How to Enjoy Your Time Away From the Office

Motivation to go to work every day is an important component to our overall happiness. The average work week is for a full time employee is 47 hours per week. With the rise of smartphones, laptop computers and email, our contentedness makes our office anywhere we are in the world.  

For example, now when I go on vacation I actually need to mentally disconnect, plan my work and turn off email to enjoy my vacation. It’s taken me practice to get to this point of disconnection, but it makes me more present and in the moment of my experiences. Early in my career, I would be constantly checking my email, phone notifications and calling the office. I didn’t mentally ‘check-out’ of the office. I was never gone. It was a disservice for me as a human, a spouse and employee to not recharge and experience my time away from work.  

If you are an entrepreneur, self-employed, hourly or in school, any time you are away from work, it means money not in the bank. So, please make sure to enjoy your time off with these tips and make the most of your time experiencing new places. The ability to step away and recharging gives you the motivation to take on new challenges. Stepping away from your business is extra important for this group. I want to stress these tips are for you, too.       

How to Enjoy Your Time Away & Come Back Recharged

Communicate with Your Team

Going on vacation for any amount of time leaves a gap. Your position fills a key need in your team or department. Who will be the point person while you are gone? Even before a vacation is on the books, you need to have a plan in place to address your absence. When I was on a team, I would communicate with my leader of my desire to have a back up plan in place. A back up plan is the most effective way to keep your work moving forward. It can also keep another person in the loop on your ‘day to day’ just in case you are out of the office for an extended period of time. When you do go on vacation, you can meet with your teammate to funnel key messaging to this in-person office contact.

Disconnect from certain accounts / Turn off Notifications

I learned later in my career it is OKAY to disconnect from email. We become to accustomed to certain behaviors in the workplace, we accept it as the norm. When I go on vacation I disconnect from work email accounts and only check email once a day from an offsite computer. I communicated this to my co-workers so they understand my communication isn’t within the minute of sending the email, it would be more like checking at night and they would receive it at work the following morning. I also turn off all notifications and the email counter on my iphone app. I started to do this in my normal ‘everyday life’. It has absolutely helped reduce my anxiety. I highly recommend it!   

Out of Office Reply

I always use out of office replies. Many people I have worked with over the year have varying opinions on out of office replies. I see this as a generational and career choice difference. For example, when working with a lawyer, he saw his role as being at the call of his clients, so he was always reachable—he never had an out of office message. My roles within non-profit or higher education institutions, it was paramount to place an out of office on my email. If an answer needed to happen by end of business day, the out of office message would reply back to the sender, allowing them to go another direction in getting an answer.

It took a negative vacation experience to shake me back to reality. I was on a planned family vacation during the wrap up of a large work project. It was stressful to manage such a large project virtually and enjoy my family time. It was my hubby who helped me come to the realization everyone at the family function was stepping away from their own important work—not just me—and I was constantly using my emails, calls, etc. to show I value work more, while my family was valuing their time together. This experience really stuck with me, so I write this for everyone having challenges with disconnecting. Take my example to heart, and take time to implement these tips to your daily routine to be present in each moment.

Career Love Collective is on a mission to mentor women to overcome workplace challenges to they can be authentic and confident in all stages of life. Wanna chat over a latte or skype? I wanna get to know you, and what makes you…well YOU. Sign up for a free 30 minute assessment and let’s reach your goals together!

XOXO,

Jess

Early Signs of Office Bullying

I was bullied by my boss.

After nearly 6 years, I still feel guilt, shame and anger creeping up while writing to you. I am bringing workplace bullying to light in this post as my way to bring attention to Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Bringing workplace bullying to the forefront and telling my story is a temporary discomfort but what is more important is to let you know that you are not alone. If you, or someone you know, are facing a deep depression, hopelessness or anger due to a workplace situation, I am here to let you know you can come out stronger on the other side.  

My bully was a person I was excited to work with.

My bully was a women only a few years my senior.

This topic of bullying defined and dominated most of my twenties as a young professional. I was an adult women in the workplace ready to give up. My bully attacked, watched, targeted, tricked, pushed out, worn down and torn down.  I wasn’t personally equipped to handle the constant emotional toll of bullying.  I was on an isolated island needing help. No one had the proper safety raft for me. It was an emotional exhausting island and I was stranded.

