Today’s workforce is more casual than generations in the past. Many companies allow employees to wear jeans and tennis shoes to work. And, we’re being more open about our personal lives.
There are many advantages to this. Openness can help to move us closer from diversity to inclusion. It’s about being able to bring your entire self to work.
The digital marketer in me has made friends with colleagues on social media in the past. In the world of digital marketing, social media is part of your toolkit. It’s another way you get your job done. But, this is a rare phenomenon that doesn’t apply to many jobs. So, this takes us back at the original question. Should you follow your boss on Instagram? Should you comment on your employees tweets? And, should you connect on LinkedIn?
I may be old fashioned, but this is my take. Social media is for your family and loved ones. If a colleague is close enough, then perhaps they should be considered. But, beyond that, work should be separate.
There are many things in life that are best kept separate from work, whether it’s politics, finances, or love. Your social media life is one of those things. On top of the party photos that may appear on your Facebook wall, you may share your opinions on the current political climate. You very likely are sharing things with your close friends that are different points of views than your colleagues share.
The last thing you want is for your weekend activities to have an impact on your work. In your mind, it may make no difference. But, you never know when someone may treat you differently based on what they see in your social media. And, they’re not going to tell you.
Keeping things separated can also help to increase your perceived level of professionalism. I’m often asked to speak on topics around executive presence. Executive presence is very much related to how people perceive you at work. And, it will impact whether or not you’re promoted or thought of for more advanced work.
So, as tempting as it is to want to be friends on social media with your colleagues, think twice. There are many pitfalls to this that you may not see now. And, you may want to take it a step further. You may want to make a universal policy that you don’t friend anyone on social media who you currently work with. That way, no one person will get their feelings hurt when they realize that you’ve friended someone else, but not them.
The one exception to all of this is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is an excellent way to maintain and grow your professional network.
In this month of love, we spend some of our time reflecting on those who are special in our lives. It’s also a great time to reflect on our job, and whether or not we love doing it. Think about how you feel on Sunday evening. Are you neutral about work on Monday, or do you dread it? Are you able to relax on Sunday evening or are you filled with anxiety and dread?
Your relationship with work isn’t all that different than your relationship with a significant other. If you aren’t excited to be there, or even worse, if you hate it, it may be time to break up.
The good news is, in today’s career environment, people are switching jobs all the time. If you think you may be ready to move on, take the time to plan out your next move.
What is it that you dislike about your current job? Is it the people? Is it the hours? Perhaps the commute is just too long.
What would you like to see in your new role? What industry would you prefer to work in? What role do you want? What’s your target salary? What type of work environment would make you happiest? What commute would you like to have?
Begin to outline what you want in a new role. Think about what would make you happy. As you go through this process, try not to create a list that is only things that are the opposite of what you hate today. For example, if your current company has people with a certain personality, you may want to avoid people with that personality. However, think deeper; think about what types of people you would like to work with.
As you create a new role for yourself, you want to try to move toward something more positive. This is different than moving away from something negative. If you get stuck in the cycle of running away from something, you may quickly find yourself in a new situation that you also dislike.
While you’re doing your research, be sure to check out Glassdoor.com. Current employees leave reviews of their company to let you know whether or not they love their jobs. This can also be very enlightening. Just like travel reviews, you shouldn’t take every review at face value. But, if you read enough reviews, you may begin to see a pattern – positive or negative.
As in a relationship, don’t wait until things completely break to move on. Pay attention to the signs and plan your exit. Don’t wait until you find yourself in crippling emotional pain that can make working impossible. You deserve a fresh start. You deserve to be happy, or at the very least, not miserable. If you start looking, you will find that a new company will value you and your skillset – and you just might love your job again.
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend lately. It’s not new, but it certainly seems to be increasing. When you are a customer and something goes wrong at a company, the company doesn’t resolve the issue until you get angry.
Can you relate to this experience? You have a problem with a product or service you received. There isn’t an easy way to get it addressed. So, perhaps you visit the company website. They try to funnel you to a frequently asked questions page. When that doesn’t work, you try live chat. You quickly learn that the live chat person on the other side isn’t a person at all. It’s an automated bot. So, you begin to ask for a real person. When you finally get a real person, they often don’t have the power to truly help you. They likely also haven’t been trained to have all the answers either. If you get very angry, eventually, someone knowledgeable will be assigned to help you. Companies often have a special team to handle angry customers. Then, suddenly, your issue will be resolved! In the meantime, you’ll be left with a headache and some level of exhaustion from all the work it took to get there. Depending on the company, this process could take minutes, hours, or even days.
I observe a similar phenomenon in today’s workplace. Often, it’s the loudest, most aggressive people who are able to push their agendas through. You may have even found yourself escalating issues at times when you would prefer not to, in order to get things done. And, you’ve probably had that headache and exhaustion.
