This article is a blog post

Military Spouses Face Extra Hurdles as Licensed Professionals

When you’re a military spouse who relocates with your service member, you may face some job search challenges. But, when you’re a military spouse who relocates, and is a licensed professional and wants to maintain that license so you can get a new job too, there is a whole different set of challenges.

Since military spouses frequently relocate, they are encouraged to find portable careers.

“Yet, many of the most portable jobs come with a catch: You need to be state-certified to work in the field, and for many spouses, that’s an ongoing nightmare,” said Barb Poole, career strategist and writer at hireimaging.com. “The Defense Department has taken notice of the issue, and its state liaison office has begun working with state legislatures to enact laws to at least lower the hurdles military families face when moving to a new state,” she added. “Unfortunately, to date, not all states have passed favorable military spouse credentialing legislation.”

Be ready to take on the load of researching the licensure or certification requirements for your new state. And, be forewarned, depending on your field, that can potentially mean lots of time and money. Take lawyers, for example.

“Relocating lawyers may have to take the State Bar Exam – again,” said Jim Wojtak, senior career coach at Impact Career Group (impactgrouphr.com). Usually that means lots of study time.  And, maybe the exam is only offered once or twice a year. This could cost $1,000 to $2,000 and you have to wait months for the results,” he added. “So, now you are in limbo.”

This can seem a little extreme, but it happens. Other situations you may be faced with are: a license not being required in one state, but required in another. Or, the licensing requirements could be different and sometimes feel trivial.

“I remember a teacher who moved and was required to take a state government course on her new state and another who moved to a different state and had to take a state ethics course,” Wojtak said.

Maybe these aren’t huge hurdles, but they are hurdles, none-the-less. And, if you aren’t expecting them, they can delay your entry into the new job market.

Poole and Wojtak suggest the following ways to potentially save a boatload of time, money and aggravation.

“Contact your state licensing board as soon as you know of the move, to inquire about their licensing process,” Poole said. “Ask if they recognize a license from another state (also known as having reciprocity), offer a temporary license or expedited review process.”

Often, these situations may only require small licensing fees, fingerprinting fees or a review of your credentials, so they definitely save time and money.

“Explore your career field to find out if there are jobs that require the experience, but not the license,” Wojtak said. For example, if you are a licensed attorney in one state you may be able to teach a law course at a community college in another state and not need a license for that.”

“Get involved in professional associations through in-person or on-line (LinkedIn Groups etc.) to stay connected with those who have your similar credentials, and often relocation stories,” Poole said. “Find out how others have kept their cost down, any strategies they’ve used that made the processes a bit more seamless.”

Although professional associations do not license or certify professionals, they will be up-to-date on issues with doing so, making them a great first contact, Wojtak said..

“Find out if your career has a national board certification, like the National Board for Teaching Standards” Wojtak said. “You may be surprised at the advantages beyond easily transferring your credentials. If you are a nationally board-certified teacher, school districts may have incentives such as reimbursement for certification costs and annual bonuses,” he added. “In some states, they even seek out teachers with this credential.”

“Many employers (including the military) offer spouses relocation services,” said Poole. “Investigate what might be available to you; and whether it encompasses licensing and credential assistance.”

Some employers also help with job search and career counseling.

“Find out whether you can get tax deductions for any of your work-related educational expenses that either the law or your employer requires, in order for you to keep your job,” Wojtak said.

Visit these web sites for additional information and resources:

Department of Labor License Finder: http://www.careeronestop.org/FindTraining/Types/do-you-need-a-license.aspx

Department of Labor Certification Finder: http://www.careeronestop.org/FindTraining/Types/certifications.aspx?&frd=true

Department of Defense and State Partenerships for state licensing and career credentials initiative: USA4MilitaryFamilies

My Career Advancement Account: grants to pursue licenses, certifications, etc. https://aiportal.acc.af.mil/mycaa

Taming PMS and PMDD Symptoms

By Christine Cioppa

For some women, premenstrual symptoms get in the way of studies, classes and work. Interpersonal skills seem to get hijacked, making social interaction a risk for strained relations. Fatigue sets in and mood swings are rampant.

According to the National Association for Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, up to 80 percent of women have Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) that causes emotional or physical symptoms before menstruation. The more serious form, Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) occurs in up to 8 percent of women. Five million women have PMDD in the United States.

