Archive for the ‘Job Search Tips’ category

Connie’s Career Corner

January 10, 2014

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“Your ability to adjust to change is a big deal.”

Tip for the day: If you are bored, you should change something in your life.

Q: Dear Connie: I have a co-worker who is older than me and she does not seem to be able to adjust to change. She becomes highly irritated if she is put in a position to have to make any changes. Is it important to go along with the changes that our supervisor requests?

A: Dear Must I Change: In today’s workplace, change happens and it happens frequently. It sounds as though your co-worker has not learned the skill of being flexible and you are wondering should you follow her lead and resist change or learn to be flexible and make changes in the workplace as your supervisor requests of you.

There was a time when you learned a job and the job never changed. You were successful if you went to work and performed the same task using the same process consistently day after day. Your co-worker may have started her career during this time.

Now the marketplace demands that you be flexible. Many companies are looking for employees that can adjust to change. In today’s market, companies are constantly looking for ways to be more productive while decreasing cost. This means that at times you may feel that you are being asked to make change on a frequent basis. Companies need people who will go with the flow and not be difficult to work with because they are holding to the “old” way of performing a task.

Changing from a person who likes things to always be the same to a person who can not only accept change but thrive on it can be quite difficult. Since you are just starting out your career, you do not have the “old habit” of being inflexible to break.

Here are some suggestions to help you be a person of change:

• Look first at the reason the change is proposed
• Identify how the request for change will affect your job
• Develop a plan listing steps you will need to take to make the change
• Keep a positive attitude
• Remember that change affects everyone–not just you
• Work as a team to accomplish the change

If your co-worker gets upset and takes it out on you when she is requested to change, it is best to just ignore her comments. Do not let her pull you into her dissatisfaction or she may say you agree with her. If this approach does not work, discuss this with your supervisor.

I would take my cues regarding how to accept change from your supervisor. If your supervisor is requesting that your team makes a change that means she is making changes also. Watch how your supervisor reacts and adapts to change. Try to make the skill of being flexible your own. Pretty soon you will not feel discomfort when you are asked to make changes in your work.

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information. E-mail questions for future columns to ConniesCorner@Nashville.gov .

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Connie’s Career Corner: Managing Job-Loss Grief

August 23, 2013

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“Managing Job-Loss Grief”

Tip for the day:  Anger is a normal emotion.  Handle anger in a way that does not hurt yourself or someone else.

 

Q:    Dear Connie:  I lost my job and am very depressed.  How do I get to the stage that I can accept my job-loss?

A: Dear Depressed:  Feeling depressed after losing your job is normal.  We go through different stages of grief after job loss because we have lost a part of our identity, our income and the place we go each day to contribute and succeed in the workplace.

The five stages of grief are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Once you have identified the stage(s) of grief that you are in, you can begin to work on some techniques to help you cope with your feelings.

One way to cope with stress is to talk to people about your feelings.  Draw strength from the relationships in your life and give others a chance to be supportive. 

Another helpful tool is to find a support group.  It is helpful to talk to people who are job searching and facing the same challenges.  You may also hear some helpful hints by listening to others share their experiences.  The Career Centers have weekly Career Connection meetings for this purpose.

You need to resolve guilt resulting from being unemployed.  Feeling like we have let our family down can cause feelings of guilt.  Often, job loss is a result of a business decision that is based on the profitability of the company, not on your performance.  Even if you are unemployed because you did not perform well, learn from your experience and forgive yourself knowing you can do better the next time.

Now is the time to exercise and eat properly.  More than ever you need to keep yourself healthy.  Exercise is a great stress reliever and is a positive way to release energy that may be a result of feelings of anger.

Be sure you keep your sense of humor.   Look for things to laugh at during your day.  This will help you to keep your spirits up.  We always feel better after a good laugh.

Finally, develop a job search plan and start taking steps to find that next job.  Once you begin working toward your future you may realize you have accepted the past and are ready to move on with your life.

 

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ccc@NCACWorkforce.org.  

