Q&A: Should I Quit My Job or Stay and Wait?

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Q&A: Should I Quit My Job or Stay and Wait?

Q: I love my job, but it’s only part time. I’ve waited all year to get moved up to full time status and it’s not happening quick enough. They have great benefits, hourly pay, etc. but the full time hasn’t opened yet. I’ve gone to over 15 job interview and none of them hired me except the job that I have now. So I know interviewing won’t be fun, any ideas?
-Anonymous

A: Let’s recap:
• You love your job.
That’s a good thing. There aren’t many people who are able to say that. Kudos to you.
• It’s only part time.
OK. What have you been doing for the past year when you weren’t on the schedule there? Are you taking advantage of this time to work on you? Are you in classes? Are you working another part-time job?
• It’s not happening quick enough.
Is this common for this job? How long does it usually take to go from part-time to full time there? Are you on the slower end or has your “progression” been about the same as others’?
• I’ve gone to over 15 job interview and none of them hire me.
Why is this? Have you sought the assistance of a career coach or other career services professional to get to the bottom of this? How are your interviewing skills? Have you practiced with someone you trust to obtain beneficial feedback?

Our advice: Stay at your job. Make sure that your appearance, work ethic, level of productivity, and overall attitude at work are up to par so that your boss will see you as full-time potential. Express to your boss that you love your job and are interested in becoming full-time as soon as the opportunity arises. Ask when full-time positions will become available and if you could have some notice so that you may apply. Continue to seek other employment that may be close or identical to what you are doing now. You may also consider professional development courses, webinars, etc. Work on your interviewing skills with a coach or a friend and accept feedback from them. Be willing to work on your interviewing skills to better your chances for hire.

Best Wishes to you.

Q&A: Should I Contact the Manager?

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Q: I just got a job at Panera Bread. I completed the orientation on October 4. It was a Tuesday. I was scheduled to start training on Thursday. On Wednesday I received a call that my Grandfather had passed away. I called her on Thursday to explain to her that I was not going to attend because of my Grandfather. She never responded. She never called be back. So should I contact her directly? Am I still hired? And will they pay me for orientation?
-Valeria

A: First let me say that I am sorry to hear of your grandfather’s passing, Valeria. You have my sympathy.

In regards to your new position, it is important that you affirm your interest in continuing employment with your Store Manager. If you haven’t heard from anyone, it could be that they are giving you space and are expecting to hear from you. I highly recommend that you make this contact in person. While you are there, you can check to make sure your name is on the schedule and find out when you are expected to report to work. You may have hours on the schedule and not even know it.

If you signed in for orientation and continue working, it is likely that you will be paid for it. The best way to know is to talk to your manager.

Best Wishes.

Q&A: Do I Take Lower Pay to Get the Experience?

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Q: It has basically been said, in so many words that I wouldn’t move up any higher in my current department. I applied for a management position in another area that I currently support. They are considering me but because I have never had a management title they consider me as not having experience and want to start me at the bottom of the pay scale, much lower than current salary. Do I push for this position knowing it will open doors down the road even though it’s much lower in pay and the understanding that my current boss doesn’t plan on helping move up?
-KTuck
A:  This is an excellent question, K, one that I believe many people struggle with, more often than we realize.  It is possible, however, that you don’t have be one of these.
Although your job title, to date, has not yet been “Manager,”  you could very well have operated in the role many times.  I think it may be time to reevaluate the effectiveness of your resume.  Reflect on each of your previous work experiences.  Think about the tasks and responsibilities you encountered with each and weigh these against the job responsibilities and tasks of a manager at your company (the job ad or job description will help).  Research the core competencies and common responsibilities and tasks of a manager, supervisor, or leader, if necessary.  Have you lead any projects or teams?  Have you trained team members or other new staff?  Have you represented the company outside of your “traditional role?” If this is the case for you, perhaps you can submit a restructured resume showing your justification for management classification now, while you are still being considered for the position.

