All Articles Tagged "work"

Alternatives To Coffee To Drink During The Workday For More Energy And Less Stress

May 2nd, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Did you know that most of us will spend over $1,000 on Starbucks before this year is over? Most of us are looking for a little pick-me-up when it comes to facing a long day at work. And while coffee is one of the most popular drinks in America when it comes to increasing energy, it isn’t the only beverage it pays to drink at work.

Coffee may give you a caffeine boost, but that’s not all most of us need to get through a day at our desks. Whether you need to stay calm while dealing with an influx of assignments at work, build up your energy (without compromising your sleep at night), or do what you can to keep from snapping at your co-workers, there are lots of drinks that are perfect for a long day at work. And no worries, they don’t require a coffee pot or coffee cup to make.

Hustle Hard: 10 Best Side Hustles For A Busy Mama

April 20th, 2016 - By Kweli Wright
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We all have those moments where we wish we could make a little extra funds without an added headache. We are no longer in the days where having a side retail job is a great go-to choice and would much rather make the extra funds while still being able to attend to a growing toddler or (disappearing) teen.

Many lists include offering tour guide services, renting your vehicle out, dog walking or personal shopping – all of these possibilities are great, but not necessarily for a busy mama. We researched tons of opportunities and judged them based on ease, commitment, growth ability… and fun. A few take more hustle and dedication than others, but we believe you’ll be happy while doing them (time to decorate?) and others are a breeze (clean out that closet!).

In today’s unstable economy, it is always a good idea to have more than one income and why just do it for the cash? Many options on this list may lead you to find your passions and a new career choice altogether. Gte out a pen and paper to brainstorm and figure out which of these side hustles for a busy mama work for you. Let’s get to the hustle!


Finding A Work-Life Balance When You Work From Home

April 13th, 2016 - By Deja Jones
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Corbis

Corbis

When I had a regular 9-to-5 job that I went to every day, Monday through Friday, I would often say, “I can’t wait until I can just wake up and write and nothing else.” I couldn’t wait for those work-from-home days where I could just sit in my PJs and write or get dressed up just to sit in a cafe and type like one of those hipster kids. I couldn’t wait until I could say I had clients who hired me for digital branding. I thought it was going to be sunny afternoons, outfit-of-the-day posts, and being free as a bird in the spring and summer. I figured to work from home was going to be easy and relaxing. But I didn’t anticipate becoming a couch potato, nor was I prepared for the constant cabin fever outbreaks. 

I wasn’t prepared for the endless…or what felt like endless days since my schedule was completely flexible, and I wasn’t prepared to lose days of the week since Mondays felt like Tuesdays and Tuesdays felt like Fridays, and Fridays felt like Wednesdays. You get the point. Don’t get me wrong, working from home has its perks. That is until you find yourself calling upon the Justice League to help you fight the laziness that’s holding you captive in bed. 

It’s easy to lose motivation, to get distracted, to not feel like doing anything at any given moment, and to find yourself on the brink of insanity within the walls of your home after feeling like your work has kept you indoors and captive too long. Finding a work-life balance is difficult when you work from home, but the more I do it, the more I get the hang of it.  

I discovered that working from home was most unproductive for me when done in my bedroom. Probably because a bedroom is a place associated with rest, and I always found myself sprawled out on my bed lounging and aimlessly surfing the web more than I was productive. So I went out and got a little table, a nice accent chair and decorated a charming space with colors and art to keep me motivated and away from my bed. It also gives me something to look forward to. Because in my own little corner, in my own little chair, I can be whatever I want to be…

Of course, Brandy sang it better. But as for spaces, I would suggest turning a section of your dining room or kitchen into a workstation.

And if you didn’t have a 9-5 schedule at an office job and you were told to work around the clock, would you? No? So why do it at home? Even though you’re working from home and can do so whenever you please, as long as deadlines are being met, that doesn’t mean you should work all day. Keep a work mindset, create a routine and set a specific amount of time aside for work just like you would at a regular office job, including lunch and bathroom breaks. When the work day is over, the work day is over. So the night before my shifts, I started setting my alarm clock to wake up like I would if I were going to a regular job. I eat lunch at 12 in the afternoon and my work day is over at 5:30 at the latest.

Working from home can be extremely overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be with the proper organization and time management skills. In fact, it can be both very convenient and fun. If you make it that way. 

Deskercise: How To Tighten Up For Spring Without Getting Up

April 7th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Shutterstock

It’s that time of year again. When we all look out of our office windows, see no snow and realize spring is coming! Cuffing season is over, and your favorite skirt is ready to come out of that plastic storage bag. But you’ve done nothing to prepare. Netflix and Chill may be good for the spirit (and your sex life), but all of that ordering in wasn’t too kind to your behind.

It’s time to break out the desk exercises. When you don’t have the time (or inclination) to sweat your hair out at the gym several nights a week, it’s time to multi-task. These mini-workouts can squeeze your toning exercises in over the course of an 8-hour day (during sporadic breaks) instead of trying to cram everything in at the gym.

The key is consistency. Keep it up every day and you’ll be ready to show off your progress by summer.

