RSS

Tag Archives: employment

How Some of the Worst Jobs Have Made My Career Better

how-some-of-the-worst-jobs-have-made-my-career-better

For anyone who has worked summer jobs, internships, entry level jobs and hey, even high-profile, but highly demanding roles within a business, you know this to be true. There are drawbacks to every job you’ve ever worked.

The hope for a happy career is to ultimately find a job where the positives outweigh the negatives and maybe you even learn to embrace the negatives a little. But until you’ve made it to this point, you’re likely compiling a bunch of horror stories of jobs that make you consider moving to a remote island and living off the land.

To offer you some inspiration and encouragement that you’re not alone, here’s a breakdown of some of my worst employment experiences and what I learned from each of them along the way.

The Job: Under-the-table lawn work

The Lesson: It’s no one’s responsibility but your own to make the job enjoyable (or at least bearable). I learned this at the age of 16 when I spent hours in the hot sun, by myself, pulling weeds and moving mulch for a neighbor. At first it sounded great. I could set my own hours, work as much or as little as I wanted in a week and get paid in cash. However, I hated every hour I spent in that gorgeous lawn as the minutes barely crept by. I realized if I was going to survive the summer – and earn my spending money – I needed to find a way to make it more enjoyable.

I started to bring a radio with me, set goals and mini rewards (snack time, anyone?) to breakdown the work day and work efficiently so I could knock projects off in a fraction of the time they estimated it would take. The lesson I learned was if you’re bored or miserable with your job, first think about what you can do to make it more enjoyable. Little changes can make a world of difference!

The Job: The dining commons on a college campus

The Lesson: Everyone needs to share in the sh*t work. At the dining commons, I mostly had the same shifts in the area I enjoyed working the most. But one Sunday each month, I (and every other employee) was assigned to work in the wash room where I would clean the gunk off plates and trays next to a steamy industrial washer. Not glamorous at all. I hated when this shift came up on my schedule and good luck ever finding someone to switch! The lesson I learned here was that in order for the sh*t work to get done, everyone had to take a turn. In the grand scheme of my work schedule, this was such a small fraction of my time, and I got to spend the rest of my work hours doing something I actually felt was fun. Because we all took our turn, it lessened the load for everyone.

The Job: A desk job in state government

The Lesson: Give every job an earnest effort, but if it’s not taking you the direction you want to go, have courage to change courses. This pretty much sums up my short, but life-changing experience in state government. Coming off a statewide political campaign and being dumped into a snail’s pace desk job, felt like falling off a speeding train. At first the set hours, more than manageable workload and low expectations seemed great. But it didn’t take long before I realized I couldn’t do this for another month, let alone another 9 years to get vested.

I realized that this job would waste the precious early years of my life, the ones where you have unjaded ideas, unlimited energy and a mindset to take on the world. I couldn’t risk suppressing the talents I know I had to be an entrepreneur – so I made the leap…and never looked back. God, I’m grateful for that job that pushed me over the edge!

The Job: A virtual writing position

The Lesson: Don’t let anyone undervalue your talent or monopolize your time. This was a gig I actually took on as I was simultaneously running Bennis Public Relations (and working from home with my 6 month old son). I thought it could be like any of my other consulting clients where I had set monthly deliverables, worked virtually and could provide what they needed. Simply put, I was very, very wrong. This client monopolized all of my time and because I was technically on payroll (and not a contractor), it’s not like I was getting paid more for the additional work they threw on me.

It felt eerily similar to my political campaign days and my gut told me it was all wrong. Not more than 6 weeks in, I made the hard decision to give my notice and leave the position. Up until this point I never “fired” any client or left a gig, but in retrospect I am so grateful I had the support of my family and the confidence to get out when I did! As fate would have it, not more than one month later, two awesome clients cold-called me and we’re still working together today!

What terrible job experiences have you had that have actually had a positive impact on your career? Share your stories by commenting below!

Advertisements
 
3 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2016 in Business & Success

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How to Job Hunt While Working Your Current Job

how-to-job-hunt-while-working-your-current-jobJust because you’re currently employed doesn’t mean you’re done looking for your next opportunity or career move. In fact, it’s smart to begin planning your next steps before you quit your current job to avoid a lapse in pay or a gap in your resume. The downside is it can be challenging to find enough hours in the day to fulfill the responsibilities of your current job while putting forth your best effort to find a new one.

