3 quick tips for preparing your career for a recession

During National Small Business Week, I joined “The U.S. Economic Outlook and its Impact on Small Businesses” webinar. I learned that the Economist predict a mini-recession in 2018. They don’t predict it to be as bad as the recession in 2007.

Here are 3 quick tips to prepare your career:

Make sure you understand the technology you use at work

Know the software you use at work like the back of your hand. I’m not just talking about the portion you use for your job. Learn more about the backend and front end systems. If someone asks what’s the name of the software you use, you should be able to tell them the name and the version. It doesn’t matter what your job is. I don’t care if you are a dental technician.

 

Learn about industry equivalent software

 

It’s always great to know how to use the software at your job. But, very often companies customize the software to be specific to their needs. This is not a bad thing for them. Yet, for you, it’s not always the best thing. Make sure you know about 3-4 types of industry equivalent software that you can speak to. Make sure at least 1-2 of them you actually know how to use. This will help you if your company ever switches software. It will also help you if you are interviewing for another company.

 

Make sure you understand your role and how if fits in your industry

 

It’s great to go to work every day and know your job. It’s even more amazing if you do it well. But, to have a sustainable career you need to know how to live “in the outside world”. Things change quickly. So I would say examine your career every six months. Do online job searches and match your skills up with the job descriptions you see. If things aren’t adding up even ask for more responsibility at work. Or learn a few things on your own time.

 

Always make sure you set yourself up for success, no matter what the state of the economy is.

You’re UnderEmployed if you are not doing this at work

We’ve all been fooled by the question, “What was your previous salary”, on job applications. Which has led us to believe that as long as we are making money, we are doing good? Yet, underemployment also means that you are not living up to your full potential at work. Whether that be you not putting in the effort or your employer not allowing you to.

Your next employer doesn’t care if you’re getting paid manager money if you don’t have a manager skillset. Asking what your last salary was, only gives them a ballpark of what they should offer you. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, a pay increase can pay bills. Yet, having a competitive skill set will pay off, if a layoff should arise. Besides states are eliminating the salary question. This goes to show there isn’t any real importance in knowing someone’s salary.

Getting paid and educated at work is the norm. Unfortunately, when some people realize this, it’s too late. Don’t want until a layoff to wish you had done more. Don’t wait until you are job searching to find out that your skills are pretty dated in your industry.

Spending decades at a job doesn’t make you successful. What you’ve learned in those decades does.

Don’t do these 3 things during your layoff

Photo via Pixabay
Once you are laid off you will get all kinds of advice. Some of it will be helpful to you and some of it will not. Always remember that same as the advice I’m about to give you, advice if based off of personal experiences. You just have to figure out what will work for you.

Don’t isolate yourself

Out of embarrassment, you may want to isolate yourself from everyone. Do not do it. Even if it is just responding back to a text message and saying, “I’m okay, I’ll contact you once I have more time to adjust.” It’s best not to cut off the outside world. Eventually, you will need support, even if it’s just someone who tells you it will be okay.

Don’t wait until you are in desperate need to job search

Before you think about taking a long break, you need to consider your finances. You will add more stress to your life by being unemployed and desperate for cash. You’ll end up coming off really desperate in interviews. You’ll also probably have to take any role you can get. As opposed to having time to properly search for the best fit.

Don’t join pity parties

We all want to be around people who understand our pain. However, the best people to be around are people who can understand and help. Don’t spend too much time around people that can only talk about how horrible this is for you. At this point and time, “those aren’t your people”! You need to be around movers and shakers so that it can rub off on you.

You can either make your layoff a mini vacation or a permanent destination. The choice is yours.

Here’s why your pitch made me question your motives

I’m starting to get more of an influx of people who are asking to work for and with my business. I believe the larger influx is because of an article my company was featured in. While I’m excited that my company is getting exposure, I’m not excited at all about any of the pitches I’ve received.

