All Articles Tagged "career advice"
Change can be a good thing that unfortunately doesn’t always come with an “It’s gonna be okay” memo. I guess knowing how things turn out would defeat the purpose of the journey, but oh would it make life a heck of a lot easier. Doubt and other forms of life delays are never ideal. In fact, most of us would probably like to skip every obstacle in our way, pass go and collect our $200.
No matter how much faith I’d like to think I have, this has always been an area of struggle in my life. As a creature of habit, I’m a big fan of routine and things staying the course when it comes to both my profession and personal endeavors. Sadly, nothing always goes according to plan that can sometimes make me question my foundation and whether or not I have what it takes to be successful. It’s hard not to stay up later than you should thinking about a situation you have no control over fixing.
Has there ever been a time in your life when you questioned whether or not things were going to work out in your favor? Regardless of how big your opposition appears to be, even the toughest individual can feel hopeless. Maybe you recently lost a job that employed you for many years or are crossing fingers this next wave of layoffs doesn’t affect you. Perhaps you feel complacent about your journey and where it’s headed, but don’t know where to turn to get that jolt of optimism you so desperately need.
One thing that’s important to remember — and keep close to your heart — is the power of hope as it can be the difference between living life on cruise control and constantly swerving due to tribulation.
For starters, let’s get out of this mindset that a delay is an automatic no. Alright, sometimes it can be, but in many cases, there’s more happening in the background that you don’t realize. Have you ever interviewed for a job, thought you did very well and never heard anything back until several months later? Sure you might’ve been glad to land the gig, but man did fear of the unknown kick in — to a certain degree. One of the biggest reasons why life gives us delays is because we don’t always operate on our own schedules. You have to remember that the world doesn’t revolve around you and your feelings. Other people might need more time to do what you can in a single day. The best you can do is keep your patience.
A delay can also surface as a feeling you haven’t made any progress when it comes to your dreams. Some folks have a strict ambition calendar and must meet every goal by a certain time in their life. Please don’t let this be you. Not only is it nerve-wracking and a little crazy, but leaves very little room for things to go in the direction they need to head towards. Maybe your calling was to do something other than what you’re doing right now. Those who don’t sketch their lives and only write in pen are bound to be disappointed. Always leave room for the unexpected to occur.
Should your delay manifest into a flat out “no,” look for the moral of the story so you can keep on moving. Sometimes where you wanted to go had so many bombs along the way that you’ll never know just how many you dodged. Not getting a position you wanted could’ve been a blessing in disguise considering the company’s high turnover rate. Stop trying to force something that was never intended to work. When you feel your gut telling you to move on, listen.
You have a purpose to fulfill in this life. Your job is to fine tune figuring out what it is and how to do it to the best of your ability. So long as you’re trying your hardest, you have to stay hopeful everything will work out in due time. Don’t let delays rob you of your journey and just how far you’ve come.
Let’s face it, favoritism happens in the workplace all the time and unfortunately, can make it a miserable environment to do your job. This, of course, is not a big deal if you happen to be on the receiving end of praise. Employers are notorious for showing a little extra love to the folks they deem to be “rising stars,” while those left in their dust are lucky to get the scraps they don’t want. It’s not the best way to rally the troops and get people excited to do their job. And it makes working with a colleague who can do no wrong in the eyes of the boss difficult. Even if you try to brush off your feelings, it can sometimes be hard to think about ideals like promotion and other forms of career advancement.
I have seen all sorts of nepotism and favoritism that should’ve had human resources waving their “not cool” flag. Some managers purposely use favoritism to boot those feeling left out from their positions. The question is whether or not you’ll allow yourself to be shown the door.
No one will deny how annoying and hurtful this type of behavior can be, but at some point, you need to ask yourself if you have enough left in the tank to stick it out. Here are some tips on how to deal when a boss shows favoritism that doesn’t come your way.
Give the benefit of the doubt…for a limited time. This might be hard for some but it is still important — especially when dealing with a new boss. Oftentimes, managers have their own way of doing things that might clash with your daily hustle. Before you write off their behavior, allow a little time to pass before deciding they have a bias. For all you know, things could very well smooth out once everyone gets better established with one another.
