Tag Archives: fun

Get a Job, Charlie Brown

getting a job with charlie brownCharles Schulz’s famous comic series, “Peanuts,” was about fusing adult ideas on art, psychology, and current events with the world of children. The comic has delighted, thought-provoked, and entertained children and adults for more than 50 years. The cast of characters in Peanuts typically cover a wide variety of issues about daily life, but with tough economic times, even the most prepared job seeker can feel like saying, “good grief.”

The truth is, there are several things to take away from Charlie Brown that can affect your job search. Here are three lessons you can learn to improve your job search from Charlie Brown.

The Great Career Pumpkin
In the 1966 TV special, “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown,” the character Linus waits in a pumpkin patch for the Great Pumpkin, who rises out of the pumpkin patch on Halloween night and flies through the air delivering toys to all the good little children in the world. Despite Linus’ faith and commitment, the Great Pumpkin never shows.

Sometimes we treat our job search like we’re waiting for the Great Pumpkin. We have that dream job in mind and no other opportunity will do. The hard truth is that sometimes that dream job may just be out of reach. Those just graduating from school or training might need more job experience before getting the dream job. Look at your industry and see if you need to follow another opportunity and build your skills and experience before jumping at job openings you aren’t qualified for yet.  You’ll be better prepared and more skilled to do it if you work your way there.

Book Reports and Resumes go Hand in Hand
In the musical and TV special, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” the Peanut gang has trouble writing a book report on “Peter Rabbit.” Lucy focuses solely on the word count, Linus gets lost in his own vocabulary, Schroeder ends up writing more about “Robin Hood,” and Charlie Brown gets so nervous, he never writes anything at all.

We can have the same mishaps when writing resumes. Like Lucy, we can meet the minimum requirements on a résumé, but we can forget to market and sell ourselves as the best candidate for the job. We may be the most qualified person, but can end up like Linus and fill our resume with jargon and technical words recruiters might not understand. It’s easy to ramble like Schroeder about what you’ve done for previous employers, but stick to the experience that’s relevant to the position you’re applying for. If you see a job opening for a position you want, customize your resume before applying to present your abilities in the best light for the position. Don’t wait and get panicked like Charlie Brown.

It’s a Group Affair
In “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” Charlie Brown finds a small, almost broken Christmas tree to use in his nativity play. Depressed by the commercialization of the holiday, he gives up on the holiday until his friends show up to decorate the small tree together, which revitalizes Charlie’s Christmas spirit.

Just like Charlie needed his friends to decorate the tree to revive his passion, we should be open and welcoming of others to help us with our job search. Have old contacts or mentors review your updated résumé, practice interviewing, and talk about any job leads. There are several people in your life who want to help, you just have to ask.

It’s amazing how Charlie Brown can give us insights as kids and adults. What are some lessons you’ve learned from Charlie Brown and the Peanut gallery?

Warning! You Might Have More Fun at Work After Reading This

You Might Have More Fun At Work After Reading This

We’ve been there before. You’ve hit that entry-level slump where time seems to slow down and boredom is on the rise. Maybe job duties become repetitive or insignificant, and you start playing the game of counting down until the end of the work day.

Starting at the bottom and working your way to the top can seem very dull and boring at first. At some points, your workspace may look more like a prison. You start thinking of things you’d rather be doing and consider treating your boss like the office governor and begging for a pardon. It doesn’t have to be that way. Working at your job doesn’t have to be a constant battle with your clock.

The truth is you can actually enjoy yourself while at work. Keeping a positive attitude will not only help you be more productive, but it can also reflect favorably on your managers when they see you inject some life into the workplace. Here are some ways you can add some pizzazz to your workday.

Trim Your To-Do List
Take a look at your to-do list. Do you really have to accomplish all of it in one day? Odds are, you’ve already scheduled too many things into your workday. This can really bring down your fun, because deep down, you know you probably won’t get to everything on the list. Go ahead, shave off a few of the items and give yourself some extra padding on your other projects.

Cutting back on your daily project list won’t make you less productive, but will give you the time to make your projects your own. Take the extra time to look at your tasks differently and try to innovate. Some of the best ideas can come out of the strangest places when you brainstorm and think outside of the box. You’ll end up having fun and can show your managers that you’re leadership material with your new ideas.

Look Forward to Something
As soon as you clock in for work, you might long for the warmth of your bed or the welcoming arms of your recliner. One of the biggest reasons workers dread getting up in the morning  is that they don’t plan any fun activities for themselves throughout the day.  You should utilize breaks, if you aren’t already, to inject fun. You may think that you don’t have time, but your productivity will improve in the long run. Having little things to look forward to during the day greatly speeds up the day and lightens the mood. Try spicing up your shift with breaks that include activities you really enjoy outside of your work area. Catch up on your favorite TV show or book, take a walk outside, work on an art project, put together a jigsaw puzzle, or anything else that makes you look forward to the next break.

You don’t even have to take breaks alone. Find some co-workers who share your interests and invite them to take a 15 minute break to play a short game, discuss events from last night’s TV show, share photography, or any other activities you share. You’ll have fun as the day goes on, and you’ll also be able to grow and foster working relationships and friendship with co-workers, which can help your teambuilding skills.

Bribe Your Co-Workers
One of the best ways to beat the boredom at work is to involve others in the fun. While some may enjoy seclusion, eventually it will get to you. Odds are, there are several other co-workers looking for fun and excitement in the workplace too. Don’t be the one hoping fun comes to you, be the one who creates the fun. Email your co-workers asking for a joke and offer the one who submits the funniest joke a cup of coffee, or surprise co-workers with breakfast like bagels or fruit trays. If food isn’t your specialty, try making a CD of your favorite music to give to your co-workers or craft a special gift tailored to each co-worker. Have fun with your ideas and use your imagination, but always check with your manager before using any of your ideas or the ones listed in this blog.

You can also have fun by changing your workload with other workers or departments. Get with your boss and ask to help out another department with a project. You’ll get to meet people you might not be familiar with, your work will be a little different, and you’ll grow your skills set to be a more rounded employee.

The daily grind doesn’t have to be full of doom and gloom. A few simple things can help turn your attitude and performance around. While “entry-level” sounds Latin for “enter boredom,” it references a place to help get you where you’d like to go. In order to get there, you should have a little fun along the way. What have you tried to put a little spice in your daily work routine?

Will You Take a Summer Vacation? Take Our Poll

Summer Vacation at WorkWe mentioned back in March that most Americans are vacation deprived. With summer quickly approaching, now is the perfect time to plan and prep for a getaway. So, we were wondering if any of you will be taking some time off in the near future.  Let us know in the poll below, and tell us where you plan on going in the comments section.

 

 

 

Don’t Forget the Beach The Value of Vacations

Vacation_feb2012_webWe are vacation deprived. It’s true. According to the 2011 Vacation Deprivation Study by Expedia, Americans earn less and take less than half the vacation time that Europeans do and still leave an average of three unused vacation days every year.

Using vacation time seems to be a lost privilege among North American workers when in fact, it should be seen as a vital part, not only for your well-being, but also for your career. Vacations are essential to help you relax and balance the multiple demands in your life.

Reboot and Recharge

Workers who take regular time off from work are less likely to experience burnout. We all feel the stress and weight of our workload, and a vacation can seem like one of the worst things you could do for your company and co-workers. Most U.S. workers still take work with them on vacation in one form or another.  Never the less, you could be causing more problems in the long run by not taking time off.

A vacation free from work can help you refresh your mind and gain a new perspective on work-related situations. If you make the most and enjoy your vacation, you can be surprised at what you’ll discover about your projects when you step away from the circumstances. You’ll also be able to come back with more vigor and passion when you spend a few days away from it all.

