Category: Personal Development
You’ve just landed a new job. You’re happy—but also scared. While getting a job inspires pride and excitement, the prospect of facing the unknown can be scary.
Fortunately, there are commonsense solutions to dealing with new job stress. “Since a new job is almost always accompanied by new surroundings, new co-workers, new responsibilities and many uncertainties, starting a new job is a significant source of stress,” explains Melissa Stöppler, MD, who writes for the About Stress Management Guide.
“Coupled with the necessity of dealing with unfamiliar surroundings, people and expectations, beginning a new job is also associated with the fear of failure, losing the job and possible unemployment.” But rather than let your new job stress overwhelm you, try to pinpoint the causes of your anxiety.
Making a good first impression
Don’t take yourself too seriously—cut yourself some slack if it takes you a while to learn the layout of a new building or get your co-workers’ names right.
Try to personalize your workspace, but make sure you adhere to any company policies regarding office decoration. Also, ask about the dress code before you start.
Learning new rules
You probably will encounter an entirely new workplace culture in your new job. You can minimize the transition period by learning the ins and outs of the job as quickly as possible. Find out as much about your company and department as you can. Study the company hierarchy. Establish how rigidly your co-workers adhere to the chain of command and find out where you fit in. Learn whether your department encourages teamwork or independent work.
Working with new people
Being the new kid on the block is one of the most intimidating aspects of starting a new job. Try to gauge the level of familiarity at the office. Do people treat each other as close friends or keep their work and personal lives separate?
Be friendly and respectful with everyone. Try to make yourself part of the office grapevine or you may find yourself permanently out of the loop. However, avoid getting involved in office politics, which often are negative.
Meeting new expectations
Most managers who fail in new jobs start derailing during the very first weeks, reports management consultant Niels Nielsen in his book Princeton Management Consultants Guide to Your New Job. Nielsen cites a Forbes magazine article listing lack of communication as the biggest factor in that failure rate. Ask for clarification if you feel unsure about what’s expected of you, even if that makes you uncomfortable. More importantly, listen to what people tell you.
Dealing with fear of losing your job
When you start a job, your most immediate concern may be hanging on to it. Uncertainty about your performance, coupled with a fickle economy, may leave you feeling uneasy.
“Many people begin new jobs knowing that the rule ‘last hired, first fired’ will possibly apply to them,” Stöppler says. “You are entitled to ask questions about the company and its strategies for weathering (an) economic storm. Showing concern about your—and the company’s—future is a positive characteristic rather than a deficiency on your part. The more you know about the future prospects of your new job, the better you will be able to deal with stressors and unexpected situations that might arise.”
Use change to your advantage. Log your accomplishments as a way to track progress in your new position. However, if the stress associated with a new job is seriously affecting your life, make sure you get appropriate professional help.
Are you having regrets about your recent career move? You’re not alone. Plenty of employees in new jobs, companies or careers wish they could turn back—but the experts say you shouldn’t make any impulsive moves.
“It is very common for an employee to make a big career change, sit at their new desk on the first day, and think, ‘What have I done?’” says Rebecca Thorman, a speaker, blogger, and careers writer at Kontrary.com. “We all go through a transition period when changing jobs, simply because we need to acclimate to a new environment, new people and new tasks and responsibilities. The beginning is usually the toughest.”
Mark Strong, a life, career and executive coach based in New York, says: “I certainly do encounter people who find that they’ve made a career move that they regret. Either they’ve misjudged a situation or company, or hastily jumped at an offer because of money or status.”
Anna Sidana, Founder and CEO of One Million Lights, agrees. “I believe the biggest reason someone would regret changing careers or jobs is because they expected something other than what they got,” she explains. Perhaps they didn’t ask the right questions in the interview or job search process—or didn’t do all of their research on the company, job or career before making the change. “It is also possible that they were not aware of their own capabilities and over-reached for a position that they might not be ready for.”
A big career move could constitute all sorts of changes, including moving to a new city, taking on new responsibilities, or even changing professions completely. With all these variables at play, there is a lot of room for missed expectations. “In addition, the real nature of a job is only revealed once someone is in it,” Sidana says. “So there are definitely times when people might regret a big career move after the fact.”