From our first-hand experience with this very scenario, we have four helpful tips to make your “working” job search just a little bit easier. Take a look!

Block schedule time for job hunting

Just like you schedule your current work tasks and appointments, you need to also schedule the daily tasks and milestones you need to accomplish to keep your job hunting on track. Treat it like any other commitment on your calendar and make a dedicated space for it. On what day and what time will you check for job listings? When will you update your resume and send to potential employers? When will you schedule interviews? Allow margin in your daily work schedule to accommodate these extra tasks.

Update your Resume

Before you start diving into the application process of your job search, dust off that resume! Take the opportunity to first update your most current employer, if you plan to use them as a reference. Next, research the latest resume template trends and update your formatting, as necessary. Carefully review your content and adjust any areas that may or may not be relevant for the new job you’re seeking. Lastly, add any marketable skills and attributes that would make you more valuable and appealing to your prospective employer.

Take advantage of online resources

With today’s technology, we are fortunate to have instant access to countless resources that can make job hunting easier. First, make sure your Linkedin profile is up to date and professional looking. Next, create a profile on popular job seeker websites. Also browse these same sites for potential job opportunities. Finally, familiarize yourself with your ideal employers’ websites to see if they have listed any job openings or career opportunities – and check back often!

Schedule time outside of work

Working a fulltime job while looking for a new fulltime job is essentially working two jobs. It will require a lot of time and dedication, but the reward is a new career that you love! It’s important to not use hours of your current job to look for a new job. Not only could this get you fired, it can also jeopardize this employer as a future reference on your resume. Basically, this requires you to use your personal time to job hunt, which is fair and reasonable. You will need to sacrifice social time and maybe even a little sleep and relaxation to put in the hours to find your new dream job. If this hard work seems intimidating, you should carefully consider your motivation to get a new job. No matter what, a career change requires a lot of work as well as stepping outside your comfort zone. If you’re committed to making a change, these (temporarily) long hours should seem manageable, given the potential reward at the end!

Are you currently looking for a new job while simultaneously working a fulltime job? Let us know how you balance both responsibilities or ask us a question related to this topic!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on November 14, 2016 in Business & Success, Life

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

4 Reasons to Keep an Updated Resume – Even When You’re Not Looking for a Job

4 Reasons to Keep an Updated Resume

If you’ve been settled into your current job, even for just a year, it may be time to revisit and update your resume. You might be thinking “Why would I spend my time on that? I enjoy my job and have no plans to leave anytime soon.” Unfortunately, our economy and personal situations are equally hard to predict and either could land you unexpectedly unemployed or with the immediate need to find another job.

By keeping an updated resume, you won’t be overwhelmed by the task of updating it with a decade or more of new work experience, or worse yet, creating a completely new one from scratch. This is a major time savings when time is of the essence!

Simply put, the power of keeping a polished resume throughout your career can be more valuable than you think. Take a look at these 4 reasons to keep an updated resume, even when you’re not looking for a job.

Resumes are used for more than just job hunting

Keep in mind that a resume serves far more purposes that just landing a new job. If you want to apply for an award, toss your hat in the ring to be a guest speaker or be considered for a promotion within your current position, an updated resume may be required. By keeping an updated resume, you’re that much more prepared to jump on these opportunities as they arise.

It helps you see areas that might need strengthening

Could some continuing education or an industry certification help give you more of an edge in your professional field? As you update your resume periodically, you can see areas that may need to be strengthened in order to keep up with your peers. As much as your resume is a snapshot of your past work experience and qualifications, it can also serve as a road map to your future professional goals. If you take the time to review it frequently, you will see the potholes that need a little filling.

You may not be looking for a job, but a job could be looking for you

Headhunters and hiring managers might see your qualifications (like on social media platforms such as Linkedin) and approach you about a job opportunity. By keeping your resume updated, you’ll be able to quickly act on such an offer without hesitation. This is all the more reason to also keep your Linkedin profile updated along with your printed resume. They duplicate essentially the same information, so it’s hardly any additional work, especially considering the potential gain from doing so.

If and when you start a new job search, you’ll be glad you kept up with it

Updating a resume that is twenty years old is far more overwhelming than one that is updated every year. Plus, think about all the details that are sure to get lost over time. Can you recall all of the responsibilities and achievements from your first job from memory? Not likely. If you commit to capturing this information on a yearly basis, your resume will stay up to date and comprehensive of all the amazing things you have accomplished in your career thus far. Best of all, whenever you find yourself in need of a resume, it will be as simple as pulling up the file and glancing over it for a quick review rather than blowing off a pile of dust and trying to recall details of your job from several decades prior. Your future self cannot thank you enough for this!

