what does failure actually mean to you? Not completing a project on time? Not making profits? Missing out on a promotion? Not being accepted for a new job or role? Failure means different things to all of us and the question I’d like you to ponder on is what meaning do you attach to failure?
So is failure good or bad for you?
You may have heard the saying, one person’s failure is another person’s opportunity. But here’s the thing- when it comes to your moment, when failure comes knocking at your door and you are upset about it, what do you do in the moment? I would happily bet that you don’t get you mobile phone out and search google for the best solution. That’s not how most of us operate. 
It’s more likely that you already have your response for experiencing failure. For some people it is upset and annoyance, some people are disappointed and some are downright angry and maybe feeling like a victim! 
There is of course the other side of the coin, you know those annoying people who go from failure to failure without even pausing to frown. Yes people like this do exist. Those resilient ones who have been knocked down so many times that they no longer see failure as a problem, they see failure as a sign that they are on track.
The big failure test
Here’s a quick test for you. If you were to give yourself a score of zero to 10 for how resilient you are to failure, what would you honestly give yourself? Zero would mean that failure knocks you out big time for days or even weeks; and 10 means you can take failure in your stride and keep moving forward. What score would you honestly give yourself?
If you scored 0 – 7, thank you for being honest. However, we’ve got some work to do.
If you score 8 – 10, you obviously see failure as a friend and are able to use it as a valuable resource. 
Failure is a resource
I came across this story on LinkedIn today of Adriano, a Digital Business Analyst who had seven interviews at Facebook and he failed to get the job. He was disappointed, however he chose to share his moment with the community on LinkedIn as a lesson in how we can handle failure. He was extremely resourceful.
The more sceptic among us might say, he’s putting it out there that he’s a good guy, it’s Facebook’s loss and he’s available for a job. But, we’re not going to think that way. 
In fact here’s a few of the comments he received in response to his story:
"Although disappointing for you, we all need reminding of from time to time. There will be times when you succeed and there will be times when you fail, and both are equally important."
"You could be hired just for this attitude. The rest can be learned. I wonder what they were looking for in 7 interviews."
"Most people share after they are successful, I am glad there are individuals who are not afraid of rejection"
"There will be a day when you will look back and tell yourself that life gave you a lot better in exchange."
"I realise that things we really desire in life do not come easy. But sometimes self-doubt creeps in for a brief moment."

The seed of every failure brings a lesson for you
So, one thing we can all learn from this young man is that sharing a failure is a good thing when you share with the right people. And more than that, a FAILURE is simply a failure. What is significant is the meaning that we give to it. 
Let’s think about your own failures, either now or in the past how have you handled them? Were they resourceful or un-resourceful to you? Whatever, you’ve done in the past you get a chance to change that today. Here’s a better 4-step solution that some of my clients use in order to build up their resilience to failure. 

  1. What meaning am I attaching to this situation?

Most important, take your time to think through the situation you are in and assess what occurred. Find a way to be okay that it is just a situation and it is not you that is a failure. 

  1. How do I want to feel about this situation?

Just like you choose the meaning you attach, you don’t have to go to auto-pilot and get upset about it for a long time. Yes, you can get disappointed initially, but don’t stay disappointed for too long. 

  1. Now, what outcome do you want?

Rather than dwelling on the failure for too long, you still get to choose what you want. Your goals are still intact, so it’s simply taking the opportunity to adjust your steering to a new direction

  1. What is my next step?

Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase”. Decide on an action and get started straight away. And then keep moving forward. You might want to call a friend to discuss or the career agent to line up your next role. Whatever you do take some action.
Let your failures be your friends
Look, it doesn’t matter where you are in life right now, you will experience failure at some time. What will you do in response? You get to choose, am I going to let this failure beat me or will I turn this failure into a victory. I love the way Rocky summed it up in the movie when he was sharing some wisdom with his son 
“The world ain't all sunshine and rainbows. It's a very mean and nasty place and I don't care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain't about how hard ya hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That's how winning is done!” ~ Sylvester Stallone, Rocky Balboa
I’m inviting you to keep moving forward no matter the failures!
Donovan ~ Career Energiser
Are you struggling with big decisions in your career right now?  Take the FREE “CAREER HEALTH ASSESSMENT” by clicking here. It will be your next step to moving forward in your career. 
Donovan Grant is a Master Coach who helps IT Professionals to win in business and life! For more training and development for IT professionals by an IT professional vistit www.donovangrant.com.