Why else might an employee have doubts about his or her new job?
Sometimes employees start looking through rose-colored glasses once they’re removed from a situation, says David Shindler, author of Learning to Leap, A Guide to Being More Employable, and founder of social learning site, The Employability Hub. “They might start to think their previous role wasn’t as bad as they thought.”
C. Roberts, author of Trying Isn’t Losing, says people typically seek change in their careers for new opportunities (such as the ability to advance), a better quality of life, and more money–so if an employee takes a new job and realizes opportunities are limited or quality of life is diminished (maybe they’re asked to work weekends, longer hours, or have issues with the boss or co-workers), then money will likely not fill that gap, he says. “If one or more of these items are inferior to the previous employer, then regret is natural.”
Finally, there are those who have regrets because they don’t adapt well to change. “At an old job, an employee is used to the way things are done and most likely, has developed a system for getting the desired results in that position,” Thorman says. “A new job is filled with the great unknown.”
If the new job isn’t all it was hyped up to be (or you realize your previous situation wasn’t so bad after all) and you want to go back, here’s what you should do:
Don’t have regrets.
If you’re unhappy or have doubts; fine–but don’t have regrets. “I believe regret is an unhealthy state of mind as it eats away at your soul and prevents you from living in the present,” Shindler says. “When you make a decision, there are always consequences, new opportunities and realities.” Rather than beat yourself up over your decision to change jobs or careers, you need to look forward and make a plan.
Remember that starting a new job is hard.
Everyone struggles in the first few months to make connections, understand the company, and develop relationships, Strong says. “It takes time to feel at home in your new job. People who have changed jobs before know that well. But it’s hard for everyone the first time.” Try to have realistic expectations for the transition.
Give it time.
Don’t make any irrational decisions. Unless you’re in an unsafe situation, there’s no reason to give up on the new job immediately.
“I always advise people to give it six months if they can,” Strong says. “Change is hard and can be very uncomfortable. Most of the time, people figure things out and get comfortable enough to stay long-term.”
Thorman agrees. She says it takes time to learn and conquer a new position and company. “Most likely, you changed jobs for that exact challenge. But if after a few months you’re still not feeling it, there’s no reason to stay at a job for any period of prescribed time. Get searching for a new job, and don’t look back.”
Kathryn Stockett’s best-selling book is now a movie, but it was almost nipped in the bud.
If you ask my husband my best trait, he’ll smile and say, “She never gives up.” But if you ask him my worst trait, he’ll get a funny tic in his cheek, narrow his eyes and hiss, “She. Never. Gives. Up.”
It took me a year and a half to write my earliest version of The Help. I’d told most of my friends and family what I was working on. Why not? We are compelled to talk about our passions. When I’d polished my story, I announced it was done and mailed it to a literary agent.
Six weeks later, I received a rejection letter from the agent, stating, “Story did not sustain my interest.” I was thrilled! I called my friends and told them I’d gotten my first rejection! Right away, I went back to editing. I was sure I could make the story tenser, more riveting, better.
A few months later, I sent it to a few more agents. And received a few more rejections. Well, more like 15. I was a little less giddy this time, but I kept my chin up. “Maybe the next book will be the one,” a friend said. Next book? I wasn’t about to move on to the next one just because of a few stupid letters. I wanted to write this book.
A year and a half later, I opened my 40th rejection: “There is no market for this kind of tiring writing.” That one finally made me cry. “You have so much resolve, Kathryn,” a friend said to me. “How do you keep yourself from feeling like this has been just a huge waste of your time?”
That was a hard weekend. I spent it in pajamas, slothing around that racetrack of self-pity—you know the one, from sofa to chair to bed to refrigerator, starting over again on the sofa. But I couldn’t let go of The Help. Call it tenacity, call it resolve or call it what my husband calls it: stubbornness.
After rejection number 40, I started lying to my friends about what I did on the weekends. They were amazed by how many times a person could repaint her apartment. The truth was, I was embarrassed for my friends and family to know I was still working on the same story, the one nobody apparently wanted to read.