Seven to 10 days before menstruation begins, certain physiological changes take place that, for some, result in irritability, anger, sadness, anxiety, alternating with happiness and being just fine.

“PMDD and PMS are technically separate conditions. PMDD is an actual psychiatric diagnosis included in our official diagnostic book, the DSM-5, under mood disorders,” said Kenneth Trevino, Ph.D., a licensed clinical psychologist, and co-author of an article in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice that reviews the treatments for PMS and PMDD.

People with PMS may have one symptom or a few symptoms that impair their life; people with PMDD have at least five symptoms in a certain combination. Symptoms, noted in Trevino’s study, include many that can directly affect someone’s ability to work and attend classes: 

  • Decreased interest in usual activities (including school, work, friends, hobbies)
  • Subjective difficulty in concentration
  • Lethargy, easy fatigability, or marked lack of energy
  • Marked irritability or anger or increased interpersonal conflicts
  • A sense of being overwhelmed or out of control
  • Marked depressed mood, feelings of hopelessness or self-depreciating thoughts

The good news is that there are treatment options. Besides drug therapy, there are some natural ways to try to curb symptoms. Always consult with a doctor before taking new supplements, especially those in combination with other supplements or drugs.

Of these, calcium was rated highest in efficacy after certain FDA-approved drug treatments. Vitamin E and Chaste Tree Extract were ranked as possibly effective. Vitamin B6 and Magnesium show limited evidence of efficacy, which means they are more effective than treatments ranked “not effective.” More studies are needed to determine how effective these treatments are for PMS and PMDD. 

Unlike drugs used to treat PMDD, such as SSRIs and certain oral contraceptives, supplements are not FDA approved as a treatment for PMS or PMDD. However, Trevino said some of these treatments might be worth a try.

Trevino also suggested avoiding caffeine and alcohol during the seven to 10 days when symptoms appear, because these things can exacerbate issues with moodiness. Exercise can be helpful, especially with concentration issues.

If you think you may have PMDD or PMS, or are experiencing any symptoms that are impairing or negatively impacting your life, talk to your doctor. Trevino said a medical center or doctor can help students determine if what they are feeling is typical, like stress from an exam, or something more serious.

“PMDD is a real condition. There is no need for one to suffer, especially when there are treatment options,” Trevino said.

New Plan, Now, Forming the Structure

By Amy Nielsen

I have discovered my personal Tabula Rosa, my Rosetta stone, my thesaurus.

Let me explain. I was lucky enough to go to a weekend-long immersion conference for healing arts. While listening to several different teachers, I discovered a way to relate to my specific chronic illness that makes so much sense to me it’s like someone opened a lock. Literally, it feels like a door inside my head opened up. It was just a simple drawing. But it was the key.

I have a very specific path I want to take for my own healing. I know this is going to take a lot of personal work. In order to do that I need to be able to travel to the teachers and healers I need to see to do the work and learn the lessons myself. From there, I want to share what I learn in the way I know it with other people so they are able to start to have the door opened for them too.

I have a very specific kind of theory I want to teach. I know also that I want my job to involve travel. I have decided on my target clientele. I know where they live and what their median income is. I know what their level of disposable income is and how they prefer to spend it. I know how they best like to be targeted for shopping in a way that fits the needs of my teaching style. I know how to tailor my classes, workshops and client sessions to fit well within that community. I lived it. I am that demographic. Using this clientele helps me more easily be in the places I need to be to see the healers I need while still working and teaching along the way.

The material I want to teach lends itself well to a structure based on 8, which makes daily planning a snap. A full workshop day usually runs eight hours: seven hours of teaching time, two fifteen minutes breaks, and one half hour lunch; assuming you can provide lunch or it is easily accessible. I can easily break classes over two days and condense them by allowing for more discussion time and exercises..

I have a tiered approach in mind for the class structure. I know right now I can comfortably lead local herb walks and teach classes on kitchen herbalism. I also know I can teach a myriad of fermenting and kitchen-based classes. I can lead kids and adults of mixed gender for this level of class. Within that structure I can layer the overarching topic of my Tabula Rosa: the what, how, and why these ingredients are important in this structure of healing.

I also know that within the next six months or so I will feel confident enough in my own journey to be able to work up the next level of lecture style class, where I can get a bit more in depth into the actual structure of healing and how to see it working in your own body. I am not the healer, you are. I am sharing my healing path with you and learning from you just as much as you are learning from me. That’s how teaching works. As I increase my knowledge and complete the classes I am currently working through, I will have more structure to move forward from. I will have more material to teach.