Take note. Please don’t misunderstand, this in no way should discourage you from being yourself. If you start to notice your boss taking more interest in other employees, look to see what they’re doing. Maybe their approach or how they interact makes your boss’ life easier. There’s nothing wrong with fine-tuning your skills and looking for ways to enhance them.
Be direct, but not combative. “You’d have to be stupid not to see my talent!” Yeah, don’t lead with this. There might come a time when you feel you need to have a sit-down with your boss about their favoritism. Make sure you have as many facts (documented proof if possible) that you can gather. And allow some time to pass before approaching them. Regardless of what you do, make sure your delivery is both professional and not on attack mode. You want to convey your frustrations to contribute more without sounding bitter and angry. Failure to do so could have you looking for new employment.
Branch out. No one says you need to quit your job, but there’s also nothing wrong with looking for work elsewhere. Hopefully, you work for a company that has different teams that could use your skills. If so, reach out to others about opportunities to collaborate and provide your services. At some point, your boss will realize you aren’t contributing as much on their end, and will either ask what’s wrong or not give a darn. Either way, you’re making your coin which is all that matters.
Hit up upper level. This needs to be your very last course of action. Consider this your ace in the pocket if you have a pretty good working relationship with your boss’ boss. If you truly feel you have done everything in your power to help remedy your situation — without crossing inappropriate boundaries — you might want to think about speaking to someone who can mediate this workplace drama. Just know you are more likely the one who’s easier to replace than your manager.
Try your best to remain professional and let any shade roll off your back.
How do you deal with favoritism?
Just because you can command a certain salary doesn’t automatically make you a success. This is one of America’s biggest problems: Too many people are pimping themselves out on the professional front in order to make a dollar. Obviously there’s nothing wrong with chasing a coin or two as we all have bills to pay, but don’t you want more out of life than a nice check?
A new study over at PayScale reveals the most and least meaningful jobs. Comparing everything from salary to job title and responsibilities, one of the main goals is to identify which careers help make the world a better place. As you might expect, professions like surgeons and anesthesiologists ranked high, but weren’t the most meaningful (sorry nurses, didn’t see you). In fact, the most meaningful job comes with what some might consider an OK salary. Can you guess what it is?
Voted as the top job to make the world a better place, those who feel called to a higher purpose (clergy) have the most meaningful job — with an average salary of $46,600. Other jobs that received high praise include English language and literature teachers (they tied for number two), education administrators, occupational therapists and kindergarten teachers. In case you’re wondering, some of the gigs with the least amount of meaning are parking lot attendants, (car) rental clerks and fashion designers.
Obviously one survey isn’t going to define your life and concept of success. It does however help to put things into perspective as it’s easy for many to get caught up in the potential of fame and fortune.
I’ve always admired folks who had some idea of their calling. I never knew what I wanted to do — or study for that matter — when I went to college. Somehow I stumbled on to design-related courses that made me think interior decorating was my path. During my latter years in college, I had an opportunity to design model homes for builders that was pretty fun. Yet, I jumped at the chance to hop industries when offered a position at one of the biggest multinational financial services corporations in the U.S. Well, I only made it a year before coming to a realization I already knew. It wasn’t for me. I tried my hardest to get into the swing of things and talk about what was happening on Wall Street. However, all I cared about was how to make my cubicle look more spacious. In the end, the salary I was paid was not worth staying in a position that I felt didn’t give me purpose.
If you’re only about the bottom line and care less how to get it, that’s your personal conviction. I just wish folks would stop acting like having a fancy title or big paycheck makes them the only ones who can taste success. After I left my gig in the financial industry, I took at chance at self-employment and have been loving it ever since. Sure I don’t have a fancy office or Anne Hathaway dropping off a steak and coffee on my desk (had to watch The Devil Wears Prada), but I think I’m successful. Not only do I feel purpose, but am blessed to pursue projects that speak to my heart in the comforts of my own home.
All of us should feel encouraged and inspired to dream big, regardless of where it falls on the salary scale. The last thing you want is to look back on your life and wish you took door number two. Success comes in many forms and has many definitions. Don’t be jaded by a dime.
