Monthly Archives: February 2010

4 Work Habits to Save Your Career

There are conflicting opinions on whether or not the recession is over. But, the nation’s economy is definitely seeing signs of a recovery and experts believe America’s jobless rate is improving. According to CareerBuilder’s 2010 Job Forecast, 20 percent of employers plan to add to their payrolls in 2010, up from 14 percent in 2009. So, what does this mean for the employees who held on to their jobs during the worst of the economy?

If you were one of the so called “lucky” ones who weathered the countless rounds of layoffs, you’ve probably been overworked and underpaid, leaving you exhausted and in need of a much deserved vacation. You might even be feeling a little frustrated and overwhelmed about the mounds of work lingering on your desk. But, don’t let your work ethic slip. With employers increasing their plans to hire again in 2010, they could just as easily find someone else who is refreshed and excited about the opportunity to have a job, no matter how much work it entails. So, check out these four work habits to help keep you safe in your career. 

Be Flexible. No matter how slammed you are in your current position with a heavy workload, stay flexible. Be willing to rearrange your schedule to allow for new tasks that may be more important, even when you can’t find a minute to spare. If your boss is a good manager, they will see when your plate is full and will adjust accordingly. Also, don’t be afraid to schedule a meeting with your supervisor to discuss what projects can be put on the back burner for a while so you can focus on top priorities

Be Positive. Make sure that you always have a pleasant attitude, even if you want to pull your hair out. It’s imperative that your superiors don’t see you sweat the small stuff, or the large stuff, and that you exhibit a can-do attitude even in the worst case scenarios. Having a positive mindset will go far in your boss’s eyes and will help you get through stressful days a little easier.

Be Accountable. It’s easy to lose track of projects when there is so much going on and no one to hold you accountable. So make sure you hold yourself responsible for your tasks. You don’t want to be assigned a project and not get it completed because you assumed your boss would get with you on it later. Upper management is doing more with less time as well, so be accountable for your own assignments and don’t expect your boss to micromanage your workload.

Be Assertive. If you see something that needs to be done, don’t wait to be tasked with the project. Take initiative and tackle the assignment before you are asked. This will show your boss how valuable you are to the organization and that you are willing to work on tasks without being told to.   

As the economy continues to improve, employers are strategizing to make a comeback by hiring more employees. But, don’t let the notion that your job is safe keep you from having a strong work ethic. With many job seekers ready to take your place, your employers may only be a big résumé stack away from finding someone who would be happy to fill your shoes. You’ve worked hard for so long, so don’t give up! Keep your career on track with these four work habits.

Words of Wisdom

As we focus on our daily activities, sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Sometimes we get so caught up with what we are currently going through that we only see what’s right in front of our faces. In this economy, it’s easy to feel defeated and throw in the towel. It’s easy to get bummed out. But, there is hope.

With winter melting and the sun shining, now’s the time for you to look beyond the daily grind and see what’s on the horizon. What’s in the future? It’s time to remember our dreams. To help you keep sight of the big picture, I would like to share some of my favorite inspirational words. Take time to read these, apply them to your life, put them into action, and be inspired. Hope you enjoy!

"You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own and you know what you know and you are the one who’ll decide where to go." – Dr. Seuss

"So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon seem inevitable." – Christopher Reeve

"Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Louis Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresa, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein." – H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

"Because of our routines we forget that life is an ongoing adventure." – Maya Angelou

"To the world you may be just one person, but to one person you may be the world." – Josephine Billings

"Listen to the Mustn’ts, child, listen to the don’ts. Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts. Listen to the never have, then listen close to me. Anything can happen, child. Anything can be." – Shel Silverstein

Let these quotes inspire you! Do you have some favorite words to live by? We would like to know what they are. Share them here!

Finding Your Passion, Pursuing Your Dreams

The highly anticipated 2010 Winter Olympic Games are well under way. I’ve been eagerly awaiting this year’s games and have a few favorite athletes I’m following. It’s amazing to think about all the different sports that exist for people to compete in. Freestyle skiing, figure skating, short track speed skating, snow boarding, and ice dancing are just a few of the many sports the world’s best athletes will compete in during these games. I find myself wondering how these sports ever came to exist. Have you ever stopped to think about how these athletes discovered their talent and love for their sport?

