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Job or no Job: The Certainty of Uncertainty
Headline from AP via Yahoo News! January 11, 2005: "Chrysler Expects No Job Cuts in 2005, 2006."
Headline from Detroit Free Press, January 12, 2005: "Chrysler Cuts 200 Hourly Workers."
Job uncertainty has become part of the employment landscape in America.
Just three weeks before the holidays, with no warning or explanation beyond "financial reasons," I was handed my walking papers. Laid off. The company just couldn't afford me (or numerous others) anymore.
It's a very strange feeling to have one's disposable income evaporate and watch one's savings account trickle away. Even stranger, the realization the event is not what ultimately gets you ? rather it's the inability to deal with the steady stream of unknowns ahead.
Human beings are security junkies. According to Abraham Maslow's theory of personality (Motivation and Personality, 1954) humans have five fundamental needs: physical health, security, self-esteem, love-belongingness, and self-actualization. One of those needs, security, demands a sense of order and predictability within one's life.
In a tumultuous business environment, how does that work? How does one manage the human need for security ? and the fear of losing everything?
It's not easy. But there are a few things you can do.
Don't go it alone. Call in your favors. Use your support system, and if it's not enough, consider engaging a well-regarded and thoughtful therapist. No money for therapy? Sell off baubles accumulated when money was good on Craigslist or eBay.
Consider meditation. Meditation is a powerful way to clear and calm the mind. Meditation is simple. The very intention of quieting the mind is beneficial. Many people use guided meditations to assist them. Try Chakra Suite by Steven Halpern or The Soul of Healing Meditations by Deepak Chopra. I'm currently using the Holosync System by Centerpointe Research Institute, which requires nothing of me except to listen to the recording for half an hour per day.
Quantify your efforts. Set goals, but keep an action journal. Record all of your efforts in the journal. You may find you're doing more (or less) than you think you are to move yourself forward. Think of it as a project list for your life.
Monitor your unstructured time. Notice the (productive) things you gravitate toward doing with your free time and record them in your action journal. By becoming aware of what you like to do gratis, you will sensitize yourself to paying opportunities you may have unwittingly passed up before.
Feel the fear, and do it anyway. In her book Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway, Susan Jeffers, Ph.D., talks about different levels and kinds of fear. Level I fear is either about fear of things that happen, or fear of things requiring action. Level II fear is about the ego and has to do with states of mind, not events. Educate yourself about the construct of your fear; expose it for what it is, and take action to disarm it.
Uncertainty is here to stay. Learn to anticipate, look for and embrace change. It's the only thing you can count on to stay the same.
Helena Bouchez is a writer, musician, artist, teacher and former advertising agency associate technology director.
She has a B.A. in Art from Wayne State University and a Certificate in Business Administration from University of Illinois Chicago Center for Entrepreneurship, is nearly finished with her first novel, tentatively titled "Till you Make It", and enjoys playing bass guitar in all three of her bands. http://www.helenabouchez.com, http://www.thelevitators.com
Resume Writing - Importance of a Professional Summary
The Summary is the preview of your entire resume. This may be be the only part that an interviewer or employer might read for shortlisting your resume. This may be the only section an employer reads prior to the interview. Gear up the summary to be the show window where the goodies are lined up to entice the person into entering the shop. Include your professional characteristics like highly energetic, an ability to solve complex problems, a dynamic team player, exceptional interpersonal skills, committment to excellence etc. Describing your professioanl qualities with power words.
Are You Tired of Hiring Other Peoples Rejects? - 12 Mistakes Recruiters Make and How To Avoid Them
When John applied for a job at Oakland Company, his resume looked fabulous, showing tremendous talent and advancement. His qualifications were beyond question and he built immediate rapport with everyone in the interview process. Every one of his references checked out. Six months later, you were wondering why you hired this clown.
How To Take The Pain Out Of Performance Reviews
The Painful Approach
Do You Have a Hotsy-Totsy Resume?
I begin this article with a bit of slang description. What do I mean by a "hotsy totsy" resume? I mean one that does the following for you, the job seeker and a possible employer.
