Summer Job Search

Carole Kanchier —  July 17, 2018
Summer Job Search

Think summer is a slow time to find a new job? Think again!

Recruiters and hiring managers do not usually take summers off. Hiring managers are looking for top talent now. If they have any openings, they do not wait to hire. So, now is as good a time as any to look for your next position.

There’s less competition in the summer. Fewer people are job searching so you and your resume have a better chance of being seen and considered!

Hiring managers are often less busy in the summer. They have more time and attention they to give to filling open positions—meaning your application stands a better chance of being reviewed somewhat promptly rather than being pushed to the back burner.

Summer is also an ideal time to train new staff members so they’ll ready for action after the Labor Day weekend. Organizations often find summer moves easier, especially when new employees are moving with the whole family since kids don’t have to switch schools in the middle of the year. Plus, the pace of work is generally a bit more relaxed.

Because many industries slow down in summer, candidates may have an easier time requesting time off to participate in interviews. You may be able to cut out in the middle of a weekday afternoon—without setting off any alarms, or weaving a web of untruths such as doctor’s appointments.

Networking contacts may also have more time to meet for informal interviews or informal coffee chats. Old colleague or new acquaintances may welcome opportunities to meet. Thus you’ll have an easier time forging some relationships and expanding your professional network.

This season may be a good time to review successful job search tips.

Effective job search strategies

Show you’re knowledgeable about the company and its needs. Research the organization and job. Call contacts to get an insider’s perspective. Be conversant with the company’s product and services, and recent developments in the industry. Know how to describe contributions you can make. Identify and contact hiring managers.

Prepare several resumes. Target each resume to a specific job. Demonstrate how your experience, skills and accomplishments fit the job and company.

If you’re an entry-level candidate, a page should be plenty. If you are a mid-level candidate (with about 5 -10 years of related experience), you might write a two-page resume which allows space to include all relevant information and work history. Executives or senior-level managers with long list of accomplishments and experiences may create longer resumes.

Write your resume in Microsoft Word. Cut and paste the resume into the body of an email instead of an attachment. Employ key words listed in ads to define your skills, accomplishments and other strengths. Include numbers, dollars and evidence of quality. Avoid fancy treatments such as italics, underlining and graphics. Create a separate resume to take to the interview.

Write a short, courteous cover letter. In three or four paragraphs, identify your job objective, highlight related accomplishments, and indicate how you can benefit the employer. Consider including a portfolio with sample accomplishments, publications or other achievements.

Prepare for interviews. Practice delivery. Know the names and titles of all interviewers. Answer questions promptly, offering concrete examples. Show how your skills and accomplishments can do the job. Use success stories to illustrate accomplishments. Emphasize results. Give data indicating positive achievements, such as increased sales by fifteen percent over the past year.

Prepare to answer key interview questions: “Tell me about yourself?” ‘What are your long-range goals?'” “Why should we hire you?” “What are your major strengths and weaknesses?” “What salary do you expect?” “How does your previous experience relate to this job?” ‘Why do you want this job? “Why did you leave your last job?”

Turn limitations into strengths. If you don’t have a ready response, ask for time to think about it. Don’t respond with one-or two-word answers, interrupt or talk too much. Never discuss salary until you’re offered the job. If pressed, give a salary range, based on average yearly income in the job field.

Present a professional demeanor. Wear the team uniform. This shows you belong in the environment. Research the norm for the geographic locale, industry and company.  Coordinate pieces. Clothes should be spotless, well-tailored. Hair should be professionally styled, nails well-kept. Avoid strong fragrances.

Radiate enthusiasm, confidence and competence. Be positive, genuine.  A sincere smile displays good will, friendliness. Show interest in the person or project. Keep hands out-of-pockets. Maintain eye contact with everyone and develop a firm handshake.

Leave a favorable impression. If employers like you, they may create a job for you even though you don’t fit the skill set of an advertised position. Close the interview emphasizing key skills and why you should be hired. Never refuse an offer on the spot. Send thank-you notes to interviewers within 24 hours after interviews.

Keep track of the days between interviews and correspondence, and follow-up with polite reminders when appropriate.

Don’t take rejection personally. If one job doesn’t materialize, believe you’ll get a better one. Be patient. Maintain optimism, persist.

Additional job search strategies are reviewed in the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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How Satisfied are You With Life?
Summer is the perfect time for vacations, sunbathing, outdoor sports, spending time with family and friends, and enjoying outdoor barbeques.
The summer season may also be a good time to evaluate the degree of satisfaction, we have with our lives. Kirk, who changed jobs four times in the past four years, is still dissatisfied with his work; he also lacks a close friendship, and has little time for leisure.
 
To have a fulfilling life, we should be satisfied with all segments of our lives: work, relationships, spiritual, personality, leisure, and financial.
 