It’s quite an unfortunate state of affairs when our currency is our anger. Whether you’re a customer or you’re at work, it should not be necessary to escalate to such a level to get resolution. People should be willing to follow through on their commitments. And, they should be honest and straightforward when they cannot.
As you go through your day, I hope you might take this idea into consideration. It may not help as much when you’re working to push an agenda through. But, I hope that when you are the gatekeeper, you may not require the other person to use anger as their currency. Try to be more flexible. Do what’s right, and what you would want if you were on the other side of the conversation.
They say that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Don’t require everyone to be a squeaky wheel. Help out when you know it’s the right thing to do. We should not be required to spend our days generating anger and frustration simply to achieve simple tasks. Life is too short to spend so much time in these negative emotions.
Let’s find our way to another kind of currency: honesty, commitment, and respect. Treat others with these things, and reward those who treat you with them.
Job searching can truly be gut wrenching. It’s probably like having children. After the pain of the birth is over, it can be largely forgotten. The job search is the same way, especially if you haven’t looked in a while. But, when you’re in it, it’s like you can taste it.
Every time you have an interview that doesn’t turn into something, it hurts. Even if it’s a job you didn’t really want, it can be painful. Not only do you wonder what’s wrong, your friends and family may vocalize the same concerns – to your face. It makes you wonder if you picked the right career, if you should go back to school, or if you should give up completely.
I often hear from job seekers who feel like they’ve failed. The common story is this. They found a job that was perfect for them. They applied. They were interviewed a few times. Then, nothing came of it. The company ghosted them, or told them they found a more qualified candidate.
Rightfully so, the job seeker can feel crushed. They feel like the loss of this job is a reflection on their abilities. But, the problem is this. We don’t really know why they were rejected. Even when the company provides feedback, it can be hard to know if that feedback is the real reason the person was rejected.
For example, perhaps the job was put on hold. Or, maybe an internal candidate at the company had been promised the job before the interview even took place. Or, the hiring manager may have recruited someone from their old company. Very rarely will you know the real story.
But, what we do know is – job seeking is a numbers game. Most job searching happens online now. And, there’s a saying that it’s harder to find a job online than to get into an Ivy League college (from a numbers perspective). I think we can all agree. Getting into an Ivy League college is hard!
So, let’s also agree that getting a job is hard work. And frankly, it’s a numbers game. Rather than be upset when you don’t get one job, think of it differently. You may need to apply for one hundred jobs to land one. Those one hundred applications may turn into ten interviews. Those ten interviews may turn into one job offer.
Every time you get a no, you’re a little closer to a yes. And, so many times when you aren’t picked, perhaps it’s better. Maybe that team wasn’t right for you. Maybe there was something dysfunctional happening at the company.
As job seekers, it’s time that we reset our expectations. Instead of feeling that every job loss is a failure, look at it as practice. It’s practice interviewing, and practice getting you ready for the right job. But, in order to find that right job, you’ve got to keep pushing ahead.
Today, there are many ways to communicate. There’s old fashioned in person talking. There’s talking on a landline at home or work, and talking on a cell phone. Then, there’s email and cell phone texting. If you keep going, you’ll find things like messaging on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and so many more.
Chances are good that you assume that other people prefer to communicate the way you do. For example, if you’re comfortable with texting on your cell phone for business, you may do it without consideration as to whether the person on the other end is okay with it too.
But, we’re in the middle of an interesting time communication wise. In one workplace, you have many different generations working together. There are those who didn’t use computers until they were well into their professional careers. There are those in Generation X that grew up without computers, and then with them later in school. And, then you have those who don’t remember a time without computers or cell phones.
Every generation may have different communication preferences. Even within a generation, the preferences vary. One person may feel completely comfortable texting any time of day or night about work. Another may feel completely comfortable to call. While a third may think nothing about sending an email with many people carbon copied on it.
The problem is, when we don’t openly discuss our preferences, we may annoy those we work with. It’s not to say that disclosing our own preference will mean everyone will accommodate our wishes. But, if we don’t talk about the differences, we won’t know where the pitfalls are. After all, there’s no one right way to communicate.
I prefer not to text about work. I’d rather have an in person conversation, a phone call, or an email. Email feels easiest for me. Although there are times when a live conversation is more effective.
Whatever you do, don’t assume. You may even want to talk to your team at work about what the communication guidelines will be in your group. What does each person prefer? Is it okay to text or email at night or on the weekends? When is it appropriate and when should things wait? Are there times when a meeting is more effective, or is the efficiency of email the way to go?
The same thought process should be applied to job interviews. If you’re the company, be aware that job seekers may not love it that you text them or call with no notice. You’re right that they’ve never complained. It’s because they’re hoping to get a job from you, and they want to be easy to work with. If you’re the candidate, rely on more traditional communication methods such as phone and email. Don’t assume the company is okay with a text. And, only call if the recruiter or hiring manager has given you their contact information.