Monthly Archives: November 2008

What Are You Thankful For This Holiday Season?

When Thanksgiving comes around every year, we tend to think about what we’re thankful for, whether it’s our family and friends, our home, or simply the ability to provide for our family. But given the unsteady economy and talks of layoffs, many are increasingly thankful simply to have a job. So, we want to know what you appreciate most about your job, or what you would be most appreciative of if you landed a job tomorrow. Take our poll, and then give us your feedback in the comments section below.

Time Management Tips to Reduce Workplace Stress

Reduce Workplace StressThe holidays are literally just around the corner. Unfortunately, not only joy and cheer are associated with this season; stress levels also spike during the holidays. Aside from the regular amounts of stress individuals work under, the American Psychological Association reports that the holidays increase stress for women by 44% and by 31% for men.

Stress often comes with feeling overwhelmed and losing of control at the workplace. To help you get a handle on things, try these time management techniques at work and reduce work-related stress.

Work-Life Balance – To lower stress levels, it’s vital to find the balance between your work life and your home life. Compare your work schedule and job responsibilities with your family life and social activities. If you see that you’re too heavily involved with work and have little time for your outside life, make it a point to balance the two. Look through our blog’s Work-Life Balance page for more ideas.

Take Breaks – Instead of misusing time throughout the workday, taking small intentional breaks throughout the day will help you focus the rest of the time. Stepping away from your desk or getting up to stretch will give your mind a quick break and allow you to quickly recharge.

Prioritize – Properly allocating your time to complete important tasks keeps you on track and organized. Pay attention to what you’re working on and how much time is required for each task. This allows you to know if you’re able to take on an extra task or help out a co-worker with another assignment. But, make sure you don’t over do it, because taking on too much is simply asking for added stress.

Understand that some stressors are out of your control, but with proper time management, you can reduce your stress levels at work. Be sure to review our other tips on reducing workplace stress, so you can enjoy the holidays without overwhelming stress.

3 Industries With Staying Power

With new technology in an ever evolving world, there are times when some jobs are in higher demand than others. But, even with all this change, there are some careers that never stop being in demand and are certain to stand the test of time.

Health Care. Whatever career choice you decide to go after in this industry is surely to have staying power throughout time. These occupations pay pretty well, too. As long as there are people getting sick, needing checkups, and requiring life-saving surgeries, there’s going to be a need for professional health care. Nurses, doctors, and surgeons are just a few career choices in this vast industry with median salaries spanning from $57,280 for nurses to $156,010 and up for doctors. Not sure you want to spend years in school to be a surgeon? Physical therapists, physician assistants, and X-ray technicians make good money and don’t have to spend as much time in the classroom.

Education. Teachers, professors, and school administrators will be here as long as people continue to have children and simply seek knowledge. Depending on grade level and specialized fields such as math, science, and bilingual education, teachers can expect median salaries around $43,580 and up, and may find landing a job is a little easier than other careers. College instructors can make $56,120 and up, and with the increase in college enrollment, finding a career as a professor at a university or local community college is more attainable than in past decades.

Civil Service. As long as there is crime and fire, police officers, detectives, and firefighters are here to stay. And, if you like helping others and keeping your community safe, then finding a career in this industry should be no problem. The median salary for a police officer is $47,460 and detectives average $69,310 a year. This industry is a good choice for individuals who want stability, and according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, layoffs in this industry are rare.

So, whether you’re just beginning your career search or thinking about making a change, check out these industries to find jobs that have staying power and offer a nice paycheck.

Are You Giving Back to Your Community?

During the holiday season, many people lend a hand or spare a dollar to a special cause. But this year, giving back may be more of a sacrifice for some because of the unsteady economy. Making a financial contribution to your favorite charity may be out of the question this year, but you can still offer your time and talents to benefit an organization of your choice. Here are three reasons you should volunteer this holiday season.

Gaining Experience – Whether you’re looking to break into a new field or just want to hone your current skills, volunteering can give you the additional experience you need. Many non-profit organizations don’t have the resources to hire someone to perform certain tasks such as creating a newsletter, planning a fundraiser, or reconciling accounts. So, if you have specific talents, you can help your favorite charity by donating your time and offering to complete the projects that may otherwise go undone.

Growing Your Network – When you get to know others who work or volunteer for an organization, you’ll be making contacts in the community that can help you in a job search. Networking is reciprocal, so even if you’re not looking for a job, your contact may be able to find a job opportunity through you. Plus, if your friends or family members are looking for a new opportunity, you may be able to point them in the right direction because of the connections you’ve made.

Boosting Your Résumé – You can list your volunteer experience on your résumé to demonstrate that you’re willing to give your time and talents to help your community. Employers look for well-rounded individuals who are involved in activities outside their job, because these candidates bring more than just the required job skills to the position.

Consider volunteering for a charity in your community whether you’re looking to build up your résumé, land a better job, or give back. Non-profit organizations are always looking for extra help, and this holiday season is as great a time as ever to start. It will even add to your holiday cheer to help others in need as you’re reminded of your own blessings. 

Breaking Bad Work Habits

breaking bad work habitsAfter spotting your bad habits in the office, the hard part is actually breaking them. But, simple behavior adjustments can dramatically increase your productivity and professional image so it’s important to change them as soon as possible.

Below is a list of a few common bad workplace habits. Take advantage of these remedies to break away from time-stealing habits and propel your career.

