Tag Archives: motivation

Administrative Professionals’ Day

admins day_April2014Today is Administrative Professionals’ Day, a day set aside to let administrative workers know how much they are appreciated for everything they do in their workplaces.

It takes a special person to fill the role of administrative professional. The job title doesn’t do justice to the huge contribution those people provide their companies with daily.  Administrative professionals do a lot of behind the scenes work that many people don’t realize and they deserve to be celebrated.

Ways to Show Your Appreciation
How can you acknowledge the hard work of the administrative professionals at your company? Depending on where you work and how well you know the administrative assistants, you may offer to take them out for lunch, buy them their favorite chocolate or coffee, or write them a note to let them know how grateful you are for their hard work. Taking the time to show your appreciation will brighten their day.

I don’t know about you, but the administrative professionals at my workplace are some of the greatest people I know. They’re incredibly hard working and choosing one day out of the year to let them know they are appreciated is a good start. So, remember to acknowledge your administrative professionals and let them know you appreciate them for all they do.

How do you recognize the administrative professionals at your workplace and celebrate their hard work? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

What You Don’t Know About Career Technical Education

CTEwhitepaperAs the first college graduate in my family, I realized college really isn’t a good fit for everyone. There are other, more affordable options, and in today’s economy, affordability is key. Throughout the four years I spent in college, many of my peers chose to further their education through Career Technical Education (CTE).

What is Career Technical Education
According to the Association for Career and Technical Education, “Career and technical education (CTE) prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers and further educational opportunities.” CTE offers certifications, licenses and degrees in various trades and industries. “A stable career doesn’t always require a four-year degree. Career Technical Education can deliver what so many Americans want – a promising career at an affordable price,” said, Bob Funk, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Express Employment Professionals. CTE, previously known as vocational-technological education, provides skills and training needed for a variety of careers.

CTE offers industry-specific training in highly skilled trades, including:

• Mechanical Drafter
• Welder
• IT Technician
• Physical Therapist Assistant
• Biomedical Equipment Technician
• Legal Secretary
• Aircraft Mechanic
• Real Estate Appraiser

CTE also offers students the opportunity to earn a variety of credentials, including:

• Post-secondary certificates
• Certifications
• Licenses
• Associate degree

Another great benefit of CTE is that it doesn’t require tens or hundreds or thousands of dollars in student loans. “Many students find their passion in CTE programs and, in turn, develop substantially better academic performance that results in more life options for them,” said Robert D. Sommers, Ph.D., Oklahoma Secretary of Education and Workforce Development State Director, Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education.

CTE Workers Are in Demand
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 14 of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in America require an associate’s degree or less. These are exactly the types of careers that CTE provides training and credentials for. This is great news for high school students wanting to further their education somewhere other than a university. It is also encouraging for those who want to change their career path.

For more information on this hot topic, check out Express Employment Professionals latest white paper, The Hard Truth About Higher Education.

 

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

How to Survive a Bad Review or Termination

Survive_Termination_April2014Everyone hopes to get a glowing report at their annual performance review, but sometimes, you’re met with more negative feedback than positive. Receiving a bad review doesn’t have to mean it’s time to change jobs or signal the end of your career, though. With the right response, you can survive and even thrive. Just make sure you follow these four tips.

Stay Calm
No one likes being told they’ve made a mistake or done something wrong, and it’s normal to feel upset. However, now is not the time to lose control of your emotions. As The Wall Street Journal explains, “while it’s natural to feel defensive or angry during a bad review, career coaches advise against acting on these emotions to avoid making matters worse.” Remind yourself that the performance review isn’t personal and try to think logically about the situation.

Be an Active Listener
As you push through the emotions, really listen to what your supervisor is saying and take detailed notes. Ask questions to clarify anything you don’t understand during the performance review. If your manager is being more general, ask for specific examples of mistakes, why your actions were incorrect, and what you should have done differently. And, as Marie McIntyre, a career coach and author, told CNBC, “Even if you don’t completely agree, you need to show that you understand.”

Make a Plan
Once the bad review is over and you’ve had time to digest everything, you need to come up with a game plan to address the problems your supervisor pointed out. Think about what behaviors or actions you need to change, how you can address issues before they become problems again, and if you should involve your co-workers in your plan. Also, make sure you take into account what your manager said you should have done. Then hold a follow-up performance review meeting to present the plan to your supervisor and get their approval.

Stick with It
The last part of your response is the most critical, because if you don’t follow through with the needed changes, you will only make things worse. Review your plan often, hold yourself accountable, and request regular feedback from your manager.  As you see things improve, take notes for future meetings and performance reviews. The Wall Street Journal recommends “keeping a detailed journal of your accomplishments. Memos that commend you on your work accomplishments also should be filed.”

Nobody is perfect, so don’t let a bad review get you down. Your response to the review is actually far more telling and important than what you did wrong in the first place. Employers value employees who can accept critiquing, be proactive, and implement changes on their own. So, the next time your performance review doesn’t go how you hoped, seize the opportunity to do more than just survive and show what a great employee you truly are.

