Q: I was laid off from my job, and I don't know what to do. I have no creative talents to be able to work from home. Collecting unemployment is temporary and not enough to live on. I am open to all ideas except for going to school again.
A: Remember the childhood dreams, wants and activities that excited you. Don't limit it to only the activities, because every individual childhood is different. You may have wanted to play piano, but your parents nixed that idea. The things you wanted to do are more important than activities you did, because your parents may have chosen those activities. Did you love and listen to music? Did you watch certain types of TV shows? Look at what you loved doing. Did you prefer being active outside, running, bike riding and playing sports? Or were you content staying in to draw, paint or mold with Play-Doh? Did you like making doll clothes or play doctor with a friend who played the patient? Your creative mind enabled you to choose activities you loved. Even if your wishes were denied by your parents, those desires existed. Those are the memories to help rekindle creativity.
If you took a job solely to make money or went into a field chosen by your parents, now you have time to review your life choices and choose a more satisfying outcome. Now is the time to explore your buried talents so you can develop them and brand yourself.
Companies brand themselves and their products from the moment business begins. Companies and products represent certain lifestyles to attract certain buyers. Apple, Amazon, AT&T, Verizon, Ford, Chevrolet, Mercedes-Benz, McDonald's, Target, Facebook, Google, Geico, Progressive — the list of companies with well-known products and unique branding is endless. Celebrities, too, each have a brand (they are known for certain attributes) — Oprah, Jennifer Lopez, Lady Gaga, Dr. Phil, Steve Harvey, Steven Gundry and many more.
Locations also have their own images. Las Vegas is known for casinos and shows; Disney World is a well-known known family vacation resort; each National Park is known for its spectacular sites; many Florida cities are known for their beaches and warm weather. Branding helps people choose companies for jobs, products for use and locations for travel.
People besides celebrities can benefit from creating their own brand, especially if they want to focus on building new companies or attaining new jobs they love. The lesson here is that you should not think of yourself as a no-skill individual. A Walmart greeter may be known by friends and employer as warm, helpful, kind and friendly. He or she may be the only person that day who smiles at a person entering the store, brightening up that customer's day. Everyone has something meaningful to offer others. You may have never felt special or unique because you haven't searched for it in you. Now that you're jobless, it's time to get in touch with your buried gifts.
Laura Bull, author of "From Individual to Empire: A Guide to Building and Authentic and Powerful Brand" built a career with Sony Music Entertainment developing artists and marketing globally recognized brands. As a specialist now teaching individuals to brand themselves for success, she offers examples of highly successful brands, how branding is accomplished and exercises for individuals to discover the traits they bring to everything they do.
Branding doesn't just happen. If it does, the company or person may not like the results. There is a process to follow. Identify your strengths; identify your passion and level of grit; define your personalized version of success, your ultimate goal; write it out; practice. Everything that leads to good results takes time. Once you know what you're great at, what you stand for and want, what you bring to every job regardless of the exact work, you will be on the way to feeling more confident and accomplished. It's important to know what you bring to very endeavor so you can take pride in everything you do.
The Conference Board found 53% of Americans are unhappy at work. A CareerBuilder study found 58% of managers said they had no management training and were promoted because they were good at their specific jobs but not necessarily good with people. Between those who are miserable and those who are no longer confident in their jobs, now is the time to review all aspects of one's work life — establish goals, create a brand and ability resume, and market until a match is made.
Email career and life coach: [email protected] with your workplace problems and issues. Ms. Novak responds to all emails. For more information, visit www.lindseynovak.com, and for past columns, see www.creators.com/read/At-Work-Lindsey-Novak.
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