Do these New Year resolutions sound familiar: I’m going to lose weight, start exercising and find a new job.

The “USA Today” newspaper was introduced on Sept. 15, 1982. Management described its innovative approach of reporting news as a short overview of major news events going on in the world. They believed people didn’t have time to read lengthy news stories and that consumers were looking for a short description of the biggest stories in 10 minutes or less. The approach has proven to be successful, and I find it ironic that we now have “tweets” which is an even shorter version of sharing one’s opinion about the news.

When I was twenty years old my mom told me, “Before you get married look at your girlfriend with both eyes wide open. Once you get married close one eye because you’ll see things you can’t change.” When we’re in love, we’re extremely optimistic. We overlook our partner’s flaws and some people even believe they can change their spouse once they get married. I can almost hear you laughing. I’m going to take my mother’s advice, close one eye and describe why this story has relevance to your career.

It’s not that unusual for people to have a personal trainer, nutritionist, financial advisor, physical therapist and chiropractor. When we’re younger, a family physician is sufficient; as we grow older, the list begins to expand, and often includes, a cardiologist, dermatologist and optometrist. Before I turned 50, I made fun of the seniors who constantly talked about their physical ailments — and now I’m one of them!

How many people are unhappy in their jobs? Would you estimate 30 percent, 40, maybe 50? The Pew Charitable Trusts reported that 30 percent of people feel their jobs are “just a job to get them by.” According to Forbes, 52.3 percent are unhappy at work, while 63 percent are not engaged in their jobs. And, finally, the New York Daily News reported that 70 percent of U.S. workers are unhappy with their jobs.

Oh, it feels good to get promoted. We all enjoy the obvious benefits that come with a promotion such as a pay raise and a new job title. But I think it’s the recognition that feels the best. Our culture is all about winning; that’s why we enjoy TV shows like "American Idol" and "The Biggest Loser." On weekends we watch sports and nothing is bigger than the Super Bowl. Let’s face it, we’re obsessed with winning.

Ask someone for help and they’ll be glad to help you out, but don’t tell me what to do. There’s a reason our parents taught us to say please and thank you. As kids we grow up being told what to do by our parents, teachers and other authority figures. Once we become adults, we want to be independent and make our own decisions.

I’m a baby boomer, and I grew up in the 1960s hating the establishment. I never wanted to “work for the man" but having a family and paying the bills forced me to compromise and work for a large employer. Or, as my parents called it, I got a "real job."

I’m a Baby Boomer, and I grew up in the 1960s hating the establishment. I never wanted to “work for the man,” but having a family and paying the bills forced me to compromise and work for a large employer. Or, as my parents called it, “Get a real job.”

Imagine receiving this phone message from your boss when you get home: “Hey, could you call me back at your earliest convenience? Thanks.” It’s safe to assume this would make most of us feel a little anxious. Did I do something wrong and will my boss assume it was my fault before he listens to both sides of the story?

Before the 1990s it was not unusual for someone to work more than 30 years for one employer. We use to make fun of the fact that they would receive a gold watch at their retirement party. I think it’s ironic that today many of us don’t even wear a watch, we check our cell phone or Fitbit if we want to know what time it is.

Here’s an “Aha” moment in the employment business. Most people are looking for a new job because they’re unhappy with their current circumstances. They either don’t like their boss, their co-workers or in the worst-case scenario they’ve been fired. If they were really happy with their current circumstances, why were they surfing the internet looking for a new job?

Someone once said everything is negotiable. My mother bought and sold antiques, and that was definitely her philosophy. But when it comes to negotiating your salary the picture is far more complex.

The job market can be a confusing place. If you believe the data, the unemployment rate is the lowest it’s been in decades. But, the experts suggest this is because many people have stopped looking for work and millions more are underemployed. So, has the job market really improved or should people continue to be anxious? You could research this question, but today I’m going to suggest we apply a little bit of common sense.

Some of my best ideas have hit me when I’m walking the dog, playing golf or driving a few hundred miles in my car. My worst moments are when I sit in front of the computer at 9 a.m. Monday and I tell myself, “OK, it’s time to write a good column.” Creativity doesn’t follow a schedule. It happens when it happens, and you need to pay attention or else you’ll miss some great opportunities.

It may not be accurate to call a computer a machine, but it seems like computers will soon operate every machine in the world. The internet isn’t a machine, but I would be lost without it. I own a hybrid car, and a few years ago I parked it in the airport parking lot for several days, and when I returned it wouldn’t start. I called Triple A and when the truck arrived the young man told me he never jumped a hybrid car before, and he wasn’t sure what to do. Before he could call his office, my wife had a video from YouTube on her computer and she taught him how to jump-start my car. He was embarrassed, but we got our car running.

People lose jobs for a wide variety of reasons. In a majority of cases it’s through no fault of their own.

I am lucky to be part of a small group of homeowners called “lakers.” It’s reasonable to assume that a laker owns lakefront property, but simply owning lake property is not sufficient justification to be designated as a laker. This is a title you must earn, and during my third year on Cayuga Lake, I was provided the opportunity to earn my stripes.

It’s no secret that our infrastructure in the United States is in need of repair. The most widely accepted rating is a D-minus, and that’s both good news and bad news.

Career Advice

Building an inclusive work culture isn’t just a corporate trend right now—it’s one of the most effective things you can do to create a healthy, productive environment and a strong company brand. Many leaders have made inclusivity a strategic goal, and here at TJN, we’ve covered many of the dos and don’ts of strengthening your […]

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Feeling overwhelmed at work is something we all face at some point, from the newest employee to the CEO. Everyone has different stresses and different coping levels, but at some point, you’re likely to face something that makes you feel like you’re about to snap. When that happens, though, you don’t have to give in […]

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In the more than three decades since the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed, signs of progress are there. In many public spaces, at least, consideration is given to how they can be made available to people with varying levels of physical ability. But even with nominal strides in accessibility and inclusion for those who […]

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Throughout 2020 and into 2021, employment statistics and trends were pretty uniformly grim. Mass unemployment due to the Covid pandemic impacted workers across the spectrum—and often hit already vulnerable groups hard, like women, employees of color, and people who have disabilities. As the stats became clearer (and ever more alarming), one major trend line became […]

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For years, many companies have been saying that they need to increase diversity in their hiring. However, the call for accountability on this is stronger than ever before. Over the past year, tragic events like the killing of George Floyd have brought a society-wide reckoning on why there are such glaring gaps in opportunities. The […]

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The Covid-19 pandemic has changed so many things about the workplace—how we work, where we work, the workforce itself. While getting back to “normal,” many companies are also facing the challenge of filling low-skill or entry-level jobs as the economy stabilizes. Traditional hiring practices often exclude entire groups of workers, which is an additional hurdle […]

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There’s no denying the fact that we’re currently living through extremely uncertain times—with everything from a persistent global pandemic and its resulting economic and social impact to waves of technological innovation forcing an evolution across nearly every facet of our lives. As we try to navigate through these unprecedented times, all of these volatile forces […]

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There’s no time like the present to update your job descriptions. It’s usually something that should happen regularly anyway (shake off the status quo!), but with many organizations making it an active strategic goal to improve diversity hiring and recruitment, it’s now a must. However, saying it should happen and actually doing it are two […]

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