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How to Become the MVE (Most Valuable Employee) for Your Organization

How to Become the MVE (Most Valuable Employee) for Your Organization

Most valuable employee

    Just because you read Lifehack and other sites that encourage you to start your own businesses and be out on your own as a entrepreneur, doesn’t mean that working for a small, medium, or large company is a bad thing. In fact, what if you actually like working for a corporation other than your own?

    There are definitely some benefits to working for a large company like access to more resources, often better benefits, and even access to smart individuals that have a ton of experience you can learn from.

    So, rather than all this hubbub of “company’s suck and you should quit and work for yourself”, how can you become your company’s MVE (most valuable employee)? Here are some ideas to get you started.

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    Get up and get moving

    One of the plagues of early morning work hours is the dreaded “dead hour”. This is the phenomena of the first hour of the work day is spent waking up, drinking a bunch of coffee, and lazily doing something. Some people love the early mornings because it is a great time to get stuff done, but it’s tough to do when you are slathering around with your eyes barely open.

    To fix this, try to get up about 30 minutes earlier everyday and go for a short walk outside, do some jumping jacks, squats, or stretches to get your blood flowing. Any exercising will do. This will ensure that the first hour at the office will be a productive one.

    Have a backlog of ideas

    If you are a knowledge worker, then your company is paying you for your ideas. Rather than rely on one or two played out ideas that got you into the company, you need to ensure that you have a backlog of them to keep yourself relevant as the company and the company’s goals may change.

    One of the best resources for helping you identify and develop ideas is Mark Levy’s (the man behind Accidental Genius) List-Making as a Tool of Thought Leadership ebook. Mark goes through the process and the reasoning on why we need to create ideas and have them at our disposal. This will not only make you more valuable, but will make your company more valuable in the process.

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    Accept and embrace change

    When I was working for a large insurance company, HR put on a presentation for the IT division about how to accept and embrace change. It was an OK presentation, but it made me think about why they were even putting it on in the first place, especially for IT. Were layoffs coming? Was there another reorganization brewing? Were we about to adopt a new technology that people were apprehensive about?

    It didn’t really matter what the change was. That was the point.

    To become an MVE you have to embrace change and become comfortable with it quickly. If your company is going to stay alive for any amount of time it will have to change positions, technologies, employees, rules and policies, systems, etc. Rather than sitting on the sidelines, try to spearhead this change and almost become an advocate for it.

    Another thing that you can do to embrace change is to constantly keep learning about your industry or career to hone and create new skills. There are so many people that don’t push themselves to learn after they have “learned everything they could know” in their current position. Don’t be this guy/girl. To become an MVE and a better human you should be continually learning.

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    Don’t buy into politics for the sake of politics

    One of the worst parts of a large company is their office politics and bureaucratic policies. Although playing the politics game at your company can help you move forward, you will most likely lose credibility and stature with fellow employees and colleagues because of your “company man” nature.

    Some political situations can’t be avoided, but to be an MVE you should try to avoid office politics as much as possible. Rather than going behind people’s backs or doing a favor for the right person, try to be open and transparent about your actions. This will help ensure that you are doing the right things for the right reasons with as little political actions as possible.

    Be honest

    Rather than letting “group-thought”, bad idea try to come to fruition, open your mouth and make your concerns known. If someone asks you your opinion, give it. Your company hired you for your perspective and expertise; don’t let it go to waste by not “upsetting the apple cart”.

    If someone has a good idea that isn’t getting heard, bring it out into the open and help them support it. If you are having trouble in your team with certain people, let your manager or even them know your problems. People mostly don’t like confrontation, but it’s a part of life and has to be dealt with before resentments and issues are built.

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    Also, being honest is all about knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Rather than act like you know how to do something and run the risk of doing that something incorrectly, make it known that you are not strong in a certain area. This will help with committing to time estimates on projects, or even the ability to take on a project.

    Becoming and MVE is hard work. It takes time, energy, smarts, and perseverance. Also, to become an MVE you have to not be afraid to make mistakes while you are bettering yourself and your company. So, instead of just floating buy in your large organization and being just “good enough”, apply these tips to become a most value employee at your company.

    (Photo credit: Business people going along via Shutterstock)

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    CM Smith

    A technologist and writer who shares advice on personal productivity, creativity and how to use technology to get things done.

