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?

Finishing The Year Strong

The year is quickly coming to an end, and you may be in a hurry to start anew with the beginning of 2009. But, right now you have an opportunity to finish strong, giving you a better chance for a smooth start next year. Here are three ways you can make the most out of your time before heading home for the holidays.

Prioritize your assignments. Figure out what projects are most important to complete now, which ones are simple and due soon, and which ones require more time or energy but are due later on. Make sure to write each deadline on a calendar, and then pencil in when you’ll actually work on each project. This will help you clearly see if you have enough time to complete all of your projects or if you need to ask for help to get them done on time.

Schedule a break. The end of the year can be hectic and sometimes stressful when you’re juggling holidays, shopping, parties, and vacations in addition to your workload. So, after you list all of your tasks on your calendar, look to see if you can squeeze in some time for yourself. Whether it’s setting a lunch date with an old friend, spending an afternoon at the park, or taking a day off to relax, plan some alone time to help you de-stress. This will help you refocus on your priorities at work and complete them on time when you return to the office.

Keep a positive attitude. Staying positive through the end of the year can help you focus on your tasks and get each job done well. A poor attitude will just make your tasks seem overwhelming, so try to stay upbeat. Even though times may be stressful as you’re trying to finish up your annual projects, keeping a positive attitude will help you – and your co-workers – enjoy the rest of the year. 

Before you know it, the end of the year will be here. So, use these three tips now to help you enjoy the last few weeks of the year while still getting your work done on time.

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.

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. 

3 Ways to Learn From Others at Work

Learning as much as you can on the job is important to your personal and professional growth. Most of your co-workers probably have different strengths and weaknesses than you do, which makes your team function well when everyone pulls their talents together. So, take the opportunity to learn from your co-workers and sharpen your skills. Here are three informal ways to increase your knowledge in the workplace by working with your peers.

Pay attention. Watch how your colleagues act and react to certain situations at work, whether it’s how they handle a customer complaint, the way they treat their supervisor, or how they complete their work on time. Observe how they’re received by others and what other co-workers’ reactions are. You can learn from both positive and negative behaviors by imitating good examples and learning not to mimic poor behaviors.

Ask for a demonstration. If you’re on the job and need or simply want to learn how to complete a procedure, ask a co-worker who is knowledgeable about the process. Ask if you can watch them the next time they complete that task, and ask them to explain their strategy during each step.

Request guidance. Sometimes you might come across a task that you’re somewhat familiar with but need a little guidance and reassurance along the way. In this case, ask a knowledgeable co-worker if they can watch you as you perform the task yourself and correct you if you miss a step. Make sure to ask questions for clarification as you complete your task so that you’ll understand the process.

Every day is a new opportunity to learn something. So take time to learn from your co-workers and improve your skills to grow personally and professionally. These opportunities will help you build relationships with your co-workers, creating value for both you and your entire team.

3 Reasons Not to Waste Your Time Applying for Just Any Job

When employers are looking to fill a position, they want to hire a person who shows talent, enthusiasm, and dedication. If you can’t convey any of that in your résumé or during your interview, you’re not likely to get the job. Here are three reasons not to waste your time or the employer’s by applying for a job you don’t truly want.

You won’t give your all. When you’re unsure of whether you want a specific job or if you’re just interested in the position for its income, you probably won’t put forth the effort it takes to land a job. Decide whether or not you want the job first. Then, only apply for those you want to invest time into seeking out. It’s OK if you decide you don’t want a job after you’ve interviewed, but realize that your time is one of your most valuable resources in your job search, and wisely invest in it accordingly.

Employers will notice. When you’re apathetic toward a job opportunity, your lack of interest is noticeable to employers during your interview, and employers don’t want to hire lackluster candidates – even those who are fully qualified. If you act like you’re wasting your time in an interview, the employer may assume you’d be no different on the job.

You’ll miss the right opportunity. If you spend your time applying for jobs you don’t really want, you won’t be able to give the proper time and attention to the job opportunities that really interest you, and the perfect job just might slip through your grasp. Focus on getting the job you really want, and employers will take notice of your talent and determination.

If you’re unmoved by a job opportunity, you’re unlikely to land a job offer. Even if you do, chances are, you won’t be any more excited once you begin the position. So, do yourself and potential employer a favor by carefully selecting which jobs you want to apply for and you’ll be better equipped to land a job you truly love.

3 Tips for Interviewing While Still Employed

If you’re like many other workers, you’ve probably started looking for a new job opportunity while still employed, although it wasn’t something you announced to your co-workers or supervisor. It can be tricky trying to schedule interviews around your work schedule without sharing too much information or being disrespectful. Here are three ways to help you schedule job interviews while showing respect to your current employer.

1. Schedule on your own time. The most obvious way to plan an interview, yet not always the easiest, is to schedule it on your own time away from work. Explain to your potential employer that you’re still employed and would prefer an interview time before or after your work hours, or on your lunch break. They’ll understand that you’re being respectful toward your current employer, and will appreciate your courtesy.

2. Request time off. If the hiring employer has a set time for interviews and is unable to accommodate a special request, you might have to interview during work hours. In this case, request time off from your current employer ahead of time instead of calling in sick the day of. Use your paid time off or ask to make up your missed hours at another time, explaining that you have an important appointment to attend and tried to schedule it outside of work hours but was unable to. And, keep your co-workers in mind and avoid scheduling your interview during team meetings, near deadlines, or when your co-workers need you most.

3. Keep it to yourself. There’s no need to divulge this type of information to your supervisor or co-workers. If you tell your current employer that you’re headed to an interview, they can deny your request for time off or even ask you to clean out your desk. Simply share that you have an appointment to attend and leave it at that. Don’t elaborate or construct a lie. You can also ask your potential employer for confidentiality and to not contact your current employer.

Many others have successfully interviewed while still employed, and you can, too. Use these tips to plan your interviews accordingly and your interview just might turn into the job you’ve been waiting for. Good luck in your job search!