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The Best Career Advice In The Wizarding World (For Muggles)

The Best Career Advice In The Wizarding World (For Muggles)

When you’re the Boy Who Lived, you don’t really get a chance to pick a career. It was Harry Potter’s destiny to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and his teachers and mentors worked to guide him down that path. As a result, his skill set really only translated to one job: Auror. While even by wizard standards, that’s an awesome career, it might have been nice for Harry to have a few options.

In the Muggle world, we have the opposite problem: endless career possibilities, but next to no guidance in our choice. And how we pick a career is decidedly less magical. The closest thing we have to a spell to help us determine our career path is a free app.

Still, just as Harry and his journey taught us about friendship, courage, and the power of love over hate, it can also inspire you to pick a career path that’s right for you. With so many careers to choose from, here are a few knuts of wizardly wisdom to help you decide which of these jobs best suits you:

Interpreter or Translator

“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

As the world becomes increasingly connected, the jobs translators perform become more critical. In this career, you would help people cross language and culture barriers so they can better understand others.

To give you an idea of your options as a translator, they are often employed by such entities as schools, hospitals, courthouses, and the U.S. Department of State. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their projected job growth is 29 percent through 2024, which is above average. In 2015, the median salary was $44,190 per year and most entry-level translator positions don’t require education past a bachelor’s degree.

Writer

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Many believe writers are a dying breed, but the skill set is still in high demand. Granted, print media is in dire straits, but the world can always use strong communicators and storytellers, especially in burgeoning new media formats.

Writers are now in demand as content marketers, copywriters, journalists, and editors. Also, the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2016 survey found that 70.2 percent of employers across industries are looking for written communication skills when considering job candidates.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected a slower than average job growth of two percent in this field, the 2015 median salary was $60,250.

Community Organizer or Activist

“You do realize that your sheets are changed, your fires lit, your classrooms cleaned, and your food cooked by a group of magical creatures who are unpaid and enslaved?” — Hermione, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

If the thing you remember about the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare was all the hard work Hermione did to help the elves and not its unfortunate acronym (S.P.E.W.), you should consider becoming a community organizer or activist. People who take on these jobs spend their career fighting against economic and social injustice and raising awareness for their cause. But it takes more than passion to work as activist; you’ll also need strong organizational and communication skills.

Don’t think that choosing this career comes at the expense of a liveable salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social and community service managers had a 2015 median salary of $63,530, and the number of positions will grow around 10 percent by 2024.

Law Enforcement

“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Want to protect and serve the public by fighting the bad guys? Then a career in law enforcement might be for you. And while most people think becoming a police officer is the only option in this field, there are other choices — like crime scene investigators, prosecution lawyers, and 911 dispatchers — that allow you to do your part to fight crime.

Depending on which law enforcement course you choose, there is a wide range of training you might need, as well as a large salary range. But to give you an idea, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 2015 median salary of $60,270 for police officers.

Human Resources

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Wise words, Sirius. Although, if he had treated the family elf, Kreacher, more kindly, he might have lived to fight another day.

When it comes to a career choice, this sentiment is something people in human resources recognize and why they work to create a better workplace for everyone, despite their role in the company. Their focus is the organization’s people. Having a good HR department can make or break a company if they aren’t successful in improving employees’ satisfaction or in bringing the best talent on board.

This is also a very stable career path to choose. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a steady job growth of nine percent through 2024 and a 2015 median salary of $104,440 for HR managers.

Musician

“Ah, music,” he said wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here.” – Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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Not every musician is a rock star, so don’t think this career path is unobtainable. Many musicians make their livelihoods playing as studio or session musicians or in music-related careers, such as a teacher, sound engineer, or concert venue employee.

Depending on how you decide to use your musical talent, there are different educational requirements and pay grades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musicians and singers made an average of $24.20 per hour in 2015, while music professors make around $72,000 a year.

Retail Sales

“One can never have enough socks.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you live and breathe fashion, retail is the route for you. What’s nice about this industry is there is a store and position for every personality. From Brooks Brothers to Hot Topic to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, there’s a company that will match who you are and what you are interested in.

While entry level positions in retail start out with lower salaries — the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found the 2015 median salary to be $22,040 per year — there are more opportunities as you move up the ladder. For instance, retail buyers, who decide what a store will sell, had a 2015 median salary of $59,620.

School Counselor

“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

If you believe everyone has an inner child who shouldn’t be forgotten, a career counseling children would be good for you. Being able to communicate with young people and to reach them is a special gift. Not to mention that working as a school counselor or social worker can be very rewarding.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counselors have an average projected job growth of eight percent and a 2015 median salary of $53,660 per year. You could also go into private practice as a child and family counselor or work as a social worker.

