Posts Tagged “work”

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Recently, I shut down a project I’d been working on for the last several months. It was a sentimental moment for sure—no longer spending my time on something that had been a big part of my day was certainly a tough pill to swallow. However, it was an experiment from the start, and I knew that once we got the results we needed, it would draw to a close.

Having to end—or in corporate jargon, sunset—an initiative you’ve been a crucial part of is bound to happen in your career, whether by your own accord or someone else’s. Maybe budgeting runs out, maybe it’s a bandwidth issue, maybe goals and priorities shift, maybe someone made a mistake assigning it in the first place.

Regardless, knowing how to wrap everything up in a pretty bow is an important skill—just because it’s coming to an end doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to end it smoothly and professionally. Plus, when done correctly, you can use all you’ve learned and achieved for future career advancement.

Here’s how:

1. Gather All the Facts

Before doing anything, you need to understand why this project is ending. Ask questions, talk it out with relevant team members, and understand what this means for the long-term.

For starters, this could give you both confidence and perspective—especially if you’re concerned that it’s ending because of something you did (or didn’t) do.

This also helps you make more educated decisions going forward. When you know why a project is no longer needed, you can make smarter choices for future initiatives and ensure that you’re on the same page on:

  • whether this is a permanent, trial, or temporary initiative
  • how success will be measured
  • what the timeline expectations are

2. Set an End Date and Prepare

Next, get the little details sorted out. When will this be completed? Who will help in wrapping up loose ends? What’s needed to get done before it is? Who needs to be notified?

Once you know all this, you can start preparing immediately—both for the last day and for what comes after (if anything). You’re going to have more time on your hands after this is over, so figure out how you want to spend your time moving forward and what other projects you might like to start or be a part of. Make sure to talk to your boss to get a sense of what they want you to focus on and prioritize.

Also, take advantage of the time you have to complete this project. Is there an experiment you’ve been meaning to try? Or, a skill you’re looking to build? Use this stretch to test any last-minute ideas or thoughts.

3. Notify Your Team (and Anyone Else Who Was Involved)

This is key: Whoever was involved in some way or another—whether they helped out, contributed feedback, or just followed it passively—should be looped in.

Send out an email or set up a meeting outlining why the project is ending, what this means for each team member and the company, and what the next steps will be. Give your colleagues a chance to ask questions and contribute feedback (and jot that information down for step five).

4. Take the Time to Celebrate Key Players and Accomplishments

This goes hand-in-hand with step three, but it’s so important to acknowledge all the hard work and achievements associated with the project. Make sure to call out and celebrate those who helped and shout out any big positive outcomes that resulted.

Also, celebrate yourself! Whether or not it was a “success,” you spearheaded something and no doubt gained skills along the way (even if those skills are better project management). So, take the time to feel proud of the work you did.

5. Do a Reflective Analysis

Once you’ve closed up shop, gather everything you collected over the course of the project, both qualitative and quantitative:

  • What did you do?
  • How long did you do it for?
  • Who was involved? What did they do?
  • What results were you hoping for?
  • What results did you get?
  • What results didn’t you get?
  • What was surprising?
  • What mistakes were made?
  • What lesson were learned?

Define what success meant for this specific initiative, how you did (or didn’t) achieve it, and what can be learned for the future—and write it all down in a report.

Then, use that report! Having all this information in one place is incredibly valuable for a number of reasons:

  • It forces you and your team to be reflective. Set up some time to go over it all, discuss it, and add to it. Use it as a conversation starter for launching new projects or brainstorming other initiatives.
  • It helps you be strategic in making future decisions and prevents history from repeating itself. Whenever you come across a project or problem that feels similar, look back on this report to decide whether to move forward and how so you don’t make the same mistakes or fall down the same rabbit hole.
  • It’s physical proof of your achievements. You can bring this to your next performance review or reference it in your job search. Also, you can use it to just feel good about yourself—you did all this!

