Archive for the ‘advice’ Category

Surviving Change You Didn’t Ask For

In advice, book review on June 16, 2009 at 2:49 pm

Adaptability. approved.rev sub typeHave you ever encountered that “life stress” list that rates changes such as moving, death of a spouse, getting married, etc.? The folks who created that list in the sixties estimate that life is 44% more stressful now than it was 50 years ago, and they came up with that estimate before the 2008 global meltdown. I’m not sure we even want to know the new number!

Chances are you’re confronting some change you never asked for—perhaps a loss of job. Or some dream. Maybe you have to have to learn to work in new ways or find a new place to live.  I’m sorry if it’s difficult.

None of us knows what the future holds. But there is something we can do right now—develop the ability to adapt. As far as I can tell, it’s the key indicator of success in these turbulent times. AdaptAbility is the capacity to be flexible and resourceful in the face of ever-changing conditions. To respond in a resilient and productive manner when change is required. Some of us already know how to easily do this. The rest of us need to learn–quickly.

Resisting change wears down our bodies, taxes our minds and deflates our spirits. We keep doing the things that have always worked before with depressingly diminishing results. We expend precious energy looking around for someone to blame—ourselves, another person, or the world. We worry obsessively. We get stuck in the past, lost in bitterness or anger. Or we fall into denial–everything’s fine, I don’t have to do anything different. Or magical thinking–something or someone will come along to rescue me from having to change. We don’t want to leave the cozy comfort of the known and familiar for the scary wilderness of that which we’ve never experienced. And so we rail against it and stay stuck.

Fortunately, once you become conscious of how to adapt, you can face future changes with greater confidence and swiftness.

Want further incentive to learn? Experts in mind-body medicine have shown that people who are master adapters live longer and healthier lives than others. How come? Because they counterbalance the stress hormones that wear down our bodies with positive attitudes and behaviors that release feel good hormones which restore balance to our cells, organs, and tissue. That’s why many health experts define health itself as AdaptAbility.

When the environment changes and we must therefore too, it’s appropriate to complain, to take, in the words of Dr. Pamela Peeke, the BMW (Bitch, Moan and Whine) out for a little spin. But soon it’s time to put it back in the driveway and get down to business. We are all being called on to stretch mentally, emotionally, and spiritually into the future. We can do it!

About MJ

A member of Professional Thinking Partners who is recognized as a leading expert in change, M.J. Ryan specializes in coaching high performance executives, entrepreneurs, individuals, and leadership teams around the world to maximize performance and fulfillment. Her clients include Microsoft, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, Hewitt Associates, and Frito Lay. Her work is based on a combination of positive psychology, strengths-based coaching, the wisdom traditions, and cutting edge brain research. Her new book, titled “AdaptAbility: How to Survive Change You Didn’t Ask For” was recently released published by Random House’s Broadway Books.  She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and daughter.


Does Telling Your Kids You Were Fired Make You “The Biggest Loser”?

In advice, article, column on April 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm

fight-at-schooljpg1Let me start by saying that I’m using “Dad” for the sake of simplicity. This is a non-gender question. But my editor asked me to stick with one gender, so as a father, I’m writing this column as “Dad.”

Some people tell me that they find it very difficult to tell their children that they’ve been fired. Does a 10-year-old even know what the word “fired” means? And how much do teenagers even really understand? Can you just blame the “R word”: recession? Let’s face it, adults barely know what the word “recession” means, so for your children of any age, they just know that Dad (or Mom) is now home all day, not working.

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Keyword-Rich Resumes Get You Noticed

In advice, article on April 13, 2009 at 5:34 pm

resume_iconjpgThe demands on job seekers, in respect to writing resumes, seem to increase daily. Of course, it’s not really that often, but it does seem as if the list of resume dos and don’ts has grown exponentially over the past few years. It hasn’t. In fact, much of what was important 20 years ago – yes, I’m old enough to actually remember – is still important today … with a modern twist. Adding email addresses to headings and using keywords to catch the attention of scanning equipment or software are pretty much all there is that differs.

Including keywords was probably important 20 years ago, too, but went by another name, the way “reputation” morphed into “personal brand.” Anyway, what’s important for job seekers to know is that adding words to their resumes that pertain to their career fields or mirror those they read in job postings will get them noticed faster.

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Career Fairs or Career Fairy Tales?

In advice, article, column on March 30, 2009 at 7:27 pm

career-fair1Today’s career fairs seem anything but “fair” to me.

Have you noticed lately how every local TV news report has a weekly segment on a career or job fair? The footage may as well be recycled week after week: the camera pans over a long line wrapping around a corner. Then the reporter (always with surprise and a newsworthy sense of self-importance – almost as if he’s breaking a story as hot as Lewinsky and Clinton) marvels over the record attendance.

Um, is this really news? My God, half the country is unemployed, and people are lining up thinking they might land a job. Surprise! Someone give that reporter a raise.

My absolute favorite part is when the reporter corners one of the attendees and gets her to talk about how she plans to stand out from the crowd.