When’s the last time you took a critical look at your resume? Share whether you do or do not have an updated resume and why by commenting below!

 
1 Comment

Posted by on July 25, 2016 in Business & Success

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Every Day Is An Interview

interview, hiring, pitchFor most people, a job interview is something you have to do only periodically throughout your career. It’s that nerve wracking moment where you’re sized up, asked ambiguous questions about your teamwork and professional skills and then ultimately judged as to whether what you’re offering is worth hiring. Even if you’re fortunate enough to snag the job, there’s yet another challenge of settling in to a new environment, building a relationship with your boss and being seen as the “new guy” on the team for quite a while. This whole experience is not something most people would willingly choose to do every month and certainly not every day.

But entrepreneurs do.

I often joke that as an entrepreneur, every day I wake up unemployed. Obviously this isn’t entirely true as commonly my clients are not just day to day, but at the start of any month they make the choice to hire me by continuing their services. Imagine how different a job would be if every month your boss had the opportunity to re-hire you, pause your work or end it all together. It’s a different career experience for sure – but hey, that’s what I’m after. It keeps me on my toes, always wanting to do my best and prove my worth. This, along with pitching to new clients, has also helped me become more comfortable and confident with interviews.

When I pitch to prospective clients, it’s usually a one-on-one meeting where I talk about my career experiences, my strengths and most importantly try to form a deeper connection with them and their business. For all intents and purposes—this is an interview. They need to see if my skills align with their needs, if I’ll be a good fit for their company culture and if they generally like and trust me. And similar to an interview, the fear of rejection will never fully go away because my desire for acceptance and validation is inherent. The pitching/interviewing part of my job is not the easiest but it’s one of the most necessary for growth.

Being an entrepreneur technically makes me self-employed (at least that’s how I fill out my taxes), but I’ve found that while this does make me my own boss, it makes each of my clients my boss as well. This means that on any given day I may have upwards of 12 people asking me to do something. Because of this, much of the success of my business is dependent upon two things: 1) How well I can prioritize my tasks and 2) How efficiently I can complete them. Unlike a salaried position, I have full incentive to work quickly and take on as many clients as I can. Increasing my clients may mean increasing my “bosses” but it also means multiple paychecks.

When I hear someone say they have to go for an interview I often get nervous for them and think how glad I am I don’t have to do that. But then I stop and realize that I do; every day is an interview for me. And while this career choice may bring limited stability, it also brings endless possibilities.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Taking Control of First Impressions (Guest Blog by Britany Wallace)

The following blog post is part of the Bennis Blogger Battle. Support Britany by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment and sharing it on your social media! The blog with the most hits, wins.

————————————————————————————————

First impressions are important, but another person’s view of us is ‘outside our control’. So what can we control? The most important thing in our control is our personal commitment to ‘leading ourselves’. If we can’t lead ourselves we can’t lead others. The first step is recognizing that ‘Everything We Do In Life Counts’. This is a constant process and includes everything we do both public and private.

Every choice we make must have a purpose. There are no insignificant choices in life. The small things always matter. What are some other things that COUNT?

 

  • Self-discipline in every area of our life
  • Developing Personal Character
  • Personal Development
  • Commitment to Excellence
  • How we invest our energies and time
  • How we treat others

If we take this approach in life our ‘first impressions’ will be driven by a set of core beliefs that stand on their own. It is said that we become the 5 people we spend the most time around. Look at your 5 closest friends (their character, habits, attitudes, etc) and you will see yourself. If we are committed to developing the character qualities of a leader, we will draw to ourselves people who are just like we are. The ‘lasting impressions’ of those closest to us are the ones that really count. First impressions will take care of themselves.

What is a First Impression?

We know what first impressions are but we DON’T know how much they can help or harm you and the relationships you try to build. A first impression is formed between the first 10 seconds and 5 minutes you are in someone’s presence. PROBLEM: They are private and we have no idea what other people are thinking about us.

First Impressions:

  • Can improving or degrading
  • Are private
  • Can be informed and influenced by personal values and biases; therefore preempting the impression to a particular state (before the meeting even occurs)
  • Are formed based on our actions and reactions, language, tone, appearance, even environments (i.e. what or whom we surround ourselves with)

We may not know or want to believe it (Wizard’s First Rule), but people are watching us… Yes, WATCHING… Scary, right? But true.

