Sunday, January 27, 2013

3 tips to stop worrying on your job decision

Many people approach me asking for help to guide them on their job choices. What I found common among all cases is a staggering fear of making unforgivable wrong decision.
Well guys, let me share – indeed it is scary as these decisions impact our future, however I have learnt that fear is a pretty bad friend. Here is my recipe that has worked 100% to kick out the doors that pal:
1.       What move you make today matters only in the context of your next move tomorrow
…and tomorrow’s outlook is only based on your assumptions today about it and your will to shape it every step of the way forward.
In other words if you have thought well on your potential paths forward and how this current job choice is going to help you make the next step in that direction, than it is the right job. In the current volatile environment it is natural for a career path to make lots of turns, in many instances they may seem more often horizontal then always climbing the corporate ladder upwards. However growth is a journey and you would only fail if you fail to keep pursuing what you truly want.
2.       Good or bad job- it is only you to judge, rest is branding
When making a decision it is based on a set of criteria and prioritization among them plus an evaluation of the score against each criterion compared to how helpful a choice is to your bigger goal. When I look at this I always start feeling better as whatever choice I make it would really be my choice, based on my own criteria, prioritization, evaluation of them and most importantly my own goals.
Naturally there are 7 fundamental criteria to look at on a job search:
·         Your manager
·         Your team members
·         Where in the hierarchy is the role- who do you report to manager, director, VP?
·         Skills level perception, tagged as beginner, specialist, expert
·         Challenges you solve- are they priority or not; do you work on the cost or revenue side?
·         The big question of pay and benefits
·         Prospects for next move
Each one of us would most probably rank these criteria quite differently as we have our own unique big goals but also our own unique life situations. Although your goals might not change, going through life circumstances in which you make choices do, so you would most probably prioritize these differently at 25 and then at 40.
The trick here is to note that as you source out information against each of the criterion, the input you get from colleagues, friends, acquaintances would always come to you already packaged in their own shades based on their own views and bigger goals. That is why key in your decision making is to really be very clear on your bigger goals they would be your guiding light and of course asking questions not only about each criteria but also why someone has such a view, what they want to achieve.
Why rest is branding? Well while each choice is yours, you need to be aware of how it is perceived by others. The good news is – if you have done your research well, you would already know current perceptions and you can build a plan to shape them in the direction you want.  
If you don’t want to deal with that, then maybe you have just found another criterion for your job evaluation J.
3.       A job is no longer a static set of repetitive actions- shape it!
In most cases when deciding on a job you would have a job description or an idea of what the job would encompass as responsibilities. What I witness is that whatever information people are given on a job spec, especially very true for graduates, there still seems to remain the big question- but what I will do on every day basis and would like it, be capable of succeeding etc.
I was absolutely the same! I wanted to very well picture my work day. Not anymore though. It was about a year ago, when one of my previous managers called me and offered me a role. What the offer contained was an indication of the team, generally their scope of programs and my potential manager name. I took it. Had no clue what exactly I was going to work on. However, as I assumed, the role was to achieve certain results, how I do it via what daily actions, was a question of dialogue with my manager.
And this is true for almost every job. As long as you are the driving force, there is no reason for you to worry on what actions it would entail.
My final recipe test for a job decision is the question: what story would I tell about this job on my next job interview?
And remember you are the story writer.

Love to hear your thoughts and comments!

The herein thoughts and ideas shared are solely opinions of the author.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Are you sick of tips on graduates job search that seem to never work?

Job search tips and tricks on do-s and don’t-s have been flooding us all. Fundamentally, though, most of them you may say are just listings of “what” should be done. Moreover, you might say the tips are not really relevant to your unique case, but rather too generic to move you to action. Let’s explore together!
Simply looking at this there might be 2 reasons- the articles are really useless or you struggle to see the meaning and how to capitalize.

The tips are useless
Naturally not every article out there you may find useful. However do you stop just at closing the browser window?
As a customer of this information service you have the great power of influencing what you read next. Moreover, you have the opportunity to influence not only what you read, but what others read too. I personally see this as both opportunity and accountability- don’t miss out to post a comment.
Where is the trick here though? You can poor your negativity and frustrations and potentially get the author change his/her approach. However, your comment is out there for all recruiters to read too. Thus it actually is a pure evidence of how you deal with problems, how you influence. So before you write think on would you hire yourself if you were a recruiter reading your comment?
Struggling to see the meaning and capitalize
Everywhere you will read that the successful job search starts with a well-thought strategy. Demystifying what “strategy” means and how it relates to grasping career opportunities might be your “key” to start finding more meaning for you.
It was a few years ago when I found my best suiting explanation. I worked on a project to organize a big conference on Strategies in Innovation. The key note speaker Jill Hellman delivered a workshop with more than 100 senior executives helping them break the boundaries of their own perception of strategy. Basically she didn’t say anything I didn’t know from my bachelor degree such as that strategy actually is how you get from point A to point B, BUT what struck me was her point that success in our dynamic environment is more and more dependent on how many moves you have in your playbook. In simple words success is hidden in enlarging your lists of moves, the various ways you can move from point A to point B, from looking for a job to finding a job.
So today when I read tips and tricks articles, I look for the moves, I look for subtle nuances of the repeating moves enlarging my own job search playbook to pick the best ones for my case.
How useful was this post to you? Would love to hear your thoughts the good, the bad and the ugly J
The herein thoughts and ideas shared are solely opinions of the author.

