Career Q&A with Dee Ann Turner
Right now, the state of the professional world is wild. Many people are unexpectedly looking for jobs, while others feel stuck in their current role with so many companies on a hiring freeze. We know so many of you may be feeling uncertain, so we turned to our favorite business expert Dee Ann Turner for her help. We are confident that this blog will help you turn many of your unanswered questions into action plans.
What advice do you have for so many people working virtually now?
Create your schedule and stick with it. If possible, have a place at home where you only work. Go to that space while you are at work and leave there when you are done. These are challenging times and require a lot of growth. Commit to learning one new thing each day that makes working virtually easier and effective.
Is it important for people to make career goals, even during this challenging time?
There’s a saying: If you don’t decide where you’re going, you won’t end up anywhere. Strategy is extremely important, for your organization, for your team, and for you, individually. To support your strategy, you have to set goals.
Make your goals measurable. Then, hold yourself accountable to them.
What would you tell someone who has lost their job?
If you’ve been let go, don’t panic or react immediately. Take time to think it all through and get your emotions in order before you make a move. If you can try to negotiate some things with your boss, do it. Here’s ground you should cover:
- Keep your healthcare coverage as long as you can.
- Get a letter or reference––or if that’s not possible, come to an agreement on what will be said about you when potential future employers call.
- Negotiate a severance. A typical severance is two weeks for every year you’ve worked for the company.
- Don’t burn any bridges. No matter how unhappy you are about the circumstances, be as professional as possible.
- Update all of your online profiles so that it’s clear you’re looking for a new opportunity.
- Request outplacement services and/or coaching to help you get the right next job.
What about someone who has received more responsibility during this time?
Congratulations on the promotion! Here are some steps to take to help ensure you hit the ground running.
- Listen, listen, listen. Ask questions and get a strong sense of your new role and environment.
- Get to know your new reports. Schedule one-on-one time with everyone.
- Be crystal clear about expectations and what success looks like. Define success with your new supervisor.
- Set new goals and create a scorecard for measurement so that you can share your results with the team and entire organization, when appropriate.
What advice do you have for those starting new jobs soon?
Starting a new job with an organization is exciting––and often overwhelming, especially if you are starting a job working virtually. Here’s where to start:
- Exit your current job well. Don’t burn bridges, and always offer two weeks’ notice.
- Note: An Emailed Resignation is the Equivalent of Breaking Up Via Text. I’m so surprised by how many younger people think it’s okay to resign via email. I’ll make this simple: It is not okay! Don’t do it!
- Thank your former employer for the opportunity, and don’t use your departure as a chance to air grievances. If you have constructive feedback, state it in a way that’s helpful to your former organization.
- At your new job, be a great listener.
- Learn your new culture as quickly as you can.
- Understand what is expected of you and what success looks like. Sit down with your new supervisor and set goals about how you’ll obtain that success.
How about people who are feeling stuck in their current work?
If you’re feeling stuck, it probably means you’re not engaged at work. Here are some steps you should take and questions you should ask:
- Are you not living out your calling? Be honest with yourself about what you want and your strengths.
- Is your work not a match for your strengths and passions?
- Is the leader a bad fit––or a bad leader?
- Is the organization itself problematic?
- Do you have other issues impacting your life right now?
- If you like the organization but not the work, are there other positions that might be a better fit?
Career counselors can be an excellent resource. It is vital that you take ownership of your own development: What are you investing in yourself? What books do you read? Are you paying your own way to any virtual seminars? Instead of Netflix binges, opt for some TedTalks or Master Classes. Get yourself unstuck.
Do you have a word of encouragement for us to close on?
Even though this is a unique time in history, with many challenges, don’t be discouraged. Just keep going. There is always a way forward. Sometimes, it’s harder to find than others, but there is a way. Don’t give up.
About Dee Ann Turner
Dee Ann Turner is leading the modern conversation about talent in business. The in-demand speaker, author, executive coach, and consultant was the first woman officer at Chick-fil-A, for whom she served as Vice President of Talent and later, Vice President of Sustainability. There, Dee Ann helped shape Chick-fil-A’s historically remarkable culture for more than 30 years. In her bestselling first book, It’s My Pleasure: The Impact of Extraordinary Talent and a Compelling Culture, Dee Ann took readers behind the scenes of Chick-fil-A for explanations and action steps any business could adopt. Her 2019 follow-up Bet On Talent: How to Create a Remarkable Culture That Wins the Hearts of Customers, was another pragmatic godsend that dissects the strategies of numerous industry-leading organizations alongside explanations of Dee Ann’s original approaches to the most crucial decisions in business. Her next book, Crush Your Career: Ace the Interview, Land the Job and Launch Your Future will release in the spring of 2021. Dee Ann lives with her husband just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.