Three Things to Do When You Land Your Career Job



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Individuals entering the workforce for the first time share similar ideas about what a new job will mean to their life. Most hope for competitive pay, meaningful work, and independence. While all that is obtainable, it is difficult to gain immediately. But by keeping a few thoughts in mind, young professionals can enter their first year in a new career with as much ease, and success, as possible.

Spend Wisely.
First things first, realize that although you may be making more money, you don’t have to act like it. Remember that with your new paycheck comes a great opportunity to spend the money you earn wisely. Work toward paying off loans, investing in a suitable work wardrobe, and saving. Practicing discretion with your cash flow from the beginning is a great step in your future financial planning.

Prove Yourself.
Secondly, understand that although you are now in the workforce, you still have a long way to go. Young professionals must continue to prove themselves to employers and coworkers, even after they’ve been given a job. Persevere despite others questioning your ability. Challenge yourself, and your coworkers, by sharing ideas, being proactive, and offering others help when you can. Once you show your boss you are reliable, you will be well on your way to gaining more respect and responsibility from those around you.

Prioritize.
The biggest surprise many young professionals face is the amount of time a new career can take. If your job has traditional 8 to 5 business hours this can be quite a change from a flexible retail or school schedule. The first year in a career often demands more time and energy than your schoolwork or entry-level jobs required. Learning to prioritize can be a challenge. You must learn your own limits and not be afraid to share those boundaries with your leader. Although it is important to be dedicated to work, it is also important to take time for yourself.  Finding a balance between work and life outside of it will take some time, but is important to keep you from burning out. 

The first year in the real world is undoubtedly tough. Learning how to manage money, balance time, and prove yourself is no easy feat. However, the first year can be pivotal to your career’s journey. Remember that we’ve all made mistakes, especially during our first year, and that every wrong move provides ample opportunities to learn valuable lessons for the future.

A Good Night’s Sleep Does a Body Good

Agoodnightssleep4-6-2011 How many hours of sleep do you get in a night? Eight hours? Five hours? Less than that? You’ve probably heard that the more sleep you get, the more refreshed and energized you will feel. But, with workplace related stress on the rise, many people are reporting they’re not getting enough shut eye.

Throughout history, studies have shown that the average amount of sleep an individual gets each night has been declining. In 2010, the National Health Survey examined the sleep habits of workers across several industries and found that, compared to findings over the last 20 years, there was a 6% increase in the number who reported getting less than six hours of sleep each night. 

According to a 2011 poll by the National Sleep Foundation, almost 63% of Americans surveyed said their sleep needs are lacking. On average, it was found that many respondents are only getting about six hours and 55 minutes of sleep each night during the week.

Although the “normal” amount of sleep is defined as seven to eight hours a night, these amounts can vary from person to person based on age, gender, what tasks are performed by that person throughout the day, and how much energy is needed to perform those tasks. Some people may require more sleep while others seem to require less.

So, how much sleep do you really need? The National Sleep foundation defines an adequate amount of sleep as being able to wake up unprompted, feeling rested and alert, rather than drowsy. When you don’t get enough rest, you not only feel drowsy, but you can also experience poor performance, decreased alertness, and increased chances for high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.

So here are a few ways to ensure you catch some good Z’s each night

  • Turn off electronics close to bedtime.
  • Avoid caffeine in the evening.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Establish a sleep schedule and stick to it.
  • Avoid daytime napping.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal late at night.

These are just a few tips to help you get the rest your body needs. Make it a goal to start counting more sheep at night. The more sleep you get, the less stressed you will feel. And that will not only help you be more productive throughout the day, but also help you feel happier and healthier too.

Is Employee Morale Getting Better or Worse? You Tell Us

Employee morale took a big hit during the recession when workers faced difficult pay freezes, layoffs, and cutbacks. Downsizing forced remaining employees to take on heavier workloads, all of which as impacted employee morale further still.

But with the economy seeing some improvement, employers are now taking steps to improve employee engagement and morale to help keep their top talent from job hopping in 2011. Whether it’s reinstating benefits or offering pay raises, employers have made some strides in the first quarter of this year to reengage their workforce.

So we want to know,

7 Perks to Embracing a Positive Attitude

Perkstopositivity Enjoy your job, feel healthier, and improve your relationships. These goals aren’t out of reach. In fact, the power to achieve each one lies with you.

Your outlook on life impacts the way you see the world and how the world sees you. Revamp your attitude, and reap the rewards of greater personal and professional satisfaction.

Come on, get happy.
When you focus on what’s good in your life – instead of what’s missing – you’re more thankful and fulfilled. Need help looking on the bright side? Try spending more time with positive people, listening to upbeat music, and reading motivational books. Whenever it’s up to you, avoid situations and individuals who bring you down. Even small tweaks to your routine can lift your spirits. 