Managing Your Career For IT Contractors Who Want To Stand Out In A Crowded Market

Managing Your Career For IT Contractors Who Want To Stand Out In A Crowded Market

By Donovan Grant

IT Contractor Career Management

IT Contractors do the job for more than the money! Even though most permanent employees see IT contractors as the rich and lucky ones with two houses, a Mercedes and a bulging share portfolio. This is often not the case.

In this season of tightened government tax rules, last minute contract renewals and lower contract rates it’s tough being a contractor. In fact it makes us wonder how you manage to keep going.

One thing for sure, is that most contractors never pause to do a career sanity check. Whereas employees are fortunate (or unfortunate in some cases) to have a career appraisal with their line manager every 6-months, how many contractors out there do the same? Not many. According to the ones I’ve been running power boost sessions with, the last time they had a review was “ages ago!”

I’m not sure if it’s the same for you. But, whether the reason is lack of time, lack of support or you don’t know how to, a career sanity check is essential in the life of all IT professionals. And especially a contractor.

Take a look at these categories below and if you fit into one or more, then it’s time for you to boost your contractor career:

  1. You are performing the same basic contractor tasks for over 12 months
  2. You’ve been at the same client for over two years
  3. You haven't got defined career goals and are not sure what the most critical thing to do next is
  4. Head-hunters and agencies are calling you less frequently
  5. Practically any contractor with your skills and experience could fill your contract role
  6. The work and tasks you do are monotonous and lack real challenge for you
  7. Your CV (resumé) and LinkedIn profile could fit for many other contractors.

If some of these challenges resonate with you, that’s good! Take it as a warning for you to get your career in shape and plan for the future that you desire.

"Normality is to be different. Every person is a different person. And one day you need to be aware of your difference. Aware that you are not the same as the others. That is to be normal"

~ Alejandro Jodorowsky

Here are some practical things you can do now to take your career from drifting to successful:

Be Clear – Assess where you are and get clear on what you want. The simplest thing you can do is create a vision and create a goal. Give your career a positive cause and a specific direction. If you keep a journal or a notebook, write them down and review and refine regularly.

Be “You Focused” – Look at your whole life and ask yourself “what is my winning formula?” By looking at your personal strengths, weaknesses, successes, failures, life values and other personal qualities you’ll be able to get a sense of what makes you great. It may be how you do things rather than what you do. But by taking a look, you’ll get a better understanding of what your winning formula is. Once you have this, use these to your advantage into everything you do.

Be Receptive – Feedback and recommendation are the backbone of most of us getting contractor work today. With this in mind, it’s important for you to connect with your colleagues and solicit open and honest feedback. The typical thing is to find out what you do well, what you could do better and where do you need to develop. By being brave and receptive to trusted partners, your career could easily improve big time. Just imagine if you were to become aware of one blind spot that you consistently struggle with.

Be Unique – With new comers joining the contractor ranks every day, it is becoming harder to secure the best roles. It is important to get clear as to what you bring to clients which is beyond the formal job spec. Rather than being one of a crowd of contractors, you have to discover your unique thing that will make your name come to the top of the recruiting manager’s pile. Dare to be unique.

Be Visible – There is a growing trend of having virtual meetings and spending most of your day behind the computer screen. While this is good for business efficiency, it is not good for you getting know and networking with people inside and outside your client organisation. Visibility is key with your team, your peers, your manager and those throughout the company. Be the person who is able to turn strangers into friends.

Be Professional – A contractor career is just important to manage as a permanent employee does. It’s no longer turn up at the office, do the job and just go home. It’s more than that. Set yourself and goal and take consistent steps towards that every day. Don’t simply focus on having a great CV and LinkedIn profile, focus on being the professional contractor that clients want to employ. Always be investing in yourself and be open to constructive feedback that can help you to grow and succeed as a contractor.

If you are an IT contractor, look yourself in the mirror and ask am I managing my career like a professional? If you are great. And whether you are or not, remember to arrange your next 6-month appraisal with a trusted partner.

Bringing It All Together

A lot of IT Contractors make the mistake of thinking that they can keep getting contract renewals and the best rates every time, but the reality is that it’s usually not that easy.

Have you seen IT Contractors struggling in their careers? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I think we can all share and grow together.

