Monthly Archives: January 2009

3 Things to Consider Before Relocating for a Job

You’ve been interviewing for months, and you’ve finally received a job offer. Problem is, you found out that your prospective employer wants you to relocate. In this economy, many people are taking jobs when and where they can get them, but before you accept a job offer that will uproot your entire life and family, here are three things you should consider.


Your Spouse. If you’re married, talk it over with your spouse before you say “yes.” Accepting a job offer without consulting your partner could cause problems if relocating for a job wasn’t previously discussed. Taking a job in a new place not only changes your life, but it also affects your significant other. Depending on their career, they might not be able to find a similar job in a new city, or they might just not want to start over again in their career. Make sure you have talked it over with each other first before committing both you and your spouse to a life change.


Your Children. Other people you should think about are your children. Although you might not think that making this kind of decision should concern them, uprooting your children can have a big impact on them. Their age can play a role in how they will adjust. Obviously, if they are small, moving somewhere new might not be a big deal. But, if your children are older and involved in school, the community, or extra-curricular activities, taking them away from that could be very upsetting and difficult. Picking up and leaving for a new job might not be realistic for your family. So, make sure you take their feelings into consideration when determining whether or not it’s a good idea to relocate.


Your Friends. Finally, think about your friends. If you aren’t married or have kids, or even if you do, take into account how much your friends mean to you, and how much you mean to them. Consider what it will be like to leave your friends and start over in a new place without a support system of close peers. For some people, leaving behind close friends and family isn’t a concern, but for others, leaving loved ones behind could be the difference between success and failure.


Relocating for a new job could be just the exciting change you need. A new job in a new city could bring great, new opportunities and a thrilling new beginning, but make sure you consider all that moving entails before making a decision. You don’t want to find out later that accepting a job offer in a new place is costing you more than it’s worth.

Na Na Na Na. Hey, Hey. Goodbye. – Leaving Your Job Without Burning Bridges

Leaving Without Burning Bridges In today’s economy, leaving your job may seem reckless and ill-advised. But, when life presents you with a new and exciting opportunity, sometimes saying goodbye is a better decision for your future.

Leaving the security of your job is always a scary thing, so make sure you have properly analyzed – and are prepared for – every possible outcome. You never know when your path will cross again with your employer’s. Someday, you might need a good reference or you might even bump into each other at an industry conference. So, it’s always best to leave on good terms.

Whether you’re making a career change or life has thrown you a curveball, here are a few guidelines to help you say goodbye without burning bridges.

Use Discretion.
When you’ve arrived at your decision to leave, you may want to compile a list of colleagues that you want to break the news to. The person at the top of that list should be your direct supervisor. Having your manager hear of your departure from office gossip is the last thing you want. After informing your boss, begin telling others on your list if you want the news to become public.

Talk Face to Face.
Make every effort possible to inform your boss of your intentions face to face. An e-mail or telephone conversation is only appropriate when geographical location prevents an in-person meeting.

Be Professional.
When discussing your departure, be prepared to give your reason for leaving. Although you aren’t required to do so, it is the courteous choice. It can be as simple as, “I’ve found a new opportunity to advance in my career,” or “I’ve found something that better fits my talents and desires.” Keep in mind, this is not the time to point the finger or vent frustrations.

Account for Curveballs.
During your meeting with your supervisor, they might offer a raise or promotion. Chances are, you didn’t take your decision to leave lightly and you’ll stick to your choice, but take the possibility of another offer into consideration. That said, do not leverage your departure as a threat for a pay increase. This will not be appreciated and will most likely backfire.

Give Proper Notice.
The standard time for notification when you are leaving a job is two weeks. But for some jobs, as much as six weeks can be required. Check your employee handbook to see if there are any guidelines to follow. If there aren’t, try to give your supervisor an advanced notice of at least two weeks.

Write a Resignation Letter.
A formal letter of resignation should include the date of your last day of employment, reason for leaving (keep it professional), and a thank you for the opportunity to work for the company. Also, include you willingness to help with the transition period, whether it is training the new employee or making a list of your job duties. You may not be asked to, but the act of offering demonstrates, even in the end, your loyalty and character.

Leave on a Good Note.
Be professional and diligently work up until the last day you’ve agreed upon. On your final day, write thank you cards to your supervisor and your co-workers. You’re respectfulness can create a great final impression – one that’s as important as your first impression.

Even if you’ve struggled with the dilemma of leaving your job, you made the decision to go, so don’t burn bridges in your departure. Make sure things are in order before you say goodbye.

Have you experienced a former co-worker leaving on a sour note? How have you made clean breaks in the past? Post your stories in the comment section below.

Negotiating Salary in a Recession

You may think that in a recession your salary negotiating power is gone. In fact, for many people, things are so bad they would rather take a pay cut than suffer a job loss. The truth is, a recent poll showed that many Fortune 500 companies are looking at freezing merit based raises for the coming year. For many people, salaries may freeze or decline throughout 2009.

