Work Ethic: An Important Key to Success

Work ethic defines itself. Work ethic implies doing what is right. Doing what is right does not mean doing what is fair. The concept of a work ethic dates well before modern times. Even during Jesus walk on the earth He taught work ethic. In Matthew 20:1-16, He taught important work ethic concepts. He taught that life is not fair. He taught that a verbal contract is honorable. He also taught that employees owe employers an honest day of work for honest pay. In the book of Matthew chapter 20, Jesus taught that when you agree to work for a sum of money you owe the employer honest work for as long as you agreed. That means even if someone is hired to work the same job for more money, you are still obligated to your agreement, until you have a new agreement. It does not seem fair but it is right. Employees are obligated to be at work during the agreed times and throughout the day you agree to complete the work assigned. A work ethic has always meant that if you do not work you do not eat. But, Government sponsored entitlements, such as extended unemployment insurance, have polluted the work ethic to mean you are entitled all the free money Government will give you. Thousands have stopped looking for work, preferring to collect unemployment or sue for social security disability by way of mental defect. Success cannot be achieved without work ethics. Those who have given up a work ethic have given up on success and they have given up on themselves. The sad and frightening result of the erroding work ethic is that the American economy and society depends on successful people. But, entitlements are making success a dirty word and rapidly destroying the idea that being successful is good for society and America. Some politicians criticize successful people as those who are fortunate instead of hard-working. Politicians try to brand successful people as people who are cheats and take unfair advantage of others. Those politicians unknowingly identify themselves as the very cheats who have tahen unfair advantage of others. They are cheating hard working taxpayers.

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Integrity

“Integrity is better than any career”, Ralph Waldo Emerson.

Emerson knew the value of integrity. Integrity is not only better than a career, but it is the foundation for a successful career. Life provides challenges and temptations. Any of the temptations may appear to be opportunities but the wrong choice can ruin your career, your reputation or your life. It seems that these tests of integrity occur most often when life is handing you trouble and you need a break.

We want integrity from our elected officials, but we do not really expect it. We have gotten to the point of excusing the lying, and cheating of politicians. Politicians cheat on their wives, lie to voters or vote in exchange for political contributions. Executives lie to investors or cook the books.

Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one sees you. You cannot have some integrity. You either have it or you do not. Integrity is earned over a period of time. integrity is not suddenly acquired when you become successful. Integrity is a habit which should begin as early in your life as possible.

Integrity helps form your character. According to John Wooden, “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” Helen Keller is a person who knew the challenges of life. She said, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

However difficult it is to be a person of integrity, it is comforting to know that we can have integrity without living perfect lives. In the Bible, some of the most revered people were severely flawed. David was an adulterer. Abraham had periods of cowardice. Rahab was a prostitute. Paul was a persecutor. But, they all had something in common. They asked forgiveness and started a path of doing the right thing.

Being a person of integrity can mean you will take an unpopular stand. Integrity does not always have immediately favorable outcomes. But, integrity is always right, in the long-term. There is no substitute for doing the right thing.

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Professional Presentations

Professionals, at times, need to give a presentation to a group. Speaking before a group can terrify many people, but it should be considered an opportunity. It is an opportunity of trust and a chance to demonstrate that you are a professional and a leader. As soon as you are assigned the task to give a presentation you should begin removing obstacles.

Purpose
Determine the purpose for the presentation. Is it to be informative, educational or persuasive? You need to know the purpose to help identify the content.

Audience
Determine the audience. Presentations to executives naturally adds pressure to your presentation. You can also know how many will be attending.

Powerpoint
Generally, each slide will take 2 to 4 minutes to present. Therefore, consider the total time you are allotted, how much detail for your presentation and the number of slides.

Minimize the complete sentences. Use bullet points, instead. Use a font large enough for text to be seen by everyone in the room. Do not use sound effects for professional presentations. Use transitions and animation sparingly. Theme colors should be compatible with your business or industry. Graphics should be appropriate.

The Presentation
Arrive early; do not be late. Arrive early enough to test equipment and run through your slides. You also can become familiar with the room and use the early time calm your nerves. Greet people as they arrive. Be confident and inject energy into your speech. If you discover errors during the presentation ignore them and continue.

Maintain eye contact, project your voice. I suggest you provide handouts after the presentation. If you have slides with hard to see charts, print them for your audience. Keep the presentation within your time-frame.

Above all, be prepared by knowing your topic and practicing. Good luck.

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Effective Job Searching

Effective job searching should begin before you need a job. If you are a student you begin by preparing yourself to be a good applicant. College students begin by having a suit of professional clothing, an updated quality resume’, a skills portfolio and keeping intouch with Career Services. The college student does not wait until senior year to begin interviewing. Internships are a great way to try out for employers and try out a employers.

If you are employed you also begin searching for your next job while you are still employed. Forget the myth about being a disloyal employee. It is good business to manage your career wisely. It is foolish to expect your current employer to always need your services.

