Labor Day is always a fun time of the year. Most people are off of work for the three day weekend. Many get a chance to spend time with loved ones over picnics and barbecues. The Labor Day holiday was created in the 1880s to honor the works and contributions of American workers, and the American labor movement.
In the last two and a half years, the American workplace has transformed in ways that we could not have envisioned. Many people are now working from home. Roles and responsibilities have changed. There are many labor shortages, and pay increases. There is more transparency in recruiting and hiring.
Along with all of this change, you may have heard about the concept of “quiet quitting.” If you’ve wondered what this trend is about, it’s honestly not as new as it sounds. Quiet quitting isn’t really about quitting. It’s about employees slacking off at work. Right now, it’s all the rage among employees.
One thing the pandemic taught us is that life is short. Things aren’t guaranteed. And, when times get tough, many companies will let employees go to save the company. People care more now about benefits and balance than they care about money alone.
The question for employers becomes, how do you curb this trend? How do you keep people engaged? It’s hard anymore to know if employees are really working. When they’re working from home, employees are only seen during meetings, and only if they turn on their cameras.
Some employers have addressed these concerns by monitoring employees more. They’ve increased their use of software that measures productivity. Unfortunately, this isn’t the answer. Employees who want to do the minimum will do that, whether they are monitored or not – and whether they’re in person or working from home.
Employers should spend more time getting to know their employees. They should try to listen to what’s important to employees. They should provide training and mentoring. They should pay a fair wage. In other words, it’s time to get back to basics. Employees want to feel valued, and they want to feel respected.
But, the buck doesn’t stop there. Going to work isn’t like going to an amusement park. An employer’s job isn’t to keep everyone happy and entertained all day from nine to five. If you have found yourself quiet quitting, it’s time to reevaluate. What could you do at work to feel more engaged in your projects? What could you do to connect more with colleagues?
If the answer is nothing, it may be time to look elsewhere. Work is an important part of life. If you find yourself checked out most of the time and without hope of change, dust off your resume. Look for a new boss, a new employer, or possibly even a new industry or a new role.
Quiet quitting is not a long term solution for what should be a short term problem.
Getting an interview can be exciting, especially if it goes well. If you’re dying to leave your company, the hope of a new job can leave you feeling both relieved and energized. And, the more interviews you have with one company, the better the chances are that you’ll get the job. Right?
Some of the reasons I’ve heard for sharing this job search secret include, “I know this person is my friend, so it’s okay.” “My boss and I are close; they won’t mind.” “My company needs to know I’m interviewing, so they’ll be prepared if I do leave. It’s the right thing to do.” “I want to see if my company will give me more money to stay.”
First, none of these reasons provide the personal benefit they appear to. They simply give away your power. And worse, they put your current job at risk.
When it comes to interviewing, nothing is a sure bet. Even if a company has talked to you ten times and is in love with you, the position may be put on hold for budgetary reasons. The hiring manager may leave, and the process may halt. The company could reorganize and the job may no longer be needed.
Until your offer is officially in writing and in your hands, there’s no offer. It could take you as long as a year or more to find a job. In the meantime, you still have bills to pay and a family to feed. Why would you put that in jeopardy?
Often, a boss you perceived to be your friend feels an obligation to let the company know you have disclosed this information to them. Even if they like you, your search may be perceived as being disloyal to the company. In the worst-case scenario, you may be fired and asked to leave immediately.
When it comes to asking for more money, keep this in mind. If you don’t have a written job offer, what incentive does your company have to give you a raise? They don’t. There’s no good reason they should offer you any more money just because you’ve been interviewing.
If you begin to tell colleagues about your search, don’t be surprised if the word gets around. People love to find something to talk about. If you share information about your search, you’re setting yourself up to become next. The last thing you want is for word to get back to your boss before you’ve found a job.
As exciting as it is to share about your job search, it’s 100 percent unwise to do so. You’ll set yourself up for failure that can be difficult to repair. When it comes to job searching, there’s no better alternative than to keep yours secret.
