Tracking Progress Through Micro-Movements

Photo by Robin GAILLOT-DREVON on Unspash.com

You have been prepared for this moment. Sometimes you only realize this when you stop long enough to look back with your discerning eye. What you learned, overcame, and even invented back then is all serving you now. So why does it feel like there’s no progress in your career or job search?

boat sailing past mount rainier. Photo by Peter James Creative.
While I was in graduate school studying ecopsychology‘, the human relationship with the rest of nature, I did my practicum in wilderness therapy. One of those projects took me into a program for at-risk youth where I got to shadow the guides during a boat trip around the San Juan Islands in Washington aboard the USS Resolution. When there is no wind, and you are taking turns rowing with powdered milk and granola in your belly, you understand feeling like there is no progress.

To keep my motivation high while my calloused hands help propel the crew across the vast expanse of blue water, I would look across to the nearest island to see where I was. Even if it was Mount Rainier, I could tell when it seemed our boat came up to it, when we were in the middle of it, and then when I had to look back to see it. It felt like forever, but I had a visual queue that I was getting somewhere.
Free woman paddling a boat with beautiful view image, public domain CC0 photo.

Small Steps are Still Progress

As I have a bias toward action, it makes sense to me now, that I found a way to track my progress. If the change you want to make in your career or job search feels like rowing past Mount Rainier, you can do this too. Instead of looking at the entire mountain, look at where you are during your journey, what you learned, and why it matters. 

Looking back now, I whole-heartedly appreciate that I learned to answer to my sea name, T-Bird, and witnessed an ingenious young man catch a fish off the back of the boat with a paperclip and dental floss. Who knew?

What landmark can you use to track your micro-movements of progress in your career?
Posted in Awareness, Career Development, Change, Coaching, Creative Metaphor, Ecopsychology, Narrative Ecopsychology, Wilderness | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Work for You

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Young woman in glasses checking phone while on laptop.  Paint brushes in foreground.
Photo by bruce mars on Unsplash

If you’re looking to improve your LinkedIn profile and make sure it’s effectively representing your professional brand, you’ve come to the right place. In this post, I’ll share some best practices for creating a standout LinkedIn profile. Whether you’re a new grad just starting out, or a mid-career professional looking for a change, following these tips will help ensure that your profile is working for you.

Why LinkedIn Matters

When it comes to job hunting, your LinkedIn profile is your most powerful tool. It’s how recruiters and potential employers find you, learn about your professional brand, and decide whether or not to reach out to you for an interview.

It is important to also know how LinkedIn fits in with your company culture. If your company is active on the social media platform, this could be the way to network, be seen, stand out from the crowd, and level up your career!

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Job Search Strategy: The First Step Toward Your Dream Job

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Realistic super moon on sky background from Rawpixel.com

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Before you set out on a new job search or career path it can be helpful to define what success looks like for you so that you can recognize the destination when you see it. The next thing to do is to outline what it takes to get you there. Do you need more training? More information? Targeted connections?

Whether you follow a structured path or create your own, by defining a clear end goal and the steps that lead you in the right direction you can better evaluate the opportunities you encounter. 

I have worked with career changers who were targeting data science roles but realized that what they needed for their next role was to be a data analyst. It wasn’t the destination they were looking for, but it was on the career path they outlined for themselves.  By the same token, a mid-career data scientist took a job offer after interviewing the staff to make sure the company culture supported professional development. To him, this meant the freedom to move teams, expand roles, or experiment with technology as his interests and talent permitted.

Galaxy wallpaper desktop background, HD aesthetic night sky image. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

When the right choice for you is to take a step in a direction rather than a giant leap into the unknown or pursue roles to get a foothold in a company so you can later move into your dream position, here are some things to consider:

How supportive is the company culture? 

If current employees feel stuck and unsupported, that may not be a place to plant yourself and expect to feel nurtured. If development is encouraged, consider creating a plan that facilitates your own growth. Work with intention, even if that means finding your own mentor inside or outside the company.

Is the job for passion or for pay?

To find career satisfaction means to live in our purpose, but that does not always mean that our passion project is the one that pays us. A balanced life can mean you have a job that pays the bills and a side hustle or volunteer opportunity that is your passion. To make this happen it is important the job you take on allows you to have the time and energy to have a life outside of work.

How can you get the most out of this role?