Have you had a bad review before? How did you survive? Share your experience and insight in the comment section below.

 

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

Be the Captain of Cool

Captn_OF_Cool_April2014We all have stress in our lives. Stress with relationships, finances, and work. According to the American Institute of Stress, job stress is far and away the major stress for American adults. 46% report that their workload causes stress while only 28% report relationship issues as a main source of stress.

Workplace-related stress has escalated progressively over the past few years and is the number one cause of stress for adults. The third annual Work Stress survey conducted by Harris Interactive found that 83% of Americans are stressed out by at least one thing about their jobs. A 10% increase over the previous study.

In order to grow in your career, it’s important to face and deal with stress the right way. Stress is inevitable and having an effective coping strategy could make a positive difference the next time you’re faced with stress.

Top Performers Know How to Manage Stress
Remaining calm under pressure has a direct link to performance according to Forbes magazine. Talentsmart study found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress. Those top performers have well-planned strategies to use in stressful circumstances. Having a plan to help you “keep cool” under stress can lower your stress level regardless of what’s going on around you.

Why Managing Your Stress is Important to Productivity
Managing stress helps you stay focused on the task at hand, keeping you on track to meet deadlines and achieve goals.

New studies show that moderate stress can actually lead to cell growth in the brain’s learning center i.e. it can actually help you learn. To achieve this benefit from stress, it’s important to keep your stress levels manageable.

How You Can Manage Your Stress

Stay Positive. There are lots of ways to help manage stress from listening to music, to taking a break now and then, but one of the biggest ways you can control your stress levels is by finding things to be positive about. In a study from the University of California, people who worked daily to cultivate an attitude of gratitude for example experienced improved moods and energy. And that can have a big impact on reducing your stress hormone levels. Staying positive also means staying positive about stress.

Change Your Perception of Stress.
Instead of fearing stress, let it motivate you. The feelings that come with stress are often part of your body’s flight of fight response. Try to change your perception that stress is a bad thing and instead use it to push you forward. In one study where participants were asked to view videos that contained messages that stress could be helpful, had a better work performance than those that watched videos about stress being harmful.

As you continue to grow and develop in your career, you’ll take on more responsibilities, and as we all know, that can mean more stress too. So it’s important to learn how to manage that stress now to be successful in the future.

Did You Know?
Prolonged stress can cause serious physical harm. And can result in an increased risk of heart disease, depression, obesity, and decrease your cognitive performance.

There are many things that can cause stress at work, but there are just as many ways you can counter that stress. Maybe your desk is messy and that causes a trigger for stress. Perhaps scheduling your tasks or “to-do” list is causing stress. Whatever the culprit, there is a good chance your physical environment is affecting your stress level. Take time to organize your work space and schedule and see if that helps relieve some stress.

What are some successful ways you handle stress? Let us know in the comments section below. We’d also like to know what your biggest triggers of stress are at your workplace, so let your voice be heard by voting in our poll.

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

Prepare Before You Perspire: Seasonal Landscaping Safety

landscaping_March2014Now that spring has arrived, landscaping jobs are likely to increase in demand. With that in mind, now is the time to review landscaping safety before the season kicks into high gear.

Check the Location
The first thing to do when reaching a worksite is to look over the area for hazards. Rocks, cables, broken tree limbs, uneven ground, exposed roots, and anything of concern should be noted and shared with everyone at the site before work begins. If a hazard can be removed, that should be the first job of the day.

The next consideration should be equipment. Is the right equipment available for the job?  Are the tools in good condition, and are safety guards required by the manufacturer in place? Also, any chutes to help direct debris should be in place. These chutes help prevent injuries and property damage from flying objects.

Stay Hydrated
After checking the environment and equipment, it’s time to focus a little more closely on yourself. Staying hydrated is important when working outdoors, so you should drink water before you reach the site. Even at moderate temperatures, we need more water to get through a day of hard work. Once you feel thirsty, you are already becoming dehydrated.  Begin the habit of drinking plenty of water early in the season and throughout the day.

Protect Yourself
Personal protective equipment is an important step for any manual labor jobs. Safety glasses will protect against both small and large debris, while ear protection can keep your hearing intact while running noisy landscaping equipment. Proper footwear will help prevent cuts and scratches, give good support, and protect you if you do come in contact with a moving part of a machine. And, don’t forget gloves, which will help protect against cuts, scrapes, and burns.

Remember; check the environment, equipment, and yourself before starting work at each landscaping site and you will have a safer, more productive and enjoyable day.

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

Job Search Lessons from 2014 Olympics

Gold_Medal_Feb2014Do you have aspirations of getting a better job or growing your career? Watching the Olympics could help. Every time the Olympic Games roll around, I enjoy watching different athletes from across the world compete, and I anticipate seeing my favorite athletes win gold. This year, that was not the case for one of my favorite sports to watch: snowboarding. But instead of turning off the TV as soon as I realized my favorite snowboarder and two-time gold medalist, Shaun White, wasn’t going to place, I decided to stay tuned in to see who won. Here are some of the lessons I learned.

