This book is based on my experience as the daughter of a sharecropper, farm laborer, entrepreneur, business owner, employer, corporate manager, corporate university instructor, and personal-development and employment coach.
“This personal development guide is an excellent resource for people seeking to improve their lives through the cultivation of a marketable professional image to advance in an organization or conduct a successful job search.”
Are you a student, first-time job seeker, stay-at-home parent returning to the workplace, someone between jobs, or someone seeking a promotion? Country Value … City Wise: Lessons in Personal Development and Workplace Savvy describes real peopleís work-life challenges, and successes. It provides concrete advice on what to do, why to do it, and how to do it. It will also explain what not to do, and the positive and negative consequences peopleís actions had on their work-life success.
This book is a personal-development toolkit to develop soft skills and a marketable professional image to enhance a job search, promotional opportunity, and life in general. My definition of “soft skills” incorporates personal presentation skills, professional image subtleties, and workplace savvy not evident to all people. I believe soft skills help a person better relate to others, helping the person build a reputation as a valued family member, friend, colleague, employee, entrepreneur, and/or business owner. When these soft skills are present, they are hardly noticed … yet, when these skills are missing, everyone notices.
For over twenty years, I have developed and taught workshops and coached people on many aspects of personal and professional development in three different business venues. Each venue enhanced my knowledge of personal branding; internal and external customer relations; core values; communication skills; manners and etiquette; professional appearance; appropriate workplace wardrobe; and job-search strategies, including interviewing. My work experience is described in the following three paragraphs.
I was an entrepreneur and owner of the first Color Me Beautiful retail store and image-consulting business in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. I was also recognized as an Illinois Outstanding Working Woman. My friends and colleagues encouraged me to write my story: the tale of a farm girl who became a city businesswoman. They suggested that I describe how I built and sold a business with ten thousand satisfied customers, including both individuals and corporate clients.
As an image manager for Disneyland Resort, I managed the communication and education policies and procedures pertaining to the Disney look for eleven thousand cast members (the Disney term for employees). I designed and taught a six-part series on personal development available to hourly cast members transitioning to entry-level management positions. I also taught a Professional Image workshop for the Disney Universityís leadership development series and coached the annual Disneyland Ambassador team. One Disney human-resource development (HRD) manager asked if I could capture on paper what I did to garner respect and build long-term relationships with thousands of Disneyland Resort and Disneyland International cast members, from hourly employees to the executive team. This manager said my information would be a great module to add to the Disney Universityís Leadership Development series.
Colleagues at the JobLink Career Center of Blue Ridge Community College encouraged me to write a booklet on all I did to give hope and help to thousands of people during their job search. Team members from partner agencies coined the phrase “WWFD, WWT”: “What would Frankie do? We would too.” This phrase made everyone chuckle and ask: “What would you do?”
After much time and reflection, I responded to my friends and colleaguesí encouragement and wrote my story. This book is based on my experience as the daughter of a sharecropper, farm laborer, entrepreneur, business owner, employer, corporate manager, corporate university instructor, and personal-development and employment coach. The workplace stories, observations, and lessons learned illustrate the many small touches that make a big difference in the quality of peopleís lives and their workplace success. Important insights and subtleties are positioned between three asterisks (***) and recapped at the end of each chapter.
Memories and perceptions from my childhood and my journey from the farm to Disneyland Resort are highlighted in chapter 1. These experiences provide insight into how my values were established, and how my personal and professional development progressed. I hope you personally benefit from each chapterís stories and concrete advice on how to develop a marketable professional image for your work and life success.