Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Monday, November 2, 2015

"Eight questions to ask before you leap"/ "Perks or principles?"

Sept. 7 "Eight questions to ask before you leap": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Apr. 26, 2014.  I like this article because it asks these really good questions that make you really reflect on what you want, specifically in a job.  Here's the whole article:

 
Cash Forshee moved to Nashville as a young man, determined to make his mark in the music industry. But he decided he wanted to tackle something more meaningful in life, so he started studying sociology and business and moved into the health-care world. At 25, happy leading an internal sales consulting unit at a publicly traded company, he received an offer to work for a health-care startup. After endless discussions with friends and colleagues, he made the jump, and is now senior vice-president at Medalogix, which uses data to improve patient health.

The decision to switch came to him at 1:47 a.m. It was instinct. He knew he had to take the offer. But being of an analytical bent, he decided to set out some powerful questions that others – particularly from the millennial generation – might ask themselves when confronted with such a choice. In an entry on the Brazen Careerist blog and in an interview, Mr. Forshee shared eight of them:

1. Does it motivate you to learn something new?

We’ve been told that specializing is important, an idea that hits home as young people pick university majors, seek their first job, and start to climb the corporate totem pole. But he believes that specializing early can limit your potential and stunt your self-discovery. “The value I bring to my team members and the company is based on my experiences rather than any one skill,” he said in the interview. “So at an early stage you have to consider how to gain experience at a broad level.”

Yes, there’s a place for mastery of a topic. But not, he believes, at the expense of having a broader understanding. So when evaluating a career option, consider whether it can stretch you and build new experiences. You might also want to follow his technique of every three months picking a topic you want to learn more about, and then contacting others and reading to learn more. He is currently probing pricing psychology, and will share what he has found with his team.

2. Does it push you to learn something about yourself?

Mr. Forshee suggests that you place greater weight on the exploration and development possibilities if a new position, rather than the immediate responsibilities or job title. Generally, we create a mental image of ourselves and what we want our career to be. But that can be limiting. “A career is a journey of self-discovery,” he insists. So remain open to – indeed, seek – opportunities outside the self-image you have, learning what other talents will emerge.

3. Does it scare you?

Be afraid. Not very afraid, but a bit afraid. We grow when we extend beyond our limits and take on challenges. He urges you to understand your fears, but recognize that staying in the comfortable sweet spot you have carved out will prevent growth, which is what careers are about. Medalogix was a startup and he knew that 90 per cent of startups fail. So it was scary. But he’s happy with his choice.

4. Does it scare your friends and family?

You’ll probably seek counsel from your friends and family about your possible new role. They want to protect you, and so they may be nervous. Understand where that timidity comes from, and why it could signal, counterintuitively, that the career choice is a challenge to embrace. “It’s a loving bias. They want you to succeed and be in a place where your psychology and emotions are not put at risk. But you need to take risks and challenge yourself,” Mr. Forshee said.

5. Does it change the way you evaluate success?

Often we evaluate success by our bank balance. But in the spirit of challenging yourself, he urges you to take career paths that expand your notions of success. “What I was looking for at 23 is different from [what I want] now, at 27, and it will change in the years ahead,” he noted.

6. Will it surround you with passionate people?

You need to be around people who inspire and challenge you. Not just a good boss, for example, but a passionate boss. The greatest leaders, he argues, are passionate and can translate that spirit so it energizes the people they work with. “This is big: We spend a third of our lives at work, surrounded by colleagues,” he said.

7. Does it excite you to talk about it?

Notice if you are constantly rambling on to friends about this opportunity – that’s obviously a good sign. “Tally the number of times the opportunity organically comes to mind. Pay attention to what you’re thinking. Is it the experience? Earnings potential? Outcomes? There’s no wrong answer, but understanding your own drivers and interests will give you insight into what’s most important about your potential next step,” he writes.

8. Will the job change you?

This question wasn’t on his original list, but Mr. Forshee said during the interview that you should ask it anyway. We all want to shape our careers. But there’s also a value in letting our jobs shape us in unexpected ways – in being open to the transformation that a new environment might provide. “It’s an artful balance,” he concludes.


"Perks or principles? Which is worth more?": I cut out this article in the Globe and Mail on Apr. 26, 2014. 

THE QUESTION

I have what may seem to be a good problem - a choice between two full-time, permanent jobs. On the surface, the problem seems which to choose. But the real issue is a matter of principle.

After a rather difficult year, I took a leave from my career in media to try out media relations. I landed in a public service job with great benefits, a pension, perks and great people. But the work leaves me feeling hollow. Days go by with nothing to show. I have the option of returning to my previous media gig, which is stressful, with less pay and perks. Plus, people can be cranky under pressure. But it's rewarding work.

Some say I should relish the security of a stable, stress-free job. Others say I'm young enough to risk plunging back into an intense, unforgiving but personally satisfying career. Should we stand by our principles if it means giving up the solid and secure?

THE FIRST ANSWER
Pamela Jeffery
Founder,Women's Executive
Network, Toronto

You are in an enviable position of having to choose between two career paths. I'm not so sure, however, your struggle is a matter of principle.

Without knowing what you are now doing that is different from what you used to do, it's difficult to determine what "principles" you would be standing for if you were to return to your old job.

The starting point for your decision lies with your reasons for leaving your previous job. Will the causes of that stress still be there if you return? What has changed, other than you now have had the experience of working in the public sector?

Take a step back and think about what is important to you. Make a list of the pros and cons of both jobs, as well as how those jobs align with your values and personal goals.

If this really is about a passion to work in media, then that's great, but that doesn't mean you have to return to a company that wasn't a good personal fit. Explore other media companies that may provide a better work environment.

The benefit here is that you can start your job hunt from a place of financial security and with the knowledge of what it's like to work on both sides of the media landscape.

THE SECOND ANSWER
Sheila Copps
Former deputy prime minister

Given the current job climate, you are lucky to have this problem.

However, I am puzzled by a few aspects. You say you left your media job because of stress and cranky colleagues. You characterized your former career choice as "unforgiving but personally satisfying." It is not clear whether the circumstances that prompted your leave-taking have changed.

Before you give up a job that provides better pay, perks, pension and people, you need to try to enhance your current workplace challenges. If your daily routine leaves you empty, tackle the narrow scope of your workload. Perhaps your supervisor thinks that you already have enough on your plate.

Schedule a meeting with your boss to share your concerns. Let him or her know that you are not only willing to take on more responsibility, you are itching for it. The public service wants to recruit and retain talented, ambitious employees.

You might also enlist your boss's support for some in-house professional development to enhance your skills, whatever your future plans.

If, at the end of a year, nothing has changed and you still feel bored, make the move. But I caution against simply returning to the job you previously abandoned.

Other media and public service opportunities might offer positive, personal and professional enhancement.

A good job should fulfill you. And a decent employer should offer you interesting work and commensurate remuneration. The two are not mutually exclusive.


My opinion: The advice was similar in the parts of "You don't have to go back to the same media company that was really stressful."

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