How to Track Your Right Career
Are you lost in the wilderness when it comes to choosing a career? Once, we knew the way. As children, we played at different roles, but some became our favorites. Those favorites hinted at our gifts. They pointed the way to our exciting futures as entrepreneurs, dancers or astronauts. We did what was fun, and, in the process, we began to find and follow our paths.
Salary Negotiation: How To Earn More Money and Respect From Your Employer
Despite how important fair pay is to most of us, effective salary negotiation is an often misunderstood and avoided topic. Current research indicates the average duration of a position today is 3.8 years. Over the lifespan of your career, how well you negotiate raises or starting pay will have an enormous cumulative effect on the quality of your life.
Shades of Grey
A paperweight sits on my desk, etched in silver the message: Life isn't always black and white. It serves as a reminder there are few absolutes at work (or in life). Yet, it would be easier if there were; if good ideas from bad, trustworthy people from non-trustworthy, and right paths from the wrong ones could easily be discerned. I've learned in twenty years in management that increasing one's perspective increases the grey, as words like always and never become obsolete for describing most situations and most people. But early in my career, I was convinced there were right ways and wrong ways to do things at work. Of course, my way being right and someone else's wrong. Dug-in positions that at the time seemed immensely important strike me now as limited in knowledge, understanding or perspective. Now, I'm as convinced there are often many ways to accomplish the same goal and many right answers to the same problem. Certainly some approaches may be better than others, but whose interpretation defines better? It is a subjective workplace and a matter of judgment if an idea is a good one, a performance rating accurate, or a decision correct. Sometimes that interpretation is based on quarterly profits, employee morale, company goals, personal filters, necessity, or a passionate champion embracing a challenge. But here's the thing. That subjective element often frustrates us. We think there should be a play book we understand or a standard method to judge an outcome so we can agree whether it's good or bad. Yet we have differing vantage points, information and criteria depending on our roles. There may be big picture, long-term, short-term, temporary, personal, best, best of the worst, and a long list of considerations. I learned this concept as I debated my boss over a decision he was about to implement. As a Human Resources Director, I was concerned the decision would impact morale. HR was the filter by which I judged the world at the time. He gently closed the discussion agreeing with my view point, "Yes, it's true employees will be unhappy. But they'll be unhappier if there are layoffs next year. My job is to make sure everyone has a job." Absolute thinking limits perspective, causes mistakes in judgment, misunderstandings, disappoints, conflicts, and frustration in the workplace. Most work issues are not black or white, right or wrong, win or lose. They are varying shades of grey. If you want to be winning at working, you need to adjust your eyes to see more grey and adjust your beliefs to understand, for the most part, people are doing what they believe to be right, for reasons they believe are right. If we could stand behind them and see what they see, we might even come to the same conclusion. (c) 2004 Nan S. Russell. All rights reserved.
Hey, You Cant Ask Me That! (How to Respond to Inappropriate Job Interview Questions)
I received the following questions from a visitor to my website recently: "How should I respond to inappropriate questions such as: (1) Do you have a stable home life? (2) Tell me about your personal situation. Are these inappropriate questions? It has been so long since I interviewed for a job, your suggestions about the most helpful responses would be appreciated!" Those are, indeed, inappropriate questions that should NOT be asked at an interview. Various federal, state, and local laws regulate the questions a prospective employer can ask you. An employer's questions - on the job application, in the interview, or during the testing process - must be related to the job for which you are applying. That does not mean, however, that you will never be asked inappropriate questions. Some companies have poor HR support, some interviewers are untrained and unaware of inappropriate or illegal questions, and some even ask them knowing they should not. You won't have much chance of getting the job if you respond to such questions by saying, "Hey, that's an inappropriate question. You can't ask me that!" So you have a few options. First, you can answer the question. Even if it's inappropriate to ask, there's nothing that says you can't answer it. If you choose to do so, realize that you are giving information that is not job-related. You could harm your chances by giving the "wrong" answer. Or you could respond with something like, "How would my answer to that question directly relate to my ability to perform in this position?" If you keep your tone non-confrontational, courteous and upbeat, they may realize they've goofed by asking such a question without getting upset at you for pointing out their mistake. Depending on how they respond, you may feel more comfortable answering. The best strategy, I believe, is to figure out and address their TRUE CONCERN. When