Monthly Archives: February 2015

American Heart Month: Relieving Stress at Work

reduce_stress_american_heart_month_webFebruary is American Heart Month, and if you don’t think heart disease affects your job or career, think again.

Cardiovascular disease and strokes create an economic burden for employers and employees alike. The American Heart Association (AHA) says that the total economic cost of heart disease in America in 2011 was $320 billion.

Medical costs of heart disease continue to grow, and by 2030 the costs associated with cardiovascular and stroke issues are expected top $918 billion.

What does this mean for you? In 2012, heart patients spent on average $4,349 on medical care due to heart-related issues, according to healthcare research organizations. The average hospital stay for a heart patient costs $20,758.

Staying Healthy
So how can you protect yourself from heart disease and prevent work loss or financial burden? According to the AHA, you can take several steps to improve your health and heart. Getting screened is important, and with health care so easily accessible, there’s no better time to get screened for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, and more. Eating right also helps cut your risk of cardiovascular disease. Incorporate healthy additions to your meals, like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, and grill instead of frying when you can.

Cut Out the Stress
While these are steps you can take at home, what can you do at work to help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease? One of the biggest factors in heart disease is stress. Stress not only makes you feel miserable, but it can do incredible damage to your long-term health. Meditation, relaxation techniques, counseling, and 30 to 60 minutes of exercise at least three days a week are proven methods to reduce stress.

Although it can be hard to pinpoint exactly what is causing your stress, there are common elements in our daily lives that may be to blame. Maybe you can’t say no to someone, even if what they are asking is too much for you to take on. Or, perhaps there is someone in your office who is constantly bringing you down with negativity. Learn to spot these stressors and turn them around before they become too much. Know your limits, eliminate stressful relationships, and analyze your list of priorities to distinguish between tasks that are necessary and those that aren’t.

Need more advice or guidance on keeping your heart healthy? Visit the American Heart Association at www.aha.org or the Centers for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov.

What are some ways you protect your heart health and de-stress at work? Share your advice in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Leadership Lessons from Popular Songs

leadership_lessons_from_popular_songs_webEvery day, the radio plays the hottest songs of the season, and while these songs entertain, they can also teach us a thing or two about leadership.

Leadership lessons from popular songs? Why not? When it comes down to it, everything can be a way to improve leadership skills. Some of these tunes have a deeper underlying theme that can help you find your steps and improve your life.

So, without further adieu, let’s find our leadership lessons in these popular songs.

1. “Shake it Off” by Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift manages to shake off the naysayers and bounce back bigger and better every time. You too can follow this example. You’ll have people trying to cut you down, hold you back, and make you feel less than perfect, but it’s your choice how to react. Everyone makes mistakes. Success comes from how you handle that mistake, and great leaders don’t let others bring them down. Concentrate on doing the best you can, learn from your mistakes, and strive to move on.

2. “I’m Not the Only One” by Sam Smith
This song is about listening to your instincts when something doesn’t feel right. In today’s world, the art of listening to your inner voice is sometimes nonexistent. However, knowing what’s in your heart can lead you on the right path. If something doesn’t feel legitimate or if you can’t trust who you are dealing with, you might want to keep your guard up. If you come across an opportunity, like a job posting, that feels good, explore it further. Research the company and learn about its culture, goals, and history. But, remember the age-old wisdom – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

3. “Ghost” by Ella Henderson
Sometimes we make mistakes or go through a bad time, and we can’t seem to let that mistake go. We keep “going to the river to pray” because we need something to wash the pain away, but it keeps haunting us. Ella makes a good point. She’s losing sleep, she’s dealing with the devil, and she’s still hurting. Maybe it’s time for you to give up the ghost. What has happened in the past cannot be changed, but dwelling on those destructive feelings can only cause more harm. Maybe you’ve had a bad job experience, or your interviews aren’t always going perfectly. Find a way to make peace with your past and enter the future with a bright, positive outlook.

