Tag Archives: calm

De-Stress Before Your Job Interview

de-stress_before_interview_webJob interviews can be a little nerve racking. Will the interviewer like me? What if I say something that sounds stupid? What if I don’t know how to answer a question?

To help you gain your interview confidence, take a deep breath and follow these seven tips for conquering your fears and de-stress before your job interview.

1. Get your portfolio together.
Don’t scramble to put this together the night before. No one knows your work better than you, so be your biggest advocate on interview day and have a stellar portfolio. While getting your portfolio ready, showcase your best projects. And, be sure to include plenty of copies of your resume in case someone unexpected joins the interview. On your resume, make sure it’s easily laid out for readability, organized, shows your training/education background, and lists your job history. Also, include a list of references for extra bonus points.

2. Prepare for interview questions.
Expect to be asked questions like:

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why should I hire you?
  • What are your strengths and weaknesses?
  • What can you bring to the team?
  • Do you have any questions about the job?

These are typical questions interviewers use to learn more about you. A few days before your interview, practice answering these questions and watch yourself in the mirror so you can see your facial expressions or ask a friend to listen and give you feedback.

3. Do your research on the company and the position.
Not only will you need to be prepared to answer questions about yourself, but you should also be able to speak about the company and the position you’re seeking. What do you know about them? What do they do? Find out when they were founded, how many locations they have (if more than one), and some interesting facts about the organization.

Also, be able to share about the skills you can bring to the job. What are some specific duties you’re interested in? How do your skills match the job? Also, come up with questions you have about the job. How do you see this position growing with this company? What skills does the perfect candidate have? Questions like these will show that you’re taking initiative in learning all you can about the position.

4. Drive by the interview location the day before.
A big stressor for interviewees is the location of the interview. If you can, do a test run the day before. Get a feel for the traffic and identify just how much time you need to get there. And remember, you will want to arrive at your interview at least 15 minutes early, so factor that into your drive time.

5. Plan your outfit.
What are you going to wear for your interview? The key is to always wear professional in attire on your interview day. Get your outfit prepared the evening before your interview and make sure it is clean and wrinkle-free. Also, include your accessories such as shoes, a tie, or jewelry. Having your clothes ready to go will save you time on the big day.

6. Get a good night’s rest.
Go to bed early the night before your interview. Allow yourself to get enough rest so you wake up feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to face the day. Don’t stay up late trying to prepare, and be sure to set your alarm!

7. Stay calm on interview day.
After you’ve checked in for your interview, use your last few minutes to take some deep breaths, remember what your goal is, and remind yourself that you can do this. Remember to think positive.

Do you have any additional tips for de-stressing before an interview? Share them here!

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

Safety: The Power of Positive Thinking

safety_positive_thinkingApril is Stress Awareness Month, and we want to share some ways to ease your load if you’re stressed, and shine light on the importance of positive thinking. Research shows that nearly half of adults suffer from adverse health effects due to stress, including physical, mental, and emotional problems. If you struggle with stress, here are some things to think about and put into practice this month.

Take Control of Your Thoughts
We all experience stress to some extent, whether it’s worrying about finances, job issues, the future, you name it, we all can worry about something or other. For many people, stress is a cycle that can cause severe depression or worse – but there is help. You can gain control of stress by taking your thoughts captive. If you allow yourself to think one negative thought, you could easily find yourself in a bad mood for days. On the other hand, if you focus on positive things and stay confident, you’ll quickly find yourself in a great mood. Thoughts are a very important part in staying away from stress, so keep a positive attitude, smile, stay in control of your thoughts, turn on some upbeat music, and get back to work!

Keep Calm and Carry On
Stressing won’t add another day to your life. In fact, it could even decrease your lifespan. Stressing can cause sleeping disorders, loss of energy, and weight issues, among a long list of other things. Mitchell Moffitt, co-creator of the popular YouTube series ASAPScience put it this way, “There are a lot of harmful effects that come with stress, and without proper care and release, it can definitely lead to deteriorating mental and physical conditions.”

This April, practice stress management by reducing negative thinking to gain control of your thoughts and focus on positive things. By mastering this area of your life, all the other details will fall into place easier.

