What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

What do you want to be when you grow up? 

That’s the question we were all asked hundreds of times as kids and we all had answers.  We wanted to be everything from race car drivers to doctors to astronauts.  Unfortunately, we can’t all drive like Mark Martin, some of us fell off of the doctor path as soon as we took high school biology and NASA just isn’t hiring astronauts these days.  Reality kicks in for most of us, and at some point many chose jobs because they were convenient or we were good at, though we might not have liked them that much.  There’s a problem with that and the problem is that a few years down the road, there are a lot of folks who are simply miserable at work.

There’s good news.  There’s nothing saying you have to stay there.  There are many people who pursue second and sometimes even third careers.  The bad news is that second career may not come easy or quick.  If it’s something you think you might want to pursue, then go for it.  You just may need to do a little planning and preparation first.  Here are five quick tips to help you get on the right track.

Seriously consider what you want to do.  This is a big decision and shouldn’t be taken lightly.  If you plan on spending the next decade or more doing this job then you should really think about what is it that you really want to do and the working conditions you like.  Don’t just pick something you’re good at, but something that sparks your imagination and interest. 

Research the different fields that apply to your interest.  You can use the same career field and in most cases, apply it to a host of different jobs.  A doctor doesn’t just have to work in a hospital and a carpenter doesn’t just have to frame houses.  Think about the direction and job openings you’re interested in. 

Find out what the field is going to need by the time you’re ready.  It’s not always about knowing what they need now, but what they’ll need down the road.  So if it’s going to take you a couple of years to be ready to make the leap, then go for the long pass and head down the field to where the ball is going to be rather than where it’s currently sitting.

Get some training.  Now that you know what the industry needs, get yourself educated.  Whether that means heading back to college or enrolling into a vocational training program, you may need to update skill and knowledge set.

Prepare your household for the switch.  In many cases, this is something that will bring in a higher income, but in some cases it won’t at first.  If you’re going to take a hit on your paycheck until you can get yourself established, then you might need to make sure your finances are in order.  If you need to pay down some debt, then get a part-time job if you can manage it and pay down some bills and hold off on buying that new TV.

So… What do you want to be when you grow up?

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A New Year and a New You

2012 is officially a week old, the holiday season is over and people are settling into New Year resolutions or simply trying to make this year a little (or a lot) better than last.  We can’t help you with everything, but if your serious about improving your job situation we have a pretty good insight.  Here are a few things to consider while trying to upgrade your professional life.

1.  Know who you are and what you’re good at.  It’s the age-old interview question, “What skills do you believe you can offer our company?”  You shouldn’t have to think about this one when that question comes.  Take some time and figure out what you’re good at and then a little more time figuring out how you can be better.  Which leads us to #2.

2.  Become better at what you’re good at.  Don’t settle for good.  Become great.  There are a lot of people in this world who are good at what they do, but there aren’t as many who are great.  If that means extra training, then do it.  If that means you just need to spend more time honing your skills, then set aside the time to do it.  When it comes down to the good employees vs. great employees, guess who get the promotions?

3.  If you’re in the market for a new job, seek out a company that’s the best fit for you.  If you don’t like the product they produce or the management of the company you’re never going to be satisfied no matter how much you make.  Find a company that’s a great fit for you and prove to them that you are a great fit for them.

4.  Get organized.  This is always one of the top resolutions of the New Year, but there’s a reason.  People who are organized and self-disciplined are generally more productive.  Organization from everything to your checkbook to your sleep schedule will help you stay on track.

5.  Keep the long view in mind.  Remember your ultimate goal is a career and long-term success not short-term fixes.  Make decisions based on longevity.  Think in terms of months and years instead of days and weeks.  If you need to pay off some debt, think about spending less and working more and map it out your pay-down over the course of months to keep yourself on track.

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Doing Our Part

It seems like everyday I flip on the TV, pick up a newspaper or read an article online that talks about the pursuit of sustainable energy.  From pollution, to global warming, to America’s Middle-East dependency on oil, everyone recognizes that change is coming.  windmillAnd honestly, it should.  All across the globe, companies and governments of all sizes are pushing for greater efficiency in their products and plants, and sustainable energy sources to power them. 

We’re no exception.  Our philosophy from the beginning has been to play a role that is good for our surrounding community.  It’s with that in mind that we are currently working with Denmark based, LM Windpower to staff their Arkansas plant.  We’re happy to report that we’re going to put close to one-hundred Arkansans to work this month in jobs that are not only good for them and our community, but good for the entire planet.