Moving On Up! How To Make Your First Office Functionally Stylish

March 23rd, 2016 - By M A
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Credit: Shutterstock

Credit: Shutterstock

You worked, worked, worked, worked, worked and finally have made your way into your own personal office at work. Kudos! That’s no easy feat. And while we’re sure that you’ll have plenty on your plate to deal with, don’t forget about making your work space, well, your own. Being surrounded by an office environment that makes you feel happy and confident will make a world of difference when times get tough on the work front. Let us guide you through some simple tips and advice to making your office that much more stylish and fun.

Size It Up

First and foremost when you are looking to spruce up your work space, it’s important that you take a hard look at your real estate. Offices come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to plot out how much room you have for furniture, seating, wall accents, etc. The last thing you want to do is buy everything under the sun at Crate and Barrel, only to realize mid move-in that you really only have room for about half the stuff you purchased. So be strategic and plan it out. Hey, even go so far as to sketch it or Powerpoint proposal it out to be sure you’ve got a good game plan going.

Times It Sucks To Be The Only Black Person At Work

March 10th, 2016 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

Sometimes, depending on your field and where you work (or the gentrification status of your neighborhood), you find yourself being one of the only black people at your place of employment. And while you try to roll with the punches, it can get uncomfortable. Especially if you end up being a guinea pig of sorts for all the White people you work with who don’t usually fraternize with Black folks.

Most of your co-workers mean well. They’ve just always wanted to touch a Black person’s hair, haven’t figured out what types of statements are racist, or just really don’t know what to do around a co-worker of another race or background. In the end, it’s mostly all good–except for these awkward moments that every person who’s ever been one of the only black people at their job is sure to identify with.

Did we miss any of your least-favorite moments? Let us know in the comment section!

When He’s Mean-Mugging Your Real Husband: Signs You’re Too Close To Your Work Husband

December 2nd, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Twitter

Image Source: Twitter

Co-workers are meant to get along, but are you and your work husband too close? Here are a few signs that your playful work relationship might be threatening your real one.

What To Do When You’ve Outgrown Your Job

November 13th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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Sheyda Irani, a licensed practical nurse (LPN) at a home health agency based in St. Louis, MO, was getting restless on her job. She had been in her position for six years and felt she’d outgrown her current role, but wasn’t sure what to do.

It’s a familiar point many people reach in their careers. Maybe you’ve learned all you can at your job or you finish your tasks in half the time and find the work unchallenging and feel underutilized. Perhaps you’re also unsure of your future with the company. Having hit a wall, you may start to question your career choices. You drag yourself into the office everyday, unenthusiastic and uninterested. Once at your desk, you constantly watch the clock, counting every minute before you can go home. In short, you’re unhappy professionally.

Your body will also tell when you’re no longer compatible with your job. “The body has a way of communicating what’s really going on even when the rest of you isn’t ready to see it yet,” Idealist Career reported. “Notice when your body feels out of balance. Look for headaches, back or muscle aches, changes in appetite or sleep pattern as signals that you’re out of balance. View these signals in combination with the other nine signs and try to be honest with yourself. At this point you should ask yourself a few questions: “Do I just need a getaway weekend or would I be happier with a new job or new position?”

If you want to stay with your firm, have a chat with your higher up. “If you aren’t satisfied with your role, but like your company, talk to your manager. Career coach Lori Scherwin, founder of Strategize That, suggested. Chances are, if you have aced your current role, you’re a strong performer. Go into that conversation with suggestions, not complaints — recommend a new project you’d like to take on, or where else you think you can add value on the team.”

That’s exactly what Irani decided to do. “Make a long story short, I finally obtained the confidence stemmed from desperation to have a conversation with administration. In the meeting I requested to move up within the company because I needed more responsibility. I reminded them of my loyalty of six years and conveyed my personal strengths and assets to the company. I was responsible for completing 6-month assessments for all clients receiving in-home health care through the Medicaid program. I asked for more responsibilities and requested the Quality Assurance (QA) position.

“Prior to the meeting I had done extensive research on the position, compiled a new resume to reflect my qualifications for the QA position. I even created a training module for a department within the company on the assessment process. I was confident I would walk away as the QA officer for the largest Home Health agency in St.Louis, MO. However, I was informed that my position would change to a field nurse working with a disabled child in the home. That transfer went into effect on 11-2-15. I was told to have my desk cleared for the new office nurse on 10-30-15.”

The end result, however, wasn’t what Irani predicted. “I had been given a choice to resign or be demoted. ‘Hmmm? What? Huh? I guess that meeting didn’t go so well,’ I thought. This demotion was only in rank and responsibility because I received a $1 per hour raise.”

When making the move to talk to your boss, you have to be prepared for every outcome.  You boss could think you are angling for a major raise and decide to fire you or, as in Irani’s case, demote you. So have a solid plan before arranging the meeting. It’s all in your approach; show you don’t just want to make changes for yourself but in order to better serve the company. “I recommend for anyone who no longer finds their position challenging to seek ways to add value to the organization,” said executive career coach Ann-Marie Ditta. “Volunteer for a special project that would allow you to stretch yourself. Present solutions to problems your company is facing. Seek the assistance of a mentor inside the organization. Ask what you could do differently to be of greater value.”

