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The Big Deal About Small Talk

If you’re working from home, you may be as productive as ever. You can focus without interruption. There are no long chats around the water cooler. There’s no wasted time commuting. You can wake up and get straight to work. There’s a good chance you may be skipping breaks and lunch. You’ve started to find your work from home groove.

But, one thing we’re definitely doing less of at work is small talk. When is the last time you asked about a colleague’s weekend? How are their children doing? How is the pandemic impacting them from day to day? When is the last time you had lunch with someone you work with? If you’re like millions of Americans, it’s been a while. It may have even been since early March.

On the surface, this is no big deal. You’re saving time. You’re more efficient. And, work is about work. Right? Sure, to some degree this is true. But, work is also about relationships. In fact, very often, your project may get done on time if you have a good relationship with your colleagues.

And, the thing is, relationships don’t form out of spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations alone. They are formed when we spend time together. They’re formed between meetings. They’re those small moments when we exchange pleasant words that are unrelated to work. Relationships form over sandwiches and coffee.

If you’re struggling at work more now than you were before COVID, it may be time to rethink your day to day interactions. The same social distancing that’s keeping us safe from disease is also dividing us. We’re more disconnected than we were in the past, especially when working from home is new.

What can you do? Unfortunately, there’s no perfect solution. But, there are many ideas you can try. You may want to take the time to call colleagues when you don’t need something specific. Or, take a moment in the beginning of meetings to ask how folks are doing. Consider setting up virtual social occasions. You might organize a coffee or a virtual happy hour with a colleague. You could consider organizing a book club or a virtual exercise group. Although some of these things may sound silly, they’re also a way to create connection and build your relationships.

As you’re working to create this connection, there is something to keep in mind. First, everyone is having a tough time in some way, on some days. Every person is in a unique situation, so it’s hard to predict when they’re having a tough time. When your coworker is having a difficult day, it will be harder to tell than when you are in person. Try your best to be patient.

It’s all a little weird right now. But, we may be working from home for a while. It’s time to find new and different ways to make small talk and to build big relationships.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

A Case for WFH

The letters WFH used to be mainly used by the tech industry. But, as work from home is becoming more common, so is the use of this important acronym. In the last six months, working from home has gone from an exception to a norm. But, if you’re like many employees, your company may be asking you to come back to work in person.

For many of the folks I have spoken to, returning to an in person work environment just doesn’t work right now. So, what can you do when your boss asks you to come back?

It’s tricky. Start by being honest. If you have a preexisting condition that makes you high risk for COVID complications, you may want to consider sharing it. Normally, I would never advise to share private health details with your boss. But, it may help them to understand why you need to continue to work from home.

The same applies for family situations. If you have aging parents who you help to care for, share your concerns. If you are being forced to home school your children, be up front about it. And, if your spouse has a high risk job where they work with the public, share your concerns about possibly infecting your office if you were to become infected.

These are all good reasons to keep working from home – especially if you’ve been doing it since March. Your boss’ biggest concern should be whether or not you’re getting your job done. When you approach them with this request, focus on your ability to do your work.

Outline the hours you plan to keep each day. Since your boss cannot see you, it may help to know you’re keep regular office hours from home. Set expectations around how you will communicate. If you plan to check email during certain hours, let them know. If you’ve available to video chat during meetings, share that. And, if you are available by text, say that too. The more your boss feels they can count on you, the more likely they will be to allow you to continue to work from home.

If you’re interviewing for a new job, this is something you’ll likely want to discuss at some point during the interview process. Given that this could be a point of negotiation for you, you may want to save it until you reach the offer stage of the job interview. You may be surprised though at just how many companies are willing to be flexible with work from home now. And, some companies that require you to move to their city are allowing you to delay the move until after COVID is finished.

If you believe you need to work from home for any reason, it’s your responsibility to advocate for yourself. It doesn’t mean your boss will agree. But, if you don’t ask, then you definitely won’t get it.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Virtual Hiring

During this difficult season, finding a new job feels complicated and often nearly impossible. However, online there are a few options you should check out if you want to make a switch. As usual, you should check for job postings on sites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor. But, you should also look for special events. In particular, Indeed has put together an hiring event that may help you if you’re looking for a new job.

Indeed.com has launched a Virtual Hiring Tour across the United States. Their goal is to help 20,000 people get hired for new jobs.

“With unemployment at record high levels, our mission of helping people get jobs has never felt more important. This Virtual Hiring Tour is designed to help people from all backgrounds – essential workers to licensed professionals – quickly find roles, in a way that is safe and effective,” said Chris Hyams, CEO of Indeed.

The Indeed Virtual Hiring Tour is made up of online events that are broken out by region across the country. The events will use Indeed’s video technology to help with interviews.

Indeed is also partnering with Goodwill Industries International, to ensure that job seekers are aware of the hiring tour and are able to participate if they’re interested.

“Even before the pandemic, millions of people were stuck on the employment sidelines, struggling to find work. Today, they are even more anxious about their prospects, but we want to assure them that we are here to help,” said Hyams.

The Western United States event was held earlier in September. The event for the South is being held from September 29 to October 2. The Midwest is being held October 13 to October 16. The Northeast is being held October 20 to October 23.

Job seekers can register for free. Once on the site, you’ll also find interview tips and tricks, including what to wear to a virtual interview, how to prepare for your interview, and how to find out if the job you’re interviewing for is remote. There are both presentations and videos available on the site to walk you through the interview process.