Can I help you get the highest contract rates possible, secure consistent contract renewals and make yourself un-fireable? CLICK HERE to register for one of the April IT Contractor power boost sessions.

 

AboutDonovangrantDonovan helps Business Professionals in IT and Payments to get to the core of critical issues so they achieve great results in business and life. Clients make changes to help position them as leaders so they can over-deliver and stand out in a crowd.

How To Fix Your Business Analyst Career Problems

Business Analysts are becoming a hybrid breed. If you’re a BA, you must have been at a networking session and when you’ve needed to deliver a snappy elevator speech in 15 words or less you’ve stuttered.

The challenge is not knowing what you do, the challenge is explaining it to someone else concisely before their eyes start to glaze over because they are mystified. Don’t worry BA’s, I can assure you that you are not alone.

In fact, I was reading a great post in one of the popular BA groups on LinkedIn this week and a similar question caught my eye:

“How do you see the Business Analyst role?”

Now, that may seem like a clear and concise question, however you wouldn’t believe the degree of activity it generated in the space of one short week.

This innocent question got a massive 396 Likes and 65 Comments and believe you me this was not like a mutual appreciation society. There were definitely divided opinions and I think, had this been a face to face discussion rather than virtual, there could have been a very high temperature meeting room!

It’s interesting that people were split into three major camps.

  1. Technical camp
  2. Spiritual camp
  3. Realists camp

Technical perspective of BA role

The technical camp were firmly rooted in what the day to day tasks were that a BA does. Some commenters dug deep and quoted from IIBA, while some were from the CBAP world.  You can probably hear these quotes ringing in the air now:

  • “A BA is a facilitator, investigator, problem solver and good Listener”
  • “Designing the solution or facilitating the design sessions”
  • “Identify the quick, medium and long term business solutions”

This is best summed up by the IIBA definition: “A BA is a liaison among stakeholders in order to understand the structure, policies, and operations of an organization, and to recommend solutions that enable the organization to achieve its goals.”

Spiritual perspective of BA role

The spiritual camp came from a warmer and more sensitive perspective when describing the BA role. They gave you the sense that a BA was more of an artist rather than a technician. They shared ideas that would not have been out of place in a touchy feely self-development book:

  • “The organization's problem solver”
  • “Understanding the business pain and recognising an opportunity
  • “Being the 'bridge' between the business and IT”
  • “BA is a way of thinking irrespective of your job title”

Realists perspective of BA role

Well, the third and final group are best described as the realists ones (whether it was intended or not). They gave you the view that they were there to get the job done regardless of the challenges and names they got called.

  • “An underrated resource with an unintuitive title”
  • “So much more than an errand boy/girl for the IT department”
  • “We do the As-Is's (what the heck the plural for As-Is?)”
  • “Faces off to all parties of the development lifecycle not just throwing requirements over the fence”

The Future of the BA role

What is important for us now is how we want the role to be in the future. One thing for sure is that the BA Role is evolving along with the responsibilities for this role. There is not a one size fits all business analyst; the discipline is broken up into many different variations these days to meet the requirements of the business.

So, are there simply three traditional BA types? A Business Consultant, Business Analyst and a Systems Analyst or is there a better way to embrace the evolution as the industry changes around us.

Whatever gets decided, the business require professional people with business knowledge, strategies, techniques and personal characteristics who can deliver effectively. (For more about the BA Talent test CLICK HERE).

One commenter summed it up straight from the heart, “We need to distinguish the real Business Analysis experts from anyone who can memorise the BABOK by heart, pass the exam but utterly fails in real life projects and I know and have worked closely with CBAPs who have not the slightest clue about what they are doing. They just memorize very well.”

I’m sure we all share this sentiment and the BA role is very much alive.

Let’s keep the BA standards high!

How do you define your role in 15 words? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as the Business community needs your voice too.

Don't forget to take the BA Talents Test: Click Here.

Donovan Grant is a Master Coach Trainer who helps Business Professionals in the Payments & IT industry to win in business and life. He is also the creator of the BA Talent assessment. Visit www.donovangrant.com for more interesting insights and training.

If you’re a BA who would like to get your talent score CLICK HERE to take the test.

AboutDonovangrantDonovan helps Business Professionals in IT and Payments to get to the core of critical issues so they achieve great results in business and life. Clients make changes to help position them as leaders so they can over-deliver and stand out in a crowd.

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