Beat stress.
When you commit to a positive outlook, the worries of the day don’t seem nearly as overwhelming. Focusing on the silver lining keeps daily nuisances like traffic jams and computer problems from ruining your day. If you start feeling frustrated, take a quick time out to close your eyes, count to 10, and take a few deep breaths.

Improve your health.
Stress wreaks havoc on your physical and mental well-being. A sunny disposition may not be the cure-all for every ailment, but studies consistently show that a positive attitude promotes better health. If you’re having a difficult time managing your stress, look for ways to get relief. Join a gym, take up a relaxing hobby, or find someone you can talk to about your tension. Make reducing stress and positive thinking a priority in your life, and you’ll see results.

Strengthen relationships.
Upbeat people are easier to get along with and more fun to be around. Strive to make your co-workers’ day brighter and your boss’ job easier. As an added bonus, your efforts will pay off with a more enjoyable workplace filled with happier colleagues. 

Boost your career.
As motivational speaker Zig Ziglar once said, “It is your attitude, not your aptitude, that determines your altitude.” Another way to say it is: positive people are more likely to get ahead in life. When you’re excited about showing up for work each day, you’ll inspire co-workers and impress your supervisor. Even if it feels insincere at first, resolve to smile, quit grumbling, and encourage others. Soon, you’ll find cheerfulness comes more naturally.

Increase your job satisfaction.
Every job has rough patches. Instead of focusing on what you don’t like, concentrate on what you do enjoy. You may not have the job you’ve always dreamed of, but with a change of perspective, you may find that your current position has a lot to offer. A brighter outlook will allow you to make the most of any situation and improve your overall contentment.

Experience a greater work-life balance.
When you’re constantly complaining about work, it detracts from your personal life. Venting every now and then is okay – just don’t make a habit of it. Try to keep your shop talk limited to topics such as your future goals, interesting projects, or light-hearted events of the day. 

While you can’t control everything in life, your outlook is one thing you do have power over. When you commit to seeing the glass half full, the world suddenly seems brighter. Not only will you experience less, stress and better health, you’ll also benefit from improved relationships and greater career satisfaction.

How to Succeed at Your First “Real” Job

IStock_000005750863XSmall[1] You’ve pulled all nighters studying for mid-terms and finals. You’ve labored over group projects and read dozens of textbooks. Now you’re finally about to graduate and enter the real world. Prepare for your new career by learning what it takes to successfully transition from student to full-time employee.

Arrive for work on time. It sounds simple enough, but punctuality can often be a challenge for younger workers. Set yourself apart by making it a priority to always arrive at least five minutes early. You’ll also score major points by sticking around a few minutes past quitting time each day. 

Come well-rested. Gone are the days where you can roll into class bleary-eyed and half-awake. Getting enough sleep ensures you’ll be alert and ready to contribute your full potential. That means going to bed early enough each night to get at least seven to eight hours of rest.

Dress professionally. Once you start your career, your wardrobe may require a little sprucing up. Remember, a good rule of thumb is to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. Take note of how leaders at your organization dress, and follow their example.

Limit your consumption of digital media. While texting and checking Facebook and Twitter are great ways to keep in touch with friends, those habits won’t help you make a good impression at a new job. While you’re at work, keep your focus on the task at hand. Resolve to only text, make personal calls, or check social networking sites during breaks or before and after work. 

Make sure you understand your role. It’s hard to succeed at something if you don’t know the purpose behind what you’re doing. Is the core of your job increasing sales, improving customer relations, or reducing expenditures? Find out why your company needs you and then focus on doing those tasks to the best of your ability. 

Be proactive about requesting additional assignments. Starting out at your new job, you may have periods where you don’t have much to do. Instead of being bored or just trying to look busy, seek out opportunities to help others and learn new things. Let co-workers or your supervisors know that you’re eager to pitch in and take on new challenges.

Be willing to serve others. When you offer your help, be prepared to give it – no matter the task. Don’t be offended if the boss asks you to do seemingly insignificant jobs like make copies or prepare coffee. Instead, consider it an opportunity to show others that you’re a team player.

Find a mentor. To learn the ropes, seek out an individual who excels within your company and ask them if they’d mind sharing a few pointers. They’ll most likely be eager to assist you – people are flattered to be asked for their advice. Co-workers who’ve been around awhile can help you get into the groove at a new job by teaching you the “unwritten rules” at your place of employment.

By preparing yourself for success, you’ll make a great first impression at your new job. Your supervisors will be wowed by your “can do” attitude and professionalism. You may even impress yourself with how much you can achieve when you put your mind to it. 