Politician

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

If you believe that people shouldn’t have to distrust their political representatives, then maybe you should consider politics. Elected officials have the opportunity to dedicate their lives to their community and country while trying to positively impact the world on a large scale.

“There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” Professor Quirrell, quoting Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Or if you really are just a power-hungry, wannabe despot who was rooting for Voldemort throughout the series, I guess politics is an option for you, too. Just keep in mind that Voldemort’s career ended pretty badly.

What are some other great quotes from Harry Potter that can help a Muggle pick a career? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: FF16 via pixabay.com

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Published on March 20, 2019

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

How to Write a Powerful Mission Statement for Your Business

Have you ever felt lost in the minutia of your job?

As a business owner, I can relate to getting bogged down in the day to day operations of my business. Things like inventory, payroll, scheduling, purchasing and employee management take up the bulk of my day.

While these things are important and need to get done, focusing too much on the details can make you lose sight of the big picture. This is why having a good mission statement comes in handy.

What is a Mission Statement?

Put simply, a mission statement is an internal document that provides a clear purpose for the organization. It provides a common reference point for everyone in the organization to start from.

In other words, after reading your company’s mission statement, managers and employees should be able to answer the question “What are company’s main objectives?” For example, Southwest Airlines mission statement reads:[1]

“Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.”

In this single statement, Southwest conveys the company’s goals of providing the highest level of customer service as well as providing a good working environment for their employees.

Mission Statement VS. Vision Statement

While the mission and vision statements are related, there are subtle but distinct differences the you should be aware of.

First of all, a mission statement is designed primarily as an internal company document. It provides clarity and direction for managers and employees.

While there’s nothing wrong with sharing your company’s mission statement with the outside world, its intended audience is within the company.

While a mission statement provides a general framework for the organization, the vision statement is usually a more inspirational statement designed to motivate employees and inspire customers. Going back to Southwest Airlines, their vision statement reads:[2]

“To become the world’s most loved, most flown, and most profitable airline.”

This statement inspires good feeling from the customer while motivating the employees to achieve that vision.

What Does a Good Mission Statement Look Like?

When coming up with a mission statement, it’s important to take your time and do it right. Too often, people (especially entrepreneurs) just write down the first thing that comes to mind and they end up with worthless or (worse yet) a generic mission statement that is utterly useless.

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Remember, a mission statement should provide a common framework for everyone in your organization.

When writing a mission statement, you should always try to incorporate the following;

  • What we do?
  • How we do it?
  • Whom do we do it for?
  • What value are we bringing?

Now, you can see how tempting it is to just come up with something generic that ticks off those four boxes. Something like “We provide the best widgets available online for the consumer.”

After all, that did check off all the boxes:

What we do? Provide widgets.

How we do it? Online.

Who do we do it for? The consumer.

What value we bring? The best widgets.

The problem with this mission statement is that it could apply to any number of companies producing the same widget. There is nothing to distinguish your company or its widgets from any of your competitors widgets.

Compare that mission statement to this one:

“We provide the highest quality widgets directly to the consumer at an affordable price backed up with a 100% satisfaction guarantee. If our clients aren’t 100% satisfied, we’ll make it right.”

What’s the difference?

Both mission statements answer all the same questions of what, how, whom and value. But in the second statement, they are differentiating their company from all other competitors by answering the question “what makes us unique”.

Another way to read that is, “Why you should buy from us.” In this example, it’s because our widgets are of the highest quality and we stand behind them 100%.

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You might have noticed the statement didn’t say that we sell widgets at the lowest possible price. That’s because we are emphasizing quality and satisfaction over price.

A different company’s mission statement may emphasize selling widgets at the lowest possible price with little to no mention of a guarantee.

Hallmarks of a Good Mission Statement

1. Keep It Brief

Your mission statement should be no longer than three sentences. This is not your company’s magnum opus.

You should be able to distill the what, how, who and why questions into a succinct message.

2. Have a Purpose

A company’s missions statement should include the reason it even exists.

Make clear exactly what the company does with statements like “We strive to provide our customers with …….”

3. Include a “How”

Take this as an opportunity to differentiate your company from its competitors.

How do you provide a product or service that’s different or better than how your competitor provides it?

4. Talk About the Value You Bring to the Table

This is where you can really set yourself apart from the competition. This is the “why” customers should buy from you.