We’re at an interesting point in time when it comes to business culture. People with many backgrounds and experiences are working together more now than ever before. Some team members are young who have never worked at an in person job and have always had a cell phone. Others are older people who started working before laptop computers or the internet even existed. Some employees have only worked in at big corporate companies, while others have been at startups. These people all have different working styles. They are now collaborating together, via the tiny camera on their computers.
Variations make communication differences quite interesting to observe. You probably have some coworkers who will only call you if there’s a scheduled meeting on your calendar. Others may send you an unplanned message, asking if you have time to talk, even when there’s no meeting scheduled. And, then there are a handful that will call with no notice. These differences are driven by multiple factors, including generation and work experience.
Similarly, people have different habits when it comes to written communication. Some people prefer email, while others like Slack. Within email, there are fairly distinct differences. Some emails are sent from one person to another single person. Others include many extra people as a carbon copy, for informational purposes. Some emails will have recipients included as a blind carbon copy, to reduce the number of replies. And, other emails will add additional people to existing email chains.
Over the years, I’ve started to believe that there is an inverse relationship with email and the size of the company. In other words, the smaller an organization is, the more recipients will be included on a single email. People at startups tend to copy many people at once. This keeps everyone up to date, and is seen as being more efficient. Within a large company, it’s more common to see email chains that include only the bare minimum number of people. The sender doesn’t want to involve anyone who doesn’t need to be on the email.
The same trend seems to also be true in meetings between two companies. A small company will bring many attendees to a meeting in an effort to show that the company is legitimate. A large company will send one or two representatives, who serve as the sole points of contact.
No matter the venue, one thing hasn’t changed. Praise in public, and criticize in private. Calling someone out in a meeting in front of others does nothing but hurt your relationship with them. If you’re asking a colleague for something via email and aren’t getting the results you want, call them or email them — directly. Don’t copy additional people. Even if you aren’t trying to put them on the spot, this is how it will likely feel. No one wants their shortcomings to be pointed out in front of others. Adjust your approach, and you’ll get better results.
We’ve known that remote work was the new normal since early 2020. But, signs are beginning to emerge that we may never go back to the way things were before. Amazon recently announced that they are pausing the construction on multiple buildings, including office buildings in Washington and Tennessee. While some companies are continuing to recall employees, this change is definitely a sign of the times.
Unemployment continues to remain relatively low at 3.6 percent overall, and Amazon has over 70 thousand job openings currently posted on LinkedIn’s career site. Pausing the construction may be in part due to less than favorable news shared on a recent Amazon earnings call. But, it could be argued that it’s more than this.
We are relying on Amazon more now than ever before, from ordering everyday items online to grocery delivery, and streaming services. Amazon’s success is very much dependent on technology. And, as such, it is dependent on technology talent.
Before the pandemic, the best technology workers needed to be flexible with regards to location. Often, tech talent would relocate to San Francisco, Seattle, or New York in order to be competitive. But, remote work has introduced a new dynamic. Tech workers are moving away from big, expensive cities to the suburbs. And, some are returning closer to their roots. Moving away from the city allows workers to both save money, and to have a better quality of life.
Tech talent is hard to find and to hire. Companies are paying high salaries for niche skillsets. And, Amazon knows that. They also know that tech workers want the option to work from anywhere. In addition, studies have shown that money is no longer the most important factor for many employees. Employees are much more concerned with work life balance.
It makes sense that Amazon would stop building more office buildings. It saves them money. It allows them to hire workers anywhere. It’s a win-win for the employer and the employee.
In addition, when employees do come together in person, it’s different than in the past. Employees are no longer sitting in their cubicles all day. They aren’t going to drive an hour round trip to be isolated at work. They can do that at home. If they’re going in person, it’s to work collaboratively with their team.
Collaborative work requires a different type of workspace. For companies who are still building, they’re considering a more hybrid building model. Others are renting space in coworking buildings like WeWork.
Either way, the old building is history. The sooner that more businesses realize this, the more likely they are to be competitive with hiring. And, in turn, they will be more competitive in business. Employees want more balance and more control over their daily lives. They have more choices than ever before, and they know it. It’s time for companies to realize that there’s no looking back. This is the new normal.
