Showing posts with label career. Show all posts
Showing posts with label career. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Bearing the Time it Takes to Learn New Skills and Become a Life Long Learner

Learning new skills is not easy and comes with a level of stress. It doesn't matter if discussing sports, work or college as the process of learning requires the ability to work to new levels of mastery. The difference between those who are successful and those who are unsuccessful are the ones that bear the difficulties of the learning process.

Think of when you started a new job or tried to do something you never did before. It took some time for you to learn how to complete the task. At first you were lost and then you were able to complete the function a few times with each subsequent time becoming easier. With more effort you will eventually reach a point where many of the actions became automatic.

Learning comes with stress and frustration for many because it requires significant energy to continue trying after failure. Yet failure is not really failure unless you stop trying. Each time you put effort toward something you will learn from that effort regardless of the outcome.

With enough effort and time you will eventually succeed but this success comes with a cost. That cost is in terms of choices and alternative routes. People should try and put their energies where they have natural skills that will complement their effort and create the greatest chances of success. Frustration will be less if you are learning something you have an innate skill in.

It is also beneficial to consider where your interests lay. Doing something you have no interest in simply because your family did it, your friends like it, or society expects it is a sure way to boredom and burnout. You have to chart your own course in learning these skills and the paths you take. It will benefit you in the long run.

Believe in yourself. Learning is not easy and takes time. The biggest failure that occurs is when people give up. Some people give up because of poor self-efficacy that leads to self-doubt. It may be hard but if you push yourself, continue to focus on your goals, and do the work everyday you will get where you want.

Learning isn't easy but it does provide benefits of development for us as individuals and we as society. Becoming a life long learner can help you overcome challenges, find employment, and live a better life. It is more of a way of thinking that manifests itself into a way of life. Find what interests you, set some goals, and continue to seek out new information and understanding until you get where you want.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Why do People Enroll in Online Education?

All students have hopes, goals, dreams and desires; some are more realistic than others. Each is limited in their available time and resources to make those dreams a reality. Higher education affords the opportunity for people to achieve parts of their dreams and find ways of moving up the social ladder. Unfortunately, life has many different types of roadblocks people must navigate to achieve their goals. According to a study in the Journal of Educators the students who choose online education do so for scheduling purposes (Fontenot, et. al., 2015).

Many of today's students are older than those of the past and the ever changing market requires them to be adjustable while continually learning new ideas and concepts. That new knowledge can come from informal and formal sources. Education is one of those formal educational processes that leads to a degree that can be used to apply for job openings.

People don't always go to college right out of high school nor do they have the resources to focus only on their education. Some people will graduate from college early and go back to college at a later date to receive a master's degree or some other degree that helps them stay on top of their fields. The fluid nature of the market makes it difficult for people to keep updated.

Online education is one way to go to school while not giving up on traditional responsibilities. Some people have work responsibilities while others may have family responsibilities. Juggling these responsibilities is difficult at best. Trying to further education in a ground based system may be near impossible for many people and could limit their potential contributions to society.

Based upon a survey of 165 students it was found that students who choose to take online courses do so because of timing and scheduling; they enjoyed the flexibility and convenience of online education. A mitigating factor was perception of quality.  Students who perceived online education as a valuable quality proposition will be more inclined to go online.

The study helps us understand that as the real and perceived quality of education rises and people become more familiar with online education there will likely be a higher percentage of society taking online courses. As traditional universities, and existing online universities, improve their offerings they will attract motivated students who feel that the quality and convenience of their education affords them new options. For a generation growing up with more familiarity of technology online education will seem to be a natural fit.

Fontenot, R. et. al. (2015) Predictors of enrolling in online courses: an exploratory study of students in undergraduate marketing courses. Journal of Educators, 12 (1).

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Tips for Improving Work Performance Through Changing Task Patterns

Each of us works a great portion of our day on autopilot moving from task to task without thinking much about those tasks and why we are doing them. Over time the pattern of behavior becomes so embedded that we can't see beyond routine to their essential purpose. Eventually we lose touch with alternative actions. In the workplace this can cost you and the company a lot of time if you don't think through your daily activities and focus more on the important things.

We have all seen the "busy bee" worker that fills up their time with so much work that they have barely a minute to spare. The problem is that they aren't getting much done. It is just spinning wheels to look like their important that in the end drains both the person and the company of time, resources, and energy.

Think of how adaptable companies require change in their processes & procedures to meet market challenges. Companies spend a lot of money to get consultants in that can take an outside look at their operations and make suggestions. This review, if done well, can afford an opportunity to see how old patterns of work flow may be inefficient.