The following are a few ways to help manage stress:

  • Develop a strong social support system in the workplace. A co-worker, supervisor, or other ally who is available to talk through problems can help put things in perspective and minimize stress.
  • Take a break to avoid “burnout.” Even something as brief as walking around the building or up and down a hall can help clear your head and distance you from stressors, enabling you to return to the job with a fresh outlook.
  • Set realistic expectations for the amount of work you can complete in the time you have available. Do not attempt to take on more than you can reasonably handle.
  • Recognize you are not perfect and every minor detail in your work will not be perfect either.
  • Try to remain organized and keep your work area free of clutter.
  • Avoid negativity and negative people, and try to maintain a positive attitude about your work and your co-workers.

What do you do to ease stress? Let us know in the comments section below. And let us know what triggers your stress by voting in our monthly poll.

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

Dealing with Criticism at Work

Dealing With CriticismIt’s inevitable. No matter what you say or do, someone will disagree with you and give you criticism. If you want to grow your responsibilities, develop your skills, and be ready for management, you are going to face criticism. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld once said, “If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.”

Facing criticism can impact not only your work life, but also your everyday life. It can add stress to your increasing workflow, distract you from your important duties, and bleed into your thoughts after work – if you let it. If you don’t handle criticism effectively, it can potentially derail your career.

While you can’t prevent criticism, you can control your reaction so a possible negative situation can be turned into a positive one. Not all criticism is bad and it isn’t always personal. It’s a chance for someone to provide feedback that’s valuable to your career goals. Here is a simple process to handle criticism and improve your career.

Don’t Get Defensive
Whenever we are criticized, generally our first reaction is to shoot down any opposition. It’s easy to take personally and can make you feel like you’ve been put in a corner. Before you quickly rise to defend yourself, give your managers or co-workers the opportunity to express their opinion. They have different perspectives and can see things you don’t. They might have a reasonable point that could get lost if you’re too busy trying to defend yourself.

Pull away from the situation. Treat it like you were observing someone else’s life. This will help you determine whether you are being overly sensitive or if whoever is criticizing you is just being hateful. Being open to the feedback will help you stay cool, calm, and collected. The calmer you are, the more rational you will be, which will help you make better decisions.

Search Your Feelings. You Know Them to be True
Stress and pressure can build when you don’t acknowledge what’s bothering you. Your feelings are a key part of your work performance. By ignoring feelings, you create a larger problem to deal with later. By accepting and then expressing them, you’ll be able to deal more effectively with issues from the start. When you understand how you feel, you can work with your supervisors and co-workers to communicate feedback in a way that is more acceptable and clear to avoid hurting feelings.

Rather than hiding emotions, notice them as they arise without judging yourself or blaming others for making you upset. Find out what your feelings are saying. What are the feelings asking you to do? What new choices can you make to help yourself feel at peace about the criticism? Getting to the bottom of your emotions can help you know the best ways you receive information and feedback and how you can better communicate it.

There’s a Nugget of Gold in There Somewhere
One of the simplest ways prospectors extracted gold during the 19th century was by panning for the valued metal. It was a cheap and easy process dating back to ancient Rome where gravel is scooped into a pan, gently agitated in water, and then the gold sinks to the bottom of the pan. Just as a gold prospector would have to sift through a large number of minerals to find the pieces of gold, you should sift through all criticism of you or your work and determine which ones are worth implementing.

Even if the feedback was conveyed in a less than nice manner, there could be some truth to what is being said to you. You don’t have to be the only deciding factor. If criticism is given from a co-worker, take the feedback to your boss, a mentor, or industry peers to see if it’s valid. You don’t have to make changes from all criticism, but always work to understand them and determine which ones could actually help you.

Get Out There and Grow
Now that you know what feedback is useful, it’s time to implement it. If you’re unsure, discuss it with the person who criticized you to see how you can best apply their ideas. It can build a stronger working relationship when you are showing effort to change your ways and asking for feedback to make those changes. If criticism is coming from your boss, it’s a great opportunity to display your maturity by working to change negative feedback instead of blowing it out of proportion. This way your manager will be more trusting of you and will be more open to giving you honest quality feedback, which will make you a better employee.