In this new resume, I would recommend that you include any professional development courses (continuing education or otherwise), college courses where you have been taught how to be a leader.  Then review your activities – volunteer activities or other extra curricular activities – where you have been or have emerged as a leader.  These all add to your experience. The rest is up to you to plead your case, given the opportunity.

Best Wishes.

Q&A:  What’s the Best Way to Network?

Lady

Q:  Ok.  I don’t like talking to people.  I’m nervous and reserved and I hate small talk. It feels like superficial fake unnecessary conversation.   And I have nothing to network with – to offer others.  I know establishing relationships is necessary but I feel awkward doing so.  How do I effectively do it?
-Letitia

A:  What a great question Letitia!  I’m willing to bet that several of our readers are on the edge of their seats waiting for the response to this one.  Judging by your very strong feelings against small talk, I’m going to guess that you’re an introvert.  You are not alone.  Statistics suggest that an estimated 50.7% of the population is as well.  I hope that you take comfort in this fact, because it means that about half of the people you could possibly connect with have the same feelings you do about interacting with strangers in an environment where one is expected to engage in networking activities.

Let’s start by getting some perspective on what networking is.  Google defines networking simply as interacting with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.  The methods for who, what, where, when, and how you interact with others are unlimited, so try not to restrict your thoughts to navigating a room of 50 or more intimidating people in suits, balancing a glass of wine and a stack of business cards, while pretend-chuckling in unison with strangers at unfunny comments.  It doesn’t have to be that way.

As a matter of fact, the way to be successful in networking is to discontinue any practices you may have adopted that force you to be something that you’re not – like, say, an extrovert.  Be yourself.  Your networking experiences will be most meaningful and effective if they’re authentic.  So, find what works for you and WORK IT!

The Who.

Take a page from the networking marketers and work your “warm market.”  Start with your mentors, family, friends, and colleagues.  If you’re anything like me, there are several people in this segment of your life who have no idea what you do and you really aren’t sure what they do either.  Allow the familiarity you have with them to be the launching pad to a conversation.  Ask them, “what do you do now,” for example.   And since constant conversation is not the introvert’s “thing,” try creating/finding activities or activity-based outings and events to participate in as you talk with the people you select – like jogging or sports or movies or dining.

Think about the groups that you participate in at work and in your community (places you volunteer, church, local meet up groups).  Start building relationships there.  If you aren’t in any groups, start researching the clubs, groups, and associations at work, or related to your job, that have activities that might interest you.  Check meetup.com, Facebook, the local paper, and other social outlets for groups that match your interests outside the workplace. Author Lisa Evans suggests, “A community garden, for example, can provide an introvert with the opportunity to become part of a community without having to change their personality.”  She goes on to say that “what community groups offer is a chance to be with other people and … learn new things and have fun in ways that aren’t socially demanding.”

The What.

Begin with the end in mind.  Give yourself a goal, then make it your mission.  This makes your conversation purposeful.  If your goal in initiating a conversation with a stranger is to find out where the bathroom is, you decide that up front, you approach, and before you leave them, you know.  It’s as simple as that. Maybe you want to learn more about the company where the person works.  Maybe you want to find out if a company is hiring and what their hiring process is like.  Perhaps you are interested in gathering intel about a decision maker in advance of an interview.  Maybe you want to learn the steps you need to take to reach a personal or professional goal.  Starting with a clear vision for your networking activities will help you avoid the feeling that you are just having unnecessary conversations.

The Where.

You can network ANYWHERE!  While face-to-face networking events are typically formal events hosted by companies and organizations at colleges, hotels, restaurants, etc., you can network at the grocery store, the bank, the library, and even online.  Become a regular somewhere, as people start to expect you, the conversations and connections will evolve.    The number one prerequisite here is that you are someone where YOU feel comfortable.

The When.

Know yourself.  Network, however you choose to do it, when you are at your best.  If you know that you are a wreck in the morning, that coffee mixer might not be such a great idea.  If you tend to get a bit too happy during happy hour, maybe you ought to skip drinks with the company execs.  Your health, mental state, how you are feeling about your appearance at the time, if you are hungry, etc., all of these things tend to come out when you are engaging with others.  Sometimes, they come out in the form of complaints.  Other times, there are physical manifestations that can’t be helped (coughing, sneezing, running to restroom, etc.).  If you are at your best, you will be more relaxed and confident as you engage with others.

The How.

Take it one step at a time.  Begin with a goal and make it your mission to achieve that mission before you’re done.  Be prepared to talk about yourself.  Think about what you want to say, write it down before hand and practice it in the mirror if you need to so that you can talk in your natural style of conversation.  Write out some questions to ask the people you encounter, in the event that you get stuck.  Arrive early to avoid walking into crowds.  Since you are better one-on-one, make it your goal to try to catch people who are alone instead of waiting to arrive at a time when people will be bunched or packed together in small groups.  If you are feeling stuck, introduce the person you just met to someone new and listen as the two of them engage or excuse yourself to continue mingling.  If possible, network with a friend.

Check your body language Make sure you are feeling well and comfortable with your environment, your outfit, etc. before you approach others or before they approach you.  If it makes you feel more in your element, hold something in your hand (a pen, your cell phone, a scarf).  Allow yourself to be temporarily distracted if it gives you fuel to continue the event.  You may also consider giving yourself a time limit to be at the event or activity so that you can reduce any anxiety.  If this is not appropriate, permit yourself to take frequent breaks outside or in another area for the same purposes.

Use technology to your advantage.  Making connections with people online first will do wonders to break the ice before you meet face-to-face.  Use the Internet to do research on the people who are likely to be attending the gathering you are going to and find some common ground for your discussion.

Lastly, get your head together.  Be positive.  Be in the moment.  Be yourself.

Best wishes.

Additional Reading:

Evans, Lisa “How Introverts Can Network Without Changing their Personalities” http://www.fastcompany.com/3044860/work-smart/how-introverts-can-network-without-changing-their-personalities

Clark, Dorie “Networking for Introverts”
https://hbr.org/2014/08/networking-for-introverts/

Florentine, Sharon “9 networking tips for introverts”
http://www.cio.com/article/2895120/relationship-building-networking/9-networking-tips-for-introverts.html

Campbell, Rebekah “An Introvert’s Guide to Networking”
http://boss.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/10/15/an-introverts-guide-to-networking/?_r=0

Johnson, Cynthia “How to Network When You’re An Introvert”
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/245499

Gardella, Adriana “Networking Tips for Introverts”
http://www.realsimple.com/work-life/life-strategies/job-career/networking-tips-for-introverts

Ayres, Andrea “A Guide to networking for people who suck at networking”
http://blog.crew.co/a-guide-to-networking-for-people-who-suck-at-networking/

“How to Network if You’re an Introvert (wikiHow)”
http://www.wikihow.com/Network-if-You-Are-an-Introvert

Q&A: Am I Going to be Fired?

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Q&A: Am I Going to be Fired?

Q: I’m not sure what to do. We took over a dept at work,were barely trained, but I thought I was ok as my evaluations were positive. I am the main person on it at night, while it’s split between 4 people during the day. Lately, I feel as though my manager talks to me like I’m an idiot, and avoids my questions. Nobody’s around at night to see all the good I do. This woman who works there and spends most of her time slacking off has been asked to lead training for the rest of the dept! They are now training the rest of our group for “back up” people, and I was not even told.
They baby her when she has questions, while I get ignored. Lately I have been getting less emails. Also, they are hiring 4 new people even though we only had 1 person quit. I should also add that I am pregnant, and will be taking leave..but not for 3 months,and I never take days off.
Just yesterday I noticed she made TEN mistakes that I had to clean up when I got in…) when she doesn’t even know what she is doing, and I work on this five nights a week and know a lot about it. Everyone in the office but my manager has noticed, and always asks me for help when they have questions, not her. Should I even bother mentioning all of the mistakes to a higher up boss? I don’t want to tell, but it is causing a lot of problems for me to come in and clean up her work, and I have gone to my manager who doesn’t seem to care & instead rewards the slacker. I feel I don’t have a job to save anyways at this point anyways.
-Ddg

A:  Let me start by saying congratulations on your expected arrival. You are certainly at a very interesting place in your life right now. You are expecting, which comes with its own set of anxieties and pressures, needs, and plans, and you are going through some troubling things at work. There are, however, two distinctly different ways to see the work situation.

