Surviving a CareerApocalypse


This is a presentation I gave during our Spirit Week here at CC.

A career-apocalypse is coming soon for all of you! You will have to decide what you’re going to do to survive! You have 2 options- be a career zombie or a career robot. What does this mean? Today we will discuss how to succeed in the workforce by knowing yourself, your audience, using your strengths, talents, abilities, and goals, and networking. My goal is for all of you to be prepared to not only survive but thrive in the workforce.

Let’s discuss the characteristics of robots and zombies. Robots are engaged in their work, zombies not so much. Robots like Wall-E, Optimus Prime, and Rosie the Robot can be caring and express feelings. They are also task and detail oriented, good at manual labor, loyal, resourceful, and intelligent.  Zombies on the other hand unlike R from Warm Bodies are slow moving, not engaged in their work, are loners, non- communicative, can be aggressive, and are hard to get rid of.  In the world of work, you want to be seen as a robot and not a zombie.

To do this you must first know yourself and know your audience. Who are you? What do you feel your purpose is? What do you enjoy doing? What do you want to get out of your career?   You can also ask yourself what are your values or what do you value? Is it money, prestige, time with the ones you love, making a difference? Once you know these things you can move forward. You must also know your audience. What type of audience do you want to serve? Is it people, animals, a specific demographic such as the elderly or youth? You must be able to reach your audience at all times, remembering that the audience can change or remain the same. When you are applying for a job, the company or organization you are applying to is your audience.  If you are a doctor, your audience is your patients, if you’re a lawyer, it’s your clients, your audience is whoever you are serving.  In a work situation that can include supervisors, coworkers, and the public that come into your company. Knowing how to communicate with your audience is vital- you may learn that your supervisor prefers to communicate by email, while your coworkers prefer face to face contact.  Pay attention to your audience as well as listening to themIn his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell discusses a study about physicians and time spent with their patients. The study found that physicians who spent just 3 extra minutes listening to their patients were sued less for malpractice-just 3 minutes. Listen to your audience. I promise you that if you will pay attention and listen to your audience, you will win them over every time.

To be engaged at work, you need to be using your S.T.A.G.- strengths, talents, abilities, and goals. This will help you to be more productive and happy.   Think of your dream job, will you be using your S.T.A.G. or not? If you aren’t sure what you want to do, think of what you wrote down and brainstorm on some jobs that would be a good fit.

Although zombies travel in packs, they are still considered loners.  Being a loner won’t help you at work. This doesn’t mean you have to be  best friends with everyone at work, but you do have to interact with them.  You can be polite and professional. It’s important to know the company culture.  You need to learn how to network In and outside of work. You need people to help you survive this career-apocalypse. Think of T.V. shows like Under the Dome, Lost, The Walking Dead and movies such as Hunger Games and Divergent. All these movies have certain characters- the hero, the hero’s significant other, the villain, the frenemy, and the loose cannon.  The ironic thing is that they all serve a purpose. At some point, you will need them or vice versa. This is how networking is. In order to progress in your career or even change careers, you will need to have a rapport or relationship with others. It’s not difficult, you meet someone, ask them about themselves, listen, and respond. You have a conversation, it can be awkward but it can be done. You never know who you will meet and how they can help you or you can help them in the future. I’m not saying to talk to people simply to get something from them or to get used, but when you can genuinely help someone it feels good. What you really want from networking is to build relationships.

I  don’t if the robots or zombies will win at Ludy Bowl this weekend, but I know to win a work, you need to be a career robot and not a career zombie. You want to always be engaged in your work and not just going through the motions.  All of you can do great things if you will apply what we have discussed today in the workforce.


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