Archive for June, 2014

Dealing with job insecurity: A guide to survival

Jun 24 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

By Julia Richardson – Once upon a time, it was one person and one job. You graduated, found a job, worked happily ever after until it was time for retirement. There was upward mobility, job security, and retirement security. But those days are gone. Dealing with job insecurity is a proactive exercise most of us would rather do without. But ignoring your frustrations can make getting a job even more difficult than it already is.

While some people may only have one or two jobs in their lifetime, most of us will switch careers more than a few times. In many cases this is a good thing for us, and it’s of our choosing. Some even find it to be advantageous, making it easier to move up faster than ever. All is well and good, as long as leaving is our choice.

Sometimes, however, the choice isn’t ours at all.

Since 1980, the opportunity for teens to enter the workforce has been in a state of decline. Fast forward to now, when part time and contract work is on the rise. As employment opportunities have declined from the bottom up, people entering the workforce don’t expect to stay at one place forever and employers don’t expect loyalty.

All of this equals an expectation of doom that undermines productivity. Add in financial insecurity and economic down turn and it can be a scary place.

Maybe even the best jobs have a degree of insecurity, but sometimes the threat feels more real. So, how do you deal with job insecurity? Should you simply accept it as the new normal? Should you try and change the system?

Here are three things you can do to manage the symptoms of job security and plan for your future.

Reduce Your Stress
Job insecurity can be stressful. As you get older and your responsibilities grow, the stress only compounds. So breathe and be present. Know that the only person you can control is yourself. Stress can have serious health consequences—increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and obesity, among other things. Once you calm down you’ll better be able to assess the situation

It’s natural to be stressed out about work and life, but if job security has above and beyond normal stress levels you need to actively work to reduce your stress. Take up a hobby, join a gym, start running, practice yoga—find some outlet for your stress. Psychology Today has some great tips.

Focus on You
Once you’ve tackled the problem of stress, focus on you. Work on your resume. Keep up to date on market trends. Work on keeping your skill set fresh. Do everything you can to make sure you give yourself the best possible odds of success if you find yourself “on the market” again.

dealing with job insecurity

Don’t sit around and wait for something bad to happen. Instead, take control of yourself and focus on you. Think about all the things you have to offer and what separates you from the rest of the market. Visualize it. Believe it. Think of your current situation as a stepping-stone to a bigger, better you.

Save, Save, Save
An Australian study recently found that almost half of workers had less than $5,000 stashed away in savings. This happens for many reasons. Sometimes, saving is hard. Other times, it can seem impossible.

Cut your costs wherever you can and if needed, perform odd jobs on the side. You could even get creative and find a way to turn that hobby you love into cash. Whatever you do, put money aside for “tomorrow” whenever you can—no matter how big or small the amount may be, every little bit counts.

Ultimately, you can’t control others, but you can control yourself and how you react to others. Whether or not job insecurity is a modern-day fixture or simply a trend that will come and go remains to be seen.

Don’t let job insecurity dictate who you are. Empower yourself and breathe. Feel confident in yourself and your future.

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What to do when you are unhappy at work

Jun 17 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

By Julia Richardson – When you are unhappy at work, you’re not alone. Year after year, survey after survey, the answer is the same: workers are dissatisfied. At a time of high unemployment, the problem only seems worse as people feel trapped and stuck at their job. Yes, even when we don’t actually want to quit, we want the option. With a flailing economy and the threat of financial insecurity looming, however, that option disappears.

When you find yourself daydreaming the day away and the thought of returning to work fills you with dread, it could mean it’s time to quit. Or, on the other hand, it may just mean that it’s time for a change in attitude or approach. If you can’t quit or don’t want to give in to defeat, here are a few reasons you’re unhappy, and what you can do when you are unhappy at work to make your current job tolerable after the thrill is gone.

Feeling Stuck
Some jobs offer little opportunity for advancement and it can be frustrating to look around and not see a future. Sometimes, however, it’s all a matter of perspective and exploration. Just because a job doesn’t have a clear path to the top, it doesn’t mean that opportunity isn’t there. If you feel stuck, dig a little deeper to uncover the potential.

Here’s what to do:

  • Talk with your boss and ask about opportunities to better highlight or expand your skills and opportunities to learn new skills.
  • Explore opportunities for lateral moves in an area that is more appealing.
  • Talk to a coworker about swapping assignments (with your supervisor’s approval.)

What to Do when You’re Unhappy at Work

Feeling Underappreciated
A little encouragement goes a long way when you are unhappy at work. If you’re feeling underappreciated or invisible it can hinder productivity and leave you less than interested in doing anything at all. It can hurt your confidence and job performance. In this situation, try not to take it personally. Instead, take action.

Here’s what to do:

  • Ask for input from your boss about your performance.
  • Consider the possibility that others feel the same and develop an employee recognition system or recognition team to acknowledge exceptional workplace performance. This will motivate you and your coworkers alike.
  • If money is the source, ask your boss for a raise.