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    Last Updated on April 6, 2020

    How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

    How to Make a Career Change at 50 for Great Opportunities

    Turning 50 is a milestone in anyone’s life, after all you are half way to 100! But seriously, turning 50 is often a time in life when people can sit back and take a look at where they’ve been and contemplate what the future holds.

    Can you change careers at 50? It’s not uncommon for people in their 50’s to consider a career change, after all if you’ve spent 20 to 30 years in a career, chances are that some of the bloom is off the rose.

    Often, when we are starting out in our 20’s, we choose a career path based on factors that are no longer relevant to us in our 50’s. Things like our parents’ expectations, a fast paced exciting lifestyle or the lure of making a lot of money can all be motivating factors in our 20’s.

    But in our 50’s, those have given way to other priorities. Things like the desire to spend more time with family and friends, a slower paced less stressful lifestyle, the need to care for a sick spouse or elderly parents can all contribute to wanting a career change in your 50’s.

    Just like any big life changing event, changing careers is scary. The good news is that just like most things we are scared of, the fear is mostly in our own head.

    Understanding how to go about a career change at 50 and what you can expect should help reduce the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

    What are Your Goals for a Career Change?

    As in any endeavor, having properly defined goals will help you to determine the best path to take.

    What are you looking for in a new career? Choosing a slower less stressful position that gives you more time with family and friends may sound ideal, but you’ll often find that you’re giving up some income and job satisfaction in the process.

    Conversely, if your goal is to quit a job that is sucking the life from your soul to pursue a lifelong passion. You might be trading quality time with family and friends for job satisfaction.

    Neither decision is wrong or bad, you just need to be aware of the potential pitfalls of any decision you make.

    Types of Career Changes at 50+

    There are four main types of career changes that people make in their 50’s. Each type has it’s unique set of challenges and will very in the degree of preparation required to make the change.

    Industry Career Change

    In this career change, a person remains in the same field but switches industries.

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    With an industry change, a person takes their set of skills and applies them to an industry that they have no previous experience in.

    An example would be a salesperson in the oil and gas industry becoming a salesperson for a media (advertising) company. They are taking their skill set (selling) and applying it to a different industry (media).

    This type of career change is best accomplished by doing a lot of homework on the industry you want to get into as well as networking within the industry.

    Functional Career Change

    A functional career change would be a change of careers within the same industry.

    For example, an accountant at a pharmaceutical company who changes careers to become a human resources manager. It may or may not be with the same company, but they remain within the pharmaceutical industry. In this case, they are leaving one set of skills behind (accounting) to develop a new set (human resource) within the same industry.

    In a functional career change, new or additional training as well as certifications may be required in order to make the switch. If you are considering a functional career change, you can start by getting any training or certifications needed either online, through trade associations or at your local community college.

    Double Career Change

    This is the most challenging career change of all. A person doing a double career change is switching both a career and an industry.

    An example of a double change would be an airline pilot quitting to pursue their dream of producing rock music. In that case, they are leaving both the aviation industry and a specific skill set (piloting) for a completely unrelated industry and career.

    When considering a double career change, start preparing by getting any needed training or certifications first. Then you can get your foot in the door by taking an apprenticeship or part time job.

    With a double change, it’s not uncommon to have to start out at the bottom as you are asking an employer to take a chance on someone without any experience or work history in the industry.

    Entrepreneurial Career Change

    Probably one of the most common career changes made by people in their 50’s is the entrepreneurial career change.

    After 20 to 30 years of working for “Corporate America”, a lot of people become disillusioned with the monotony, politics and inefficiency of the corporate world. Many of us dream of having our own business and being our own boss.

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    By this time in our life, we have saved some money and the financial pressures we had with young children have passed; so it’s a perfect time to spread our entrepreneurial wings.

    Entrepreneurial career changes can be within the same industry and using your existing knowledge and contacts to start a similar business competing within the same industry. Or it can be completely unrelated to your former industry and based on personal interests, passions or hobbies.

    A good example would be someone who played golf as a hobby starting an affiliate marketing website selling golf clubs. If you are considering an entrepreneurial career change, there are a lot of very good free resources available on the internet. Just be sure to do your homework.