Adults are bullied at work and in personal relationships everyday.  I ultimately left the organization I loved. My bully was not held accountable, which allowed the same actions to continue.

While I continued to work at different organizations, it was difficult for me to adjust to a non-bully boss. In meetings with new coworkers, I had internal emotional wounds of bullying. Even though I was in a new environment, I would adjust my reaction as if I was still managed by a bully boss. Bad advice from friends and family was to never disclose the bullying to my new workplace. It took me months of re-training my emotions to react appropriately.  

Early Signs of Office Bullying

Experiences Outside Work

  • You feel like throwing up the night before the start of your work week
  • Frustrated family demands that you to stop obsessing about work at home
  • Your doctor asks what could be causing your skyrocketing blood pressure and recent health problems, and tells you to change jobs
  • You feel too ashamed of being controlled by another person at work to tell your spouse or partner
  • All your paid time off is used for “mental health breaks” from the misery
  • Days off are spent exhausted and lifeless, your desire to do anything is gone
  • Your favorite activities and fun with family are no longer appealing or enjoyable
  • You begin to believe that you provoked the workplace cruelty

Experiences At Work

  • You attempt the obviously impossible task of doing a new job without training or time to learn new skills, but that work is never good enough for the boss
  • Surprise meetings are called by your boss with no results other than further humiliation
  • Everything your tormenter does to you is arbitrary and capricious, working a personal agenda that undermines the employer’s legitimate business interests
  • Others at work have been told to stop working, talking, or socializing with you
  • You are constantly feeling agitated and anxious, experiencing a sense of doom, waiting for bad things to happen
  • No matter what you do, you are never left alone to do your job without interference
  • People feel justified screaming or yelling at you in front of others, but you are punished if you scream back
  • HR tells you that your harassment isn’t illegal, that you have to “work it out between yourselves”
  • You finally, firmly confront your tormentor to stop the abusive conduct and you are accused of harassment
  • You are shocked when accused of incompetence, despite a history of objective excellence, typically by someone who cannot do your job
  • Everyone — co-workers, senior bosses, HR — agrees (in person and orally) that your tormentor is a jerk, but there is nothing they will do about it (and later, when you ask for their support, they deny having agreed with you)
  • Your request to transfer to an open position under another boss is mysteriously denied

Retrieved from http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/early-signs/

Now I see I gave too much power to my bully. My sense of self was wrapped up in my work, pleasing others. My bully took advantage of those two situations.

If you are being bullied, it’s not okay. Bullying is not normal office behavior. A boss is not allowed to be your bully. Find your voice. Stand up for yourself. Career Love Collective is here to help you find your purpose. We empower you to do amazing things by being you. You don’t have to change who you are, you need to BE who you are to make an impact. 

XOXO,

Jess

 

Additional information can be found with these organizations

Workplace Bullying: www.workplacebullying.org

Suicide Prevention Awareness https://www.nami.org/Get-Involved/Awareness-Events/Suicide-Prevention-Awareness-Month

Quitting a Job with Confidence and Grace

I never advocate abruptly quitting a job. When you find yourself wanting to quit, ask yourself some questions. Why did you want the job on day one? Why do you want to quit? Are the reasons other people or the work you are doing? 

Let me breakdown ways you need to approach your job and get your control back.  

Continue Reading

Confident Job Interview Series – Where Do You See Yourself In 5 Years?

You might be just starting a job search, in the middle of a job search or looking occasionally. Whatever your job interview status, I have a tip that will take the guess work out of a big question. This method allows you to be confident, honest and in the moment. No need to bring up the past or feel threatened by what the future might hold.  

Picture yourself in a job interview. You prepared extensively on the background of the company and reviewed the job description with a fine toothed comb.  You think to yourself, “I am nailing this interview!”. Then, the looming life question is asked from the interviewer.

“Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”

Ummmm….[mind goes blank]

For some that answer is easy, for others it is daunting.

Great news, you can easily answer this question confidently without telling the hiring manager too much about specifics of the job, past companies or personal life.  However, you do want to make your future intentions clear without scaring the hiring manager.

