Career Season

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A Career Season

By Kirk McCarley

What were your New Year’s resolutions?  How are you doing so far?  Maybe it’s work-related because:

  • My job lacks purpose, or
  • There’s no career path, or
  • I just need a job…any job.

Most of us enter the full-time workforce sometime around age 20.  If we’re “fortunate” we’ll be fully employed until we’re 65 or so.  Consider that 45 years of our lives will be devoted to vocational pursuit.  Besides the 40 hours we spend working is the time preparing to go and going to work not to mention periods of overtime.  Estimate that out of 168 hours in a week, easily a third, or 56 of them are spent in some occupational dimension.

45 years x 1/3 = 15 years

Given our average lifespan of 78 years, that’s nearly 20% of our total time spent working!  What a tragedy if that time is disengaging.

Recent statistics from workplace studies indicate:

  • 64% of American workers think their workplace has a negative effect on their well-being.  (Thomson’s Online Benefits)
  • 85% of employees said they felt overwhelmed, extremely down, or experienced negative feelings that interfered with their ability to work. (TAO Connect)
  • 42% of employees believe their accomplishments go unnoticed. (OC Tanner)

Do you fall into one of these categories?  What are you resolving to do about it?  When?

Here are a few tips that have either worked for me or proved beneficial to others:

  1. Do something!  It does little good to brood over present job circumstances.  You have certain skills and abilities that are unique to you and no one else.  What type of industry could use someone like you?
  2. Pursue resources.  Seek the counsel of others you respect.  There are few greater honors you can bestow upon someone than soliciting their wisdom.  Who knows, perhaps they have a connection that leads to…
  3. …Networking.  Who works in an industry that interests you?  A friend of a friend’s mother perhaps?  Is there an association for that field?  An interest group exists for just about everything!
  4. Be bold.  The worst that can happen is you hear “no.”  My first job out of college was secured in a city where I knew no one.  I put on a pressed shirt and tie and walked door-to-door until I came upon an employment office and a line manager was beckoned.  I favorably impressed him; he was inclined to create a job for me.  A career was launched.
  5. Stand out.  There are thousands of resumes out there.  What makes yours different?  Maybe it’s on blue paper or the school color of the hiring manager.  The wrapping paper for a flower bouquet?  Folded into an origami?
  6. What’s your story?  Again, what differentiates you from the other job candidates when asked to “tell me a little bit about yourself?”  Be prepared to speak to “areas you need to improve on and what you are doing to improve them.”  Many people surprisingly will confess to having no flaws.
  7. Say thank you.  If you succeed in landing an interview, say thank you afterwards.  Verbally.  In writing.  And preferably with a handwritten thank you note.  Almost no one does that anymore.  That’s why it’s so powerful!

Enjoy the journeys still to come in 2018.  Renew acquaintances and make new friends. Commit to being an even better version of you.  Shine a light before others.  Love well.

With more than 30 years of executive leadership experience in both public and private sector environments, Kirk McCarley assists others in pursuing career and personal transitions.  A graduate of the University of North Texas, Kirk is a Certified Professional Coach as well as a Professional in Human Resources (PHR) and SHRM-CP Certified.  He also is a Production Assistant for both college football and basketball for ESPN and leads group cycling classes as a Certified Spinning Instructor. For more information visit or email

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