Archive for January 2012

Monday Motivation – Energy

Influence

 

You are responsible for the energy that you bring“ – Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor

The attitude and intention we have influences not only our own feelings and behaviors in any interaction, but also can be sensed, consciously or unconsciously by others.  Being in conscious of our mental and emotional energy ripples out – positively or negatively. This is both a responsibility, and an opportunity.

 

BONUS INSPIRATION:  This TED talk from Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor is worth your time to watch.  Dr. Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would wish for: She had a massive stroke, and watched as her brain functions — motion, speech, self-awareness — shut down one by one. An astonishing story you can also read about in her phenomenal book, My Stroke of Insight.

A 5 minutes clip on Oprah:  Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor – My Stroke of Insight

Want the whole story?  Get Dr. Taylor’s book, it’s an amazing read, or listen via audio version!

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Surviving the “For Now” Job

“To be successful, the first thing to do is to fall in love with your work.” – Sister Mary Lauretta

I’m flipping radio stations today, and the most unlikely 70′s tune makes me think of jobs . . .

Remember Stephen Stills’, “Love the One You’re With”?   While I don’t recommend it for relationship advice (of course!), for some reason the following lyrics brought to mind some of the jobs I’ve had that I was less than enthused about when I heard (okay, you got me, sang) the lines,

If you’re down and confused.  And you don’t remember who you’re talking to . . . Concentration slips away . . . ”

Specifically, it was a Telephone Customer Service job repeating the same product and sales information over and over and over again, about 80 calls/day . . . we had gray cubes with soft walls pushpin full of reference charts and a personal picture or two, sales quotas, quality control measures to follow, all that.  We half-joked we were dogs on a leash tied in the yard, but it really did feel like that sometimes, connected by my headset cord to my phone/computer . . .  I was tolerating this job many moons ago because I wanted the big carrot dangling at the end of the contract — a free European Rail Pass for up to 2 months – in First Class no less!

So I decided to “love the one I was with”, and find everything I could to maybe not get myself to “love” the job, but at least be able to tolerate it without being miserable — and sometimes, even appreciate the positive aspects of it.  I had some cool co-workers I enjoyed on & outside of the job.  I had a fantastic supervisor who was supportive, AND fun.  While the overtime was more work I didnt’ like, it paid well, was readily available and allowed me to save for my eventual Grand European Adventure.  I was  good at the work (even though I didn’t like it), others knew this, so I became a “go-to” person for questions when supervisors weren’t around (this is a resume builder, btw) . . . and eventually that last one led to a promotion, and work I LOVED as a trainer/employee development supervisor and a permanent position.  And of course, I had that end-of-the contract “prize carrot” of that rail pass to motivate me . . . and I thought about that often.

What can you find about your “for now” work that you like well enough and can appreciate/focus on to keep you mostly satisfied and up to the required tasks?

– good co-workers or boss?

– learning opportunties for resume building skills?

– good benefits package/perks?

– something about the work environment?  (close to home/school/transportation, casual dress, etc.?)

– opportunity to advance quickly and thus also improve your resume with transferable supervisory/training/management skills?

– enjoy the feeling of helping your customers/clients with service or being a part of a good company (or getting a good product out there?)

Getting clear on why you are doing what you are doing for now, and reminding yourself of the good things can go a long way towards your mental and emotional well being while working a less than satisfying job for awhile.

AND . . .

What are you going to do WHILE you make the most of the job you HAVE to find the job you WANT?  

Never settle for too long . . . just use you “for now” job as a tool, a stepping stone, smartly, to bigger, better, shinier, more SATISFYING work ASAP!

Doo doo doo doo doo doo DOO DOO (IT)!

 

 

 

Monday Motivation – You Got ‘Skilz!

Soft Skills

It is extraordinary how extraordinary the ordinary person is.” – George F. Will

 

Sell your top 3 “soft skills” (personal traits). They are what differentiate you from your competitors with similar training & experience.

Job Search Motivation & Inspiration

 

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Are My Job Search Expenses Tax Deductible?

 

3 Simple Questions for Deducing What’s Deductible

 

Everyone in a job search could use to save a little coin I’d say, and most of us don’t want to pay more taxes than we’re legally required to pay (right?)

One of the simplest deductions you may qualify for is the fee you paid me to rewrite your resume . . . but that’s not all.  Travel expenses, professional/trade publication costs, uniforms, tools, and other items may be on the list for you as well.

But first, ask yourself these 3 simple questions:

  1. Are you looking for a job outside your current field of work?(if you happen to find work outside of your field and accept it, that is okay and the expenses are still deductible, you just have to be looking for work in your field, too.)
  2. Has there been a “substantial break since the end of your old job and your search for a new one? (Definition of “substantial”?  I didn’t’ see it in the IRS Publication 529 for Miscellaneous Deductions . . . so I’ll refer you to a tax professional if you need clarification)
  3. Is this your first job search?  Then unfortunately, the feds say no deduction for you – doesn’t seem fair, does it?

 

If you think you probably CAN deduct some job search expenses for 2011, congratulations!

Here are a few more tips and some resource links to help you:

Do you itemize your deductions on a Schedule A (vs. simply taking your standard deduction for your filing status)?  If you deduct your real estate taxes and mortgage interest, you probably itemize.  Of course you’ll want to either consult with your own tax adviser for the best advice for each aspect of your particular situation, or consult IRS publications yourself to verify which deductions work best for you. .

If job and job search related expenses don’t add up to over 2% of your AGI (adjusted gross income), these are other deductible expenses in that same category that may, together with your job search/job expenses, add up to enough to deduct some of the total expenses.

Remember that Unemployment Benefits are subject to taxes, and to consider the tax implications of dipping into your 401K plans early, among other considerations of unemployment and tax time.

I refer you to the IRS article “Seven Tax Tips for Job Seekers” and e-file’s “Job Search Expenses,  Job Search Tax Deductions for more detailed information, as well as my article from last year “Can I Write-Off my Resume”

Education expense deductions are tricky; make sure you check with a tax professional on that one!

Still not sure?  Take any supporting documentation to your tax professional and let her sort it out – and remember to ask about how to deduct her fees as well!

 

Mini Monday Motivation – Confidence Booster

References and Reviews

Oh would some power the gift give us, to see ourselves as others see us! – Robbie Burns

 

Need a confidence boost?  Reread your reference letters, and/or annual reviews.  Or if you don’t have reference letters from key people you could or should, get on that & get ready for the warm-fuzzy-feel good to begin!

 

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