Fortunately for Irani she decided to look at the outcome as positive. “At first I was disappointed with administration and felt betrayed. But the change has been a blessing. It’s given me more time to fulfill my purpose, which is writing. Also that saying, ‘Work smarter, not harder.’ I finally know what that means and I completely agree. So next time you want to add more responsibility to your work belt make sure you have a plan B, just in case. Not everyone understands the individual that needs to be challenged mentally.”

If you think you can white knuckle it and stay in a job that is unsatisfactory, know that you might experience negative side effects,” Scherwin cautioned. “The negatives of staying in a role you’ve outgrown include stagnating and leaving yourself vulnerable with change. If you aren’t expanding your skill set or actively thinking, you risk being more replaceable over time. Also, if you are unhappy at work, it’s very likely to have trickle effect across other areas of your life.”

If you fail to get satisfaction on the job and don’t see any improvement, it may be time to move on.

Working While Black: My Co-Worker Told HR I Sexually Harassed Her Because I Didn’t Help Her With A Project

November 12th, 2015 - By Brande Victorian
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Source: Corbis

Source: Corbis

Editor’s Note: James Baldwin said to be conscious and Black in America is to be enraged most of the time. And sadly, those words are still true for many of us. In addition to the deeply depressing and unjust news headlines, there are the hostile situations we deal with everyday. For many of us, these incidents happen at work. In a culture where we spend more time working than with our families, these environments, with ignorant and entitled White people, can be everything from tiring to infuriating. In our new series, “Working While Black,” we compile some of those stories and share them with you, as a way to let you know you’re not alone, to offer advice on how to navigate these situations and hopefully to keep you from losing your mind, your temper or your job.

As told to Brande Victorian

Last week I was at work and a white woman at my job came to my desk and asked for help. I told her that I was busy at the moment but said I could help her in about 10 minutes. She became visibly annoyed and proceeded to stand over my desk, as if to force me to stop what I was doing and immediately assist her. I asked her if she wanted to leave the information I needed to help her on my desk and said if she did I would work on it as soon as I could.  She proceeded to tell me the matter was urgent and asked if I could work on it right now.

I’d already told the woman no, but to ease the obvious tension between us I started being playful with her to bring some levity to the situation. I joked that she was getting all “swole in the chest,” i.e. puffed up and angry. She proceeded to tell my supervisor that I refused to help her and that I sexually harassed her.

Because the woman said I made her feel uncomfortable those types of complaints are automatically are forwarded to human resources (HR). My supervisor told me not to worry about it but said HR would have to meet with me next week to discuss the “incident.”

As it turned out, HR didn’t seem to care much about my coworker’s white tears. When the HR specialist came to the office, she asked another rep about the incident and she said the white woman overreacted. As a side note, the HR woman is a Black church lady; she likes me and she knows what’s up. She asked if I ever touched the woman or had any interaction with her before. She asked how I made the “swole in the chest” comment and I relayed it to her in the same tone and then told me just stay away from her. Plus tomorrow is my last day at the job anyway and, considering in my next gig I’ll be working from home, I shouldn’t have to deal with this type of nonsense again for a long time.

 

You Deserve A Work Break Today: Here’s Why

September 16th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Shutterstock

We spend more than one-third of our days working, so it’s no wonder employees can feeling stressed, burnt out, and exhausted.

Sound familiar? Well, the solution is easy.

Science says, get up and take a work break. Just make sure it’s the right kind of break—the type that leaves you feeling energized and focused. Researchers from Baylor University explain exactly what you should do when you tell your boss you need to “take 10.”

The researchers surveyed 95 employees between the ages of 22 and 67 over the course of a five-day workweek, and asked them to record the breaks they took during the day. These breaks could be formal (like a lunch) or informal (like a coffee run or email catch-up), and essentially covered any activity that was not work-related (not including bathroom breaks).

Each person averaged two breaks per day, and from the 959 breaks recorded, scientists were able to figure out several key factors that make a successful workday break. The findings were published in the Work.

First, the best time to press pause is mid-morning. “When more hours had elapsed since the beginning of the work shift, fewer resources and more symptoms of poor health were reported after a break,” reads the study. The best breaks involved activities that employees enjoyed—the catch is, those tasks could also be somewhat work-related. The only requirement is that you derive pleasure from the task.

Additionally, while you may find a two-hour break enticing, scientists found that short, frequent breaks were most beneficial—although they didn’t pinpoint an exact length of time.

“Unlike your cell phone, which popular wisdom tells us should be depleted to zero percent before you charge it fully to 100 percent, people instead need to charge more frequently throughout the day,” lead author Emily Hunter, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Successful work breaks resulted in better health and higher job satisfaction for employees—“successful” being defined as earlier in the day, and by doing something enjoyable…like taking a break to catch up on MadameNoire.com. Scientists saw those people had fewer symptoms of headache, eyestrain, or lower back pain following the break. There was also a decrease in burnout.

So go ahead and take that quick coffee or tea break. You deserve it, and you’ll work smarter.