Tag Archives: professional development

ON THE FRONTLINE: Getting Unstuck

By Cindy Campbell

I RECENTLY READ AN INTERESTING statement in an online forum: “You know when you order a new item off the menu and you don’t really like it but you keep eating it—and every bite you’re like, ‘Nope, this is awful, but I already committed to it.’ Yeah, some of us are doing that in our careers.”

This statement reminds me of many discussions I’ve had with colleagues through the years. Perhaps someone you know has talked to you about their job dissatisfaction or maybe you’ve personally experi­enced this feeling. Whenever someone stays in a job long after they should have identified a new profes­sional path for themselves, you have to wonder what’s keeping them from seeking new opportunities where they might actually find both personal and profession­al satisfaction.

Finding a Good Fit

Why do we stay in a work environment where we’re not blooming? Frequently, we stay for the money. Fi­nancial stability is important, but we step into danger­ous territory when money becomes our sole reason for staying in a bad work situation. It happens all too frequently—health and happiness are sacrificed for money. Health issues related to work stress and job dissatisfaction can include high blood pressure, heart and circulatory issues, sleep issues, migraines, depres­sion, ulcers, and obesity, to name just a few.

If any of these sound familiar, I have a couple of questions for you to consider: Do you recall the last time you felt like you had a great day at work? Do you remember what it feels like to enjoy your work? Let me be clear: There isn’t a job that exists where every day at the office will be fulfilling or fun, but life is too short to work in a position that never brings satisfac­tion. If this is sounding uncomfortably familiar, per­haps it’s time to think about employment options.

Getting Unstuck

Nothing will change without first making the conscious decision to do something different, but how do you go about it? Here are some things to consider if you’re looking to make a job change:

The grass isn’t always greener. Let’s start this conversation with a dose of re­ality: A 2016 study found more than 50 percent of American workers dislike their current jobs. (You are truly not alone.) Keep in mind that all jobs have their high and low points. Before deciding to make a career change, make sure your attitude and outlook aren’t major stumbling blocks. If you’re starting off the day believing it’s going to be bad, it can quickly become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even that dream job won’t seem so dreamy if you have a perpetually negative attitude.

Invest in yourself. Are you prepared for that next step? There are employment options every day in the mobility industry. If you’re concerned that your current qualifications won’t get you where you want to be, hold off on the job search until you can pres­ent yourself in the best possible light. IPMI offers a full array of professional development options. Are you a CAPP? If you haven’t taken this career enhanc­ing step, maybe it’s time (see parking-mobility.org/capp for information). You can also take advantage of the CAPP Mentor Program to help you along the way.

Follow the leader. Before you can chart your course, it’s helpful to know how someone else achieved their professional goals. Who has a job you aspire to? How did that person land their current position? You’d be surprised how willing colleagues are to share their stories and to help you achieve your goals.

Bottom line: If you find yourself spending the majority of your time feeling frustrated and unsatis­fied with your current position, perhaps it’s time to consider revisiting your priorities. Believe me—your life is worth it.

Read the article here.

CINDY CAMPBELL is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist. She is available for onsite training and professional development and can be reached at campbell@parking-mobility.org.

Challenges, Solutions, and Tenacity

By Cindy Campbell

Did you make it out to Anaheim? I hope you did.

The 2019 IPMI Conference & Expo wrapped up just more than a week ago. As a member of the IPMI team, my role is to assist attendees with education sessions and to make the annual event a positive and meaningful experience for everyone. Even though I’m on staff, the reality is that I’m still just a parking girl, hoping for a great conference event–and I sure found it in Anaheim.

From the welcoming event block party to the general sessions, the education sessions and Shoptalks, and of course, the always phenomenal Expo, I’m hoping you share my observation that it accomplished the mission to enlighten and inspire our industry.

What was the hot topic “du jour” for you this year? There are always several that rise to the top, but the one that I heard most about probably won’t surprise you at all: curb management. There were various education sessions, group discussions, and solution-based inquiries around the Expo hall–most of the industry is challenged at some level by the ever-changing role of the curb and how we facilitate and manage that finite space for optimal effectiveness. An ongoing challenge for sure, but I have great faith in both the industry thought leaders and our broader membership. We’re a tenacious lot that seems to appreciate a good challenge. Technologies, policies, case studies, and lessons learned: Our colleagues never seem to shy away from sharing what’s worked and what hasn’t, and that’s not an attitude that every industry enjoys.

Yes, we’re a lucky bunch, we parking and mobility professionals. Always willing to share, to learn, and to help. All you have to do is ask.

Looking forward to doing it all again next year in San Antonio.

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist.