Let The Hunger Games Begin! Beware Of The Person Who Thinks It’s OK To Be Cutthroat With Their Colleagues
I for one am getting so tired of all the drama and cattiness that happens on the job. Perhaps this is one of the reasons why I left the traditional gig to work for myself. It can be too much to handle.
Regardless if you work for a big or small corporation — and even in a contracting capacity for that matter — it can be very hard to dodge the feeling you’re back in high school. Unfortunately, there’s only so much you can do to prevent run-ins with “mean girls” and folks who must be related to Lucifer himself. No matter how crazy you think people can get, there’s always that one person who will take foolishness to a completely different level.
Personally, I don’t understand why people feel the need to be so horrible. Do they not have confidence in their own abilities and think it’s necessary to chop down the progress of others? Yes there is such a thing as healthy competition that will challenge you to reach beyond perceived limitations and strive a little harder to be the best professional possible. That doesn’t mean you go for the jugular.
Here’s a rundown of the office headaches I’ve run into over the years:
The first was the gossiper who would invite you to lunch as a way to welcome you to the group… and try to pull personal information to share with others. People like this are always the ones to “accidentally” spill the beans when it came to something you said that didn’t need repeating.
The next person was the “lone ranger” who was too cool to ask for help and always felt the need to point out everything they did. Good luck working with them on a group project!
Almost every workplace has the “tenure professional” who’s been around for a minute and feels the need to put you in your place. This person is oftentimes the one most unwilling to bend to change — including the idea of new hires who they feel are out to get their job — and can make your life a living hell. Some will even appear as your friend at first, trying to show you the ropes but purposely teaching you the wrong things so you can have a target on your back.
Now I am not saint when it comes to employee of the month behavior and workplace perfection. I have my bouts with jealousy and sometimes feel my achievements can get overlooked. I’ve come to realize that there’s strength in numbers. Yes everyone at work is not going to be your new bestie, but what good comes out of purposely trying to trip them up on the career front? I always try my best to keep a certain level of professionalism and feel too much focus on what someone else is going robs me of my own hustle.
It’s OK to let your hair down and pat someone on the back from time to time.
All of us should believe in the power of forgiveness as it doesn’t take much to make a mistake. Even the best person can have an “off day.” The point is to learn from your flubs and try to make yourself a better professional. One can only hope you don’t repeat history too many times as it just might cost you your job.
At what point is it fair to say your luck has run out?
I asked this very question after an employee at the church my husband and I attend made a serious error. My husband tithes or gives an offering on behalf of our household every week. Thanks to modern technology, we typically give our monetary seed by card instead of check. Never did we think twice about doing so until we took a look at our bank account.
“Um, can you read this number?” asked my guy. “I want to make sure my mind’s not playing tricks on me.”
Much to our surprise, the church we love to call home took out a hefty amount that was close to $800. Did pastor need a new set of rims?
I can’t say what my initial reaction was because words like that shouldn’t be repeated (I’m still a work in progress). How could they confuse our original offering with one that was seven times more? Needless to say we called and wrote an email that was PG to keep on the Lord’s good side, but very much to the point. We received a phone call from the church the following morning explaining what happened. “I’m so sorry,” said the employee who made the error. “I entered your zip code as the offering amount.”
I was all prepared to sing a rendition of “B#$@! Better Have My Money,” but did not think it was appropriate.
Thankfully we just paid the mortgage and bulk of our bills as we would’ve been a bit short to say the least. As apologetic as this employee was, I couldn’t help but think about the magnitude of her accident — and whether or not it was a one-time offense. After spending more time with the church, I discovered this woman has been with them for close to 15 years and should be seeing days of retirement pretty soon. Even though she’s a nice lady, does that mean big mistakes like this are excused?
Forgiveness is something we should all strive to have. Heaven knows I’m happy previous employers gave me a grace period while I was still learning. I can’t tell you how many times I cost a company money — and while I was thankful not to lose my job, it made me nervous about my future. Too many errors on the job could make it hard for a boss to see your true potential. If you’re always messing up, you’ll not only put a target on your head should cuts be necessary, but also make yourself less of a desirable candidate to promote.