 It is my hope that in the future as I get farther along in my personal journey, people will fall into my space for mentoring.


I will not specifically be a teacher, though the relationship can start off in that formal setting. I want to be someone more than that, someone who is more than friend, someone who primarily teaches but also learns. The mentee - must find a different word for that - is accomplished at their own level of expertise in a different area of a similar art and is looking to expand their knowledge into another area with more formal study with a practioner of a similar lever of skill to theirs. The mentee needs less beginner work and can have a faster learning curve as they can draw from similar experience in their own craft or art.

This relationship can work in a more formal setting as with a master and apprentice relationship, or less formal in a personal coaching relationship. Not only am I looking to find other mentor relationships and teachers to follow for my own journey, I am also looking for people to mentor so they can share this with other people. The whole purpose of this is to help other people by teaching them this system to help themselves and then passing that along to other people.

Each of these levels teach the same principles, just at different depths and energetic levels. I feel like I have a good structure to teach from and to do the actual work of the business from. I know who I want to work with and why. I know how I can help them deal with our specific set of stressors and circumstances in such a way as to make their lives easier. I also know that my personal journey will inform my business journey and vice versa. As I learn more, I can teach more. As my light grows I can illuminate more.

Upcoming Military Spouse Only Job Fairs

Your kids are back to school. Isn’t it time for you to head back to work?

Every month the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation hosts job fairs across the nation for military members and spouses. No id card, no entry.

This means employers are there to hire you. They know you will eventually move again. They know you’ve had four addresses in six years. They also know that as a military spouse you have developed strong workplace skills.

And they want you.

So, dust off that resume, pick out your most professional outfit and register at the websites below. Your next great job is waiting. Isn’t it time you go find it?

 

Sept. 16

Tampa, Fla.

https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/tampa-hiring-fair-0

 

Arlington, Texas

https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/arlington-hiring-expo-texas-rangers-1

 

Sept. 22

Rochester, N.Y.

https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/rochester-hiring-fair

 

Nellis AFB,  Nev.

https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/nellis-air-force-base-military-spouse-hiring-fair-0

 

Newport, R.I.

https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/newport-military-spouse-workshop

 

Sept. 26

Philadelphia, Pa.

https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/philadelphia-hiring-fair-0

 

Oct. 6

Dublin, Calif.

https://www.uschamberfoundation.org/event/camp-parks-hiring-fair

Incubating my Business Plan

By Amy Nielsen

I had signed up for this retreat almost eight months ago. In fact, I signed up for it with the intention of using it as a launching pad for the first part of my health and wellness mentoring journey. I was really looking forward to the experience. It centered on a topic dear to my heart, was taught by and shared with some exceptional women in a location I love deeply.

Though I had never been to this particular conference before I have been to several of its ilk and was interested to see how this version incorporated the elements of several parts of my life that I feel are somewhat separated.

This was a “nodule on the web” sort of event for me. An event where several different parts of my personal web intersect in an interesting way; where people will know me in a different way than they have before. Many of the women I knew would be at this retreat would possibly have heard of my recent adventures through the lenses of mutual friends and acquaintances.

I have spent the last four months working very hard on a new business plan, but not one related to health and wellness mentoring at all. This was not a retreat or conference I would have attended in support of the food truck business I was creating. It would be fun side knowledge to share, but not the crux of the business. But, I cued the business strategy book up on the Kindle and away I went.

I felt a little like I was going through a worm hole as I travelled up the eastern edge of New York state and across into Vermont. All areas of the country I know well, but that I have not travelled through in many, many years. As I went over the top of one of those glorious Vermont peaks, my break light came on and Casper, my white SUV, started to grind.

“Aw, crud” or some such escaped my mouth.

I played the “just how much does Murphy hate me today” game all the way across Vermont and half way through New Hampshire to the camp. Lucky me, I had started early in the day, as I intended to take my time across one of the most spectacular drives in the country. I arrived at the conference, parked my car, unloaded my stuff, called my home office, i.e. my husband to find a place to get the breaks done on Monday as well as a place to stay over on Sunday night, and by the way, has him ask Nana to stay an extra day. Please! And I let it go out to the universe.

