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This was written in response to a graduate who was learning about finding her first career placement.

Finding and winning your first job in your field requires work and dedication. The universe is going to test your commitment to different degrees depending on who you are and your attitude. We know from experience that who you were as a student is a predictor of your future career success. But we also know, from personal experience as well as from years of helping people realize their dreams, that you can change your future. It depends on you.

I was blessed with great parents who put up with my rebellious nature and gave me good advice. When I was in high school all I wanted to do was work on race cars and in particular I wanted to work at a small, elite shop in Connecticut that worked on Lotus, Morgan and other unusual (and fast) cars. From an early age the hope was that I would go to college and get a professional career but they supported me in my desire to follow my dream.

The challenge was that the shop only had 4 employees who had been there a long time and I was also interested in being a musician. With split focus and a lot of distractions, I was not ready to really commit to what I needed to do to get the job. It took months of going to The Sports Car Shop and finding out what they needed before I finally got my foot in the door to do the things that none of the current employees wanted to do. Once I found what they needed and started doing it, (all the jobs like cleaning, organizing tools, etc.) they decided I was worth paying. After working my way up to working on the fun stuff, I started to find that the future in the industry was not sufficiently challenging. That lead to additional career changes, all of which presented challenges.

The thing I discovered was that I only could find mediocre jobs until I got focused and serious about what I wanted to do. I had to suffer for a while before I woke up and realized that I had to make a commitment in order to succeed. I had to take a close look at how my social/musical life (and the things that go with that lifestyle) were interfering with my concentration and direction. It took a couple of years to get it together and it was not a straight line. I would get better and slip backwards. But every time I messed up, I would recommit to what was important and make the changes I needed to make. It took time but I had supportive people in my life that were setting a good example.

The biggest challenge was in 1982 when I completed college and was looking to work in data processing. Unemployment was over 10%, the economy was really bad and affirmative action was putting white males at the bottom of the list for getting jobs. It took a lot to not get discouraged. It forced me to look inside and face my fears and weakness. The biggest thing I had to learn was to reach out to others and ask for help. This brought up the issue of being coach-able and taking responsibility for myself. Instead of blaming the economy, I had to take full responsibility. Then when people offered to help, I had to listen and do what they told me. Until I accepted this, I was stuck.

Ultimately the first position I got came through my network of friends. It was a lesson that forms the basis of what followed. All the best things in my life have come from me listening and doing from people who have become my coaches. That is what I attempt to do for others as well.

So where do we start? The following is what I have found works. You need to start with some personal evaluation and then move on from there.

Does this describe you as a student?

  • You always got to school early
  • Studied ahead so you could get the most out of the class
  • Did extra practice outside of school just because you thought you were learning the coolest stuff around
  • Were completely focused on your classes
  • Were completely bummed out if there was a snow day
  • Would skip going out with friends so you would be in your best shape for class/li>
  • Loved Monday’s because you got to go back to school and learn new things

Was this you? Then you probably found a job pretty quickly after you graduated and are pretty busy. On the other hand, if your friends, social life or other things were more important than your education or you were not excited to be in class every day, you may be finding it difficult to find or keep a good job. So how do you change this now?

First, you have to wake up and realize that you will get what you focus on. If you focus on your friends and parties, that’s what you will get. If you focus on your career, you will get opportunities to be successful. So start by being honest about your focus.

Second, you have to take responsibility for your reality. Your success is not something that happens independent of who you are. It is a direct reflection of who you are. It is the mirror of your commitment and focus. If you want to change your career success, change your commitment and focus. Blaming others won’t make you successful. The only thing that will make you successful is you.

When it actually comes to finding a job, here are things to focus on:

  • Where have you been looking to work? Are you willing to travel to where the clients are or do you think clients should travel to where you are?
  • What hours are you willing to work? Is it when people are available to come to you or when it is convenient for you?
  • When did you graduate? How long have you been looking and how many interviews have you gone on?
  • What was the feedback from the interviews? Did you follow up with a thank you note and follow up with phone calls?
  • Have you been giving away sessions or services to build momentum?
  • What have you been doing to increase your skills?
  • Have you been working with the Director of the school to get placed?
  • Have you been following their advice?
  • Have you been working on developing your manifestation and prosperity skills?
  • What additional training are you taking to increase your value?
  • What are you willing to give up to succeed?

These are all important questions that you need to focus on. The answers to these questions tells you why you will or won’t succeed.

Word on the street is that some places are doing well and others are suffering. The difference seems to be based on the alignment of the people running the business. Referrals are everything in this business. If you are not getting referrals, you need to figure out why and fix the problem. Owners who don’t understand this will not be the people you want to work for.

The jobs are out there and reports from the field are that a lot of people are actually busier than usual. It is word of mouth business and people with good skills and a great attitude seem to be attracting people who want the services. Of course, they are working when and where the people are which is very important. They are creating the best opportunity for themselves. They are not waiting for the world to come to them. They are going out and giving what the world needs.

The other thing we are hearing is that a lot of people are getting local services instead of going on vacations. They know they need stress reduction and want to take care of how they look and feel. They are skipping the big ticket items and doing smaller things that pamper them instead. But you must be available and located where it is convenient for them. They are the customer. They need to feel special and appreciated to make it worth there time and money to come to you.

My recommendation is to pick where you want to work and work your way in. Figure out what they need and make it happen. It takes some creativity and focus but it is the best way to do it. When you figure out how you are going to make them more successful, there is no way they can say no.

My intention is to help everyone succeed. Those with the most positive energy who work with us are having the most success. If you are truly dedicated to having a successful career, you will. The proof is in the results.

There is no escape from reality: Whatever is happening in your career is a reflection of what you are putting into it. Be clear about what you want and be committed to attaining it and you will. You may need to make changes and you may need coaching and support. But if you are committed and clear, you will find the resources and opportunities you need to succeed.

I look forward to hearing about your success and any additional things that have been important to you in your success. Please share your comments so we may all learn from each other and succeed to the next level.

Sincerely, Kris Stecker

Spa Tech Institute

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