The best thing you can do is try to stay on top of your game. With so many people vying for a position, you don’t need to give anyone excuses for why you’re not the best candidate for the job.
No matter how great a job sounds, you need to do your research. Some things can turn out to be a little too good to be true.
I find myself having to console a good girlfriend of mine these days over this very decision, one that cost her dearly. Home girl is pretty fierce when it comes to her business and ability to collect a coin. Stacey worked at a media company for many years and was able to quickly move up the ranks with constant promotions. She began her career at this particular business and stuck with it for close to a decade, which is remarkable in itself considering how many people jump from job to job.
She and I had a chat late last year about life, goals and our ambition. Stacy revealed to me she wanted more of a challenge and didn’t think she could get it at her then-current job. “Sometimes you hit what you feel is your limit,” said Stacy. “I’m not sure if there’s more I can learn with this particular company.” As fate would have it, a competitor was actively recruiting seasoned talent. Needless to say, it caught Stacy’s eye.
“Are you sure you want to break up a good thing?” I questioned in my Tamar Braxton voice.
While I can definitely respect a person’s desire for a challenge, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Aside from a powerful job title on a business card, Stacy was doing very well for herself. My resume looked like peanuts compared to hers.
Both of our schedules got pretty busy, leaving our chats on the back burner for several weeks. We touched base in April when I learned Stacy made the jump to the competition, had a spanking new title and more money to pad her bank account. She seemed very happy with her decision and had no regrets.
However, over time, things began to come to light she didn’t expect.
I would have to assume Stacy did her research before accepting her new position. It wasn’t like her not to do so. After speaking with people who were quitting left and right, Stacy soon realized this company had a super big problem with their retention rate that made her very nervous, and rightfully so.
“Are they hiring and firing left and right, or are people quitting?” I asked.
“Both,” she replied.
Sadly it didn’t matter whether she knew about their high turnover rate or not. She lost her job a couple days ago. I don’t know if she will try to get her old job back — or if they’d take her back for that matter.
As horrible as I feel for her, I can’t help but question whether or not there was something more she could’ve done before signing on the dotted line. Some folks I know Google companies they want to work for to see if there are any anonymous reviews floating around. Another warning sign are the amount of job alerts you get for a single company. Should you start to notice 10 positions open at once, it might be good to read the writing on the wall.
Obviously there are situations where turning down a job is not in the cards. If the decision is between keeping your lights on and possibly getting fired, pay your bills. If, however, you’re not in a drastic situation, you really show weigh the pros and cons. Sure extra money and a promotion sound great, but if there’s no longevity with the company, can you really expect to build a reliable future with them? This is just one of the reasons why some people I know opt to work in a contract or freelance capacity with a company they like. At least this way you can have your hands in multiple cookie jars instead of a single basket.
Welcome to our Mommy Mogul column where we cover issues of importance for moms who are launching a new business, working a side gig, or managing work life and home life. Is there a topic you’d like us to address? Send your thoughts to tgarcia@ . And, as always, take to the comments with your feedback.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve always enjoyed working to build my “empire” — even if it happened to be around the clock. Yes I had hobbies and spent time with loved ones and friends, but if I was at home with nothing to do, I wanted to work. Friday nights when my husband and I ordered in was prime time for me to whip out my laptop after the end of a movie. Sunday was my favorite day to get into my pajamas after church and spend the entire day in my home office, writing and scheduling with Beverly Hills 90210 reruns (don’t judge, I own the series). These additional hours helped me to develop the things I needed to taste a little bit of success.
When I gave birth to my first son last year, I found it was easier to work on his schedule. If I was tired, I would rest when he was asleep. We were able to develop a system that worked for quite some time. Now that he’s older with more demands, I can no longer keep business as usual. As much as I have loved the hustle and bustle, something needed to give.
Did I mention I also have an infant son? The struggle is real.
