Entries tagged with “job insecurity”.
Did you find what you wanted?
Wed 10 Feb 2010
By Diva Nikki
(c) February 10, 2010
First, I’d like to thank those of you who sent notes of support and concern after my recent Prioritizing Priorities article.
I’d also like to reassure you that in our household, nothing excremental or otherwise has yet hit the fan. We’re just taking further steps to prepare ourselves as best we can.
Not to say it’s all puppies and rainbows in our lives these days, either. But one thing I’ve noted about times of trial in our lives is that it puts in sharp, unmistakable relief the good things in our lives as well. It makes me think of one of my favorite quotes:
“Don’t block the blessings.” – Patti LaBelle
As a Desperate Workingwife, here are some of my suggestions for recognizing the blessings in your life…even when your spouse’s career transition may be far, far less than a blessing.
Appreciate your own career and development.
I recently underwent a bit of career transition myself and began reporting to a new manager in a new area of the company at the beginning of this year. I might have been tempted, at first, to think, “Gee…just what I need. More change.” And that would’ve blocked some serious blessings. Because as it turns out, my new manager is one of the best surprises I’ve had in a long time. She believes in me wholeheartedly, pushes me to be better and encourages me to think bigger. She’s completely reenergized my passion for what I do. There’s a blessing I want to count, not block.
Stop and revel in your own accomplishments.
I’m not saying you should rub your own accomplishments in your spouse’s face. Be tactful. But do celebrate your wins in a personal way. Just finished a big project at work? Treat yourself to a pair of shoes on clearance. Lost a pound this week? Do a happy dance in the kitchen. (I highly recommend socks on hardwood floors for the best spinning capabilities.)
Celebrate the accomplishments of others.
You’ve probably heard that even if you’re feeling down, if you physically make yourself smile that act will eventually elicit the corresponding emotion of happiness. (Try it.) Celebrating the blessings of others can bring you blessings of your own. So attend your friend’s baby shower, go to happy hour to celebrate your co-worker’s promotion and hoot and holler when your spouse gets called for an interview.
Notice and accept support with gratitude.
Chance are, you’ve got a great support network in your life. (My best girls – you know who you are and I love you.) Have you noticed that more often lately, as you’ve been living through your spouse’s career transition time, that lunch or coffee tabs are picked up by friends? Rather than argue with them. let them and thank them. Most of us have it in our nature to want to help the people we care about. This is their time to help you – don’t block their blessings by taking that opportunity away from them.
Thank God for the blessings which come out of thin air.
Maybe you got an unexpected refund check in the mail. Or your heating bill was less than you thought it would be this month. In my case, out of nowhere, a new friend came into my life through one of my music groups. Without any rhyme or reason I could think of, this beautiful woman became somewhat of a personal cheerleader for me and gave me confidence at exactly the time when I needed it. When these things seem to come out of nowhere, simply stop and offer praise for the Holy Spirit’s influence in your life.
Patti Labelle, Don’t Block the Blessings – available on Amazon.com
Yvonne Bynoe, Is Your Attitude Blocking Your Blessings?,
Wed 13 Jan 2010
By Diva Nikki
(c) January 13, 2010
I have a phrase I’ve shared with many people: “Patience is a virtue. It’s just not one of mine.”
Tolerance, I’ve got plenty.
Love, in abundance.
Understanding, in spades.
Patience…not so much.
So when I tell you that if you have a spouse in career transition that you should be prepared for this journey to be long one, I want you to appreciate exactly how hard that journey is for me.
I’m a doer. I’m an action girl. I love to help. I adore making things happen. How does that work into helping my husband find work? It really, really doesn’t.
The reality is, in today’s environment it can take a long time to find a new job. There are lots of really talented, highly experienced people out there and available for hire. I remember a time when job descriptions might have said they wanted 10 years of XYZ experience, but didn’t necessarily require that of a potential employee. I remember a time when they might have taken a chance on someone with different industry experience but who had the right skills. Now, companies can be entirely prescriptive of exactly the length and type of experience they want – and have 46 people apply with those exact specifications.
I’m not going to lie: the waiting is hard. And it’s especially hard as the spouse of the one doing the looking. Because really – there’s nothing you can actively “do” to help. And as the wait gets longer, the more stressful things can get.
So how do you get through the seeming eternity that is your spouse’s transition? How do you keep your household – and marriage – going?
Occasionally, revisit your plan.
You put together a budget, agreed on compromises and schedules within the first few weeks of transition. But it’s a good idea to revisit those if the journey is taking a few months. Make sure the plans you set will still work if things go longer than you thought.
If need be, create a “worst case scenario” plan.
What happens if unemployment insurance runs out and your spouse still hasn’t found a new career? Take another look at finances, support networks and possibilities. Create the “holy crud” plan now, while things are still okay. That way, if it needs to be put in place, you won’t have to create it in a panic.
Find ways to re-energize.
If you’ve ever followed a diet plan, you know that even when you begin a plan with utmost dedication, after awhile, you can lose energy. Find ways in the midst of this transition to re-energize – individually and as a couple. Talk to each other. Encourage one another. Pursue (affordable) hobbies or activities that make you feel good. Build romance into each day.
If you think you’re feeling dragged down as the career transition timeline continually drags on, how do you think your spouse feels? No matter how hard it is, keep offering support. Let him know every day you love him and believe in him.
Fri 8 Jan 2010
Guest Column By Marni Hockenberg
(c) January 8, 2010
A job search can easily be put on the back burner during the holidays, especially if the search has lasted six months or longer.
It’s good to recharge yourself during the holidays to avoid job search burnout. But, like allowing yourself just one more holiday cookie, the temptation to play now and pay later can be dangerous. Moderation is the key.
Hopefully during this holiday season, you enjoyed your down time while also taking some simple and practical steps to jump-start your 2010 job search. But even if you didn’t, it’s not too late to boost your efforts now that the first days of the new year are upon us.
Reflect on your 2009 job search.
Write down five activities you did that successfully moved your job search in the right direction. Keep doing them in 2010. Then write down five activities that didn’t provide traction and discontinue them in 2010.
In other words, make a resolution to be intentional and use your time wisely.
Find an “Accountability Buddy.”
Job searching can be lonely—but with a buddy, you don’t need to be the Lone Ranger anymore. Write down and review your daily, weekly and monthly job search goals with your buddy. Ask him or her to hold you accountable. When you achieve your goals, your buddy can celebrate with you!
Flashcards will give your interview “flash”
Remember flashcards? I used them in school to learn math (where are they? I still need them!). Buy a pack and write down the tough interview questions that stump you.
Formulate your answers and ask your Accountability Buddy to participate in a mock interview with you. Rinse, repeat, rinse, repeat.
Preparation is key in a job interview!
Attend job search educational workshops, forums and meetings.
Even if you learn one tip that will propel you toward achieving your goal, it will be worth your time.
For example, I’m offering an interactive Interview Workshop on January 12, 2010, titled “How The Hiring Game Is Really Played: Experienced Recruiter Reveals 9 Interview Secrets!” from 8:15-10:30 a.m. at the Ridgedale Library in Minnetonka, Minn. For those of you in the Twin Cities area who’d like to register, visit my Web site at www.hockenbergsearch.com/calendar. For those of you in other parts of the country, seek out workshops that will help you build your skills to become a more confident and prepared job-seeker.
No matter what you do, the simple steps you take now can pay dividends as the new year unfolds!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Guest columnist Marni Hockenberg is principal of Hockenberg Search, a professional and managerial recruiting firm based in Minnetonka, Minn. With more than two decades of recruiting and business consulting experience, Marni Hockenberg has a proven track record of providing focused, personalized search services to small- and medium-sized businesses to help them find, recruit and retain top-tier talent.
Wed 6 Jan 2010
By Diva Nikki
(c) January 6, 2010
Guilty pleasure admission: I’m a “Gleek.” Since the very pilot episode of the TV show Glee, I’ve been hooked.
There’s something about the absolutely over-the-top portrayal of a group of high school misfits, their weekly slushie face-dousing trials…and the way they continually fight through the negativity and adversity to do what they love…that endears this show to me.
Their wildly successful pilot episode featured the small group of initial Glee kids doing an amazing version of the Journey tune “Don’t Stop Believin’.” I will admit – I went out to You Tube and watched it several times.
There’s something about that song – and the show – that resonates with my life right now. As the wife of a husband in career transition, I feel like negativity exists every day in our household. While I’m quite happy (as is my unstained wardrobe) that I don’t literally have a grape slushie thrown in my face each day, there are certainly days where it’s hit me or my husband in a proverbial sense.
Like every time he applies for a job and gets the lovely standard form rejection letter (sometimes within a day, which really hits you). Or each time he tries to sell a great new idea for a startup business to a new client and never hears back from them. When we count the days until unemployment insurance runs out. As I’m in a store and don’t get to purchase something I want because we’re on a budget. And when we have to endure well-meaning people who say really trite, insensitive things about my husband’s current employment situation, essentially saying, “You’ll never be able to pull this off.”
Every day we live through the adversity, I feel just like one of those poor high school kids, getting up every morning and just knowing the cold, icky (though maybe not bright purple) reality that’s going to be sloshed in my face.
The lesson for me here really is: “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Don’t stop believin’ in my husband’s brilliance and abilities.
Don’t stop believin’ that everything will be ok.
Don’t stop believin’ that there really is a greater Plan unfolding.
Don’t stop believin’ that the economy will improve and more jobs will become available.
Don’t stop believin’ my husband is doing everything he can to find a new career.
Don’t stop believin’ in my own ability to keep supporting my husband emotionally…and our household financially.
I think I need to go work on my jazz hands…
Fri 1 Jan 2010
Guest Column by Rebecca Love Williams
(c) January 1, 2010
I hope that you all had a very happy holiday filled with peace, love and joy. Now that the new year is upon us, it is time to really think about the New Year that is approaching us.
Have you started writing your Life Plan for 2010 to allow you to get a “fresh start”?
A Life Plan is a written plan of your goals and objectives in your life. It is like a map or guide to help you achieve your inner desires. Your plan can be divided into eight areas:
- Family and friends
- Love and relationships
- Money and finance
- Personal development or personal growth
Each of these areas affects your life and the importance of each one will vary depending on your internal values and situation.
Here are a few questions you might want to ask yourself while writing your plan:
- What’s most important to you, your core values?
- What do you dream about?
- Where on your career path do you desire to be?
- Is your employer helping you accomplish your personal career goals?
- Are you still having fun at work?
- Will it allow you to spend more time with your family?
- Are you spending enough time with people who are important to you?
- How can you maintain your health?
- Do you have the time and the resources to entertain and travel?
- What places do you want to visit in the next two to three years?
- How much money do you want to make?
- Does your current employment support your income goals?
- How much do you need to save for your later years?
- Are you giving back to your community?
- Where do you want to live?
- Are you continually developing and improving your relationship?
These questions will give you some starting points to think about as you begin developing your plan for 2010. Of course, Life Plans can be more complex, and if you would like to develop a more intense life plan, you might need to seek out a Professional Coach.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Guest columnist Rebecca Love Williams, principal of Williams Business Solutions, is an experienced professional coach and human resources consultant. She regularly coaches her clients through a process to help them achieve their life and professional goals, including an emphasis on life planning strategies. Williams is based in Evanston, Ill., and serves individuals and businesses nationwide.
Fri 18 Dec 2009
By Jennifer Cohen
(c) December 18, 2009
Every job I accepted, I secretly knew (deep down in my gut, which I tried hushing at every interview) it was probably not the exact job for me…but then again, no one gets their dream job the first time around…or second, or third, or fourth. Right?
So, just because the job didn’t meet every one of my requirements and I knew I would be pigeon-holed in my responsibilities, I didn’t think it was a smart decision to just pass. I mean, why not give it a shot and maybe my instincts would be deceiving me?
But I was always right. The job would last for a bit, but I was very cognizant to the signs indicating it wasn’t going to be forever. I probably could’ve made a very aggressive over/under bet and made half my salary for pinpointing the day/time of separation.
I also think my appetite for success and leadership was never being fulfilled, since I was always required to start at the bottom and report to someone who wanted to prevent me from advancing. It seems as though the cut-throat environment of some corporations does not foster teamwork when you spend most of your time with bus tire tracks on your back.
What I can say, though, is that from each experience, I definitely took away something great and I do not regret any opportunity that came my way.
I am actually forever grateful for the positions and even more grateful for the separations. In every position, I always learned something new, expanded my network and learned a lot about management and how to communicate using various styles.
I can also confidently admit that I definitely knew that each of the positions was not going to be where I would stay for long—and hopefully, I stayed just long enough in each before I was fired (four times).
The moral of this story is we should be in tune with our emotions. We should listen to what our gut is telling us and take it into consideration when making big decisions. There is constantly a struggle between what is true, what we want to be true, and our final decision. We should also understand that ultimately, the decision we make is the right decision and the way it was meant to work out.
So don’t regret anything from which you can learn something, but make sure you are not hushing your gut when it is screaming in your face.
“Fired…Four Times” is a monthly column written by 20-something Jennifer Cohen, chronicling her experiences being fired, four times, and ultimately reinventing herself in a new and successful career as a marketing and social media consultant.
Mon 14 Dec 2009
(c) December 14, 2009
A month ago, my husband and I became the proud “parents” of a miniature dachshund, Lazarus, whom we adopted after he was rescued from the pits of neglect.
He was in tough shape, having scratched or bitten off his fur after a severe flea infestation and subsequent allergies, and his ribs stuck out after being without food in an empty home for about a month before he was discovered. Frankly, he looked pretty pitiful, but we fell in love with him anyway. And while our dog brings a very sociable and clever dynamic to the household, he also brings a litany of health problems that we are still working with our vet to treat.
What’s been particularly interesting to me over these past few weeks, though, is how much we have to learn from these little creatures—even a “sad sack on the mend” like Lazarus. (And, frankly, don’t we feel like sad sacks ourselves far too often?) No matter how rough things get, that tail still wags. So, if you are feeling the “dog days” of unemployment or career transition like so many, take a few lessons from your friendly Fido.
The more friends you make, the more treats you get. (Or, the benefits of networking.)
Ben and I have lived in our condo in D.C. for three years. In that time, we have met one neighbor, maybe two. Then we bring home a dog and suddenly everyone knows Lazarus. By name, even. They stop to greet him in the entryway, they yell “Good morning, Lazarus!” from down the hall, they come up to him on the sidewalk to give him a treat. I’ve observed that the friendlier he is to our neighbors, the more he gets from them in terms of attention, affection and treats.
Sure Lazarus is impossibly cute. But the real skill is that he enjoys making friends. The tail wags, he prances over, he makes a big fuss of saying hello. In short, he demonstrates that his friends—old and new—are important to him. In fairness, I couldn’t recall the last time I acted so interested in seeing our neighbors. Lesson learned.
When’s the last time we ever greeted a friend or new acquaintance so enthusiastically? And why haven’t we? Start today. Challenge yourself not just to say “hi” but to actually have a conversation with someone new. You never know what new doors will open or friendships built. (Just, please, no barking.
Wag more, bark less.
Lazarus is pretty happy-go-lucky. He’s in the business of being hopeful—hopeful that a treat might fall into path, hopeful that you will tickle his belly, hopeful that someone or something interesting is just around the corner. In effect, he prefers to “wag more and bark less.”
I saw this phrase on a bumper sticker over the weekend. So true. It’s easy to let the chips get you down—and in this current economy more chips seem to be down than up. But you’ll be happier, healthier and more content when you focus more on the good things in your life and dwell less on the things that are less-than-ideal right now. It’s hard to do, but it’s important to try.
Respect the boundaries (but do challenge them when necessary).
Lazarus is not allowed in the kitchen, but this doesn’t stop him from trying sometimes. Oh, sure, he’ll sit quietly on the edge of the tile where the hallway meets the kitchen most of the time, but he throws all caution to the wind if the prospect of a treat is on the horizon.
It makes me wonder how often we play by the rules when, on occasion, breaking the rules might be in our best interests. Are you sitting on an imaginary line of someone else’s creation, waiting for something that may or may not happen? Or, when the reward is right in front of you, or even hidden behind a door somewhere, are you willing to just go for it?
Never feel guilty for resting.
I am not, and never have been, a morning person. So, when we decided to get a dog, I worried that I would not be able to manage those early-morning wake-up calls. Instead, we were blessed with a dog who is clearly not a morning person, either! Lazarus would sack in until noon if he could. And he often does, waking up only long enough for a potty break and breakfast in the early morning hours, before going back to snooze for hours on end. And you know what? He feels no shame.
You shouldn’t, either. Rest is important. In fact, it’s vital to a healthy life. When you need to rest— especially in these challenging times when you are working so hard and feeling like you are getting nowhere fast—just do it. Everything else can wait…at least until your nap is done.
You are worthy.
Lazarus just expects to be loved and adored. It’s not even a question in his mind. And the more he expects it, the more it seems to happen for him. He believes he is worthy of the pat on the head, the treat, the walk—yes, even the fish fillet he snatched off my husband’s plate when he looked away for all of five seconds. With him, there are no apologies, no half measures, no “what if’s.”
Wouldn’t it be great if we felt like we are worthy of success, joy, happiness, contentment, rewards? We are, you know. So, go for it! Claim what you would like to see happen. Be bold. Just do it!
Wed 9 Dec 2009
By Diva Nikki
(c) December 9, 2009
In the long-running TV show, being a “Survivor” is the best thing that can happen. Competitors will go to great lengths and low depths to outwit and outlast.
But in the workplace, being a survivor doesn’t come with near the glory…or the monetary prize.
In the midst of more corporate layoffs than most of us have seen in our lifetimes, there is rightly lots of news attention being paid to those forced into transition. But what about those of us who are still employed? The ones still left in the office, taking on piles more work, listening to crickets chirp in all the silent, empty cubicles around us?
Being a layoff survivor can come with lots of emotions and challenges:
- Sadness as you watch dear friends and long-time colleagues leaving.
- Anxiety as you wonder if you’ll be next.
- Stress as you figure out how you’ll now do the work of others on top of your own, because let’s face it: most companies don’t reduce work when they reduce staff.
- Guilt over your continued employment while other talented people are let go.
- Frustration over the seeming halt in your own career path while the whole company freezes hiring and salaries.
What can you do?
In the midst of all these emotions, it’s important to take the time to acknowledge your feelings and find ways to help cope with them.
Express your feelings to your co-workers. Let them know you will miss them, and find ways to help with closure like goodbye lunches.
Offer to help them in their job search efforts. Connect to them on LinkedIn, give helpful feedback on resumes or cover letters, and offer to give recommendations.
Talk to someone about your own stress. Many companies offer employee assistance programs for temporary counseling as a benefit. Take advantage of those services.
Do what you can to stay motivated…and healthy. In such a negative environment, this is hard. But find ways to keep yourself going. Set small goals, celebrate (in a subtle, sensitive way) your own achievements. And be sure to keep getting sleep, good food and exercise. In short, take good care of yourself mentally and physically.
Have a tactful, practical conversation with your boss about how to prioritize your work. As one of the few resources still available, you have value. Work together to create a plan for what’s most important and what you can realistically accomplish in a work week.
Focus on your career development. That seems almost impossible in a downsizing environment. But taking on new tasks also means gaining new expertise and skills. Use this time to learn and grow yourself. The economic downturn won’t last forever, and you could come out on the other side with many more tools to help on your journey up the ladder—or wherever you want to go from here.
- JoNel Aleccia, “Guilty and stressed, layoff survivors suffer, too,” MSNBC, December 15, 2008.
- Mary Zeiher, “Layoff Survivor Syndrome in the Workplace,” Associated Content, January 2, 2009.
- Susan M. Heathfield, “How to Cope When Co-Workers Lose Their Jobs,” About.com
Read these other recent Desperate Workingwife columns:
Thu 22 Oct 2009
By Linda Lande
(c) October 22, 2009
The recession has brought some companies—even some industries—to their knees, and hundreds of thousands of people now find themselves unemployed.
If you’re fortunate enough to still be working but suspect that you, too, might be heading toward unemployment, now is the time to prepare. Typically, companies handle employee releases one of three ways:
- With respect and caring. Employees receive at least two weeks’ notification that their jobs will be eliminated.
- With immediacy. Employees are called to Human Resources and told they will be leaving—now.
- With heavy baggage. Employees are not performing their jobs to the level the company expects, so they are asked to leave.
Part I: The Respectful and Caring Employer
If your employer is being acquired by another company, is merging with another company or, due to financial difficulties, will be laying off employees, consider yourself fortunate if you’ve received advance notice. But even with advance notification, many employees either keep doing what they’ve always done or let bitterness and confusion cloud their better judgement. Instead of making good, positive use of their time, they fritz it away with long lunches and short work days.
So, if you one day hear your manager say, “I’m sorry, but we’re going to have to let you go,” consider the following five positive actions that will benefit you—and your employer:
1. Quickly reach a point of understanding.
“Companies forced to lay off employees don’t just think this up one day,” says Renee Conklin, Vice President of Human Resources for SoftBrands, which was acquired in August by Infor. Employers would much rather be expanding and hiring, but difficult business decisions must be made sometimes. Conklin, who not only is overseeing layoffs but also will lose her job at the end of the year, advises people to quickly get themselves to a place of understanding—understanding that this probably is not what the company wants to be doing and that, like it or not, it’s what’s going to happen.
“For me and others I’ve worked with, reaching a point of understanding has been key,” she says. “I find it comforting to know the situation rather than live in the unknown. I appreciate being able to approach it strategically.”
2. Update your resume.
Do it now, while job duties and accomplishments are still fresh. “Focus on what you know rather than what you’ve done,” says Conklin. “List your knowledge, skills and abilities. Let the reader know what you can walk in the door and do. You’ve got their attention for 20 seconds, grab it—and keep it!” (more…)