It’s certainly not emotionally easy to end a project you care about. But, by doing it in a well-documented, well-thought-out way, you make it easier for yourself to successfully lead future projects. And that’s a great thing.

 

Source: http://www.americanrecruiters.com/2018/09/14/heres-how-to-gracefully-sunset-an-initiative-youve-worked-so-hard-on/

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The days when you had to put on a mask for work in the name of corporate conformity are over. They died with the wide-and-shiny neck tie, “kitchens” that looked like your dentist’s office, and other bad memories from yesteryear’s workplace.

Today’s workplace trades on inclusivity, empowerment, teamwork, and—in a word—realness.

Whatever your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, it’s not only yours to embrace, but your employer’s. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, 69% of executives say diversity and inclusion is an important issue. And that’s smart—because it’s good for business.

Recent research from Diversity Council Australia found that employees who work on inclusive teams are 10 times more likely to be highly effective than workers who don’t. They were also found to be more satisfied in their work, and studies have proven that happy employees are more productive.

So, it looks like it’s the perfect time to get real. Here are a few tips to make sure you can thrive as you at work.

Ask Upfront for a Diversity Onboarding

If you don’t identify as a white male (no shade if you do), chances are you have questions when entering a new workplace. What’s the policy to ensure women are paid as much as their male counterparts? Is there a mentorship program here and how can I find a mentor whose values align with my own? How can I help this company cultivate and hire diverse talent like myself?

Many reputable organizations will answer these as part of new-employee onboarding in the form of policies, videos, training, and general information. The goal should be to equip you with the knowledge and resources to work freely as your true self and ensure others can do the same.

If your new-hire briefing falls short of these expectations, don’t let your questions stew. Ask them. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re anticipating some sort of institutionalized discrimination (why would you join the company in that case?), it just means you’re curious and you’re looking forward to being part of progressive solutions to today’s workplace challenges.

Phrase questions to show that you’re curious about something meaningful to you and it’ll be easier to start the conversation: “I’m really passionate about women’s issues, I’d love to know what you do here to make sure women have access to leadership opportunities and equal pay?”

Join an Organization, or Start One

Whether you’re underrepresented at work or just have a really niche interest, joining a club—or starting one—is a great way to create space for the parts of you that don’t fit neatly into your job description.

Find groups that empower you—whether they’re creative or career development-oriented. The best part, clubs can fill voids if something you feel passionate about is not already reflected in your workplace. For example, if ladies aren’t exactly running the show (yet), a women’s group can be a great way to find support and mentorship. If people seem clueless when Pride rolls around, an LGBT+ alliance can change that.

If the group you’re looking to join doesn’t exist, consider starting it. Talk to HR or your manager and ask whether there’s a formal process in place to secure funding.

Be Aware of Your Biases, and Wake Others Up to Theirs

For better or for worse, we all carry unconscious biases. They’re woven into our minds from childhood and continue to proliferate in popular culture. These biases can affect our interpretations of and interactions with coworkers.

One of the best ways to be more self-actualized in the workplace is to help others be the same by granting them freedom from even small stereotypes and assumptions. Look into ways you can become more aware of your biases and spread the word to co-workers.

A few places to start: browse YouTube for bias exercises like this one, ask your colleagues for honest feedback, and pay close attention to your thoughts and reactions in groups (are you responding to hard facts and values, or assumptions and emotions?).

Grow Your Social Circle

Finally, it’s easier to be yourself if you’re among friends.

You can find them, but you may have to work for it. That means going to company events, grabbing coffee with new co-workers, switching your lunch crowd every so often, or hopping in new channels on Slack.

And try to connect with a range of coworkers, not just your immediate peers. You can learn from others who are different from you and who are in more senior or diverse roles. You may have to leave your comfort zone, but it’s well worth it—you’ll be more relaxed at work if you have a group of people supporting you.
Work should be inviting—not just because you like your work (although that’s a big plus), but because you can be yourself while you’re there. Whether your workplace is super progressive and has all the diversity and inclusion boxes checked, or you have to do some work to help get it there, use these tips to make your workday—and that of your coworkers’—more real.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/bring-your-whole-self-to-work?ref=recently-published-1

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LAKE Haven Centre will match dollar-for-dollar the money raised by shoppers for an initiative to help alleviate youth unemployment and disengagement in the northern section of the Central Coast.

Lake Haven Centre and Beacon Foundation have launched the Light the Way initiative.

Beacon Foundation is a national not-for-profit organisation which motivates young people for a successful post-secondary school career.

It equips students with the skills and confidence required to make the transition from school to work and reduce the rate of youth unemployment.

Light the Way will involve a $1-per-ticket raffle for a Hisense 50-inch ultra high-definition ULED smart TV from JB Hi-Fi; and a money spinner in which shoppers (and children) will be invited to drop a coin in and pick up a balloon.

Both activities will be available at the customer service desk at the shopping centre.

Lake Haven Centre manager Mike Cochrane urged locals to support the initiative.

“Light the Way is an opportunity for our community to come together and support the work of Beacon Foundation,” Mr Cochrance said.

“We are proud to work with Beacon to engage young people in the northern Central Coast to achieve careers success and help alleviate issues of unemployment.

“Lake Haven and Vicinity Centres will match every dollar raised during our Light the Way campaign, which will ensure the Beacon programs continue to provide support for young people in our community.”

The raffle tickets and money spinner will be available from 9am on Friday, May 25, to 4pm, on Saturday, May 26.

 

Source: https://www.lakesmail.com.au/story/5376851/lake-haven-helps-tackle-youth-unemployment-video/

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When I first started working, I never understood why people hated meetings so much. I love people, I love brainstorming conversations, and I love an excuse to not stare at my computer for several hours—how could they not be anything but great?

Of course, over time, I started to understand why they get a bad rap. Take away the fact that most meetings are inefficient, if not unproductive and a waste of time, it takes around 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get focused back on what you were working on before a meeting (which is why we’re big fans of turning unnecessary ones into emails).

As someone who’s (and knows many people who have also) had days of back-to-back meetings, I know how tough it can be to get all your other work done. Here are some tips for how to get through the day the best you can, if cancelling isn’t an option.

The Day Before

Prep for the Meeting
Chances are you know a couple days ahead of time when you’re going to have a day full of meetings. So, use that prep time to get organized.

Make sure you have everything you need to present or run each meeting. If you’re an attendee, go over any documents or agendas your colleagues have sent out to get a sense of what you need to bring and what’ll be discussed (if you have none of this, ask for it!).

Knowing what’s coming up will save you from scrambling day of to find files, or track down information, or waste any mental energy on being shocked at what you’re learning

Get Work Done Ahead of Time
Look at what you have coming up the day after the meeting. Is there anything you can get done in advance? By working through your lunch or staying just 30 minutes later than usual the day before, you can knock off some tasks and not end your meeting-filled-day feeling like you’re way behind.

Plan on How You’ll Take Advantage of Those Bits of In-between Time
Sometimes meetings end early. Sometimes they start late. And sometimes they get cancelled. (And sometimes the presenter spends the first 10 minutes trying to hook up their computer.)

Get ready to use those spare moments wisely.

Make a list of everything that can be done in under five minutes. Then turn to that list (and not social media) when you find yourself with minutes to spare.

Block Off Any Free Time You Do Have
Another no-brainer trick is to physically block off any time you have between meetings on your calendars.

The Day Of

Work in the Meeting (When Possible)
OK, I’m not giving you permission to not listen in the meeting, but I also realize that everyone does this at some point. And I also know that fires come up that you have to address, no matter how important the discussion is.

So, if there’s a lull in the conversation, you’re merely an observer in the meeting, or you’re certain you’re not needed in that moment, I give you permission to tackle any of those low-hanging fruits on occasion—whether it’s responding to a Slack, answering an important client email, or filling out a quick document.

Actually Eat Lunch
If it’s not completely taboo in your office, please eat lunch during the meeting. And, take bathroom breaks, even if it means leaving in the middle or running late to the next one. Oh, and, bring water and a snack with you so you don’t feel famished or dehydrated.