Lately, quite a lot of focus in the news has been on topics that evoke fear. The stock market is down. Hiring may be slowing. Prices are skyrocketing. The labor shortage still exists, and supply chain issues have not been fully resolved. We’re living inside of a system with uncertainty. And, the uncertainty creates fear. But, it could be argued that uncertainty was there all along.
Uncertainty and fear are often the products of the unknown and of change. These feelings can lead us to try to find, or to stay in a stable spot. We may remain with our current employer for the job security. We may try to minimize the change we introduce into our lives. This makes sense. At times, it can be a matter of survival.
But, in the way business works today, uncertainty may become a normal part of working. Let’s back up a little. Just a few generations ago, a stable corporate job would last for your entire career. If you were pragmatic, you’d get one job and slowly climb the ladder at your company one step at a time.
This has evolved. For many career paths, the way to the top now comes through a series of job changes. Whether you’re switching companies or career fields, the road is no longer a linear one.
The more that your career is non-linear, the more you’re introducing both change and risk. After all, you may join a new company that is not a fit. You may try a new type of role and find that it doesn’t work for you. But, many successful careers now demand this type of change to continue to grow.
As you can imagine, your current company is less likely to invest resources into you if your path will lead you outside of their doors. This forces you to be in the driver’s seat. You must make your own connections, be in charge of your own education, and make your own way. You must be the CEO of your own career.
You must also show up as a ready-made package, as if you were a consultant. It is similar to running a small business. But, it doesn’t come without risks. You may not always have the same income. Competition is higher. You must prove your value to stay relevant. In other words, the current market is full of uncertainty and change. But, this kind of uncertainty already exists in today’s working world.
If you find yourself at a point in your career where you’re ready for a change, don’t wait. Things may or may not feel more stable soon. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you quit your job with no plan. It means that you should start taking small steps today that will lead to bigger changes later. Begin networking and interviewing for jobs. Walk yourself through the uncertainty and change one step at a time.
Have you ever had a close family member die? Sometimes, the pain of the loss is so great that it’s hard to even say to another person, “My grandfather died.” It makes it real. And, it makes it more painful. When it comes to current news events, this week was one of those. It’s hard to say much because we’re all still processing this new information, and our new world.
Typically, it can be good for a workplace to remain neutral on matters that relate to politics or religion. After all, employees and customers are made up of all different sorts of people, with different views. Remaining neutral respects the individual perspectives of everyone. It is a reminder that we live in a nation with free choice, and that our personal choices are our own.
In addition to the surprise of the court ruling, it is also surprising to see so many large companies speak out. Amazon, Apple, and Dick’s Sporting Goods have all committed to paying for their employees to travel to places where abortions are legal. Google will even permanently relocate employees to new cities without a work justification. Many other companies are offering similar commitments to their employees, including Airbnb, Bumble, Citigroup, Disney, Levi Strauss, Microsoft, and Netflix.
Initially, the wave of company responses was surprising. This seems like another politically charged issue that a company might keep quiet about. But, there’s another way to look at it. It comes down to offering all employees the same benefits.
Let’s think of this from another angle that’s less painful. In some countries, a certain minimum number of days of vacation is customary. In the United States, this is typically two weeks of vacation. In some countries in Europe, employees receive eight weeks. It would seem strange if a company offered completely different amounts of vacation to employees who did the same job. But, we’re not talking about vacation. What we’re talking about is more serious.
In this case, we’re talking about healthcare. And, healthcare is very often tied to the employer. Thinking of it through this lens, it does make sense for a company to make a decision about the type of healthcare they want to provide their employees. It makes sense that a company like Citigroup would want every employee to have the same healthcare benefits.
The past two years, it has been sad to watch our nation become more divided. With an increase in remote work, there is the possibility of moving more freely. And, the moves might bring people with diverse views together. It might help us to find a more common ground. Unfortunately, decisions like this one will continue to stoke the fire that is keeping us apart.
The one way through is together. Whether personally or professionally, try to keep the lines of communication open with those who see things differently than you do. A larger divide is not the answer.
