Archive for April, 2012

The other day, I had the opportunity to speak to the Future Business Leaders of America at Cal-State Fullerton. During the question and answer session, one of the members asked, given the current lack of job security in corporate American, what can they do to create their own career security? As you have read in previous posts, I strongly believe that your success is not always determined by what you know, or even who you know, but who knows you. In other words, in the typical course of a career, you develop a reputation as a professional and subject matter expert among a small number of colleagues at the companies you work for, as well as possibly a few customers or vendors that you work with. However the circle that your reputation spreads to is very limited. One of the most effective ways to increase the reach of your professional reputation across an industry or function is via professional associations. However, I am not talking about just being a member and going to some networking events. I am talking about getting on committees, boards or working on projects for the association and even speaking at meetings on particular subjects of which you have expertise. This will allow others outside your normal circle of influence to get to know your professional thought process as well as how well you work with others. Active involvement in these capacities gives you opportunities to achieve accomplishments for the organization and also will provide you a platform of visibility. Then as you strategically plan your career advancement, you will have more advocates and a stronger network to help you reach your goals.

In a recent blog, I wrote about business cards and how they impact your brand. Today, I would like to talk about the etiquette of business cards, and how this can positively impact your effectiveness in networking and ultimately your career management or career search. I was lucky enough to begin my career in Japan, and this has significantly impacted my perspective on this. In Japan, the business card is an extension of the person. Exchanging business cards is a ritual in Japan. The way you give and receive a card demonstrates your respect of the other person. The information on the card lets each party know the hierarchy, and how they should behave towards the other party. What I learned is the importance of acknowledging information on the card, and using that to demonstrate my interest in the other person. Now, whenever I exchange cards, I always look at the name and title of the person giving me their card. Unfortunately, I do not have the best memory, so I say the name and title for the person out loud, and this helps me to remember the person. It also lets the other person know that I am paying attention to them. How many times have you been at a networking event, where the noise level is so high, it was difficult to hear what the other person does? How many times have you met a person, and by the time you finish talking with them, you have forgotten the name and title of the person you are talking to? By looking at and repeating out loud the information on the card, you are providing an additional method of inputting the information into your head, and remembering the person. How many times have you given a card to someone and they immediately put the card in their pocket without even looking at it? How much were they listening to you? By implementing this into your networking practice, you will not only demonstrate greater respect to the individual you are meeting, but when you look at the card to follow-up with the individual, you will have much greater recollection of the person you met and the conversation that took place, allowing for a much more effective follow-up.

This past week, I was talking with an accountability group, and we started talking about healthcare. For individuals in transition or who are under employed, health care can be one of the most stressful issues in our lives. So many people are forced to make decisions detrimental to their health based on their current financial situation and lack of knowledge for healthcare options. Therefore I would like to discuss some options here. If you have other information to benefit others, I would appreciate your comments and suggestions.

Every state is different, but for everyone in California who has children, and is in transition, or under employed, you can get coverage at least for the children. Healthy Families is a state program to make sure all children have coverage.  Eligibility is based on household size and income. Click here for Healthy Families Applications

Also in California, medi-cal may be available for low or no income individuals. Applications are available at local county social services departments. In Orange County, click here for Social Services information.

For those that purchase medical insurance, due to the costs many are forced to purchase the lowest cost insurance which is often a high deductable insurance.  Unfortunately with a high deductible, every visit, every test, every thing is extremely expensive. This leads to not going to the doctor, and the insurance being only for the purposes of catastrophic coverage.  Some Insurance providers have financial assistance programs. For example, Kaiser Permanente has a Medical Financial Assistance program (for those already enrolled in their insurance programs). It provides financial assistance for low income families, and covers all or a portion of co-pays that the patient is responsible for.  Eligibility is based on household size and income. For Kaiser, click here for the Medical Financial Assistance Application  

If you have a high deductible insurance, and are not going to the doctor because you cannot afford to, please check with your insurance and see what plans they may have for financial assistance. Ask for financial assistance!

If any of you have information to add that can help others in this area, please let us know what information you have found in your area or with your insurance that may help others. Thank you for paying it forward!