Today, I spoke to Alexandra Levit. Alexandra is a nationally recognized business and workplace author, speaker, and columnist. Alexandra has published several books, including the bestselling They Don’t Teach Corporate in College (second edition published in spring 2009 from Career Press), How’d You Score That Gig? (Random House/Ballantine, 2008), Success for Hire (ASTD Press, 2008), MillennialTweet: 140 Bite-Sized Ideas for Managing the Millennials, and New Job, New You. Alexandra is a member of the Business Roundtable’s Springboard Project, which is advising the Obama administration on current workplace issues.
Alexandra makes frequent national media appearances and has been featured in thousands of outlets including the New York Times, USA Today, National Public Radio, ABC News, Fox News, CNBC, the Associated Press, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Fortune, and her articles regularly appear on the home pages of CNN, MSN, and Yahoo!.
Mohammed: Do you think that having (or recognized by) one job title is dead? Many people today are known in more than one specialization and working in many jobs at the same time. How can we narrow that in one brand and at the same time having opportunity in these jobs?
Alexandra: On the one hand, it’s terrific to have a unique specialization that makes you marketable and more competitive. You should be able to communicate about that specialization using language that makes it relatable to the average person. How does your work help your company make money and get things done more quickly? I also encourage professionals to broader their base of transferable skills (project management, budgeting, client relations, sales, etc.) so that if something happens to that specialization or you decide you don’t want to do it anymore, you have a skill set that can be leveraged in other careers.
Mohammed: Which option do you prefer and why? a) Accept full time job with good salary but not in your expertise. b) Accept part time job in your expertise and spend the remaining time on personal development.
Alexandra: It depends on your life circumstances and your motivations as an individual, which I talk a lot about in New Job, New You. Some people are in a position where they must work for money, whereas others have more freedom to explore work that’s meaningful to them. And for some people, a lot of money makes a job meaningful, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Mohammed: Seth Godin said in his latest book “Linchpin”: “If you are working only for the person you report to according to the organization chart, you may be sacrificing your future.” Do you agree that employees -Linchpins- should excel in each task they are doing and even more than what the employers ask for? Is that gold plating or it’s a must in today’s recession?
Alexandra: I agree, because what happens if that person quits or gets laid off and he’s the only one who knows the value you bring to the organization? You must aim to make your contributions visible to as many people as possible. This means extending your reach to departments that are adjacent to yours through collaboration, and yes, being the “go to” person for as many work-related tasks as possible. The concept of putting your head job and doing your job in a bubble is a thing of the past.
Brand Word: “If one advances confidently in the direction… of his dreams and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with unexpected success.” ~ Henry David Thoreau
Spotlight: Looking to make a career change? Featuring comments from the legendary Stephen R. Covey, the New Job, New You webinar (www.newjobnewyou.com) provides extensive advice on career transformation and advancement that complements and expands on the book of the same name. The 60 minute course includes engaging video segments, anecdotes, and exercises and is offered free with the purchase of the book New Job, New You.
It used to be that only celebrities like Madonna reinvented themselves. But this is the twenty-first century, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the average young American will have about 9 jobs between the ages of 18 and 32. The gutsiest and most innovative individuals have taken this trend a step further. They have changed not just their jobs, but their fields, and have successfully supported themselves in different careers over a period of several years.
New Job, New You gets to the heart of what makes people take the plunge into a new field. In my preliminary research, I discovered that career changers have several common motivations for theirdecisions:
Family: When true work/life balance becomes a necessity.
Independence: When you’ve been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug.
Learning: When your bookish, curious side takes over.
Money: When an increase in earning potential is on the horizon.
Passion: When you yearn to do what you love with all of your heart.
Setback: When one door closes, another one opens.
Talent: When you’re too good at something not to give it a shot.