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Stress in this Time of Uncertainty

There are many recent events that have upset our world, along with the social distancing recommendations and many who have lost their jobs because of businesses closing. Others are working from home and families are trying to establish routines for children and distance learning. There is a lot of uncertainty, in our own lives and in society. And then there is the isolation. Humans are social; we like being with others and having freedom of movement. We are averse to change, finding comfort in our routines and our normal lives. As a result, this isolation and changes are overwhelming and stressful.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Managing Stress, Work-Life Balance, High-Stress

Top 8 Characteristics of Good Leadership

Last week we asked if you should want to be a leader.

This week, we’ll look at how to be a good leader, regardless of your actual leadership role or title. 

Anyone can be a leader. The best, work at developing their skills and adopt the characteristics of other quality leaders. The easiest way to do this is to observe several leaders you admireObservation may include following them on social media, reading their books, and attending or downloading any speeches they have given. Watch what they do and how they do it, then incorporate the traits you admire into your own leadership style. 

Next, realize that leadership isn’t just a “top of the ranks” role. The greatest leaders can – and will – work alongside those they are tasked with leading. Leadership is about setting an example. No task is beneath you. You shouldn’t ask others to do anything you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. 

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job, Work-Life Balance

Should you want to be a leader?

The answer to that question is yes, but… and there’s always a “but.”

You may be thinking:

  • I’ve never been a leader so how do I know if I’ll like it or be good at it?
  • Does it mean more responsibility and am I ready for that?
  • Does it mean more money and is the money appropriate for the level of responsibility?
  • Does it mean I’ll have people who report to me and will I have to evaluate and discipline them, if necessary?
  • Does being a leader always mean I’m in charge – or could I lead in other ways?

Some people never actually consider these questions, so they are unprepared when thrusted into a leadership position.

That leadership position could be as a mentor, team leader, project leader, supervisor, manager, and the list goes on. There are many ways, and some of them don’t require the designation as a “leader.”

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job, Work-Life Balance

What to do if you are unhappy in your job?

This is the second of a two-part series on job happiness.  In last week's post, we took a look at the some of the warning signs that indicate you may be unhappy in your current position. This week, we will take a look at what to do if you find you are unhappy with your job.

One of the first warning signs we discussed is apathy. So, what should you do when you no longer care about the daily tasks or projects you are assigned, especially if it is a job you used to love? If you are in the apathy stage, now is the time to take a look at where you are and what you want out of a career or a position. You are older now than you were when you started this job and your interests and needs change over time. Take some time to think about what you are passionate about today, and what motivates you. From this vantage point, you will have a better understanding of what type of job or tasks will move you from apathy to enthusiasm. Then, you will want to see if you can adjust your responsibilities to focus on the things that do motivate you.

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Topics: Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job

Warning signs you are unhappy with your job

This is the first of a two-part series on job happiness. This week, we will look at some of the warning signs that indicate you may be unhappy with your current position. Next week, we will look at what to do about it if you find you are unhappy with your job. Sometimes, you know right away when you are ready for a change. But for others, their satisfaction with their position has slowly declined and they do not immediately realize how unhappy their position is making them. This post is meant to allow employees to recognize they may be unhappy, and maybe even help change their role on the job so that they can become a happier employee! Sometimes, people do not realize just how unhappy they are until someone points it out to them. In case you are one of those individuals, or you are just curious about how to tell when it is time for a change, or you are a supervisor who should be aware of your employees’ issues, here are some warning signs you can watch for.

Apathy

Apathy, not caring, lacking passion, unmotivated these are all ways to express a loss of interest in the daily job tasks. It could be that you see upcoming assignments as too simple, or you just do not care anymore about the tasks you have been assigned. Perhaps you look at your daily job to-do list and think it is like trudging along a rut you just cannot get out of. Or perhaps, you are present but not participating. You are doing just the minimum amount of work necessary, but no longer pitching in with conversations, other tasks, or helping co-workers. If you are numb to projects or tasks that used to excite you, you are probably in the apathy category.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Gaining Experience, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Leaving a Job

Making productive to-do lists

Everyone makes lists – though not everyone does so in the same way. Whether you are the one who makes a list in their head of things to get at the grocery store, or the one who has to-do lists for every aspect of your life, these tips will help you be more productive and efficient in accomplishing the tasks on your list.

