Archive for Work/Office

Hot DAMN: Clarity and Consistency

pillowsThe invitation arrived several weeks ago: “You’re invited to a Romance FUN Party.” The accompanying image showed four impossibly attractive women with perfect hair toasting each other with glasses of champagne. “Bring 3 Guests and Win a ‘Date Night’ bag!” we were promised. In a separate email the hostess pointed out “ladies only!”

Yeah. You know what this was all about. As did everyone who responded “yes” on their RSVP.

The gals arrived with handbags in tow and quickly set about consuming wine and cupcakes while checking out the dizzying array of merchandise on display. After 30 minutes of readiness (alcoholic lubrication as it were) the hostess gathered us all together and the Personal Romance Consultant took over.

We introduced ourselves by playing a game – “Hi! I’m Debbie. My porn name is Fluffy Bayridge and my secret bedroom name is ‘Tiger”!” More games followed; some using props. There was a slide show.

Then we got down to business. There were stories and demonstrations. The jargon flowed freely; no need to sugar coat what this was all about. As we were indoctrinated into the world of “Romance” the Personal Romance Consultant was very clear to point out that the greatest romance you have is with yourself (“You are ALL beautiful!!”).

“Can you explain again the 4 different ways to use that product?” asked Debbie.

“Let me show you again,” said the Personal Romance Consultant as she deftly manipulated the merchandise she held in her hand. “I use this myself; it’s my favorite.”

And with that the store was open for business. Purchases were made in the privacy of the hostesses’ spare bedroom.

Debbie left the party with a sizable credit card bill and a smile on her face.

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The letters arrived several weeks ago: “Welcome to our company!” The accompanying glossy brochure displayed four impossibly happy looking ‘employees’ (age, gender, and race diverse!) kicking back on colorful sofas in what appeared to be a common work area. “We’re so pleased you’re part of our team!” the brochure stated. “Employees are our most important asset,” began one sentence, “and we demonstrate that by living our values of communication, transparency and personal empowerment.”

Yeah. You know what this was all about. As did the eager new recruits, or so they thought, who had just landed a job.

The new employees arrived on day 1 and quickly set about consuming coffee and donuts while looking askance at the piles of paperwork and binders placed at each seat. After a brief period of strained chit chat the HR Representative quieted the group and the day began.

New employees introduced themselves by playing a game – “Hi! I’m Carla. I have a 12 year old son and a 14 year old daughter. My hobbies are playing bunco and working in my garden.” More games followed; some using props. There was a slide show.

Then they got down to business. There were stories and demonstrations. The jargon flowed freely. It was an indoctrination into the company with the HR Representative taking great pains to point out that the company was committed to providing a great work environment (“You are ALL important!”).

“Can you further explain the company’s flexible work policy listed in the brochure you sent me? asked Carla. “The recruiter told me about it but he didn’t have all the details.”

“Your manager will determine if your position qualifies,” said the HR Representative as she deftly shuffled the stack of I-9s on the conference room table. “You’re eligible to be considered for flex scheduling or telecommuting once you’ve been here 12 months and have received satisfactory performance appraisals with no disciplinary actions.”

And with that the new job tenure began; clarification of company values and policies to be made in the privacy of individual managers’ offices.

Carla never did manage to find that common work area with the colorful sofas… before she resigned on day 65.

Four Quick Tips for Job Seekers

wake up(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is written by and brought to you by our friends at JobTonic, a US job search engine site where you will find listed vacancies from numerous and multiple boards in the USA)

Every person who has decided to start looking for a job must remember that this process usually takes much longer than expected. In order to optimize the search process we’ve prepared several tips that will be useful to anyone who wants, as soon as possible, to find a job that meets all their needs.

For most people the ideal job not only brings enough money but is also enjoyable. In order to combine these two aspects in your new job it’s helpful to follow a few easy steps:

Determine what’s Important

Decide which type of work is right for you (i.e. part-time or full-time) and even consider what you’re willing to do on a volunteer basis. Clearly define for yourself what you would like in your “dream job” as well as what you know you won’t like. Begin your analysis by looking through open vacancies on job boards like JobTonic.com and focusing on jobs that match your skills and interests. Look for information by conducting online research, determine if you need to upskill or pass any necessary courses, and arrange visits with company representatives or colleagues working in your chosen field.

Evaluate your Experience

Be realistic about your abilities and when preparing your CV and other documents remember that your current skills, abilities and experience may be transferable to the duties in a new position. For example, knowledge and experience with project management, customer service, information technology and even sales are often needed in many fields; these transferable skills should be highlighted and clarified on your resume and in your cover letter.

Prepare for the Interview

Be honest with yourself and others and don’t feel you need to embellish the reasons why you’ve started to search for a new job. Tell a potential employer about your past honestly and openly; the biggest mistake that an applicant can ever make is to lie. If you were dismissed don’t hide that; your references can be, and often will be, checked and the truth will emerge.

