Manifestos Galore!

I’m a big Brene Brown fan, and I’ve downloaded some of her manifestos from her website. (Grab your copies here!) Then, one of my mentors offered a course in writing manifestos. I patted myself on the back for resisting enrolling in yet another online class, but I caught the bug when several friends and colleagues jumped on the manifesto bandwagon, and I started writing. Last year. Yep, you read that correctly. I started writing last year, and now I’m done polishing my creations.

Here’s the world premiere of my Self-Help Junkies’ Liberation Manifesto.

I’ve also written My Brilliant Intentional Career Manifesto, which is on my Resources page along with a bunch of other free resources. Just add your name to my sadly neglected newsletter list, and you’ll get access.

Here’s what I learned about manifestos from my yearlong adventure with them (okay, I exaggerate, I let my writings go dormant for many, many months, so it didn’t take THAT long):

  • The Unibomber no longer owns the term “manifesto.” Terrorists don’t get to usurp words that still serve us all. I’m done with ceding power to people I don’t agree with politically.
  • My sense of intimidation in claiming what matters deeply to me about a topic comes more from my internal self-talk (which I can attend to and redirect) than from external forces (which are much harder to redirect!).
  • Everything’s a work in progress. My son’s high school art teacher used to quote Leonardo Da Vinci: Art is never finished, only abandoned. Sometimes, it’s just about moving on rather than polishing to perfection.

May you abandon your own creations for the sake of them getting out into the world for others to witness.

Resources for Parents Re-Entering the Workforce

Parent hugging toddler at beachLately, I’ve been working with several parents (not just moms!) who are returning to the workforce after a hiatus spent on caring for children.

Many, understandably, worry about how the gap in their employment may be perceived, and one of the first topics they raise is how to speak to that gap, both in writing and in person. A few reassurances:

  • Taking time to care for children (or other family members – often, I hear about ailing parents and devoting time intentionally to caring for them) is valid and reasonable. You don’t need to apologize or hide what you’ve been doing, no matter how long you’ve been outside the realm of paid employment.
  • Sometimes, it’s helpful to build a specific section into your resume that highlights what you were doing while you stepped out of the paid workforce, especially if some of the skills that you used are relevant to work that you’re seeking. On the other hand, you might simply create a very brief one-liner in your resume or LinkedIn profile that specifies that you were a stay-at-home parent or caregiver. Your target will direct you when you get to this question.
  • How you think and feel about your employment hiatus directly impacts how you speak to it, so it’s helpful to rehearse and be intentional about your description so that you don’t inadvertently come across as defensive, overly apologetic, or unfocused.
  • If you’ve had some volunteer roles during your employment gap, it can be useful to include that content on your resume, and if you’re struggling to find work-related examples to use in an interview, it may be useful to pursue volunteer work, professional development coursework, or other training to add depth to your resume and interview responses.

When clients tell me that they’re worried that they can’t compete in today’s job market, I look to see what’s at the root of their concerns. If it’s self-confidence, that’s something we can address in our sessions by looking at their self-talk and underlying patterns. If their skills are outdated, on the other hand, there are many possible avenues for them to pursue as they address this issue, including:

  • Professional Development Coursework: A few sites that could be helpful here include:
    • Lynda: monthly fee provides unlimited access to courses in business, web development, design, software development, free trial period offered (before you subscribe to this service, check your local library to see if it offers a free subscription with your library card)
    • Udacity: nanodegree programs and courses in many cutting-edge topics
    • Skillshare: free trial period followed by annual or monthly fee
    • FutureLearn: courses in business management, creative arts and media, tech and coding, and more; free access, but upgrade is required to obtain certificate
  • Returnships: Internships for adults! Plug this term into your search engine and review the results that you get there. iRelaunch is a website devoted to parents who are returning to work, and it includes some content on this topic.
  • Apprenticeships: This link is to Colorado’s apprenticeship program, but look at your local workforce development center or unemployment office for something near you.
  • Remote Work: It might be useful for you to work from home as a segue to work outside the home. Some reputable sites include:
    • Flexjobs. This is a subscription-based site, but you can preview some of the options before you opt in. Try using the coupon code “save30” to get a discount if you decide to opt-in (I don’t get a kick-back if you use it – it’s just a site that I like and respect, so I’ve partnered with it for some projects).
    • The Muse. Click on Search Jobs/Remote and Work from Home Jobs.
    • Indeed. type “remote” into the “What” field and the leave the “Where” field blank. Click “Find Jobs,” and consider setting up a daily email from Indeed (see box in sidebar of Indeed after you run a search, and you’ll find “Get new jobs for this search by email” with a space to enter your email address). Caution with Indeed: look to see how old the job posting is when you view opportunities that you’re interested in – Indeed often has listings up for months – I suggested going after only those that have been posted within the past week
    • Working Mother. Good resource for jobs that may be remote or companies that may be receptive to parents returning to the workforce. There’s actually a great article that outlines some additional resources.
    • Hire My Mom. Potential contract work.
    • Career Contessa. Click on Jobs/Location/Remote

If you’re searching for help beyond what’s listed in this article, set up time on my calendar, and we’ll talk through what you’re seeking.