4. “Moves Like Jagger” by Maroon 5
The first line of this popular song is “just shoot for the stars, if it feels right.” The boys from Maroon 5 have the right idea. If you have a dream and it feels right to you, then go for it. Consider what you want to accomplish and start making progress to reach your goals. If you want to start a side gig, switch careers, or go for a big promotion, you have to be the one to make it happen. Having dreams and goals are important, but so is believing in them. Every day, do something that helps you reach your goals.

5. “Superheroes” by the Script
As the lyrics say, “When you’ve been fighting for it all your life, you’ve been struggling to make things right, that’s how a superhero learns to fly, Every day, every hour, turn the pain into power.” This song teaches us to never give up and to always keep fighting for what is important. Challenges, victories, defeats, and experiences give us the tools to become superheroes, especially if you learn to turn pain into power. No matter what happens, you can overcome the difficulties and become a super leader to others. Take all your experiences and become stronger because of it.

Next time your favorite song comes on the radio, listen hard. You may learn a life lesson from simple lyrics.

Do you have a favorite song that inspires you as a leader? Share with us in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

The Results Are In: What Is the Key Factor That Contributes to Your Job Satisfaction?

results_job_satisfaction_webNow that 2015 is well underway, many job seekers are focusing on their goal of finding a job this year. As job search efforts increase, it’s important to recognize and understand the key factors that contribute to job satisfaction so you know that the job you’re trying to get is the right one for you. To help determine the factors that go into job satisfaction, we recently polled Movin’ On Up readers and the results are in!

Keys to Job Satisfaction
The most important factor that contributes to job satisfaction, according to 32% of poll respondents, is “engaging or meaningful work.” “Feeling valued” was a close second with 29% of the votes. “Job security” was the most important factor for 11% of respondents, while “compensation” and “room for advancement” received 10% and 7% of the votes, respectively. Only 4% of people considered “company benefits” to be a key factor in their job satisfaction, along with 2% of those who chose “leadership.”

Additionally, 5% of respondents selected the “Other” option in our poll and left responses including:

  • Efficient communication
  • Pleasant atmosphere
  • Co-workers and managers who are nice to work with
  • Good planning, organization, and control
  • Flexibility
  • Acquiring new skills
  • All of the above

What Leaders Think
Interestingly, it seems there may be a disconnect between a company’s decision makers and those trying to secure a job there. On Refresh Leadership, the Express blog for business leaders, we asked the same question and the results were very different. While 26% of leaders agree with job seekers that “engaging or meaningful work” is the most important factor in job satisfaction, that’s where the similarities end. In fact, while only 2% of Movin’ On Up readers said “leadership” was a key factor, 14% of employers chose this answer. Additionally, 19% of employers chose “compensation,” while only 10% of Movin’ On Up readers agreed, and “company benefits” gained 11% of employer votes, but only 4% of job seeker votes.

Your Job Search
Though there does seem to be a divide between what business leaders and job seekers value most when it comes to job satisfaction, you should keep these results in mind when you’re looking for a job. Were you one of the majority of respondents who selected “engaging or meaningful work” as the key factor to your job satisfaction? If so, try to use this as a determining factor in your job search. For example, if you are interviewing with a company, ask the interviewer what he or she enjoys most about their job. Look for ways that the job can inspire you or help you give back to the community. If you chose “leadership” or “room for advancement,” you can inquire about these elements of the job during an interview by asking questions that show your interest in the position. You may even be able to determine some factors, such as compensation and company benefits, through the job posting. While getting a job is a nice start to the year, ensuring that you’ll be satisfied with your work is even better.

How do you plan to use these results to help with your job search? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

How To Love Your Job, Even On Mondays

how_to_love_your_job_webDuring the month of February, there is a lot of talk about love. But anyone who’s been in a relationship for a long period of time can tell you that there is a point where love becomes a choice. When the butterflies and honeymoon phases fade away, that’s where the work begins. And loving your job is no different.

The idea of someone loving their job can seem like a far-fetched dream. But the good news is that it just requires a person to keep working at it. “You don’t have to quit,” encourages a Fast Company article. “It is possible to rekindle that old spark.” Here are three helpful tips to keep your love for your job alive, even on Mondays.

