Tips to Improve Your Attitude – Even When You’re Having a Bad Day

I recently attended a conference in Nashville and had the privilege to listen to an exceptional speaker, Christine Cashen. One of the things she spoke about was having a positive attitude, not only at work, but everywhere – even on bad days. It got me thinking about how often our attitudes determine the outcome of our days. Think about it –  if you’re already in a bad mood, chances are, anything else that doesn’t work in your favor will make your mood even worse.

To help you start out each day on a positive note, try following some of these tips.

Pretend you’re happy. According to Abraham Lincoln, “most people are about as happy as they decide to be.” So if you wake up in the morning and you know it’s going to be one of those days – choose not to let that ruin your attitude. Tell yourself that you’re in a great mood and thankful to be alive. Look yourself in the mirror and say, “This is going to be a great day.” Say it all day until you actually believe it. Be enthusiastic about it – after all, every day you wake up is a gift! Eventually, all that enthusiasm – even if it starts out forced – will turn your negative attitude into a positive one.

Add humor to your day. Laughter is truly the best medicine, and people who can find humor in any situation are usually pretty positive individuals. If someone cuts you off on your drive into work, imagine them driving the Oscar Mayer Wiener mobile and wearing one of those funny hats instead. Trying to find humor in things will help relieve stress and turn your frown into a smile. 

Prioritize your worries. Many people spend hours worrying about things that can’t be changed or aren’t really that important. If a mistake has been made that can’t be reversed, accept it, and move on. Make sure you spend your time and energy on things you can control. This will not only help eliminate unnecessary stress in your life, but it will also make you feel better about the things you can accomplish. 

Take a break. If you find yourself spiraling downwards into despair, take a break. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, do whatever you need to do to remove yourself from the situation that’s causing you to have a bad attitude. Once you take a step back from the situation, you might just find the solution to the problem that was causing you such turmoil in the first place.

Remind yourself of positive things. Everyone should have a little box on their desk with nice thoughts or sweet comments written by friends or family. When you start feeling low, simply pull out a piece of paper and read its contents. A nice comment or a happy thought will put a smile on your face and remind you what really matters.

Remember, you’re the only person that can control your attitude; you can’t depend on someone else to make things better. So stay positive, and when you feel yourself getting down, try using these tips.

Does Your Company’s Conscience Matter to You?

conpany conscienceHow much does a potential employer’s community involvement or world outreach matter to you? Today’s businesses are active in programs that range from global hunger relief, children’s causes and cancer research to environmentalism, domestic abuse awareness and elderly care.

In the past few years, these kinds of social issues have become more important to a growing number of employees. In fact, research shows that some employees will accept lower pay in order to work for an organization that’s making a difference for the causes they’re concerned with.

What about you – how important is it for your employer to be involved in social causes you care about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, or vote in the poll below.

Revive Your Job Search: Find New Sources for Job Leads

Be sure to check out the previous tips in this series on making a great impression with your appearance and keeping your skills up-to-date.

Expand your job search.
Where are you looking for jobs? If you’ve been using the same two or three resources to research job opportunities, you need to broaden your search. Employers use different methods for getting the word out about their openings. That’s why, if you’re serious about landing a job, you need to try several different approaches.

Some employers only list their openings with staffing companies. Have you registered with your local Express office? Staffing companies are a great way to get an “in” for a job opportunity you normally wouldn’t hear about.

You should also work on networking within your profession.
Many job opportunities are spread through word of mouth. When you’re in the inner circle in your industry, you’ll have a much better chance to learn about these opportunities. To get more involved in your field, consider joining your local trade or professional organization. Subscribing to industry publications or visiting trade websites is another way to get the inside scoop. 

The job search can be a full-time job in itself. Improve your chances of scoring a great opportunity by concentrating on making a positive first impression, keeping your skills competitive and expanding your job search.

Revive Your Job Search: Freshen Up Your Skills

The first part of this series is on making a solid first impression with a professional appearance. To read it, click here.

Make sure your skills are competitive.
Every industry has its own set of rules for what skills are currently in demand. Do you know what employers in your field are looking for in an ideal candidate? If not, you need to find out. One way to do this is by carefully reviewing help-wanted ads and looking for a pattern. Highlight qualifications that you see listed repeatedly. These are the skills you need in order to attract the attention of hiring managers.

After you’ve determined what abilities are in high demand in your field, you’re ready for the next step – developing those skills. If your skills are weak in a particular area, that could be what’s keeping you from landing a job in your desired industry. Remember that you’re competing with many other candidates for open positions, and those with the best qualifications often receive top billing.

Perhaps you feel you don’t have the time, energy or finances to improve your skills. That’s not necessarily the case. Have you thoroughly researched what it would take for you to increase your qualifications? Most likely, the time and money you spend now to improve your professional abilities will pay off through better job opportunities in the future.