Sometimes I’d go to literary conferences, just to be around other writers trying to get published. I’d inevitably meet some successful writer who’d tell me, “Just keep at it. I received 14 rejections before I finally got an agent. Fourteen. How many have you gotten?”
By rejection number 45, I was truly neurotic. It was all I could think about—revising the book, making it better, getting an agent, getting it published. I insisted on rewriting the last chapter an hour before I was due at the hospital to give birth to my daughter. I would not go to the hospital until I’d typed The End. I was still poring over my research in my hospital room when the nurse looked at me like I wasn’t human and said in a New Jersey accent, “Put the book down, you nut job—you’re crowning.”
It got worse. I started lying to my husband. It was as if I were having an affair—with 10 black maids and a skinny white girl. After my daughter was born, I began sneaking off to hotels on the weekends to get in a few hours of writing. I’m off to the Poconos! Off on a girls’ weekend! I’d say. Meanwhile, I’d be at the Comfort Inn around the corner. It was an awful way to act, but—for God’s sake—I could not make myself give up.
In the end, I received 60 rejections forThe Help. But letter number 61 was the one that accepted me. After my five years of writing and three and a half years of rejection, an agent named Susan Ramer took pity on me. What if I had given up at 15? Or 40? Or even 60? Three weeks later, Susan sold The Help to Amy Einhorn Books.
The point is, I can’t tell you how to succeed. But I can tell you how not to: Give in to the shame of being rejected and put your manuscript—or painting, song, voice, dance moves, [insert passion here]—in the coffin that is your bedside drawer and close it for good. I guarantee you that it won’t take you anywhere. Or you could do what this writer did: Give in to your obsession instead.
And if your friends make fun of you for chasing your dream, remember—just lie.
Avoid confusing staff as substitutes for friends and work on building trust slowly, experts say.
Your human resources team can help you be a better manager, get promoted, and even deal with a lawsuit. But there are a few things that you should never share with HR.
The key is to be mindful: “You need to be sure you are communicating what you want your management to know,” says Clinical Professor of Management John Millikin, Ph.D. of the W.P. Carey School of Business.
If you’re concerned but still think HR should know something, ask for discretion: “It is up to you to communicate what you want to be kept confidential. Like any relationship, you should build trust slowly,” suggests Millikin.
Here are 4 things that experts say HR should never be privy to:
1. Things You Wouldn’t Share with Your Direct Manager
HR is there to help you deal with your manager, but they’re also there to help your manager deal with you, so don’t count on privacy.
“HR works in that difficult space between employees and management, and must act on serious issues they learn about, whether you want them to act or not. Go to HR for help in solving problems, but not as a substitute for a best friend or neighbor,” says Bruce Clarke, president and CEO of CAI, a human resource management firm.
2. Your Medical or Financial Issues
Your HR staff is tasked with keeping your work life well and functioning — your home life isn’t usually their business.
This includes “medical conditions, whether it be personal or family ongoing or past physical or mental issues… or financial issues like foreclosure,” notes Lauren MacArthur, CPC and partner at Winter, Wyman & Co., a northeastern U.S. staffing firm.
The reason? HR wants stable performers and may be concerned if aspects of your home life seem unstable. Of course, if you need their help in order to do your job because of these issues, then you may need to discuss them, but do so cautiously.
3. Your Online Profile (if It’s Not Professional)
At some point during hiring or after, your HR rep may check out your online profile just to make sure you’re not bashing the company online or acting in a way that reflects them poorly.
So it goes without saying to never post inappropriate or potentially offensive photos, videos, wall posts, updates, or other content on Facebook or other social networks.
“Even when your privacy settings are tight, you never know who might see your profile,” says Holly Paul, the U.S. Recruiting Leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers.
4. How Great Your Parental Leave Was
If your company gave you maternity or paternity leave, mention how much you appreciated it to HR — but show them that you’ve integrated back in and are glad to be back. The same goes when discussing a past leave in a job interview.