On the one hand, you can choose to focus on the less than desirable aspects of what you are experiencing. From what you have written, your department has taken on something new and unfamiliar that you feel you have been improperly trained for. Your shift is undermanned and you carry the weight of the work that takes place during that time. The person who has been designated to train you and the other staff is inept, by your measurements, and you have not been included in the “back up” pool for training for some reason. A significant amount of time is spent cleaning up others’ mistakes and assisting staff members who do not trust their questions will be properly answered by those in charge. You are watching management bring on additional staff as though they are preparing for more openings with no explanation to the contrary. You feel ignored by management and also believe that you are possibly being phased out. Furthermore, it seems that slackers are rewarded instead of those who are who are diligent and actually perform for the company.

On the other hand, you have indicated that your performance reviews, to date, are positive. You have taken on added/new responsibilities and despite being poorly trained, you are ROCKING at it! You are skilled enough to carry the weight of the night shift and have been able to manage your time well enough to clean up other people’s mistakes as well. Although you aren’t a formal trainer, others have noticed you and the way you work and seek your advice and assistance, which proves that you are knowledgeable and have great interpersonal skills. I see great things for your future if you continue to have this strong work ethic and work consistently in this manner.

Your job is only in jeopardy if you change the way you work and respond to others. There are laws that protect pregnant women from being discriminated against and that hold a place for your at your job when you go out on maternity leave. So, if working at the company is what you want to continue to do, it’s completely within your control. Don’t allow the negativity around you to change who you are or how you operate. What I do recommend is that you start tracking and keeping a log of what it is that you do for the organization, your achievements, accolades, the praise you get from customers, co-workers, etc. Then, when you are ready to move into a different role, you can schedule a meeting with your supervisor or higher ups and make the case for why YOU should be selected. This is a much better strategy than listing someone else’s weaknesses to make the case for why they should be removed. Her weaknesses emphasize your strengths and when you are on maternity leave, it will be clear to everyone, if it isn’t already.

If you decide that you do not want to continue at the company, you should certainly make sure to get the names and contact information of the people around who DO see you and your work, as they will make great professional references for future opportunities. You can also use this log of duties to add to your qualifications, skills, and abilities when you update your resume for a future job search.

Best Wishes.

Q&A: How Do I Keep a Job?

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Q: All the job I had, I ran into troubles and then quit. I take them all seriously, doing everything to the best of my abilities. I don’t talk much, but I focus on work at hand. Still, people like co-workers and the bosses give me a hard time. Also, when I do something I do it perfect. This might be a problem with efficiency? So what kind of mindset/attitude do I need to keep afloat in any job?
-Leslie

A: Kudos to you Leslie, for wanting to improve your longevity on your future job(s). You are absolutely right, it’s all about your mindset. Working to the best of your abilities, striving for perfection, and focusing on the job at hand all speak to your work ethic. Because you already have these in place, I wouldn’t think that efficiency (or lack thereof) is your challenge. You mentioned troubles with co-workers and bosses giving you a hard time. Is it usually others in the workplace that cause you to want to terminate your employment? Perhaps your interpersonal skills and/or a few other of your soft skills need some work.

Interpersonal skills have to do with your ability to find common ground with others, to have empathy, and to build trust and ultimately good relationships. The article “Ten Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Skills” published online by Kent State University, offers several methods for bettering how you relate to others. These include smiling and laughing with others, being verbally positive and encouraging, practicing active listening when communicating, searching for effective ways to resolve conflicts, and seeing yourself as a member of a team all working together to accomplish a goal. The article also emphasizes the importance of trying to see things from other people’s side and not just your own and eliminating complaining form your everyday conversation.

