Careers – Career off-kilter?


You have the power to change it … if you want to and can accept change

The recent stories about the unemployed and homeless gentleman in Columbus, Ohio – Ted Williams who was down and out, conflicted with alcohol and drugs – is a true testimony to the fact that no matter how difficult you believe your situations is, no matter how far you feel you have fallen, you can pick yourself up, dust off and achieve your dream and improve your lot in life and career. Let us all hope that Ted can handle his new-found fame, after having been discovered on YouTube. Other examples are rooted in history. Abraham Lincoln failed in business twice and did not have a positive military career, going in as a Captain and coming out as a Private. Winston Churchill was defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62. His famous quote: "Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, never, never, never give up." Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community. Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." It took seven failures before R.H Macy finally succeeded with his New York store.

If you are reading this and wondering, “sure, but how does this help me?” please take a moment to reflect. You may feel your life or career situation is hopeless, that you cannot change it, that no one will help you, that there are no jobs or someone would never hire you or give you a chance. In other words, you feel stuck with nowhere to go. These stories from history are evidence – you are never stuck if you have determination and a plan. Each of the individuals above (and probably others you know in your own life) were determined and had a plan to change and succeed in spite of adversity. It all begins with making life-changing decisions: the decision to succeed, to give yourself permission to accept change and the decision to being happy for once. If you can make those decisions for yourself, there will be no stopping you. Made the decision? What’s next…

You may have heard the quote, “You cannot manage what you cannot measure” (Peter Drucker). It is so true – in business, in life and most certainly in your career. This is why it is critically important to have a detailed, documented tactical plan that can guide you and will serve to measure how you are doing. A plan to move on to a new and better career (or job) could include the following actions:

  • Update resume by (date).
  • Identify what makes me happy doing – what I am passionate about by (date).
  • Create a list of 10 networking contacts and contact one each day starting on (date) and completing by (date).
  • Work with my mentor, counselor, consultant or friend on holding me accountable once per week (or month).
  • Develop a financial budget and determine what I/we really need to make by (date) and then measure actual spending 30 days later (you will be so surprised what you will learn).
  • Volunteer with XYZ organization to be helpful and meet new people who could be good contacts by (date).
  • Get one interview within the next 30 days; two within 45 days.
  • Accept that I can be successful, can improve my life and that I control all that happens in my life and career (daily).

Notice how this works – each item is planned and scheduled with completion goals. As you move through the list and make achievements, your attitude will change, you will see promise and you will be in control.

A few resources to assist:…/362/ (by Dan Moran)

Accept, be determined and persevere. It is never too late to be what you might have been (this quote hangs in my office). Dan Moran is president & founder of Next-Act, a career management & transition firm located in Colonie. You can reach him at 641.8968 or or visit


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