“You don’t want to dwell on why you took any leave (parental or otherwise) because it’s not relevant, and you want to move on to what’s relevant” — like your current skills and experience, says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, partner in Six-Figure Start and co-author of How the Fierce Handle Fear; Secrets to Succeeding in Challenging Times.
For workers with these skills, switching careers could be an easier proposition.
Are you thinking of switching careers? When making your plans, don’t discount the power of transferrable skills and additional schooling.
“Everyone needs to be open to the idea of updating their skills through classes or getting a degree,” says Andrea Kay, a Cincinnati-based career expert. To help you figure out where to start, we put together a list of transferrable skills and matched them with popular career tracks.
Are you able to stay focused while juggling multiple responsibilities at work? Is your cubicle or desk neat and organized, even during the busiest part of your day? If so, you may be more ready than you think to move into a new career that values organizational skills…
Organizational skills could come in handy when juggling administrative and clinical tasks as a medical assistant. Often working in a busy hospital or doctor’s office, medical assistants might help with complete paperwork, take a patient’s vital signs, and assist physicians during exams.
Education: Earning a certificate in medical assisting or an associate’s degree in medical assisting is a great step towards pursuing this career and can generally be completed in two years or less, depending on school, program, and course load.
Average Earnings: $29,760
The “ability to organize” is cited by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations on its website as a key skill that paralegals need. As a paralegal you would help lawyers research and prepare documents and legal strategies. Transitioning into this career may make sense for organized-types who can demonstrate that they are detail-oriented and work well under pressure.
Education: An associate’s degree in paralegal studies is a common way to pursue this career, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. For those who already have a degree, earning a certificate in paralegal studies is another option. Certificate and associate’s degrees could be completed in two years or less, depending on school, program, and course load.
Average Earnings: $49,640
Do you work well with others and enjoy meeting new people? If you find it easy to strike up a conversation, you might want to consider transitioning to a career that will put your people skills to work.
Human Resources Specialist
The ability to work well with different personalities can be an asset for HR specialists, who help companies recruit and retain the best and brightest workers. Talented people with strong communication skills may find it easier than others to transition into an HR position.
Education: Getting a bachelor’s degree in human resources or business administration is a helpful stepping stone for those interested in a career in HR, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Average Earnings: $57,830
People skills are crucial for sales representatives, who need to be able to communicate how their product will benefit potential clients. If you have a winning smile and an engaging personality, you may already possess assets that could help you transition into sales.
Education: There is no specific degree that sales representatives typically have, though communication skills are “essential,” according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Therefore studying communications, marketing, or business might give you the kinds of skills you need to pursue this career track. An associate’s degree, which generally takes two years to complete, depending on school and course load, could help one transition into this field.
Average Earnings: $62,720
Do you love brainstorming? Are you able to see potential where others see problems? If you are a creative person who is looking for a new career, these exciting options may pique your interest.
Coming up with creative ideas on behalf of clients is a part of many graphic design gigs. A sense of style and knowledge of the latest graphic design computer software can offer a boost for anyone looking for a swift transition into this career.
Education: Aspiring graphic designers, take note: a bachelor’s degree in graphic design is usually required for both entry-level and advanced positions, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. If you already have a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated area, consider completing a shorter certificate program that can help bring you up to speed on technical requirements typical of this career track.
Average Earnings: $48,140
Marketing is a career that requires a blend of business and creative skills. As a marketing specialist, you’ll likely be brainstorming ways to market products to the public while also helping set price points and monitoring the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
Education: For marketing positions, employers often prefer a bachelor’s degree in business administration or MBA with an emphasis in marketing, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The Department adds that any sales experience you have can also be useful preparation when transitioning into marketing.
Average Earnings: $66,850
Speaking at least three times in each meeting can help you get a promotion.
Fortunately, you are not under the illusion that if you are talented and hardworking, kind people will notice and you will get your just reward.
Many people are still there waiting for a promotion or increase future, more disillusioned and depressed with each passing day. Getting promoted means getting noticed, which is not something that happens on its own. But you can do it using the four strategies as often as possible.
Volunteer for assignments
Stay alert for opportunities that allow you to do any or all of the following:
Submit your best skills
Align your efforts with the main interests of your boss.