Feeling Overworked
Cost-cutting practices in business often lead to multiple duties. You don’t just feel overworked—you are overworked! If you are expected to do more and more with less and less resources at your disposal, it can be overwhelming. Instead of accepting your fate, consider your options

Here’s what to do:

  • Collect evidence and present your case to your boss, explaining that your workload is better suited for two people. Present him or her with options and solutions, such as hiring a new employee (full or part time), seeking an intern, or eliminating redundant or unnecessary tasks. Explain the value added benefits each of these options provides.
  • Create a flowchart in order to filter out and identify time wasting activities and redundancies in order to eliminate excess and increase efficiency.

Feeling Dissatisfied
Occasionally what we think we want, and what we actually want, are two different things. We end up with a degree and career in an area that just isn’t the right fit for us, which leads to dissatisfaction and disillusionment. We suddenly find ourselves unhappy at work. If you simply do not like your job or career and find that it is the source of your unhappiness, it’s hard to stay motivated. Instead of giving up and staying in a job you hate, discover what you really want out of a job.

Here’s what to do:

  • Start exploring your options in an effort to truly find your ideal career. Read, investigate, talk to experts in the field and figure out what you need to make things happen.
  • Give yourself a timeline and create a plan for the future based on your new career goals and make it happen. Adhere to the plan and when the time comes, move on.

Ultimately you must uncover the reason behind your unhappiness in order to move forward. Don’t give up. Life is too short when you are unhappy at work. Confront your problems. After all, you cant change others—only yourself.

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Idealists and jobs do not mix

Jun 10 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

There are too many people who think they deserve the perfect job for their perfect little lives. “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” says nothing about guaranteeing happiness. Instead, those who are unhappy within their current positions should remember that part of happiness is its unattainability. Here’s a list of ideas to ask yourself about your current position before you throw in the hat:

  • If my current boss fired me, would it be easy for me to find a similar job?
  • If I lost my job today, am I prepared to be unemployed for at least six months?
  • I’ve worked for at least 3 other companies in the past, so do I have the experience to quit and get rehired by another company who sees my long track record?
  • Have I attended course training that will keep me fresh and prepared for new technology?
  • Can I name at least ten people who could give me job leads if I quit this job?
  • Do I actively engage with professional networks outside of my job, for instance on LinkedIn?
  • Do I have the money (without borrowing) to go back to school to get training for my next endeavor?
  • Can I make income from other activities outside of my work, for instance doing yardwork or other chores that could help pay the bills while I’m looking for work?
  • Do I have the ability to travel and find jobs that may not be located where I currently live?
  • Do I have the emotional capacity to quit?

There are many reasons why idealists and jobs don’t mix, because the reality is always different than what the idealist imagines. It has nothing to do with “growing up” but does have a lot to do with maturity.

Being prepared for what lays on the other side of quitting your job requires a lot of planning and tenacity. Be sure to do your homework, talk to many friends and professional acquaintances and get your chickens in a row before you launch out and do something that seems perfect at the time, but may later come back to haunt you.


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Four Social Media Platforms to Boost a Resume

Jun 03 2014 Published by under Uncategorized

By Julia Richardson – You can work as much as you’d like to boost a resume in hopes of getting that perfect job or promotion, but in the digital age, that may not be enough. Many employers look at social media, and to social media platforms at any and all points of the hiring process to select, target, or eliminate potential hires.

This means that your social or online profile can make or break your career goals. And it’s something that you should be actively managing to boost a resume. Let’s review some social media platforms and how you can use them to stand out from the crowd (or applicant pool).

You may think of Twitter as a sounding board, but if you utilize your Twitter account correctly it can act as a portfolio for you, to boost your resume and for showing your knowledge and relevance in a particular career field.

If you have a personal account, lock it down. Create an account for business use and build an audience of other professionals in your niche. Think of it as your personal marketing campaign. You don’t have to have a blog or site to promote- promote yourself and keep the subject matter clean and free of controversy.

Boost a Resume with Social Marketing

Although LinkedIn is used by many as an online resume, it can be used for much more. Make the most of your LinkedIn profile to boost a resume. Use it to highlight things that can’t really be shown on a paper resume. Upload documents, presentations, and other examples of your work. Recommend others and encourage them to recommend you.

Traditionally thought of as a place for recipe and DIY craft ideas, Pinterest has grown to be an all-encompassing social bookmarking site. Use this website to boost a resume to your advantage by putting Pinterest to work for you as a digital portfolio. Highlight your work, accomplishments, and knowledge in your field.

Bring dimension to a resume and boost a resume by creating a YouTube account and presence. While this doesn’t work for everyone or every career, it is an excellent way to illustrate your knowledge, expertise, charisma, and influence. Read this article for more information on how to get a job through YouTube.

Each social media platform has its advantages, but unless you’re a political analyst, it’s best to stay away from politics. The same goes for religion or social issues- unless of course, this is your career focus or part of it.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have your own accounts, only that you should have accounts specifically designed to highlight your skills and talents. While many people choose to create a secondary account for their business persona, it may be wise to do the opposite. It all depends on how much faith you have in privacy settings.

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