With years of practice and dedication, these athletes have honed their skills. They’ve put in hours upon hours of practice to perfect their techniques. They’ve made sacrifices. They’ve changed the way they eat, sleep, and exercise to ensure their bodies are in top condition for competition. They’ve endured injuries and setbacks. They’ve experienced triumphs and defeats. But, in the long run it has all been worth it. Along the way they have become experts at their sport, well respected and admired for their skills and abilities.

These same ideas apply to you and your career. What things in life interest you? What do you have a passion for? What is your dream? Whatever it is, take a lesson from the Olympic athletes. Discover what you love to do and make it your goal to become the best at it. If there are classes you can take, mentors you can meet with, information you can read, or organizations you can join, make it a point to do it. To achieve your dreams, you will sometimes have to make sacrifices. Stay late to finish a project instead of heading out the door as soon as the work day ends. Save your money for a training seminar you’ve wanted to take instead of buying the latest video game. Change your habits to change your life. 

As with anything, we are always continuing to grow in our professions. You don’t just wake up one morning being the best. You have to work at it.  It takes time to develop those skills, trial and error, and hours, days, and years of gaining and applying knowledge. It takes focus to become the best at what you do, so figure out what that is and pursue it to the fullest. Like Apolo Anton Ohno, you too can blaze a course in your career. You can soar to new heights like Shaun “The Flying Tomato” White. Keep your eyes focused on the gold, and you’ll come out a winner. In the end, the dedication is worth everything.

Broke? Improve Your Skills on the Cheap.

If you’re looking for a job, the competition can be tough. So, getting ahead could mean strengthening your job skills, and maybe even adding some new ones. Taking courses at your local college or vocational center is a great way to improve your skills set and your career, but it’s not always feasible with busy schedules and tight finances. If you need to brush up on a particular subject or simply want to expand your horizon and improve your mind, check out your local library. Borrowing books is a cost-effective way to build your résumé (or your brain) without draining your time or your pocket book.

Your library is a great – and free – resource you can use to extend your knowledge. And, you can learn at your own pace and schedule. At the library, you’ll find books on subjects ranging from computer programs to leadership advice. So, if you’ve ever been interested in graphic design, pick up some books on Adobe Photoshop. If you want to start your own business, read up on becoming an entrepreneur. If you’ve entertained a far-away dream of becoming a chef, realize that your dream could become a reality if you work toward it. Start by borrowing cookbooks like Julia Childs’ Mastering the Art of French Cooking.

If you’re like some people,  apart from the odd research paper in high school, you haven’t stepped foot in a library since grade school. But, if you’re looking to enhance your job skills, want to accomplish a life long dream, or just need a new hobby, now’s a great time to head to your local library. From gardening, to mechanics, from film making to interior design, your library has books about it all, often including free internet access. So, while you’re there, you can search the web for information and jobs.

Can’t handle the quiet, studious atmosphere of a library? You can schedule books for pickup online at most metro libraries to make borrowing books hassle free. So, head to your local library or visit it online to discover the endless possibilities a book can offer you.

Text Messages Crossing the Line?

Cell phone text messaging has changed the way we communicate, the way we operate, and even the way we do business. It’s direct and instantaneous. And, with more than a third of the world texting, it’s becoming a more prevalent and often preferred means of communication.

But, like most technological advances, text messaging can have some unintended consequences. According to experts, “textual” harassment or sexual harassment that occurs via text messages is on the rise in the workplace.

With text messaging becoming a part of everyday business more and more, is it affecting you at work?

Poll Indicates Optimism About Economy

The year of 2009 is behind us, and 2010 is charging full steam ahead. As the economy continues to show signs of improvement, economists are predicting it will only be a matter of time before businesses and jobs start ramping up again. In January, a total of 652 people responded to our survey, “Are You Optimistic About the Job Market?

Of those who took the survey, 53.4% said they are optimistic about the job market this year, while 46.6% said they are not.

These numbers are an improvement over a similar poll that we took in March 2009. On that survey, more than 1,200 readers voted. Of those who took the survey, only 38.8% said they were optimistic about the economy over the next six months while 61.2% said they were not optimistic.

Overall, the outlook on the economy is looking up. Do you have any additional thoughts about the economy over the next six months? Share your thoughts here.