Are you satisfied with life?
Check statements that best describe you:
 
Usually happy
Anticipate a bright future
Rarely upset over trivial disappointments
Rarely bored?
Usually agree with partner on important issues/Communicate well partner about most things
Enjoy companionship with warm, respectful friends
Happily involved in work
Enjoy getting out of bed on work days
Can attain desired career goals by working with current employer
Participate in enjoyable leisure activities
Have enough time and money for leisure
Accept constructive criticism well
Proud of accomplishments
Have a sense of inner peace
Derive meaning and purpose in life
Feel healthy, energetic
Maintain good exercise, nutrition, relaxation and sleep habits
Earn sufficient income to meet needs
Have few financial concerns
 
Scoring: One point for each checked statement. The more statements you checked, the more satisfied you seem to be with life. You appear to be well-adjusted, confident, and satisfied with your job, relationships, and lifestyle. You may have a sense purpose and are healthy. If you checked seven or fewer statements you may be unhappy with the way things are going in your life.
 
Tips for enhancing lifestyle
 
– Work. Manage your own career. See yourself as someone who has inner strength and choices. Do some self and job analyses. Is your job satisfying your needs? If not, why? Can your needs be satisfied by staying in your job? List other personal qualities (purpose, interests, skills) you want expressed in your ideal job.
 
Explore options that are compatible with these. Investigate such options as redesigning your current job, taking another position in your company, changing organizations, or shifting occupational fields. Consider self-employment, a sabbatical, or continuing education.
 
– Enhance relationships and intimacy. Develop warm, supportive relationships . Respect others and value their opinions. Develop a close, supportive and caring relationship with at least one other person. Enjoy his or her company without demands or expectations.
 
Enhance communication skills. Practice listening. Clarify by asking questions when you’re not clear about something. Reflect content by summarizing what you hear the other person say. Reflect feelings by letting her know you hear the emotional content of his or her words.
 
– Spiritual. Nourish your soul. Seek solitude and quiet times. Meditate, pray, enjoy nature, listen to music, or write in a journal. Listen to your intuition.
 
Clarify your purpose. Look for themes that emerge from the following: your strengths and accomplishments, contributions for which you want to be remembered, how you would spend time if you were a billionaire, activities that absorbed you as a child, and a recurring dream. Identify and pursue activities that are in harmony with your purpose.
 
– Personality: Strengthen confidence and optimism. Love and accept yourself. Acknowledge your accomplishments. Prepare a list of positive achievements and personality characteristics. Post this where you can read it daily. Depersonalize failure. View setbacks as learning experiences that will enable you achieve goals.
 
Don’t compare yourself to others, or care about what others think. Practice positive self-talk. Look for and expect good things to happen.
 
– Leisure: Make time for enjoyable activities. Relax. Don’t schedule every minute of your day. Listen to music, or read a book while commuting. Daydream. Play. Let your inner child emerge! Take weekends off.
 
– Financial. Minimize monetary concerns. Create and stick to a budget. Adopt a cash-only policy. Reduce living standards. Find new income sources such as part-time work, shared accommodation, or updating skills to increase income.
 
 – Balance. Live a harmonious life. Become involved in a variety of activities. If you create an identity in only one life component such as work, you’ll feel empty and helpless if you lose or are dissatisfied with your job. You’ll also fear risking. But if you’re involved in varied activities, your life will be more complete. You may even enjoy a job that was previously dissatisfying.
 
You have the power to change. To enrich your life, enhance at least one part of your life weekly!
 
Life is a challenge, meet it.
Life is an opportunity, take it
Life is an adventure, dare it!
 
Questers, described in the award-winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, show how to create your desired lifestyle: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

 

 
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Are You Bullied - at Work?
A top-notch salesman, who recently won a prestigious sales award, has had 20 years of successful experience with his company. A year ago, a new regional manager became his boss. The manager is criticizing the salesman’s ethics and blocking access to needed resources.
 
Do you feel discriminated against or harassed at work? Are you humiliated or falsely accused of being incompetent? Do you feel apprehensive about going to work, anxious while you’re there? If so, you may be the victim of bullying.
 
Bullying usually involves repeated incidents or patterns of behavior that are intended to intimidate, isolate or degrade a person or group. It is described as the assertion of power through aggression.
 
Both genders bully, but women bully more than men. Women are the primary targets for both female and male perpetrators. According to a Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) study, women bullies choose women targets 87 percent of the time. Thus, bullying is viewed as same-sex harassment. 
The most common workplace bullying relationship is between an abusive boss and targeted subordinate. Gary Namie, an authority on North American workplace bullying and author of The Bully at Work, notes that 71 percent of targets report the bullies outranked them. A  work place bully could be your boss, the chief executive or peers.
Most victims are college educated with about 20 years of successful work experience. Their average length of tenure with their employer is seven years.
 
Once targeted, bullied individuals faced a 70 percent chance of losing their jobs according to the WBI survey. Thirty-seven percent were fired and 33 percent voluntarily quit. However, few perpetrators were held accountable

Bullying Examples

If you’re not sure a behavior is bullying, use the “reasonable person” test. Would most people consider the following actions unacceptable?

  • Falsely accusing someone of errors not made
  • Spreading malicious rumors
  • Discounting someone’s thoughts and feelings
  • Isolating someone
  • Disregarding accomplishments
  • Soliciting bullying assistance
  • Undermining work
  • Physically abusing someone
  • Demoting without cause
  • Constantly changing work guidelines
  • Withholding necessary information or resources
  • Assigning unreasonable workload 
  • Making offensive jokes
  • Taking credit for target’s work
  • Sabotaging contributions to team goals
  • Criticizing constantly
  • Belittling opinions
  • Blocking training, promotional opportunities
  • Giving poor performance evaluations
  • Tampering with work equipment.

