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Discovering Your Secret Sauce to An Enriched Life

Intention and Inspiration

Happy Monday! We hope you had a great weekend and are refreshed and ready for a great week ahead. Our intention with these Monday posts is not only to share with you what’s going on in our world…but to expose you to a new perspective and some inspiration for you to carry for your week.

This week’s Musical Musing is inspired by Lesson 11 of our Avoid a Cruel Summer eCourse and will hopefully inspire you to try something new this week….

Lesson 11: Learn. Interesting. Stuff. (A Sneak Peek)

Okay, so do you really make an effort to learn new things? Do you have a favorite source that actually teaches you something new on a regular basis? This is especially important if you are unemployed, underemployed, or planning out your attack for making your dream career come true. Or… if you are in the first or second year of owning your own business… (you get the idea).

Part of what keeps us motivated to Do More Great Work (a fantastic book, by the way) is the stimulation of learning new things. How do you respond to these new ideas? Do you agree or disagree? Can exploring these new and interesting things enrich your social network or your world in general somehow? This truly has the potential to be your secret sauce. (Tracy and I speak from experience on this one!)

We’re not just talking about your career and learning things that will help you with your economic game. We’re talking about the happiness factor, too.

And the eCourse Lesson doesn’t stop there.

When was the last time you challenged yourself to learn something new?

Let us know your favorite sources to learn something new in the comments!

Musical Musing of the Week

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nzx_78KExwQ&feature=plcp

 

Quick note: There is EXACTLY one week left to apply for our Scholarship Contest. We have FIVE scholarships to give away, and we can’t wait to see who we’re going to get to work with this year, so don’t pass up this opportunity to explore your greatest self!

 

 

We’re Not Going To Take It!

Welcome to our weekly Musical Musings! (formerly Music Monday) 

Got the Monday blues? Let us help you change that thinking ASAP.

Today’s music inspiration goes along with this week’s eCourse sneak-peek based on Lesson 5: Personal Power – and it’s all about Working With Others.

If you sign up for our eCourse, you’ll get access to the Tracy’s video recording where she discusses managing up, subversive leadership, and being your own PR director in the workplace. There are also a few actions steps listed to help you be on top of your game for your next opportunity  in Working With Others.

So we are here, with Twisted Sister as our backup, asking you:

What Do You Want To Do With Your Life? 

(And there’s a CONTEST in that link above because… WE WANT YOU TO ROCK!)

Also please note – our deadline for our Scholarship Contest has been extended to Labor Day which is Monday, September 3rd at midnight!

So plug in your headphones, turn up the volume, and sing aloud if you can; you know you want to!

httpv://youtu.be/4xmckWVPRaI

For our full Avoid a Cruel Summer youTube song playlist click here.

PS – Already signed up to Avoid a Cruel Summer? We’d love it if you would send us some feedback on questions you have or what you think so far, or simply help us Spread the Love!

Have a fantastic week everyone.

 

Guest Post: How to Get Your Employer to Pay for Your MBA

We’re publishing a long overdue guest post today from Erin Palmer, who works for US News University Directory. While we are not always a fan of taking on more debt and obligations to make a career change, if you are considering going back to school, there are some tangible tips in here. Enjoy!


So you’ve worked hard to earn your bachelor’s degree and you’re working your way up the company ladder, but you keep getting passed up for that big promotion. No matter what you do, someone always seems to have the advantage. If this sounds like you, then it may be time for you to consider earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree.

After some investigation, you know that getting an MBA can be expensive. If you don’t have the funds, you may consider a grant or scholarship to help you pay for your degree. Another option to consider is getting your employer to pay for your MBA. If this doesn’t sound easy to you, having a strategy will help your chances in getting your company to foot the bill and keep you from falling further into debt.

Will they pay?

