Stuck in a Job You Hate?: Stop Waiting…

At a networking event this week, I met Marina, who talked to me about the last job she had before she started her own business.

"I was SO unhappy at work. I kept thinking...
I am working 9-5 for survival. My life began 
after 5 pm."

Life is too short for that, she said. That’s when she decided to make a BIG change and launched her own health insurance business, which is thriving.

How about you?
What are you waiting for?
What is your spouse waiting for?
What are your colleagues waiting for?
What is your son/daughter waiting for?
What is your friend waiting for?

It’s time to stop waiting and start living fully. Create work you love.

You were not born to get a job to pay the bills until you die.

You were born with a unique set of gifts, talents and abilities. YOUR JOB is to develop and leverage those gifts and to use them to make your individual contribution to today’s world…and to be richly rewarded for it. (HINT: leveraging your gifts will enable you to make more money!) This is the basis of creating work with meaning, work you will love.

So, it’s time. No more waiting…

It’s time to get off the fence and to move towards what you want, what will make you happy, what you were put here to do. It’s time to take steps to find, and even, create, work you love.

It’s time to make a decision to do things differently. It’s time to make a decision to leave the place that makes you stressed out, burned out and unhappy. You don’t have to leave right away, but you do need to make a decision now.

It’s time to leave the comfort of what you know so that you can reach towards something new, and more rewarding.

It’s time to take a calculated risk. Notice that I didn’t say take “a chance.” I said, take a “calculated risk.”

So, that’s THE KEY: Create a strategy to bridge you from where you are now to where you want to go. You will want to put in place a structured plan to help you maintain the financial security you now enjoy so that you won’t be financially-challenged or in trouble later. (HINT: And, you don’t have to wait until you have two years of savings to make a move.)

You can make a change and stay financially responsible…to yourself, your family and your creditors. It just takes putting a plan in place during the transition. Try it!

THE MARKET: How to “Niche” Yourself

Recently when I was in New York, I met with a friend who is a branding expert.

I know, that label might sound too broad, too vague, and even a little too corporate. So, how does she brand herself successfully?

She has lots of choices…because…

Today, all the rules have changed.

It’s not good enough to have a fancy title, like Managing Director, or even a descriptive one like Career Coach or even Branding Expert.

In today’s world of disintermediation, where the Internet is creating micro-markets of people around the world, it’s time for “niche-ing.” You have to know your niche and fill it. Who is your target market? Who do you serve?

How do you find your niche?  I’ll give you three ways to think about and find it.

First of all, be counterintuitive.

What that means is think about going against your initial instincts here. You probably think that you want to brand yourself broadly so that you will appeal to the widest group of people out there. More people, bigger market, right?


The best way to craft your niche is to be as narrow as possible. You know, as in, “I serve women who make raw food to feed their three-legged dog.” OK, I’m being a little silly here, but it makes my point. You cannot be too narrow in today’s world. So, I want you to think about getting more specific about your target market or niche.

Here are three ways you can think about creating your niche:

1) Niche around a skill. (I can’t believe that I turned a noun into a verb! Sorry English majors…)
Here’s an example: let’s say you are a great writer, a copywriter. You could create a niche around providing your clients with your expertise based on your skillset. You could help them with writing websites, sales pages and email letters.

2) Niche around your gift.
My friend who inspired this story has an uncanny ability to laser in on her client’s message. She could create a niche around helping her clients to see and articulate their unique message and branding. It’s intuitive, her gift.

3) Niche around your story.
One of my mentors, Suzanne Evans, has a program she calls “Make Your Mess Your Message.” The idea is that you can build a business out of your own personal journey. In this case, my friend could help mid-career women leaving corporate American to find their message and build their business. Why? Because that’s what she’s done.

It’s all about the niche. Use today’s world of social media and free publishing platforms to get your message out into the world and watch who is attracted to you. That’s how it works! 

Millennials: How to Get Off the Sofa and Into the Job Market

Millennials got gypped. They did what they were told.

They played by the rules, went to school, did well, accumulated lots of student debt with the assumption that their educational investment would pay off in terms of a good job.

Only there are no jobs. It’s so unfair.

Well, there are jobs, but if you look at the job creation statistics, you’ll see that the majority of jobs being created are in retail, health care (and we’re not talking doctors) and food service. Pretty much low-paying jobs.

Is it any wonder that lots of millennials are sleeping on their parents’ sofa?

There is a solution. You see, the problem is that the millennials are playing the job game by the old rules.

Millennials – these rules don’t work anymore…

So, make up some new ones. Here are some suggestions:

1. Stop waiting for the job market to get better.

It’s not going to get better. It’s breaking apart into little pieces. Jobs are disappearing…as a form of work. Jobs are turning into projects. When you think about work, I want you to think in terms of “projects.” Go look for those.