Bullying victims experience a range of effects. These include shock, anger, feelings of frustration and helplessness, loss of confidence, inability to sleep and stress-related illnesses. Anxiety about going to work and inability to concentrate are other outcomes.

Bullying affects the overall “health” of an organization. An unhealthy workplace is characterized by high absenteeism, accidents and turnover, and elevated employee assistance, recruitment and legal liability costs. This results in low productivity, morale and customer service.

Ways employees can respond to bullying

Behavior that’s unreasonable and offends or harms you, should not be tolerated.

– Document the abuse. Record the date, time and details of the event, names of witnesses, and outcomes.  Keep copies of the perpetrator’s correspondence.

– Consider confronting the perpetrator. Ask an impartial third party such as a trusted supervisor or union member to accompany you to the meeting. Show evidence you’ve collected that demonstrates bullying behavior.

– Solicit the assistance of higher level management.  Don’t confide in anyone close to the bully. If a top executive is the perpetrator, reaching out to someone within the organization can be risky, ineffective. With a bully at the top, your situation probably won’t improve. Your best option may be to leave. 
Ask colleagues and clients to provide documented perspectives of your performance. This can illustrate your superior’s assessment of your performance is incorrect.

– Don’t retaliate. You may look like the perpetrator and confuse personnel responsible for evaluating and responding to the situation.

– Move on. Consider transferring to another department or change employers. Request a severance package. Positive opinions of coworkers, other supervisors and clients will provide needed documentation. Before giving notice, get personal property off the premises.

View your move as a positive change, not an escape. It’s better to leave on your own terms and time than wait for involuntary termination. Tell a trusted supervisor why you’re leaving. Don’t broadcast your impending resignation.

Start an external job search. Be discreet. Top-brass bullies sometimes use the full weight of the organization to trash careers of workers who turn on them. Don’t discuss negative aspects of the company with prospective employers. Emphasize your accomplishments.

Ways organizations can prevent bullying

Employers have a legal responsibility to protect employees. Senior management must let perpetrators know bullying isn’t tolerated. A comprehensive written policy that covers varied harassment incidents must:

– Apply to all company levels.
– Outline the process by which preventive measures will be developed.
– Provide examples of unacceptable behaviors, working conditions.
– State organization’s policy of bullying and commitment to preventing it. Specify consequences.
– Encourage reporting of all aggressive incidents. Treat all complaints seriously.
– Outline procedures for investigating and resolving complaints. Address them promptly.
– Outline confidential processes by which employees can report incidents without fear of reprisals.
– Provide victim support services and employee prevention training.
– Monitor and regularly review the policy.
 
Final tips

Act towards others in a respectful, professional manner. Try to resolve issues before they get out of control.
 
Columnist, Carole Kanchier, career and personal growth expert, is author of the award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, which gives tips for managing lifelong career growth: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963.

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Are You Ethical at Work?

 

Every day, we’re faced with situations that require us to make decisions that have ethical implications. They may be decisions about what to tell somebody, how to react to a situation, or what to do? We have different ideas about what’s “right” in any given situation.

Ethics is the branch of philosophy dealing with values relating to human conduct, with respect to the rightness and wrongness of certain actions and to the goodness and badness of the motives and ends of such actions.

Organizations have ethical frameworks. Some formalize these into a documented “code of ethics” to which employees may or may not adhere. Others have commonly accepted ethical practices that aren’t documented, but are a pervasive element in the culture. What’s your situation at work?
 
Many individuals also have ethical frameworks. Their behavior is consistent with their beliefs. Do you have certain beliefs regarding appropriate ethical behavior at work?
Clarify your ethical beliefs
Indicate what you would do in each of the following situations:
 
1. If you see a colleague taking office supplies home, would you report this? Speak to your colleague?
2. Do you pad your expense account?
3. A talented employee is usually 15 minutes late every morning, but stays late to complete projects. Company policy states that wages should be deducted from employees who come late. As his superior, would you deduct his wages?
4. During lunch, a valued customer makes offensive racist remarks. Would you express your feelings of disapproval?
5. Your work requires making long distance calls. Do you also make personal calls if you know they can’t be traced?
6.  You’re in charge of hiring employees. Both a friend and a more qualified person apply for a position. Would you hire your friend?
7. A colleague at your company is stealing from petty cash. Would you tell him to stop? Tell your superior?
8. Your company does shoddy work. Would you tell a major client this if it could lead to company bankruptcy and   resulting unemployment?
9. Do you claim false experiences on your resume? During a job an interview? A signed statement?
10. As an employee of a retail organization, would you tell customers that a competitor sells certain products for less?
11. You’re company is bidding for a contract that will produce a good product but have a later delivery date than requested. Would you tell the truth?
12. You’re the CEO of a small airline company. The planes you possess have a known safety problem, but will last for five more years. Would you buy newer, safer planes?
13. You’re very competent and usually complete projects before colleagues who feel you show them up. Do you slow your productivity?
14. A subordinate or boss implies that there are work-related rewards tied to a favorable sexual response. Would you respond to the advance?  
15. I make long distance personal calls from my work phone.
 
Developing an ethical framework
What do your responses to the above questions say about your ethics? Under what circumstances do your ethical and unethical behaviors occur? How do these behaviors affect your job performance? Promotional opportunities? Interaction with colleagues, clients, or friends?
 