Can I Control the First Impression Formed?

Yes, and no. We can control it by preparing for that first meeting. If we do, the first impression will be more stable and likely more positive. However, Geoffrey James cites that there isn’t a logical thought process which individuals experience. Truth is, it’s a reaction both immediate and unconscious. Many sources detail how to form a positive first impression, but they want you to ACT LIKE SOMETHING YOU AREN’T!

David Wygant discusses that your self-confidence is the most important part of your first impression. Low confidence makes it hard for anyone else to believe in you. The best way to market your personal brand is BUZZ marketing. Let people talk about you. LeadershipFreak says that other people will talk about you if you let them. Let other people’s words give you confidence and pride in who you are.

First impressions determine how each interaction proceeds from that point forward. The first impression made on anyone is foundational.

Take Initiative. Research:

  • The person
  • The company
  • Purpose for meeting
  • That person’s values
  • Their superiors (subordinates)
  • Try to find a contact within the company or close to them in the hierarchy

Mark Oakes encourages us to monitor and protect what we can control about our first impressions. You CAN control what you do and say that people will see and interpret; not their thoughts. Be cognizant of those things; use them to your advantage.

How do I Control My First Impressions?

  • Stay Positive
  • Be yourself
  • Be confident
  • Let others market your brand
  • Pay attention to your actions and words; they can help or hurt you
  • Be unforgettable; not memorable
  • Ask relevant, interesting questions
  • Do preliminary research
  • Ask for information to look into and follow-up on

“Wizard’s First Rule: People will believe anything you tell them because A) they are afraid it is true or B) they want it to be true.”   -Zeddicus Zul Zorander, Wizard’s First Rule by Terry Goodkind

Credits:
Edberg, Hendrik. How to Make A Great First Impression. Retrieved from:  http://www.positivityblog.com/index.php/2007/03/16/how-to-make-a-great-first-impression/.
Goodkind, Terry. Wizard’s First Rule.
James, Geoffrey. 2011. How Important Are First Impressions? Retrieved from:  http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505183_162-28554948-10391735/how-important-are-first-impressions/.
Laskowski, Lenny. 1998. How to Create A Great First Impression. Retrieved from: http://www.ljlseminars.com/impress.htm.
Willis, Janine & Alexander Todorov. 2006. First Impressions: Making Up Your Mind After a 100-Ms Exposure To A Face. Retrieved from:  http://pss.sagepub.com/content/17/7/592.short.
Wygant, David. 2010. How Important Are First Impressions? Retrieved from:  http://www.davidwygant.com/blog/how-important-are-first-impressions/4398/.

Other Resources:
http://www.mindtools.com/CommSkll/FirstImpressions.htm
http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200405/the-first-impression
http://thinkexist.com/quotes/with/keyword/first_impressions/

BritanyBritany Wallace is a senior business student at Moravian College in Bethlehem and loves blogging in her free time. She expects to travel for volunteer and learning opportunities during the summer and look for permanent work afterward. She enjoys volunteer work, mostly construction and helping at animal shelters and in her free time she reads for knowledge and pleasure. Please support Britany by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment below and visiting her at kebperspectives.wordpress.com, lifelongstudentofbusiness.wordpress.com or bwallaceperspectives.blogspot.com. (Introduction by Mark O. Oakes, a wonderful contact of KEBPerspectives. Follow him on Twitter @MarkOOakes)

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Success Versus the Work-Life Balance (Guest Blog by Sam Bessant)

The following blog post is part of the Bennis Blogger Battle. Support Sam by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment and sharing it on your social media! The blog with the most hits, wins.

————————————————————————————————

In this day and age it is often assumed that one cannot be truly successful at work whilst also being successful in other areas of their life. We hear a lot about work-life balance and in the movies at least, the most successful executives are portrayed as sorely lacking in the social environment. Is this really the case though, and if it is, what can we do about it?

To gain some perspective on the subject, I posed the question to a selection of people I know and the answers that came back were as varied as the people that gave them. They ranged from working for a boss who likes you, having free evenings and turning your work mobile off outside of working hours to loving your work so much that it is your life. It was this last answer that really got me thinking as it’s the one which is most ambiguous. On the one hand, your work being your life might be a great thing if it means that your work flexes to fit into everything that you do. On the other side of the fence, is that top executive whose work is their life as there is no life for the work to flex around.