Do You Have a Work Spouse?

These days, most of us spend as much or more time with our co-workers as our friends and family. That may be one reason why so many people are favorable toward office romance.

Harris Interactive recently released a report showing that over one third (36%) of workers surveyed said they’d consider an office romance. According to the 2008 Harlequin Romance Report, 57% of men and 61% of women in the workplace have had a crush on a co-worker, and well over half of both men and women who’ve experienced workplace crushes say they’ve gone beyond a crush to a relationship with a co-worker (Hat tip: HR World).

But for many, it’s not clear what to do about the deep bonds or constant flirtations that frequently arise between co-workers even when things don’t turn into actual romance. There’s even a terminology that has sprung up to describe this relationship – a “work spouse.”  When you spend most of your time at work – or during your lunch hour – with a co-worker, think about them while at home, or look forward to the next time you’ll get to see or talk with them, you may just have what some call a “work husband” or a “work wife,” even if things are platonic. 

Though general camaraderie and good will among co-workers is a good thing, it can be difficult to draw the lines and keep work relationships in check, unless you have some guidelines to follow.

How can you know if things have gone too far in a co-worker relationship? Experts say taking stock of your on-the-job relationships with these questions in mind can help you know if you’re crossing the line into dangerous territory with a co-worker.

  • Are you obsessing over your co-worker when not at work?
  • How would you treat your work spouse if your significant other were with you?
  • Do you compare your real romantic partner with your work spouse?
  • Do you cross the lines into physical contact with your work spouse, even if it’s just as simple as touch on the shoulder?
  • Are you treating your work spouse the same way you would treat other friends?

What do you think about office romance? Have you ever known anyone in a “work marriage”? Let us know in the comments section, or vote in our online poll.

4 Reasons to Recruit, Hire and Retain Mature Employees

Over the next 10 years, it’s anticipated that nearly 76 million Baby Boomers will reach retirement age, and there will be less than 50 million workers to fill the void. A recent study conducted by Strategy One, a marketing research firm, learned Baby Boomers wouldn’t consider themselves “old” until 74. The study, U.S. Boomers Insights and Implication Study, concluded that 78% feel they still have opportunities in life once they reach retirement age. And according to a blog post by Baby Boomer Insights, 80% of boomers plan to continue working well past retirement.

Though employers may feel that it’s essential to focus mainly on fresh faces to ignite new ideas and stir things up, it is important to realize that recruiting, hiring and retaining mature employees can also help your business. Below are four reasons to keep older employees in your workforce.

Experience – Mature workers possess on-the-job experience. They’re detail-oriented, focused and attentive. And these qualities, which have been perfected over time, can trickle down to younger workers, making older workers excellent mentors for younger generations.

Loyal – Employees in the Baby Boomer generation don’t feel the need to job hop or look for better opportunities. They’re socially and economically stable. They know the value of a good employer, and a loyal and dedicated employee is more productive and more likely to stay with the company longer, which reduces turnover costs.

Mature – They’ve been around for awhile, so workplace drama doesn’t rattle them. They have work and life experience and typically know how to handle complicated situations and understand workplace politics. Their maturity can help ground your entire workforce.

Strong Work Ethic – Older employees take pride in their work. Boomers may not burn through deadlines, but you can be sure that they’ll take the time to do their jobs right and put in the extra hours to make sure it’s quality work, resulting in fewer mistakes that can be costly for your company.

Before you start thinking it’s time to throw out the old for the new, remember the attributes maturing employees have to offer, and your business will reap the benefits.

Revive Your Job Search: Dress for Success

Dress for SuccessHave you been looking for a job for quite some time? If you’re beginning to feel discouraged about your prospects, take heart – you can improve your odds of landing a good job quickly by following the tips below.

Let your appearance make a positive first impression.
Appearances matter. To compete in today’s job market you need to consider what your look is saying about you. When was the last time you updated your hairstyle and wardrobe? If it’s been more than five years, it’s time to get a makeover. Sporting a dated look makes employers wonder if your skills and ideas may be old news as well.

If you’re not sure what’s in style, turn on the TV or flip through some magazines to get a few ideas. Then go to your local department stores and look for bargains on classic business garments such as button down shirts, tailored jackets and black trousers and skirts.

Once you’ve got the clothes, it’s time to take a look at your hair. Your hairstyle is one of the first things people notice about your appearance, so make an appointment at a reputable hair salon to get an updated look. Hair stylists can also help groom unruly beards, sideburns and mustaches in a fashionable way.

Parts 2 and 3 of this series will touch on keeping your skills up-to-date and expanding your job search.