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Getting Smart About Professional Development

By: Victoria L. Rayner
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

Do you feel your current place of employment no longer is suitable for career advancement? Do you believe that you are underpaid and undercompensated? Use the following information to help you recognize the value of your skills and increase your true earnings, as well as to give you ideas about creating greater career options for yourself in the future.

The final straw

Making drastic life changes—especially those that affect finances—tends to create a deep sense of anxiety in most people. For the majority of the work force, disagreeable as a job may be, it still supplies a paycheck. Unfortunately, this reality is what usually prevents most people from pursuing better opportunities. When employees complain about their work difficulties, they often explain their dissatisfaction by stating that they thought they were offered a great proposition when they were hired initially, but soon realized that the job wasn’t so impressive after all.

Rather than seek employment elsewhere, they choose to wait, hoping that they might be given an increase in salary, a promotion or a bonus that would further compensate them. In some cases, employees become resigned to a stagnant work environment and are pacified for the time being. This inaction can turn into months and—for some—even years. However, a sudden situation may occur that results in some serious soul-searching.

Understand restrictive covenants

Commonly, people only make career changes when they can’t bear their current work situation any longer. After making the decision to look elsewhere, employees often tell close friends and family that they intend to seek new employment. In some cases, this proclamation may upset those who remain in less-than-ideal positions. In fact, more often than not, many people who try to leave their dead-end jobs are made to question if they really can do better for themselves. This is because when people decide to make lateral career moves, it sometimes makes others wonder if there isn’t something bigger out there for them as well, eliciting jealousy and envy. Typically, career advancement exposes many individuals to social and professional resentment.

Avoid hindering advancement

Once you have committed to moving on, you should become aware of your most unique professional attributes. Identify your marketing position before promoting yourself to potential employers. The value you place on yourself will influence your job expectations and can encourage or discourage you from trying to obtain prime positions. Paint a picture of yourself that will inspire confidence. Your perceptions about your true worth will dominate every action you take in your job search. If your thoughts about your professional self are negative, you may sabotage your well-intentioned efforts. In addition, a low opinion of your skills, knowledge and personality traits also may carry over into interviews and negatively affect the outcome.

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