What Are You Reading? Why Does It Matter?

Career & Workplace

what are you reading? why does it matter?
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you’ll go.” —  Dr. Seuss, “I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!”
I tell my kids this all the time–the more you read, the smarter you’ll be, the places you’ll go, the people you’ll see. OK, so that’s my own little Dr. Seuss version of getting them interested in reading. Books and other reading material feed your intellect and affect the way you look at life. One recent buzz around Facebook was the challenge to list the ten books that have changed the way you look at life, right off the top of your head. Not classic books, or intellectual books, just the books you read that somehow lingered in your life. I made my list and it was super hard to keep it at ten. Librarians will tell you that people going through a crisis will often ask for books about someone going through a crisis because it helps to see how others cope with challenges.
In your career, reading a wide range of topics will give you a wide range of perspective on the way people think and strategies you can use for your advancement.  It’s like a balanced diet. You need stuff from every food group in order to be healthy and you need to read both fiction and non-fiction to have a healthy view of the world. There is a difference in quality when it comes to what you read. Just as there is a difference in quality of food; you will start to see that difference as your reading variety changes.
Reading anything regularly increases your ability to comprehend and articulate ideas. If what you read is well-written, it helps you develop a sense of spelling and grammar, which gives you a professional edge in your communication.
If you’re unemployed, I’d say it’s a good idea to read something work/career related every day. This is easy to do by subscribing to a few blogs, but working through a book is important. Blogs and websites like those on the Job Resources Page are carefully concentrated chunks of information like an energy bar; a book is like a banquet that has been planned and prepared by a chef.
Dr. Seuss is right: the more you learn, the more places you’ll go. Your career will be enhanced by reading regularly.

Resolution… or a commitment to ourselves?

Erin's MusingsWork/Family Balance

Last year I posted about not liking the term “resolution”–that I always seemed to fail miserably when I wrote down my New Years Resolutions, so instead I switched to ‘small attainable goals’. I can handle that. Like, ‘walk 20 minutes a day’, or ‘eat at least 2 vegetables a day’ (yes, V8 juice or a Bloody Mary counts), or ‘turn off the computer a half hour earlier than normal’.
So, I was thinking this year instead of making myself do things that I probably wouldn’t do ordinarily unless pressured (by resolutions for example), I would do more positive things for me.
2009 was a very, very busy year for me. I hired a savvy small business consultant who not only redesigned my website, but also taught me the value of developing partnerships, while helping me become more productive and efficient with my business processes. My business increased 500% in a matter of months. My work days went from 6 to 16 hours followed by about 4 hours of sleep. Spring turned to Summer, and Summer to Fall and I never set foot outside to enjoy the seasons. As thrilled as I have been by this whirlwind of success, I knew I needed to scale back and take a break. I would read tweets on Twitter that would leave me wailing, “How does she have time to do an HOUR of yoga? Or read a book? Who has AN HOUR??” Between work, home, children and family, there was time for nothing else. The pity party wasn’t pretty.
We all need time to ourselves. Time to decompress. Time to do whatever we want–watch TV, read a book, meet a friend for coffee or a meal, spend time with our families or our children, or do nothing at all. Time to ourselves. We don’t have to be super people. We get burned out and our focus becomes fuzzy, replaced with a burning desire to just rest. If we become deprived of it, our creativity, drive, and motivation recedes and we live life on autopilot. The more down time we can get in a day, the more balanced our lives will become.
So, I made a plan.

2010 would continue to bring in more business, but I would cut back. For my health. And my sanity.
First, my health. I gave up Aspartame. As addicted to Diet Coke and sweet-n-low as I was, I knew it was not healthy for me. Yes, sugar is bad too, but in my opinion, not as bad as Aspartame, so I will take the sugar instead. So far, so good. I will also walk or do exercise of some form every day to get the blood flowing. Sitting on my butt all day in front of the computer isn’t wonderful for the body either.
I also started drinking green tea. Frankly, I’m not quite sure what it is supposed to do for me, but if the world (and Dr. Oz) is raving about it, then it must be a good thing. So I got a pretty red tea kettle for Christmas, stocked up on green tea, and resolved to drink two cups a day. I am hoping my body is happy about it, but I think it’s too soon to tell.
Have you done something for your heath? A small change? Or something big? Can you feel a difference?
Second, down time. I used to be a reader… at least 4 books a week. In the last 6 months, I have read 2 books. Oh, the withdrawal symptoms I’d have. I’d pass by the book section at the supermarket and touch the covers, promising them I would be back to read them some day. Or I would buy them and then put it on the stack with the other untouched books. The last week of December I read a book. Now I am on #2 and darn happy. I feel more… relaxed, satisfied, balanced. It’s the little things.
Have you given yourself any down time lately? If you haven’t, do it now. Even if you are job searching. You can only search so many hours in a day. Take the rest of the time to rejuvenate your spirit by doing something you love. I promise you, you will go back to the job search the next day with a renewed passion for it.
Third, friends. I miss my friends. I need them around me. Being with friends uplifts me. We laugh til it hurts and we say what we want. After 10 hours of serving others (clients) all day, it is great to be with those who I can be myself with.
When is the last time you talked to, or spent time with a friend? Can’t remember? I know what you mean. Call them now and set up a time to get together.Not only is being with friends good for the soul, but it’s also a great networking tool. How many times have you talked to a friend and the conversation turned to work? Use those opportunities to let everyone know you are job searching.
New Years doesn’t have to be all about exercise and discipline and broken resolutions. It can be a commitment to yourself – to get yourself to a place where you are happy and contented again. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge what your body is telling you. The job or the job search will always be there the next day, so spend a few minutes doing something that makes you happy.
Happy New Year.   100_1864