I made the decision to say goodbye to working nights and weekends when I noticed my home office transform into a full ledge playroom. Obviously parents with little ones are going to have small mountains of toys around their home, but for me, this was different. My toddler wanted to spend time with me beyond our activities throughout the day (a perk to working from home), and rather play in his room or elsewhere around the home, he would sit near my feet and entertain himself until I finished what I was doing. Talk about a tearful moment!
Even though I don’t work every evening or weekend, it has become enough of a habit I knew I needed to break. As much as I thought I was getting ahead — or able to properly divide my attention — I just couldn’t do it anymore. My quest to become successful and help provide for my family was no longer going to come at the expense of quality time and much needed rest.
The ability to scale back can be very difficult for entrepreneurs and those heading down the road of self-employment.
I now close my home office door at the end of my work day and don’t return to it until the following business day. There have been times I slipped into old habits when I want to watch a show on the DVR, and my husband hogs the television in the living room. (I’ll fall asleep if I try to watch anything in bed which is why I head to my home office.) This has helped me resist the temptation to do one extra task that turns into two…and five.
Not working at night and on the weekends took has removed pressure I put on myself. I longer calculate how many hours I can squeeze in between time with my family and when I need to hit the sheets. Instead, I live a more relaxed life that doesn’t require 24/7 hustling to enjoy. Yes there might be an occasion or two when I might need a little more time to get something done — but for now, if it doesn’t fit during regular hours, it will have to wait.
It’s okay to admit you have a problem when it comes to receiving criticism. In fact, it’s something many of us struggle with, considering how much of a sting it can be to your ego. You don’t have to be self-absorbed to feel a bit inadequate when someone questions a decision you made.
While there has thankfully been progress in this area of my life, if I’m speaking honestly, I hate receiving a ton of correction. I’m not sure if there’s some fancy term for it but I think “red pen syndrome” just about sums it up. When I was little, I had a teacher who would ask each student in her class to stand in front of her as she made edits to their paper. I still get chills thinking about my younger self in the second grade and that dang pen! Didn’t this teacher realize it was embarrassing to take “the walk of shame” back to your seat with paper marked in nothing but red ink?
Have you ever worked hard on a project, turned it in and got in return nothing but comments that made you question your level of intelligence? Between this and my need to constantly interject (thanks dad), it goes without saying I’ve had some troubles with constructive criticism over the years.
No matter your experience, at some point, you need to lighten up (myself included). Even if folks don’t approach you in the ideal tone — or even with the best intentions — you can still learn many things from their opinion. I constantly find myself learning from adjustments others make to my freelance work. Does it mean I’m a complete idiot? Absolutely not. If I was, there’s a pretty good chance those who hire me would find someone else to fill their needs.
Failure to take professional criticism spotlight areas of immaturity in your career that need correction. None of us have all the answers which is why companies hire so many employees to figure things out. If you’re constantly trying to argue a point that might not be correct, don’t be too surprised if and when you’re passed over for a promotion. In some instances, an employer may just say “thanks, but no thanks” and hire someone else to do what they asked. You never want to close yourself off from moments of growth that have the ability to enrich your hustle. As much as correction hurts, it can lead to fewer mistakes and more productivity on your end.
Isn’t that worth the critique?
One way that I learned to let go is to simply give folks the benefit of the doubt. Yes there are evil people out there who constantly plot and scheme to take you down. In most cases, you’ll find membership at the haters club pretty low, compared to those in your life who want to see you achieve. There are tons of professionals in my circle that inspire me to enhance my knowledgebase and skill set. Rather than brush off anything they have to say, I welcome their point of view, regardless of whether it matches mine or not.
Have you ever witnessed someone who thinks they know everything — and how they create a huge mess because they can’t shut up and take correction?
Don’t let that be you.
It’s pretty safe to say Claudia Jordan hasn’t had the best string of luck lately. The former model was reportedly fired from The Real Housewives of Atlanta after just one season. Just a few days ago, news surfaced that Jordan was also leaving her gig as co-host on The Rickey Smiley Morning Show. Rapper Da Brat is set to replace her.
Perhaps all of this is a calculated move, or a series of unfortunate events. After all, who really enjoys not collecting checks? I know I don’t.
