One of the nuggets of wisdom my dad shared with me often as a child had to do with controlling your attitude. He would tell me about a job he had committed to when he was a younger man, that involved a construction project out in the middle of the desert. Now he was a steamfitter, so he spent a lot of time welding pipe, and you can imagine how fun that was in the desert. He got to a point where he just hated the project. He was miserable in the heat, and he dreaded going to work each day with a crew that wasn’t motivated. It was obvious they didn’t want to be there any more than he did, and they put as little effort into the work as possible. But my dad was not a quitter, so when he committed to go to work on that project, he was bound to see it through. So one day, he just made up his mind that he was going to make the best of his situation. You see, when you drudge through a job (or life in general) being sour and bitter, the one that is hurt and suffers most is YOU.
Ralph Towell was raised in packing houses, watching his mother and father ship beans, cucumbers, and squash to vegetable stores. His father and grandfather started their own produce distribution business. Despite the agricultural family he was born into, there came a point in his professional career where Ralph realized he was making decisions based on his gut and not his expertise: the decision to go back to school.
The agriculture industry continues to shift and change. If you’re working in this field, you may sometimes reach the same point Ralph did and wonder how you can continue to grow in your career. Which leads to the question, “Are you ready to go back to school?” There are many factors that go into a decision to finish your undergraduate degree or continue on to earn a master’s. Here are a few questions (and answers) to help guide your decision-making process.
We’ve heard it repeatedly, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Networking has become one of the most talked about terms (and perhaps overused) when it comes to career growth and business success. However, the effectiveness of this topic necessitates its continued emphasis. But what is it really? It surprised me when the first synonym that Microsoft Word and the thesaurus suggested was “schmoozing.”
Merriam-Webster defines networking as “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically, the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.” Illustrating the importance of career networking, this dictionary also includes a quote from Hal Lancaster, “Networking remains the No. 1 cause of job attainment.”
It may be top-of-mind in the job search process, as a principal connector for candidates and employers, but networking is imperative for overall career and personal growth too. Furthermore, if a company wants to persevere and prosper, their employees need to continue to grow as well. Professional development and networking often occur simultaneously. It’s all about making contacts, meeting people and exchanging ideas.
Have you thought about pursuing advanced education in agriculture but just haven’t had the time or accessibility? You may have heard it said that the master’s degree is the new bachelor’s. With agribusiness constantly advancing and employees seeking advancements in their careers, a master’s degree or an advanced certificate of some kind is growing increasingly attractive to both employers and businesses. But what institutions do you consider for this kind of education? What college will have your specific needs? And how can you pursue that kind of education without leaving your current job? The answer to these questions can be found in AgCareers.com’s University Partners. In this program for distance education, you’ll find six online master’s programs in agriculture that are both highly respected and highly effective. Take a closer look:
Early on in my career, I accepted a position managing a dealer network for a reputable horse trailer manufacturer. The work was fast-paced and dynamic, with a focus on relationships…all things I thrive on. However, just as I was starting to really settle in and hit stride in my role, I started noticing little things that signaled all was not as it seemed. What had appeared to be a thriving business, was really a once-solid business that had started to slowly crumble from within. It wasn’t long before I realized the business foundation wasn’t built strongly enough to handle growth. If things start to go awry in that situation, the domino effect can be devastating. However, there are cases where strong change management can recover from adversity and build a stronger company. When you are in the middle of a situation like that, how long do you stay with your struggling employer? In my mind, part of the answer to that question lies in your confidence in the leadership and your level of adversity to risk.
Well, let me tell you, after doing some work travel with AgCareers.com, my packing has become a bit lighter and much more strategic. It’s not that cute when you are running through airport terminals with a large, heavy bag only to finally reach your seat and you are literally sweating… yes, unfortunately, I have been that person.
I always think it is a good idea to do a little prep work before packing.
Career success is a subjective term and means different things to different people. However, there are some commonalities that the majority of people agree is important when it comes to discussing “career success”. A successful career is usually one where the person feels happy to go to work every day, doing something of interest to the individual. Many people also measure career success by income, employer, prestige, etc. However when it comes to these criteria, they are not the same for everyone. So, why should someone define what career success means for them? Without defining career success, it is difficult to define career goals and without goals, it is difficult to plan and achieve.
If you don’t define career success, you will never know when you achieve it.
Here are points to consider when defining career success for you:
Oh the horror! As an employee, you’re bound to run into your share of terrifying moments. Telling your boss you’re taking another job can be as scary as seeing Michael Myers watching you from down the street. Asking for a raise can be more frightening than The Blob! Here are a few scary work situations you might experience and how to be prepared to handle them.
Telling Your Boss You’re Leaving: Putting in your two weeks notice can make you nervous, because it could be difficult to do without burning bridges. Your boss might even be the reason you decided to leave in the first place but are not sure how to tell them. Remaining positive and being upfront are key to creating a smooth transition with your soon-to-be former employer. Check out this post for more tips to ease the anxiety of this scary work situation.
Asking for a Raise: Now, hopefully, the worst thing about asking for a pay raise is that your supervisor will say “no.” But let’s be honest: if they say no, it can also leave you with a bruised ego. Prepare for the meeting (and you should prepare a formal meeting to discuss this, by the way), by asking yourself these three questions.
The above illustrates some very bad email habits. You may communicate with your friends and family this way, but it is not appropriate in the business environment. Keep in mind you’re emailing and not texting. I’ve caught myself using texting jargon in email messages, especially when responding on my mobile phone. LOL!
In addition, using all caps makes it sound like you’re yelling your message at the recipient, or you’re just plain lazy. Use appropriate capitalization and punctuation like you would in a letter.
Your email message format may vary depending on who you are sending it to– coworkers, management, or customers. Your close circle of immediate colleagues may not need as formal of communication as supervisors and customers. If you are in the job search process, emails to potential employers require your most formal style and attention to detail.
In my previous blog post, I discussed the consequences of career inaction. In this post, I will discuss a career self-management concept, the protean career. What is a protean career? It focuses on achieving subjective career success through self-directed vocational behaviour. Individuals who hold protean career attitudes are intent upon using their own values (versus organizational values) to guide their career (Tim Hall, 1996).
A protean career must be considered as a life-long series of experiences, skills, learning, transitions and identity changes that is managed by a person instead of an organization. The ingredients of success change from “know-how” to “learn-how”, from job security to employability and from “work self” to “whole self” with psychological success as a terminal goal.