Health and Happiness

Taking vacations can have a big impact on your overall health and well-being. A study by the National Center for Biotechnology Information found that after three days of vacation, their subjects’ physical complaints and quality of sleep and mood had improved. The improvements were still present five weeks after they returned from work.

Spending time with loved ones can also help keep relationships strong. Strengthening those bonds will ensure you have help support during stressful times. And having close family and friends will help you enjoy the good times even more.

You may be new to a job, or just be a few years into one, and lack the funds or vacation time to spend. However, you don’t have to spend a lot of money and go out of the country, sunbathe at the beach, ski down the highest mountains, or relax at the fanciest lodges. There are several places you can go and get the same benefits on a tank of gas and a fixed budget.

Become a Mean, Green Working Machine

Vacations are also known to improve job performance. If you experience burnout, you’ll start to slack on your job duties and put more pressure on your co-workers and managers to pick up your slack. A lack of vacation time can be like a lack of sleep. Less sleep can affect your ability to think clearly, act decisively, process information, and react quickly. Having too few personal days can have the same affect at work. The same NCBI study suggest the physical benefits that come from vacation can lead to increased quality of work on the job.

It can be easy to think that since you’re new to a job or have only been with an employer for a few years that you need to keep working to impress your managers and stay on their good side. But the dangers of holding off on vacation time can not only damage yourself, but also your employer. What are some of your best vacation ideas and how did they make you feel?

How to Discover What You’re Really Good at

Gootat_feb2012_web“Where do I start?” seems to be one of the biggest and hardest questions to answer when stepping out into the job market.  For some, they know what they want to do for a career at for as long as they can remember. But for many, it’s hard to know what kind of job is right while still in college or as an adult.

For most, finding your strengths and talents, and then applying them to the job market is a harder process. Choosing a career path that fits your strengths can take time and research to figure out. To help point you in the right direction, here are some helpful hints to get your brain thinking about discovering your passions.

Do What You’re Doing

In your spare time, what do you usually find yourself doing? Grab a notepad and write down what your favorite activities and duties are throughout the week and see if any of them have practical application to a potential career.

You should also consider your interests. What are you most enthusiastic about? Make a list of what grabs your attention. What are your favorite books, TV shows, or movies? See what aspects of your favorite entertainment catches your eye.

Also, pay attention to what you struggle with or try to avoid. This can give you a clearer picture of what not to look for in a job. When looking for work, find the employers and industries that are void of these unpleasant experiences.

The Company You Keep

It can be beneficial to get advice from friends and family who have a different perspective on who you are and how you interact with the world. They will also notice how your body language reacts to different topics and situations. Ask your friends and loved ones what they notice about you, think you’re good at, and think you have a passion for. If more than one person has the same advice, you might be onto a real lead.

There are also several online quizzes and assessments that can help you get feedback on your personality, work ethic, and skill type. It’s important to understand yourself from not only your own perspective, but from others’ as well.

Playing, Practicing, and Professionalizing

Once you start finding your top passions or talents, play around with them. Find a safe environment to explore the possibilities that your talents can share. Find careers that focus on using your skills or interests, and investigate a day in the life of that job. The more comfortable you get with it, the better you’ll be able to work with it.

Once you get beyond just playing, work to improve your techniques and refine your skills. By practicing, you can learn the depths of your talent. You’ll soon learn whether it’s a true passion or more of a passing phase. Also, if it’s an area you’re interested in pursuing further, seek out a mentor for advice and direction. Even if the interest turns out to be temporary, you may notice what interested you about a particular characteristic of the activity.

Go out and use your talent. Find out what is required to have a job with your passion and work to achieve those requirements. You might have to take classes, get a certification, or take an internship to get beyond the passing hobby stage and become a true professional at your skill, but it’s worth it.

What are some methods you have used to discover your hidden strengths?