Firstly, you’ll have to find out if your employer would even consider paying for your education. Many large companies have policies in place, so check your employee handbook. If you can’t find information on your own, check with your HR department, as they usually are the first to know about such programs. For smaller companies, you may have to go directly to your supervisor or the owner of the company. Before you do, make sure you’re ready and have your case clearly thought out ahead of time. If no policy is in place, your preparedness might be enough to set the trend in motion.

They’ll want to know your expectations for tuition. Are you asking for them to pay all of the tuition? Will you split it with them, or do you have outside sources (loans, scholarships, grants, etc.) that will cut down on the costs. If you do decide to split the costs, do the outside sources count toward your half, or are they deducted first with the balance then divided between each party. These details should be worked out prior to any arrangement or enrollment being made.

Know the company

A decision like funding education for an employee often comes down to timing and economic factors. Is now a good time to ask for assistance? If the company seems to be cutting down on expenses and is struggling during a troubled economy, the chances of your request being approved are slim. However, if the company seems to be growing and spending money toward their future, and if others before you have gotten similar requests approved, the scene may be set for a request.

Do your research and expect to answer questions

If you’re looking to work in top management at the executive level, a bachelor’s degree will most likely not be enough to get you there. According to a recent survey of top executives, 80% earned a graduate degree in business, which is important for those seeking top management positions.1 Having statistics like this to support your case will let your employer know you’ve taken the time to consider the value of an MBA.

Also, expect a lot of questions from the company. Have the basic facts down, but also generate some substance behind each fact that will heighten the value of your request.

Case for support

A good MBA program will train its students on basic business principles that will help them become a leader and an sharp business manager in the future. You can expect courses covering accounting, marketing, strategic planning, corporate finance and economics. Many specializations are available within MBA programs that you might want to consider as well. From finance and IT to marketing and management, if you have an interest in one of these areas, then you would probably want to select a specialization.

If a specialization fits within the company you’re working for, and you genuinely want to pursue that major, you’ve just found your angle. Explain how studying a specialization will benefit the company in the future, likening it to enhanced continuing education that will help the business profit down the road. Showing how spending the money now can return profits for the company in the future should always be a point for you to explain to your employer.

What can you expect?

A company isn’t usually going to invest the type of money associated with an MBA without some commitment from you, the employee. Many employers will require that you work for the company a certain period of time following your graduation date. Along with that, you’ll often be asked to sign a contract that outlines your obligations, including grade requirements, tuition terms and work periods. Should you not hold up your end of the contract, you may be required to repay all or part of the money spent by the company. So make sure you are comfortable with any contract you sign, prior to signing it.

Leave them with information

Offering up a printed outline of your case and the MBA program you’re interested in can give them some concrete information to look at when making their decision. Leaving them with some kind of report further shows your commitment and thought process behind the request. Include such items as:

  • Name of the school and the MBA program
  • The program’s curriculum
  • Costs and duration of the MBA program
  • The reasons why you need an MBA
  • Benefits of the MBA to the company
  • The reasons why you think the company should pay for it

By showing your commitment to the company and a willingness to develop yourself professionally for the benefit of the business, you will lay the foundation for a solid request of assistance. Remember that not all companies will agree to pay all or even a portion of tuition, but it shouldn’t keep you from seeking an MBA if you find it necessary. At the very least, your employer will know you have a desire to advance – which could go a long way during your time with the company.

About the author

Guest post provided by U.S. News University Directory an education portal designed to help students and working professionals locate hundreds of accredited bachelor degrees, online masters programs and certification courses from top colleges and universities, as well as, a growing collection of articles and career videos.

Career Exploration and Tribes at Social Media Week 2011

I’ve been plugging along on some serious papers and future blog posts on education and the economy. This work has interested and engaged me, butit’s been intense. Luckily, I had some other experiences this week that were as absorbing, but also lightened things up, all courtesy of social networking.