So how do you know if your work / life ratio is actually balanced? Well, the first thing you need to consider is what “balanced” actually means to you. What are your priorities and how much do you enjoy your work? If your main priority in life is to get to the top then you might be happy to spend 3 times as many hours working in comparison to how many you have for socializing per week. However, if you work merely to pay the bills and dislike your job intensely, you may want to flip that ratio on its head.

Essentially, a work life balance is as unique as the person whose work and life are in question. A true balance comes from within, from the feeling of contentedness that comes with happiness. After all, regardless of personal differences and aspirations, we all only live once; so for most of us the aim is to be happy for as much of that life as possible. My advice to you would be to weigh how much of your life is spent happy vs. how much is spent in discontentment. If you fall on the side of happy the majority of the time, you’ve most likely got your work / life balance right and that may be working 20 hours per week or working 60 hours per week. It’s really not about work vs. life, it’s about happiness and how you balance the elements of your life to achieve it.

Sam BessantSam Bessant is 26 and lives in Reading, UK. She currently works the standard office 9-6 whilst trying to finalize the direction she will take to start her own business. Sam’s blog, 20somethingfreak was created to help Sam and others understand what it is to be in your 20s and for Sam to share some of the millions of daydreams she has every day! Please support Sam by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment below and visiting her personal blog: www.20somethingfreak.wordpress.com.

 
 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Why Success Is More Likely If You Love What You Do (Guest Blog by Rory Alexander)

The following blog post is part of the Bennis Blogger Battle. Support Rory by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment and sharing it on your social media! The blog with the most hits, wins.

————————————————————————————————

Chinese Character for Success

I have done a lot of things up to this point in my life and only now am I realizing the importance of this statement. Success is more likely if you love what you do.” I studied economics, then marketing, worked in advertising and moved into print production before packing my bags and moving to China. I taught English for a year and signed on for a second, after which I took all my savings and traveled before returning to South Africa to see what opportunities arose.

I have tried several careers but never loved what I’ve done. It’s been employment and it’s paid the bills but it has left me unfulfilled. It’s not that I haven’t succeeded, but I keep feeling like I can do more. Things are uncertain now as I make the transition from being unemployed to being a freelancer but now I am doing what I love and so this time it’s going to be different. Or at least that’s what I hope.

Sure, you don’t have to love what you do in order to succeed. We probably all know people who don’t enjoy their jobs but drive nice cars and live in fancy houses. So then I guess it’s how you define success. I’d like to think success in life is about being happy. So fast cars and fancy houses might look good and feel comfortable but do they make people happy? I am aware that this could turn into a protracted philosophical argument so let’s consider this hypothetical situation.

If a zoo wants someone to photograph all their animals for a set fee and two people take up the challenge – one who is just after the money and one who loves photography. The one that is just after the money might take a compact digital camera and in the space of an afternoon take a photo of each and every animal in the zoo and hand over a disc to the zoo.

The one who loves photography would probably use a decent camera; take time watching each animal waiting for the best opportunity to take a photo; perhaps arranging to get inside the enclosures of the less dangerous animals and getting some unusual angles. They would probably shoot in the early morning and late afternoons for the best natural light. They may even go the extra mile because they love what they do and produce a printed book of all the photos to hand over to the zoo.

In this example, both people have done what the job required, they both completed the task but who do you think is more of a success? Who would the zoo be more likely to pay? I think it’s obvious that if you love what you do, you will spend more time doing it and the end result will be better than the same thing done by someone who doesn’t love what they do. Imagine what the world would be like if, in our jobs and careers, we all did what we loved.

While loving what you do is no guarantee of success, I believe that at the very least it increases your chances. And to me, the opportunity to following your passion is always a chance worth taking…

After 3.5 years in advertising, Rory Alexander decided to try something completely different and went to teach English in China for 2 years. Now he’s back in South Africa with an open mind looking for opportunities and following his passions which include aviation, photography and blogging. Please support Rory by “Liking” this post, leaving a comment below and visiting his personal blog: www.roryinsouthafrica.wordpress.com. You can also find him on twitter @Rory_Alexander.

 
22 Comments

Posted by on February 27, 2012 in Business & Success, Guest Blogger

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

 
%d bloggers like this: