Archive for April, 2014

What to do when preparing to quit your job

Apr 29 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

By Richard Aaron Wright – When preparing to quit your job, it’s best to get your chickens lined up in a row. There are a few simple, but important steps. Start with a checklist.

Similar to bad relationships, most people who look back on those horrible experiences at work will come to the same conclusion: “I should have been preparing to quit my job for a long time?”

For this reason, friends and family should be engaged early and often for advice on quitting. But we’re not encouraging complaining; instead, what you need is someone to help you action your plan. Here’s what to do before you quit your job:

  • Checklist – Begin a diary of things to do
  • Create your story – Quitting your job is not the best story to tell future employees, so you should already be working with your friends and family to develop that tale to transform your career. Instead of telling them you hated your boss, tell them you love your career potential. Instead of telling them you hated delivering pizzas, tell them what you learned from delivering pizzas. Transformation make a good employee prospect!
  • Start your job hunt before you quit – It takes just a few minutes to quit your job, but finding another one can take years. Instead of complaining about your job, spend time on Monster.com, CareerBuilder.com and Craigslist.org where there are thousands of listings.
  • Plan your finances – There’s going to be a small or large amount of time between quitting your job and going to the next one. Find out if your friends and family are willing to lend money to you during the transition. Give them specific numbers you have to reach based on your own savings accounts, and don’t be wishy-washy by saying, “I’m going to need a lone.” Instead, tell them that you will need to borrow 25% of your monthly mortgage or rent from each of your friends and family members willing to contribute. Be organized with a spreadsheet and a plan, and you’ll be more likely to get support.
  • Practice a graceful exit – There’s no need to go out with a bang. Instead, you should ALWAYS be graceful when exiting. Immaturity would have you “tell off” those at work you don’t get along with, but maturity has you saying “thank you” and wishing everyone good luck.

With a solid plan comes an easier transition once you do quit your job. When preparing to quit your job you should ask yourself questions every day about what could better prepare you emotionally and financially with the separation that comes after quitting. It really is like a break-up from a relationship. Whether it’s the right thing or not, it can still be painful and difficult to accept the reality that comes with a new lifestyle, a change of identity and a loss of co-workers who you may not have considered friends but who have been supporting you along the way. Without a proper checklist and daily preparations, you could find your transition to be very difficult, and regretting your decision could put you in jeopardy for moving on to the next job.

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5 Rules for Working at Home

Apr 23 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Julia Richardson By Julia Richardson – Working from home is easy for some and challenging for others. Your success is dependent upon setting up rules and parameters so your boss doesn’t fire you. For those that are stuck in an office all day, the ability to work from home may seem like a dream come true. After all, you set your own dress code and work from home location. But it is worthwhile to follow the rules for working at home.

For the employer, your working from home can translate to reduced overhead and a lower carbon footprint. It also allows for broader reach in terms of talented individuals qualified for the position.

Unfortunately, working from home may not be ideal for you, especially if you are someone who thrives on office interactions and socialization. Working from home can also decrease your visibility within the company and lead to you being overlooked and feeling undervalued.

rules for working at home

If you are thinking about working from home, but aren’t sure whether or not is the right career move for you, here are 5 rules for working at home to evaluate.

1.    Be organized
Whether or not you are organized is an important factor to consider. This does not pertain only to things, but to your ability to organize and manage tasks and time. If you are not able to maintain order, working for home may be more challenging than it’s worth. Lack of time management skills could translate to missed deadlines and lost opportunities (or worse, termination).

2.   Be motivated
Some people are intrinsically motivated, while others seek extrinsic validation. If the latter best describes you, working from home may be problematic. You won’t be physically visible in the office and, in turn, may not get the same daily recognition you need. This does not mean you are not doing a good job, but you may begin to doubt yourself and become resentful and unhappy.

3.    Be outgoing
Some people thrive on social interaction, while others are quite content to work alone. Working from home means that instead of spending most of every day surrounded by your coworkers, you’ll spend most of your time home alone. Sure, there will be conference calls, emails and other forms of communication. This can be damaging to your mental health.

4.    Find dedicated working space at home
Forbes suggests that having a dedicated office space as it creates boundaries. Not only does this physically contain your work related materials for efficiency and organization purposes, but it also serves as a mental marker. Entering your office space signifies to your brain that it’s time to work and limits your distractions (hopefully).  If you share your home with others, this also limits noise and other distractions that may seem unprofessional during conference calls.

5.    Practice written communication skills
If you’re working from home, your verbal communication will be limited when compared to an office setting. This means you’ll need to have excellent written communication skills in order to effectively communicate tasks, problems, instruction, or any other job related duty. You’ll also need to maintain a friendly tone, and brush up on your email etiquette to ensure things aren’t taken in the wrong way (here are some tips).

Working from home is a great opportunity, and one with many benefits. Success, however, depends upon self-awareness. If any of your answers indicate that working from home may be problematic, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it, only that you know of any potential issues ahead of time. Stick to the rules for working at home and you’ll not have problems.

If you aren’t organized, there are apps and planners and tools available to help you stay on task. If you need external validation, set goals for yourself and report to your boss regularly. Brush up on your communication skills, create a designated office space and if you find yourself needing to be around people, take a trip to a local coffee shop and work from there for a bit.

There’s no need for you to pass on the opportunity to work from home, but you do need to be prepared.

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How to get a promotion: 4 Simple Steps

Apr 15 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

By Julia Richardson – Getting looked over for a promotion can be devastating blow, especially if you put in the hard work and time. But there are steps to ensure you don’t. Sure, promotions aren’t guaranteed and the good guy doesn’t always win, but we’re taught to believe that if you work hard you’ll be rewarded. So, when we work hard and receive nothing in return, it is easy to imagine why we might feel undervalued and overlooked.

Not getting that promotion may leave you wanting to quit. After all, what can you do? You obviously can’t give yourself a promotion, but that doesn’t mean you are powerless. With a little strategic planning you can ensure that you are not only an asset to your company, but worthy of graduating to the next level. Here’s how:

Focus on the Big Picture
When we’re deep in working mode, there is the tendency to have tunnel vision. This is why it may seem unfathomable that you were overlooked. Look at all the work you put in! But just as in life, this isn’t all about you. In order to become invaluable, you must think of the big picture and not yours alone. This requires initiative to go beyond your singular role and take steps to get things done without being asked to do so.

promo

Initiative is considered by many to be the key component of a great employee. Taking initiative will demonstrate that you are not just another employee, but are ready for the next step- and consequently, that promotion.

Take Risks
Along with initiative, you need to show that you are capable of making decisions. There is risk associated with decision-making, but by standing by and letting others make decisions for you, you may be sending the signal that you are not comfortable with change. Making the right (or wrong) call demonstrates that you can operate outside your comfort zone if the need arises. It also shows confidence and indicates that you are interested in growing your skill set.

Great leaders are also great decision makers. If you find it difficult, Pepperdine University offers some great advice. These qualities are essential in getting that promotion and taking your career to the next level.

Understand Company Goals
Often, new opportunities within the company are created with certain goals in mind. Being aware of these intra-company goals and how they factor into the opportunity at hand will give you a clear advantage. If you’re unsure what the company’s goals are, you aren’t alone. So, ask detailed questions and then try to incorporate the goals of your company into daily office interactions.

Let it be known that you genuinely care about the company’s success and that you are actively engaged in making it happen. Understanding your company’s goals sends a clear message to your employer that you are on the same page and that you’ve put time and effort in making those goals become a reality. In order to prove that you are worth the investment, you need to show that the feeling is reciprocated.

Remember the Details
Not only must you work hard and act the part, but you should look the part as well. Remember the details that are required to make sure all of these factors come together. Do your work efficiently and on time. Show initiative and take risks. Invest in the company and not just your job in order to understand company goals. Remember that every detail counts. Your appearance can say a lot about you, so make it count. If you want that promotion, you have to dress the part.

Winning that promotion and advancing your career involves hard work, but it also involves a great deal of strategy. In order to truly prove your value, you have to think beyond work. Ultimately, you have more control over your career destiny than you realize.

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Avoiding Unemployment Scams

Apr 08 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Julia Richardson By Julia Richardson –

Unemployment can be a scary place. If you’ve been out of work for more than a few weeks or months, you may begin to feel hopeless. Suddenly, you find yourself looking for something, anything to do. You’re desperate. The job opportunities the former you may have shunned or dismissed as a scam begin to look appealing.

scam

Knowledge is power. You may think that you couldn’t possibly, ever, under any circumstances fall for an employment scam, but the reality is that these scams have been around for a long time and continue to thrive for a reason.

Let’s take a look at five common job scams.