This will help keep your energy up so you can tackle stuff later on (more on that below).

Plan on it Being a Long Day
If your day’s going to be completely packed, then it might be worth getting into the mindset that you probably won’t be leaving when you ideally want to. It sucks to have to work outside your regular hours, but knowing that it’s coming will make it a little less painful.

Cancel Your Plans That Night
With that said, don’t make your day longer by having after-work plans. Not only will this put a deadline on how late you can work, but it’ll also just mean you end the day more exhausted than necessary. Instead, make it a self-care night that’s relaxing and stress-free.

Get in Early
Set your alarm a bit earlier than usual and get to the office before everyone else. This leaves you with plenty of distraction-free time to focus before the day really starts. And this goes for night owls too—even if you get in early and just spend the first hour making a to-do list for the day, you’ll feel better.

The Day After

Avoid This in the Future
You can try following these tips to cut down how many meetings you have to attend in the future.

Or, going back to the whole “blocking off your calendar idea,” you can make sure you block off two to three hours every day for your work. This helps to ensure that you will almost always have time to work. While you’ll of course have to move those blocks to accommodate other people and deadlines, it’s a great start.

No doubt about it that having a meeting-full day stinks. However, it’s not impossible to survive a day like this and still do your job (after all, if I can do it, you can, too).

 

Source:https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-survive-meetings-still-do-work?ref=recently-published-1

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Construction has begun on the site of the new Tuggerah Lakes Private Hospital

Delegates from hospital operator Healthe Care Australia joined local MPs and business leaders yesterday to turn the first sod on the $23 million project.

The new hospital, located on the corner of the Pacific Highway and Craigie Avenue in Kanwal, directly opposite Wyong Public Hospital, will create up to 50 jobs and include 3 operating theatres, 14 recovery bays, 6 recovery chairs, 20 inpatient overnight beds and consulting spaces.

The first stage of the project will see up to 60 construction workers on-site each day.

Once completed, the facility will cater for Day Surgery and short stay patients for multiple specialties including orthopaedics, gastroenterology, ENT, plastics, urology, general surgery, and vascular among others.

The hospital will be supported with shared services from Gosford Private Hospital, as well as specialist consulting suites on its ground floor.

Matt Kelly, Central Coast Healthe Care Regional Manager Matt Kelly said he was excited the project was underway.

“It’s an extremely positive development for the region, and along with the many new developments at both Gosford Private and Brisbane Waters Private recently, will help to increase our capacity and the range of services we can offer right here on the Central Coast,” he said

The Hunter and Central Coast Joint Regional Planning Panel unanimously approved the hospital back in September.

Source: https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/newslocal/central-coast/tuggerah-lakes-private-hospital-construction-work-starts/news-story/a87834a1ac77860a2a3e2180675830cf

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You’ve likely heard the advice to add numbers to your resume bullets. It helps recruiters really picture the impact you’ve made in your position, and it frankly just sounds more impressive.

See for yourself: Which person would you hire?

Person 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project, and developing computerized material take-off sheets.

Person 2: Initiated and managed tracking systems used for the Green District water decontamination project, saving $125,000 on the overall project through a 30% decrease of staff allocation time.

Exactly.

Of course, I know what you might be thinking: Sounds great, but what if I just don’t really work with hard numbers? Maybe you’re in a role that requires softer skills, or maybe you don’t have hard data or sales reports to pull from.

That’s OK! Truthfully, no matter what you do, you can add some numbers and data to your resume to give it that extra touch.

Here are three ways to quantify your experience without being in an inherently quant-y field:

1. Range

Not knowing the exact figure for things is often a big deterrent for using numbers in resumes. But one way to overcome this is to use a range.

It’s perfectly fine to not know exactly how many clients you see a month or how many calls you take a week, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still quantify it.

Give it your best estimate, and the range will show that there is a bit of leeway. And, of course, focus on your impact.

2. Frequency

Now that you know it’s fine to use a range, one of the easiest ways to add some numbers is to include how frequently you do a particular task (after all, that’s a number that applies to pretty much everyone).

This is particularly helpful in illustrating your work in high-volume situations—a hiring manager will be able to see just how much you can handle.

3. Scale

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Employers across the board care about money—and saving it. Including the frequency of your actions give a great sense of scale, but an even more eye-catching way to do this is to talk about the bottom line.

Think about all the things you do that ultimately save your company money, whether it’s streamlining a procedure, saving time, or negotiating discounts with vendors. Multiply those actions by how frequently you do them, and pop them into your resume bullets (remembering, again, that rough numbers are OK).

Numbers make such a huge difference in resumes—no matter what your work involves.

So, the next time you’re polishing your resume, try adding a few numbers to quantify your work and see how they really drive home the impact you’re capable of making.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-quantify-your-resume-bullets-when-you-dont-work-with-numbers?ref=carousel-slide-1

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Your first few weeks at a new job can be exhilarating. It’s often fast-paced and full of brand new things that can reignite a spark that you lost. After all, that might’ve been your reason for looking for this new gig in the first place.

But, it can also be overwhelming. And when you look at all the meetings on your calendar, you might think that your goal is to survive it. You can always go back and re-learn anything you missed this week, right?

And in a lot of ways, that’s true. Nobody expects you to master everything you learn during your first month, especially when it comes to understanding the finer details about your company. But there is an important question you should ask in every meeting you have (when it makes sense, of course):

How can my work make your life easier?

You might be thinking, “I barely know where the coffee machine is! How can I think about helping anyone else right now?” And that’s totally fair. But on my first day at my current job, my boss suggested that I set up meetings with everyone on my team and ask each of them this question. It was terrifying, and if I’m being honest, I really didn’t want to do it. But I didn’t want to disappoint my new boss more, so I got over my fear and piped up.

And when I did, I was pleasantly surprised by how it went.

Some people had really strong opinions. Others told me that they hadn’t even thought about it, but appreciated that I opened the conversation with that question. But what I ultimately learned was that your intro meetings don’t have to be a one-way street.

As much as you have to learn, it’s important to remember that you were hired to bring something different to the table—and you can do that as early as your first week on the job.

Again, I’m not going to pretend that this won’t be uncomfortable. I also understand that in some meetings, this will be seen as completely out-of-context. But when the opportunity presents itself and it feels like the next natural thing to say—challenge yourself to say it.

And then, before you worry you’re putting too much on your plate, know that you can respond with, “That’s really interesting to hear, once I’m completely onboarded, I’d love to find more time to discuss how can I start making this happen.”

I know. Asking this question might not make your first month any easier, but it’ll make the exact right impression on your new team. Not to mention, it’ll set you up to prioritize your tasks correctly. So take a deep breath and do it!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-best-question-to-ask-when-youre-new-at-work?ref=carousel-slide-3

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Knowing exactly what you’re doing at work is a great feeling. You’re confident, full of ideas, and ready to tackle anything.

Except—lately, you’ve noticed your co-workers seem to be avoiding you. They’re not extending invitations for group projects and you’re pretty sure you caught them rolling their eyes when you speak.

What gives?

The harsh answer is, to quote an old cliché: “nobody likes a know-it-all.” The more nuanced one is that they want to feel good at their jobs, too, and if you swoop in with the right answer all the time, they don’t have that chance.

So, it’s not enough to have the best ideas—you need to pay attention to how you deliver them, too.

On the bright side, a few simple shifts can help you salvage your reputation, and once you do, you’ll have the complete package of good ideas plus thoughtfulness.

Here are three changes you can start making today:

1. Be Patient

When you share your ideas first—especially if they’re strong—you eclipse your teammates’ ability to contribute. Yes, they can still build on what you’ve said or add something different, but your behavior sends a signal that you don’t really care what they have to say. After all, if everyone agreed to go with your plan, there’d be no reason (read: opportunity) to hear anyone else out.

Conversely, when you let others speak first, you’re giving them a chance. It shows that you think they have ideas worth listening to as well.

This strategy does run the risk that someone else will have the same brilliant thought as you, and he or she’ll get credit for it. But, that’s a good thing! If you agree, you can amplify it by saying, “I like Tina’s suggestion,” which’ll go a long way toward repairing the impression that you only value your opinions.

2. Be Open to Questions

One time you have to speak first is when you’re the one leading a discussion. But, as we all know, there are two ways to go about presenting an idea and asking for feedback.

The first is to share your idea and follow up with: “Can’t we all agree this is the best strategy?” Sure, this is a question—but the only answer you’re going for is a one-word “yes.”

The second option is to encourage your teammates to revise your work, by saying, “I’d love your thoughts on this: Do you see any areas for improvement?” Unlike a know-it-all who only looks for people to agree and execute their vision, you’re going out of your way to make a space for others to make valuable contributions. (If you want to dig into this a bit more, I lay out the right and wrong way to ask for feedback here.)

3. Be a Team Player

Truth talk: There’s usually more to being seen as a know-it-all than an excess of good ideas. It often comes with a side of arrogance.

It’s good to be ambitious and push yourself to contribute as meaningfully as possible, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of making your teammates feel like a bunch of runners-up.

So, ask yourself: Do you acknowledge when someone else has a good idea? Do you concede when you’re wrong, and back down when it doesn’t make a difference?

Where you’ve previously searched for holes in people’s ideas, challenge yourself to look for—and comment on—their strengths.

As someone who struggles to avoid coming off this way, I know the insecurities that come along with reining it in. You worry about downplaying all you know, and losing out on opportunities because of it. Or you don’t want to step back from a leadership role in a discussion—even once. Or you’d feel overlooked if someone else gets credit for an idea you were thinking and had forced yourself to hold in.

Here’s the thing: I’m not telling you to silence yourself or hide your genius. If you have an idea and you want to speak up and first, go for it. If you feel strongly about taking a project a certain direction, say so. Just realize you don’t have to operate at that speed all the time. If you pick your moments, you won’t just give others a chance—you’ll find they’ll be more supportive of you, too.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-share-your-brilliant-ideas-at-work-without-coming-off-like-a-knowitall?ref=carousel-slide-0

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Did you take the job to make friends? No, probably not. That would be quite low on the list of good reasons to accept an offer.

But having them sure is a perk, isn’t it?

Working with people you like can literally help power you through the day.

And in case you think this is an exaggeration and that work pals are just good for grabbing a beer with at the end of a long week, take this statement about the crucial nature of work friends from the infographic below: “Office friendships have a direct link with engagement and productivity.”

The infographic is, in fact, full of insightful nuggets, but as someone who values your work friends, you probably won’t be too surprised at the findings.

Those seemingly pointless conversations you have with co-workers while waiting for the coffee to finish brewing or on your way to a meeting? They’re not nothing. In fact, the data shows that having friends at the office can actually help your career.

A few minutes of non-work related banter can be viewed as a distracting force, or it can be seen as an engagement-enhancing break. So, it’s not just your social life that stands to benefit from these relationships but your professional life, too.

Think about it: When you’re in good spirits, you’re likely to find it easier to complete your to-do list—from the tedious, mundane tasks to the ones that require more creative energy.

You don’t have to have a best friend—though if you’re lucky enough to have a work BFF , well then, you may be one of the 50% of people who say that it’s resulted in having a strong connection with the company .

But just having any friends means you’re likely to be happier at work, and if you’re happy, you’re engaged, and when you’re engaged, you produce better work. You open yourself up to challenges. And maybe you even propose new and exciting ideas to your boss, bolstered by your co-workers’ praise and encouragement.

The fact is, the workday can be long and exhausting, so it really helps if you’re surrounded by people who you actually enjoy. What’s more: “The more friendly you are with the people you see every day, the happier you’ll be,” explains Muse writer Kaitlyn Russell .