You must remain vigilant and monitor the situations to occur. Make sure your hand goes back before the others in the class to realize that there is an opportunity.
Speak Up at least three times at each meeting
If you are an introvert, this might be a stretch for you, but there are ways to train and prepare. It is a world dominated by extroverted, where people who take more time to formulate their thoughts often find that the conversation has ridden in a different direction before they have a chance to respond.
Here’s a simple solution: Get the agenda ahead of time, and read the script (writing for yourself so you can check your notes during the meeting) some of the ideas you have developed. Then a glance at your notes during the debate moving fast will help give some ideas of dynamite into the fray. When you are calm, one can think that nothing happens in your head. Do not let people, especially your boss, you think about this.
Stay informed and let it show
Read, surf the Web or chat with colleagues in your field, and keep in touch with what’s happening in your profession. Then be sure to drop nuggets of what you learned and your conclusions on the information you have gathered in conversations, memos or other material relevant work. Take time to have some interesting and useful ideas, and make sure other people know about them.
In today’s organizations, being informed of what’s happening this week is only half the battle, who will be rewarded with raises and promotions are those who prove that they think ahead to be strategic rather than reactive.
Document Your Success
Let people know what is happening as a matter of course. When you have a brief encounter with someone and a plan is set, send an email confirming who does what and copy those involved. When you receive a positive comment or a thank you for someone to forward it to your boss, assuming she’ll want to see good news coming in about the work unit, its control. After all, your success is ultimately its success.
So many people complain that they are simply not appreciated and their colleagues and bosses take them for granted. Remember that you have to act so that your efforts are rewarded and your work is noticed. And if the rewards are not forthcoming, start a job search so you can find a better opportunity.
“All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think we become” – Buddha
The Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama) (563 BCE – 483 BCE) Spiritual teacher from ancient India and the historical founder of Buddhism.
After a reputed 49 days of meditation under the Bodhi tree, at the age of 35, he is said to have attained Enlightenment. At the time of his awakening he realized complete insight into the cause of suffering, and the steps necessary to eliminate it. These discoveries became known as the “Four Noble Truths”, which are at the heart of Buddhist teaching. Through mastery of these truths, a state of supreme liberation, or Nirvana, is believed to be possible for any being.
If any of these work scenarios sounds familiar, meet with your boss and rethink your attitude.
Your career may lose power for several reasons: a lack of opportunities, changes in industry and the plain old boredom are just a few of them.
Wondering if your career has stalled? Here are some of the signs above, according to experts:
1. Your role and responsibilities have not changed in a few years or more.
2. You have bounced from one employer to without much change in job title or salary.
3. You can not remember the last time you learned something new about your industry or field.
4. People hired after being promoted faster than you.
5. You are not invited to important meetings or discussions of the kind you used to attend.
6. You have fewer tasks you used to.
7. Review the performance contain words such as “consistently meets expectations” or “adequate performance.”
8. No one at work asking for your help – or anyone in your professional network application advice.
9. You dread going to work in the morning.
10. Your manager and colleagues to stop communicating with you – usually your phone rings less and less e-mails you get.
11. You spend a lot of time complaining about work, where and when you tell stories about work, you’re history “victim”, not his hero. Sound familiar? Do not be afraid – there are many ways to get your career back in the fast lane.
Here are some ideas:
Talk to your boss
A first step is to solve the problems head on. For example, if you were stuck in the same position with the same employer, request a copy of the hierarchy title and job descriptions in your organization, says Debra Vergennes, author of the Resource Guide Job Safety creation. “Working with Human Resources and your boss to know what steps you must take to get from where you are in the next step up,” she said.
Otherwise, tell your boss that you are ready for new challenges and new assignments. If you have been quietly doing your job and keep your head down, it may not make you feel dissatisfied.
Ask what you need
Alan G. Bauer, President Recruiter Bauer Consulting Group, says you can ask your manager for advice on what you need to improve. Also, it says you can ask your HR department what happens with a late raise. “If your merit increases are below ‘to your colleagues, there may be a problem,” he said, “The company budgeted a certain amount for salary increases. – If you do not get you, you need to know why.”