What I’ve Been Up To Lately

A couple of times each year, I post about what I’ve been doing. Maybe social media has trained me to flirt with TMI-mode, but I think it’s because when I work with my clients, I learn so much about what goes on their world that giving people a glimpse into mine feels right.

My New Office

649 Remington Street in Fort Collins, ColoradoI love, love, love my new office! Virginia Wolff is whispering in my ear that it’s okay to want a room of one’s own. Okay, maybe she’s not, but somehow I’ve given myself permission to embrace this space.

I swoon over the character of the house, a stalwart brick two-story home that has a formal name “Golding-Dwyre,” which I promptly Googled and came up short. Despite its elusive history, finding it remains one of my highlights of 2017. Right now, my little office is sparsely furnished, but I have plans to add a few things in the coming months.

A Sad Loss

My black lab, romping through the open space.My 14-year-old Lab died in September. Her health had been declining over the past year, so we had hints that she was nearing the end of her life. That didn’t make it easy, but we did get to say goodbye to her and be with her at the end.

Her full name: Darla, the Love Slut. I adopted her as a 5-month-old puppy, and when I met her, I felt such a strong connection to her that I convinced my reluctant husband that getting a puppy when we had a toddler and a kindergartener was a brilliant plan (and it certainly was!). It was only after we’d had her for a few months that I realized she had the magnetic, you’re-the-most-amazing-person-in-the-WORLD!!! energy for almost everyone she met. She was a special being, and she spread love far and wide.

Best Winter Vacation Ever

Glenwood Canyon, from the train windowMy mom and sis flew out from the east coast to visit just after the calendar turned to 2018, and we took the train from Denver to Glenwood Springs, six hours of scenic splendor. There are canyons that the train passes through that cannot be seen any other way (unless you’re an elite kayaker, and even then, some spots are still inaccessible) – pristine wilderness that took my breath away. And at the end of the train ride, there were soaks in some awesome hot springs, a quaint hotel that makes everyone feel like they stepped into a time machine, and a town where it’s fashionable to wear your bathrobe out and about.

Wading into Online Course Development

I spent a massive amount of time in December developing a course that’s tentatively titled, “Get Your Job Search Mojo Back: For Job Seekers Who are 50+.” It’s been a massive undertaking with >25 lessons inside 8 modules. I’m just doggone proud of myself. It’s a whole new world for me, and I’m almost done! It’ll be ready to release soon (I hope!)

My Content Consumption

Two of my friends and me
With two of my heart friends at Brene Brown’s talk in Portland.

I’m a bit of an audio junkie, so here are some audiobooks and podcasts that I’ve adored in the past few months. Here’s what’s absorbing me recently:

Thanks for reading my headlines and indulging me in my TMI flirtation.

Resources for Introverts

Stack of books with tea cupLet’s face it – I immerse myself in study. I can’t help it. Life-long learner here. And I’ve been absorbed in learning about introversion for several years. Since I keep my finger on the pulse of introversion, I thought it would be useful to share some of the people I respect and even revere. None of these links are affiliate links. I just like and admire these people.

Books

Websites

  • Quiet Revolution
    Susan Cain’s website, which she created in the aftermath of her book’s success. Sections on work, personal relationships, and parenting.
  • Introvert Dear
    A blog that focuses on introversion and HSPs (highly sensitive people)

Podcasts

I’m realizing that almost everyone on this list is a woman. Where are the introverted men? I think it’s tough for men to self-identify as introverts in a public way, but it’s so important. That’s why I want to point you to Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project. He interviews people about their journeys, often to remarkable professions, and he speaks frequently about his own introversion on the podcast during soulful, deep conversations.

Social Media*

*Most of the people on this list post across multiple social media platforms – I’m just mentioning the ones where I enjoy them the most. Find them in the spots where you tend to be online.

Connect with me on socia, too. I post both my own articles and posts and articles from writers and other introverts that I find along my own journey.

  • Hang out with me on my Facebook page where I post career and introvert-related articles and reflections. I also have a small closed Facebook group where I post things that are more conversational than on my FB business page. Ask to join the group, and I’ll approve you.
  • Find me on Instagram, although mostly I post pictures of my foster kittens and the river behind my house (I’m a homebody – not much travel from me).
  • I’m an open networker on LinkedIn, so send me an invitation to connect there.
  • Twitter is probably the platform that I use the least, but I have a profile there.