We strive to be the best staffing agency in the state, because we serve the best people in the world.

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Christmas and Local Economies

I’ll admit it.  When Black Friday rolls around, I head for the hills.  Literally.  Where crowded parking lots, long lines and pushy people are, I make it a point not to be.  Perhaps you live for shopping as a contact sport… I don’t.  Speaking with a friend of mine yesterday, she told me that she saw one lady bite another lady at a local Wal-Mart while fighting over some bed sheets.  Seriously?

I’ve been thinking lately about how to pump more money into local economies over Christmas and a friend sent me an e-mail that had a great idea.  Why not give away a few presents this year that really help out local businesses and puts ALL of your money back into the local community?

For example, there are a lot of locally owned and operated restaurants out there, where the food didn’t come pre-prepared on a truck.  Why not buy some gift certificates to someone’s favorite local dive?  They get something they like and the local economy gets to keep the cash in local pockets.

Here are few other ideas…

1.  Know someone who has been talking about getting back to the gym?  Buy them a gym membership or a few sessions with a personal trainer.

2.  What about a gift certificate at an auto service center for something like an oil change or a car detail?

3.  How about music lessons?  There are a lot of folks out there who want to take guitar or piano lessons and just can’t seem to justify the expense.

4.  Know someone who could use a little extra help keeping their yard looking good?  Lawn service companies typically slow down over the winter months and do a great job cleaning up leaves and trimming ugly winter lawns.

5.  Don’t forget the local handyman.  There are plenty of carpenters and plumbers out there who could use a little extra work.  Maybe you know someone who has been wanting a new toilet installed or faucet replaced?  Perhaps there is a something that needs a carpenter’s touch or a painter’s brush?

The possibilities are really endless.  With a little creativity, you can find a great gift that really helps the person receiving it and really helps put a little extra money in the pocket of someone in the local community.

And it’s a lot nicer shopping experience than getting bitten over a set of bed sheets…

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Help Us Fight Hunger in Arkansas!

We are trying to reach a goal of 2,500 fans on our Facebook page and we need your help. For every new “Like” we’re going to give a dollar to the Arkansas Rice Depot until we reach our goal. Please help us by sharing this fundraising drive with your friends and co-workers. At the Hughes Agency we’re dedicated to helping good people get back to work and providing for their families and so during this holiday season we are proud to team with the Arkansas Rice Depot to fight hunger in Arkansas.

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Deer in the Headlights

I have at least three friends who have had a deer smack their cars in the past month.  This time of year, the deer become active and especially at night they tend to hang out by the highways.  I’m not sure what it is about car headlights that causes them to become so transfixed.  But, at some point most of us will be driving down the road at night, only to find a deer staring blindly at our lights while we’re trying to slam on the brakes.

When it comes to job interviews, don’t follow the lead of deer.  They’ll fail you every time.  Bosses interviewing potential employees see the “deer in the headlights” look from candidates all the time.  It happens when the boss asks a question that the candidate hasn’t considered and under the stress of the interview, the person freezes up.  Avoid the deer syndrome by sitting down and writing out a list of all the possible questions you can come up with. Then go online and look for commonly asked interview questions and then after that, ask a friend to come up with some questions and then do a practice interview with them.  Finally, work on your response if someone asks you a question that you simply don’t know the answer to.  In interviews that I conduct, I sometimes ask a series of job related questions to see exactly how much knowledge a candidate has and then go beyond that to see how they respond to the stress of being asked questions I’m pretty sure they won’t know the answer to.

Let the deer keep all the dumb looks.  You have a career to think about.

Keep on moving forward…

The Hughes Agency

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3 Things Job Seekers Can Learn From “Occupy Wall Street”

If you’re a news watcher, or at least someone who keeps up with the world’s events, then undoubtably you’ve seen something about the Occupy Wall Street folks.  The occupiers have pretty much spread to every major and some minor cities across the country.  Whatever your opinion of them, here are three things job seekers can learn from their tactics.

1.  Tenacity Always Wins:  These people don’t take “no” for an answer.  These folks camped out long enough to eventually get press coverage to make sure everyone from the coffee-house to the President of the United States is talking about it.  If you’re looking for a job, don’t quit after the first “no”.  Remember, the first Harry Potter book was turned down repeatedly by publishers.

