All Articles Tagged "work"

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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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 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.

How To Get Hired When You Have Next To No Experience

June 19th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Shutterstock

Image Source: Shutterstock

It’s a classic catch 22: you need experience to get the job, but you need a job to get experience. Thankfully, these tips for getting hired when you have little experience can help you break the cycle.

Ways Everyone Is Different On Friday

June 5th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Why did you wake up feeling so excited? Oh yeah, it’s Friday! Everyone is different when they know the weekend is just a few hours away.

Why Getting Fired Could Be The Best Thing For Your Career

June 4th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Tumblr

Image Source: Tumblr

Getting fired can feel like the worst thing in the world. But it doesn’t have to. See getting fired as an opportunity and it could be just what you need to jump-start your career.

Is Your Job Affecting Your Mental Health?

June 4th, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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Now and then we reach a plateau in our work lives, mainly at a particular job. We start to become unhappy and are plagued with feelings of being stuck. We just want more, or in some cases, something entirely different. You feel that there is no room for workplace development and dealing with a menacing supervisor leaves you feeling drained. You find yourself sitting at a desk miserable, praying to get fired so at least you’ll be guaranteed unemployment benefits. But you have a hard time leaving because you’ve created a bond with co-workers and the organization as a whole. Plus, in this job market you’ll be lucky to find anything else that will help you pay bills quick, fast and in a hurry.

Research published in the journal Human Relations found that employees who stayed with their organizations out of obligation or lack of other options were more likely to experience physical health problems such as exhaustion, stress, and burnout.

Sure, we all get the Monday blues and can’t wait for Hump Day, or even better, Happy Hour to roll around at the local bar. However, if you feel that you are employed in an unhealthy workplace, it could be causing great harm to your mental health. When you find yourself dealing with a case of the Monday blues every day, that’s something you shouldn’t ignore.

If you find yourself exhausted even by the simplest of tasks you could be reaching your burnout point. When getting up to go to work becomes more of a task than the actual work, it’s time to re-evaluate where your energy is being spent. Exhaustion doesn’t always have to be physical. It can be mental as well as emotional. Could a long-term project be mentally taxing to the point where you just want to drop everything and be done with it? Do you find yourself on the verge of tears being called into another meeting or after being given another stack of work to complete? You are clearly exhausted.

But there are many other signs of exhaustion and burnout: When you don’t get as enthusiastic as you used to or no longer have the drive to do anything; When it takes longer than usual to get to work in the mornings to the point where you’re praying for traffic on the way there; When you’re angry for no reason and everything seems to get on your last nerve; When a coworker you don’t particularly care for says “Hello!” and it ruins your entire day; When you’re frustrated by every little nuisance, even things that probably shouldn’t be making you very upset; When you begin to slowly isolate yourself from staff because you’re trying to hold on to the last little bit of peace you do have.

If you find yourself battling any or all of this, it could be time for a change of scenery. You may have outgrown your career and may need something a little more challenging or something you can feel more passionate about. Even though the wise thing to do would be to begin exploring other careers, if you have a little bit of fight left in you, there are ways to cope with these feelings to create a better balance in your overall health.

First, when you’re off the clock, be off the clock. Work and all of its stresses should not come home with you. Turn off work emails and don’t answer work calls. Set an out-of-office message for any incoming emails. Once 5 p.m. rolls around and you punch out, the next time you should be in work mode is when you clock in the next day.

Secondly, use your off-the-clock time to indulge in things you’re passionate about. Enroll in a night or weekend cooking course. Try that free gym trial. Spend more time with friends. Do things that make you happy, which is a natural stress reliever. Embracing hobbies is also an excellent way to see what other fields you can explore for job options.

Meditation as a way of relaxation helps to get rid of those work pains as well. If you are lucky to have personal days, take one and make a lazy day out of it. Or, you could take a mall trip, sightsee and get into some fun activities. If you choose not to, and you find yourself at work and under pressure, at least take a 15-minute break and do some steady breathing activities in a quiet place.

Also, if work is piling up, try different organization techniques. Write down all of your tasks on sticky notes and place them somewhere in clear view. Utilize your mobile calendar and set alarms for the different things you have to complete in order of importance. Organizing your tasks helps you feel less overwhelmed.

Most importantly, learn the triggers of what’s causing you to be frequently burned out or what’s draining you mentally. When you know what’s triggering you, there’s a better chance that you will also know how to navigate it and work around the situation.

I Hate Mondays: 20 Inspiring Quotes for Curving The Early Week Blues

June 1st, 2015 - By Rich
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Today we celebrate two beginnings, the beginning of the month as well as the beginning of the week! It’s important to remember that with both of these new starts this season we should begin to manifest new perspectives! Try and beat the monday blues by motivating yourself! Forget coffee, let’s get serious about giving ourselves a natural boost with these 20 inspirational quotes for curving the early week blues!

I Hate Mondays: 20 Inspiring Quotes for Curving the Early Week Blues

Main image, Shutterstock

Keep The Drama On The Stage Brunch: Put These Kids To Work!

April 28th, 2015 - By Rich
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Recently, I had the pleasure of taking my daughter to a brunch with a group of young, Black female actors in Harlem. What an experience it was. The interesting fact most all of these young ladies were “working actors.” Some, like Eden Duncan-Smith, had been in movies like “Annie” and others had been in Broadway plays. My friend deduced that all were divas. My daughter has enjoyed many things, but I’ve found that her desire to act is her only true passion to date. So, I told her…”lets go to work!”