Here’s why:

  1. Not one person has told me what they know about me or my business in their pitches.
  2. Not one person has shown me, that they have read any of the tons of articles I’ve written online. I have about 5 well-known publications that I write for outside of my own publication.
  3. Not one person has expressed a passion for my mission. Or said that it aligned with their mission.
  4. Not one person has told me why they want to work with or for me.

I could go on with this list but I’ll stop here. These are the 4 most basic things you should do before pitching to anyone’s business. It makes a business owner feel as if you care about their business. It also shows that you know how to research. You don’t have to necessarily know the most intricate details upfront, but you should point out at least one thing about the business itself. Telling me about your services and then just saying, “let’s talk”, makes me feel that our relationship will be all about you.

I’m a very new small business and right now I’m bootstrapping my business. I have more money going out than coming in at the moment. When I do start hiring I’m going to be extremely picky about who I hire.

I’m not hiring anyone who I feel displays that they just want money. I need people who want to learn and grow with me. I’m not partnering with anyone who just wants to add my company name to the bottom of their website. Nor will I allow anyone to work for me and run my business down to the ground for their lack of work effort. I think people do best when they are passionate about things. I need to see the passion for my mission in pitches before I even consider putting someone on my list for a callback.

Also see my article: Disengaged, actively disengaged employees, the economy and your brand.

3 things you should include in your goodbye email when leaving a job

There are so many ways to say goodbye, but there are some clear ways that will have you leaving in style. This simple goodbye email template is just too good to ignore.

Here are 3 things to include in your Goodbye email:

Something great about the company

If you’ve worked at a company for years you should have something good to say about the company. Think way back to a moment where a change was implemented that you liked. Maybe there was an introduction to healthy snacks or a positive afterwork meetup group. Or you can talk about your co-workers that have become good friends. You can possibly tell a short story about someone you’ve admired at work.

Something great about a project you worked on

Saying something great about a project you worked on re-affirms your greatness. It shows how you’ve made an impact on the company. You should never leave a company and allow anyone to forget the great things you’ve done. Or if some people weren’t aware of the work you’ve done and how valuable you were, they know now! It’s a small world, you never know who you’ll work with again.

Wish everyone well

You can never go wrong with wishing people well. When it comes to your actual goodbye email, it honestly doesn’t really matter whether you’ve loved everyone or not. What matters is being someone who understands that wishing people well is sometimes how we “cleanse our soul”. If there are people you wish to give special or separate thanks to outside of your goodbye email, you can do that as well.

This is just a quick template for those who ponder on what to say in their goodbye emails. For everything else there’s the exit interview itself. You should also read my article 3 great tips for your next exit interview.

4 Signs it’s not just a hobby

The entire point of having a career is so that you can constantly advance yourself. You should never assume in any point of your career that you are done. Also when we focus on things that we are great at in our down time, it prepares us for any storms ahead.

Here are 4 signs you need to advance on any special skills you have

 

You’re known for it

Anything that people call on you for constantly, you should just go ahead and consider yourself a subject matter expect. Especially if they are calling on you because they’ve gotten results or others have gotten results from it.

You think about it all the time

The things that we are most excited about we; eat, sleep, live and breathe them. There’s no particular time it will come to mind. This doesn’t mean that you don’t love your job, it simply means you know that having an eclectic skill set is what helps you advance to the next level.

You’re attached to it

You take it personally when someone tries to insult what you are doing in anyway. We often put a negative spin on taking things personally. However, in business sometimes you do have to take things personally because it’ll make you work that much harder to prove people wrong.

You know more than one way to do it

If you are passionate about something you know there is no one way to do it. You constantly find ideas on how to advance at it. If someone says, “I don’t think that way will work”. You’re already saying, “well how about doing it this way….”

If you’re great at something outside of your day job, it’s definitely not just a hobby. Advance on your skill, create a space for it, and put it on a resume. You never know when you’ll need it.