    Practical Tips on Making a Career Change at 50+

    So you’ve decided to take the plunge and make a career switch in your 50’s. No matter what your reasons or what type of a career change you are embarking on, here are some helpful hints to make the transition easier:

    1. Deal with the Fear

    As stated earlier, any big life change comes with both fear and anxiety. Things never seem to go as smoothly as planned, you will always have bumps and roadblocks along the way. By recognizing this and even planning for it, you are less likely to let these issues derail your progress.

    If you find yourself becoming discouraged by all of the stumbling blocks, there are always resources to help. Contacting a career coach is a good place to start, they can help you with an overall strategy for your career change as well as the interview and hiring process, resume writing / updating and more. Just Google “Career Coach” for your options.

    I also recommend using the services of a professional counselor or therapist to help deal with the stress and anxiety of this major life event.

    It’s always good to have an unbiased third party to help you work through the problems that inevitably arise.

    2. Know Your “Why”

    It’s important that you have a clear understanding of the “why” you are making this career change. Is it to have more free time, reduce stress, follow a passion or be your own boss?

    Having a clear understanding of you personal “why” will influence every decision in this process. Knowing your “why” and keeping it in mind also serves as a motivator to help you reach your goals.

    3. Be Realistic

    Take an inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Are your organizational skills less than stellar? Then, becoming a wedding planner is probably not a good idea.

    This is an area where having honest outside input can be really helpful. Most of us are not very good at accurately assessing our abilities. It’s a universal human trait to exaggerate our abilities while diminishing our weaknesses.

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    Requesting honest feedback from friends and co-workers is a good place to start, but this is another area where a career coach can come in handy.

    4. Consider an Ad-Vocation

    Sometimes, making a career change all at once is just too big of a change. Issues like a severely reduced income, geography and lack of benefits can all be impediments to your career change. In those cases, you may want to start your new career as an ad-vocation.

    An ad-vocation is a second or ad-on vocation in addition to your primary vocation. Things like a part-time job, consulting or even a side business can all be ad-vocations.

    The benefit of having an ad-vocation is being able to build experience a reputation and contacts in the new field while maintaining all the benefits of your current job.

    5. Update Your Skills

    Whether it means acquiring new certifications or going back to school to get your cosmetology licence, having the right training is the foundation for a successful career change.

    The great thing about changing careers now is that almost any training or certifications needed can be free or at very little cost online. Check with trade associations, industry websites and discussion groups for any requirements you may need.

    Learn How to Cultivate Continuous Learning to Stay Competitive.

    6. Start Re-Branding Yourself Now

    Use the internet and social media to change the way you present yourself online.

    Changing your LinkedIn profile is a good way to show prospective employers that you are serious about a career change.

    Joining Facebook groups, trade associations and discussion boards as well as attending conventions is a great way to start building a network while you learn.

    Here’re some Personal Branding Basics You Need to Know for Career Success.

    7. Overhaul Your Resume

    Most of us have heard the advice to update our resume every six months, and most of us promptly ignore that advice and only update our resume when we need it.

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    When making a career change, updating is not enough; this calls for a complete overhaul of your resume. Chances are that your current resume was designed around your old career which may or may not apply to your new goals.

    Crafting a new resume emphasizing your strengths for the new position your looking for is key. There are many places that will help you craft a resume online and it is a service included with most career coaching services.

    8. Know Your Timeline

    There are a lot of factors when it comes to how long it will take to make the career change.

    Industry and Functional career changes tend to be the easiest to do and therefore can be accomplished in the shortest period of time. While the Double Career Change and the Entrepreneurial Career Change both require more effort and thus time.

    There are also personal factors involved in the time it will take to switch careers.

    Generally speaking the more you are willing to be flexible with both compensation and geography, the shorter time it will take to make the switch.

    Final Thoughts

    Changing careers at anytime can be stressful, but for those of us who are 50 or above, it can seem to be an overwhelming task fraught with pitfalls and self doubt.

    Prospective employers know the benefits that come with more mature employees. Things like a wealth of experience, a proven work history and deeper understanding of corporate culture are all things that older workers bring to the table.

    And while the younger generation may possess better computer or technical skills than us, if you’re willing to learn, there are a ton of free or nearly free resources available to you.

    Deciding on a career change at 50 is a great way to experience life on your own terms.

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    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

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