Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Toxic Relationships

Toxic relationships are all around us.  We encounter them almost everywhere; whether personally, spiritually or professionally. While you may not be willing or able to change certain aspects of toxic cultures that you are in, your professional environment should not be a place of disdain, and can easily be changed if you choose to do so.  If not addressed properly those added stress levels caused by your poisonous workplace issues it has the potential to spiral out of control and the overall resentment you have being in that type of situation can and will spill over to other aspects of your life. However, the best way to make a change is to BEGIN.  Begin to make positive steps towards getting out of toxicity of your professional environment and find something that’s more conducive to your overall level of professional standards.  The first step is to recognize and acknowledge that you are working within a toxic and hostile workplace.  What do I mean by a toxic workplace? A “toxic workplace” can be defined by a workplace that is marred by significant drama, issues and infighting, where professional battles often hinder and sometimes even halt overall productivity. A toxic workplace can ultimately cause a negative impact to the feasibility of an organization, which will ultimately cause additional stress, displeasure and dissatisfaction for you. Some signs that this may be your environment:
  • Afraid to share your ideas because of public embarrassment
  • Your manager never listens to you
  • You are never appreciated for your hard work
  • Others are rewarded for poor behavior
  • Constant unwanted advances are not prohibited
  • You have been lied to by management
  • Your compensation is not closely aligned with your production
  • The workplace is fiercely competitive
  • The workplace is very inefficient/disjointed
  • Your manager uses emotional manipulation

 Once the acknowledgement is made, the second step is taking the steps necessary to find a better working atmosphere.  Keep in mind, sometimes finding a better atmosphere can be much more than benefits, or more money (don’t get me wrong…those are very beneficial especially for your overall professional and financial goals).  Your ultimate goal should be ensuring peace of mind, sustainable and encouraging employment order.   
The third step is to start looking and stop waiting for the perfect job to fall in your lap. Now if you’re anything like me you have a life and there are other things you rather be doing or other obligations and priorities that you have that takes up more time in the day then you have. We make excuses why we don’t pursue something better; I don’t want to spend more time in front of a computer after 8 hours at work and my bad commute home, I need to cook dinner and take care of my family when I get home, I am tired after work and the gym, I need to update my resume first… However, positive changes starts with you and your ability to take the necessary steps to change to fix what is broken in your career.

Eight hours a day is a really long time to endure that kind of environment, unfortunately so many people are trapped in a toxic work environment because of things like health benefits, favorable commute and tenure but the usual culprit is fear.  Fear of the unknown keeps people anchored in these toxic relationships and for most management who engage in this behavior they bank on that fear.  It’s the whole “devil you know vs the devil you don’t” that keeps people in this situation year after year.  The bottom line is we usually wait until it’s severely painful before we start taking action and there is no real reason to wait.  Everyone has something or someone in their job they don’t like; the loud overbearing cubical neighbor, the lunch thief, the cologne/perfume abuser could all disappear and everyone would be happy but they aren’t toxic.  Neither are the team whiner, the meetings that should really just be emails, the “everything is urgent” person are all people that we don’t like but they are not reasons to pack up and leave for another job because let’s face it you will find these are found in most jobs. Toxic relationships are a form of emotional abuse and even though you are being paid for the time that is no reason to endure them.   With most abusive situations recognition is essential, so if this seems like this is your situation don’t you feel that it’s time to make a change?  The time is now…let’s BEGIN.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Interview Tips 2017

Be on time!  
10 minutes before the appointment is perfect timing, especially if you need to fill out paperwork before your interview begins.  If you get there before 10 minutes prior, hang out in the lobby of the building or relax/practice if you came in your personal vehicle.  If that’s not an option, ask to use the rest room and do one last mirror check before you start.  Those 10 minutes are ample time for your interview to prep if unable to do beforehand.

Know your work history: 
You are the expert on your work history so make sure you do a quick mental review of all the jobs you have listed on your resume and any jobs you had which have pertinent experience that may not appear on your resume because it was several years ago.  Ensure dates of experience match as well, i.e., you have 10 years of MS Office experience the resume should reflect this.

Be confident! 
Everyone is nervous.  This is a natural reaction.  You are about to persuade a stranger(s) you are the best candidate for the position and that is a challenge.  But you can work the odds in your favor by giving a nice firm handshake, making eye contact and smiling.  Be nice to everyone you encounter while you are on site from the receptionist, the mail room guy, the suits and the uniforms.  You would be surprised how far this will take you.  Your cell phone should remain on silent.  Even on vibrating mode this can be a distraction. Shortly before your interview, use a quick dissolving mint (such as an Altoid or Tic Tac).  Gum is discouraged.

Prepare for success: 
Research the company before the interview. A good rule of thumb is to read the About Us’ section.  Become familiar with the route to the interview before as to account for any traffic delays or additional issues.  Practice pronouncing the name of the person you are meeting with in the mirror.  Your interview attire should be clean and prepared to wear days before the interview.  Have prepared questions, two copies of your updated resume, and a portfolio with a note pad and pen to take notes.

Be ready to answer: 
You will distinguish yourself from other candidates if you have great (true) stories.  There are standard questions that come with most interviews such as: how you improved in your previous/current position, how well you collaborate with your co-workers, how you resolve conflict, and your ability to deliver results.  Engage them in your storytelling and this will give the listener a lasting positive experience.  Refrain from listing your job duties and responsibilities.  Instead, showcase your individual talents and contributions as it relates to your duties.  Remain silent instead of saying ‘um’.  Silence is okay; it allows you to think the questions through.   Lastly, focus on the question and answer specifically what is asked of you. 

Send a thank you email: 
Within 24 hours of your interview send an email thanking them for their time and recapping why you are the perfect candidate for the job.