I was planning to work on the overall topic of the conference since it was no longer applicable to my business plan. I was expecting to work on a very physical level with some alternative treatments for my personal health and wellness. It was that kind of retreat. Only women. So I brought the work for that school, my homework, a book on the topic I am working my way through and even a journal I keep meaning to start.

Once I got settled into the weekend and met up with the friends, I got into the groove of the space. I had several of those moments in class where I heard not only something healing to me but something I wanted to pass along to a specific person in my greater tribe.

I started to hear how I introduced myself to people and how I described myself, what I do. Because, I don’t “do” anything right now. I’m a SAHM searching for what I want to do when I grow up. What I heard myself saying in that space of great grace and great power was not the business I had spent the last four months trying to shove into my life, but what I had been incubating when I signed up for the conference in the first place all those long months ago.

I began to take that information and look at it. I talked it out with some of the women I found myself in regular contact with throughout the weekend as we ebbed and flowed through the classes. I began to look around and see who does what and what the options are out there. I started to “try on” other identities to see if that job title, or skill fit my being. I touched in with some deep understandings of where my core is situated right now; what my current strengths are and what the weaknesses are. How to use those and learn and support others through my own personal journey.

And I realized that while I love the idea of a food truck, it’s not what I am supposed to be doing right now. Never once did I even mention the café to anyone who didn’t already know I was working on it as a plan. It never occurred to me to do so.

Instead, I found the most strength and felt the most need is in supporting our military spouses on the journey through the deployment cycle, daily life of a military spouse and the transition into the civilian world.

I can support our community on a large scale at duty stations around the country through workshops and classes. I also want to mentor individual clients on their path to health and wellness as they move around the country. It is exceptionally hard to keep up with alternative treatments when you move as often as a military family does.

If I can be a bridge to link them to care options around the country I believe people will be more likely to continue practices that will support them through the incredibly stressful life we live. By teaching classes in alternative stress management techniques that can travel with a family I believe families will be better equipped to deal with the inevitable hardships.

By the middle of the weekend I was wishing I had brought the business books I intentionally left at home. I wanted to write out my new plan. I wanted to sketch out the logo design. I wanted to write client intake forms. I wanted to start my list of conferences to offer. I wanted to be doing the doing of the business. But the Great Mother in her way said, “Wait child, let it grow. You have more learning to do within you yet before you teach others.”

It was fire circle night. If you have never been to a live fire circle, it could be you and a friend and a guitar and a candle or it could be a bonfire in the corn field with the truck radio, or the wild women in the wild horse ring singing our power, but go to one. Be part of one. It will transform you. And it transformed me as it always does.

By Sunday at closing I was feeling the stress of different meals, different water, high energy and deep learning. My voice was shot, my belly was starting to get unhappy and I had to figure out the car. Yep, remember Casper with no breaks and a five-hour drive back across New Hampshire and Vermont? Yep.

So I said my good byes and trundled down to the brake shop, back up to the hotel, then back in the morning to get the car and away to home. That extra night to get the breaks done turned out to be the space between my learning and my knowing. I needed the space to process what I went through before facing my family with a new plan.

The space to incubate your ideas on a deep cellular level, in the energy of your being. The time to let the idea flow out and through you. To really believe it will happen so much so that you delve deeply into the the pulse of the business is crucial to determining if that business is really the right one for you to start. It is a gift you can give yourself and your business that will be the make or break for it.

I thought I knew what I wanted to do. I made a business plan, created a name, even designed the wagon to carry it. I went to meetings with small business advocacy people. They asked me all sorts of very challenging and opening questions about exactly what that business would look like, and feel like.

I took those questions with me as I went away for the weekend to a retreat. I ended up with a totally different plan but one that is much more suited to me and what I have to learn and to give. Without the space and time to work to be open enough to hear that voice, I would have kept trying to shove my spirit into the wrong bottle. Take the time to incubate your business plan. It is the most important part of the planning process.

The Grief of Miscarriage

By Christine Cioppa

 

“Maybe your baby is watching over you now,” consoled a family member.

 I thought I had a reason to be confident about my last pregnancy. A heartbeat, however faint, was picked up at 6.5 weeks. I was elated.

But at my doctor’s visit at 9.5 weeks, the doctor paused and was unusually silent. His assistant stared on, with a stone-like face. With some prodding about what he saw, he finally confessed I lost the baby. I thought for sure the little sack I saw above his head on the monitor had a tiny fetus moving in it, but he shrunk down the image quickly before I could really assess the situation. 

