Career Watch: Millennials, make the most of this recession

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The next step is multifaceted, and we cover it in depth in our book, but briefly, it's all about building your individual human capital. Interestingly, everyone we encountered who'd used the experience of overcoming adversity to create a life of great success enhanced their individual human capital in similar ways. They developed introspection skills that enabled them to conduct honest self-assessments; they cultivated a superior work character; they relied on high ethical standards; they found a purpose they were passionate about; and they developed a lifelong thirst for knowledge. Many of these outstanding habits for success arose directly as a result of specific difficult circumstances. Several featured in our book came from very humble beginnings, for example, and had to go to work at a young age just to survive. The work character they developed at an early age never left them, and it became key to their later success. Others faced academic failure or simply lacked the business information they needed to succeed. Rather than let a lack of knowledge stop them, they developed a zeal for learning that transcended the classroom and enabled them to learn anything their professions demanded. Still others rebounded from career stumbles or setbacks by consistently improving their performance or even finding a new purpose they were truly passionate about.

How does one go about turning a career setback like a layoff into an advantage? First of all -- and here's the power of positive thinking at work -- think of a layoff as an opportunity, not a setback. Is a layoff a serious challenge? Of course. But you won't get anywhere by focusing on the negatives or feeling sorry for yourself. Look at a layoff as a unique opportunity to open a new door. Maybe this is the time to take your career in a brand-new direction. Recessions have spawned many an entrepreneur, and some of the world's biggest companies were launched in the midst of economic downturns. What better way to turn lemons into lemonade than to launch the next Microsoft, FedEx or Disney?

Whatever you do after a layoff, your course requires optimism, self-accountability and something we call "and then some." Optimism is the foundation. Then self-accountability needs to be in place so you can honestly assess the situation and figure out how to move forward in a new and improved way. Did poor personal performance or an information void play a role in this layoff? If so, own up to any deficiencies and then mitigate them. Lastly, wherever the next steps on your career path take you, employ the habit of "and then some." In other words, consistently go above and beyond on every task, whether it's job-hunting or getting your résumé in front of as many people as possible or your overall process of self-improvement. "And then some" is a simple concept, but when applied to everything you do, has incredible transformative powers. There's no better way to achieve self-improvement, to learn from adversity, and even to recover from a layoff than to rely on the power of "and then some."

-- Jamie Eckle

Remote Chances

How often have you had the opportunity to telecommute?

Frequently: 19%
Infrequently: 22%
Never: 56%
No reply: 3%

Would you be willing to give up 5% of your pay for the opportunity to work remotely?

Yes: 21%
No: 64%
Neutral: 15%

Source: Citrix Online-commissioned online survey, conducted by Research Firm Inc./WomanTrend, of 600 U.S. workers, May 2008

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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