Working with passion and purpose means aligning what you are doing with your goals. If your goal is to be a senior designer in two years, then one way you can do that is to define what it means to be at the senior level, and plan to gain that experience. This could be anything from owning a project from start to finish, mentoring others, or even increasing your depth of skill and breadth of knowledge so that you can work with minimal supervision. Partner with your manager or mentor to align your tasks with the skills you are looking to develop, or pinpoint opportunities where you can use your skills in wholly new ways.

Person wearing headlight facing towards snow mountains. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

The beautiful thing about your career is that you get to decide what success looks like from the opportunities you accept to the attention you give it.

“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” ~ Mary Oliver

Posted in Career, Career Development, Decisions, Job Hunt GPS, Life of Purpose, Professional Development | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Job Search Marathon or Sprint?

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Seattle skyline with marathoners racing across road (viaduct)

These are unprecedented times. Chances are all of us on the job market were not alive during the last pandemic. Some of us (barely or vividly) remember the Great Recession (2008-2010). What’s different about job searching now than was true in 2019 is the focus on customizing materials and not sending out one-size-fits-all applications because we don’t want one-size-fits-all jobs. That said, here are some things I think will help provide context for the journey ahead:

  • Pre-pandemic the average job search was 3-4 months.
  • My research indicates that recession-era job searches are ~4 months.
  • I have also seen research stating the average pre-pandemic hiring time is < 30 days.
  • Anecdotally, I have also witnessed tech startups change their hiring process mid-stream while enterprise-level companies incrementally move through a meticulous game plan.
Ethnic woman in uniform sprints along race track.

While you know you are ready, one thing you cannot account for is the free will of the employer and the timing of the right role in the right company. For some, I see the job search experience as a sprint, and for others, it is a marathon. Take these stories for example:

  • I know a VR innovator that always plans for his job searches to be 6 months and spends the first 3 networking and researching the market.
  • I saw someone get a job 2 weeks after a bootcamp graduation and turned it down because it wasn’t a right fit. Nothing fit for more than 12 months and it darn near drove him crazy.
  • I witnessed someone else get a job 4 months after graduation. It felt like too soon. She still wanted to look.
  • Another woman found her job even after pausing her search to give birth. She leveraged holiday party networking and her past skillset to negotiate a role that fit her situation.
  • I even supported someone who ran through the same hiring process as his friends at an enterprise-level company, but he wasn’t getting the same interview logistics information as his peers. He kept an adaptable attitude and continued to follow up, allowing the company to fix the mistakes. In the end, everyone chosen got an email offer and he got a personal call with the offer and gratitude for his patience.

Just as every story is different and you have a particular set of skills, no one way to hunt for a job works for everyone. Instead, I recommend devising a job search strategy that leans into your strengths. An introvert is not going to attack the job search the same way an extrovert might.

A large group of people running in a marathon in the middle of a street in Brussels. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

It is the resume and/or cover letter and/or networking that gets you the interview, the ability to articulate your business value, and demonstrate the required skills to move you through the rounds to the offer stage. If you need help pinpointing or articulating your value work with a trained coach.

Man in bike helmet and wheel chair along a road.

Whether you anticipate your job search to be a sprint or a marathon the key is to be agile and adapt to the circumstances. Debug your job search each month rather than waiting and hoping for the best. And, when you realize things aren’t what you expected (the marathon is becoming a sprint or the sprint is stretching to become a marathon), it is important to recognize the signs and adjust your approach for the short/long haul.

Businesswoman Winning Competition Mission Goal Concept

What are your assumptions about your current or upcoming job search? If the opposite of what you assume is true, what do you need to change to find the success you crave?

Posted in Awareness, Career Development, Coaching, Grief, Job Hunt GPS, Stuck | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wilted Warrior?

Story & Photo by Tiffany A. Dedeaux

To others, it appears you have begun to wilt. In truth, that petal has not fallen off. To tug it is to become aware of the strength of the bond you still have.

Letting go of what no longer serves you is a choice. When you are ready it will happen.

Career satisfaction is also a choice. It is the fulfillment of arriving at a decision in which you feel at peace. You are where you are meant to be in this one moment. You can choose to lean into your current destination or into the journey of becoming who you know you were meant to be.

What aspects of your career are you preparing to let go of in order to become more satisfied?

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February is Already the Hardest Year

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Change has come. 

While there may be moments of joy, I am mindful that change also shows up like a caterpillar dissolving in a cocoon, reshaping itself into a butterfly before breaking through to fly free.

Change is beautiful. It is also birth.