Oh no, wait, this is the best part: then that same person talks on camera about how she’s now begun to make friends in the job fair lines because they all recognize one another from the previous week’s job fair. Hmmm… it might be time to reevaluate that whole “standing out from the crowd” strategy.

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Headhunter Trade Secrets for Finding a New Job During a Recession

In advice, article, column on March 10, 2009 at 6:19 pm

findajobIt is important to remember even if the unemployment rate reaches 10 percent, that means 90 percent of Americans are still working.

So, do not to get caught up in the emotional anxiety of assuming you too will lose your job. The fact is that most Americans will continue to keep their jobs. Yet, workers from all companies will be let go to meet the bottom line. It’s just for show (and yes it is just for show).

Let’s face it, even the meanest boss hates to fire anyone, but when the “recession” word is used in conjunction with lay-offs, it’s really a blank check to fire anybody with no real reason needed.

Work is not a democracy. If you weren’t old enough to be working during the 1991 recession, the idea that you’re not just judged on merit or performance is probably new to you. It seems repugnant; however, get your head out of the sand.

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The Art of Staying Young: My 10 Tips

In advice, article on March 4, 2009 at 3:44 pm

deepbreatheBeing perceived as being younger both emotionally and intellectually is often more important than looking younger. In this recession you need to learn the fine art of being perceived as younger as well as looking younger. So if you’re over 40, here are 10 tips:

1: Buy teeth whitening strips. Shallow for sure, but having coffee-stained teeth won’t do you any favors in interviews.

2: Get on Facebook today. If you don’t know how to join, let your kids show you. Use Google and know what Wikipedia is. Learn how to text and TiVo.

3: Check out your local Apple store and ask to learn the difference between an iPod Classic, iPod Touch, and iPod Nano.

4: If for some reason you still remember your SAT scores, keep them to yourself. No one cares and scoring has changed, so you’ll just wind up aging yourself.

5: Pick up a copy of Entertainment Weekly before an interview. Nothing gets you more up to date on the youthful world of pop culture.

Read the other 5 tips >>

Can You Bulletproof Your Job?

In advice, article, book review on February 25, 2009 at 9:51 pm


Have you been distressed lately about the economy, your job or your boss? If so, you wouldn’t be alone.

When times are toughest, most of us tend to wait out the storm rather than seek out other, perhaps even riskier opportunities.

In his new book, Bulletproof Your Job, author Stephen Viscusi says that your “primary objective” at work is to protect your job because it is “your most valuable asset.”

Forget the financial crisis; the issue is more primal than that. “Here’s the cold hard truth: If you don’t click with your boss, all that merit and pedigree won’t get you anywhere when your job is on the line,” writes Viscusi. “What really matters is what your boss thinks about you.”

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6 Ways to Prevent Being Laid Off

In advice, article, magazine on February 20, 2009 at 3:13 pm


Think your job is safe? How can anyone know for sure in this economy when it’s not uncommon for big companies to axe hundreds of people in one day, and for small companies to fold with no warning?

Stop worrying and start taking action to protect your position—and possibly earn a promotion and raise. Here’s your six-point plan to make sure you don’t just survive the tough times—you thrive.

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Best Ways To Bullet-Proof Your Job

In advice, article on February 19, 2009 at 4:28 pm

istockphoto_6142815-office-workersMIAMI (CBS4) ―With the national unemployment rate approaching historic high levels, the tumbles on the stock market, the federal bailouts and the skyrocketing number of home foreclosures seem to be a constant reminder of the gloomy economic forecast for our near future.

“I know a lot of people who are unemployed and can’t find jobs,” said one person who CBS4 spoke with in Doral.

“I know a lot of friends out their looking for part time jobs and there’s nothing out there really,” replied another.

Steven Viscusi, author of Bulletproof Your Job” said if you still have a job that’s your most valuable asset. So you’ve got to do whatever it takes to protect it.

Here are his strategies to bulletproof your job >>

Worried about getting fired?

In advice, article on February 10, 2009 at 3:33 pm


As soon as you finish reading this blog, send an immediate but short e-mail like this to your boss.

Dear Boss,
When you have 5 minutes, I need to run something by you.

This is your preemptive measure in approaching your boss now while 90% of Americans still have jobs. And quite honestly, we only hear the dreaded numbers worsening every day.

Take the strike now by letting your boss identify your face with the person they don’t want to fire.

When the word “recession” is used in conjunction with layoffs for any company – large or small – it’s virtually a blank check for your boss to fire almost anybody.

Being visible is the number one thing you can do to keep your job. It’s really important this very minute to actually ask your boss for some face time.

That’s right. Do it in person – asking to save your job by email doesn’t count.
Most of the time, this really works. Even the meanest boss hates to fire anybody, but it’s more difficult for a boss to fire an employee who just came to them face-to-face and asked to keep their job.

Still don’t believe me? Let’s role play. Follow steps 1-3 by clicking the link below…

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