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Harriet Katz

It’s Chemistry

August 26th, 2008

Ever wonder why someone else got hired when your qualifications were as least as strong? Susan, Louise, and John recently wondered about it as well.  It’s not rocket science. But it is often under estimated. It’s not very difficult.

It’s chemistry. Chemistry accounts for 70% of hiring decisions. Chemistry continues to be the big driver once hired. Good chemistry comes from a good fit. Between you and your manager. Between you and the organization.  Good chemistry creates an ease. An  openness. Trust is established. You “get” each other. Communication comes naturally. Be aware and choose well:

  • Know your style, strengths and liabilities in dealing with people.
  • Take off your rose colored glasses when you are in job search mode. 
  • Listen to your gut. Notice how the person is with you. The appealing aspects. The things that make you uncomfortable.
  • Take the offer If you think you will flourish and grow. Don’t accept the offer if it negative. Makes you uncomfortable.
Remember, you will be spending most of your waking hours there. Make sure you want to be there. 

Quarter-Life Crisis

July 13th, 2008

In other words, what are you going to do over the next four to five decades to earn a living that is meaningful? I heard this question echo from twenty talented, motivated, and ambitious Gen Y’s this past week. It’s the never ending nagging question that shows up when considering a possible college major. Graduate school program. Or career path. It’s the question that ignites panic. Fear. And depression. Why does it trigger such scary feelings?

Because your answer may differ from your parents’ idea of what you should be doing. From your friends. Or from other important influencers who think you should be choosing something practical. Something that pays well. Provides status. You have friends following the straight and narrow. They know what they’re doing. Their certainty makes you feel inadequate. Ashamed of lacking the certainty they have. What makes it harder is you feel there is no room for a  mistake. Opportunity knocks once. Make a mistake now and you will be too old.  Too old for that graduate school. Too old to get on the right career track. 

Hold on! Read the rest of this entry »

#53 Mr. Employer Meet the Millennials

July 8th, 2008

Are today’s Baby Boomer-led workplaces really ready for Generation Y? We found one IT manager who is not only ready but excited about the vast potential many of these new 20-something workmates bring to corporate America. Music this episode includes Generation Y by Clint VanSchiver and It’s Your Lucky Day Now by AJ and The Frozen Tundra Blues Band.

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#52 Four things you must do in a really tough job market

June 30th, 2008

GenY and GenX, listen up. This show is for you. Whether you are looking for work in a struggling economy, or trying to move up when others around you are being downsized, here are four essential things you must do to stand out, get ahead and stay ahead of the competition. My guest is Sean Harvey, a NYC-based career development consultant whose clients are 20 and 30-something professionals. Music includes "It’s Your Lucky Day Now" by AJ and The Frozen Tundra Blues Band.

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#51 Mommy, why do I have three dads?

June 24th, 2008

Welcome to my very first premium episode of Ask Dr. Harriet. Today, we meet a woman who not only is one of the foremost experts on divorce and the growing phenomenon of the multiple step family, she and her husband also are part of a large blended family. Ann Ordway is a divorce lawyer in New Jersey specializing in couples mediation, communication and family counseling. The sometimes devastating ways in which divorce and re-marriage impact children is why Ann and husband Steve started Little Voices. In this episode we discuss how you know when divorce is the only alternative, and steps you can take now to prevent your relationship from reaching that point. We also delve into how divorce has evolved in society, and what that means for children growing up. Music heard on this show includes Wouldn’t It Be Nice, by the Beach Boys and It’s Your Lucky Day Now, by AJ and the Frozen Tundra Blues Band.

This episode is currently only available to Premium subscribers.

#50 Welcome Back

June 24th, 2008

Wait a minute, you haven’t been away, I have. And boy have I been busy creating a brand new series of shows aimed at providing you with the tools and techniques to help you thrive at this thing we call life!

Fittingly, we start with Life Coaching. What is it? How do you know you need one? Where can you find the best one for you? How does it work? What does it cost? Here are the straight answers to all your questions and more. I also hope you will sign up for my Premium podcast series were we will explore in-depth areas such as GenX-Y career development, divorce and step families, relationships and much more. Music heard on this show includes "Welcome Back" by John Sebastian.

This episode is currently only available to Premium subscribers.