In addition, if you click on the region of the country where you’re interested to work, you’ll find a list of jobs currently posted to the hiring tour. From there, you can RSVP for an interview. You’ll see how many interview spots are available for each job.

To learn more about the Indeed Virtual Hiring Tour, you should visit indeed.com/virtualhiringtour.

The pandemic is one of the hardest things we’ll ever face. Remember that you’re not in this by yourself. Often when we job search, we hope friends and family will help. But, it is more common for someone you don’t know to be the one to help. Don’t stop looking. Look for events like this one, and check with your university to see what additional events they may be organizing.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

The Unexpected Labor Day

This time last year, I wrote a column about Labor Day. It started off this way. “Labor Day is a holiday that honors the American labor movement. It celebrates the development, productivity, and prosperity of the United States. And, it marks the unofficial end of summer. If you’re like most Americans, Labor Day is spent with loved ones and tasty food.”

When I wrote those words, we collectively could have never imagined what this Labor Day would be like. What seemed like such a productive economy has turned into something that feels a bit like it’s out of a horror movie. The end of summer is quite a concept. It feels like summer never really started. And, what we all wouldn’t give for a vacation and a party with loved ones.

Unfortunately, it is still unclear when the pandemic will end. And, the uncertainty of the future is causing major stress for many people. The good news is, this time next year, things should be back to normal. Or, they will have reached a new normal that is more tolerable.

In the meantime, begin to think about how you would like to celebrate this time next year. If you would like to celebrate with a new job, this is the time to start looking. If the pandemic has made you realize you wish you were closer to loved ones, this is the time to make a plan.

Setup job posting alerts on the major sites. Although it may feel like there are no jobs to be found, companies are still hiring. By setting up an alert, you will be notified when a new job is posted that meets your skillset. Although hiring has slowed significantly, many companies really are still hiring.

If you want to move, look for jobs in your future city. Or, begin to look for jobs that allow remote work. Working from home is giving employees the flexibility they need to choose the lifestyle that works the best for them. If you’ve ever hoped to move back home, this may be the time to research that idea.

If you find yourself with extra time, this is also a great time to network. Even when jobs aren’t posted, you can connect with those who might want to hire you (or to help you) in the future. Connect with old colleagues on LinkedIn. Then, send a note asking for a networking call – or a call to catch up. You can do this by phone or by video. Although it may seem awkward at first, you may be surprised at how many people will make time for you. They likely also have extra time.

This Labor Day was an unexpected one. It was tough. Many people are struggling with job loss and isolation due to the pandemic. Hang in there. Work on the things within your control. Put together your plan for a better 2021.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

This Is Not a Competition

I hope we’re on the same page. This is a pandemic. It’s not a competition. I’m not sure how many times I’ve been asked lately, “What new hobbies have you picked up since March?” I haven’t. “How much are you working out?” Very little. “How are you spending all this free time?” Like many of you, I’ve been working, and managing through this unexpected and difficult experience. My skills are the same, except that I’m now an expert at ordering groceries using Instacart.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for career development. I’m for personal growth. I’m for striving to be better and for climbing the career ladder. But, for many people, this is not that time. 2020 is a time to duck and cover a little. It’s a time to take the best care of ourselves as we can.

A big part of that care comes from both empathy and the awareness that we are each in a different situation. And, it comes from the awareness that people need other people.

Some folks are fortunate enough to have a vacation home. They’re spending quality time with family. Other people are far away from loved ones, and isolated. They may even be struggling to make ends meet.

Because we’re all coping with this pandemic, the best way to stay in touch is virtually, often by phone. But, the phone doesn’t bridge the gap in experience. Some cities are opened while others remain very much locked down. It’s easy to overlook that we aren’t all in the same boat.

This is the time to support one another. It’s not the time to push self-help books, or to expect others to be learning a new skill. It’s the time to listen and to have empathy.

Don’t get me wrong. If you’re able to learn a new skill, then great! Go for it. Get in better shape. Learn to code. Cook something new and exciting.

But, realize that not everyone is there with you. And, just because they may be at another spot on the spectrum doesn’t mean they’re doing the pandemic wrong. They very likely are in a different life situation. It’s not because they’re not trying hard enough or that they don’t care. They may be trying to figure out how to pay their bills. They may feel afraid for their personal safety. Or, they may be trying to work and teach their kids at the same time.

In order to make it through a disaster, we have to do it together. We have to be aware that not every situation is the same. We have to be there for each other, even when it’s tough. This goes for coworkers, family members, and friends.

And, if things are going great for you, this is the time to be humble. Your struggling friends don’t need to see your fabulous photos online. They need to hear your kind voice.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

207 | COVID Job Search | Sami Harvey, Hilton and Eventbrite

Episode 207 is live! This week, we talk with Sami Harvey in Memphis, Tennessee

Sami is a UX Writer who has worked for hotel company Hilton and advertising agency Archer Malmo.

On today’s episode, Sami shares:

  • Advice for if we’ve been impacted by COVID and have lost our job
  • Tips for creating our sudden COVID resume
  • How to talk about COVID’s impact on your search

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about Sami’s new adventure, check out her website at www.outofthewoodswildlife.org.

Thank YOU for listening! If you’ve enjoyed the show today, don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts! When you subscribe, it helps to make the show easier for other job seekers to find the show!