Have you ever felt like you couldn’t catch a break? Maybe there was a season in your life when you had to go through what felt like a never-ending number of trials in order to experience light at the end of the tunnel?
When it comes to success, all of us must pay our dues.
Should you be in the midst of a battle right now, just know it will get better. Here are some things you can do when you’re down on your luck.
Take a moment. Allow yourself time to process all that’s happening in your life. Too many of us experience life-changing events and try to pretend like everything is OK when it’s not. Take a moment to catch your breath and collect your thoughts. In order to make your next move, you first need to get real about your situation. Process what happened, and if possible, the steps leading up to the incident. The more you know and understand, the easier it will be to prevent history from repeating itself. Who knows, you might even discover your life is moving in a different direction.
Stay off social media. Some folks will use outlets like Facebook, Twitter and even Instagram to vent everything they feel. While it’s great to release any emotions you might have, leave it for a journal. No one needs to know your business or hear all the juicy details about events that transpired.
Focus on your strengths. Aside from a little rubbing in the self-esteem department, it’s important to look to areas in your career where you shine. What are your strengths in the workplace? Are there any skills you could acquire to make yourself a more noticeable candidate? Use any and all downtime to reboot and build yourself back up. After all, don’t you want to be the best version of yourself?
Hustle. This is especially necessary if you’re currently unemployed. No matter how long your job search takes, bills aren’t going to pay themselves. Hopefully you have an emergency savings account that can hold you over for a period of time. Regardless, you need to find a part-time job, contract employment, or something that will keep income flowing to your household. You might also want to consider turning a hobby into a side business.
Be relentless. No matter how long things take, never give up. Thomas Edison said it best: “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Even if it hurts or feels too painful to continue, keep working to get out of your situation. Hope and hard work are two very powerful tools with the ability to change circumstances.
Change can be a good thing if you’re willing to accept it.
This has been something I struggled with in my life as I always try to plan for any and every outcome. As you would expect, this is pretty much impossible. Sometimes (okay, a lot of times) I have to remind myself that things will work out the way they were meant to — even if the ultimate plan differs from my blueprint. There are days when I wish I received recognition in a big publication like one of my colleagues, or had 500,000 Facebook followers for my business endeavor. Who wouldn’t question their own hustle? Am I doing enough? Did I take a wrong turn somewhere? God knows how hard I work to make my dreams come to fruition. Why can’t I reap some of those achievements?
It can be very easy to not only beat yourself up, but also develop jealous thoughts — even if unintentionally — towards people who have the very blessing you want.
Did you ever stop to think that what you thought you’re suppose to do is actually not what you’re intended to become? At some point you might need to let go and concentrate your efforts elsewhere.
I know, it’s crazy to think about — especially when you consider how many inspirational figures tells us to never give up. While it’s great to be relentless about your goals, you do need to face reality. Just because your life is headed in a direction you didn’t originally intend or imagine doesn’t mean you can’t see success. In fact, there could be a reason why you keep hitting roadblocks with your specific endeavors.
This is one of the reasons why I think it’s important to keep a journal. When you’re thick in a situation, it can become hard to see all the progress you made over the years, and think you didn’t do a dang thing. It’s so funny to read entries I wrote a decade ago. I seriously thought I was going to be the next Martha Stewart. Seeing as she just sold her empire for a fraction of its worth, I’ll pass. Sure I didn’t get the corner offer overlooking Central Park, but you know what, things aren’t that bad. In fact, I have more flexibility that allows me to balance new business ventures and family life.
The point I’m trying to make is this: Don’t hold on so tightly to an idea or dream you know isn’t going anywhere, but refuse to accept as the truth. In efforts not to think of yourself as a “failure,” you will more than likely delay progress in the area you were meant to conquer. It doesn’t mean you can’t see success down the road, but why not enjoy a little bit of that tasty pie right now?
For all you know, you’re looking at a piece to your life puzzle and not the entire picture.
If I held on to aspirations I had in my 20s, I would probably be a one-trick pony wondering where I went wrong.
Do you feel your life heading in a direction you didn’t intend? Are you willing to take the journey down the rabbit hole to uncharted territory, or stay with your original plans that might turn out to be a sinking ship?