Career management

Work is Stressful: Five ways to combat the Daily Grind

No matter your gender, seniority or generation, stress at work leaves no one untouched. According to LinkedIn, the number one stressor is workload (as it relates to work-life balance) followed by future job security and career direction/purpose.

This report found executive Gen-Xer's are the most stressed followed by Baby Boomers and then Millennials.

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How can you combat work stress to ENJOY your life and work?

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✔︎ Learn to say no. Know and understand your own priorities in both your work and personal life. When you say no to something, you are saying yes to something else.

✔︎ Upskill. Own your own professional development as an eager student to add to your skill set.

✔︎ Own your life (and work) as a journey. There is always time to pivot or recalibrate your career trajectory.

✔︎ Laugh! Find humor in small things.

✔︎ Do something you love. Whether during work or personal time, make time to do what you enjoy. Running? Re-decorating? Reading? Just do it!

What are your keys to less stress?

Don't forget O*NET - A Trusted Career Resource

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Are you looking for reliable career information? Check out this oldie, but goodie online resource:

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration.

 Locate dependable occupational information and use advanced search functions to:

📌Find what’s hot. Identify growing industries.

📌Reverse look-up job titles. Use keywords to discover a new-to-you or unusual job.

📌Skill-based search. Find a new career based on your unique skill set.

Exchange fear with confidence in your job search. Unlock the door of opportunity and hire Meg for a one-hour job search strategy session.

Personal Policies for your Job Search

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Why is it so hard to say 'no' as an adult?

The word easily tumbles out of my kids' mouths like granola bar crumbs from their wrapper.

Is it because we are afraid to disappoint (who are my people pleasers?), don’t want to appear lazy or is it just a lack of boundaries?

My friend taught me this idea of having personal policies. For example, when I take my kids to the local zoo, I have a personal policy that I don’t visit the snakes. So when it is just me and the kids (sans husband), we avoid the ‘desert’ section of the zoo. Silly, I know, but a personal policy nonetheless.

What could personal policies look like in your job search?

✳️ Consider only positions that require 25% travel or less.

✳️ A two-hour time limit per day on job search activities.

✳️ One self-care activity in your daily regimen.

✳️ Target companies with a high value for innovation.

What are your personal policies? How do they extend to the workplace or your job search?

The Informational Interview: The Art of the Request

My career path isn't straight.

Back in the day, I was miserable in event planning and I had my sights set on higher education, specifically advising. I knew NOTHING about the field beside the results that populated from my Google search terms. How did I proceed?

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I emailed a COMPLETE STRANGER who was an academic advisor at a local university and asked her to lunch. I inquired about her career story and what I needed to do to get the job she had. And you know what? She HELPED me…over said lunch! She even gave me feedback on my written statement for my graduate school application (per her advice to apply to grad school)…A STRANGER!!

So, how do you request an informational interview? Let lunch (or coffee) lead the way.

- Be curious. Request to learn about their company and/or career story. Know a bit about the person to explain why you are asking for their time (flattery never hurts!).

- Be specific. Ask for 20-30-minutes of their time via phone or in-person. Include possible days/times as options.

- Be professional. Avoid grammar and spelling errors in your email request. Be conscientious and grateful for their time in advance.

Career Passion: Destination or Process?

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“Do what you love.” “Follow your passion.” How many times have you received similar career advice?

I love what Angela Duckworth said in Adam Grant’s WorkLife podcast to “develop your passion" not follow it.

We treat career like a calling – something that needs to be found like uncovering a secret treasure. With this philosophy, there is even a possibility of missing it if we don’t dig around enough.

I love the idea of career passion being developed rather than found. It isn’t a destination; it’s a process. Have you missed opportunities by pursuing a singular focus? How can we encourage others in their career pursuits based on inquiry and learning rather than a linear, planned path?

Little things matter BIG!

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My library book haul this weekend is all about the little things. Daily decisions, little moments and even small, mundane choices. I'm learning the small stuff matters. They make an impact in life and in resume writing.

Magical little life things:

+ Playing board games with my son on sick days.

+ Exchanging secrets with my daughter at bedtime.

+ A lit candle and music playing during dinner prep.

Small resume touches:

+ Periods at the end of bullet points to tie a bow on a high-impact statement.

+ A clean, custom LinkedIn URL (instead of the gobbly-gook link provided).

+ Bolding a professional accomplishment to make it pop.

+ Sharp, distinct action verbs.

What small things are making a difference in your life or your job search right now?

Wanted: Flexible Work Schedules

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Do you want more control over your time at work? You are in the majority.

According to Robert Half, an HR consulting firm, 88% of employees surveyed wanted a flexible work schedule with only 62% of employers offering flexibility. 66% wanted a compressed work week with only 17% of companies offering the option.

While employers are slow to the punch, experts say flexibility is in our future. A tight labor market will catalyze this direction.

So when it comes time to negotiate for your next role or advancement in your annual review - think 'out of the office' and propose flexible solutions that are conducive to both your employer and your personal/work life balance.

Check out the recent CNBC article about the topic here.

Make a Difference in your Office: One EASY Way!

‘Tis the season to be thankful.

However, one gratitude project shows Americans aren’t grateful for their jobs or those in their workplace.

According to John Templeton Foundation’s Expanding Gratitude Project, 2 out of 5 respondents never expressed gratitude to their boss and 29% never conveyed thanks to their colleagues.

My husband snapped this photo when reading the Indianapolis Business Journal yesterday:

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What’s going on here? Are people miserable at work, despise colleagues or just self-focused?

According to the authors of The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins To Ignite Joy, Engagement and Creativity at Work, an employee’s perception, motivation and emotions of happenings within the work day directly affect work performance and behavior toward coworkers.

Perhaps Americans are lacking meaningful work or being stifled at the office in a myriad of ways. Either way, it seems lonely to be in management and tough to be part of an office team.

Consider being a gratuitous difference maker in your workplace. Try it on for size. Today thank, adore, appreciate and genuinely compliment. Look around and smile. Say I see you and the difference you are making around here.

‘Tis the season to buy a coffee for a colleague or write a quick note. Let’s appreciate each other.

Flip the Script: 3 Ways to Create a New Narrative

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We tell ourselves stories. Are you familiar with yours?

Stories are powerful. They affect our day: how we engage with daily happenings, our relationships, how we approach our work and even our self-confidence. The stories we tell ourselves affect our behavior and decisions. What have you been telling yourself lately?

Perhaps work feels like a battlefield or you wake up thinking, “I can’t manage all of the things again today.” The stories we tell ourselves become truth in our brains even if it isn’t truth at all.

How can you flip the script for deeper fulfillment and energy to pursue your professional goals?

According to Monique Valcour and John McNulty, in their Harvard Business Review Article, “To Make a Change at Work, Tell Yourself a Different Story”, there a few simple action steps you can take to use your stories for your good:

Identify the stories you tell yourself. What thoughts are consistently on loop in your brain? It may take a few days to figure it out. What common phrases do you catch yourself saying in your head?

Examine how the story affects you. Do you feel free or limited by these phrases? Confident or the lack thereof? How do these stories affect your personal and professional relationships?

Flip the script with a new narrative. Once you identify the need for a different story - make new choices. Course correct! Tell yourself the truth over and over again.

Hayley Morgan, author of Preach to Yourself: When Your Inner Critic Comes Calling, Talk Back with Truth, identifies these bad news loops and explains that we can actually make new pathways in our brains, removing the old train of thought with the new. Therefore, choose to take a different path with new stories and beliefs.

Walk the pathway of freedom through daily course correction from limiting beliefs to liberating stories.

Chaotic To Straight: Your Professional Narrative

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Does your career path seem chaotic rather than intentional?

Yeah, mine did too.

My college degrees have little to do with what I am doing now.

Nonprofit management? Nope. Not anymore.

Higher education? Still no.

Even if your career path isn’t straight, you can still craft a professional narrative that IS! Even though I started in Sweden working with college students and now certified to write resumes professionally – my focus hasn’t changed – only my assignment.

I’m passionate about connecting people to their passion.

What themes do you see in your career journey? Dig deep. They are there.

Once you discover them, tell your story in your career documents and your LinkedIn profile.

If you can’t seem to connect the dots, check out our six free tips to clarify your focus and your job target here.