Job searches are change. It is a storm of activity that transforms who you are and redefines what is possible. If it were easy, we would not wait until we are uncomfortable before we start. To change THE world and OUR collective worlds is an epic feat of endurance, persistence, and hope.

You are my greatest hope. 

There is part of me that wants to say, “I got you.” I am not just a coach but a cheerleader for the best parts of ourselves. I understand wanting better. I am the incarnation of hard work for a moment, a lifetime, and a generation. I am aware that I am part of what our ancestors have fought for. It is my mission, my purpose, to help as many people as possible by being a light in dark places.

While I cheer for you, I have also been introduced to the term ‘empathy fatigue’ so I want to take this moment to acknowledge that while I am able to say, “I got you,” there is a team of people, a village, that have not only said “I got you” but are doing the work to deliver on that promise. Cheers to the people who are hope made real!

Posted in Awareness, Change, Coaching, Creative Metaphor, Ecopsychology, Grief, Life, Narrative Ecopsychology, Professional Development, Reflection, Story / Narrative, Stuck | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

FEAR: Decide and Move on?

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

FEAR. It is what holds many people back. I say this because I talk to them. The people, not their fears.

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real

Facing FEAR is not easy and feeling FEAR makes things harder. While I feel like I grew into the professional I am today because I had Joyce Meyer in my ear whispering, “Do it afraid,” it changed my life to think of FEAR as an acronym: FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL.  False Evidence. FEAR is real. It is a necessary part of survival when you consider the fight or flight response, but what if take a moment to ask ourselves “Is this real or am I getting worked up for nothing?”

What has been the false evidence in my life? That I couldn’t do something.  They told me I couldn’t do it, whoever they are. My first career was as a video editor, and it began when the Weekend TV News Anchor turned and looked at me and asked me if I wanted to learn.  I said yes. Honestly, I am never not learning. That Anchor began showing me how to edit video for broadcast news and before I knew it, a job became available. I applied and the technical skills assessment was to put together a SOTVO which is a Sound-on-Tape of natural background noise followed by trailing video that the Anchor could voice over. I crafted that piece, full of excitement and nerves, and I handed it in.

No. It wasn’t good enough. As if I knew I would be a Career Coach someday I asked, “Could you please let me know what I could have done better?” I was told I was a slow learner, and that the VO should have continued with natural sound at a low level.  I didn’t know. It wasn’t that I couldn’t learn or that I was slow to learn, it was literally that I was so new I didn’t know what was possible. I was wounded on many levels. Clearly.  This was eons. I don’t know if I needed to tell that story or you needed to read it, but the world is filled with things we don’t know.  Is ‘not knowing’ enough to stop us or can we take a step and do it afraid?

Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

FEAR: Forget Everything and Run

There is another side to fight and flight and that is the flight part. FEAR could also stand for FORGET EVERYTHING AND RUN.  Is this THAT time? The time when you should drop what you are doing and take off in some direction to get away from what you FEAR? No one can legitimately decide that for you. We can validate that you have every right to feel the FEAR that you are feeling.

So, what do you do once you have had that feeling you identify as FEAR?  I am writing this, realizing that I must live in the “I don’t know what I don’t know” world because the story that comes to mind for me now is when I took an assignment to train Australian Broadcast Company (ABC) teams to use video production software. It was a six-month contract that had me in a new city every 3-4 weeks for six months from Melbourne and Adelaide to Perth and Darwin.  I had three weeks to pack up my life in Seattle and go. Of course, I went. The best, most ignorant thing I ever did because I didn’t realize how hard it would be.

After an intense day of configuring the first classroom and labeling every single wire for every single computer terminal, I used up all my pre-paid mobile minutes to verbally meltdown on the phone to the Program Manager. He was astute to know that I was exhausted having been plucked from my routine and in a foreign land beginning an epic journey, so he let me vent.  When I was done, I picked myself off the floor, went to my flat, and prepared my curriculum for the first class. The Project Manager that had the brilliant idea to label every cable so I could set up the classroom by myself, didn’t carry on. There were times when no one could find him. While it seems that I am resilient there is a part of me that I swear doesn’t know any better! While apparently, it is in my nature to run to hard projects just to see if I can get it done, it is also a valid response to not take that on if you don’t have to.  What will you do in the face of FEAR? How do you want to show up?