2.  Leverage Social Media:  The power of Facebook and Twitter has helped the ”Occupy” folks organize and allowed the movement to become viral spreading not only in the U.S. but also Europe.  Get online, search jobs through company websites, make sure your Linked-In page is updated, ask friends to keep an eye out for possible positions.

3.  Be Respectful:  The vast number of protesters have been peaceful protesters even if they have gotten on the nerves of city administrators.  If a door gets  shut in your face, or if you think you’ve been screened from a potential job prematurely, this is not the time to start throwing rocks and setting cars on fire.  Be persistent, but polite.  Ask the company to keep your resume on file and follow-up.  Meanwhile, keep working a list of other potential jobs.  Believe me when I say that competitors talk to each other and if you get a bad reputation as an applicant at one place, word will spread to the others.

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Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Basket

It’s been a long-standing piece of advice in the investment world to “diversify your portfolio”.  To make sure all your money isn’t sitting in one account and invested in one place, because if that one thing goes belly-up then your money goes with it. (Insert Wall Street jokes here)  But, if you want to translate that it into some good old home-spun farm wisdom, then just remember the old advice of “not putting all your eggs in one basket”. 

Translation… don’t depend on one thing to always be there for you.  It might not live up to its end of the deal.  Stuff happens.

And generally, when it comes to things like finances, people follow that logic.  The irony is, a lot of people don’t follow that same advice when it comes to their careers.  They go to school.  People tell them that they need to figure out what they want to do when they grow up.  They eventually pick something or something picks them.  They learn that one single job and depend on it completely for their income.  But then what happens if they lose that job?  I don’t know how many times I’ve heard people make the statement that they wouldn’t know what they would do if they lost their job because they don’t know how to do anything else.

That’s putting all your eggs in one basket and that’s going against time-honored wisdom.

So here’s a piece of advice for every one of you.  Learn how to do something new.  Learn how to make a living do something other than what you’re doing now.  Call it a hobby, or whatever you want.  The white-collar world sometimes looks down their noses at blue-collar labor (and sometimes vice-versa), but there’s honor and dignity in getting your hands dirty.  So take a class, find someone who’ll teach you, pick up a book and start teaching yourself.  Just learn how to do something that will help you pick up a little extra cash along the way as a part-time job or a life raft if that job of yours suddenly sinks.  You’ll appreciate those old-timers who offered the advice.

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It’s Up to You

You can do this.

That’s one of the things I have to tell myself every day.  There came a point when I realized that if I was going to get ahead in this world, I was going to have to step up and do it on my own.  Nobody was going to hand it to me.  I had to earn it.  I still have to earn it.  Every single day I look around me and see larger companies with bigger budgets and filled with, who I assume are, smarter and more talented people.  The difference is that I want it more than them.  I’m willing to work harder than them.  I’m willing to be more creative than them.  I’m willing to go further to serve my clients than they are.  As a result, I know I’m going to win.  I know my clients are going to win.  Period.

If you want to get out of the place you are now.  You MUST take on this attitude.  There will be days that are hard, but that’s why we call it work.  Get up off the couch.  Take a shower.  Comb your hair and set your own standard.  Do it today.

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Encouraging News for Arkansas

While Europe and much of the United States is struggling financially, Arkansas for the most part, is doing better than average.  According to the Department of Finance and Administration, tax revenue is $24.3 million dollars higher for the year than this time last year.  In addition, it’s $25.1 million over original income predictions.  Much of this due to the state’s long-term fiscally responsible way of paying their bills and the mostly absent housing crisis felt by much of the country.

That’s good for the state, but none of us are walking around with that much money in our pockets or bank accounts.  What it does mean is that Arkansas industries are ahead of the curve and overall production is up over this time last year.    It also means our economy is, as a general rule, less volatile than other states.  That’s good news for Arkansans, because that’s translating into increased production from Arkansas based companies and new companies turning to the Natural State to open new plants.  That, in turn, means more income and more available jobs for our friends and families.

At The Hughes Agency we’ve been busy lately.  Much busier than we have been over the past couple of years.  We’re getting new orders in, we’re talking to potential new clients and we’re continually looking for dependable, hard-working people to fill job vacancies.  We’re looking for people who aren’t scared to get their hands dirty to earn a living and build a life for themselves and their families.  We’re looking for

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