Write two or three sentences describing your ethical beliefs or framework. Review your company’s ethical framework.  Is your ethical framework compatible with that of your organization? If not, are you comfortable exercising your beliefs?
Share your ethical beliefs with a trusted co-worker, and give each other feedback regarding ways in which you can both enhance your workplace ethical behaviors.
Many professional associations and organizations ask potential member if they have you at any time been convicted of a felony, sanctioned by any professional ethics body, licensing board, or other regulatory body or by any professional or scientific organization. How would you respond to these questions?
Knowing your ethical beliefs as well as those of your organization and professional association enables you to work comfortably and with integrity. Can you do anything this week to enhance your ethical behavior at work?
 
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips for enhancing work ethics: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963
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Tips for Quitting Your Job

“I quit my job by email since that’s how I normally communicated with my boss. But I’ve been thinking that quitting by email may not be appropriate…!”

Have you had enough? Is quitting the right option? If so, resign with class. But first, know why you’re leaving.
 
Do you have patience with customers or co-workers? Are company policies and ethics congruent with your values? Do you have supportive superiors? Do you dread Mondays? Does your job meet important needs (e.g., work/life balance, challenge, variety)? Do you enjoy job tasks? Other?
 
Evaluate your current situation. List everything you like and dislike about your position. Also identify career successes. Review why you chose your job (e.g., salary, opportunity to use skills), and whether you still have these rewards. Note whether you’re committed to your employer, what you’ll gain by remaining with the company, and what you’ll lose if you leave. Determine whether non job-related factors (e.g., relationship, health) affect your attitude.
 
Examine all options. If you’re unhappy, consider personal vacation time to gain perspective. Think about transferring to another department in your organization, a different employer, a new field, self employment, or further education. Consider asking the company’s employee assistance provider (EAP) for assistance.
 
Talk to your supervisor. Share satisfiers, dissatisfiers, and possible solutions. Discuss reshaping your job to fit interests and talents.
 
Clarify your long term career goal, and state reasons for wanting it. Review the pros and cons of achieving your goals with this company.  
 
If you decide to leave the organization, resign gracefully.
 
Transitioning Tips
 
– Prepare financially. Save enough to survive a two month unemployment drought. Create a budget. Look at needs, not wants. Cut expenses. Use coupons, comparison shop. Reevaluate housing costs. Look for additional income sources such as temp work.

Check unemployment benefits. Quitting may disqualify you from collecting benefits that are often based on circumstances surrounding your departure. Consider the economy and the demand for your skill set.

– Know company policies regarding resignation letters. A few sentences indicating notice and termination dates usually follow the verbal notice.

Write a short, gracious, visually attractive, specific letter. In the first couple of lines, indicate your intention to resign and departure date. Appreciate your boss, colleagues and experiences. For example, state you thoroughly enjoyed implementing ABC project with your team, or selling the company’s product or services. Remind the company of your achievements. If you’re taking study leave, mention that, but don’t name your new employer. Proofread your letter and ask a trustworthy friend feedback..

Leave on good terms. Your boss should be the first to know. Schedule a face-to-face meeting.  Don’t fax or email your resignation. If your supervisor only visits your site every few months, ask for a meeting prior to her next site visit.

Get to the point. Give reasons for leaving. If your reasons are financial, give your employer a chance to make a competitive offer. Discuss entitlement to benefits. Stress the delights of having worked for the supervisor, whether delightful or not.  Focus on the positive, but give reasons for leaving. A new job may offer more promotional opportunities or better work hours. Time out for travel or study may rejuvenate you personally and professionally.

Be flexible regarding departure time and terms. Think in terms of a new reference. You’re behavior in the final days shapes others’ opinions. Tell colleagues after the official notice, but don’t discuss details. Maintain friendships
 
– Give sufficient notice. Follow company procedures. The standard is two to four weeks, but this depends on length of tenure. In some circumstances, such as ongoing harassment or physical threat, it’s justified to leave without notice, but. document complaints.
 
If your contract requires working for a longer time frame, discuss options with former and new employers. Your new employer may be willing to pay your current organization to get you sooner.  Negotiate the possibility of working weekends or evenings to complete projects.

Advise the new company of your requirement to give notice before starting. Employers usually respect your need to terminate with grace.
 
– Manage in-between time.  Tie up loose ends, organize files. If you have to train a replacement or hasten the completion of a project or task do so professionally, sincerely.
 
– Express appreciation. Keep negative feelings to yourself. Find something good to say.  For example, “I’ve really gained from the experience, and my colleagues meant a lot to me.”
 
– Prepare. Some companies require terminators to leave the company site immediately. Be prepared to remove personal belongings and files from your computer. Budget for the possibility of not receiving a paycheck.

– Plan for the exit interview. Many companies conduct exit interviews to pinpoint sources of employee dissatisfaction. Offer suggestions and feedback on how the organization can become more competitive and improve products or services.

Avoid career busters
Never quit the day before joining a new organization.
– Don’t resign on impulse.
– Keep your mouth shut. Don’t badmouth or trust anyone with negative information.
Don’t damage property or steal.
– Don’t feel guilty. Don’t mourn a job that no longer fits, or worry about what colleagues think.
 