The Recombobulation Zone

By Cindy Campbell

I fully admit that I’m a strange one. Example: Two of my favorite things in this world are analogies and people watching at airports. During a recent trip through a metropolitan airport, I discovered a place where these two favorites collide.

Welcome to the Recombobulation Area. Wait, what?

Curiosity (combined with a four-hour layover) prompted me to explore what lay beyond the overhead sign. What the heck is a recombobulation area and who’s using it? Off to the left as I entered the room, a young family looked to be reassembling their toddler’s exploded suitcase. Straight ahead, three other tourists appeared to be packing too many souvenirs into various carry-on bags. My take on the situation was that these travelers recognized their own mini-disasters and decided to take the opportunity to fix things before they continued their travels. It’s likely this action helped reduce their individual travel tension and may have made the rest of their travel day less stressful. And this is where my fondness for analogies comes into play.

In life, it’s inevitable that each of us will encounter some amount of chaos. Frequently, our ability to move forward depends on our capability to stop and regroup before we proceed. To recombobulate means to reorient, to put back in to working order, to think clearly again. The concept seems like an obvious choice, yet we often fail to recognize our own counterproductive behaviors when stress-inducing obstacles appear in our path.

Investing our time and energy in panic can be self-defeating. The next time you find yourself knee-deep in chaos, take a deep breath and recombobulate–with or without an official zone.

Cindy Campbell is IPMI’s senior training and development specialist.

Reaching Out

By Mary Mabry, CAPP

When we discuss why parking, mobility and transportation industry professionals love what they do, it involves many aspects of what I term conflict resolution. In my conversations with numerous professionals, I have heard how difficult it is to maneuver opportunities, provide options, and stay on top of what individuals or groups feel is a travesty as far as their idea of convenient parking is concerned.

Those of us who have been in the industry awhile know we have resources and knowledgeable professionals who have been there, done that, and have the T-shirt. I have found they are always happy to share their solutions. However, what do our newer industry co-workers do? In my opinion, the first step should be to reach out to their state  or regional association–each group has a vast amount of resources and networking opportunities.

Next would be to look at additional options to develop those relationships and grow your resource pool. For me, that was my introduction to IPMI and my first class toward obtaining my CAPP certification. On my first day, walking out to go to lunch, I called my boss to thank him for allowing me to attend. He knew I struggled daily trying to fit into the mold of management, working under the police side, meeting the needs of the university campus community, and working in a gray area. My first words to him were, “I have found a new group of individuals who understand me, who actually relate to me and my job, and have opened up so many doors for me that I feel like I belong here.”

For some professionals, this may be a bit over the top but for those  who struggle trying developing the middle ground of conflict resolution,  you know how difficult this can be. If no one has told you or involved you, please know we are all here to help each other and reach out. That is what is so special and amazing about this profession and industry.

Mary Mabry, CAPP, is product manager/client advocate-parking solutions, with Cardinal Tracking, Inc.

CAPP Compadres, Part Two

By Tiffany Brander

In an earlier post, you heard from my friend and CAPP Mentor Casey Jones, CAPP, who began sharing our CAPP Mentor Program experience. In this post, I’ll discuss why I’ve chosen to pursue my CAPP as well as apply for the Mentor Program.

When I joined the Missoula Parking Commission in November 2015, I really didn’t have an interest in parking other than avoiding meter violations; I was just excited about a municipal management opportunity. Looking back, it’s almost funny to think how quickly that changed. The parking and transportation industry is complex, fascinating, and affects so many different facets of everyday life—how could I not get hooked?

When I first learned about CAPP certification at the 2016 IPMI Conference & Expo, I knew that if I wanted to get serious about a career in the industry I had just found a passion for, I needed to dedicate a pathway to achieving my CAPP credential. I started taking online courses through the IPMI website and enjoyed a variety of educational opportunities at the IPMI Conference & Expo. Along the way, I have had the opportunity to network with and learn from members of the CAPP community who were always more than willing to answer questions, offer advice, and share stories of successes and misfortunes. It was this willingness to share and support one another that made the CAPP Mentor Program appeal to me. Working with Casey through the CAPP Mentor Program has helped me set and stay focused on CAPP goals, determine areas of weakness to focus on, and made me more confident in my ability to prepare for the CAPP exam.

I am hopeful this post will inspire others to join the CAPP Mentor Program and am happy to share my experience with those looking for further information.

Tiffany Brander is interim parking services director with the Missoula Parking Commission, an Accredited Parking Organization (APO).

Me, Inc.

By Justin L. Grunert MSM.