The same problem occurs in our daily work schedule where we may be completing works that is not necessary and could be a major time waster. This large portion of time spent in "busy work" holds us back in our career and drains your energy. If you have ever had a busy day and looked back and found out you accomplished nothing you know what I am talking about.

Tips for changing patterns:

-Write down your activities for a few days and reflect on what is important. If something isn't moving you in the direction of your goals consider removing it or lessening the time you spend on it.

-Try and look at your activities from a different perspective. Use a third party perspective and highlight areas of improvement.

-Make small adjustments in your patterns to create habits. Once those habits become routine you will be again on autopilot.

-Put the effort in up front in learning to lower the amount of effort on the back end.

-Look at  your job description and performance appraisal and see what is important in your job. Align your actions accordingly.

-Look at successful people and their work patterns to determine areas where improvement is beneficial.

-Keep checking back to make sure you are working on what is important.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Footprints to a Solid Career

Rome wasn't built in a day and neither will your career. Successful careers take a consider amount of effort and time to develop and may not always end the same way you planned when you started. As the market changes and adjusts it is beneficial to roll with the changes and seek out opportunities to learn and develop. At various stages of your life you will be in different career positions that can contribute to your professional development.

Young graduates often assume they are going to conquer the world solely through elbow grease. This enthusiasm manifests itself in excitement, motivation, and participation. Even though the pay is not high the new job offers a level of independence, a new apartment, a car, and lots of other goodies that were previously out of reach.

Eventually that enthusiasm will wane as they become accustomed to their new money and find out that what they earn is not nearly to feed a family and still live a comfortable lifestyle. They may start to move out of their starter jobs to take promotions and raises in other companies. It is through this movement that companies loose talent and other companies gain new talent; the market shifts its resources.

During their mid career most professionals have worked for multiple companies and may have switched their careers at least once if not a couple of times. The knowledge gained makes them a valuable asset to any organization. Still young enough to learn and old enough to apply working knowledge they will be in the sweet spot for growth. Adaptability and knowledge are sufficient to get them that first management job or a higher paying position when warranted.

In the later part of a career position and power may not be the most important determinant of one's career. It is entirely possible that leaving a legacy for others and engaging in those activities that are intrinsically pleasing may have more appeal when compared to more of the same. Seasoned managers start to mentor and coach younger employees in an effort to leave some type of mark on the organization and society.

Throughout a career cycle a person will work for a number of different organizations and may even switch careers a number of times. It is necessary to be adaptable and continue learning in order to grow and develop. At the moment one closes their mind they will stop growing and it is important to ensure one is  more of a sponge that soaks knowledge than a rock that sinks to the bottom.

In your path don't fret about having to switch careers. It is a natural part of life in a fast paced American economy. The average person can expect to switch their career up to seven times in their lifetime (Bialick, 2010). A high number I agree but not necessarily implausible as I have seen Generation X switch at least 3 times by their late 30s.

The biggest challenge you are likely to face is being open-minded and continually learning. We get stuck in our ways, do the same things over and over, and live by a routine. Sometimes it is a great way to function but at other times it can lead us down a path where we become more disconnected from future employment opportunities. You don't want to someday lose your job you are stuck without the skills needed to find something that pays better. Make sure you continue to learn, adapt, grow, develop, and change toward improvement.

Bialick, C. (Sept. 4th, 2010). Seven Careers in a Lifetime? Think Twice, Researchers Say. Wall Street Journal. Retrieved

Monday, January 12, 2015

Use Positive Optimism to Expand Your Career Opportunities

Optimism attracts people and those who can gather together the greatest amount of people enhance their social influence. Those who are in business can enhance their social networks and attract more people to their cause simply through being more positive about life. Positive contacts not only help build your social networks but also enhance future career opportunities.

Positive impressions helps others to feel good about themselves and their prospects. If people are willing to spend millions on cosmetic products, tickets for sports games, branded clothing, and the other luxuries of life to feel good they will also be attracted to a positive person who helps them feel this way. For the low price a few moments of time they can walk away with positive impressions for a while without experiencing buyers remorse.

It is important to be a rational optimist to ensure you maintain your credibility. Optimism should be based on understanding challenges as they actually are but focusing on those solutions which are most likely to produce a positive outcome. People will follow an optimistic person that can see the challenges people face but enlightens them to stronger paths.

Optimism helps people feel as though they can master challenges in work, family, or daily living. People love to feel as though they are strong enough to master their environment. When someone is optimistic they are able to attract others to them precisely because people want to feel more confident about their prospects. Positive feelings encourages people to come back again and again for many years.

People who are positive are also more approachable than those with negative dispositions. You may remember a time when you were attracted to a person who had a positive disposition. When someone is smiling and jolly others feel it is easy to approach that person. Their body language tells others "come talk to me I am a friendly and open person".  It doesn't take long before someone takes notice and make steps to meet you.

The impression a person leaves after leaving someone is just as important for attraction them as the initial contact. Positive and optimistic people leave a positive impression on people that influences how they remember the experience. Happy memories lead to word-of-mouth introductions through character references and future opportunities to connect to their social networks.

Birds of a feather flock together. Both optimism and pessimism are contagious. If people are negative about their lives and others around them it becomes likely that negativity will begin to influence their way of thinking. Surrounding yourself with positive people will attract additional positive people and protect you from negative thinking.

Optimism is a way of looking at the world and it has a euphoric effect on the people you meet. They are naturally attracted to people who help them feel good and enjoy the positive side of life. Creating positive impressions among people also helps you develop your personal and career networks in a way that leads to additional opportunities in the future. Use the power of positive optimism to expand your career influence and raise the quality of your life through the power of your mind is a skill learned over time.

You may be interested in a CNN article on how Optimism improves your cardiovascular health.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Using Career Oriented Academic Knowledge to Raise Military Functionality

The nature of the military is changing and so are the training needs. Dr. Rutherford moves into a discussion of the needs of training in the Australian Army and the specific training at the Royal Military College (2013). His article focuses on the enhancement of specific career skills to support the command and control functions. The complexity of military operations requires the development of different types of talents that may not fit exclusively into command and control learning style. 

Modern warfare is different than it was in the past. It requires higher technology, logistical systems, abstract thinking and greater functionality. Command and control functions are based in the learning of skill of the position above and below in combat functions. This focus in the military is necessary but also may be forcing those with the relevant skills out of the military and thereby decreasing knowledge retention. 

Combat is the main function but the ability to maintain combat is based in more administrative and career knowledge skills. If the equipment, technology, and support functions are not there the military would be less capable. Many of these functions are contracted out due to a lack of specific knowledge within units and the military in general. 

Individuals in the military are generally trained in broad skills related to their rank but are not trained to excel in their functions. Their training is focused on specific tasks and often do not develop the higher order understanding needed to influence how the system works, where to improve the system, or how to operate it independently. 

As the nature of the military and complexity of combat increases more pressure is being placed on headquarters based on the home soil. The information, skills, and functionality can depend on decisions being made hundreds of miles away from the actual events. Training military personal on their careers as a widening of responsibilities will help the military find additional effectiveness and efficiency. 

It will also help the military retain top talent that age beyond the traditional combat functions. Their knowledge and skills of the military can be added to their academic problem-solving skills to create greater support to combat operations. Talent is retained and operational performance is improved across a wide array of functional areas. 

The author discusses the continued importation of civilian processes and the loss of internal talent due to the nature of command and control training. Training military personnel in careers beyond their rank will help retain and maintain top talent while increasing the functionality of the military units. Moving beyond simple transactional learning to career oriented skill sets will improve upon functionality and knowledge and thereby improving the learning-organizational aspects of the military. It will also allow the military to adjust these civilian processes to pin point their resources to their actual needs.

 Rutherford, P. (2013). Training in the arm: meeting the needs of a changing culture. Training & Development, 40 (6).

Friday, January 24, 2014

Methods of Leadership Selection in Military Colleges

Developing leadership in military colleges has been a major focus of such institutions. Leadership extends beyond military service and into government, business, civics, and many other arenas. Understanding how leadership is developed in military colleges can help other universities learn how to select and develop those for advanced leadership development. The researchers Shepherd & Horner (2010) assessed the metrics used in undergraduate military schools to determine their effectiveness in evaluation.

Leadership in the business world and military service has been around for a long time. Fredrick Taylor introduced leadership in the scientific management field (1916). It wasn’t long after that the Hawthorne studies of the 1920’s and 1930’s discussed the linkages between environment and employee output (Roethlisberger, 1941). Leadership is then a conception of self within a wider environment.

Military colleges seek to develop leadership for later military usage by offering increasing levels of responsibility, chain-of-command socialization, and theoretical work on leadership. Each helps to put into practice experience, learning, and structure to develop a stronger personal conception of leadership among graduates. It is hoped they will put this to strong use in securing the country’s interests.

Leadership is seen as a continuum of development that includes a number of stages within broader aspects of understanding. Leadership is first seen in a dependent state (stages 1–3) where people follow others but recognize leadership appointments. It then moves onto continued development (stages 3–4) where they recognize the interdependence of leadership with others. In the final development, concepts of leadership responsibility (stages 5-6) emerge where leaders develop their followers while developing themselves.

The study found that not all measures are beneficial for finding leaders within a particular environment. They believe that multiple measurements such as peer ranking, cumulative grade point average, and leadership knowledge appear to be valid approaches. This provides an assessment of intelligence, awareness, and peer perception. Heavy reliance on a single measure may not only ignore the other aspects of leadership but may also cut out minority leaders that do not have the same cultural backgrounds.

Shepherd, R. & Horner, D. (2010). Indicators of leadership development in undergraduate military education.  Journal of Leadership Studies, 4 (2).

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Successful College Students Believe in their Abilities and Chances

Human perception and behavior can impact the success and likelihood of achievement throughout one’s lifetime. Whether one is a college student or career oriented it is their personality that makes up a significant proportion of success. Research helps highlight what personality traits encourage students be successful by moving toward their career goals. They found that personal and institutional satisfaction where two different hypothesized paths.

Not all students will be successful. Some will inevitably fail. They come to college with a range of issues related to personal perception, habits, patterns and expectations. Those who have developed strong traits seem to be more successful. Of course, one cannot say that students can’t learn new approaches but starting from a negative outlook will have its disadvantages. 

Students make choices about their careers, how long they are willing to study, and their level of academic engagement. Each choice comes with possible successes or consequences. The ability to make a choice is often called human agency. It is the combined unconscious (undirected behavior) and conscious (goal-directed) behavior that helps or hinders students in their paths to success.

There are four key factors associated with human agency. According to Bandura (2001) these four are 1.)intentionally thinking about future actions, 2.) future oriented thinking about goals, consequences and possible outcomes 3.) aligning activities to achieve goals, and 4.) the ability to self-reflect on oneself and their actions.  Each function allows for strategizing, setting goals, aligning activities, and feedback thinking. 

In philosophy one can argue that behavior and choices can either be rooted in personal behavior or historical context. Personal behavior assumes that all behavior is derived from the person while the historical context assumes that social pressures arise to determine behavior. It is commonly believed that few people have true control over their behavior in the sense that they are reflective enough and intelligent enough to think beyond the social structures in which they live. 

To college students it is important to understand why students make certain choices about their professions, lines of study, and their success in allocating their efforts to achieve academic success. Such students often live within their family histories, personal attributes, and impressions of their environment that impact their daily decisions and choices. Knowing which students are most likely to succeed in college can be helpful for determining appropriate career paths. 

A study conducted by Feldt (2012) focused on testing the measurements and path models of the social cognitive model of college satisfaction with a focus on career development. They used two measures of satisfaction which includes satisfaction with personal career development and satisfaction with availability of resources to foster career development. 270 undergraduate students who were recruited from class five weeks after midterm. They sought to determine the cognitive measures of 1.) major and career self-efficacy, 2.) career outcome expectations, 3.) goal progress, 4.) perception of resources, 5.) satisfaction with career preparation, 6.) life satisfaction and 7.) big five inventory. 


-Life Satisfaction was associated with personal satisfaction and extraversion.
-Institutional satisfaction was associated with resources, self-efficacy, and personal satisfaction.
-Personal satisfaction was associated with extraversion and resources.
-Goal progress is association with self-efficacy.
-Outcome expectations were associated with resources and self-efficacy.
-Resources were associated with conscientiousness. 

Business Analysis:

Student success relies heavily on the perceptions and resources students bring to their colleges. When students are satisfied with themselves and willing to engage others they have higher life satisfaction. Such students are more likely to be happy when they have resources to fulfill their objectives, believe in their abilities and feel positive about themselves. The research may also indicate that students that were conscientious were also more likely to be involved in the university and its affairs to obtain needed resources. 

In general, strong students are happy, have positive self-image, and believe in their abilities. They view college as a way to achieve their life goals. The resources within the college are maximized for their benefit. Perhaps there is no perfect student but those students who do well are mostly likely to be fully engage in the college experience and enjoy the benefits of college life. Like any life activity negative affectively may just impact success in college and career.
Bandura, A. (2001). Social cognitive theory: An agentic perspective. Annual Review of Psychology, (52) 1.

Feldt, R. (2012). Social cognitive model of college satisfaction: a test of measurement and path models. College Student Journal, 46 (4).