Posts Tagged ‘success’

Overeducated and Underemployed?

February 20, 2013 Leave a comment

you-can-never-be-overdressed3There has been a lot of coverage recently of the high youth unemployment rates in Canada.  The national unemployment rate is 7.2% while the youth unemployment rate is 14%.  If these statistics have not scared you enough, what about the $23.1 billion in lost wages that Canadian youth will experience over the next 18 years? (According to a TD Economics report)  To make it even worse Martin Schwerdtfeger, senior economist with TD writes that “being unemployed at a young age can have a long-lasting impact on an individual`s career prospects.”

I read, hear, and watch these media reports and understand exactly why students are flooding into my office looking horrified about their future prospects.  I see why the anxiety, stress, and depression levels are high in this population.  Not only do we live with the constant threat of impending doom from terrorists and swine flu’s but, to top it all off, the current generation are going to spend thousands of dollars on an education and will end up unemployed or underemployed and broke.

If we send young people out into the world of work with expectations of disaster that is exactly what they will get.  I prefer a less defeatist approach.  After all, people are more likely to hire recent grads is they are full of energy and optimism.

So let’s turn it around.  Great News, 86% of youth are going to be employed soon after they graduate!  That seems like a not so bad number and the chances of ending up in that category are likely pretty high if you are taking the time to read this post.  It means that you are dedicated to doing something about your future, taking action, and getting results.  In fact, a report from the Certified General Accountants of Canada entitled “Youth Unemployment in Canada: Challenging Conventional Thinking“, points out that:

  • The highest level of youth unemployment (15.2 per cent) during the recent recession was noticeably below that experienced during previous recessions when youth unemployment swelled to 19.2 per cent in 1983 and 17.2 per cent in 1992.
  • Nearly half (46.8 per cent) of unemployed youth were able to find a job within 1 to 4 weeks in 2011 while the average duration of unemployment experienced by youth did not exceed 11 weeks in that year. In fact, the average duration of youth unemployment in 2011 was well below the shortest average duration ever experienced by young and mature workers over the past 30 years: 12.5 weeks in 2006 and 16.2 weeks in 2008 respectively.

The truth of the matter is that there are people without jobs and almost as many jobs without people.  What we need to do is educate youth on emerging markets and required and desired employability skills.  So rather than sit back and wallow in self-pity, blaming the baby boom generation for not retiring already, do your research.  Take a look at where the jobs are.  What are the growth industries? What personal and technical skills do you need to succeed? And then start planning.  Be strategic, focused and dedicated.  Take a couple technical courses, volunteer with an organization to gain practical skills, attend networking events and, most of all, stay positive.  You are more likely to be motivated by working towards a positive outcome than by trying to avoid a negative one.

And when you have just been turned down for a job and are starting to feel defeated, take the advice of Napoleon Hill that “most great people have attained their greatest success just one step beyond their greatest failure.”


A New Year Is A Great Time to Dream

January 3, 2013 7 comments

dreamsI asked my 4 year old son what he wants to do when he grows up and he said “sleep in hotels and go down water slides.”

The first question I ask students when they come into my office is “If you could get paid to do anything you want, what would you do?”  Shockingly I find that often the answer to this question seems to have very little to do with their so-called ‘real’ career goals.  When did they stop dreaming?  Perhaps they have been brought back to ‘reality’ by a parent or counsellor or friend who, out of a sincere desire to ensure their ‘success’, has encouraged them to focus on getting a secure job with a big company rather than actually pursue their passions, strengths, motivations, and preferences.

No matter what the state of the economy, however, there are people who get paid to do what they love: hockey players, sports announcers, sommelier’s,  marketing executives, lawyers, counsellors, teachers, doctors, authors, chefs, computer programmers . . .Unfortunately, on the flip side there is the majority of the population who spend 94,000+ hours of their life doing something they dislike.  In fact, according to Forbes magazine 71% of employees are disengaged from their work. What a horribly depressing thought.  No wonder there is so much road rage and so many grumpy people at the grocery store, bank, Tim Horton’s, Dollarama, movie theatre, dog park, shopping mall, Boston Pizza, walking down the street, . . .   we are subjecting ourselves to lives of misery on a massive scale.