The soft skills that you may want to concentrate on include:

* Self-awareness (which has to do with knowing and understanding what drives, angers, motivates, embarrasses, frustrates, and inspires you)

* Emotion regulation (being able to manage your feelings and emotions at work, e.g. anger, frustration, embarrassment), Stress management (being able to remain calm and balanced in challenging situations)

* Resilience (being able to bounce back after a disappointment or set back, big or small, and continue to move onward and upward)

* “Forgive and forget” (allowing people and yourself to make mistakes and being able to forgive and move on)

* Persistence and perseverance (maintaining the same energy and dedication despite difficulties, failures, and oppositions)

* Patience

* Teamwork skills (being able to work effectively with anyone with different skill sets, personalities, work styles, or motivation level to achieve a better team result)

* Dealing with Difficult Personalities (being able to still achieve the work result needed while working with someone whom you find difficult.)

The first step to any growing in any of these areas is self observation. Take sometime to think about who you are and how you do things. How do you currently handle situations where you feel you’ve been wronged? How do you handle embarrassment? frustration? disappointments? Do you shut down? Do you become quiet? Are you easily angered? Do you become loud or aggressive? Are you easily irritated?

Once you begin to think about who you are, how you think and behave, and what motivates you positively or negatively, it may be a good idea to begin journaling. Explore alternative thoughts and actions and begin to put these in practice. Read articles that deal with improving the characteristics you believe most need development in your life. Lastly, don’t be afraid to seek the assistance of a professional job coach, life coach, or therapist if that becomes necessary.

Here are some articles to get you started.

Best wishes for lengthy employment!

Stress management:
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

Self Awareness:
http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/how-to-improve-your-self-awareness.html

Emotion Regulation
http://www.getselfhelp.co.uk/emotionregulation.htm

Resilience
http://psychology.about.com/od/crisiscounseling/tp/become-more-resilient.htm

Interpersonal Skills
http://www2.kent.edu/csi/leadership/resources/upload/interpersonal-skills.pdf

Soft Skills
https://bemycareercoach.com/soft-skills/list-soft-skills.html

Q&A: Should I call back?? please help!?

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Q: I don’t know what to do. my friend txted me last Wednesday asking if I wanted a job. I was like “YES” so she gave me the number to her supervisor for me to ask about the application and whatnot. (BTW im 17 and this is for a receptionist position at supercuts and would be my first job).

so I called, the supervisor told me to go online and fill out the app and in an hour someone will call me back. I waited and no call. 2 days later still no call. I was getting worried so I called the supervisor back aain and asked why hadn’t someone called me. she was surprised no one had called me yet and said she would call the other location and call me back. that was on sunday and today is Tuesday. what should I do? call back AGAIN!? go into the store in person? what do I ask?

-Kim

A: Kim, Here are the facts as I see them:
Less than 7 days ago, you applied for a receptionist position (that you were referred to) at a salon. You spoke with a supervisor and applied online (as they requested). You were promised call backs (almost immediately) on two occasions, but did not receive them. You are anxious.

Your anxiety is totally understandable. No one likes to be told to expect something and then it never comes. What you cannot do, however, is allow your anxiety to work against you. Remember that the staff at the salon is likely very busy already and probably even more so without a receptionist. This may be what’s going on.

While you wait for your call back, I recommend that you go back to your source – the friend that texted you about the job. Ask her if the position has been filled or not. If it hasn’t, ask her if you are still be considered for it. She may have some insider information for you. If, by chance, she has been kept out of the loop and is unable to work behind the scenes to get you an update, drop by the salon. This way, you’ll be able to introduce yourself in person, giving the staff an opportunity to see and like you. Be mindful, however, not to get in the way, if they are super busy when you go. Let the supervisor know that you appreciate being considered and that you can start immediately, including now – if that applies.

Best Wishes.