3 Tips to Embracing Workplace Change

Worries The workplace is always changing. And, it always has been. But factors like a down economy and ever-advancing technologies have recently meant big changes, including company mergers, downsizing, restructuring, and turnover. In order to thrive – and sometimes just survive in today’s environment, employees – like their employers – have had to learn to adapt.

Being flexible to the changes happening in and around your company can help make you a valuable asset to your team and your employer. But whether it’s adjusting to a new boss, project, or even just to a new cube mate, change isn’t always easy. Here are three tips to help you embrace change in your workplace.

Choose Optimism Over Fear
The unknown can seem scary, but when you’re facing transitions at work, make a conscious effort to respond with optimism instead of fear. Try to focus on the upcoming opportunities instead of the unanswered questions or uncertainty you may be feeling. You don’t have to understand every aspect of a new program to get on board with the vision behind it. A new boss could help you grow your career in ways you never imagined before. A new cube mate could become a fun and beneficial member of the team. And, a new project could help you build your knowledge and grow your skill set. When change happens, instead of fearing what you can’t predict – or even control – get motivated about the new challenges and endless possibilities ahead of you.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open
Optimistically embracing change doesn’t mean you won’t have questions or concerns. Make sure you clearly communicate with your manager during times of transition. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or share concerns, but understand that your employer may not have all the answers yet either. If you identify a problem with an upcoming change like a new process, offer up a solution to help provide valuable input instead of just negative feedback. But most of all, remember that communication is a two-way street, so make sure you’re listening to the information your company shares and be open to the changes to come.

Be Patient
While change can happen fast, it can also take a while to fully integrate. Try to be patient during periods of transition in your company. Remember to be flexible when plans for change, change too. Patience and adaptability often go hand in hand, so while you’re waiting on changes to take place, let your leaders know you’re behind them and willing to do what it takes to help your team succeed. 

Change is inevitable, but it doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Often, it can be a good thing. And either way, it’s an adventure. So no matter how much change you’ve faced at work, embrace new adjustments by choosing optimism over fear, effectively communicating with your leaders, and being patient in the new life adventure you’re on. 

5 Ways to Make the Most of Vacation Time

Beach All year long, you dream about taking a vacation – just relaxing and enjoying some “me” time. Studies show that a work-life balance is important to your health and mental well being. Vacations are all about cutting loose and catching a break from everyday worries. To make your time away from work the stress-free oasis you’re after, follow these few simple tips.

Give Plenty of Notice
Nothing’s worse than booking a week in paradise only to discover you can’t get the time off. Save yourself the headache and the cancellation fees by getting your supervisor’s written approval before making final arrangements. That way if your dates have to be changed, you won’t be out the cost of plane tickets or a hotel room.

This is particularly important if you want time off around holidays like Memorial Day or Fourth of July. Chances are many of your co-workers will also request holiday vacations, and the time off may go to whoever asks first.

Don’t Leave Co-Workers in a Lurch
When you know you’re going away for several days, prepare by completing assignments before you head out. If you have projects that can’t be done ahead of time, be sure to leave detailed instructions for your co-workers to complete.
 
Tying up loose ends at work will simplify life for you and your co-workers. You won’t have to worry about coming back to projects that were botched from a lack of knowledge. And your co-workers won’t stress over handling unfamiliar duties.

Unplug to Unwind
Make the most of vacation time by limiting access to your cell phone, computer, or other mobile devices. To really get a break from the demands of your work life, you’ll need to set boundaries.

If you spend your vacation time checking email, calling into the office for updates, or catching up with co-workers on Facebook, you’re not giving yourself the breath of fresh air you need. While a little connectivity can be a positive, too much screen time can suck the life out of your vacation.

Seize the Day
Can’t get away from work for a whole week? If finances or a hectic schedule limit your time off options, don’t despair. You can enjoy a great vacation even if it’s only for a few days. Consider fun, long weekend options like camping at the lake, getting pampered at a day spa, or enjoying rides at an amusement park. With a little creativity, you’ll find a short break can be just as refreshing as an extended vacation.

Stay Close, Save Big
Maybe traveling to an exotic locale isn’t in the budget this year. You can still get a breather from work without breaking the bank. Treat yourself to a staycation – a vacation at home.

A staycation can save you big money by eliminating the need for airfare, a rental car, or a hotel. Catch up on your favorite shows, read a few novels, and enjoy your friends, family and pets. You can even check out the local tourist spots that you’ve always heard about but never had time to try.

Everybody needs a little rest and relaxation from time to time. With just a bit of planning, you’ll ensure your time away from work is truly a vacation. Being flexible about when, where, and how long you’re away will open the door for you to try new things and give you the break you crave.