Archive for January, 2012

Breaking Up is Hard To Do!

Jan 30 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

Is the magic gone in your job? What about your relationship with your partner? Staying in the job you don’t like is a little like staying in a relationship with a partner you can’t get along with. While divorce rates are well above 50% in the United States there should be no surprise that the numbers of individuals who leave their jobs within 5 years are even higher. We’re an uncommitted society, to be sure, but there may be some insight gained by analyzing the two most important commitments in an adult’s life (speaking nothing of children!).

Would you leave a relationship if you knew your partner would gain riches next year? Would you leave your job if you suddenly received double your current pay? Is it a fair comparison?

Most people leave their job because of low pay. A recent article points to surprising statistics on other reasons to leave (http://www.businessinsider.com/how-can-you-help-your-unhappy-employees–and-should-you-2011-3):

  • Low pay (47 percent of women, 44 percent of men);
  • Lack of opportunity (36 percent of women, 32 percent of men);
  • No chance for career advancement (33 percent of women, 34 percent of men).

A promise to stay in your job “for better or worse” was never made, so what’s the big deal with quitting a job? Perhaps there are issues outside the scope of the above mentioned article that you should take into account. Think relationship with your partner. Here’s what you risk if you quit your relationship:

  • Boredom
  • Lack of Socialization
  • Lack of Accountability
  • Deteriorating Physical Health
  • Decreased Learning
  • Finding a Worse Match Next Round
  • Regret for What Could Have Been

It’s a bit of a stretch but the analogies definitely apply to quitting a job. So, the next time you’re deciding on quitting a job, approach it like you would splitting up with a partner. It’s gonna hurt.

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Networking for a Job

Jan 07 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

With so much technology available, sometimes we forget that good old fashioned in-person networking is one of the best tools for finding new employment. “WHAT?!?!?! You want me to actually talk to real, live people?” Yes, eye-to-eye contact means a lot more nowadays. Especially with LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter… actually talking to someone is the new “out of the box” idea to get noticed.

“Where do I start,” you ask? Each area of the country is different, but here are a few ideas to get you started no matter where you live:

Chamber of Commerce (http://www.uschamber.com/): The Chamber of Commerce focuses on developing relationships between local business, government, and community organizations. It’s almost like the Visitor’s Center for businesses. Most areas of the country have a local Chamber that you can join for a monthly fee, which will allow you to participate in activities for free or a discounted price. Most importantly, this is your chance to network with some of the movers and shakers in town. Most members of the Chamber appreciate networking and like to give each other business when possible. Let your fellow Chamber members know that you are in the market for a new job and seek their advice and connections. Most networking meetings also allow you to introduce yourself to the entire group, which is a free commercial and chance to market yourself.

Rotary Club (http://www.rotary.org/en/aboutus/sitetools/clublocator/pages/ridefault.aspx): Rotary Clubs vary by area. In many cities, Rotary is extremely popular with all ages. Rotary does require a bit more commitment that most networking clubs, but you can be sure that members are committed to being a part of the organization. Rotarians are extremely charitable, so the options for getting involved are endless. Join a committee and show the club what you can do. This will open doors for your new career.

Toastmasters (http://www.toastmasters.org): Toastmasters is a great place to learn how to speak in public and be a leader. You may wonder what this has to do with networking. Clearly communicating your idea is vital to showing potential employers what you can bring to the table. Toastmasters gives you true on-the-spot experience with speaking in public. Plus, it’s a chance to network with others.

MeetUp.com (http://www.meetup.com): MeetUp.com will show you what local groups have been formed and “meet up” depending on your interests. For instance, if you are in internet marketing, you can search and find local groups of other internet marketing professionals. Each group is started and run by regular people, so there are typically no costs in attending meet ups. Meet ups are usually fairly small, so it’s a good chance for one-on-one networking. You can even start your own group for a small monthly group fee.

Local networking groups: Each city offers different networking opportunities. In Pittsburgh, PA, The Technology Council (http://www.pghtech.org) is one of the best places to network for business people of all industries in Pittsburgh, so do not limit yourself to just one industry. Do some research on the companies you would like to work for and find out where their employees choose to network. Most online executive bios share that information.

You need to weave yourself into the community so that when someone hears of a job, you are the first person they think of. Many jobs are not posted online because they were filled through word of mouth and in-person interactions. Networking builds your credibility in the community and gives you access to resources most candidates do not have.

