Monday, September 30, 2013


So here you are, focused on your vision. You took a new position that is going to bring you closer to your goals. Everything is perfect and in place. And then… you are thrown a curve ball. The CEO leaves the company and the job you moved for has been eliminated. This happened to me shortly after joining a company. I was offered another role, but it would move me far away from my vision. In fact, the move would have set me back years. I am not going to pretend I wasn’t disappointed in the changes that transpired. The company I was working for at the time didn’t seem to understand why I was dissatisfied with their alternative offer. I considered my options and decided it was better for me to leave the company rather than stay in a role that pulled me further away from my vision. I am sure that was not the story book ending you were hoping to hear from a career coach, but it was what I needed to do.

Alternatively, I had a client who experienced something similar. Unfortunately, she was not able to walk away as easily as I was. She had a family to support and needed to make both her job and vision work despite the change in direction from her company. Working together, we were able to craft a plan where her vision would be attainable.  We reframed her new role and department in terms of her vision. She presented her ideas to the company in a way that not only would benefit her, but also the company. It was a win-win.

When you experience unexpected and unwelcomed change, how can you reframe to make the most of it? Where have you seen examples of this in your professional career? Who have you worked with that is a good balance of pragmatic and opportunistic? How can you influence your current situation to bring you closer towards your vision?

To learn more about career coach Kate Kibler, go to

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Checking in on your vision

I have a vision… admittedly it changes about every four to five years as I learn more about myself and my career. In 2011 I was looking to make a job switch. I had lived in New York City for the last fourteen years and that is where I focused my job search. In 1997 when I first moved to New York City, New York City was part of my life’s vision. Fast forward to 2011 and I realized I was looking exclusively for a job in New York because of an old way of thinking. My life had changed. My vision had changed and I wasn't paying attention. I had no reason to limit my job search to New York. In fact, my new life vision led me to intentionally seek a change in location. Sometimes we get so caught up in our daily lives we forget to look towards our future and think about what we really want.

In my previous post, I talked about the importance of having a vision. What I did not mention was how important it is to occasionally check up on your vision. A vision doesn't need to be static. You can add to it, change it, check in and make sure it is still applicable to your life. I would challenge everyone reading to spend time and energy on knowing your vision before making any big decisions. Contacting a career coach is a great way to do just that (forgive my shameless plug).

When was the last time you checked in to make sure your vision is still relevant? What decisions have you made because of an outdated way of thinking? What circumstances have changed in your life that may affect your vision? How can you be sure your vision matches what you currently value? 

Contact Career Coach Kate Kibler at: 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Reputation - Do you know yours?

By definition reputation is a noun.   The beliefs or opinions that are generally held about someone or something.

Reputation can make or break career growth.   When candidates are up for promotion or interviewing for a new role the reputation they have is a factor in whether they are selected. 

When talking about reputation in the work place it is usually based on qualities like honesty, respectfulness, effectiveness, even tempered, fairness, solidarity, helpfulness and being collaborative.  A long list of behavior qualities that can’t be measured with financial metrics but they are very important.

Much of the time when we do reference checks or hiring managers call a colleague to inquire whether a candidate might be a fit for a role, it is these behavior qualities that are discussed. 

I have had an employer not move forward with a candidate because they were told a leader was “not respectful but condescending to their team”.  I had one executive level candidate find out a former colleague was saying bad things about her in the industry and the candidate felt that it may be the reason that she was not getting selected for new opportunities.  In the candidate’s opinion the feedback was coming from jealousy and not valid or factual.  The subject of reputation can be based on office drama and politics, it is opinion and it can be unfair.  So what do we do?  Not everyone we work with is going to like us and we can’t kill ourselves trying….that would not be effective.

The people I have seen with excellent reputations stay focused on a couple of simple things.  They focus on delivering the quantifiable objectives of the job.  They work to achieve those objectives in an honest and respectful manner.  There are and should be disagreements at work.  When you disagree stay focused on working toward the solution vs. winning your point of view.  Stay calm and professional.  If things get heated, then take a break and regroup at a later time.  

What do you think your reputation is at your company?  Have you ever been asked to weigh in on someone else’s reputation? 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


One of the most important aspects in building a career is having a vision. I don’t just mean a career vision; I mean a vision for your life. The reason I insist on coaching clients before offering consulting services is because I want the client to build the path to his/her vision. With a vision in sight, all of a client’s energy can focus on how to get to the vision. 