So how did those other individuals end up getting paid to do something they love?  If you look at what it was that got them that job you will find that it was not just luck, but a combination of dreams, determination and serendipity.  If we remove any one of these elements from the equation, we are certainly going to be one of the 71%.

Instead, let’s allow ourselves to dream for a moment about a future where we are not slaves to a weak economy, but instead optimistic and excited about our future.   Take some time and watch Professor Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture.  Professor Pausch, who was dying of pancreatic cancer, gave his last lecture at the Carnegie Mellon University on Sept. 18, 2007. His talk, “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams,” highlights his lessons learned and provides advice for students on how to achieve their own career and personal goals.

waterslideI am not suggesting that my son will actually become a hotel and water-park consultant when he grows up but, if he is determined, I would certainly support him.  However, I am saying that we need to pay more attention to our dreams if we want to end up leading a healthy, happy and balanced life.  If you are going to spend thousands upon thousands of hours doing something, why not at least try to make it something that you love?

12 Tips for Managing Stress and Maintaining Happiness

September 10, 2012 2 comments

happinessThe fall can be an overwhelming time for everyone.  You are starting a bunch of new courses, settling back into routines, assignments, part-time work . . .   Here are 12 tips that will help you balance the work-load, get into a grove, and stay motivated.

Happiness is a Choice:

There are some people who seem to choose to be miserable regardless of their circumstances and others who choose to be happy regardless of their circumstance.  Choose happiness; there is an abundance of research that proves that if you take a positive approach to life you will be healthier and more successful.

Give Up Perfectionism:

Because there is no such thing as perfection, if you constantly strive for the unnatainable, you will innevitably suffer from poor self-esteem.   The reality is, if you want to get everything done that you need to get done then you are going to have to just let some things go even if they are not perfect.  Getting an imperfect assignment in on time is better than a perfect assignment that is late, gets marks deducted anyway and compromises your sanity.

Stop Procrastinating:

Delaying completing a task that you need to attend to is only going to cause more stress and drain your energy.  You may try to ignore them, but you know they are there, and they eat up your energy.  Get those little things done.  The most effective and efficient people are those who attend to the details quickly.

Learn to Say NO!

Although you may feel that you are being selfish if you refuse a  request, you need to learn to distinguish between self-centerdness and self-care. Alternatively, if you have a hard time saying “no”, then just don’t say “yes” right away.  When someone asks you to help with something or do something say “that sounds great, I will check my calendar and get back to you”.  Then if you really do have the time, go for it and if you don’t you can let them know that “you are sorry, but you just can’t make it work, or you can’t help this time.”

Take Time for Simple Pleasures:

This can mean something different to everyone; for some it is a hot bath, for others eating a decadent dessert, or going for a walk.  Whatever it is on a daily or weekly basis that makes you feel good, take the time to do it.

Take Some Time to Get Organized:

Your physical space is a reflection of your mental space.  If you want more inner organization and clarity, take the time to establish an organize and uncluttered physical environment.

Re-adjust Your Thought Patterns:

Some suffering is unavoidable, and other suffering is self-inflicted. You may not be able to control everything that happens in your life, but you can control how you respond to life’s challenges.  So stop beating yourself up over every little thing and get on with it.

Be an Optimist:

Switch your thought patterns from

This is personal and it always happens to me (a victim mentality)


This is a challenge, but I can control how I respond

Reframe Your Life:

Change the frame of reference through which you choose to see things. Try to see the silver-lining.  Remind yourself that even when things seem bad, they almost always could be worse.

Are You Having Fun Yet?

Life is a journey, not a destination.  Enjoy each step.  What would you rather it said on your grave stone?

“Finished everything on her list, and died totally pissed off”


“She loved a lot, was kind and silly, was a friend you could count on, knew how to play, and did a reasonably good job even though she didn’t return all of her emails.”

Misery Loves Company:

We all have the choice of throwing ourselves a pity party every time something doesn’t go as planned, or we can pick ourselves up and keep going.

Don’t forget, complaining can compromise other people’s sanity as well as your own.

Take the Time to be Grateful:

When you are feeling burnt out and sad, take some time to list all of the many things that you are grateful for instead of focusing on all the things that are not the way you want them to be.

For more tips on Managing your Stress Check Out:

Dr. Joan Borysenko  

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