That said, highly skilled, experienced, or recruited candidates may find that now, they are worth more than ever to employers. So, if you have experience in a field that’s in high demand or have recruiters knocking on your door, don’t worry. Your salary level is probably fine. But if you’re searching for a job or are in an industry that’s feeling the economic slump, now is a great time to brush up on your salary negotiation skills. Selling your skills and experience in an economic climate like this will be challenging. So, here are three ideas for negotiating a salary in a recession:

Make it about their money.

If you’re a proven candidate who’s been successful at saving money for employers in the past, whether by cutting budgets, using innovative ideas, or changing processes, make sure to sell the value you add to a potential employer to save them cold, hard cash right now. Many people can prove they’ve spent a company’s money. But proven power in saving money in a business setting is a rare talent. So, make sure you sell your ability to save the company money by sharing actual dollar amounts you’ve saved. If you’ve saved a company in the thousands or millions, you can make your salary about saving the employer’s money, and chances are, you’ll get paid what you’re worth.

Make it about your performance.

Here’s something to consider when you’re talking money with a potential employer once a job offer’s been extended. Tell them you’re willing to base your raise or bonus on your performance. Set the stakes yourself. If you can accomplish their goals for the position before their allotted time frame, or if you can raise productivity levels in measurable ways above the last person who had the position, it would be worth it for them to pay you more. So, let your boss or potential employer know that you want a better salary but are willing to work for it. Then, give them a deadline to make the change by. Here’s an example: if you meet their goals within the first three months, they agree to give you an immediate 5% raise, no questions asked. And if you exceed them in measurable ways, they will give you another review to consider an even higher raise.

Make it about your time.

Time is money. So, if an employer says they can’t afford to pay you what you’re worth right now because of the economy, suggest that you would work for what they can afford to pay you but at a reduced schedule. For example, if you can prove you deserve to make 20% more than they’re willing to pay but they still can’t pay it, see if they’ll work out a compromise until the economy picks back up and they can afford to pay you more. Suggest that you would be willing to work 20% less time than the job description requires but at the salary they can afford for a full-time person now. If you are a valuable enough candidate or employee, this may just be the solution to meet both of your needs.

When you’re negotiating salary, make sure that you approach the subject with professionalism and tact. Go into a salary negotiation discussion prepared with the facts about what you’re worth, but don’t alienate a potential employer by being insensitive to their business needs, especially in an economy like this. By positioning yourself as your potential employer’s ally when it comes to talking about salary in a difficult economic situation, you’ll be more likely to get paid what you’re worth and help your employer weather the storm.

Have you successfully negotiated a new salary, even in the recession? Share your tips and insights in the comments!

Money Matters, or Does It? Finding Satisfaction in Your Job

According to a survey conducted in 2008 by, 46% of workers said they were unsatisfied at work. One of our blog polls found that 37% of our readers thought more money would keep them at their current job. So this begs the question, “Will money truly make you happier at work?” Chances are, it won’t. Research shows that once you earn enough money to cover your basic needs, earning more money doesn’t make you much happier. So, what’s standing in your way of being happy at work? Is one of these three factors weighing you down?

Lack of Interesting Work. If you find yourself doing mundane tasks over and over again, or don’t feel excitement in your job anymore, talk to your supervisor. Ask if you can take on a few new tasks or responsibilities, or trade projects with a co-worker. You’ll be able to learn a new skill and become more valuable to your department by taking on a new challenge.

No Room for Advancement. Not every company creates a career path or roadmap for employees to move up within the company, so if there’s not one, create your own. Start by picking up new skills and increasing your knowledge to broaden your opportunities. This can help you make an upward move into another area of the company that you weren’t qualified for previously. If there’s still no opportunity to move up, consider looking somewhere else.

Feeling Undervalued. If your work often goes unrecognized or you’re not sure how your work affects the company, you might feel undervalued. In this case, talk with your supervisor and let him know your concerns. Ask him to explain how your work ties into the department or company goals. It could be that he has a hard time expressing appreciation or doesn’t know how you feel.

Money isn’t the only key to happiness, and earning more of it isn’t always in your control. But, there are a few key things that can increase your satisfaction at work, regardless of the size of your paycheck. Once you figure out what’s really making you unhappy, you can fix the problem. You deserve to be happy at work, so why not change what you can today?

Organizing and Maintaining Your Workspace

Organizing Your Workspace - 2 In the previous blog, you learned why it’s important to have an organized desk instead of a messy one. Cleaning up your act is well worth the effort, and can even give your career a boost.

Taking the time and effort to reorganize your workspace can help you find specific items quickly, rather than having to dig through piles to find something you need. Also, your productivity will increase because there will be less visual distractions, leaving you more time to focus on your work.

Here are a few quick tips to get your cleanup started.

Necessary Items.

  • Keep only your essential, frequently-used items on your desk. Your computer, telephone, inbox, stapler, note pad, and other items of that nature can be considered as essential. If you regularly use a printer or fax, keep those within reach.