Do you offer the lowest prices? Fastest delivery? Exceptional customer service? Whatever it is that sets you apart and gives your particular products, services or company an advantage talk about it in the mission statement.

5. Make Sure It’s Plausible

It’s okay to shoot for the stars just to settle for the moon, but not in a mission statement.

Being overly ambitious will only set you and your employees up for failure, hurt morale and make you lose credibility. You will also scare away potential investors if they think that you are not being realistic in your mission statement.

6. Make It Unique and Distinctive

Imagine if someone who knew nothing about your business walked in and saw how it was operating, then they read your mission statement. Would they be able to recognize that mission statement was attached to that business? If not re-work it.

7. Think Long Term

A mission statement should be narrow enough so that it provides a common framework for the existing business, but open enough to allow for longer term goals. It should be able to grow as the business grows.

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8. Get Feedback

This is very important, especially from managers and employees.

Getting their input can clarify how they currently see the company and their role within the organization. It’s also a good way to get people “on-board,” as studies show that people are more likely to go along with an idea if they feel included in the decision making process beforehand.

9. Review Often and Revise as Necessary

You should review the missions statement often for two reasons.

First, as a reminder of what the essence of the company is. It’s easy to forget when you are in the day to day grind of the business.

And two, to make sure that the mission statement is still relevant. Things change, and not everything can be anticipated at the time a mission statement was written.

For example, if a mission statement was written before the advent of the internet, a company that use to sell things door to door now probably has a website that people order from. You should always update the mission statement to reflect these changes.

The Value of Mission Statements: Why Go Through All of These in the First Place?

It may seem like a lot of work just for a few sentences that describe a company, but the value of a well written mission statement should not be discounted.

First of all, if you are an entrepreneur, crystallizing the what, how, whom and value questions will keep you focused on the core business and its values.

If you are a manager or other employee, knowing the company’s basic tenants will help inform your interactions with both customers and colleagues alike.

Strategic Planning

A relevant mission statement acts as a framework for strategic planning. It provides guidance and parameters for making strategic decisions for the future of the company.

Measuring Performance

By having the company’s mission in a concrete form, it also allows for an objective measurement of how well the organization is meeting its stated goals at any one time.

Management can identify strengths and weaknesses in the organization based on the criteria set forth in the mission statement and make decisions accordingly.

Solidifying the Company’s Goals and Values for Employees

Part of a well run organization is nurturing happy and productive employees.

As humans, we all have an innate need for both purpose and to be part of something larger than ourselves. Providing employees with a clearly defined mission statement helps to define their role in the larger organization. Thus, fulfilling both of these needs.

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Now I’m not saying that a mission statement can overcome low pay and poor working conditions, but with everything else being equal, it can contribute to a happier and more productive workforce.

To Hold Management Accountable

By creating a mission statement, a company is publicly stating its highest values and goals for the world to see. By doing so, you are inviting both the public and your employees to to scrutinize how well the company lives up to its ideals.

So if you state that you only provide the highest quality products, and then offer something less, it’s fair for both the public and the employees to question, and even call for a change in management.

If management doesn’t take the mission statement seriously, no one else will either; and the legitimate authority that management rely’s on will be diminished.

To Serve as an Example

This is the opposite side of the coin from the previous statement. If the highest levels of management are seen taking the mission statement seriously and actively managing within the framework of the statement, that attitude filters down throughout the organization.

After all, a good employee knows what’s important to their boss and will take the steps necessary to curry favor with them.

Finally, use the company’s mission statement as a way to define roles within the company. You can do this by giving each division in the company a copy of the mission statement and challenge the head of each division to create a mission statement for their respective departments.

Their individual mission statements should focus on how each department fits in and ultimately contributes to the success of the company’s overall mission statement. This serves as both a clarifying and a team building exercise for all parts of the organization.

Final Thoughts

Developing a mission statement is too often just an after-thought, especially for entrepreneurs. We tend to prioritize things that we perceive will give us the biggest “bang for our buck.”

Somehow, taking the time and effort to sit down and think seriously about the what, whom, how and value of our business seems like a waste of time. After all, we got in the business to make money and become successful, isn’t that all we need to know?

That mindset will probably get you started okay, but if you find yourself having any success at all, you’ll find that there really is such a thing as growing pains.

By putting in the time and effort to create a mission statement, you are laying the groundwork that will give you a path to follow in your growth. And isn’t building long term success what we are really after?

More Resources About Achieving Business Success

Featured photo credit: Fab Lentz via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Southwest Airlines: About Page
[2] Fit Small Business: 10 Vision Statement Examples To Spark Your Imagination

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