“Are you sure there’s no heartbeat?” I stammered once, twice, and then three times. “Yes,” he apologetically confessed. I looked back at the doctor, just stunned.

Then suddenly a swoosh of grief overcame me. Fighting an explosion of tears, I pressed my fingers tightly over my eyes, as if to poke the tears back in them. I did not want to see their apologetic faces or have them witness the outpouring of my grief.

After his condolences, the doctor told me to meet him in his office, when I was ready. There he encouraged me to try again and walked me through the different fertility options, should I need them.

Later I learned that miscarriage is common. It’s a secret many women hold on to, until another woman joins the club. Only then is the secret revealed by some. I couldn’t believe how many people told me about their own miscarriages once I admitted mine. Research shows that 10 to 25 percent of “clinically recognized” pregnancies end in miscarriage. It is way more common than I thought.

The doctor told me what to expect physically, but not emotionally. He didn’t direct me to the March of Dimes website for info on loss and grief. Or to the American Pregnancy Association’s web page on emotional healing after miscarriage. Some women, like myself, are left to muddle through the emotions on their own and figure it out.

When miscarriage strikes during a military deployment, the aftermath can feel devastating.

 “Things happen for a reason,” people rationalize. I know it is really difficult for people to find the right words when someone is experiencing grief, so I tried to take those words in the best possible way. I don’t believe there was a “reason” for it.

A friend shared that if it wasn’t for her miscarriage, she wouldn’t have the daughter she has now …  and she couldn’t imagine life without her. She conceived within a few months of her last miscarriage. But month after month passed without another double pink line on a pregnancy test. There was no silver lining for me within the first few months after miscarriage.

 

Many say it is for the best if the baby would not have been healthy. Though, who is to say what is best? Maybe health could have returned or maybe a good life still could have been experienced and lived.

What was comforting for me was when someone told me that not everyone handles “grief” the same way, and that it is okay!

Some suffer in silence with their secret. I had told the world I miscarried. I vented not for sympathy so much but just to vent it again, as if doing so could ease the pain.

In my grief, though, humor has not served me well. When I joke to people that maybe my toddler was created from my last “good egg,” I’m met with puzzled stares or that deafening phone silence. I let my laugher trial off awkwardly, not understanding the disconnect. 

Everyone handles grief in their own way, I remind myself. 

There is a community of women doing it every day, managing their own grief over miscarriage. When we share our experiences, though, with each other, we move an inch further through the grief.  

If you have suffered a miscarriage and are looking for help, please visit:

Healing physically after miscarriage: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-loss/physical-recovery-after-miscarriage/

 

Healing emotionally after miscarriage: http://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-loss/miscarriage-surviving-emotionally/

National Companies Hiring Military Spouses

PCS is over. The boxes are unpacked. The kids are on their way to a new school.

You are still searching for a job.

If you have dropped a resume at every local employer you can find, try visiting some lesser known, and some well-known, national companies.

The editors at Military.com have comprised a list of national companies that are committed to hiring military spouses. Most of these organizations have locations in every state, cover every field imaginable and need part-time and full-time employees.

Their list includes hundreds of employers who want the skills and dedication that military spouses can bring to their company.

Check out the full list at http://www.military.com/spouse/career-advancement/military-spouse-jobs/military-spouse-friendly-employers.html

Grab a cup of coffee and have your resume up and ready to send. Your next career may be waiting!

Daydreams and Time Management

By Amy Nielsen

I feel a bit like a magpie with a shiny new button to examine. The last month of travel has opened my eyes to possibilities that I never felt I had the chops to pursue.

The most important lesson I learned is that I am totally capable, even in my rusted state, of running any kitchen anywhere as a chef with no real help coming from any side other than my own backside. I felt powerful. Large and in charge. Within myself fully. And it felt great.

Three days ago I found the exact truck I want to buy. It’s located in San Antonio and is perfect. Not too big for me to run solo, but not too small that I couldn’t run a big show with one or two helpers on board; outfitted with beautiful reach-in coolers for the salads and a delightful area set up with baskets for fresh fruits and veggies. It has a place for self-serve beverages from an old fashioned soda jerk handle. I wouldn’t even have to rip out the offending fryer that seems to be standard equipment in every truck I have looked at so far.

I cannot get my budding food truck business out of my head. So much so that I doodled the adwrap for it while waiting for my kids to get out of the tub last night.