A recent Insta post from Glennon Doyle that I adore (I shared this far and wide when I first saw it, so it’s a taste of the types of things that capture my interest):

Too Many Career Possibilities? In the Grip of Indecision.

Sometimes, we don’t have enough lifetimes to fit in everything that we want to try, accomplish, experience, be – ideas are simply spilling over.Too many ideas swirling overhead

In the book Designing Your Life, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans write,

You are legion. Each of us is many. This life that you’re living is one of many lives you will live. Now, we are not talking about reincarnation or anything with religious implications. The plain and simple truth is that you will live many different lives in this lifetime.

I often meet people when they’re paralyzed, standing at a crossroads and struggling to confine themselves to just one path. What often happens is that they end up doing nothing – they come to a screeching halt – because they don’t want to leave any part of themselves behind.

The question of how you reconcile the parts of yourself that you’ve left behind is a vital one, especially as we age. It can feel like doors are closing, and we’re losing parts of our identity that matter deeply to us. Grief and loss can figure prominently here.

So, what’s the solution? Here are some possibilities:

  • Recognize that as you release ideas, you gain commitment and forward momentum. If you’re always in the “pause and deliberate” phase of designing your career, you’re stagnant, and you give up ALL of the possible versions of yourself except for the aimless one.
  • Seek to integrate and combine. What’s at the heart of the versions of yourself that feel lost to you? For example, if you’ve always wanted to be a university professor – what part of that appeals to you? Is it being in the world of ideas around others who love to discuss them? Mentoring rising generations? Some autonomy about the projects you pursue? Identify those core ingredients and ask yourself how you can create those conditions in one of your other possible paths.
  • Allow yourself to grieve. You know what? I’m not going to be an Olympic athlete. That ship has sailed. Currently, I’m in my 50s, and I don’t think I’m going to be the next Dara Torres (besides, she was shockingly in her 40s at the London games, her final one). Some things really are gone. How can you honor that part of yourself and release it?
  • Harvest your ideas to access later. It may be that some of your parallel lives will loop back to meet you in a few years. Keep a list of your possibilities (I have mine on Evernote), so that you can revisit them periodically and decide whether their time has come. You might categorize them (for example: Moon Shots, After Kids Have Graduated, When $ Isn’t an Issue) and list details that are important for you to capture now. Some people like to use art (vision board, for example) to express themselves.

As I work with people on crafting their next career steps, we use many of these activities and paradigms, so we’ll build on these ideas even further in our work together.

Career Conflict Resolution: When You’re at War with Yourself

Here’s the voice of my many of my clients:

Angry woman opposite the mirror yelling at herself

  • I want to leave my job and start my own business, but I can’t walk away from the security of a salaried position
  • I have visions of making a dramatic geographic move for my career, but my partner wants to stay put (and I want to stay married)
  • Why can’t I enjoy my downtime and take a break from work? I crave time off, but when I get it, I’m bored and restless.

Internal conflicts are rampant in career coaching. What happens when seemingly equally compelling voices inside ourselves compete and clash? It turns into a brawl, one where we wrestle with ourselves and try to squash one. We’re looking for the stronger voice – which one will be dominant and prevail in this bout?

But do you know what happens in these knock-down-drag-outs? Someone loses. And it’s always you – an important part of you.

What if – instead of fighting – there was a reconciliation? What if BOTH parts of yourself had important insights to contribute to your next step?

Here’s what I suggest to my clients when they’re standing at a crossroads and they want to go in both directions at the same time:

  • Write a script: imagine a conversation – not an argument! – between the two parts of yourself. What would each part of you say, and how would the other respond if each part of you genuinely wanted to GET the other part? Journal it as a dialog. Bonus points for writing one of the parts (the one that feels like a young version of you) with your nondominant hand.
  • Ask yourself a peace and reconciliation question: put your mind to work creating a solution, rather than being stuck in the problem. Instead of asking, “Of these two options, which route should I take?” or “What part of myself do I have to give up here?” ask questions like, “What would it look like to have security within a startup venture?” or “What would enrich my marriage AND offer us a shared a adventure that appealed to us both?” or “What would make my downtime enriching?”
  • Look backward in time: How far into your past do you need to go before the warring parts of yourself merge? Who were you back then? How old were you and what were you doing? What would your younger self advise your current self?

Standing a crossroads fills us with tension. We get impatient and want to move on and get into action. Of course, we’re restless when this energy surfaces. Nothing’s wrong with you if you’re stuck, chomping at the bit to get out of the starting gate and move forward with your life. Just don’t throw one part of yourself under the bus in the name of forward progress. Tolerate your own discomfort long enough that you’re able to harvest the wisdom in all parts of yourself.