Use the scenario below to help guide you through your future interview.

Example Scenario

Question: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Abby: Current job interview for web designer

Longterm Desire: To be in a leadership position

Goal of Answer: Be honest in your career expectations/growth and align your goals with position

Let’s put it all together….:  “This position at Blue House Design is exciting to me for a few reasons. In five years I hope to be an expert in web design layout. Your reputation with online content is the best in the city. With the strong culture of design work here at Blue House Design, I know I can learn from amazing professionals here at Blue House Design. Also, in the coming years I am very open to leading a team of designers. I have had wonderful mentors, so leading others is something I am very passionate about.”

It’s okay if the job you are applying for isn’t the job of your dreams. If you are always learning and seek out mentors challenging  you to be your best self, you are on a wonderful path for personal and professional growth.

 

Career Love Collective is on a mission to empower all women to be their best self and reach their fullest potential. Wanna chat over a latte or skype? I wanna get to know you, and what makes you…well YOU. Sign up for a free 30 minute assessment and let’s reach your goals together! 

XOXO,

Jess

  

 

Reframing is at the Heart of Resilience

Once a week I volunteer with a local women’s advocacy organization. I mainly help in the childcare center. This usually consists of reading books, coloring or playing pretend cooking with toddlers for a few hours.

Lately, the amount of babies we have to watch is more than usual, so I have been helping where I can in the nursery area.

Some babies are just learning to walk. It’s so special to have the opportunity to watch their progress. Most days they are very unsteady on their feet, trying to grasp onto any object around them for steady footing. Sometimes they bump their arm or their face. Other times they land hard on their backside.

What matters most is how the child gets up to the next move. When their face bumps a chair, do they start crying immediately with a gut wrenching cry, or do they get jolted a bit, looking perplexed with the chair and crawl away to climb another chair.

Resiliency is all about the bounce-back and finding the strength within yourself to overcome. As Hara Estroff Marano notes in “The Art of Resilience”, resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs.

Marano goes on to say resilience can also be cultivated. It’s possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent. It’s possible to fortify your psyche. It’s possible to develop a sense of mastery.

It is also possible to be hurt and to rebound at the same time. We human beings are complex enough psychologically to accommodate the two. What the resilient do is refrain from blaming themselves for what has gone wrong. In the language of psychology, they externalize blame. And they internalize success; they take responsibility for what goes right in their lives.

Psychologist Edith Grotberg, Ph.D., believes that everyone needs reminders of the strengths they have.

She urges people to cultivate resilience by thinking along three lines:

I Have: strong relationships, structure, rules at home, role models; these are external supports that are provided;

I Am: a person who has hope and faith, cares about others, is proud of myself; these are inner strengths that can be developed;

I Can: communicate, solve problems, gauge the temperament of others, seek good relationships—all interpersonal and problem-solving skills that are acquired.  

Just as a little one is faced with the challenge of learning to walk without ever done it before, adults are faced with unanticipated road blocks each day. I am here to be your reminder that you can overcome any road block. Adults have the option to choose their state of mind in any situation at work or home.

The time is now for you to be your best self. In all of our services Career Love Collective provides unbiased communication to get you back on track. We practice reframing, it is at the heart of resilience. It is a way of shifting focus from the cup half empty to the cup half full. Take steps to ensure your future by investing in your future career development.   

Take time each morning to remind yourself “I Have…I Am… I Can”.

XOXO,

Jess

Networking, Networking, Networking…..is for EVERYONE!

Career (Professional) Networking is for EVERYONE!

Career networking should be part of everyday life in personal and professional settings. While many might not be comfortable striking up a conversation with a stranger or going to a new place alone, having a personal network is always something that should be in place. You will never know when or where you will need it. Constantly working towards a large network will help you in a job search and moving along the career ladder.      

What is Career Networking?

Career Networking or professional networking is keeping personal, professional or academic contacts to assist with a job search, achieve career goals, learn more about your field or learn about another career field. Networking is a great way to hear about new opportunities and get “in” with the organization you would like to work with.

Networking can help you get hired!