The truck will be really pretty and feminine with a touch of steampunk flare. I need to find a different font though. The one I used is too fussy to read from a good distance away. I was supposed to be doing was the dishes. Or the laundry. Or perhaps washing my kid’s hair. But instead I was doodling little café tables and streetlamps with a sweet little floral border and a big wheel bicycle on the back.

I did finish the dishes, but the girls washed their own hair, or more closely smeared soap on each other’s heads, then took themselves up to bed. I think.

While listening to my class lecture this week I was making up recipes from the ingredients my teacher had on the stage.  I was supposed to be learning about the proper vegetable fruit additive ratio for optimal nutrient density in smoothies. Instead, I was wondering, if I take the cucumbers, mint and the avocado, could I can make a beautiful cool summer soup!

Smoothie, cold soup. Tomato, tomahto. Wait, was that three or four to one with the proteins?

I have a bunch of work I have to do for other people. Projects I promised and projects I want to do. And a project still sitting on the cutting table yet to be sewn together. But I cannot seem to wrap my head around a single task that doesn’t involve growing my business and working toward that blasted truck. The fabric I have to cut for the under tunic would make lovely little café curtains to frame the service window.

Truck or trailer? If I get a truck I can run it around the country easily with a helper. But I can’t take my family on the road without towing a camper. If I get a trailer I can drop it and run more easily with a truck to the store. But a truck and trailer are twice as expensive as a truck alone. Mac and cheese for dinner, need to get the water boiling.

We went to our county summer fair today. I went to every food truck and trailer to see what they had inside. How they operated. What the food looked like coming out and what the menu options were.

My kids have never eaten so much junk in their lives. I fear for my sanity when all of the sugar and chemicals hit their central nervous systems just about bedtime tonight. But they tolerated my insanity until the magician show started, then all bets were off. I learned a lot of great information. Especially that carnival food sells at carnivals and real food doesn't.

I planned into our September vacation to not one, but two food truck festivals yesterday as bookends to our month with Nana. They are near enough to our vacation spot for me to visit both. I hope to learn more about the organizing company as they do festivals nationwide. We are going to eat well those days for sure! It’s too hot and sandy at the beach anyway, right?

What I should be doing is working on packing for the conference I am going to next week. A conference I chose when I had a totally different plan in mind. A conference that is still relevant to my schooling, but not so relevant to owning a food truck. It is something I am still highly interested in, but now it feels like I have to figure out how to incorporate those teachings into my new plan. Maybe it will spark a different idea for the truck. Maybe I will find a business partner who wants to do the truck with me.

How do I incorporate the schooling I am currently doing? This truck thing is a total left turn from where I was going with my health and wellness mentoring.  Is there a way to have my clients be less local and more regional, working long distance with them and visiting when there is a food festival near them? Are the two businesses too different to operate concurrently? Not as the same business but two sides of the same concept. Health and wellness mentoring and a healthy fresh food truck.

I am meeting with a small business advisor next week to discuss possible options for resources, funding with loans and grants, and start up mentoring. I would like to have at least an idea of what I want to start as a business when I talk to them. At this point that means deciding on the model. Both have plusses and minuses for me, my family and my career.

Is Striving for Perfection Healthy?

By Christine Cioppa

Are you a perfectionist? Whether it’s with goals for classes, sports, or something else, you’re probably a perfectionist if you:

  • Dread failure and mope about it.
  • Feel unsatisfied with “less than perfect” results.
  • Get defensive when people offer criticism.
  • Believe mistakes make you incompetent or not worth much.
  • Set standards so high, they are almost unachievable.

Universities such as Vanderbilt, University of Texas and University of San Diego promote an understanding of what is healthy “striving” versus perfectionism. What is known is that perfectionists aren’t necessarily more successful. Perfectionists sometimes spend too much time wrapped up in small details, throwing off good time management.

GoodTherapy.org points out a few other perfectionist traits, including:

  • Focusing on the end product rather than the process of learning.
  • Having difficulty being happy for others who are successful.
  • Believing that anything less than a perfect or ideal outcome is not worth achieving.

Unfortunately, this unrelenting type of striving can also cause anxiety, depression, burnout, and stress, which can be counterproductive.

If you’re not a surgeon, and you don’t build engines or mechanical equipment for airplanes—things that actually could cause fatalities if errors are made—you may be able to take a little pressure off yourself.