It may sound a little silly if you are not familiar with the concept, but think about it for a minute. If you are interviewing and offered a choice of two different positions with different salaries and different companies, how would you know which to choose? If you have a vision, the vision will guide your answer. For example, if you are focused on your family, live an hour from work and your vision insists that you spend more time with your kids, you may choose the lower paying job at the less prestigious company if the hours would allow you to spend more time at home. If your vision has you as a future CEO at a top tier company, you may choose the company with a better reputation for career development regardless of the salary.

How has your vision effected your career decision making? Where can your vision help lead your career? What can you do to start building a vision today?

To learn more about career coaching, go to

Monday, September 16, 2013

Three post vision series

My next three posts will be a series dedicated to vision. Vision is often discussed in the fashion industry as a topic relating to the product or brand. I don’t think I have ever heard anyone talk about an employee’s life or career vision in the twenty years I have worked in the retail industry. Managers tend to talk about career goals or may ask where an employee wants to be in 5-10 years. Goals and planning for the future are very different than building a vision. As a career coach, defining and understanding a client’s vision is a big part of what I do… helping them get there is the other half of the process. 

To learn more about career coaching check out

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Never look for a job when you are unhappy

Never look for a job when you are unhappy. It was some of the best career advice I have ever received. At first it sounds counter-intuitive, but if you think about it, it makes sense. Although I had this advice in hand, I once decided to interview while unhappy in a past job. It didn’t go so well. I had a hard time articulating in interviews why I was looking for a new job while staying positive. I tried my hand at another interview and was tempted to accept a position that would not have been right for me. When people are unhappy, they tend to make bad decisions. With the words ‘never look for a job while you are unhappy’ echoing in my head, I quickly decided to hold off on my job search. Instead, I spent that energy trying to make my job at the time work.

With a renewed sense of purpose, I did make that job work. I re-dedicated my time and energy to building my career where I was. After spending another four years at that company, I moved on. When I made the change, it wasn’t because I was sad with my old job; it was because I was excited for a new challenge.
How can you decide if it is time to look for a new job? How would you classify your current career happiness? What can you do to boost your career in your current company? What are the reasons you would consider moving to a new company? Are you running away from something or running towards something? Would the job you are interviewing for be attractive if you were happy in your current position?

To learn more about career coach Kate Kibler, go to

Monday, September 9, 2013

Aesthetic. A Beautiful Principle.

In our industry aesthetic is often used as a candidate evaluation.  This can be tricky because aesthetic is very subjective and fluid. 

It can be an adjective;  concerned with beauty or the appreciation of beauty.   "the paintings give deep aesthetic pleasure"

In the case of a quality sought in candidates it is a noun;  a set of principles underlying and guiding the work of a particular artist or artistic movement.  " she has a very goth aesthetic"

Aesthetic is a quality often evaluated in Design and Merchandising candidates.  A Designer’s aesthetic can be evaluated based on their portfolios.  Aesthetic can also be evaluated based on how a candidate dresses and presents themselves during the interview, or on their social/professional media space.  Interview questions can be asked to evaluate a candidate's aesthetic.    What brands do you think look the best this season?   What is your very favorite piece of clothing? 

Aesthetic has a huge span in fashion.   It is one of the many things that makes apparel so interesting.  Gap Kids and Justice have an entirely different aesthetic in girl’s clothing.   Some brands have a very clear aesthetic and some struggle with consistency.   If you are thinking about joining a brand it will be important that you understand their aesthetic.  What space are they in?  Is this where they want to be or are they trying to change the aesthetic?

Hiring managers are usually most comfortable selecting talent with a personal aesthetic that is aligned with the brand aesthetic. 

How important do you think aesthetic is as a candidate quality?   Can a person change their aesthetic?  (I have to hope so based on how I dressed in the 80’s.) What brands does your personal aesthetic align with?   What are some ways to determine whether aesthetic is a fit in the most objective way?

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Making mistakes

I make mistakes. Everyone makes mistakes. Think of a situation where a coworker recently made a mistake. Then think of the possible reactions from your coworker once s/he realizes the mistake:

Scenario 1: S/he denies accountability and makes excuses why the mistake happened.

Scenario 2: S/he hides the mistake. You knew it happened, but the mistake was never acknowledged.

Scenario 3: S/he takes responsibility, apologizes for the mistake and asks for your help to solve the problem.

Scenario 4: S/he admits the mistake and suggests solutions on how to correct.

I’m not sure about you, but I want to be the person in scenario 4. I want to work with the person in scenario 3 or 4. Who do you want to be? Who doesn't make mistakes? What defines your career is how you handle those mistakes.

If you want to learn more about career coaching go to