Networking through professional organizations is very important. Continually making yourself marketable is important. Using job search websites and non-fee recruiters can help get interviews. But be prepared to aggressively candidate for the job when prospects arise. Keep an open mind when opportunities surface.

Revise your resume, prepare a skills and experience portfolio and consider printing professional business cards. The portfolio can have a powerful impact during and after an interview. The portfolio should consist of 10 to 15 pages. It should have a simple black and white cover page with a title such as

“Professional Portfolio”
Darrell D. Bowman, Ph.D.
darbowma@gmail.com
Telephone 317-555-1111

The portfolio should contain copies of certifications, letters of recommendation, thank you notes, awards, and documentaion describing significant project participations or accomplishments. The portfolio should be professionally bound. During the interview if you determine the employer is someone you are seriously interested in working for, tell the employer you would like to leave them with a brief portolio of your accomplishments. This will help seperate you from your competition and reenforce a positive impression.

In a slow economy, being proactive and aggressive is necessary, so start now, before you need the job.

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The Value of Education

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that college graduates earn an average of $1 million more in a lifetime than high school graduates. Wow; a million dollars. What could you do with a million dollars? You could drive a better car, live in a nicer house in a nicer neighborhood. Or own a home versus renting a home You could have a better job.

The global economy has not only increased competition for corporations. It has increased competition for the great jobs. An undergraduate college degree can only carry you so far in this economy. When competition for the great jobs increases it is time for the college grad to make themselves more marketable. A masters degree is the best way to make yourself more competitive. A masters degree provides even more choices in your career.

MBA courses help prepare you for the complex challenges in business. One of the best tools used in MBA courses are real world case studies. Case studies allow students to analyze what management did right and what they did wrong. MBA courses focus on management strategies from an executive perspective.

Non-MBA graduates will have an advantage over bachelors degree earners. But the results of GMAC’s 2008 Corporate Recruiters Survey show that most MBA graduates could expect salaries to be “about 35 percent higher than that of other graduate school students”. An MBA is highly respected by upper management.

An MBA does not guarantee you will get the 35% increase in salary or the jump to executive management. After you earn your MBA, your next career step depends on your pre-MBA position, your chosen industry and your experience. But within your experience level and industry you can be more competitive.

There is one more reason to pursue an MBA. An MBA can help prepare you for a career change. After ten years in a chosen career some bachelors degree holders become eager for a career change. Many MBA programs offer concentrations or majors. The University of Indianapolis offers MBA degree concentrations such as Finance, Informations Systems Management, Supply Chain Management and International Business. The economy has been slow for about three years. A slow economy is a good time to earn an MBA. If you want more information about earning your MBA contact me at mba@uindy.edu or call 317.788.3340.

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A Template for Your Lifeplan

If you are interested in starting a potentially life changing plan for your life here is a template that may help.

My Life Plan

My name is xxxxxxx xxxxxxxx and this is the plan for my life.

GOALS
Career
Identify a career goal you think you can achieve within 5 years.

Financial
List financial goals such as improved credit rating, debt freedom, investments, etc.

Relationships
What would you like to improve? Remember you are half of every relationship. Consider professional relationship building also.

Spiritual
Our spiritual relationships affect eternal future but also our other goals.

PLAN
Research how you will achieve your goals. Investigate education, and experience needs. How will you reach financial goals? Be specific. Set target dates. Be specific about how you can meet relationship and spiritual goals. Identify people who can help you.

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Web help for your Plan

Financial Planning Tips
http://financialplanningtips.net/

Relationships and Spiritual Help
http://www.crosswalk.com

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Priorities

Employers are under more pressure than ever to be competitive. Reducing costs is one way employers try to achieve competitive advantage. Traditionally an easy way to reduce cost is by reducing personnel cost. Most professional job titles are salaried and employers often consider salaried people more than 40 hour a week employees. Expecting employees to work more than 40 hours a week is a cost reduction tactic often used.

Professionals are usually willing to put in extra hours when it is required for a limited period of time. But, some employers will take advantage of an employee’s eagerness and make unusual demands on personal time. Technology has made it easier for employers to invade personal time. Home broadband networks, laptops and smartphones allow professionals to stay in touch with work 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Therefore, technology can be a blessing and a curse.

It is morally right for workers to meet employers work expectations. But, when do employers cross the line?

On September 11, when the World Trade Center was attacked, the streets around the WTC were littered with papers blown out of office windows. Many of those papers were certainly documents important to those businesses. Some workers probably gave up weekends with family or missed their child’s event so those documents could be created. When people were running from the WTC they were not concerned about the important documents in the street because those documents were now simply debris from the buildings. They were no longer important. What was important, at that time, was family and friends.

While climbing the success ladder it is essential that you establish personal priorities for your time. You will be asked to sacrifice for your employer. Be very careful what you sacrifice. When your employer no longer needs your services, your sacrifices will not be considered. It is just business.
Determine your priorities. Consider God, church, family, friends and finally career. Then do what is right.

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