Career Coach: The Times They Are A-Changing

In the first "Career Coach" of 2008, Pamela Kleibrink Thompson discusses the only constant in life -- change.

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson.

"There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction."

-- Winston Churchill

The changing of the calendar is the time when many people make resolutions -- vows to change certain aspects in their lives. At the end of the year or the beginning of a new one, I tend to dwell on things I haven't done or neglected to do and not reflect on the things I accomplished (like writing this column every month). I am consciously changing my attitude with the change of the calendar. I will celebrate and greet the New Year with a fresh outlook. I will celebrate my accomplishments of the past and get ready for what I want to accomplish next. It's up to me to make 2008 truly great. I must recognize that for things to change for me, I must change or make changes.

Changes can be planned (as in goal-setting) or they can be unexpected. Sometimes change is unwelcome, and your resiliency may be tested. You might be surprised by the loss of a job or the breakup of a relationship even though deep down you might have seen these events coming.

Though sometimes unwelcome, changes can lead to unexpected opportunities. A lost job can prompt you to return to school to build more skills, and returning to school can lead to new friends. A new friend might lead you to a new job. A lost job can prompt you to reexamine your career and perhaps motivate you to finally pursue your dream job.

Sally Jessy Raphael, nationally syndicated TV talk show host, has been fired 18 times and views job loss as a chance to make changes to improve her life. "Firing is a time to take assessment, to move in the direction you want to go." If you view your job loss as a temporary setback, leaving you open to new opportunities, you will bounce back faster. Job loss can shake your self-esteem, if you let it. But change your attitude about it and you can improve your life.

On a job at a video game company, I was expecting a raise at my annual review, but instead I was told I was being laid off. I was stunned and angry. One of the people at that meeting told me he thought I would have to take a pay cut in the future. He was wrong. I viewed the job loss as an opportunity and used what I learned there to start my own recruiting business. I have never looked back, nor have I had to take a pay cut.

Last year brought a big change for me -- a new place to live. I had lived for almost 30 years in the Los Angeles area, and in California since I was four years old. I had lived in the same house since 1988. I was nervous and had lots of trepidation about the move. What would it be like? As a recruiter I've helped others make momentous changes in their lives, moving to a new city, working for a new employer. As a career coach, I encourage others to make changes in their lives. Now it was my turn. Although a change of location can present new opportunities, you also might worry about it as I did. I now live where even the seasons change -- a reminder that change is natural.

Making changes can be difficult, and you'll encounter a lot of resistance, both from yourself and from others, because the status quo is a comfortable state and change is not. Change is the unknown and untried, which can be scary and unsettling. But change can also be exciting and eye-opening.

Change is inevitable, but it's more welcome when the change is your decision. What changes do you want to make in your life? Write them down and put them somewhere you can see them every day. Visualize yourself making these changes and what your life would be like with these changes. Change the way you do something and you might discover a better way. Change the way you travel to or from work and you might discover a new place to live. As author Norman Vincent Peale said, "Change your thoughts and you change your world." Start thinking about how you'd like to shape your world and what aspects you want to change. Think about all areas -- business, financial, health, education, spiritual, personal and family.

Once you make a commitment to what you want, changes will happen. Paths unseen will reveal themselves to you and you'll find ways to make the changes happen. It may seem extraordinary to you, but once you are committed to making changes happen and you tell others about it, opportunities will present themselves, and you will be in a position to take advantage of them.

Changing your approach, your perspective or your attitude can impact your life, as well as those of others. Small changes can make a huge difference. Take some chances and do things differently, adopt a new attitude, take control of your life, and see how the change in your approach will affect your life.

As for my big change -- my move -- I wondered if I could still pursue the work I do. I have had both recruiting clients and career-coaching clients since my move. Moving did not have a negative impact on my business. I wondered if I would find it difficult to meet people. Within the first week of moving, my neighbors hosted a 4th of July block party. Within the first month, my husband and I attended a local film festival and connected with the people who ran the film office. We are actively involved in the film and graphics community and have met several Oscar-winning filmmakers. We are also involved in a screenwriters group and a filmmaking group, and we are working to pass legislation so that Idaho will have economic incentives to attract more filmmakers to the area. We have discovered that by being proactive we can create the life we want in our new location.

The beginning of the year presents a fresh slate. 2008 can be great. It's up to you to decide what changes you want to make to create your ideal life.

Books:

The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale

Congratulations! You've been Fired by Emily Koltnow and Lynne S. Dumas

Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a recruiter, hiring strategist, career coach and speaker, available for personal consultations and speaking engagements. She is currently recruiting for a head of effects, head of surfacing, CG supervisor, technical directors who want to develop tools in R&D, software engineers, and a senior render system administrator for a feature film company on the West Coast. She would love to hear from any experienced pipeline TDs, lighting TDs, shader writer TDs, compositing TDs, or tools developers. If you are interested in her professional services as a career coach, speaker, or recruiter, contact her at PamRecruit@q.com.

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