Look forward to starting a wonderful new chapter of your life career!
 
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, provides additional tips for getting, keeping, and quitting a job: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963.

Carole Kanchier, psychologist, coach, and speaker, may be contacted at: www.questersdaretochange.com.

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Conquering Conflict

Carole Kanchier —  June 5, 2018
Conquering Conflict
Are you frustrated with your boss or irritated at co-workers’ annoying habits? Do some customers’ behaviors infuriate you? How do you react in these situations?
                                   
In today’s workplace there are varied people with diverse perspectives and behaviors. Disagreements occur because people hear, see and interpret things differently. To resolve disagreements with people who have divergent perspectives, try the following.
 
Understand how unproductive thinking patterns develop
Because we are exposed to more input from our environment than we can assimilate, we classify the information into categories. This serves as the basis for making generalizations that help us define and understand our world. Generalizations are useful, if accurate.
 
Generalizations influence our assumptions, which in turn affect our understandings and relationships. They cause us to stereotype and prejudge people. “Older workers are set in their ways.” “Younger workers are irresponsible.” These stereotypes may be true sometimes, but not always. Individuals with rigid stereotypes usually don’t alter their views when they meet people who don’t fit the mold.
 
Question your assumptions and stereotypes
Your partisan lenses often determine how you view others. Do you pigeonhole people to expect certain behaviors because of age, color, ethnicity, or other characteristic?  Do you put labels on your enemies?
 
Ask questions to identify your assumptions and establish a sound basis for future communication. How valid are the conclusions you’ve drawn? Are they based on research? To what extent do they color your experience?
 
Note how you stereotype people. Most people are complex. Understand their viewpoints so that you’re not surprised when they express them.  Enjoy each others’ differences.
 
Since you learned false stereotypes, you can unlearn them. Replace stereotypes with attitudes based on sound research. Understand and communicate with those who look, act and talk differently. View conflict as a normal process which can enrich your life.
 
Develop productive behaviors
Acknowledge that a conflict in a relationship may be partially due to your unfounded assumptions. Here are some conflict resolution skills suggested by Jack Hamilton and Elisabeth Seaman of C P & R Services and other experts.
1. Be assertive. State your perceptions, share your thoughts and feelings, and make your needs and desires clear. Colleagues may not know that your unfriendliness is due  to a tight deadline
Watch your body language. For example, when speaking to others, maintain eye contact. This conveys honesty and confidence.
 
Stick to the facts. Avoid words like “always” and “never.” These seldom describe reality and often elicit defensive reactions. Make specific request rather than complaints.
 
2. Be tolerant, understanding. Are you annoyed at co-workers’ incompetence? Are you hypercritical of others? Respect others and value their opinions. Respect is a key ingredient in nourishing relationships. It requires trust, equality, empathy, and connectedness in all kinds of relationships. Recognize the dignity, worth and humanity in all people.
 
3. Listen. Conflict accelerates when people don’t feel heard. Listen to what people are really saying. Consider their viewpoints carefully without defensiveness.
 
Try to understand the message even if you disagree. Pay attention to what is said without interrupting, judging or offering solutions or ideas. Ask questions when you’re not clear about something. This will enable you to get more information and demonstrate your interest and concern. “Please tell me more about that.”
 
Summarize what you hear the person say to correct misunderstandings. Let the person know you hear the emotional content of the message. Listen between the lines. What’s the person feeling but not saying?
 
4. Share your thoughts with the person.  Discuss the factual basis of each other’s thoughts to learn new truths and get a different interpretation of words spoken or actions taken. Give merit to another’s view until you can validate its accuracy. Then change your view if new information proves you wrong.
 
5. Agree on a solution after developing a factual understanding of the assumption that lead to the conflict. Think of creative ways to deal with conflicts. Act on those that are valid.
 
Continue to learn
Read books, view or listen to audio or video tapes that address interpersonal issues. Take courses to enhance communication skills. People skills are crucial for most jobs. Greater understanding and acceptance of others will enable you to resolve day-to-day differences smoothly and be a happy, productive person.
 
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Dr. Carole Kanchier offers many tips for conquering conflict: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963
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During lunch a valuable customer makes an offensive racist remark. As a professional, how would you handle this situation? What does professionalism mean to you?
 
The American Heritage Dictionary and the Oxford Dictionary define a professional as a person having a high degree of knowledge, skill, judgment and continuing practice in a particular activity. Mirriam Webster College Dictionary indicates professionals exhibit courtesy, conscientiousness and businesslike work manners.

Typically, professionals provide a service in exchange for payment or salary in accordance with established protocols for licensing, ethics, procedures, standards of service and training. Professionals generally belong to a professional society that exists to further their profession or trade as well as to protect the interests of the public and their members.

 Test your professionalism

Respond Professional  or Unprofessional
 
1. I usually ignore irritating behavior when interacting with someone.
2. I’m content with my performance.
3. I always tell the truth.
4. When a deadline looms, I try to improve the product.
5. I often download files from the Internet or newspapers for use in my work.
6. I usually compare myself to others.
7. Appropriate job skills are more important than good work habits.
8. I often engage superiors in conversations regarding how some matters should be handled.
9. If I know a lot about a topic, I listen to others then explain my viewpoint.
10. I would report unethical or unsafe practices to the CEO.
11. It’s OK to be late for meetings occasionally.
12. I won’t work with a co-worker until we settle disagreements.
13. I tell others what I like and don’t like about their performance at staff meetings.
14. I judge clients quickly.
15. I attend meetings sponsored by my professional association.