they ask something like, "Do you have a stable personal life?" they may be trying to protect themselves from a bad situation that they've had to deal with in the past (former employee whose personal problems interfered with his/her ability to do the job). So what they really want to know is, will YOU be a reliable employee who can be counted upon to show up and do your job effectively, regardless of any personal problems you may have. So without directly answering their question, try to address their underlying concern. In this instance you might say, "My career is very important to me. I'm fully committed to performing at my highest level at all times, and don't allow any kind of distractions to interfere with that. I'll deliver the results you're looking for." If you're not sure what their true concern is, ask something like "Could you please rephrase or elaborate on your question? I want to make sure I address your concern." Please realize that many interviewers are untrained and therefore unaware that a question they might ask to break the ice -- such as "Do you have any kids?" -- is inappropriate. Yes, this question may be an attempt to determine if you have child-care issues that could interfere with your job... but it's MORE likely that the interviewer is innocently trying to find something he/she has in common with you. In the end, it's basically a judgment call on your part. If you feel the interviewer has no legitimate reason to ask an inappropriate question, and you do not want to answer it, say "I'm sorry, but I don't see how that has any relevance to my ability to do this job." You might run the risk of losing the job, but if your gut instinct is telling you there's something amiss, you wouldn't want to work for that person anyway. Here's a list of some questions -- the wrong way, and the right way, to obtain legitimate information: Inappropriate: Are you a U.S. citizen?OK: Are you authorized to work in the United States? Inappropriate: How old are you?OK: Are you over the age of 18? Inappropriate: What's your marital status? Do you have children?OK: Would you be able and willing to work overtime as necessary? Inappropriate: How much do you weigh? Do you have any disabilities?OK: Are you able to perform the physical duties required in this job, with or without reasonable accommodations? Inappropriate: Have you ever been arrested? OK: Have you ever been convicted of _____? (The crime should be reasonably related to the performance of the job in question.)
Is a Career Change on Your Horizon?
Making a career change is nothing new in today's job market.
Preparing For An Interview
When preparing for an interview, you need to know your skills, experiences and achievements, and how to answer interview questions.
Writing A Resume That Gets You Noticed
As the old saying goes, "you never get a second chance to make a first impression." In today's business world, of course, that first impression usually does not come from a face-to-face conversation, but from whatever you can tell your future boss about yourself on paper: your resume.
Avoid Potential Job Interview Disasters
There are definitely things that you can do to avoid minor mishaps which could ultimately blow an interview. Become familiar with these 7 potential interview disasters so you can prevent them from obstructing your path to that ideal job.
How will you respond when you're asked the following two questions?
How to Write Cover Letters That Increase Your Chances of Winning an Interview
Submit a poorly written cover letter and the chances are your resume will end up in the trash bin without even being looked at.
Resurgence of the Time Sheet: Why You Should Write Down Your Workday Activities
One day I walked into my boss's office and said, " I think all staff should do a time sheet, including you, from now on." I definitely surprised her but the results of this request certainly got the attention of all of our staff.
Find Passion for Your Work
Most people spend approximately 25% to over 67% of their waking hours working. Eventually, most everyone will want to work in a career that they enjoy and are paid well enough to live a prosperous life. Yet, far too many people end up being miserable in their job and find themselves stuck in a career that they did not choose. People then get discouraged, produce less, and become disgruntled. Unfortunately, people then blame themselves or those they work for, when in truth there is rarely anything wrong with them or the people they work for. Instead, maybe their job selection process is flawed which causes them to fall into the wrong positions.
How To Find Quick, Free, Job Search Resurces
There are many free job search resources available in any community, large or small. These resources are available to the aspiring CEO as well as to the person who wants to make sandwiches. Some job seekers are not aware of what helpful places and people there are, especially for FREE. The resources are:
You?re Ready for a Career Change - Is Your Resume?
You finally did it. You made the decision to leave a career that makes you dread every Monday morning and pursue one that you feel is your true calling. Congratulations! Making the decision was the hard part, right? Unfortunately, no. You've convinced yourself that this is the right move?how do you convince everyone else? It's time to work on your resume.
The Network Within
When you hear the word "networking", what comes to your mind first?
Your First Job
"Your first job is an extension of your education"
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