2. Stop waiting for someone to notice you and offer you a job.

Unlike other generations who, as they were about to graduate, had companies come onto campus to recruit for jobs, they didn't. Companies don’t recruit for jobs, and the ones that do, offer jobs you don’t really want…unless you want to work 100 hour workweeks for the next two years.

Create your own work. Figure out who is doing something cool and find a way to help them. Create value in the marketplace. Know what you are good at doing.

3. Get some help.

And, if you don’t know what you have to offer the marketplace, get your parents to pay for you to work with a psychologist who can help you find your talents quickly by administering assessments and feedback. (I did this years after I graduated and it was SO useful in helping me to chart my course.)

Then, hire a coach like me to help you create the strategy to get you where you want to go. (I am always working with a coach!) Sure, it’s investment, but it will yield a better return than your education. And, you’ll get to where you want to go much faster…isn’t that what you want?

BOTTOM-LINE: You are going to have to make your own way in today’s fluid marketplace, and if you do, you’ll find that the rewards are great.

Video Letters: How to Rock the Video Letter

Did you know that some hiring companies only want to see…video letters?

What is a video letter? It’s a video of you, talking to the company about why you are applying to them for the job.

If you approach the video like a traditional cover letter, you will not be successful. Why? Because there is more to the video letter.  You need to showcase who you are. Showcase your personality. They want to see YOU, not just hear about what you can do for them professionally. Make it entertaining, while appropriate.

Here are some guidelines to use when shooting your video letter:
(HINT: It’s easier if you script out what you want to say.)

1. Introduction - Start by sharing your name and the job/role for which you are applying. Make it easy for the viewer. Be pleasant and make it fun to watch.

2. Get personal - The whole purpose of a video letter is to get an idea of what kind of person you are. Who are you? The hiring company – and team – wants to know who you are and whether you are the kind of person they want to spend 8 – 10 hours a day with. So include some details outside your professional world. Think about your Twitter profile. It isn’t just about business. Be real and authentic.

3. Make the case for why the viewer should care and why they would want you to be a part of their team.

4. Tell them what you love about the company.

5. Explain why you are excited by this job/role/project opportunity, and specifically state what they will get if they hire you.

6. Attach your resume. Let them know they can find more details about your background in your resume. Make sure it includes proof of your professed “value add.”

7. CALL TO ACTION: Make sure you close with something like: “Oh and don’t forget to pick up the phone to call. I would love to have the chance to meet you and talk about how I can contribute. Bye, bye.”


Pick up your iPhone, Android and start filming! Have fun with this…the more you practice now, the better you will be when it counts.

Find Your Passion and Nourish It

Always feed your passion.

If you like to make art, then work on your art.
If you like to write, sit down and write.
If you like to ice skate, then make time for the ice.
If you like to dance…dance!
If you have passion for helping people, help them.
If you have passion for baseball, play it, watch it, read about it.

Speaking of which…
If you have a passion for the Boston Red Sox, get season tickets, even if you don’t live in Boston. (That’s what Beth, my best friend from kindergarten, does. She lives in Washington, DC…but she never gave up her Sox season’s tickets. Now, that is passion!)

Never neglect your passion.

What exactly is passion?

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary defines passion as:
“a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.”

Some people are afraid of the word “passion.” They tell me that they don’t have it, or they don’t know what it is, or they have never felt it. I get the feeling that these people think that passion has to be a grand, all-encompassing desire or force.

You can define passion for yourself.

Ask yourself: what does passion mean to me?

To me, passion is that thing (or those things) that I love intensely. It is what drives me, an ardent desire, something I love to do, something I believe in. When I’m aligned with my passion, I feel very alive, lit up, in the zone, filled with energy, excited, motivated, jazzed up.

Why do people have trouble finding their passion, or worse, think that they don’t have any? Because they either think it has to be a life-changing, transformational force, or that they have to compress their passion into one thing.

I am giving you permission to define “passion” for yourself. What does it mean to you? And, now that you’ve defined it, what is your “passion” / “passions?”

Here’s my list:
Helping people out of jobs they hate and into work they love
Helping people see more possibilities or bigger possibilities for themselves than they can see on their own
Ice skating
Writing/speaking about what’s happening in today’s job market
The Blues
Being able to see things differently, to find anomalies and make sense of them
Dancing the waltz & polka
Training my dog and my husband…no, I mean spending time with my husband! (Just checking to see whether he will read to the end of this article. :o) )

So, what is your passion – and are you spending time nourishing it? Spend time with your passion. Feed it. Doing so will bring you joy…