Answers
1. Professional. Don’t take the behavior personally. Ignore irritating but unharmful behavior to avoid unpleasant consequences. Walk away or quietly smile.

2. Unprofessional. Professionals strive for excellence. They don’t fear trying new and better ways of performing tasks or maximizing services. They take pride in all their work, not just jobs for which they’ll receive high remuneration.

3. Professional and Unprofessional.  This may depend upon the circumstances. It may be appropriate to stretch the truth if it will hurt someone.  However, it’s not professional to conceal the truth to destroy a relationship or someone’s reputation.

4.  Unprofessional. Be optimal but practical. Know that projects must be completed on time. Perfectionism becomes impractical when it takes excessive time and additional resources.  A perfect product is of no value if it’s not shipped to the consumer on time.
 
5.  Unprofessional. It’s unethical and illegal to use creative materials without first obtaining permission from the creator. The content of most newspaper articles are protected by copyright.  Contact  the authors for permission to reprint or post their work. Federal laws protect the intellectual property of creators. Those not in compliance may be penalized.
 
6. Unprofessional. Don’t compare yourself to others. Avoid statements such as, “I can do ______ better than anybody else.” Instead, say something positive about a competitor’s work.

7.  Unprofessional. Studies suggest that about 85 percent of dismissed employees lose jobs because they lack appropriate work habits. Behaviors which most often lead to job loss are tardiness, absenteeism, inability to follow instructions, quality of work, consistency of performance, lack of cooperation and personal appearance.
 
8. Unprofessional. Be respectful of power, roles, privileges and responsibilities of different hierarchical levels. It’s acceptable for a senior manager to be informal with employees, occasionally asking about their interests and listening to concerns. But it’s not appropriate for subordinates to give unsolicited advice to superiors.
 
9. Professional.  A highly trained team member acts professionally when he listens to colleague’s ideas and explains his view. However, a person who is knowledgeable about the topic and frequently monopolizes the discussion, is acting unprofessionally.

10. Unprofessional. Be sensitive to the needs and feelings of others. If you observe someone engaging in unethical behavior, speak privately with the individual and give him time to correct his behaviors before taking details to the supervisor.

11. Professional. North Americans are conscious of time. Meetings are expected to begin and end on time. Set realistic deadlines, and be conscious of others’ time constraints. If you arrange to meet a colleague at 9 AM, plan for traffic delays and call when you know you’ll be more than five minutes late.
 
12. Unprofessional. Separate the controversy from the person. Openly discuss differences. If these can’t be resolved, agree to disagree. Keep your opinion, and let the other person keep his. Focus on the common goal.

13. Unprofessional. When someone is not up to quality standards, discuss these with the individual privately. Offer constructive feedback.
 
14. Unprofessional. Don’t judge too quickly. Consider all relevant information to avoid misunderstandings. This is particularly important when communicating with international clients on the Internet.
 
15. Professional. Professionals belong to their professional associations, keep informed of industry and professional developments, get involved in committees, and follow professional ethical guidelines as well as those of their company and industry.

Professionalism is for everyone. Professionalism is the underlying foundation supporting all productive organizations. Professionalism increases productivity and quality, reinforces trust, improves teamwork and inspires excellence.

If you’re a leader, model professionalism, and nurture an environment where individuals take pride in themselves and their work. If you’re an employee, adopt a professional approach. You’ll strengthen confidence and competence. Everybody will want you on their teams
 
Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional tips for strengthening professionalism: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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Is Your Emotional Intelligence (EQ) Advancing Your Career?

 

You’re in a meeting when a colleague takes credit for your work. What would you do: 1) Publicly confront the colleague over ownership? 2) After the meeting, request she give you credit when discussing your work? 3) Nothing? 4) Publicly thank her for referencing your work, and give the group additional information?

If you selected # 4, you’ve demonstrated emotional intelligence or EQ. Studies show that emotionally intelligent people are more successful in their careers than people who possess only intellectual smarts.Daniel Goldman, who popularized the EQ concept, identified five interrelated EQ competencies:  Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Self-Motivation, Empathy, and Effective Relationships.

What’s your EQ?
Answer “yes” or “no.”

1. I recognize my feelings and differentiate among them.
2. I know and accept myself.
3. I need to discuss my problems with others.
4. I’m realizing my potential.
5. I hang up on angry clients.
6. I get facts before reacting in an uncomfortable situation.
7. My life is stressful.
8. If I don’t get the promotion, I’ll continue to perform well, believing I’ll get the next one.
9. I get depressed regularly.
10. I usually reframe bad experiences.
11. I don’t handle adversity well.
12. I’m persistent.
13. I’m sensitive to others’ feelings.
14. If a colleague has a problem, I’d volunteer to help.
15. l share my thoughts..
16. I value others’ viewpoints even though I disagree.
17. I’m dependable, cooperative.
18. My conscience guides my actions.
19. I’m comfortable with people.
20. I have good communication skills.