Take it Step by Step

The only way to truly find out whether ‘this job’ or ‘that job’ suits you is, sometimes, to just try it; it’s certainly OK to try something new if it presents the lowest possible personal risk. But thorough analysis and exploration, as outlined in step 1, will allow you to find out when your expectations are at odds with reality as well as allow you to discover the pros and cons of any job, field, or profession.

Of course there will be times during any job search when you’ll just want to turn off the alarm and sleep in but if you approach your job search in a systematic way you can reap the rewards and ultimately experience moments of elation when you land that “dream job.”

Be clever – be smart – and be rewarded for your efforts.

 

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This post is sponsored by JobTonic; I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Kiss Me – I’m a Job Seeker

date nightI am neither the first (by a long shot), nor will I be the last (I can guarantee) person writing about how looking for a job is like dating. I truly think whenever some HR, Recruiting or Career blogger wants lots of clicks they write a post on the subject; guaranteed to be internet traffic gold. These posts usually contain all sorts of advice about creating your online profile (if using an online dating site), and understanding that the 1st interview is like the first date (“just getting to know you!”).

But I have yet to see someone write anything about how, if at all, women approach this process differently than men.  I wonder if they do?

For a number of years the ladies looking for love have been told they need to come out of pretty pretty princess land and learn to “date like a man.” The moony-eyed romance-starved gals have been told:

  • Don’t set out with the intent of finding “the one”; date multiple people to keep your options open
  • Realize that dating comes in stages; it will likely take months to become the girlfriend – not three dates
  • Don’t be so quick to take yourself ‘off the market’
  • Don’t overanalyze every action, word or piece of minutiae from a text message, phone call or in person interaction

Recently a dear friend of mine (female) stuck her toes in the dating waters and launched her online quest for love; she knows what she wants – a long-term relationship – and is clear about it. Good for her. But, like many of my female friends before her, as soon as she began some conversations with one particular guy she scrubbed her online dating profile. This was prior to even meeting him for the first time.

That’s like having a phone screening interview with the recruiter and taking down your Monster or LinkedIn profile. Or holding off on networking for any other job opportunities until you know for sure if you’ve landed this one.

I have another friend (female) who landed a gig, thought it was “the one” and immediately ceased all online activities in the mistaken belief it would demonstrate to this new employer her unwavering commitment. The job ended up not being “the one” and when she was back on the market shortly thereafter she had to start from scratch.

Sometimes these clichés are clichés for a reason; I’ve had numerous girlfriends over the years who’ve met a dude, had one date and immediately began planning for the picket fence and a houseful of babies. Is this solely a chick thing? I’m sure it’s not. There are guys out there who act like this in the dating world although we, perhaps unfairly, think of them as stalkers more than romantics.

So whether looking for a job or looking for love I say keep your options open. Hold hands. Assess kissing ability. Run a chemistry experiment; and then run it again.

Unless you want to go the courtship route a la the Duggar family.

Yeah; I didn’t think so.

Yours, Mine and Ours

don-and-blankenshipI think we can all agree that language matters in the workplace. Often this is a culture indicator; the leadership team at the silk-stocking law firm may (in public at least) be formal and circumspect – “Miss Blankenship, will you please come in here and bring your steno pad?” The dudes running the tech start up down the street however embrace my favorite four-letter word and freely interject this vivid descriptor into any and all conversations – “What the f’ing hell is going on with this f’ing beta test?”

Language also reflects how we view and treat our employees – sometimes in subtle ways.  This struck me the other day after separate conversations with two different leaders from two wildly divergent industries. Fellow A spoke of his team in the context of “we” while Fellow B referred to his staff members as if they were his possessions.

Ours vs. Mine

It struck me that Fellow A came across as inclusive; exhibiting a spirit of “we’re all in this together.”  Fellow B, on the other hand, came across as a total dick. Everyone in his glorified solar system orbited around him; he could scarcely speak of others without relying on his own title and elevated function to describe their jobs.

Do your leaders or managers say:

  • my administrative assistant” or “the department’s administrative assistant”
  • my A/P clerk” or “our A/P clerk”
  • my HR Rep” or “the company’s HR Rep”

Does it sometimes make sense for a bona-fide denizen of the C-suite to say “contact my assistant to schedule that?” Sure. Although saying “contact my assistant Ida to schedule that” (use her name!) recognizes Ida as a self-sustaining and productive member of the team and not merely an entity that exists solely for the continuation of Mr. C-Suite’s exaltation.

Know what I mean?

This isn’t Mad Men anymore – “My girl will take your coat.” “My girl can get some coffee for you.”

Oh well, it’s 2 pm. Freshen up my drink won’t you Miss Blankenship?