Organization Method.

  • Determine how you want things to be organized. Do you want to file documents in a folder or binder? Do you want items color coded or labeled? Each person has their own style of filing, so make sure you find the style or system that works best for you – Stacks of paper on the left and more stacks of paper on the right doesn’t count as organization.

Throw Out Old Materials.

  • Don’t hoard old files that you haven’t used in years. Discard or shred these old materials to clear up space. Remember to double check files, such as financial records, before you toss them. Items like tax papers need to be kept for seven years.

Manage Your System.

  • Create a system of organization that is sustainable. It would be a wasted effort to de-clutter your space if it can’t preserve its cleanliness. Make sure your system is simple enough and adapted to your work style.

Keep It Clean.

  • Tidy up before you leave each day. Make sure things are in order to ensure you can get off to a fast start when you arrive the next morning. Doing so will also help you maintain your area. People are a little more reluctant to tackle daunting tasks, but tidying up every day will prevent messes from growing too large and overwhelming.

Methods for de-cluttering are as countless as the benefits of having a neat work area. Being organized and in control can display your efficiency and consistency as a worker – which can help your career in the long run.

What systems work best for you? How do you keep your system of organization from failing? Let us know your tricks in the comment section below.

How Does Your Messy Desk Portray You?

Organizing Your Workspace - 1 Though you can’t fully judge a person’s quality of work by glancing at their work area, most people can make an assumption.

There is a preconception that organization equals efficiency. When you see a clean workspace, you can’t help but think that the worker is productive and gets their work done.

On the other hand, disorganization can produce a greater negative impact than the positivity of tidiness. Even if your desk is inadvertently messy, a cluttered workspace can make others think that you’re lazy, stressed, disorganized, and maybe even irresponsible. If it’s perceived that you can’t function in an organized environment or keep your workspace organized, chances are you will also be viewed as incompetent to some degree – reducing your chances of career advancement.

Avoid giving off a negative impression and jeopardizing opportunities for a promotion by keeping a messy work station. Tune into our upcoming blog about how to clean up your workspace and keep it that way.

What You Can Learn from Children About Teamwork



ChildrenPlay Have you ever watched a group of children in a classroom or group environment? It’s fascinating to see how they work together, how they learn, and how they get along. Observe a group of kids for a few hours, and chances are, you’ll learn a lot.




My mom is a pre-school teacher, and I admire her patience and enthusiasm. I don’t know how she does it sometimes. But then I think about what work is to her and what it is to me, and though I know what she does is a lot of hard work, there are parts of it that sound like a blast. Coloring. Recess. Circle time. What’s not to love?


Really, there are a lot of things we can learn from children that can help us in our jobs. After all, why shouldn’t we all get to have a little more fun on the clock?


Play together.





One of the best parts of being a kid is play time. But there’s no reason we should leave play behind when we enter the workforce. In fact, many psychologists say that play is an integral part of learning and personal development – throughout a lifetime. Americans have a hard enough time leaving work out of leisure time, and experts say we’re overworked and don’t take enough vacation anyway.


Why shouldn’t we play more at work? The other day, our department got together to play. We made what could have been a boring brainstorming meeting into a fun, interactive game. Sure, it was work. But it was fun, too. Plus, we got great ideas and grew as a team. What could be better than that? But play at work doesn’t always have to be productive. Sometimes it’s important to play purely for the sake of having fun. The rejuvenating power of play is tremendous. So, figure out productive (or just plain fun) ways your team can play while you work.


Make the box work for you.


Have you ever seen children play together with a cardboard box? The possibilities they see in such a mundane object are endless. It’s a shame it becomes so much more difficult to harness this creativity as we grow up and go to work. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We should do what kids do when they play with a box. They don’t see it for what it is: a large piece of cardboard folded into the shape of – a box. They see what it could be. A space ship. A tunnel. A house.




They could see a box a hundred times and it might be something new every time. What would happen if your work team really got in touch with this idea? Would they see problems in a new light? Would they seek opportunities instead of distractions? What could your projects be, if your team used this kind of creativity, if they were willing to make old things new?


Tell stories.


Kids tell stories. All the time. Some are true, most are at least partly fiction, but all are a lesson in creativity and the possibility of the mind.





Once upon a time… on Vimeo.


One thing that intrigues me about the stories children tell is the connections they make and the questions they ask. Especially when they tell stories in a group. They don’t limit their world to the constraints we adults have a hard time getting past (especially at work).


Animals can talk. People can fly. But their stories are still rooted in the world they know. This is a powerful lesson adults need to bring with us to work: Reality can meet possibility. Stories we think we already know can be reshaped. But we have to let our minds go there first. If your team tried to tell a story about their tasks, their projects, their goals, what would they say? What if the story came first? What if you created a vision together?


Would your work improve, would your team grow stronger, would your company grow?


What else can we learn from children about teamwork?




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