Scoring: One point for each “yes” to all items except 3, 5, 7, 9, and 11. A high score suggests you may be emotionally intelligent. (The items listed are only examples of emotional intelligence.)

Strengthening Emotional Intelligence

1. Self–Awareness.Items 1 to 4 measure competencies such as self-understanding, confidence, and self-reliance. To enhance self-awareness, know and accept yourself. Be yourself, not who you “should” be.

Clarify your purpose, and commit to at least one goal that enables your to express your purpose. Tips for clarifying purpose are found in www.questersdaretochange.com/blog/page/11/

Build on strengths. List proud personal qualities and accomplishments such as confident, caring, optimistic. Each week, enhance a previous performance related to one strength.  For example, list what else can you do to become more optimistic, resilient or other?

Recognize feelings such as sadness and anger. Note what triggers these feeling and subsequent successful and unsuccessful consequences.

2. Self-Regulation. Items 5 to 8 measure self-management skills such as self-control, flexibility, and tact.  Learn to manage emotions and negative thoughts and feelings. Restructure negative thoughts so they’re more positive. Recognize time wasting habits and modify your schedule accordingly.

Minimize fear by identifying worrisome issues, and using appropriate information and resources to minimize these. Live in the present. When angry, take time out before acting. Go to a quiet place and breathe deeply, or wait a few days to cool down. Engage in physical activities to reduce stress.

3. Self-Motivation. Items 9 to 12 measure competencies such as optimism, drive, and inner-directedness. To strengthen self-motivation, develop positive thinking patterns. Focus on opportunities. Practice positive self-talk. Believe good things will happen. Begin each day by smiling at yourself in the mirror.

Take charge of your career. Experiment with new ideas, strategies. Think and talk about things you want. Define success personally. Persist in achieving goals. View mistakes as leaning experiences.

4. Empathy.Items 13 to 16 measure empathy, awareness and appreciation of others’ feelings. Strengthen empathy by listening. People feel reassured and understood when others pay attention. Listen to peoples’ needs and perspectives.

Summarize what you hear the person say. Let her know you hear and understand her thoughts and feelings. Listen between the lines. What’s the person feeling but not saying? Ask questions when unsure.

Build rapport and trust. Be genuine, approachable, open to suggestions. Make people feel physically and emotionally comfortable. Demonstrate appreciation.

5. Effective Relationships. Items 17 to 20 measure interpersonal skills such as friendliness, communication, teamwork, and leadership. Cultivate friendly relationships with co-workers. Know peoples’ names and special strengths. Develop ”small-talk” skills. Celebrate peoples’ accomplishments.

Develop a social conscience. Volunteer for company-sponsored or community projects. Get involved in hobbies that involve social interaction. Practice communication skills. Read, take courses. Join Toastmasters.

Success and satisfaction in our global workplace require emotional intelligence in addition to technical and professional skills. Identify one EQ  trait to strengthen each week.

Chapter 3, QuestersDare to Change Your Job and Your Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, provides additional ways to strengthen EQ or Quester traits:  https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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How to Succeed in Your New Job

 

Rosemary writes: “I’m starting a new position and want to make sure I get off to a good start. What to do?”

Starting a new job is exciting and sometimes intimidating. You have a fresh start, new challenges and renewed energy. But you may also feel apprehensive, particularly if you were fired or laid off from your last job.

Tips for thriving in your new job

– Believe in yourself. Have faith in your abilities. Own your power. William James, the famous psychologist said: “Your belief in at the beginning of a doubtful undertaking is the one thing that ensures the successful outcome of the venture.” When you expect the best, you release a magnetic force in your mind, which by the law of attraction, tends to bring the best to you.

Recognize that you create your own thoughts and have the power to change them. Practice self-talk every day. Say, “I like myself because…” “I can…” Use positive statements about such things as being healthy and being in control. Don’t criticize. Think of ways to improve the situation. Avoid phrases such as, “I can’t.”

Don’t put yourself down with false modesty or boast with misleading claims. Maintain standards of good taste. Avoid extremes in mannerism, dress and hairstyles. Stay conservative until you know the lay of the land.  Don’t take unfair advantage of the employer. Avoid extended breaks or personal emails. Stay overtime to complete projects.

– Know the organization and key people on the management team. Know the company’s mission statement, values, customs, practices, rituals and communication networks. Read the organization’s policy manual. Inquire politely about the rationale behind policies or procedures you dislike. Adapt your behavior to the company’s style, but don’t eliminate qualities that make you unique.

Although knowing what happened to your predecessor should have been determined in earlier interviews, you may get a different perspective when you’re in the organization. Discussing issues and concerns with your predecessor or colleagues can minimize errors and illustrate successful practices.

Respect and cooperate with superiors, peers and subordinates. They can be supportive, or make things difficult.

Get to know experienced co-workers. They’ll advise you of informal procedures and networks.  Avoid close association with any one group or clique. Learn the jobs of associates and superiors. Acknowledge co-workers’ interests, concerns and contributions. Volunteer to help colleagues who need assistance.

Demonstrate loyalty to your employer and supervisor. Air disagreements with supervisors. Don’t discuss these with colleagues. Speak well or don’t speak.

Debate the pros and cons of work-related issues with co-workers. These discussions usually result in effective problem resolutions and company growth.