Getting Ahead

June 17th, 2008

Harriet KatzMaybe it’s because of the political season. Maybe not. But I’ve been getting complaints about office politics, none-stop. They come from the young who are new to the world of work. Those who’ve been at the game a while, refer to office games as energy guzzlers. Retirees say it’s the thing they miss the least. Seems the only ones who get off on office games are the folks who spend the bulk of their time promoting themselves instead of doing the work. You can’t entirely ignore the games. But there is a better way to get ahead. 

In addition to performing really well, here are a few tips. 

  • Take the time to create your Career Plan. Think at least 5 - 10 years out. What kind of work would you like to be doing? At what level. What experience do you need to get there? What new skills? Knowledge? Consider opportunities in your organization. Identify possible outside opportunities. Power comes from unambiguous clarity of purpose.
  • Communicate clearly and frequently to important stakeholders about how well you are doing. Your importance and shelf life dwindle when communication ceases. Your stock goes up when you relay frequent, brief contacts about your accomplishments and progress. 
  • Take control.  You be the one to step up to the plate. Set the strategy. Take action. Always mind your manners. Bad behavior is usually a power play to intimidate. Don’t get caught in someone else’s game. At work there are no winners or losers. There are those who take control. And there are those who lose it.
There’s lots more to talk about. What lessons have you learned at work? What have you faced? Has it soured you? What did you do to get past it? 

Laura Don’t Bolt

June 6th, 2008

Harriet KatzLaura’s call was the fifth call I received in the past two weeks. She was hysterical. Just a little while ago she was thrilled. She finally met Larry after being alone for 17 years. Her last serious relationship was shortly after college. She adores him. He loves her. He is recently divorced. The fly in the ointment: he has three teenagers. All of them are angry. Scared. Demanding.

Larry feels guilty much of the time. It wasn’t only his idea to break up the family. His wife was fed up with him as well. He still wants to be a good father. He is loaded with guilt. He is always buying the kids presents. Running around with them. But not spending enough “quality time.” Laura has been feeling like the fifth wheel. An unwilling competitor. She is beginning to doubt if they will ever have a reasonable life together. Wondering if being single is better than getting on board this ship.

Laura, getting Larry involves the whole complicated package. But if you love each other, it can be worked out. Not overnight. It will likely be a long challenging process. You will need to deal with anger you don’t deserve. With the kids competing for Larry’s love and attention until everyone finds a comfortable place. It will require a lot of patience. Understanding. Persistence. It can work. It can also bring you and Larry closer. And possibly ultimately a close relationship with one of more of the kids. Have you been through a similar situation? What happened? What did you learn from it? What, if anything, would you do differently now?

Downsized, Moving On

May 28th, 2008

Harriet KatzThese past weeks I have found myself under an avalanche of layoffs. I have been working with fabulous professionals who have been “downsized.” Most recently, they have spanned the fashion, finance, and manufacturing industries. The headliners that initially overpower people are the amorphous mass otherwise known as the lack of structure during the day and the sudden plunge in confidence when you have lost your place.

About the amorphous mass, it’s true. Structure is incredibly helpful. It is what helps to provide you a place. Tells you where you need to be. Tells you who to call. It is the infrastructure that eases you through the day. Confidence plunges when you lose your place with the team. When you lose your connection with what you do. When you no longer get reinforced with a paycheck or camaraderie.

What can you do? Plenty. When you no longer have a daily place to go to, you must create your own structure. Do this by making appointments and blocking out time on your calendar to do research, to make calls to set up appointments, or to take breaks to run errands and renew yourself. To build confidence, reconnect with people who can and will support you through the process.

Have you been downsized? What have you found that works for you? How soon? Were there other options open to you that you could have taken at the time? What did you learn from it? What would you do differently today?

You’re Fired!

April 30th, 2008

Harriet KatzLately I’ve been getting calls from a lot of people who are out of work. None by choice. Some recognized signs the end might be coming. Others did not. Either way, most are hurt, angry, and feel betrayed. Picking up and moving on is down right hard.

The two biggest stumblers of moving on are: getting over what just happened and finding the confidence to run a smart job campaign. Getting over the trauma takes time. Time to digest. Time to recoup. Not time to escape. But a great time to rethink what you want to target. To connect and re-connect with people who can help you. And a time to further develop your presentation skills. Confidence comes from doing what you need to be doing and getting better and better as you do it. It’s not magic. These are real skills. All of them are learnable.

Everyone on this journey at some point feels down. What do you do when you feel hopeless? When your confidence slips? When you resent what life dished up? Do you have people who lift your spirits when they are down?