I am coming up on my first work anniversary at IPMI. After a year of working with great members and great coworkers and working for great bosses, I’ve been reflecting on the fact that I am very fortunate to have a work environment/culture that supports my personal and professional development and appreciates my hard work.

With that being said, we should always treat ourselves as a company of one. The best advice given to me recently is that one should think about oneself as an individual company and consider what actions we can take to set ourselves up for success while working for our employers.

I want to encourage each of our members to think about your own path. Do you want to get a raise or a promotion, or do you want to switch departments to learn new skills? What actions can you take today, tomorrow, or in the future to make both your employer and your “company of one” a success?

I went back to school. Not once, but twice. I had a great retail job but when the economy went south and my old company (Blockbuster Video) started closing stores, I was scared and not sure if my store would be next. With some encouragement, I took the necessary steps to ensure my success. I went back to school and earned my bachelor’s degree. Although I was financially successful, I wasn’t extremely happy in my career and decided to take the next steps and went back to school again for my master’s degree. Now I work for a great organization with fantastic coworkers and members.

I encourage everyone to learn a new skill, take a class, earn a certification, and create your own options to ensure the success of your own future.

Justin L. Grunert, MSM, is IPMI’s LMS and training coordinator.

Four Tips to Achieve Your Goals

By Vicki Pero, SPHR

As a new year begins, many people and organizations are focused on goal setting. Often, sometime in the first few months of the year, goals are modified or abandoned because we’ve fallen off track and achieving them seems out of reach. Instead of sharing a bunch of tips on how to set goals, here are a few strategies to help achieve them.

1: Write Down Your Goals.

Research has shown that simply writing down your goals will increase the likelihood of achievement by as much as 42 percent. There is something about putting goals to paper that increases accountability. It also offers a point of reference to go back to and refresh yourself on your commitments.

2: Don’t Try to Eat the Elephant in One Bite.

One of the biggest pitfalls people fall into when setting goals is making them extremely challenging, which sets us up for failure. If you set a goal to go to the gym every day, for example, the first day you are too busy, have a head cold, or some other life event, it’s no longer possible to achieve, and this can be self-defeating.

Set smaller, more attainable goals that will lead to the bigger achievement you are working toward. You will gain momentum as you go and increase the likelihood of achieving your bigger-picture objective.

3: Less is More.

On the theme of avoiding over-commitment, don’t set too many goals at one time. One to three goals strikes a good balance. Anything more than this dilutes focus and jeopardizes the chance you will complete any of them. If you’re not convinced, read “The Four Disciplines of Execution.”

4: Celebrate Successes.

Most of us are really good at beating ourselves up when we don’t achieve a goal, but move right on to the next thing when we have a success. Take a moment to recognize when you achieve a milestone or achieve a goal. Even identify a reward for yourself for when you achieve a goal and follow through when you succeed.

Think of these tips as building blocks in your strategy to achieve your goals. Using any one or any combination of them will help you to make sure 2019 is a success personally and professionally!

Vicki Pero, SPHR, is principal with Marlyn Group.

“But is it worth it?” The Unseen ROI of Leadership Skills

By Rita Pagan

Many organizations spend thousands of dollars on professional development for their employees to master skills they think employees can immediately apply to their job and affect the bottom line. But do they truly understand the benefits of investing in leadership skills? And for more than just leaders? According to the Harvard Business Review, studies show companies with outstanding leadership teams outperform other organizations by 19 percent.

Here are a few leadership skills that can immediately benefit any organization:

Teamwork makes the dream work! Learning how to effectively manage a team and drive teamwork is a skill that immediate benefits any organization. Sounds cheesy but when you have an effective team, anything can be accomplished. Investing in teaching employees how to work as a team can benefit everyone at any level, especially with many organizations implementing work-from-home policies.

Develop your self-awareness. Self-awareness allows leaders to identify the gaps in their management skills and uncover the areas in which they are most effective and those where they need a little help. Chances are, your coworkers are better at rating some parts of your personality than you are. Attending leadership events or workshops might make you have one of those ah-ha moments! I’ve had at least one of those at every leadership conference I’ve been to recently–one where I have to stop myself from yelling “OMG, that’s me!” out loud. In a room full of 100 other people.

Trust & Transparency. When an organization is more transparent with their employees, it tends to be more successful. This type of environment leaves employees feeling valued. They are encouraged to be creative and share their input. When an organization is not fostering trust, this can lead to misinformation, employee turnover and role confusion.

What are some results you’ve experienced from attending a leadership conference?

Rita Pagan is IPMI’s sales and exhibits coordinator and a lead planner for IPMI’s own professional development leadership event coming next fall in Pittsburgh, Pa.