Dealing with Employees/On the right track?
QUESTION: I am a 49-year-old woman who is feeling some anxiety about my future. I earned a B.A. in English Literature and managed bookstores for years. Since I married and moved to a new city, I have had difficulty looking for work; I have been employed as a rental car agent while taking classes toward an Associate's degree in Management at the local junior college. The car rental company was originally a temporary situation for me, but I have worked at the company for 3 1/2 years. I feel as if I am falling behind and am losing touch with my career goals. I need some direction to take the next step in finding a career in management, but I am not sure where to start. The world changed so much since I was looking for a management position nearly 15 years ago; I feel obsolete and left out of the business world. I am wondering if I should consider working toward another bachelor's degree or continuing with the associate's degree in management. I do not want to get futher in debt (college is extremely expensive!), but I do want to be able to be competitive. Also maybe there are some other avenues to becoming more desireable to employers. Thanks for any help you can give!
ANSWER: Hi Carol-
Yes it is more competitive these days.
You did not mention your career goals_so I can't advise if you are on the right track.
Are your career goals clearly defined with action items to reach them? A career in management is vague- if you do not have a clear idea of what you want- you cannot express it to others.
Many times employers do not know clearly what they are searching for- so you need to be able to create your own opportunities with that employer and sell yourself to them- what can you do for them (not what can you do)? They need to know that it is in their best interest to hire you (you will make them money and/or save them money).
What outcome (results) are you expecting from your associates degree? If the degree will keep you current and your skills sharp- continue on. I would not at this point work toward another degree.
Are you not happy at the car rental company- is there any room for advancement or learning other skills? Talk to the owner to uncover hidden opportunities.
It would benefit you to get out in your new city- get to know the business people by attending association meetings and networking events. Most organizations allow non-members to attend events as a chance to get to know the group and see if it is a fit. Attend the local chamber of commerce meetings. The more you get out there, the more you will stay in touch and learn what is going on in the business world. Subscribe to your local business journal if your city has one (or at least pick up a copy, go online or go to the library)
Unless you know what your goals are, and what employers are looking for in candidates,you will just be "spinning your wheels".
In your networking get to know someone who is a recruiter; they might be able to help you with your resumes, and find gaps in your current skills.
Hire a coach or find a mentor to help you focus on your career goals, work on your resume and help you to find the gaps. Skills and experience are transferable, but sometimes we cannot "see" them and that is where a coach can assist you.
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: How do I go about finding a business coach or mentor? Is it possible to work with someone online (since I live in a smaller community in Montana)?
Thanks for your help!
First ask others who might have used one.
In my 13 years of experience as an Executive Coach (I work with career transition as well)- I do not coach 100% online- only for some assignments- or quick answers to questions. It is not effective- as face to face or over the phone. Some coaches will say that 100% online works fine- I don't believe that. Too much communication is lost via email.
I frequently coach over the phone- even locally! It is as effective as face to face unless there is a business situation to observe.
I would interview several coaches- it works both ways: the coach has to feel it is a good fit with the client- and the client has to feel it is a fit with them. If the coach does not want to schedule a complimentary- "get to know you"- discovery call or presses you with fees- how great they are etc. up front- not a good match.
Look at their websites.
Search for a coach at the international coach federation website- remember that just because they are a member- that does not automatically mean that they are the right coach for you.