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

  

 

How I Dealt with Frustration at Work and You Can Too!

There was a time in my life when I didn’t have a strong sense of self, taking advice from anyone willing to give me some clue as to what I thought I needed. Let me tell you, when you are unsure of your path, there are always those who tell you exactly what you should do. When I would get into conversations about my future plans and my unsteady decisions, they made me feel important. Each one had a plan for me. But why? In their plans for me, they didn’t take into account my interests, strengths, or life goals. I took their advice each time, but each time I was more un-happy than the last decision. How could that be? I was doing the right stuff and doing what others wanted of me.

This lack of a ‘sense of self’ lead to a deep frustration with work and life. All of my frustrations would lead back to what I thought I ‘should’ be doing. I ‘should’ be working at my job 80 hours each week, I ‘should’ like my career choice, I ‘should’ be happy with my benefits and 401k. So many ‘shoulds’, I couldn’t enjoy my life in the moment or in the future. I was too caught up in what should be happening, that when my expectations weren’t met—my frustration would take over.

Let’s step back for a moment. How did I get from work frustration to a lack of sense of self?

When I shed all my “should” moments and expectations, I enjoyed life so much more. My frustrations subsided, I enjoyed my work for what it was and I was able to focus my energy on work and not emotional drama.

How to know when your Expectations are leading to Frustration:

  1. Expecting People to Always Agree with You

People are never going to agree with you, or me. Ugh, why can’t we just all get along! I am working on sharing my opinions with those who disagree, but it’s difficult. I have to do a lot of prep to feel comfortable to share a project idea at work to feel comfortable in a dissenting voice.

  1. Respect you More than you Respect Yourself

No one will EVER respect you more than YOU. You are your biggest fan. I learned that this summer traveling to Europe, body size is only a number. I practice selflove by truly loving my body, learning new things and embracing my ideas.

  1. Expecting others to (need) and Like You

Okay, listen up. It doesn’t matter our age, we all battle with wanting to be liked. However, it is so freeing to let yourself be unburdened of that inner teenager to be liked. Like yourself—it’s so much better.

  1. Expecting Others to fit your idea of who they are

Ouch, this one stings. Don’t we all have an “idea” of someone or something and then reality smacks us in the face. Being honest with your fears helps to be clear with all true ideas.

  1. Assume they know what you are thinking

We aren’t all mind readers like Sylvia Brown. If I am having an issue, I need to communicate my issue with the team. Also, on the opposite spectrum, I can’t assume they know all the lingo and jargon to the conversation. Just keep communication simple!

  1. People will suddenly change

Do you remember summer break, and when we would go back in the Fall there would be a HUGE transformation for your first day of High School? Yeah, that never happens. We don’t suddenly change our decision making or habits. WARNING: If a decision is changed quickly, watch out for fall out.

Work can be a frustrating place fraught with gossip, drama and leadership changes. Be true and honest with yourself, for frustrations to be worked through openly. There are people in your life who want the absolute best for you, like me. I want you to be your best self. No more hating getting to work in the morning. You are unchallenged, unmotivated, unfulfilled. It’s okay, I can help you find your joy again with the “Confident You” program. We work together to custom fit a plan just for you. It’s not cookie cutter. It’s all yours. So, it’s your turn to say YES and be surrounded by positivity. You need to stay close to these positive individuals. They are genuine, authentic and have no hidden motive to your future plans. Confide in these individuals for growth.

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

Don’t Hate the Person, Hate the Behavior – Setting Boundaries for a Successful Relationship

Toxic personalities have a unique way of taking all the energy out of a room. Around a toxic person, you can’t be yourself. Walking on eggshells is routine. If you try to reason with a toxic personality, it is a one sided conversation.

Toxic individuals take up mental power, whether they are co-workers or family members. The behaviors are noticeable and difficult to understand.

8 TOXIC BEHAVIORS   

  • Spread Negativity
  • Criticize Everyone  
  • Waste time
  • Jealous
  • Play the Victim
  • Don’t Care
  • Self-centered
  • Distort the Truth

SETTING YOUR BOUNDARIES FOR A SUCCESSFUL RELATIONSHIP  

To the toxic individual, this negative behavior is normal. You can try talking with the individual to come up with solutions, rather than highlighting all the problems with no suggestions for improvement–but usually that leads down a path with zero results. Most times the individual with the toxic behavior doesn’t realize their behavior is affecting others in such a powerful way.  It’s not your responsibility to fix anyone.  

Setting boundaries for yourself is key to keeping these toxic individuals from wasting your time, energy and resources. There are no neutral relationships in life, each one moves you forward or holds you back. It is your responsibility to express yourself and let toxic individuals know where you stand and avoid non producing behavior like gossip.

Example, you are at work and your deskmate constantly tries to engage you in office gossip. You try and drop hints that you don’t care about other people’s business or you might flat out change the subject–however, the gossip still persists. As we all know, being engaged in any kind of office gossip is a bad investment of time for your future advancement. To set boundaries with your deskmate, you need to be honest in your communication. Something like “I enjoy our conversations together, but I don’t want to talk about Jerry without him here. Tell me more about your weekend.” This allows you to stand up for yourself without getting frustrated and annoyed down the line.    

Many people think they need to disassociate themselves from the people exhibiting these behaviors. That is not true. You can work with an individual or love someone with these toxic traits. It’s the behavior that needs to be improved or curtailed.

Career Love Collective takes each scenario with great care and respect. We always approach each challenge with an open mind and listening ear. At Career Love, we hold honesty, authenticity and vulnerability above all else. In each session with our lovelies (clients), I never blame and always seek the truth. You are ready to find your truth. Once you are honest and authentic with your convictions, you are on your way to becoming your best self.