Get Back Up and Don’t Give Up

It’s a tough fact of life to learn; you don’t always win, no matter how hard you try or how far in advance you prepare. That fact was made evident during the final halfpipe competition in Sochi. While watching the Olympics, I was reminded that no matter how much a professional athlete prepares, they may not win, but that doesn’t mean they give up. Soon after the halfpipe competition was over, Shaun was interviewed and asked what happened. Instead of blaming it on the snow or the conditions, he said he’d be back next time and he was happy for the guys who did well! What a great attitude to have! We can learn so much from that statement itself. Just because you haven’t landed a job or moved up in your company as fast as you’d like, it doesn’t mean you need to give up or stop trying. The agony of defeat is never easy to handle, but getting back up, working hard, and trying again will help improve your skills and chances of getting that new job or promotion you’ve been looking for.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Unfortunately, making mistakes is a normal part of life. Failure even happens to the best of the best. What’s important to learn from Olympic winners and even those who won’t be taking home a medal is that these athletes don’t let mistakes defeat them. In fact, you’ll probably see many of the same athletes in four years at the next Winter Olympics. It’s important to learn from your mistakes, make the corrections that are needed, and use those lessons to help shape your future. If you’ve been looking for a new job for a while or if you’re ready to go to the next level in your current job, take a look back at what has been slowing you down in the past or getting you off track and work to take care of those mistakes so you won’t drag that baggage with you to the next level. Also, seek feedback from co-workers or friends and make necessary changes.

What are some lessons you’ve learned from the Olympics? Share with us in the comments section below!

Ditch the Title and Get the Job You Really Want

Guest_Post_Ditch_the-Title_and_Get_the_Job_You_Really_Want_Jan2014Appearances mean a lot to most of us, from the labels we wear and where we live to our job titles. It’s the social norm when meeting a new person to ask, “What do you do for a living?” And although some of us may not be completely conscious of it, we place a lot of stock in our answer. We grow up with the mantra “don’t judge a book by its cover,” but in all reality, we are all guilty of judging others, no matter how hard we try not to.

We are often judged by what we do when it comes to first impressions, and the bigger the title, the more respect we deserve in the eyes of others. It can be hard to give up a title like “lead manager,” “editor in chief,” or even “CEO,” for a job that makes you happier. But, I speak from experience when I say that sticking with a job because of it’s title is like paying $2,000 for a Puggle – when it comes down to it, it’s really just a mutt.

I learned this firsthand when after just a few weeks as an intern, I was promoted to the coveted editor position of one of San Diego’s largest travel and tourism websites. My boss chalked it up to my “can-do” attitude and ability to conquer any challenge. It came with a menial raise (barely noticeable) and a few new business cards, but none of that mattered because I was an editor. I didn’t know what I was doing or how I was going to tackle this task, all I knew was that I was given the title and it was time to fill the shoes. Over the next few months, I fumbled around learning the ins and outs of travel sites through trial and error and somehow ended up transforming the failing website into one that actually made a profit.

I was also taking full advantage of editor perks, flashing my business cards around town and reaping the benefits of it with free cruises, comped concerts and dinners, and a sudden flurry of social activities on my calendar. It was fun, exciting, and definitely felt good to meet a stranger and tell them what I did, but in reality, it wasn’t what I wanted. Sure the perks were great, but I was being worked to the bone, paid pennies, and constantly struggling to keep my head above water. I thought I’d run with it for a while, learn everything I could, and use it as a major stepping stone for my resume, but when it was time to move on, I had a hard time letting go of the title.

What’s in a title anyway?
Absolutely nothing. You can slap a big title on anything and make it sound better than it is. We get attached to titles and personas. Being called “editor” felt good and gave me some additional unearned respect among my peers, but really I was doing the same work everyone else was with a little more clout.

When I finally made the real decision to move on and job hunt, I quickly realized just how little that editor title was doing for me. Other companies had a starting salary that was higher than what I was making, better benefits, and a friendlier environment. I ditched the title and took a new job without the glitz and glam, but that made me a lot happier and put some money in my pocket. I may not be attending the biggest parties and rubbing elbows with the who’s who of San Diego any longer, but I have a job that makes me happy. I work for an awesome company and most importantly, I’m doing work that I’m proud of.

So, what can job seekers learn from this?
Basically, don’t jump at a job because it has a great title. Take a closer look at the jobs you are applying for and open your mind to the less high-profile positions, because they may be exactly what you’re looking for. Sure a big title can feel good, but just like any relationship, eventually the butterflies wear off and you’re left with what’s in front of you. Don’t let yourself be romanced by the title, choose your next professional position based upon the work, environment, and how much the employers respect their employees. There are many more important aspects to a job than what’s on your business card and if it means that much to you, you can always call yourself something fancy like a mobile sustenance facilitator instead of a pizza delivery guy – no one will know the difference.

About the Author
This article was written by Carli Leavitt. Carli currently handles outreach and public relations for a number of attorneys and is an SEO Consultant with Highrank Websites.