In our everyday lives, how can we strive in the most healthful way to propel us toward success and into greatness? The University of Texas at Austin Counseling and Mental Health Center suggests that healthy striving (versus perfectionism) is:

  • Setting high standards that are within reach.
  • Enjoying the process of the work, not just the desired outcome.
  • Getting past failure and disappointment fairly quickly.
  • Having control of anxiety and fear in the face of failure.
  • Being receptive to constructive criticism.
  • Looking at failure as an opportunity to grow and learn.

Are you being too serious about your goals? At Vanderbilt’s Health and Wellness website, Chad Buck, PhD, says, “Mistakes, problems, unexpected detours, and changing schedules are not necessarily the end of the world. Sometimes we actually do learn from mistakes. The goal is not to just laugh it off or to make fun of perfectionism. It is to give yourself a break and let life teach you something instead of just trying to control it.”

Are you a perfectionist? Take the Perfectionism Test from Psychology Today. Find it at:

http://psychologytoday.tests.psychtests.com/take_test.php?idRegTest=3262

This 46 question quiz takes about 10 to 20 minutes. You’ll get a summary of your perfectionist “strengths,” “potential strengths” and “limitations.” You can also opt for a more in-depth report.

Ease the Stress by Creating a Checklist

Take the stress out of making things perfect by creating a thorough checklist.

Doctors use checklists, as do pilots. A paper in an issue of BMJ Quality & Safety in 2015 discusses how checklists in medicine can help assure quality and safety just as it has for the aviation industry for more than 70 years.

If there’s something you need to ensure the quality of (say a research paper or thesis), maybe there are checklists already available. If not, maybe you can create your own. Checklists help you isolate areas of concern so you can double check quality and accuracy.

Talent Communities: Become an Insider Before You Get Hired

If you're a savvy job hunter who knows that 80 percent of job vacancies are filled through networking before they ever "hit the street" then you are probably already networking through family, friends, professional associations, college alumni, volunteering and social media. But, are you tapping into talent communities? If not, start now. In a few minutes you could be directly connected to an employer whose team you've been dying to join.

 

Companies with large recruiting budgets are building online forums, known as talent communities, to engage with potential candidates long before trying to hire them. They can be found in the careers sections of companies websites. You can sign up using a social media account or by providing basic contact information, share a little about yourself and the types of jobs you have your eye on and that's it! You will have opened yourself to a whole new level of networking.

 

Take for example, Zappos, a company that invites you to become an Insider in just a few clicks. Zappos considers its talent community the best way for you and them to get to know each other and touts the Zappos Insider (Jobs.jobvite.com/zappos/p/inside) as "a special membership for people who want to stay in touch with us, learn more about our fun, zany culture, know what's happening at our company, get special inside perspectives and receive team specific updates from areas are most interested in."

 

Marriott International calls its talent community hospitalityonline and has a Facebook page (@marriottjobsandcareers) where you can meet the talent community crew who are the official voices of Marriott International who are here to converse with you on social media channels.

 

Recruiting approaches like these obviously benefit the employers, but don't take lightly the fact that they can also push you way ahead of your job market competition. Imagine this:

 

-    Instead of trying to dig up information about what's going on in a company, the information will literally come to you.

-    Instead of getting emails blasts about anything and everything, you decide what types of alerts you want to receive, like those about products and services, business happenings and affiliations with local community organizations.

-    Instead of reading generic FAQs and marketing material, opt to attend company-specific webinars, chats and other online events that enable you to interact with recruiters, current employees and past employees who want you to ask burning questions and who will give you answers.

-    Instead of reading through countless job boards and applying for everything, find out only about jobs for which you are best suited before they are announced to the general public, which narrows down the field of competition and that's the whole point, right?

Once you have gotten to know the company and employees, and become known to them, use all the insight you've gleaned from the experience to present the best picture of how you are a match for that company. Tailor your resume, application and cover letter, and do mock interviews to practice showing how well-informed you are when the right job comes around. Not only might you find yourself on the short list of candidates, but you may soon find yourself on the other side of that very same talent community, providing a leg up to others. Recruiters are going out of their way to find YOU. Be found!

 

After all, as the saying goes, "If you stay ready, you never have to get ready."

Pages

$6,000 SCHOLARSHIP
For Military Spouses
Apply for the Salute to Spouses scholarship today and begin your education! You’ll be on the way to your dream career.

© 2013 SALUTE TO SPOUSES ALL RIGHTS RESERVED