About Me

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Fishers, Indiana, United States
Brenda gained career expertise as a human resources leader at a global company before becoming an HR consultant. Her functional experience includes a variety of sales roles in the health care industry achieving success for over 30 years. She is currently in Consulting & Analytics Business Development for a health care firm. Her passion is participating in, writing about and observing the evolving workforce. For the first time in history four generations work together. It keeps things interesting. Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) are redefining retirement and what it means to age in the workforce. It is not just about money. Okay it plays a role! At 76.4 million members strong, Boomers are leveraging technology to continue their careers and the personal fulfillment working brings. Managing a late-stage career requires a strategy. There is no roadmap or one size fits all answer. This blog is about sharing, networking & finding your own right answer to working later, managing your career, redefining retirement, looking for work in your 50s & 60s and reinventing yourself.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

OWN Your Career (Part 2)

This week I’ve been inspired by two dear friends that have taken action to manage their careers. If you have not had a chance to read part one, please do.


I received an e-mail this week from someone who has had it! She is done, she is through, she’s worked hard to make a difference  at her organization and you know what?….it is time to move on! That is career management and owning your career. It is knowing when it is time to stop trying to save an organization that doesn’t want to make changes and when you have to take Mahatma Gandhi’s advice personally, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

There comes a point in a career when making a move is a better answer than beating your head against a wall. I have been there. I have done it. It is scary and SO worth it. Even if the move is temporary and you have to make an additional career move; you gain confidence by taking action to stand up for yourself at work. If you have children, you show them the example maintaining self-worth in their careers like they would in a personal relationship.

This individual added me to her ‘circle of trust’ as she makes her escape to a better job situation. She is working on her resume, updating her LinkedIn profile, doing selective networking. It is all about taking  constructive ACTION—she is working, updating, doing. She’s not expecting the organization to change; she’s not waiting for someone to save her career and she’s not just going to sit there and let something happen to her. Hint: None of those things work. Even if you wait to get laid off and get a severance, the emotional will impact your confidence to interview for a better job. The severance is never enough money.

People ask me how do you know when it is time to move on. Tony Robbins puts it like this, “Change happens when the pain of staying the same is greater than the pain of change.” Here are some other signs when you need to do the hard work to make a job change:

1—You are moving toward something, not running from a bad current job situation. You are looking for an opportunity to learn something new, to move into a leadership position and expand your experience or to learn a new skill.

2— Going to work makes you sick, literally. I know a person who had migraines that usually started Sunday evening or Monday morning. Some Sunday nights the back of his neck was so stiff he could barely move his head from side to side. His body was trying to tell him something.

3— From a personal business perspective there’s no compelling reason to stay. You have reviewed options for health benefits, you don’t have to repay tuition reimbursement or relocation benefits if you leave now. You are not weeks away from being vested in a company pension,  401(k) plan or receiving an annual bonus. If you can, do not leave any money on the table when you leave your present company.

4— You are being put in a compromising position. I received a telephone call from an executive assistant I met at a career talk several years ago. Her boss repeatedly asked her to lie to his wife when she called while he managed several affairs with other women. My advice to her was to get away from him as a boss ASAP. She found another role in the company. Anytime you are being asked to do something illegal or you experience illegal behavior toward you—tell HR. They are obligated to investigate. If the offensive or illegal behavior is part of the company or department culture—it is time to find a new role—out of the company or department.

5—Nothing you do is right. You may have done the job for years, but now it is not good enough. Your performance appraisals or other documentation (warning notice, performance improvement plan, suspension or occurrences) put you at risk for being terminated with cause. Your manager tells you verbally your work is poor; your work is returned to you for a re-do or worse yet, it is given to co-workers for a do-over. Unless that manager leaves, it is seriously time to consider a change.

You Have to OWN Your Career!

You brush your own teeth, try to make healthy food choices and take vitamins. Take responsibility for your career in the way you manage your health. I can’t take enough spoons full of liquid fish oil to help you realize the benefits of Omega 3s. Expecting someone else to manage your career for you is like asking your spouse to get a knee replacement to alleviate your knee pain.

Two interesting things happened this week. I took a couple of days of PTO to reconnect with friends and was totally inspired by two career stories.

The first is about a friend who put together a business case to ask for a raise. That in itself is career management and owning your career. How many people think they deserve to be paid more? Most. How many people can put together a business case that shows that above and beyond performing their job in an excellent way—they presented a plan to save their organization a lot of money and have helped another department meet their goals?  Very few. My friend called her meeting with her boss an “Epic Fail.” She wanted a merit increase or a substantial bonus. Instead she received a one-time (4-figure) bonus after meeting with her manager.

I don’t consider this an Epic Fail at all. My friend doesn’t realize her conversation was probably a genius move. First you have to understand how organizations work (sadly, this does not apply to family-owned businesses). No matter how much power, clout or bravado your manager has-their hands are generally tied in matters of compensation. The HR professionals that read this blog will confirm that “Comp” is 80% science and 20% art. Compensation is benchmarked with similar roles in the market, industry and region. There are minimums and maximums your salary must land in or you find yourself in the unenviable position of being paid more than your range. If you receive a flat one-time payment when everyone else receives a 1-5% merit increase—you’ve maxxed out of the range. The only way to stop that madness is to be promoted to a “Senior” title in your current role or increase a step like moving from a Scientist II to a Scientist III or make a lateral move that puts you in a different classification. If your organization does business with the federal government, paying employees random salaries can land them in BIG TROUBLE with an acronym that strikes fear in the hearts of HR professionals across America—the OFCCP.

Why is it Genius Move? Her boss now knows more about what his employee does which could help at merit time. If she can do her job, identify organizational saving strategies and help another department while performing her job highly—maybe it is time to leverage her skills in the next level job. No matter what happens internally, it is time to update her LinkedIn profile incorporating these new accomplishments. Her options are to stay put if she’s happy and look around if she’s not—she’s given herself options. That is career management at it’s finest in my opinion. (Read About the Second Story in Part 2).