With unemployment still relatively low, employers are continuing to struggle to find and retain great talent. The huge jumps in inflation, and the changing landscape of work, are incentivizing employees to consider switching jobs. Employees are prioritizing themselves and their quality of life more than in the past. With this backdrop, it continues to be surprising that many employers have not updated their hiring practices.
Did you know that for certain jobs, employers expect candidates to go through up to ten rounds of interviews? Many companies use testing as part of their interview process. Some ask candidates to do unpaid work as part of the interview process. And, many employers are taking months to make a hiring decision.
These same employers are blown away when a candidate turns down their job offer, or walks away midway through the process. But, what do they expect? Job seekers are being discerning, and they expect to receive the same level of respect that they’re giving.
For example, it’s not uncommon for an employer to ask a candidate to reschedule an interview at the last moment due to a conflict. But, if the candidate asks to reschedule an interview, they will most likely never hear back again. This is unfortunate, considering the candidate secretly interviewing while they’re working at their current job.
Many interviewers will grill candidates to try to squeeze them during the interview. In many cases, this is to see how the candidate responds under pressure. But, rather than simply getting a read on the candidate, the candidate is also getting a read on the company. They will walk away remembering what a negative experience it was to interview at the company.
Employers are also continuing to leave candidates in the dark for weeks or months during the hiring process. It is expected that the candidate will patiently wait until the company is ready. In reality, the candidate is moving on. They will keep interviewing at other companies until they find one that truly values their time.
When you’re the hiring manager, you want to have the control to pick the very best candidate you can find. But, when you treat a candidate in a less than desirable way, you’re giving up that control. The only candidate who will be interested in your job is the desperate one.
So, what should a hiring manager do if they want their pick? Be quick. Take weeks to make a hiring decision, not months. Be clear with your communication. Meet when you commit to meeting. Do not put the candidate through never ending rounds of interviews. And, don’t grill candidates as if they’re lucky to be talking to you.
Interviewing has become a two way street. If you want to hire the best candidates, you have to give them the best hiring experience. Otherwise, they’ll find someone who will. Candidates have choices, and they aren’t making decisions solely based on factors like money.
Remote work is a perk that has exploded since the pandemic began. Prior to 2020, a remote job was a unique find. Today, it has become the norm for many jobs. But, working from home has introduced challenges related to human connection. And, leadership has never been more important.
It’s funny. Prior to the pandemic, I knew much more about my coworkers, and I bet you did too. I had seen photos of their families. I knew the kinds of cars they drove. I had a good sense if they were morning people, and whether or not they liked coffee. These are details you learn in person.
Remotely, these details are lost. And, so is the connection. Many interactions become far more transactional than before. Gone are the days of chatting over your cube wall to the person next to you. Gone are the watercooler chats.
The other area that has changed is how we interact with our leaders. In the past, it was not unusual to talk with your manager at least once a day. You’d likely have a one-on-one meeting once a week. You would also see them in other scheduled meetings. But, even more importantly, you’d have casual conversations.
The casual conversations were the most important ones. They were the ones where creative ideas would come together. They were the times you would work together to solve big problems that popped up. And, most importantly, it’s where you’d build a real relationship with them. You might learn about their family, and they’d learn about yours. You’d become work friends in a way. These sort of interactions are where mutual trust and respect are formed. It’s where loyalty and common purpose are developed.
Trust and respect are the foundation of any good working relationship. They’re the reason why you keep getting your job done, even when the boss isn’t looking over your shoulder. It’s why your boss can count on you to keep the lights on while they’re on vacation.
But, what happens when these personal interactions begin to dwindle? What happens when the personal relationship fades away? I would argue that work becomes more transactional. Work becomes something you are simply bartering your time for in exchange for a paycheck. And, like any consumer in a store, you’ll looking for the best deal. You’ll want to put in the least amount of effort for the most amount of money.
To the leaders who aren’t taking the time to connect to your team, their work is suffering. It may not be clear today, but someday this pattern will catch up with you. They may be producing less work than they could. They may be producing lower quality work. Or, they may have no hesitation to leave when another job opportunity arises.