– Listen and observe. Learn how the company works. Don’t try to change things during the first few weeks. Move cautiously. You won’t cement good relationships by being labeled a know-it-all. Avoid making statements that suggest things are done better elsewhere. Offer a suggestion like “I wonder if this might work?”

Follow instructions, rules and regulations. Ask questions until you understand where you stand and how you should proceed. Listen to ideas offered by others before suggesting a problem solution. Contribute, but don’t criticize. Demonstrate how your suggestions could complement others’ ideas.

– Clarify roles, responsibilities and priorities. Although you undoubtedly discussed things that needed attention during the selection process, clarify these with your current boss. This will give you an idea of the pace your boss would like you to set.

– Demonstrate excellence. Concentrate on quality.  Demonstrate attention to detail, discipline, and willingness to accept unglamorous but necessary tasks. Be responsive to things that need doing without taking on the whole project.

– Monitor job satisfaction and performance. Review job satisfiers and dissatisfiers. Ask for feedback on performance. Don’t wait passively for formal evaluations. Requesting feedback shows that you take your job seriously and enables you to correct minor issues so that major problems won’t develop.

– Stay employable. Keep skills current. Continuously refine professional and technical skills. These will enable you to exercise mental muscle and creativity. Equally important, maintain physical fitness. Good nutrition and fitness bring health and vitality. Network with professional and industry personnel to stay in the loop.

Avoid the following traits that lead to layoffs: poor performance and productivity, resistance to change, lack of teamwork and enthusiasm, failure to contribute at meetings, poor interpersonal and communication skills, and frequent absences.

The key to an ever evolving career is to monitor your own career development and stay attuned to new opportunities.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life by Dr. Carole Kanchier, offers additional ways to succeed in your new job: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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Use Intuition for Career Decision Making
Use Intuition for Career Decision Making, May 7, 2018

 

Kathleen, a grade six teacher wonders whether to accept the promotion to principal. Les, a human resources manager, wants a job that “excites” him. Recently laid off, Barbara thinks this might be a perfect time to start her own business. Tom, an engineer, wants to try a different field where he can still use his engineering skills.

Intuition is a great tool to use in solving varied career and personal challenges. Sigmund Freud’s advice is legendary. “When making a decision … in vital matters … such as the choice of a mate or a profession, the decision should come from the unconscious, from somewhere within ourselves.”

Individuals who make wise career decisions combine intuitive strengths with intellect. Trust and value your intuition.  Recognize that you do have the capacity to tap into it. Intend to develop it. Believe you’ll get the required information.

Practice relaxation. Relaxing the body allows you to relax the mind. This enables you to slow your brain wave frequency allowing the subconscious mind to function more actively.

Find a regular time and place to be alone so that inner signals can be heard. Release negative thoughts and feelings which block energy. Make yourself talk positive. Replace negative thoughts with more positive statements or pictures.

Meditate to get into a deeper state of awareness where answers will come more easily. You can meditate on any object, a candle flame, a mantra, a nonsense phrase or even your name.

Because intuition connects to a vast data base, it needs concise direction to retrieve a specific answer. For example, Eleanor was wondering whether she should relocate to southern California to join her fiancee. Instead of asking, “Should I relocate?” she asked, “Should I relocate to southern California?” When she received a yes response, she asked for additional information, “Should I move next spring or summer?”

Try These Problem Solving Techniques

– Program Your Dreams. Tell yourself, “I want to have a dream that will contain ……… information to solve a specific problem….I will have such a dream, remember it and understand it.”  Dreams usually come to us in language or symbols we can understand. Examine the sequence of events, how you felt upon awakening how the dream ended. Note the internal and external cues you receive the next day such hearing some news on the radio while driving to work.

–  Draw or Doodle. Write out a question that clearly states what you want to know. Underneath your question draw whatever comes to your mind or flows through your hands. Draw until you have nothing to add. Look at the meaning behind the drawing and the symbols within it. Note the sequence of steps. Pay attention to your thoughts and feelings as you look at the picture.

– Exercise. Pose a question to your intuition before any kind of physical activity. Then focus on your activity. Pay attention to the various cues that appear during and after the exercise.

– Make a Dream Inventory.  Spend about 40 minutes writing down all the things you want to do, have, be and share as quickly as possible. Create the people, feelings and places you want. Everything is possible. Ignore security or financial considerations. Identify major themes that emerge.

– Program a Successful Day. Relax on your bed after awakening in the morning. Visualize your entire day on a mental screen. Put a clock on the screen and mentally move the clock forward each hour to the end of the day. Play a mental movie illustrating everything moving smoothly and successfully as you desire. Use this technique to rehearse a successful job interview or anything also you desire.

–  Keep a Journal. Write your daily thoughts, feelings and hunches.  Pay attention to what you write and how you feel at the time. Note thoughts and feelings that emerge when you finish. Notice how intuitive hunches feel different from calculated ones.

– Practice Makes Perfect. The more you listen to and pay attention to your intuition, the more you’ll become aware of it. Take at least five minutes of quiet time every day to listen to your intuition. Ask for help, support, direction, awareness or anything you want an answer to. Have faith it will come.

Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Your Life, by Dr. Carole Kanchier, provides additional ways to access intuition: https://www.amazon.com/Questers-Dare-Change-Your-Life/dp/1508408963

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