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The economy has been struggling in recent years as many say that this is the worst job market since the Great Depression. While it’s not my intention to get political here or debate numbers, I will say that I’ve noticed that even when the unemployment numbers fall here in the U.S., they often get revised up the following month and they don’t include the people that have either taken a lower paying job (underemployed) or have simply given up. The only reason I even mention this is that if you’re looking for work, the competition is fierce. So it’s especially important for you to find ways to stand out in a positive way.
I was unemployed for nine months back in 2003. That doesn’t seem like a long time these days as I know people that have been looking for work for two years. But honestly, when you’re unemployed, even a few weeks can seem like an eternity and most of us want to do what we can to get back to work. With so much “company” in the job search process, it’s critical to grab any edge that you can. Here are three things you can do to stand out from the crowd in a positive way:
Happy 2013! There’s something about the New Year that causes us to use it as a milestone for starting over. Perhaps it’s the act of replacing our desk or wall calendars or maybe it’s the fact that it’s a new tax and financial period. Whatever the reason, most of us use this opportunity to drop old bad habits and pick up new good ones.
If you’re not sure what to do for your resolution, here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Quit drinking/smoking/over-eating.
I love video games (it’s one of my few addictions) and one of the ways games become exciting is the concept of a power-up. A power-up can be something that you earn (such as completing a task in a short amount of time) or that you find out of pure luck (looking in a container). Power-ups can give you special powers, send you to a bonus level or let you jump ahead so that you’re further along in the game. To add to the challenge of a game, many power-ups disappear after a few seconds or if you move off the screen, so you need to get to them right away – many gamers risk their lives (within the game) to get certain power-ups.
Do you ever find yourself so focused on your professional goals that you just feel burned out? This happens to me frequently, despite my best efforts to plan and schedule things effectively. Let’s face it: there really is a lot to do and time is at a premium.
I sometimes find with my writing that I’ll be on a roll for a while and then get stuck. When this happens, I step back and do something else. Ideally, the activity meets the following criteria:
- It helps me meet another one of my goals.
Setting goals can be a fun process. Many programs have you do things like turn on music that inspires you and imagine your life ten years out if you could have everything go your way. It’s a fun exercise and can get you excited and maybe even motivated. But it’s just that – the fun part.
A few summers ago I did some running in my neighborhood. I’d start at my house, run until I hit what I felt was a good halfway point, then turn around and run home. I’d always like to push myself, especially with this big hill I’d run partially up so as I’d start to get to tired, I’d tell myself “just one more mailbox.”
Sometimes that next mailbox was twenty feet away, other times it was fifty. While running an extra mile or two seemed like something out of my reach, certainly I could go another twenty feet. And then when I hit that next mailbox, the next one was only a little farther away so I could repeat that process until my legs started to wobble.
One of the things I’ve learned recently as I’ve started to seriously workout again is that achieving a goal is a lot less complex than we make it out to be. Really, there are three basic steps: set the goal, create the action plan and then follow through with it. As I’m sure you can guess, most people fail on one of the last two steps.
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