Remote work requires you to do more than to control those who work for you. It requires you to lead – more now than ever before.
This is a big month. Graduates are emerging from college after spending over two years in a pandemic. Can you imagine what it would have been like to spend your junior and senior years of college being isolated and learning via Zoom? I can’t. Hats off to the graduates who have pulled through this tough time.
It’s now time to find and embark on a new job! For most people, this is both an exciting and scary time. You may feel completely confused, as if you’re on an island with no roadmap.
The first step is, get started on your job search now. I’m sure you’ve seen the news about the strong job market, and the Great Resignation. Do not assume that it will be simple to find a job. Job searching is hard. It can take a very long time.
Start looking now, and enlist a few job searching friends as support. You need people who are going through the same experience to talk to. You’ll have interviews fall apart at the end of the process. Jobs will be put on hold. Companies will ghost you. It’s a lot like dating. You’re going to have to kiss a lot of frogs.
When you find something, do your homework on what the current market is paying. But, keep your expectations realistic. As a recent graduate, you will likely be paid on the low end of hiring scales. I know this is frustrating, especially given the high cost of apartments. But, your hard work will pay off. Look for the job that will provide you the best experience and the money will come (later).
Remember that you are only the third group of college graduates to enter the workforce since the start of the pandemic. If you’re working remotely, there are many advantages. But, companies are still learning how to work with their remote employees. And, they are certainly not used to working with young college graduates remotely. If career success is important to you, you’re going to have to work to be more proactive than your older peers.
Look for mentors, look for friends, and work to build a great relationship with your boss. In the remote world, it’s easy to become disconnected. You need to work to create opportunities to learn and grow. You need to create a community for yourself.
Ask your boss to meet with you at least once per week for one-on-one meetings. Setup coffee meetings with your peers. And, look for others within the organization to build bonds with. Talk about work, and then look for opportunities to talk beyond work. Friendships at work is where the real growth happens.
Last but not least, hold yourself accountable. Your career is up to you. Set regular hours, and put in the time – even when no one is looking. The foundation you lay now will help you for years to come. Congratulations, and good luck!
The world of work seems a little flatter now than it did just a few years ago. Zoom meetings have created a phenomenon. And, I’m not talking about the fact that we’re using a new technology. It’s flattened our relationships.
It reminds me of the military. Whether you’re in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Air Force, when in uniform, there are clear signals about who is who. You can tell which branch of the military someone is in. And, you can see what rank they hold. There is a system that is used to navigate the social work structure within the military. But, without a uniform, it is much harder to guess these details.
In a similar way, working from home has taken away many of the social cues that are normally present in the workplace. It is now difficult to see which designer shoes or clothes someone is wearing. And, in fact, the entire team may have switched to comfortable clothes for the day to day.
Working from home and Zoom also take away some of the hierarchy present at in person meetings. Executives are no longer trying to snag the most influential seat at the conference room table. Video meetings also create a structure where people are more easily able to speak up. And, forget status symbols such as cufflinks.
For remote workers, there are also no longer bigger offices for people with bigger job titles. In other words, everyone is a little more equal. We are all individual people who are working at our individual jobs.
There are many positives that come along with a flatter working world. But, with every positive, there are also challenges. For example, a flatter organization also means that people will interact with one another at all levels. The normal hierarchy is less clear.
You’ll likely engage with colleagues who are both at higher and lower levels than ever before. It may be unclear what age they are, or how senior their roles are. But one thing is for sure. Each and every person should be treated with respect. This is such a key to working well as a virtual team.
Have you ever noticed that people sometimes change their behavior online? For example, some people are more comfortable being rude to others on Facebook and Twitter. The same can be said for remote work. In addition to a flatter organization, relationships are shallower. When is the last time you had a deep conversation with a colleague? Do you know how many children your coworkers have? When is the last time you had lunch with anyone from your work?
The less that we know one another, and the more we’re interacting across the company, the more likely tension is to build. If you find yourself in this situation, try to remember this. We’re all part of one team. We should work together, rather than against one another – for common goals.