Sometimes during a long job search, you can end up feeling hopeless and exasperated. Here are three tips to help you kick those terrible feelings in the face.
Whether you love your job or not, there’s always room to improve your day while at work. Most people don’t think of work as a specifically happy place, but there are a number of things you can add to your work day to make it a little brighter.
Adding some plants is a great place to start. This article in The Guardian suggests that even just a few house plants can make people more productive and happier. The article also found that plants in the office improved people’s memory retention. You’ll be happier and smarter!
Depending on your work’s policies, you should make your office space yours as much as possible. Pictures of family or friends, personal effects and other items that make your space ‘yours’ will help you feel more comfortable in your space and make you feel more relaxed as well.
Help Someone Else
Helping others around you, especially in your work place can also make you feel better and lead you to have a happier day. Not only do you get to bask in the glow of your good deed, but there is usually a cycle to helping others, where they in turn will help you from time to time. This usually lessens stress and make you feel part of the team and valued.
You may have heard this before, but smiling makes you happier. It’s true! When you smile, it releases things called neuropepides, which makes your brain assume you’re happy. So if you’re feeling down trying forcing your self to smile and all of a sudden you may find your feeling better. Kitten videos may also help.
When things aren’t going great at work, or there’s one person who is really bothering you it can be easy to focus on negative things. This tends to have a spiral effect and before you know it, you’re feeling pretty negative about everything that is happening in your day. Avoid the negativity and try to find the positive in everything you can!
What about once you leave the office? Need help infusing more happiness into the rest of your life? This article about happiness from Conscioused a university for life skills has some great tips!
When asked to do something at work or to give your opinion you might be tempted to say the first thing that comes into your head. Sometimes the first thing that comes into your head is perfectly fine. Sometimes it is not appropriate in a professional environment. Below are a few things it’s better to avoid saying, along with the appropriate alternatives.
This is how we always do it
If asked to do something in a brand-new way you may be tempted to blurt out that the thing is already being accomplished in a perfectly acceptable way. However that will make you seem inflexible and averse to change. Instead ask, Why is this new way better?
I’ve done all I can
You already tried everything you can think of and you still can’t find appropriate solution or answer to the question. Instead of throwing up your arms in frustration say, I’ve tried everything I can think of, can you suggest any other options?
That’s not under my jurisdiction
Sometimes you will be asked to do something that really isn’t under your umbrella. If you dismiss the request out of hand you’ll be seen as a non team player. Rather offer an alternative. I see what you need. I suggest you talk to X.
That makes no sense to me
Even if what you’re being asked to do makes no sense to you there’s no reason to get the back up of the person who’s speaking to you. Get an explanation first. I’m not sure understand. Can you explain this to me?
You are wrong
You might be absolutely sure that what someone has just said to you is completely wrong. However calling them out on it can come across as insensitive and cause embarrassment. A softer approach can be, Here’s why I disagree. What do you think?
You should have
Finger pointing only leads to bad feelings all around. The recipient of your admonishment feels terrible and you feel like a jerk for doing it. Instead find a constructive way of clarifying the situation. That didn’t work. Next time I suggest you…
I might be wrong about this, but
Even if you are not entirely confident about what you are going to say there’s no reason to cast a negative cloud over it right off the bat. Give the idea or statement space to stand on its own without editorializing. Here’s something we could try
I have no time for this right now
Most of us feel like we could use an extra two or three hours everyday. Don’t talk about what can’t be done, frame it in regards to what can be done. I will be able to do this by…
An inauspicious start
You are the second child born to an unmarried laundrywoman in 1883. Your father is a street peddler who makes his living selling his wares from town to town. He has to be bribed by your mother’s family to marry her. When you are twelve years old your mother dies of tuberculosis. Your father hires your two brothers out as farm laborers. You and your two sisters are sent to a home for abandoned and orphaned girls. While there you learn to sew.
A story revised
Eventually you go on to establish one of the most iconic fashion houses of the twentieth century. When you describe your early childhood, your story is filled with glamour and drama. At your mother’s death (when you were much younger than twelve), your father sailed off to America to make his fortune and you were sent to live with your aunts. You embellish and create a history fit for the fashion icon you have become. By then your given name, Gabrielle has changed to Coco and according to a review in Harper’s Bazaar, “The woman who hasn’t at least one Chanel is hopelessly out of fashion.”
Coco Chanel may have fabricated the history of her life but her achievements were entirely real. The only fashion designer to make TIME magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century Chanel hasn’t been out of fashion for over a hundred years.
Your book of life
Each of us starts our life on the first page of an essentially blank book. We don’t have much control over the early chapters, but there comes a point where authorship of our story is handed over to us. We are not encouraging anyone to re-write the early chapters the way Chanel did, but we are endorsing bold, creative story lines full of adventure and daring.
As you move through your career chances are you’ll sometimes have to give speeches, sometimes to a single person, sometimes before a whole group. Public speaking can be extremely nerve wracking for a lot of people. One of the ways to lessen the nervousness is to have a strong speech prepared in advance. The more planned and prepared the speech, the more confidence you’ll have when delivering it.