Get the most from your networking and have topics of discussion in your back pocket. The best way to get noticed in networking situations is to shine. Do not be shy and be sure to introduce yourself to everyone you can. Make an impression by making the effort. Networking groups usually have a member directory, so use it. Reach out to fellow members when you hear of an opportunity and see if they have any connections to get you in the door. If you meet someone interesting at a networking event, ask if they would meet you for coffee sometime to talk more. Companies are more likely to give you an interview with the recommendation of someone they know. Follow up is very important as well. Be sure to treat every contact you make like a client.

Networking is what you make of it, so get out there and test the waters. Make the most of your connections and get your business cards ready!

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Staying Motivated In a Long Job Hunt

Jan 05 2012 Published by under Uncategorized

While unemployment numbers are going down, there are still a large number of individuals who are still looking for work, many of whom have expended their unemployment benefits already. When the job market is this tough, and the job hunt is this frustrating, it’s hard for potential employees to stay positive and motivated to keep on task.

As with any big task, finding a new job involves a balance of hard work and time to recharge.  Securing new employment should be your top priority, but sometimes that means knowing how and when to take care of your own needs.  Companies want to see the best you have to offer, and that’s hard to do if you aren’t eating right, getting enough sleep or managing your stress. 

The focus of this article will be finding small ways to stay on the top of your personal game so you can keep fighting for the chance to play in your professional game.  Most are free or involve spending little or no additional cash, so enjoy these moments guilt free.

  1. Move your body. (http://www.lhj.com/health/fitness/10-yoga-stretches-for-stress-relief/) Sometimes even the simplest stretches can help clear your head and release tension you may be unaware you’re carrying in your muscles.  Try this series of three basic stretches to release stress and regain your focus.
    • Look up
      While sitting in your computer chair, slowly stretch your neck back until you’re looking up at the ceiling.  Our bodies spend a lot of time looking down or straight ahead, it’s important to stretch and release the muscles that allow us to look up, as well.  Hold for a few seconds, then drop your chin to your chest.  Repeat 10 times.
    • Roll your shoulders
      Most people hold tension in their shoulder muscles, which can cause headaches, muscle pain and upper back problems.  Spend five minutes rolling your shoulders up to your ears and back down again in slow, deliberate movements.  You’ll feel the tightness melt away.
    • Flex your hands 
      Those of us that spend a lot of time in front of the computer often battle stiff, sore fingers and wrists, as well as more complicated injuries and illnesses, because we repeat the same motions over and over again.  It’s important to take a break from typing every half hour or so to keep the blood flowing into and the stiffness out of our hands.  Flex and constrict your hands and fingers, and rub each finger and joint individually to keep stiffness at bay.
  2. Use the right fuel (http://www.choosemyplate.gov/)
    Quite simply, it’s harder to eat the right variety of food when budgets are tight.  In addition to the strain the economy has put on our wallets, the financial crisis has driven up the cost of many goods and services we need.  In spite of these worries, it’s important to eat well as you hunt for a job.  Your body will adapt better to the stress it’s under if you’re providing it with a steady diet of healthy fruits and vegetables, all the vitamins and minerals it needs and plenty of wholesome whole grains.  (http://www.livestrong.com/article/271458-how-healthy-eating-affects-mood/)
  3. Keep your perspective 
    When times are hard, it’s easy to forget that other people are suffering, too.  Sometimes, when we’re wrapped up in our own problems and issues, remembering the things we can and should be thankful for, especially the things others are not as fortunate to have.  Empathy and gratefulness can counterbalance the frustration and self-pity that can frequently accompany long periods of unemployment.
  4. Find the silver lining and the humor in your situation
    Smart people say laughter is the best medicine, and it applies to more than your physical health.  Keeping your sense of humor when times are tough can be your best defense against negative feelings.  (http://www.bakadesuyo.com/why-does-humor-improve-our-mood)
  5. Recognize when you need some help
    There’s no shame in asking for help if the issues related to your unemployment feel like they’re too much for you to handle. Don’t be afraid to reach out to family, friends and professionals if you need help.  There are many free resources available, no matter how minor or critical your situation is.  You’re not alone, and there are plenty of people who are available and want to help. (http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/03/unemployment.aspx)

Getting through a long period of unemployment is never going to be easy, but there are little things you can do to help support your emotional health while you’re on your way to your brand new dream job.

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