Brad Karsh, founder and president of the firm JobBound career services, said to look for ways to be more effective, efficient and strategic. “Ask your manager about the possibility of a rotation program to see the inner workings of the company and sit back and new ideas,” he said.
Taking the initiative
Karsh also suggested to determine what your boss keeps up the night. “Find a way to solve this problem,” he said. “You must be a key player.”
You can also take courses or work for a degree, suggests Marie Greenwood, author of How to Interview Like a Pro.
Or look on the job. “If you value learning, you can volunteer for a project that will require new skills,” says executive coach Elene Cafasso. “Perhaps you can transfer to another area of the business or to learn what is necessary to save a colleague.”
Rick Dacre Uncomplicating author of Management, suggests active involvement in professional associations. “Get a leadership role to address the group or write an article for the newsletter, for example,” he said.
Adjust your attitude
Negativity is one of the most career killers. “If you spend a lot of your energy to moan and whine about your situation, it’s time to try to make a fresh start before you become so emotionally costly that the organization feels the need to cut,” said Cy Wakeman, author of Reality-Based Leadership.
Identification of your dissatisfaction and take action to solve is the first step. The next step could be to update your resume and start looking for a new job. “He may cling to a working relationship is unhealthy and unproductive is holding you back,” Vergennes said: “I attended a handful of people this year who identified their dissatisfaction and set a date to quit smoking -. Even without a job waiting – and found something just before or after the date of their resignation Sometimes you just have to take this action”
If your career has stalled, perhaps a new career is the right answer. Start exploring the options by reaching out to your professional network, twinning or talk to your HR department about an internal transfer.
Use some free time to take online classes and work toward a new degree.
Thinking of switching careers or adding some skills to your resume? Looking for the right time to go back to school and get your degree? Summertime may be the right time to get started.
Summer classes are quickly becoming a popular option for college students of all kinds, according to Kyle Brown, director of online learning at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Canton.
Summer enrollment at SUNY Canton, for example, has jumped nearly 300 percent over the past four years, says Brown. Much of that growth is due to the fact that 90 percent of its summer classes are available online.
Want to use the summer to get a head start on your education? We’ve spotlighted some of the fastest growing careers through 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and separated them into three different career categories. Using this data, we also included the most common degree or preparation needed in each career. Keep reading to see why summertime may be the right time to start these programs…
Head Start Option 1: Health Care Programs
Looking for a red hot degree program to start this summer? Consider pursuing a degree in health care. With health care reform in full swing, it’s an exciting time to dive into this rewarding profession.
Associate’s in Medical Assisting
Medical Assistant – $29,450
Dental Assisting Certificate
Dental Assistant – $34,000
Associate’s in Nursing
Registered Nurse – $66,530
Did You Know? Ten of the 20 fastest growing jobs in the country through 2018 are in health care, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and nursing and medical assisting careers are on the list!
Head Start Option 2: Business Programs
Looking to give your career a boost? Start the process this summer and consider studying business. As a whole, the industry is showing positive signs of heating up. In March 2011, small businesses in the U.S. added 50,000 new jobs, according to the Intuit Small Business Employment Index.
Bachelor’s in Accounting
Accountant – $67,430
Bachelor’s in Business
Personal Financial Advisor – $94,180
Master of Business Administration
Marketing Manager – $120,070
Did You Know? Personal financial advisors are enjoying a 30 percent increase in employment opportunities through 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Head Start Option 3: Technology Programs
Summer is a perfect time to start gaining the skills one would need to start a career in technology, which is an industry always in search of the next hot thing. What it will be isn’t clear, but it’s safe to say that professionals with a background in technology will be behind it, just like they were for Twitter, iPads, and the like.
Bachelor’s in Information Systems
Computer Support Specialist – $47,360
Bachelor’s in Network Administration
Network Systems Administrator – $70,930
Bachelor’s in Computer Science
Computer Programmer – $74,690
Did You Know? Network systems analysts are enjoying a whopping 53 percent increase in employment opportunities through 2018, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.