An “idle mind” is often considered career suicide. ~ AQ’s Corner

3 things to do when someone you care about says they hate their job

For years we’ve normalized what I like to call “work torture”. That simply means, sitting at a place you hate everyday because you have “bills to pay.” The go to advice people give others when they hate their job is; “hang in there”, “we’re in the same boat, welcome to the club.” This isn’t normalcy that we should celebrate. We should force people to either look at themselves, take action or do both.

Here are my 3 top tips

Find out specifics

Ask them exactly what it is they hate about their job. This puts the ball back in their court. You’ll find that some people have valid reasons for hating their job, while others just like to play victim. If you put someone in the position to explain exactly what they don’t like about their job, they’ll be forced to say it out loud. Sometimes saying things out loud make us truly listen to our words. It also allows them to begin a discussion about the pros and cons.

Ask them what they are going to do about it

By asking someone what are they going to do about it, you are giving them an actual action item. This will show both you and your loved one how serious they are. You may find they dance around the topic and give excuses. Excuses include but are not limited to; every single thing in the world that is stopping them from doing something about it. If someone truly hates their job, they should have some sort of plan in place. Telling you, should only be a way of venting while they prepare for their next venture. Not a pity party.

Offer to help them job with their job search

By offering to help you are letting them know they are not alone. Job searching can not only be scary but it can be lonely. If people know they have support they are more inclined to move forward. You can find out their interests and a little bit about their background and do online searches. You can also reach out to friends in your network. In the age of the internet it’s very simple to help someone with a job search.

We need to help people understand that they are never out of options. We need to teach them that when it comes to their career, they have all of the power.

3 Signs your role is not respected at work

It’s time to leave your job and you know that. You’ve seen all the signs, but you needed me to write this article to confirm it. So here we go.

No one knows exactly what you do

If you are constantly getting asked by others what exactly is it that you do, that’s a sign your role is not respected. In any company no matter the size you should make it your business to be someone who is well-known and effective at what you do. This could be a case where you are not making yourself visible enough and need to work harder.

Or it could be a case where you’re simply at an organization that doesn’t appreciate you or your work.

Everyone thinks they can do your job

This is probably the biggest insult you’ll ever receive in a work environment. That moment when people bypass you or your department to get things out the door. That moment when people who have little to no clue of what you do, but decide to estimate a project for you. Or that moment someone hands you a project and tells you it shouldn’t take that long without asking your opinion.

This is a clear sign of disrespect and should be addressed immediately by you. If it continues to happen even after you’ve addressed it, make a plan and move onward. As this could mean you’re not far from a layoff.

Someone moved your seat without telling you

No one is ever really asked if they would mind if their seat were moved. Not being asked if it is okay to move your seat is not the part you should worry about. The part you should worry about is, that someone moved your seat and didn’t tell you. It’s not that complicated for someone to send an email and say, “hey, sorry we had to move you.”

No matter the excuse if someone had to touch your personal things, you should have been contacted. If someone has to move you and everyone just waits for you to arrive back to work and says, “oh yeah, we moved you”, that could be a sign your role is not respected. Simply because moving someone is basically moving them out of the comfort of their personal space.

Watch for signs as the economic climate changes. Always put your best foot forward. When that is not enough, you can either make moves or get moved! It’s all up to you.

3 things to consider if you’ve had multiple layoffs during the course of your career

During the course of my career I was laid off once. It was the best thing to ever happen in my career. Simply because it woke me up! I was oblivious to the things that were going on around me. I had gotten to a point in my career where I was comfortable and even a little vain.

I assumed because I had finally reached my target industry the rest would work itself out. I was wrong. I got laid off during a few mergers the company had. I believe I was in the 3rd or 4th round of layoffs.

Sometimes getting laid off can be inevitable but if it keeps happening, you have to ask yourself why.

Here are 3 things to consider after multiple layoffs

 

You’re skills may not be competitive enough

Years of experience don’t always equate to a competitive skill set. Dated skills are the death of any career. Your skills need to not only be transferrable but they need to be competitive. When companies make decisions to lay people off, they often seek to keep those who have transferrable skills. Meaning when a ship is sinking the captain wants help from people who can actually help row the boat.