Use the right app or medium.

There are a many list apps you can get for your smart phone, and there is also a simple pen and paper.  The first thing you should do is decide which method of keeping track of your list(s) works best for you. Many apps allow you to add due dates, collaborate or share lists, and sort tasks. PC Magazine has list of the best to-do apps, or you can ask friends and relatives for suggestions. If you are a pen and paper type of person, the key to finding the best medium is to make sure it is a list you can easily see and refer to, and something you will not ignore. There are numerous options that include lined pages, calendars, and tabs for sorting lists. The best way to find the right one for you is to make a list (see what we did there?) of the key things you want and then do a google search for those items. Or just use a plain notebook and design your own.  The two most important things to remember are that it must work for you and be one you will actually use.

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Topics: Establishing a Career, Re-Entering the Workforce, Preparing for an Interview, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress

Tips for maintaining a good work-life balance

The term work-life balance as defined by BusinessDictionary is, “A comfortable state of equilibrium achieved between an employee’s primary priorities of their employment position and their private lifestyle,” and too often it is not achieved, especially in today’s technological world of 24/7 access to voicemail and email, but that does not mean you should not try. Studies show that people who do not have a good balance between work and personal life can be less productive and more stressed. Those who do have a good balance are usually more productive and tend to stay with their employer for a longer time. Here are some tips to help you find a balance between your working and non-working life.

Unplug

Unless you are a doctor or emergency responder who needs to be accessible every hour of the day, set aside some time to be away from your smart phone. There is no need to check emails while at your child’s baseball game, for example. Take some time to unwind and disconnect from the stresses of the rest of the world. Enjoy hobby, or some rest and relaxation, whatever it is that helps you get comfortable again.

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Topics: Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress, Work-Life Balance

Tips For Being The New Employee

Most people are a “new” employee when they start a new job or make a career change. Temporary workers are the “new” employee each time they take a new assignment. In fact, as a temporary employee you could experience that new employee feeling several times in a month, depending on the types of assignments you take. Whether you are a new employee just once – or quite often – here are some tips to help you along the way.

Be Dependable

Being dependable means you show up on time, ready to work. Having the right tools and attire is important, but so is having the right attitude of enthusiasm for the tasks you are going to be performing.

Be Friendly

A smile goes a long way towards making a good impression, so remember to smile when seeing or meeting your co-workers. Introduce yourself to others during your breaks or lunches. Repeat their names when you meet to help you remember.

Show interest in others – which applies to life as well as a new job. Ask questions like ‘how long have you worked here?’ and ‘what do you like most about what you do?’ as a way to learn about others, as well as the company.

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Topics: Re-Entering the Workforce, Changing Jobs, Being a Great Employee, Managing Stress

Burn-out: an 'occupational phenomenon'

Have you ever felt so tired of a job that you feel you just can’t take it anymore?

Burn-out is an ‘occupational phenomenon’ officially recognized by World Health Organization

We all get stressed in our jobs, but if this is happening every day, you may be experiencing the occupational phenomenon known as “burn-out.”

You’re not alone.

The World Health Organization (WHO) announced in May that it was including burn-out in its International Classification of Diseases.

WHO emphasizes that it is not an actual medical condition, but it could be a reason that people contact health providers.

They say that burn-out results from “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”

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Topics: Being a Great Employee, Safety, Managing Stress

Just 2 hours a week in nature can work wonders

A new study says that spending two hours a week out in nature can work wonders for your health and wellbeing.

The study, led by the University of Exeter and published in Scientific Reports, found that “people who spend at least 120 minutes each week out in nature are more likely to say they have good health and a higher psychological wellbeing that those who don’t visit nature at all.”

And it didn’t matter if the 120 minutes was in one visit or in multiple shorter visits, it found.

“The current results also suggested that it did not matter how the 'threshold' was achieved. This may be because individuals selected exposures to fit their personal preferences and circumstances. For instance, some may prefer long walks on the weekend in locations further from home; while others may prefer regular shorter visits to parks in the local area,” the study says.

Other factors – such as gender, age, occupation, ethnicity, wealth, illness and disabilities – also did not matter. The 120 minutes applied to everyone in the study.

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Topics: Volunteering, Being a Great Employee, Safety, Managing Stress

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