QUESTION: Hi Phil,
I am 29 years old and I sometimes feel like I won't be able to make it where I should be. I got my first real full time job when I was 25 which was an hourly temp job. Hated it but I had to get a job at least for two years to build my resume. Before that I wasn't able to find a job for two years because of the economic crisis. I currently work at a city job making less than 30 k a year...and I am kind of embarrassed by this therefore I do so much with my life! I have three resumes. Executive Resume, Actor and Creative resume. I do volunteer work, I will start public speaking this fall, I am a stylist, model and just signed a contract with a model agent. I also just signed another contract for talent! I have worked for a movie producer as a costume designer on the weekends. I was on a cover of an online magazine for April. :) I have attended the same private events as NFL and NBA players and I have to say I am excellent at networking.
So I just started my job in Feb and I am loving the environment and the people but I believe in within a year I will find another position higher up...and then keep on moving forward. My biggest fear is that I by the time I am 35 I will be in the same position that I would be applying in within a year...I want growth and that is the main reason why I am not married...it is because of financial struggles. Everything seems to move slow but time flies...I also worry that no doors will open up with these agents that I have but was able to get two who want to represent me which is impressive. ;) In away I am very successful but I want to be very successful with money and tittles.
I know I am the type of person that will not stay in one place for a long time like some people can stay in one position for over 20 years because they are comfortable and scared to move up.
Does success takes a long time? How do you know when the big break is coming? Am I doing all the right things?
ANSWER: Hi Alison,
You have given me a lot of information, more than you think if one reads between the lines, but I will try to help you out as best as I can.
I want to go directly to your last two sentences and start there. You asked: "does success take a long time? There is more than one answer but the most important one is that if you want to be successful, you have to actually plan for it. So your next question, "Am I doing the right things?", I would have to say...no! And here's why...
You have many things in your resume, as a matter of fact, as you said, you have a few resumes. So it would seen that you are focus on..., well actually you are not focused at all are you? You are trying to cover so many bases, trying to be so many things at once that you have scattered your energy to the wind. That is the opposite of a success path, because your road branches into so many directions that it would be quite difficult to know where you are going.
I hope this doesn't sound harsh, Alison; I am truly not trying to be mean, but I am trying to underscore that behaviour reflects beliefs, so all the things that you are doing tells me about how you are feeling within. And those feelings are about security or the lack thereof. You are trying to stay secure by covering so many angles. Also, when you speak of likely not staying in any job for a long time, then for sure you come across as a person with bags permanently packed for the next journey. Whether you know it or not, you are projecting that air of a person who won't stick around and that translates into...unreliable, in many people's eyes.
You talk about people being 'scared to move up', but you sound scared of making a commitment. Success is about focus. It is about knowing what you want, fixing your eyes and heart on that, and then going for it. It's about doing what it takes in order to make it happen. If success is what you want, then you have to put aside the notion of time going by too quickly. It will come when it is ready, and when you are ready. But you must eat it, talk it, sleep it, and breathe it. Are you willing to do that? Your answer will tell you how 'long success will take'.
It sounds as if you have talent Alison; what is your best talent? What is it you can see yourself doing? You need to pick one! Then you need to throw out all the other resumes, all the other options (that are in fact, diversions) and go for it. The word 'decide' actually means to 'cut off', as in, when you decide what you will do, you cut off the other options and go for it. That is the path to success, and yes, Alison, it isn't easy, but it is simple - you either do it or your don't!
I wish for you the best of luck. The Quakers have an expression; "have faith, but keep walking." Plan for success, know it is going to happen, enjoy the journey, and when opportunity comes...take it.
I hope this was helpful. Please rate this answer honestly.
Phil L. Méthot
---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------
QUESTION: Thank you for your advice but wow...I don't think I have ever recieved advice where someone has completely misunderstood me. Unrealiable? This is ridiculous...I am a very focus person and if you ask any of my family members, friends or co-workers they wil tell you that I am one of the hardest working people they have met. I have taken jobs I didn't like. I had a path in design and doors were not opening up, I have gotten gigs as a stylist and took them and amazing opportunities opened up. I stylied a pop artist. I have worked extremely hard to meet the certain people that I have today and to even get those type of opportunities. That is all I do which is always thinking abotu networking, moving up, making the best decisions. I know a girl who is 40 and she is always jumping job after job after job. She will refuse to take any job she doesn't like, she is struggling. I tell you find a job part time to support yourself while you find the job you like, she doesn't.
I am actually very suprise that you don't pick these things up...I even attended to to an NFL party and how did I get invited, networking and do you know how I met this person? From volunteering my ass off! I would wake up at 5:30 am in the morning, work at a horrible job full of mental people, me being the only while girl on the floor and after work I would volunteer. So I would be getting home at 9 pm at night! No time fo fun ever and you tell me I am not focused or not reliable? The company I work at now loves me because they know I can get the work done and I get it done but will I stay there for a long time....no...do you know why? The pay is awful and I have to pay my student loans.
Did I ever tell you that I was on a cover of a magazine for April? yes....if you read the story you will see how much I have accomplished and how inspirng my story is.
Thank you but not so sure how you can misunderstand what I wrote above.
I'm sorry if you didn't like my answer, and on rereading it I wish that I would have taken more time to underline the hard work that you obviously do.
At the same time, Alison, I want to correct something. I did NOT say that you were unreliable. If you look at what I said it was: "Whether you know it or not, you are projecting that air of a person who won't stick around and that translates into...unreliable, in many people's eyes." I said that some people will read you that way, and here is why:
You seem to think that I questioned your hard work, but in fact I never implied that you didn't work hard. What makes you 'appear' unreliable to some is not that you don't work hard, but to quote you:
"I know I am the type of person that will not stay in one place for a long time..." If you know this about you, Alison, then I can assure you that people who hire people for a living know this also. I used to train companies on how to hire employees, and we used sophisticated psychometric evaluations that would look for people who were so motivated for success that they would jump ship at the first opportunity that came along. Why? Because regardless of how hard working the person is they are first and foremost working for themselves, and the needs of the company come second. It takes an investment in time and money to hire and train someone for a position, and a company wants to know if that investment will pay off. Someone who will, as you yourself said, not stay in any position for a long time, is not, by definition, reliable. You said the company that you work for loves you, and I'm sure they do. But you also said that they pay terrible, and I'll bet that it didn't require a huge investment on their part for training. You don't like it and the pay sucks! I am sure that you work really hard there, probably much more than they pay you for,so what is there not to like about having you as an employee. They will hold onto this treasure as long as they can.
But that's not what you were thinking about when you were visualizing success is it?
You asked me specifically: "Am I doing all the right things?" It was a 'strategy' question, and I am giving you a strategy answer. This is not about your character, nor your ability to work hard. Obviously, with all that you've done you work hard. That is a given, and good for you. But as to doing the right things...no, it is not. You will be hard-pressed to find any 'success strategy' book that will tell you to divide your energies into so many different areas. They will all tell you to focus on your strengths, decide on what your best talents are and develop them. You need ONE resume; and it needs to be crystal clear as you who you are and what you want. You have three resumes, Alison, That is not focused. Don't confuse the words focus and concentration. I'm sure you can 'concentrate' on the tasks at hand, but by definition, focus, means that you see what is in front of you really clear, and the rest is out of focus, because it isn't important to what you are trying to see. You are making yourself open to whatever, and so you will get lots of little opportunities that will dilute your energies and time. Yes, it can keep you busy and give you the appearance that you are moving forward, but you have already noticed that the time is passing by.
So, Alison, you may have dismissed me completely by now and that is your choice. There is a difference between not liking what a person has to say, and the quality of what is being said. If you peruse the ratings that my other answers have said, you can conclude either that I misread you completely, or that maybe what I said deserves a second look. But this isn't about me, it is about you. You are working so hard, Alison, you have a tremendous amount of passion and drive...all the ingredients necessary to make your dreams come true. It is time to choose who the real Alison is and let her come out to play.
Phil L. Méthot