You may need to consider that this is not your passion

For centuries and decades, we’ve been conditioned to do what gets us paid and not what makes us happy. If you have been laid off multiple times during the course of your career, you should take a step back to figure things out. You should ask yourself am I doing what I love.

If you’re not, you also need to ask yourself, it is noticeable. You can spend years in a role thinking you are doing a great job because you are familiar with it. However, if you are not passionate about it, it shows. Sometimes passion is what pays the bills. Simply because you’ll work harder.

You may need to consider a career change

If you are following your passion and you still can’t turn it into a successful career, you might need a career change. Maybe you’ve outgrown your current career. Or maybe it has outgrown you. You should either look into ways to advance your skill set and if that does not work you should move onward. Find other things that you are interested in. Maybe you have a hobby that you can turn into a successful career. You never know unless you try.

Don’t be embarrassed, be encouraged to advance yourself.

7 signs you’re a pretty basic employee

stress

 

Showing up to work everyday is just not enough to get you employee of the year. Or employee of the day for that matter. It’s great that you rolled out of bed and figured you’d do some “Adulting” today. I applaud you for your efforts. However, you must know that if you truly want to be successful and elevate yourself, you have to do more than just get up and come to work.

Here are the signs you’re pretty basic

You hope no one bothers you all day

The biggest sign that you’re a basic employee is that you go to work, with the hopes that no one will bother you. You’re comfortable with not being busy at work and see nothing wrong with it. You spend more time than you should on projects, just to make yourself look busy to others. Essentially your ultimate goal is to do very little, while still looking busy.

Break time is your only favorite time at work

Let’s be clear, it’s very important to take breaks to re-energize. However, if you spend every single day hoping for a break to get away from your work duties; either your job is too much for you or you’re a pretty basic employee. Rest should not always be to re-cooperate from an awful day. While resting you should also have accomplishments to reflect on from your day. If not you’re either in the wrong field or at the wrong company.

You always pass the buck at work

You’re one of those people who only listens in for things that affect your job. Your favorite phrase at work is, “that’s not my job”. While it is important that we all ensure that everyone is carrying their weight, it’s also important that when necessary, you learn how to become a team player. By doing this you gain more visibility at work and if that is not enough, you learn more.

You’re a paycheck only employee

Just so we are all clear, the majority of us do work to get paid. That’s why they call it, “making a living.” Working for money is not what makes you basic. What makes you basic is that, that is your sole purpose for coming to work. You’re not looking to advance yourself or anyone else around you. If given the option, you’d sit at your desk all day doing nothing as long as you’re getting paid.

You think you’re not responsible for revenue generation at work

If you don’t understand that it takes a village to keep a company successful, than you are not just a basic employee, you’re basic period. Every employee’s role is vital to the success of the company. So if you’re not doing your job, you are at risk of making the company lose revenue. If that is still not enough for you, if the company loses too much revenue, you could lose your job.

You’re never afraid at work

Never, ever get comfortable with repetition at work. What repetition should tell you is that either; you need to ask for more advanced assignments or you need a job change. Often times being afraid at work or feeling challenged with assignments, means you are moving forward in your career. With companies trying their best to beat the competition, there’s definitely room for you to break the cycle of constant repetition. You just have to want to.

You’ve never learned anything outside of work to advance yourself at work

Average people take on the job training which is a good thing. However, exceptional people understand that, there is a world outside of their job that they have to understand. Exceptional people do whatever it takes to master their craft in many different ways, even if that means listening to audio books or simply googling things to research. If you say you don’t have time to google for the advancement of your career, but you spend hours on social media, well than you know what i’m about to say next. You’re a pretty basic employee.

Last but not least your other favorite quote is,

“Good Morning…Let the Stress Begin…”

It’s important that we understand the things that make us a less than stellar employee. No matter where you work, or what you do everyday, if you make a conscious decision to do it, you should always be putting your best foot forward.