Monthly Archives: July 2015

GUEST POST: Are You Expendable or Expandable?

Expendable or expandable
© 2010 Millennium Films | © 1971 Wolper Pictures Ltd.

For the past ten years I’ve been facilitating a networking group that is designed for senior level professionals and executives in transition called the Transition Café. While I’m happy to report that job search activity and opportunities for folks at these levels is quite robust, I still see many people finding themselves back in career transition every two to three years. With this “burn and churn” cycle it’s no reason that feeling expendable is a thought that can creep into one’s head. So how does one manage these feelings? First and foremost, you have to drop this notion that any company can place an expiration date on you. Instead of labeling yourself as expendable, try changing your mindset and think of yourself as expandable. So what are some ways you can do this?

1. Expand Your Network – Now we all know how important networking is, but very few of us do it, let alone do it effectively. While there are tactics and etiquette one can employ, the best way for you to become a great networker is to do it often and do it with purpose. All too often I see newly transitioned people immerse themselves in the networking game only to abandon the relationships they built once they land a job. If you want to truly recession-proof yourself, continue to build your community of contacts, and keep your network ALIVE. Make it a part of your normal work routine. Nurture and foster the relationships you’ve made, and always be building new ones. You know the saying, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” and in reality, “it’s who you know WELL.” Need a place to start networking? Keep abreast of what’s going on in your community at local chamber events, and stay on top of industry trends in a professional association related to your field.

2. Expand Your Skill Set – Without a doubt, we should always be in a learning mode and adding to our knowledge base. Whether you’re in transition or not, now is the time to take stock of your inventory of skills, talents, passions and goals and begin creating a plan to position yourself for continued success. Are you a bit weak on the social media side? Take a class on how you can build your social media presence and personal brand. And if you are employed, don’t necessarily wait for your employer to pay for training. Make the commitment to invest in yourself! In business you’ve probably heard of conducting a SWOT Analysis, which is essentially identifying your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Don’t be intimidated by this acronym. It’s basically a gap analysis of where you are today and where you want to be in the future. Keep it simple by really thinking through this exercise and devising a plan to better yourself. Do you want that competitive edge? Then don’t wait until you’re in transition. Be proactive and do your SWOT analysis now vs. being reactive and doing it after you lose your job.

3. Expand Your Income Possibilities – For most people, diversifying their income stream is a “foreign” concept, but in today’s world this strategy is probably one of the best ways to recession-proof yourself. Now let me qualify this by saying this approach is not for everybody, but it’s worth consideration. Some ways to do this would be by freelancing on the side, consulting, sub-contracting, ecommerce, owning income producing investments like rental properties, and business ownership. In my world of franchising, we have clients that work full-time jobs and also operate what we call semi-absentee franchises. Their goal is to create another income stream to not only supplement their income and build wealth, but to also protect themselves from relying on only one source of income, their current employer. I have a career coach friend who refers to this as creating a Portfolio Career. Kind of like creating an investment portfolio but for your career. It’s all about diversification and not putting all of your eggs in one basket.

4. Expand Your Volunteering – Do you have a desire to build your leadership skills? Make amazing contacts with high caliber, well-connected people? Be a part of your community? And most importantly, do something that is fulfilling and gives back to society? Then bolster your volunteer activities. Volunteering clearly provides both social and professional benefits, but it can also be an amazing mood booster for us.

5. Expand Your Comfort Zone – This last suggestion essentially encapsulates all of the ideas mentioned above by continuing to challenge ourselves to get out of our comfort zones. Doing all or some of these things is not easy. It takes time, thought, and commitment. However, you don’t have to be a super hero to initiate these activities. Perfection is not the ultimate goal. Start with one goal and continue to expand. See what works for you and gets you jazzed up. It’s all about growing and improving ourselves. Apply this mindset, and make the uncomfortable, COMFORTABLE!

About the Author:
Dan Aronoff has over 20 years of business experience working for both small and large companies, most notably in the human resources arena. He had the opportunity to work with Exxon Corporation, Kraft Foods, Kendle International (a pharmaceutical clinical trials organization) and his family’s business, Goldner Associates, which is an advertising specialties company. In 2005 he fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur by buying the Tennessee territory of FranNet-The Franchise Connection, a franchise matchmaking service ( Dan taught Franchise Management to students in the School of Entrepreneurship at Belmont University in the Fall of 2011 and continues to speak to aspiring Belmont students. Since 2006, he has also facilitated the Transition Café, a networking event for senior level professionals and executives in career transition (

12 Lists You Should Keep To Make Your Life Easier!

lists, organization, action items
Photo by Cheryl Chan

Occasionally I’ll be taking some breaks occasionally from writing about job search best practices to cover a few somewhat related and helpful topics. List making has been second nature to me since I was a teen—and so helpful, I couldn’t refrain from doing a post on it. Here are 12 lists you can create and maintain that will help you keep up with things and make your life easier. Some were mentioned in the Moolah Mondays series.

1. Christmas Gift Ledger – Oh baby—with this one, not only will you easily see who you need to buy for, but what you got them in years past—which will help you avoid giving them something too similar or (when doing some sly re-gifting) what they gave you!
2. Doctor Appointments, Mileage, & Expenses – List the doctor or dentist’s name, the date of the appointment, what it was for, how much you had to pay out of pocket, and the total mileage to and from the appointment. Having a list up on the wall you can add to that shows all your appointments for the year at a glance will not only help with remembering them but with tax preparation come tax time.
3. Errands List – Save gas and time by combining trips. List all non-food items you need or places you need to go next time you’re out running errands. You can keep your grocery list in the kitchen for writing different food items down as you run out of them.
4. Miscellaneous – I use Google Drive for my Miscellaneous list and log anything from template email responses to info about my cell phone plan or credit card interest rates. This way, I can CTRL-F search for a keyword instead of pawing through loads of paper notes in my file cabinet each time I need to recall some helpful bit of info.
5. Monthly Action Items – For example, my reminder list separates things into even, odd, and every month sections and contains things like: cleaning procedure for my printer, contact lens care, running spyware cleaners on my PC, a reminder to tithe, submitting volunteer activity reports, certain car maintenance, etc.
6. Pending Mail – This lists everything you’ve ordered that has not yet arrived, what company it’s from, and the date you ordered it. Never go from memory if you’ve pre-paid and ordered something.
7. Tax Prep – This is a list of all the 1099s, statements, and W2s you’ll be waiting for before you can file your taxes…plus any various notes about things like your favorite H&R Block tax preparer’s name, minimums (for deciding about itemizing), bank routing and account numbers, and special roll-over amounts for next tax year.
8. Vacation Day Use – List how many vacation days your employer allows, including flex and floating days and holidays. Then you can decide how you’ll use them and probably track them better than your boss! Especially helpful come vacation planning time or year’s-end so you won’t lose any not yet taken.
9. Vendors – If you find a great plumber, mechanic, recording engineer, whatever, log their contact info. Then you can easily find them down the road when you need their services again or recommend them to someone else if asked for a referral.
10. Want List – Here, list things that you want to buy and their estimated costs. This will help you save for them instead of getting everything you want now and forking out dough for credit card or loan interest.
11. What’s In Your Wallet – This should list every credit card, ID card, discount card, etc. you keep in your wallet and the customer service numbers of your credit card companies. This way, you won’t have to go from memory replacing these items if your wallet is lost or stolen.
12. What’s On Loan – Anything you loan to someone, list it here. Scratch it off when they return it. Never forget who has what again!

What is your most important list?

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