When I came up, I always “worked” even as as kid. My dad offered me my first job and subsequently was the first person to fire me too. He was an industrial arts teacher that was a builder on the side. He would build onto existing houses and my brother and I were his helpers. Even though that was not my passion, it taught my a lesson that would thread through my life: you gotta hustle. It also thought me the importance of setting work ethic early on. Last, but definitely not least, it taught me that business-for-self was the way to go.

At the “Keep The Drama On The Stage” brunch, young ladies 18 and under celebrate their ability to work together in the business and not fight each other as they rise to the top. It seemed to be working. The girls were taking selfies, eating, and being openly mentored by other women. Olamide Faison, an extremely talented musician, even serenaded the girls. It was all great fun.


I had another agenda that lurked underneath the obvious.

I want my daughter to get to working now. It took me a long time to get myself going in life, but when I did, I went to work. I openly admit, I was not the best student. In college though, you couldn’t find a person “worked” harder than I did in college. I did the the Black student paper, the regular paper, was a DJ at the school’s radio station, helped book artists on campus, programmed events through several organizations, and even had a few hobbies. And then I had a jobs that paid me like stacking books at the library or being a camp counselor for kids. One thing is for certain, I went to work. In this day and age, we have to instill these values in our kids – that they must learn the value of hard work.

For me, I also want to teach my daughter the value of entrepreneurship and doing for self.

Over the past few years, I have taken my daughter with me to “work.” This means she attends some of my speaking engagements or is present when I have having meetings. She seems me working all the time. An odd thing happened when it came to the actual “Take Your Child To Work Day” last week. We really didn’t have anything to “do.” I could have taken her to my office, but I typically don’t go to the office my parenting days. Thanks to the internet, allows me to come and go as I please for the most part. I totally flipped the script on her. I put her to work.


She started to write her first script and I helped her lay down the foundation. I drew a clear line between this effort and the other mini-movies she’s done with her cousin and friends. After the script is done, we’re going to shoot this summer. I also let her sit in on my meetings and we talked extensively about business. This is important stuff. All the actresses at the KTDOTS brunch are little businesses within themselves. They may have parents that guide that business, but ultimately the guardians are only a part of the echo system around the business. We have to teach them business and their value in it.

Most of our kids are smarter than we were, but the world they are growing up in will be harder if we parent don’t do our job well. They need to start working now so they can get a head start on good habits, work ethic and maybe…just maybe…they will strike gold on the way to adulthood. I know the young ladies at brunch are betting on it.

Special shout out to clothing store RUUM clothing store in Tribeca and



The “I” Word: Are You “Too Independent” For Love?

April 16th, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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Should Love Be 'Postponed'


As a woman in my early twenties, I work part-time for an education non-profit, freelance as a writer, and I work around the clock to build my own brand as an entrepreneur. It leaves very little room for social activities, except on the weekends. So when it comes to dating and relationships, I often find myself exhausted by the idea of it all. I spent six years in a relationship building with someone and unintentionally neglecting myself, and now as a single woman, I find myself torn between focusing on my career and looking for love.

“How are you going to be able to date with everything you have going on?”

“You don’t seem like you need a man.”

“Is that why you’re single?”

“When will you ever have time for me?”

“You don’t seem like you’re ready for a relationship.”

These are some of the questions and concerns some men have when it comes to women who are branded as being “too independent.” It’s almost like being branded with the scarlet letter. But Black women have always been independent. We’ve been the maids working double shifts to earn extra wages so that we can come home and take care of our family, and we’ve been one-half of a power couple where both parties share equal responsibility both in work and in the household. We’ve done it all, but most of the time, we’ve done it all without much help.

So with that in mind, I can’t help but give a slow eye roll when in 2015 we as women are still being fed that we can’t have it all. The career, love, and the family. Men have rarely had to give up their independence or been forced to choose between family and career, but it seems to be the binary constantly thrown at women. So why are women who are independent stigmatized as not being datable?

After surveying several men, I can’t say that I was surprised by some of the responses I received. Some said that independent women are not datable because of their unwillingness to be submissive. Most of the men I talked to felt that independent women won’t allow them to play their role as men because they are too self-reliant and don’t seem to have a need for men. To be dependent is to be vulnerable, and to them, independent women aren’t interested in that. Men are raised to be the protectors of their family and when a woman gives off the energy and attitude that she doesn’t need them it creates an imbalance in gender roles and dynamics. But on the flipside, there were some men who said they would love to have a woman who is self-sufficient and independent. Some even went as far as to say that they want a woman to take care of them so they wouldn’t even mind if she made more money…

As single men and women, naturally we should want and be able to take care of ourselves. We should be financially, emotionally, and physically healthy before trying to build with anyone. So why is it that women are criticized when they have their stuff together on their own and want a man to have it all together too?

After surveying different women at different stages in their careers, most women with a solid, five-figure salary and career told me they wanted men who had equal or more than them. They all claimed they wanted an interdependent relationship where they shared an equal partnership with their men. So when men say they want a woman to work as many hours as them and still be a homemaker after hours, these ladies weren’t for it. Why can’t he come home and cook too?

For some women, they believe the notion of being too independent to date is an idea created by men to retain whatever bit of machoism they can in a society where women are starting to dominate in most industries. “Date someone who’s manlier” was the suggestion that one woman gave.

Women who are strong, successful and independent should and tend to naturally aspire to be with men who share similar qualities, but on a much higher level. Is she too independent for love? No. She just hasn’t found a man worth compromising for yet, or who will compromise for her. When a woman truly finds herself in love, and the right man, she will have no problem being submissive.