  • 70% of people in 2016 were hired at a company they had a connection
  • 80% of professionals consider professional networking to be important to career success

Linkedin report based upon users

Top Networking Tips

  1. Attend In-person Events– I understand the need for social media–I use it everyday. This is not an anti-social media post. However, face to face networking needs to be part of a larger strategy. Since there are a limited amount of hours in a day, make sure you are being critical to the clubs you are devoting your time.  
  2. Keep in touch with your network– I like to follow up with my network and send notes to people when they get promotions or new jobs. Keeping relationships positive takes work, but it is worth the time.
  3. Reciprocity—Do you know a hiring manager for a position and is a friend a perfect fit? Recommend them to the hiring manager! What can YOU do for your network?  
  4. Don’t limit your network– Some people might think “I am an IT manager, so I can only know other IT Managers to be the best IT manager.” FALSE! I was in this trap too. Meet others in any career track–not just your own.  Talk to everyone, listen to everyone. You will learn more about yourself by opening your mind and your network.
  5. Do your Homework–When you go into a networking event, sometimes there are 1,000 people at a single event with a 45 minute “mingle” timeframe. You will not meet everyone–so make sure you are prepared. Sometimes guest lists are online, giving a sneak peek of attendees. It will give you time to craft your list of “must meets”. Do you have a friend who works at a company of your “must meets”, ask them beforehand for an introduction–it is better than a cold handshake!
  6. Don’t ask for anything in return–Networking isn’t quid pro quo. Don’t even think of asking for a favor in the first meeting. If you have something to offer, make sure you CAN offer it and have the ability to follow through. It will go a long way in the relationship.
  7. Aim High–This is a personal tip I use, it parallels the saying “What do I have to lose?”. Do you want to meet the CEO of a company, go for it–thank them for doing a speech you recently heard or an article you read about the company (if positive). I always like to thank a speaker for their time at luncheons or breakfasts, you get to meet the CEO while everyone is sitting in their car in traffic. It builds confidence and doesn’t take too much effort.
  8. Bring a PIC (Partner in Crime)–If you are new to networking, bring a PIC (partner in crime). I had a wonderful networking buddy in my early days. She took me under her wing and gave me the “do’s and dont’s” of networking. It helped me until I was ready to go out on my own.     

I am very proud of having a wonderful and robust network. It has helped me in my professional career and my personal life as well. At Career Love, I take away the mystery of personal branding and get you comfortable starting a vast network that will suit you well in your life and career.  People in my exclusive personal brand re-vamp course master the “how to’s” of getting yourself noticed and out into the community.  You are ready to take your career to the next level.

Many of my connections have helped me with personal needs like finding a personal finance adviser, automotive shop for my car, a veterinarian for my car, all the vendors for my wedding and previous jobs before postings were made public! A network can be a trustworthy source for you and your family now and in the future.  

XOXO,

Jess

 

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Culture Fit 101 – What to Look for During the Job Search

Dear Jess,

I am starting a stealth job search and could use some advice.

The company I work for isn’t a good fit for me–I realize this now. It’s never been  the right match.

It’s always felt like I was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. I thought I was coming to a great company, well liked in the community with a great reputation. Instead I stepped into a negative place where my ideas constantly get turned down, it’s gotten to the point I have stopped giving my suggestions. I go to work, “punch in” do my work and go home. I am not happy, but I don’t want to step into the same culture again.

Thank you!

Steph

 

Dear Steph,

Thank you for your note. I am so sorry to hear your company doesn’t value your input. Your superiors are too involved in their own challenges—perhaps owners, shareholders, board members, etc.—to miss the fact you are miserable. Your supervisor has the influence to keep you in the company or send you running. They aren’t keeping you engaged and challenged. It’s time for you to thrive somewhere else.

As you mentioned in your note, one of the major reasons you accepted the job is the reputation of the company. So, you are wondering how you got “duped” by these negative nay sayers in a culture mis-match!

Seven Tips for Job Seekers Craving Culture Fit  

  1. Job Posting – Some position postings are very straight forward in the basic requirements and duties. Other positions descriptions read as if two or three different jobs are within the same title. This type of job is lovingly referred to as a “Franken-job”. If the position seems impossible to accomplish, trust your gut. These positions pull from other overworked co-workers to create an odd position that has no direction.
  2. Organization Size – If you have experience working in large, mid-size or non-profit organizations, write down your likes and dislikes of each size organization. Do you work best in a non-profit setting with more autonomy or is a corporate hierarchy your perfect scenario? As you narrow down these organizational characteristics, it will help in the long term to know your ideal work space.
  3. Interview Process – Applying for a new position as an external candidate is a process for most, having to send a cover letter, resume, CV, college transcripts and other documentation. Just the application alone is cumbersome. If you find yourself in limbo for months, the company might be having larger internal battles. Just say thanks, but no thanks.
  4. Mission/Vision/Values – Does the organization proudly display their Mission/Vision/Values in their communication pieces, website, etc. and is it easy to understand? Mission statements shouldn’t be overly diluted or grandiose. If the company appears to be working towards a larger common goal, they are a keeper! Many organizations now encourage employees to be “passion fueled” to align with the company mission such as fitness, outdoors, health food, etc. this can also help narrow down your interest level with the company.
  5. Coworkers – Do coworkers smile at each other in the office, is there a general feeling of mutual respect as you are waiting in the lobby or conversing in the interview? It’s difficult to put your nerves out of the picture during an in-person interview, but try to keep your emotions in check when meeting your future co-workers for the first time. Are they excited and on time to meet you or are they scattered, late and confused during the interview? Paying attention to social cues, you will know if it is the right environment for you.
  6. Support – Flextime and the ability to work from home one or more days a week are among the most highly sought after benefit of the workforce. Before the interview, you might have access to the benefits guidelines on the company website to check flexible scheduling policies. Companies giving their employees the ability to work from home or have flexible hours, demonstrates trust and faith in workers and a culture that expects the best from employees.
  7. Trust- Trust comes from open communication. Do you feel like you can be open and honest with your current boss/leader? Career Love Collective has taken feedback from women all around the world to create our program plans. If you find yourself in a job you love, but leadership is overloaded and you are fed up–don’t leave. Just talk with us and we will help you put together a plan in an unbiased way. Contact us for a free 30 minute assessment.

Steph—good luck on your job search. You will find a new workplace that values your creative light. Take your time and don’t rush—you won’t be disappointed. Open floor plans, fancy coffee shops, jeans on Friday, full fitness centers, 401(k) benefits—all of these perks are amazing to anyone initially joining a company but there is more to a company than meets the eye.

Do you have a career related question? Contact me to be featured on “Ask Jess” or to get your own 30 minute assessment.

XOXOXO,

Jess

Think Confident, Be Confident #confidencemindset

Many people in their career are pressured to believe they need to reach monetary milestones in order to achieve success. Perhaps it is making a certain amount of money each year, owning a specific car, or achieving a title at work. However, would you guess true confidence and positive self-esteem do not automatically come with the pay increase and title at work?

As Amy Cuddy points out in her book “Presense”, true confidence stems from real love and leads to long term commitment to growth. False confidence on the other hand, comes from desperate passion and leads to dysfunctional relationships, disappointment and frustration.Having true confidence and positive self-esteem are both highly positive traits but not all individuals are truly confident.

So, that job promotion and the title bump–you might be radiating confidence for a hot second, but then reality sets in quick. Lady, your CONFIDENCE is showing. BUT Is it true confidence?

Cuddy goes on to say that true belief in oneself, in ones ideas is grounding, it defuses threat.

How do we know if we have true confidence? Below is a list of core values a truly confident person would possess.

  1. Commitment to Growth
  2. Create Value for Others
  3. Be Present— Put Assumptions Aside
  4. Acknowledge Your Strengths and Weaknesses
  5. Accept Others and Welcome Feedback

I challenge you to take time today and jot down numbers 1-5 on a sheet of paper. After each number, write the core value and how you are working toward building your truly confident self. If it is blank, that is okay! Write down how you would approach a situation in the future with a true confidence mindset.

Growth is a journey—Career Love Collective can help you take this moment to see your progress and evaluate your next step. In the “Confident You” program, we tailor a plan that works best for you. No guessing, no cookie cutter plan. It is specific to your goal in mind. Schedule a one-on-one appointment today to start your journey with Career Love.

XOXO,

Jess