Monday, December 31, 2012

The banana story: embracing challenges

George Patton has said “Accept challenges, so that you may feel the exhilaration of victory.” Although I may never get to know the bliss of a warrior winning a battle, I have uncovered for myself that stepping up to challenges offers only positives in my professional path- if I do well I build my own confidence and appetite for more, if not: I get a learning point and try a different strategy next time.
Highly encourage you to try it for yourself in your professional path!
But instead of just preaching, let me share one of my experiences ...

It was some time ago, when I had a conversation with one of my great mentors and shared a potential trajectory of my career development. She challenged me as a first step to introduce myself to one of the senior leaders visiting the office.
And there I was with this challenge at a networking breakfast surrounded by more than 100 of my national fellows. I really wanted not to make it too public and kind of to remain unnoticed so I don’t get all the judging looks. In my country introducing yourself to a senior manager is somewhat of an unusual behavior- there is fairly bigger hierarchical distance than for instance- in the American culture.
I started walking around the packed hall looking to spot the senior leader. My heart was beating like crazy “What should I say? What will he think of me? What others will think of me?” I was really getting on the verge of declaring myself of extremely reckless for what I was about to do…
Oh here he was- standing alone next to the catering table, putting some cookies in his plate.
Like on an autopilot, I quickly moved among the packed hall and was right there next to him in seconds … so as I was saying “Hi, good morning, so happy to see you…” my brain prompted me a tip from a networking book I read to mimic what the other person is doing to start establishing rapport. So I took a plate and looked quickly over the table to put something in it… there were all kinds of cookies and fruits. I had to use special utensils to put in my plate for most of the sweets as I couldn’t risk getting my hands dirty for the normal follow-up shake of hands. However I couldn't have used the utensils neighter, as I was feeling the nervousness in my hands and dropping them on the floor, completely embarrassing myself was not an option… so the best choice was … an unpeeled banana.
Happy that I passed the first 1 minute and we were already standing with full plates, starting off a nice conversation …
Oops something was wrong. Bang, bang, bang. It wasn’t my heart making this noise  anymore, but what was it?
Looked around secretly, when I noticed my hand was shaking so heavily that the poor banana handle was knocking on my plate!
Has he noticed? I put so much effort in managing what I say and my facial expression to appear calm and assertive that all of the stress had gone in my hand holding that empty plate with the unpeeled banana.

Bang bang…had to make it stop, felt like everyone was hearing it…pulled my other hand up and grabbed the plate with both hands, which stabalized the situation.
The conversation came to an end and I moved a way to another table. I was immensely happy- made it through the challenge despite that it was somewhat contradictory to my culture, although I was frankly speaking very scared I may embarrass myself, irrespective that my arms, being crunched in the deadly grip of that plate with the banana, were just killing me of muscle pain!
Guess what happened next? The senior leader a few hours later introduced me to a peer of him whom I have aspired as a career role model and sponsored a trip for me to our headquarters to work on a project with the global team!
I would always now tag bananas with success and would keep on embracing challenges in 2013!
…however would need to work more on managing stress holisticallyJ
Happy to learn from your thoughts and experiences on challenges.

The herein thoughts and ideas shared are solely opinions of the author.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Peer power: career development fuel

Who do you think is playing a pivotal role in our career development? Our managers, coaches, mentors. Absolutely! But not only… I have uncovered through my own journey that my peers are those who significantly enable my growth dreams.
3 transformational experiences that shaped my thoughts:
1.       Gold mine of pure genuine feedback
In today’s fast paced world, where knowledge is not a privilege of a few anymore, not a constant but a dynamic variable, networks of passionate learners in self-development are emerging. Central figure in them are the learners themselves who grow and learn together from one another. In contrast to traditional approaches where we are all used to trusting a master in whatever, these networks are a powerful source of gold - constructive, unpolished, pure feedback from a peer. What you need to do in return is just give back the favour. 
A few years ago I had the great pleasure to join one of these networks– Toastmasters.

Toastmasters is a club-type organization where the members ultimately aim at improving their communication, public speaking and leadership skills. This experience has beaten by far everything I knew back then, it accelerated my learning tremendously, letting go of fear of rejection and failure I opened up my senses and soaked in every piece of feedback. My peers in the club became my friends and my best teachers!

2.       Network growth accelerator
Joining the HP HR MAP program I actually joined an incredible team of about 30 talented HR professionals from all over the globe. Each one of them has brought to the table great unique viewpoints, experiences and last but not least networking power.

Although we work in a 300 000 people organization it takes only a few minutes to get an introduction to an internal stakeholder to solve a problem, to explore existing practices in whatever hour of the day! Should I need external perspective, voilĂ  my mailbox can get filled super-fast with the best external local sources from every place of the globe.