Connie’s Career Corner: To Date or Not to Date

June 14, 2013

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

“To Date or Not to Date”

Tip for the day: Past performance is the best indicator of future performance.
Q: Dear Connie: I work with a guy that I would be interested in dating. What is your opinion of dating someone at work?
A: Dear Dater: The decision to date a co-worker is a personal one, but you do need to be aware of some issues that may arise from doing so. Dating relationships in the workplace can lead to some very sticky situations. Many people argue, however, that work is where they spend most of their time so the workplace may be the only place where they can meet other single adults.
You need to first look at your employee handbook to see if your company even allows employees to date one another. Many companies will not allow these types of relationships at all. Some companies may allow employees to date, but only if they work in different areas or departments of the company. Know what your company’s policy is before you decide to move forward.
You did not mention what type of working relationship you have with this individual. Are you his supervisor at work? Is he your supervisor? Dating someone who is your subordinate can open another “can of worms” altogether. There have been many cases where someone has been sued for sexual harassment after ending a relationship with a subordinate at work. Sexual harassment can be difficult to prove under these circumstances, but it is not impossible. Also, if you try to pursue a relationship with a co-worker who is not interested in dating you, you may also be accused of harassment.
One other thing to consider is what will happen if you date this person and then break up. Will you see this person everyday? Do you have to work in close proximity with this person? Many relationships do not last, and you do need to consider the aftermath if you do break-up. You do not want your boss to have to choose between you and your co-worker because you may end up on the losing end.
On a brighter note, there are many “happily ever after” stories from people who met their spouse or significant other at work. If you do decide to pursue this relationship further, proceed with caution and be discreet. Be aware that this relationship may make your co-workers uncomfortable so act professionally at work.
Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information. E-mail questions for future columns to ccc@NCACWorkforce.org.

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER: Career-oriented vs. Job-oriented

May 28, 2013

Tip for the day:  Your actions are a reflection of your character.

Dear Connie:  What makes someone career-oriented as opposed to job-oriented?

Dear Future-focused:  The American Heritage College Dictionary defines a job as “A regular activity performed in exchange for payment, esp. as one’s trade, occupation, or profession.”  The definition for a career is “A chosen pursuit; a profession or occupation.  The general course or progression of one’s working life.”

Some people will go to work in a job and will be content to stay in their initial position all of their working life.  There are jobs that do not lead to promotions.  The employee will need to gain additional skills or move to a different company to be promoted.

Some people do not want to “climb the ladder” in business.  They may not want the additional stress or responsibility that could come from moving up to the next position.  Many times people who stay in one job for their entire working career will make more income than someone who has a more “prestigious” position.  If they work hard, are dependable and efficient, their yearly raises can enable them to accumulate an income larger than their education or experience would afford them in a different work area.

Career-oriented people have a goal that involves constantly learning new skills in addition to being dependable and efficient.  They will focus on making each job an opportunity to develop skills leading to their next position or assignment.

Career-oriented employees have worked through the entry level jobs and know they can always learn a new skill to help them move up the career ladder.  A person has to gain experience in the area they wish to excel in.  There are some well paid employees who started out working at a fast food restaurant and moved into the “Manager Trainee” program.

Lastly, each person measures the success of their career differently.  Some career-oriented people measure their success by their income, while others measure their success by the number of people they are able to help.  Many people who work in the non-profit area or government may make quite a bit less than if they used their skills in the public workplace but feel successful because they measure their success by the impact they have on others.

People with careers are problem solvers.  In fact, career employees usually look at problems as opportunities.  A career-oriented person would probably develop a plan and start working their way through each barrier, never allowing themselves to be stagnant or to give up on their dream.

You can start now to practice the characteristics that a career person usually possesses and move from a “job” to a “career.”

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ccc@NCACWorkforce.org.

Tomorrow at Career Connections at the Workforce Campus

August 27, 2012

“Intrepreneurship on the Internet” Presented by LaCheka Phillips, Marketing and Branding
Join us for an interesting presentation about how to develop your own business on the internet, FREE! LaCheka Phillips has been teaching entrepreneurs how to develop their own internet businesses for the past 10 years. Ms. Phillips also provides business start-up, development and management services with an emphasis in branding, marketing (traditional and online), social media, graphic design and professional training for area businesses. Her track record for producing BIG results for small businesses and entrepreneurs speaks for itself and she is one of the few people in the Nashville area teaching internet entrepreneurship. Come early and get a good seat.