Make a List
Every job has positive aspects to it, even if they don’t immediately come to mind. Take a few minutes and list out the good things about your job. Do you have fun co-workers, bring home a paycheck, have health insurance, or enjoy your projects? If the answer is yes, write it down. What about a flexible schedule, holidays off, travel opportunities, or an up-to-date computer? Those are all positives too.

Once you have some items on your list, post it where you can easily see it. You can always add more to it whenever you discover another aspect of your job you love. Then, when you’re having a tough start to the week or just struggling with liking your job, you can read through the list and give your attitude a boost.

Discover What You Can Change
As a Forbes article about loving your job pointed out, “boredom is often at the root of unhappiness at work.” It’s up to you to discover what areas you’re dissatisfied or bored with, and then map out a way to make some changes. “Challenge yourself to look for one area that would give you more joy at work and then make it happen.” It could be as simple as rearranging, decluttering, and decorating your desk space. Or perhaps it might be training yourself to do one of your tasks more effectively. Another aspect of this is seeking out new responsibilities. Forbes recommends that you “keep your ear to the ground to get the scoop on positions opening up or emerging projects — even if they’re short-term. Then throw your name into the hat.”

Remember Your End Goal
In the day-to-day distractions, it’s easy to forget your bigger purpose. But think back to when you first took this job. Most likely you were excited, and that’s probably because the job was a step toward a goal. Whatever that goal was – money to buy a house, getting your foot in the door at a great company, learning more about an industry that interests you – try and remember it. You’re at your job for a reason, and while this particular stretch of your journey may not be your favorite, take joy in the fact that you’re at least working toward your goal.

No one wants to be in a job they hate. After all, if you’re going to spend the majority of your waking hours at work, life will be much more enjoyable if you love your job. And that’s not an unrealistic dream. “Loving work is not as much a pipe dream as winning the lottery – it’s something far easier to achieve,” the Inc. article explains. “Loving your job is a skill and a practice,” so all you have to do is work at it.

What tips do you have for enjoying your job? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

What to Expect From Your Mentorship

what_to_expect_mentorship_webSo, you have a mentor. Whether they’re a personal, business, or school mentor, you’re lucky to now be in a relationship that can help you grow and succeed in your professional and personal life.

Like all relationships, both sides have responsibilities. It’s important to remember that the mentor doesn’t do all the work – you have to put in your own level of effort and time too. Your mentor takes an active role in guiding and helping you, but you also have to let them know about what you want to learn, your challenges, your hopes, and more.

What To Expect From Your Mentor
Let’s talk about what a mentor actually does. A mentor will:

  • Offer encouragement and ongoing support
  • Listen to things that are worrying you and give constructive, unbiased support
  • Share stories and examples of their own failures and victories
  • Provide honest feedback and suggestions
  • Act as a sounding board for ideas and dreams
  • Help with making decisions by offering alternative views based on experience
  • Introduce you to contacts to further your personal and business development

So, that’s what a mentor does. Now, let’s take a look at what a mentor does not do. Your mentor will not:

  • Be your own private counselor or therapist
  • Give you specific business advice, like tax or legal help
  • Provide a free training course
  • Be responsible for the success of your business, schoolwork, etc.
  • Be expected to support you financially

What is Your Role in the Relationship?
Recently, we’ve talked a lot about mentors and how valuable they are. In this type of relationship, you have a role to play as well. So, what is expected from you as a mentee?

A mentee is expected to:

  • Be organized and proactive about asking for advice and sharing needs
  • Come prepared to meetings and arrive on time
  • Follow up with assignments or tasks related to the mentorship
  • Discuss how the mentor can challenge him or her to grow and develop strengths
  • Take constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is given
  • Demonstrate listening skills

Think of mentorships as a friendship. Mentors should genuinely care about how to help you reach your goals or be successful. In turn, your role as a mentee means you make an effort to appreciate the time and care your mentor gives to you.

What are some other responsibilities a mentee has to his or her mentor? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.