A few simple steps will help you corral a bunch of thoughts milling around in your head into a thought out, well ordered speech.
Single sentence description
Decide what the main message of your speech is going to be. You may want to talk about several things, but even so, there needs to be a theme for your overall message. Now create a single sentence description of what you want to achieve through the speech.
Now that you have a theme, use it to title your speech.
Before you start writing, take some time for a little free form thinking. List 10 – 20 talking points you think you’d like to touch on. Ideas, quotes, statistics, anecdotes, examples you could use to illustrate your points.
Figure out the most important points
Take that list and pull out the five points you believe will have the greatest impact in your speech then organize them into the order in which you’d like to address them.
Expand each point
One at a time, explain each of your talking points. State the point, back it up with statistics, personal experiences, anecdotes, examples, and finish off by re-stating the point briefly.
That’s the core of your speech. From there you can add personal touches, humor or nuggets of motivation to round it out.
Just a heads up, if you think you only need to impress the hiring manager to get a job, think again. It’s very important to also make a good impression with the recruiter who is calling you back to potentially schedule you in for an interview. However, candidates sometimes overlook the importance of this and as a result, lose a great opportunity.
Think of it like a football game. In order to get to the quarterback (hiring manager), you have to past the defensive linemen (recruiters) first. If you can’t get past the defense, you can’t get to the quarterback and end up giving the other team an opportunity to make a touchdown. In other words, you risk someone else getting the job over you. Here are five things to do/say to convince the hiring manager that you’re deserving of a job.
Update your resume
Right here at The Job Window, we’ve had a number of occasions where the recruiter is going over the resume with a candidate over the phone and that’s when the candidate realizes their resume is out of date. For example, the word “present” is written beside a job the candidate no longer has. At that point, a million things go through the recruiter’s mind: “Is this candidate blindly sending out resumes to every job post they see?” “They don’t pay attention to detail,” or worse “They don’t care”. These are all impressions that can hurt you as a job seeker. Again, first impressions are key and not updating your resume makes a bad first impression.
In other words, don’t give one-word answers – it shows disinterest in the job. Even if you’re not a very conversational person, pretend you are and be interpersonal. Speak to the recruiter as if they’re you’re friend. Try to elaborate on your answers as much as possible and make them like you. Without knowing it, you may be developing a personal, but professional relationship with them – which will work to your advantage.
Make it seem like you really want the job
Recruiters hate it when they call a candidate and ask, “Hi, is this a good time to talk?” and the candidate says, “No, can you call me back later?” with no explanation. Right off the bat, the recruiter will perceive the person as rude and disinterested. If you really want the job, then call the recruiter back. They’re not going to chase after you when they’ve got hundreds of other candidates who’d gladly take your place. Instead, say: “I’m driving right now, can I please call you back when I pull over?” Recruiters understand that they might be catching you at a bad time. So if you tell them that you’ll call them back, they’ll appreciate it.
Speak to recruiters in a quiet area
Do you ever find it annoying when you can’t hear someone on the other line? Or when you’re trying to speak to them and they’re distracted by something? Well, recruiters feel the same way. Just like in the previous situation, explain to them that you will call them back once you find a quieter place. That way, you can express your interest and reiterate your skills clearly, on the way to the recruiter scheduling you in for an interview.
Be prepared for the call
After applying for a position, give everyone in your household a heads up that you may be expecting a call from an employer. Recruiters find it unprofessional when you or someone else answers the phone in a improper manner such as “yo, sup” or “hello” in an annoyed tone of voice. It’s all about first impressions, so perk up and expect every call to be the employer or recruiter.
– Be polite
– Sound enthusiastic and interpersonal
– Keep your resume updated and honest
Remember, first impressions are everything. And just because the recruiter doesn’t have the power to hire you, they still have the ability to give the hiring manager that first impression about you, whether it’s good or bad.
The human herd
Do you ever stop to think about how much of your life is dictated by what other people think? What we choose to wear. Our career choices. Political affiliations. At first glance those things might seem to be based solely on person choice, but with a deeper look we can see they are highly influenced by our surroundings. Human beings are by nature herd animals. The article, You Are a Conformist, from Psychology Today describes it thus:
“Human beings are herd animals. We survive only in highly coordinated groups. Individually, we are designed to pick up social cues, coordinate and align our behavior with those around us.”
Programmed to fit in
Essentially, we are programmed to want to fit in. On the one hand that’s great. It helps us build a functioning, amicable society. On the other hand, it can be stifling to our individuality.
A universe full of suns
While actually being a member of the human herd, from our own perspective we are the sun in our personal solar system, with everyone else orbiting around us. Being so aware of everyone around us, it feels like they must be equally aware of us.
In truth, unless you are a celebrity with your own personal herd of paparazzi following your every move, most people are too busy in their own solar systems to give you all that much attention.
What do you choose?