Bad Habit – Procrastination: A major time stealer is procrastination and it only gets worse the longer it’s drawn out. Procrastinators run the risk of missing deadlines – showing your boss and colleagues that they can’t depend on you.

How to Fix It: Think of all deadlines as nonnegotiable. Remember that people are counting on your work. When you have an approaching deadline, set an advanced finish date for yourself to complete the project. Finishing your project ahead of schedule will help relieve stress and ensure that your quality of work isn’t sacrificed by rushing.

Bad Habit – Negativity: There are many reasons negativity can hinder your career. When moaning and complaining become a daily occurrence, you’ll begin to annoy co-workers or whoever you’re grumbling to as well as sapping their personal resolve.

How to Fix It: Not every aspect about work can be fun so it’s only natural to feel negative about work once and a while, but you don’t always have to voice your concern to co-workers. Consider talking to a friend or loved one outside of the workplace. When you need to share concerns with co-workers, remember the difference between just complaining and communicating professionally.

Bad Habit – Poor Punctuality: You may think that as long as you get your work done, it shouldn’t matter when you arrive. While this is true in some cases, for most work environments, it’s simply not the case.

How to Fix It: Instead of complaining about your work schedule, realize that you probably knew the hours required when you took the job. Make punctuality a priority. Understand why you’re constantly running behind schedule. Cut out hitting the snooze one extra time, or go to bed a little earlier. Think about what would happen if everyone slept in and showed up late. Keep in mind that reliability is highly regarded by employers.

Bad Habit – Dressing Unprofessionally: You may think that deviating – even slightly – from the dress code portrays you as hip or shows your sense of style, but employers often read this as you don’t take your job seriously.

How to Fix It: Dress codes are in place for a reason. Display your professionalism and respect for the company by adhering to obvious policies. That doesn’t mean your attire has to be dull, but make sure it’s appropriate and dress the part.

Bad Habit – Playing Computer Games and Checking E-mail: Many companies are Okay with you checking personal e-mail or playing a computer game while on lunch break, but don’t abuse their generosity. And remember that some companies have strict no-tolerance policies. If you’re constantly playing games, you’re obviously not doing what you’re paid to do and people will notice.

How to Fix It: Avoid frequent time wasters such as playing games or checking e-mail. When you feel the urge to play a quick game of Tetris, satisfy that urge with a productive replacement activity – like catching up on the news.

Unproductive behavior becomes habitual over time. In that same sense, bad workplace habits must be conquered over time. When you want to change a bad habit, you must approach it with a strong commitment. So, take a hard look at your bad work habits and commit to changing your behavior. You never know what opportunities may pass you by if you don’t.

Identifying Bad Work Habits

bad habitBad habits that you carry into the workplace can impede productivity and maybe even annoy co-workers, but bad work habits can also damage or prevent career advancement. Many people don’t even realize their behavior is hurting job performance or frustrating others. That’s because over extended periods, your actions become habitual and you do them without even realizing it. In order to present yourself in a positive and professional light, it’s important to break the bad habits you have at work.

Identifying bad habits is the first step to eliminating them. So, how can you get rid of bad work habits when they’ve become so routine you barely notice them?

Keep Track of Your Day
Start by tracking how you spend your time at work. Consider keeping a journal or notepad log for a week or two, detailing everything you do in a day. List when you arrive to work late, start and end times for projects, time spent checking e-mail, time in meetings, etc. After you make your observations, review how you allocate your time. Examine how many projects you finished on time and how many you didn’t have time to complete. In addition – do you finish projects and then move on or work on them part by part? What time of the day do you spend doing certain tasks? Ask yourself if you are properly prioritizing your time and if you really need a full 30-minute conversation with a co-worker about the new Taylor Swift album. Also, avoid co-workers whose conversations can become “time thieves.”

After identifying where your time is spent productively and where it’s wasted, you can begin the hard part – breaking bad habits. Look for the next post that features common bad work habits and how to break them.

Job Security in Tough Economic Times

According to recent reports, the unemployment rate has risen to 6.5% in October as employers cut another 240,000 jobs. With this being the highest unemployment rate since March 1994, many employees are starting to feel anxiety that they could be next on the unemployment line.

No matter what industry you’re in, it’s important to focus on your performance now to increase job security. Here are four tips to help you navigate an uncertain job future.

Show your value. Whether you work in an office pushing papers or in a warehouse moving boxes, show how much value you can bring to your company. Show up early, stay late, and ask for extra projects. Make sure you work well with other employees and never, ever complain. Keep a positive, can-do attitude, and be a joy to work with.

Increase your knowledge. Show your boss that you’re a valuable asset to the company by increasing your knowledge and skills. Ask your boss if you can cross train so you can gain more experience and knowledge about the business and increase your productivity.

Network with others. Some people think that just because they have a job, there’s no longer a need to network. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Networking within your company and industry can keep your name top of mind when executives are thinking of who to keep during layoffs. Make sure you keep a great attitude and focus on building a good reputation too, because this affects how others perceive you.

Be the best. Whatever your job title, show that you’re the best person for your position. Protecting your job also means being a person who others know they can come to when they need help. Make sure you’re doing quality work because this shows employers that you can do your job well without much supervision.

Unfortunately, in times like these, many Americans face the reality of a job loss – whether it’s deserved or not. But, by focusing on being the best employee possible, you’ll not only increase your chances of keeping your job, you’ll be in a better position to land a new one should the once unthinkable pink slip happen to you.