By Dr. Daneen Skube
Tribune Media Services
Q. I've been in my field for 25 years, and it is going the way of the dinosaurs. With the economy as it is, there is no way I can afford to retire. Do you have ideas about how to stay employable when your old industry is dying?
A. Yes, your old industry may be dying but your skill set is still useful. We all get accustomed to thinking of ourselves as "insert job description." When the door on our old job description closes we need to separate the skills we have from our job title and look at the work world with creative eyes.
For instance, in the last years, I've helped my clients in technology, health care, insurance, government, law and pharmaceuticals reinvent themselves based on their talents not their last job title.
From their resumes to what they say in an interview, my clients learn to talk about their accomplishments, contributions to their companies, and knowledge base without restricting themselves to members of a dying profession.
Basic psychology (and business marketing) strategies may it clear you have to think like your customers. Your first customer, when you are looking for a new profession, is an organization that is currently limping along without your skill set.
Some of my clients feel quite shy and inadequate when approaching a new employer who is hiring for a job title they haven't previously held. I remind my clients that if they can sidestep their embarrassment and focus instead on the service their future employer would enjoy and needs - they may well get the job.
Like teenagers who think the world is constantly judging them, being forced to do something new in the workplace guarantees our self-consciousness. If we succumb to focusing only on our self-consciousness, our insecurity will be so obvious no one will employ us.
If you concentrate instead on the business world actually needing and wanting your skills, experience and work ethic, you'll feel and come across as confident.
A standard trick public speakers use to overcome anxiety is to imagine an audience in their underwear. The reason this trick works is it puts a nervous speaker in touch with the common vulnerability we share. Since you know what it is like to need help from others, you don't need to imagine your interview board in their underwear. But it will help you to imagine them as desperately seeking an employee who can help them be successful in their business. Wouldn't you like to help them out by doing that job?
The last word(s)
Q. I have a coworker who is an idiot. Every day I go to work, I bite my tongue so I don't point out how stupid he is. Is there a tool to bring up a better idea without rolling my eyes and blurting out what is obvious to me?
A. Yes, unless you want your good ideas to drown in a pool of conflict, simply repeat back your coworker's idea as "option A." Now mention your idea as "option B" and include pluses and minuses of both ideas. Your coworker will save face and you will save the day!
Daneen Skube, Ph.D., executive coach, trainer, therapist and speaker. She's the author of "Interpersonal Edge: Breakthrough Tools for Talking to Anyone, Anywhere, About Anything" (Hay House, 2006). Contact her at www.interpersonaledge.com
or 1420 NW Gilman Blvd., #2845, Issaquah, WA 98027. Sorry, no personal replies.
This was printed in the August 26, 2012 - September 8, 2012 Edition