Imagine you didn’t want to please anyone except yourself. Would you choose to live your life any differently? How about what you wear, would it be any different? What would you believe? You probably won’t be able to figure all of that out in one sitting because It’s hard to untangle our thoughts from the influences around us.
Once you’ve isolated yourself from the herd, think about Eleanor Roosevelt’s words, “You wouldn’t worry so much about what others think of you if you realized how seldom they do.”
Is there anything you’d like to change?
You’ve got yourself a great internship at a company you really like and you’d like a job there. Your internship is coming to an end. How do you turn the internship you love into a job you love?
How to Say No at Work
When your boss asks you to do something, it usually comes with the expectation that you’ll say yes. Being a good employee is about being a go-getter and showing initiative. However, sometimes saying no is just as important. This is rarely an easy thing to do, as it can cause conflict with your boss.
Knowing what you should say no to, and how to say no can go a long way towards making you feel more confident at work. It will also keep you from feeling overwhelmed from taking on too many extra tasks.
Why to Say No
You’ve probably heard the term “work-life balance” before. Finding that balance is incredibly important to your health. Stress can lead to many different health issues. And one of the things that stresses people out the most is work. Keeping a healthy balance between your work and personal life benefits both.
Saying yes every time someone asks for something can leave you with too much on your plate. Before you know it, you’ll fall behind. Once you fall behind with projects or assignments, it’s too late to say no.
Take a Moment to Consider
In an article for The Globe and Mail, career coach Eileen Chadnick says:
“Sometimes we say ‘yes’ because we are put on the spot and we react negatively to the prospect of saying ‘no.’ To avoid agreeing to something on the spot, try to buy a little time to gather your focus and to respond more appropriately.”
When we want to show that we are eager employees, we can be quick to give a yes every time we’re asked to take on a new task. Before jumping up and agreeing to more work, take a moment to consider the request. Consider the time it’ll take you to complete the task and what other work would you have to move around. If you feel that your other work might suffer by taking on this new task, it might be the right move to politely decline.
Offer Another Solution
When your supervisor asks you something that you feel you need to say no to, don’t simply refuse and walk away. One of the best ways to prove you aren’t just trying to get out of work is to offer another solution to the problem. Maybe this particular issue can wait until a later date, or maybe you know of some other way you can help out the supervisor hasn’t thought of. Offering an alternative shows that you are invested in solving the issue and will also keep you from taking on too much work.
Make Sure People Know What You’re Working On
Finally, if you feel that taking on a new task may over fill your plate, make sure that the person asking you knows what else you have going on. This can be as simple and saying something like “I have this other project for Person B, should I prioritize this over that?”
Making sure everyone is on the same page is up to you. If you have more than one boss, there’s no guarantee that they know what tasks the other has given you. You may find getting everyone on the same page when it comes to your workload actually helps people distribute the workload more evenly. Creating better productivity.
Saying no at work can be a challenge, and a little nerve wracking. But it’s essential to keep you from getting overwhelmed and performing at your best. Have confidence that when you say no it’s for the right reasons.
Setbacks and trauma affect people in different ways. Some people experience a failure or an unalterable situation and come back more driven than ever. Others will bounce back to just about the same spot they started, while others fall apart altogether.
Are those responses set in stone? Is how we react to difficulties in life the product of nature or can we change our reactions? The fact is, you probably do have an innate degree of resilience. The level to which you bounce back without any intervention. But the good news is, it’s not the level you MUST come back to. You can think of resilience as a muscle, one that can be developed through exercise and training to become stronger. To the point that a new level of resilience can become your new normal.
In the article Developing Resilience from MindTools they discuss the key points in the development of a resilient attitude:
“Resilience is the ability to bounce back when things don’t go as planned. According to psychologist, Susan Kobasa, there are three main elements that resilient people possess. These are challenge, commitment, and control.
You can develop resilience in several ways. First, take care to exercise regularly and get enough sleep, so that you can control stress more easily. The stronger you feel physically and emotionally, the easier it is for you to overcome challenges.
Focus on thinking positively, and try to learn from the mistakes you make. Build strong relationships with colleagues and friends, so that you have a support network to fall back on. Also, set specific and achievable personal goals that match your values, and work on building your self-confidence.”
Increasing your base level resiliency
- Watch your thoughts. Are you talking yourself into accepting defeat or are you challenging yourself to rise above it? Pay attention and make a point of changing negative self talk to positive.
- Realize there’s probably something you can learn from mistakes or setbacks. Find the silver lining, no matter how dull and use what you learned going forward.
- Remember to always step back and look at the bigger picture. You may not like where you are today, but rarely is anything as difficult or insurmountable as it seems during our darkest hours. Instead of focusing on where you are, focus on where you want to be.
- Identify role models or mentors in your life. Imagine what they would do in your situation and emulate that attitude..
- Do things you are afraid to do. Every time you cross the fear barrier you become stronger and better prepared to cross it again.
- Set goals. Having a destination in mind gives you a reason to get up after a fall. It keeps you on task and reminds you of why you’re doing what you do.