Don’t think of criticism as an attack. While you may have to deal with difficult co-workers, most of the time, feedback is meant to be constructive. It’s up to you as to which criticism is useful and which to ignore. If you really can’t handle criticism and really want to avoid it at all costs, you can follow the Greek philosopher Aristotle’s advice, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”

Burned Out or Stressed Out?

Burned Out or Stressed Out?If you ever wondered if your Monday blues are a signal of burnout or just job stress, here are a few scenarios to help you determine the difference.

You miss a deadline.
To determine if a missed deadline was due to stress or burn out, take a look at why you missed the deadline in the first place. Is it because you had so much on your schedule you couldn’t get to it? Or is it because you couldn’t get motivated to tackle the project? If you were simply too busy and you really regret missing the deadline, it’s probably because you were stressed. If you just didn’t get it completed and you’re having a hard time caring too much about it, you’re probably burned out.

You’re late to work three out of five days in a week.
Chances are, you are running late for a reason. If you find yourself hitting the snooze button, procrastinating during your morning routine, and telling yourself “you’ll get there when you get there”, you might be burned out. However, if your morning routine includes trying to squeeze in a few errands or getting up early to do a little work before heading into the office, it’s likely the stressful daily grind that is causing you to run late for work.

You make a mistake at work.
Whether your mistake is a billing error or failing to replace a safety guard on a piece of equipment, it could have been a result of either stress or job burnout. If it’s stress, you probably made the mistake because you were in a frantic hurry to get things done.  If it’s burnout, you may have been letting your thoughts wander instead of focusing on your task. Also, consider your response as a way to tell if it’s burnout or stress. When you’re stressed, you’ll probably be upset when you make a mistake and work hard at fixing it. When you’re burned out, you’ll probably just chalk it up to a bad day and move on.
Hopefully, you can now determine the difference between stress and burnout. Check out our solutions for workplace stress, or read these tips to deal with burnout.

Quit with Class

quitting with classIf you’ve been looking for a job, it may not be because you don’t have one, but because you’re ready to move on to something new. If that is case, you’ve got a task to take care of once you find that new job, quitting your current one. Here are three things to consider before you head out the door.

1.    Think it through.
Before you give notice to your current employer, make sure this is a step you want to take. Confirm you have a true job offer and that you’ve been accepted into the new job. Make sure you understand the function of the job you’ve been offered, agreed to the pay and benefits, and have an understanding of when the job will start. Jumping in too quickly to give you’re “I’m outta here” speech could end badly if things fall through with the new job.
Also, before you make your big announcement take some time to retrieve any work files, contact information, or personal belongings just in case you’re requested to make a fast exit after you give notice. It’s common to work two weeks after you give notice, but some workplaces have a policy to walk people out once they quit. It’s best to prepare yourself for that before you make your announcement.

2.    Remain calm and professional.
While you may dream of walking in and telling your boss to shove it, this really isn’t going to benefit you in the long run. It’s okay to inform them of your reasons for leaving, be it the lack of opportunity for advancement or development, the pay, or the schedule, but going off on a rant won’t communicate your message effectively. If possible, offer to work for two more weeks to give the employer some time to start looking for your replacement.

3.    Leave a lasting positive impression.
Think of ways to make your job easy for the next person to walk into. Discuss with your manager the production schedule and work load you’re leaving and update them on the status of your projects. If you work with equipment, make sure to create a log of when the machine had its last routine maintenance, what supplies may need to be ordered, and any challenges that may occur. If you have files stored within a network, leave clear instructions on where those files are stored.  Take a look at your job description and provide notes or guides on how to find the materials to complete the tasks listed there. Taking time for these steps will cause your co-workers and manager to appreciate you long after you’re gone.

Quitting a job can be exhilarating and emotional. And while you may go out celebrating with your family about your new job opportunity, you don’t really have a lot to gain by going out in a negative way when you leave your employer. Remember, whether you loved your job or not, it’s been paying your bills and has given you some experience to get that new job you are in love with.

Do you have any stories to share on how you’ve left a job in a classy way?