Photo by Anastasiya Vragova from Pexels

FEAR: Forgive Everyone and Reset

In discussing the FEAR of leaving a toxic situation with someone I wondered aloud if what was holding them back was the need to FORGIVE EVERYONE AND RESET what they were trying to do with their career. The key to forgiving everyone is that it includes ourselves.  Forgiving, in this context, was a way of letting go so they could move on. I have found it difficult to leave both wonderful and toxic work situations because of the FEAR of the unknown.  Who are we apart from these situations? Sometimes we cannot know until we that the first step and the waters part and we begin to see our way forward.

When I returned home from that six-month contract in Australia it was to The Great Recession with a diminished set of job prospects and a new level of exhaustion from constantly being on the move. To reset my life and career I had to forgive myself for the things in my personal and professional life I avoided dealing with and take more control over my career path because no one wants to work with a person who is running from something when they can have the person running to them. I dusted myself off and joined the Office Envisioning team as a Microsoft vendor and redefined what was possible for myself, including constant public speaking in front of business leaders.

Photo by Liza Summer from Pexels

What is FEAR holding you back from?  What are you going to do about it?

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3 Boxes That Keep You Stuck

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

A woman with a large backpack walking through a forest. Original public domain image from Wikimedia Commons

One of the things I address with clients is what box they’re in.

There are three different categories that I realize factor into how we become stuck or get ourselves unstuck. The first box that seems to impede progress would be the box of buildings. Part of my background is a study of ecopsychology and looking at our relationship with the rest of the earth and how we care for ourselves. So, if we’re feeling stuck, part of what we can do is get grounded and even go for a walk outside.

Student bullied at school Image by rawpixel.com

The other box that I typically look at is the boxes of expectations and routines, by walking outside we can typically disrupt our routine so that we can look at things from a fresh perspective. Sometimes it can be a matter of recognizing we may no longer be a morning person.

A couple having an argument Image by rawpixel.com

The third box is the box of expectations. When I started this practice about 10 years ago, it had a lot to do with other people’s expectations and how that weighs on us. Over the years I have come to realize the expectations we have for ourselves can also weigh heavy on us.

When we address those aspects of what has us stuck, we can break ourselves free because once we recognize what is holding us back, we can then free ourselves.

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Years of Experience: What To Consider

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Portrait of stressed woman Image by rawpixel.com

There’s a saying, well, actually there’s a song that said something about ‘don’t take it personal.’ If I could sing I would put it to the words ‘don’t take it literal…’

I keep thinking and talking with people about their job search, not to take things so literally when the job description says a certain number of years of experience. I’m seeing people count on their fingers, the number of months and years that maybe they have experience with certain skills, tools, or roles.

abacus Image by rawpixel.com

I remember starting out my career doing that and being made fun of by a co-worker. It’s not a bad thing. It just turns out that things aren’t just that cut and dry.

Instead of saying, okay, I only have two months of experience, think about all the other things that you know, that you bring to the job and share that. It’s important to not forget where you came from, who you are, and what got you here so that you can explain that and share your gift with the world.

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What Can You Negotiate?

By Tiffany A. Dedeaux

Business people shaking hands in a meeting room Image by rawpixel.com

In my discussions with different people the question came up, what can you negotiate when salary is not a factor? Either the money meets the market demands or has already been deemed non-negotiable.

While there may be different thoughts and camps on what to negotiate, you could talk about a signing bonus, which apparently, is not just for the sports industry anymore. This can be a way for a company, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, to lock in your commitment.

Corporate business people handshaking Image by rawpixel.com

Relocation payments or reimbursement could be part of the package, as can be office equipment or expenses if you are working from home.

Some of the people I talk to do not have an issue with the vacation time on the table, some companies in the tech industry even offer unlimited paid-time-off (PTO), but if that is an option you could put that on the table.

Terms word on business handshake background Image by rawpixel.com

With the tech trends being disrupted at an accelerated pace, outside the speed of Moore’s law, could a training stipend or reimbursement policy be factored into your job offer negotiations? For some, that training could also include career coaching to help you navigate new role demands.

Training is one idea that is definitely worth considering because you don’t want to be just a viable candidate for right now. You want to stay ahead of the curve and keep being viable into the future.

Training is one idea that is definitely worth considering because you don’t want to be just a viable candidate for right now. You want to stay ahead of the curve and keep being viable into the future.

These are a few ideas that I have discussed with others, and if you have any, feel free to post those in the chat or reach out to me and let’s have a conversation about it.

Posted in Career, Communication, Decisions, Interviewing, Job Hunt GPS, Salary Negotiations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment