Morning Links: Interesting ideas on how to shake up your career

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Start your week off with coffee and a few good articles (Photo Credit: macinate, Creative Commons/Flickr)

Happy Monday! Last week, the internet was brimming with great career advice. Here is a round up of links to help you start your week off with reflection and action.

Have you found your place in the social-change landscape?

Although people are buzzing about social entrepreneurship, the reality is that social entrepreneurship is not for everyone and we need people NOT to be social entrepreneurs. Lara Galinsky, Senior Vice President of Echoing Green, wrote in the Harvard Business Review that rather than focusing on one way of making a difference, we need to encourage people to explore the various ways they can have a social impact:

But social entrepreneurs alone cannot change the world.They need artists, volunteers, development directors, communications specialists, donors, and advocates across all sectors to turn their groundbreaking ideas into reality. They need fundraisers, supporters who can change policies, someone to create a brochure describing their work. If everyone wants to start a new organization, who is going to do all the work?

If you’re ready to recharge your job search, complete this activity to figure out what kind of work you’d most enjoy in the social sector.

What beliefs are holding you back?

Sam Davidson, Co-Founder and President of Cool People Care, recently made a short list of things that don’t exist. Though they seem innocent, I think they can actually hold us back from creating the personal and professional lives that we really want:

Getting rich quick
An overnight success
Something that is easy to do and worth doing
“It’s not personal, it’s just business.”
That which is valuable or meaningful that came about effortlessly
A life without regret
The perfect man/woman/child
Having it all

What would you add?

Feel like you’ve hit a wall? Travel someplace new

Though it may seem counterintuitive, sometimes our expertise can make it difficult to be creative because our minds become set on a particular way of thinking.  According to the folks on American Express Open Forum, by going away for a while, your mind is allowed to wander which boosts creativity:

Creativity is all about making new connections between seemingly disparate concepts. “When you escape from the place you spend most of your time,” he says, “your mind is suddenly made aware of all those errant ideas previously suppressed.”

But it’s not enough to simply hop a plane to anywhere. If you want to experience the creative benefits of travel, then you have to rethink its purpose in the first place.

“Most people, after all, escape to Paris so they don’t have to think about those troubles they left behind,” Lehrer explains. “But here’s the ironic twist: your mind is most likely to solve your stubbornest problems while you’re sitting in a swank Left Bank café. So instead of contemplating that buttery croissant, mull over those domestic riddles you just can’t solve. You have the breakthrough while on break.”
Have you experienced a creative breakthrough while traveling?

Read something interesting recently? Share your thoughts and a link below!

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Three ways to stay optimistic while searching for a job

Last week, we blogged about how self-knowledge is a key component of a successful job search. The post sparked an interesting discussion and was a good reminder of the complexities of job seeking that go beyond resumes and networking etiquette.

Looking for a job can be many things: exciting, tiring, inspiring, and deflating. No matter the ratio of ingredients, it’s often like being on your own personal roller coaster. Just last night, I overheard an elated new job-lander talking on her phone. She was shrieking into the receiver in a way that turned out to be joyful, but easily could have been taken as terrified. “I got the job, I got the job!” she cried, and as I passed she was launching into the sea of details. Talk about a melodrama! Of course, this is the happy emotional state we all hope our job searches are headed for, but what about the meantime?

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Remember: sometimes it's the little things that keep us happy. (Photo Credit: Peyri, Creative Commons/Flickr)

Feeling discouraged is a top complaint of job seekers, and how could it not be? If you’re doing your homework, you’re setting yourself up for regular dissection and rejection from a range of audiences. But you don’t have to stay mired in the blues. Consider these stay-on-top tips:

- Create a routine. The same advice that helps anyone facing a tough transition can work wonders for job seekers. If you’re unemployed, don’t sleep until noon one day and get up at 7:00 the next; try not to cram all your LinkedIn tasks into a four-hour period and then lose touch for two weeks. Setting up even a basic routine while you search for a job (perhaps a daily cocktail of one part surfing the want ads, one part networking, and one part researching your field—with a sprinkling of fresh fruit breaks and walks around the block) can really help keep you grounded and feeling like you’re doing “something,” even if that thing isn’t always getting a job offer.

- Explore alternatives. This one is taken directly from the brain of Dick Bolles, author of the deservedly ubiquitous What Color Is Your Parachute?. No matter how grim your employment options may seem in the dark of night, you always have options; sometimes it’s only a matter of illuminating them. For example, if you’ve been pursuing work in a certain field, try identifying two other fields you’d enjoy working in. If you spend most of your time visiting job seeker websites, look through a newspaper for a change. Just as leveraging the power of biodiversity serves evolution in nature, so leveraging the power of options serves the discouraged job seeker. Bolles writes extensively about this conviction in Parachute, but a mini version can be found in this edition of the Job Hunters Bible newsletter.

- Don’t forget to live. All work and no play will not only make you dull, it will also make you less productive. All manner of studies and experiments show that our brains generally thrive on variety—not frenzy, but not repetition, either. So be strategic: pick enjoyable break activities that have natural starting and ending points, so you don’t wind up lost in Facebook or on an interminable phone call with your grandmother when all you wanted was a brief respite from salary surveys. Try balancing two hours of hardcore job listings searches with 20 minutes of cereal eating, funny episodic blog browsing, podcast listening, or even a nap (just set the alarm!). Then go back to work feeling refreshed.

When all else fails, I like recalling the great proverb “this too shall pass.” Because even if you’re feeling down-and-out now, one day you’ll be shrieking joyfully to a friend on the phone. That’s life.

Your turn, job seekers: tell us how you keep from feeling discouraged!

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