3.       Everyone can get good results, but exceptional results come with peer power team-ups
Sometime ago I took part in a project on building a thorough analysis on a critical opportunity in our people strategy. I have undertaken this endeavor together with a colleague, where we were given a slide deck done by another group as a benchmark. Each one of us separately was quite enough to deliver an analysis similar to that deck and that would have most probably been good enough a solution. However, we were not sole players anymore, we were able to leverage off our capabilities and most importantly we were exciting and challenging each other. The solution we built went beyond expectations and was discussed with the top leadership level in our function. This experience has done more for my career development than anything else and it was extremely fun J

Last but not least, allow me to share an observation in the people management arena. Performance feedback is not anymore solely the manager’s responsibility; instruments such as 360 degrees feedback are gaining popularity bringing objectivity in the process. However what they also bring along is peer power! Now your manager’s feedback becomes as important as your peers’, as your customers’, as your subordinates’.

How do you proactively leverage your peers for your career development? How do you give back?
The herein thoughts and ideas shared are solely opinions of the author.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

What is this blog about?

Hey everyone!
So excited to be starting off this exciting adventure of sharing personal, career and leadership development experiences via my blog Dreamers GetIt! I aspire to learn together, to overcome barriers and accelerate our path to achieving our dreams!
Let me be honest here with you from the very beginning, it took me quite some time to overcome all fears known and unknown towards blogging, but as I do in many instances I am jumping in and starting to learn. All feedback is welcomed!
In this first acquaintance of ours I feel I also owe you an answer on who am I? As I believe we are writing the answer of this question for each one of us with every thought, every dream, every step we take, while shaping the future, let me share who I have been so far:
I was born in a beautiful small town on the river Danube called Ruse in Bulgaria (Eastern Europe).

My family is quite a story J, which I will be happy to share in some of my future articles. However there is one key person that has dramatically influenced me and need to note– my mom.  She is one of the most incredible dreamers I have ever met! Very stubborn and quite an energy thunder she has reinvented her own life a few times- from having just a few coins to buy bread to buying a house in Las Vegas during her vacation in Florida. Not easy to live with J but a remarkable fuel to my dreams.

My childhood went in moving from place to place, changing schools every 2-3 years, making and losing friends. I believe this is helping me today a lot in quickly moving through change and connecting easily with new people, of course it is always painful to let go of familiar comfort but I already know there is a new adventure at the corner, new great friends, new exciting learnings and much more to uncover of myself.
Moved out of home at 18 years old went to University in the capital of Bulgaria – Sofia. Still keep the bus ticket from Ruse to Sofia J. Had a memorable 1st year – grasping what I back then felt as the sweetest thing – “freedom”, choosing for myself where to go, what to eat, which party to attend etc.
As my family was struggling to support me financially, I decided to take the wheel and looked for a summer job. Referred by a friend I ended up at my first interview ever in P&G with a few lines of Resume that another friend helped me put together. The lady that was interviewing me asked a lot of questions, but towards the end of our conversation she popped: “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”. Oops I haven’t had thought of it before. However during the whole interview my thoughts were drifting towards how much I liked what she was doing- talking with people about what they enjoy doing, helping a business find the right person for the right job (didn’t know what HR or recruiting is J). So I spit out “Well, at your place”. Poor lady was very startled. About 5 years later I met her at the national HR conference, where I was representing the HR consulting company I was working in as a recruiter. Of course she didn’t remember me, but I re-introduced myself and thanked her- as she played a pivotal role in my professional path!
Worked for about 3 years in the very best HR consulting company in Bulgaria, being groomed as a professional in an incredible environment where quality was at pedestal, where work was not work it was a mission, clients were not simply clients, they were people in need, where colleagues were not colleagues, they were life transforming friends and coaches. Loved my time in AIMS Human Capital!
As I shared earlier, change has been entrusted in my life as normal course of things, so even when there were no external factors to move me to the next thing, I usually become anxious and felt the urge to take the lead, make a move myself. That happened about 2 years ago when I started looking for a new career challenge.
I am quite picky on the challenges I choose, so I applied only to 3 job advertisements. At  1 of them I was not the right fit, at the other the company and the job was not the right fit for me, but at the 3rd it was my dream opportunity. It was a career booster that felt like was designed just for me- with rotations at every 6 months, game changing projects across markets, international assignment, in one of the best technology leading companies in the world! That was the HR MAP program at HP an accelerated unique leadership development program for early-career HR professionals.
With each interview my desire grew stronger and stronger. I still remember when the program manger called me and shared: “Daniela we have made our choice and we would like you to join the program”. Funny or not my spontaneous answer was “Really!?”…ha ha ha lesson learnt I am certainly more reserved these days. But I got it!
Absolutely promise to share more on that adventure J
Today I am performing the role of the Europe Middle East and Africa University Talent Hiring Program Lead. Truly love my job! But actually truly love the mission I am on helping people and business make the right choices to win the dreams and goals they have.
What about you, have you uncovered your dream? Are you on the path that seems right for you?
The herein thoughts and ideas shared are solely opinions of the author.