Career Connection Tuesday, Aug. 28th 9:30am
NCAC Workforce Campus
621 Mainstream Drive
Coffee and Networking start
at 9:00am

Connie’s Career Corner – Tip for the day: Variety is the spice of life

August 20, 2012

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

 

“Life needs a little variety and so does the workplace.”

 

Tip for the day: Variety is the spice of life.

 

Q:  Dear Connie:  I will soon need to hire a new person to join our team.  Everyone on my team gets along and works the same way.  Do you have any suggestions as to the type of candidate I should be looking to hire?

 

A:  Dear One of a Kind:  Go for some variety.  As you are interviewing, seek out someone who is not a mirror image of yourself or your team members.

 

Successful leaders know that you need people who possess different skills and different personalities in order to build a strong team.  We usually are drawn to people who act and think just like we do because we are the most comfortable with people like ourselves.  But another person with a similar personality may not be the best choice when building a team.

 

Think about the last large function you attended.  Who did you spend the most time with?  Was it someone who talked like you, moved at your rate of speed, and shared your ideas?  We know what to expect from people who are similar to ourselves and this creates an automatic comfort level.

 

So, why would I suggest you try to find someone who is not like you to hire?  If all of the ice cream in the world was vanilla there would be so many pleasures missed.  We all know chocolate, strawberry, and ripple are varieties that add to our ice cream choices.  By adding someone who works and thinks differently than your team members, you will be adding flavor to your team.  This will provide new ideas and new ways to expand your projects.  Some of these ideas the team will want to adopt and some they will not; but the expansion of ideas will make your team even stronger than it is now.

 

People have different work styles.  Some people want to jump right into a project while others want all of the facts to study before beginning a project.  Some people look at a situation and automatically lay out the project step-by-step, whiles others see the end product.

 

One of the smartest leaders that I have observed surrounded himself with people who had different skills and talents than himself.  By doing so, he collectively had an enormous knowledge and experience base which took the organization he was leading much farther than he could have moved the company forward by himself.

 

So, hire someone different from yourself and all of the team will win.

 

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ccc@NCACWorkforce.org.

Connie’s Career Corner ‘There is Value in Having a Strong Work Ethic’

May 31, 2012

CONNIE’S CAREER CORNER

 

“There is value in having a strong work ethic.”

 

Tip for the day:  “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.” (Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer)

Q:  Dear Connie:  My boss keeps talking about new employees not having a strong work ethic.  What is he talking about?  I have not seen anyone stealing from the company. 

A:   Dear Searching for Ethics:  In the 1950’s, my parents and their generation were known for having a very strong work ethic.  The old-fashion definition of work ethic is a dependable, honest, and hard worker.

Some employers have expressed concern that they are having trouble finding strong work ethics in their younger workers.  As a young worker, you will want to impress your boss with a strong work ethic by performing well on the job.  In today’s job market, managers are often expected to do more with less staff.  If you are the employee who is seen as dependable, your chances of success are greatly increased.

Until the past few years, ethics seemed to have little connection with success.  Young people could site examples of CEO’s, CFO’s, and politicians who were not held accountable for making unethical decisions and yet were extremely successful.  We have witnessed a shift in the value of work ethics.  Politicians are being removed from their positions; companies are vanishing because of unethical financial decisions that were made by the company’s management.

In Stand Out, Andrew J. DuBrin gives some tactics that are characteristic of people with strong work ethics.  You can start improving your work status by practicing these suggestions:

  • Demonstrate competence even on minor tasks
  • Assume personal responsibility for problems
  • Assume responsibility for free-floating (non-assigned) problems
  • Get your projects completed promptly
  • Accept undesirable assignments willingly
  • Follow through on tasks
  • Submit timely information
  • Be willing to work beyond the standard 40 hours per week
  • Look busy

If you take each job you have seriously by being on-time, dependable, honest and a competent hard worker, you will be giving yourself an advantage that leads to success.

Connie’s Career Corner is your source for career information.  E-mail questions for future columns to ccc@NCACWorkforce.org.