On Wednesday, I had a great conversation over coffee about the potential that coaching has for Millennials with fellow mission-driven coach Brett Kunsch of Kunbre Life Coaching. We first met online through our active participation on Brazen Careerist. In the afternoon, I met with Alisha Miranda, a fearless marketing and events professional who I connected with on Twitter. We co-worked together in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn for about four hours and our co-working included sharing some uninterrupted writing time and bouncing business questions off of each other. Wednesday made me reflect on how much my life has changed over the last year. In February 2010, I worked for one of the largest organizations in the country, but felt disconnected to people. Today, I officially work alone, but feel 100% more connected because I’ve met my “tribe”- like minded people who want to do both good and well, each on their own path. And I’ve met almost all of them first online.

During our co-working, Alisha told me about a panel she was working on for New York Social Media Week, which is taking place next week (February 7 to 11). I’ve had Social Media Week on my calendar the last two years, but never made it to one event. I am not sure how I almost missed the whole thing this year! Thanks to Alisha’s tip, I registered for some specific career and education related events (listed on my News and Events page and all free). One of the things that struck me the most is the sheer number of opportunities to learn and network about different careers in the Social Media Week schedule. In fact, I don’t think I have seen such a tremendous number of intriguing industry centered workshops in my life! Whether you’re interested in fashion, finance, international relations, government, or nutrition, there’s an event for you. And that’s just Monday’s schedule!

In career management, the most important things we offer are our relationships and knowledge. If you’re not an avid user of social media, and aren’t sure you want to be or are afraid of calling a Tweet by the wrong name, it’s okay. But you still should keep an open mind and take advantage of these opportunities. Only a small percentage of us get to live in an awesome city like New York City that has events like this. More importantly, you have no idea who will be sitting next to you and who they know or what you’ll learn. When we talk about social media, many of us think of it as something superficial, like millions of tweens talking about Justin Bieber, or a great force, like what’s happening in Egypt today. We forget that social networking also carries great personal power for individuals, one exchange at a time. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your version of the exchanges I had and the resulting relationships I built this week.

Want to get one-on-one help with social media and your career? Book Tracy for a Career Consulting Session and learn how to use social networking to find opportunities and build social credibility.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

What It Feels Like For A Girl: The Girl Effect

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone is taking a day off from being a recruiter, a student, a job seeker, or whatever professional role you want to shed while you enjoy the four Fs: Food, Family, Friends and Football.

While the turkey is cooking, I wanted to post something for you to reflect on while you are giving thanks, especially on this American holiday. Last night, I saw an amazing video about an organization called The Girl Effect on Tara Sophia Mohr’s Wise Living blog. The Girl Effect invests in adolescent girls in developing countries to eradicate poverty, create thriving communities, and slow the spread of AIDS. The video is incredibly powerful and if you have three minutes today, please watch it. Even in these hard economic times, we should be thankful to live in a country where our daughters don’t face marriage and motherhood at age 12 as expected milestones in their life’s trajectory.

My business is about helping people achieve that next step in their career and lives, especially young women. Even though it’s 2010, I’ve worked all of my life in organizations that were primarily staffed by women, but led my men. I want take part in a shift that changes that for future generations in our country. I hope that in time, it’s common to have people just like me in developing countries, helping young adult women find amazing careers and become leaders, all because today’s generation changed the current realities expressed in this video.

The Girl Effect If you’d like to help, The Girl Effect has many suggestions. For me, they will be part of my 2010 charitable donation list. For job seekers and students who have time and are looking for ways to develop strengths (see The Opportunities Project’s Core Competencies), starting a club or campaign to benefit The Girl Effect would be an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and do good at the same time.

Lastly, the title of the post is a reference to the Madonna song What It Feels Like for a Girl. The Glee version has been an IPod favorite for those days when I want a little female empowerment in my music and Ani DiFranco is too heavy. If you’re a female handling the Food today, I highly suggest it for the kitchen soundtrack. If you’re handling the Football, you’re my hero.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog