Friday, April 27th, 2012 at
As a new hire, your days may feel like you’re putting out one fire after another, barely making it through the day without third degree burns. Not only are you learning about your new role, your colleagues, your company, and office politics, you are also trying very hard to seem like you know what you’re doing – at least most of the time. Despite the biggest and most sincere can-do attitude, there may be days that just zap your energy, leaving you feeling low, grouchy, exhausted, or even physically ill.
Off days are just a part of being human, so refrain from punishing yourself for not being able to always bring your A game in the way that you’d hoped. I heard this analogy recently that seemed very appropriate. Imagine you’re carrying bags of groceries from your vehicle into your house, not realizing that the bags have holes in them. As you’re walking along, you’re merrily leaving a trail of items behind unknowingly. When you reach your pantry, ready to unpack your bags, you can’t help but wonder, “Didn’t I have more than this?”
Both at work and at home, you’re constantly giving parts of yourself away. You share your energy, drive, excitement, emotions, stamina, and even your patience. I don’t need to tell you that you can’t keep giving away what you don’t have, and can’t spend energy that you’ve already spent. You owe it to yourself (and arguably also those around you, including your boss) to reinvigorate yourself so that you can be your best self. Read the rest of this entry
Sunday, April 15th, 2012 at
Chameleons are under appreciated. Just imagine the constant challenge of changing your colors to blend in with the environment around you. On a leaf, you’d have to turn green. On a twig, you’d have to turn brown. No matter the place, you’d have to camouflage your true self to ensure your survival. You see, all good chameleons know: Conformity = safety; being different = danger. New hires would be well served following a similar philosophy, as the “safety in conformity” rule is not only relevant to our colorful friends.
As you might have learned the hard way, we share the chameleon’s burden at various life stages. Our society tends to celebrate conformity while (sadly) often squashing anything that seems outside of the ordinary.You might have experienced this reality in high school when you learned that popularity is directly correlated with your wardrobe as well as your ability to not mess up the bell curve. There is safety in being just like everybody else, or at least acting like you are just like everybody else.
Your liberation from high school and college did not release you from this reality. As a new hire in a company, the “safety in conformity” rule is especially relevant – with much higher stakes. Here, if you fail to fit in with your new team’s culture, you might not only become the black sheep of the office. Much worse, you might get fired! A recent Forbes article indicated that nearly half of new hires fail within the first 18 months, most due to “attitudinal reasons,” including (from the employer’s perspective): temperament (yes, personality!), low levels of emotional intelligence and motivation, and lack of coachability (i.e., inflexibility). Read the rest of this entry
Monday, April 9th, 2012 at
Today’s competitive market forces many job seekers to pursue positions outside of the field that they are most qualified for. If you find yourself in this situation, the good news is that you likely possess transferable skills that are marketable across industries. For instance, Research by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) recently revealed that above all else, “employers are looking for team players and candidates who have strong verbal communication skills.” Other transferable skills and characteristics most sought after by employers include:
- Team focus
- Strong verbal communication
- Decision-making and problem solving
- Obtaining and processing information
- Planning, organizing, and prioritizing work
- Analyze quantitative data
- Possessing technical knowledge
- Being computer proficient
- Creating and/or editing written reports
- Selling or influencing others
If you are hoping to break into a new industry, or even just want your application to stand out from the crowd, it is therefore essential that you carefully incorporate these and other transferable skills into your resume and cover letter. Transferable skills can be categorized into five broad areas: 1) Communication skills, 2) Research and Planning, 3) Interpersonal skills, 4) Organization, Management and Leadership, and 5) Work Survival Skills. Read the rest of this entry