Nigerian Check Cashing
The Nigerian check cashing scam is well known, and yet not all are presented in the form of poorly worded unsolicited emails. Many times, these jobs are posted on legitimate employment websites. When you contact the company, things will likely proceed normally. There may be no immediate red flags at all. Before you know it you’ve sent in sensitive personal information or agreed to cash a check and transfer money.

As much as the very idea of transferring funds to a stranger seems insane, this scams longevity speaks for itself.

Envelope Stuffing
This is the job that is advertised in every college newspaper and magazine classifieds. You’ve probably noticed it several times and wondered what the catch was. Sure, it would be boring sitting around stuffing envelopes all day, but at least you’d be collecting a paycheck.

Unfortunately, there is a catch. You’ll need to purchase a kit and stamps at your own expense. Once you send off your letters, you’ll need to hope that someone is foolish enough to fall for an unsolicited letter to do the same. Otherwise, you’re out time and money.

Reshipping
This common employment scam is similar to the Nigerian check-cashing scheme. You receive an offer, either unsolicited or through a seemingly innocent job posting. Once trust is established, your new employer will direct shipments to your house for you to simply forward to another.

While it sounds simple enough, this scam could land you in legal trouble. Often, the shipment you receive is actually stolen property and once you receive and send it, you’ve received and shipped stolen property. More information from the USPS can be found here.

Medical Billing
There is no shortage of commercials that proclaim medical billing to be the answer to your unemployment woes. Like the envelope scam, an initial investment is required in order for you to start. While there are legitimate medical billing jobs, the ones that require an investment are not among them.

Medical billing is a big industry and one that is built around several large firms that are known in the industry. With your kit, you are a one man (or woman) show, and one with stiff competition. Very few people are likely to purchase your medical billing services and you’ll be hard pressed to get a return on your investment.

Work at Home Listings
This scam promises a directory listing of companies hiring for work at home positions- for a small price. Once you pay up, you’re given a worthless and often outdated list. It’s simple and to the point, likely adding to its success.

You may think that you’d never fall for an employment scam, but so do most others that fall for them. A good rule of thumb is that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While some employment scams only rob you of time and money, some could result in a visit from law enforcement. So take note- the only think worse than being unemployed is being in jail.

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Should I be friends with my boss?

Apr 01 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

Julia Richardson By Julia Richardson – You want to be on good terms with your boss, but is it ever appropriate to be friends with your boss? The short answer is yes, of course. The devil, as they say, is in the details and depends on the nature of the friendship.

With those details in mind, here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind if you find yourself becoming friends with your boss.

Don’t Mix Business with Pleasure
A friendship with your boss is one thing, but there is a fine line that cannot be crossed. A romantic relationship is completely off-limits and something that should not be done. A romantic relationship is not the only problem, however. Even within the confines of friendship alone, you must actively work to keep work separate from your friendship; otherwise the friendship could strain your relationship in both areas.

bossfriendsDo Set Boundaries
In order to keep business and pleasure separate, it is important to set boundaries with your boss. A friendship with your boss is not an inherently bad idea, but it is one that should be pursued and maintained with caution.

Don’t Lie to your Coworkers about your Friendship
If you are hanging out with your boss outside of work, it is only a matter of time before your coworkers find out or become suspicious. If you lie about the relationship or aren’t transparent, it can raise suspicion and your other office relationships may suffer. There may be a bit of inner-office gossip and chatter, but it will not look half as bad as it would have if you are deceitful and lie about your friendship.

Do Keep your Friendship in the Open
Act naturally and be transparent with your coworkers. Let it be known that you are friends with your boss. Honesty does not mean that you will not face any ridicule for your promotion to “friend.” Forbes writer Jennifer Winter recounts a friendship with her boss at a time when her then-company went through a layoff, and the fallout that occurred after she was the only one retained. You guessed it; her coworkers were less than impressed.

Don’t Ignore Company Rules
If your company rules dictate that friendships among bosses and their employees are against policy, it’s best to keep your relationship a professional one. Don’t ignore company rules, as it can easily cost you your job.

Do Maintain a Professional Friendship
Fraternizing outside of work may be frowned upon, but there is no reason that you can’t have a positive relationship with your boss at work. The difference in this friendship and a typical friendship is that it begins and ends at work. While there is mutual respect and comradory, there are no after hours parties and socializing.

Ultimately, there is rarely any right or wrong answer as to whether or not you should or should not be friends with your boss (providing that it’s not against company policy), but only guidelines to follow in order to ensure that a friendship with your boss is built upon a healthy foundation.

Have you ever been friends with your boss? If so, how did it go?

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