So, the next time you catch yourself not doing your work and instead chatting with a colleague, go ahead and pat yourself on the back for cultivating those work relationships. It means you’re going places.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/you-need-to-have-friends-at-work-if-you-care-about-succeeding?ref=carousel-slide-4

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You used to love your job, but now you’re bored. You have to drag yourself to the office each day, and while you’re there, you’re not even working, just refreshing Facebook every five minutes.

If you’re being honest, you’ve outgrown your role, but you’re not ready to throw in the towel and move on just yet.

Job searches take a lot of time and effort, and—especially if you once loved your position or have close relationships with your team—you may be torn as far as whether you should try to make it work or look elsewhere.

Well, the answer depends on what’s causing your boredom, because once you know where it stems from, you’ll also be able to clearly see what your next move is. Here’s what I mean:

Stay if: You’re Coasting

The truth is, you could do your work in half the time—and with your eyes closed.

If the assignments that used to challenge you now seem like rote errands, then you’re sleep-working. Sure, you can do your job really well (maybe because you’ve been in it long enough to develop superb expertise) but you dread the idea of doing the same things over and over.

Remember how you struggled to learn new skills when you started? That’s because work isn’t meant to be too easy. It’s supposed to stretch your abilities.

The good news? You can still be happy at your job. What needs to change is the kinds of projects you’re working on—and that’s something you can talk to your boss (and co-workers!) about.

Next Step

Set up a meeting with your manager to explore how you can take on challenging new projects. Say, “I’d love to pursue opportunities for growth within my role. I’m only a beginner at [skill] and becoming more proficient would help me with [aspect of your job]. So, I like to work on projects that require me to practice it, such as…”

If you come with concrete ideas, you’re making it easier for your supervisor to say yes.

Another way to find out career-boosting opportunities in your day is to offer to help your co-workers. Tell them how much flexibility you have in your schedule and your interest in joining new teams.

Go if: You’re Out of Sync

Once upon a time, you were bubbling with ideas. You were able to excite people around you and ultimately get results.

Now—not so much.

You’re not excited about going to the office because your ideas are constantly shut down, your suggestions are never taken, and you’re frequently asked to redo things. It’s just not clicking—but that doesn’t mean your only option is to get comfortable coping with feeling frustrated each day.

Priorities may’ve shifted for your manager, team, department, organization, or industry, and you may no longer be the right fit (or your role may no longer be right for the company). If you and your team are on different pages, it can be best for everyone involved for you to seek out an opportunity that’s more suitable for you in this stage.

Next Step

While everyone has some small things they may not like about their job, successful people know better than staying in a role or at a company that’s no longer good for them.

When you accepted your current job, you felt you were making a smart decision. In that moment, you clearly saw how the position could elevate your career. Now you see something else: a new path.

Your best bet once you’ve come to this realization is to start actively looking for a new opportunity. To make sure you don’t end up in the same situation again, don’t apply only to roles you’re qualified for. Consider those that’ll take you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to master new things.

No one wants to be bored at work every day—and no one should have to be. Do what you can to make your job grow with you, but if that isn’t possible, don’t feel bad about looking for a job that excites you.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/what-to-do-if-your-work-no-longer-excites-you?ref=carousel-slide-0

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We all often face the same problem: The workweek drags by at a glacial pace, while the weekend speeds past us before we even realize what’s happening.

Mathematically, of course, it all makes sense. But, what if you could change that? What if you could use your time so efficiently that you had all of your important to-dos wrapped up by Thursday?

Even if you can’t actually pack up, leave the office, and take every Friday off (we wish, right?), wouldn’t it be nice to know that you have that whole “bonus” day to stop putting out fires and instead get a jumpstart on next week—or even use that day to tackle those bigger ambitions that have been permanently parked in your back seat?

I know, it sounds impossible. But, skepticism aside, it’s totally doable if you use your time effectively. In fact, numerous companies have actually begun instituting flexible or four-day workweeks for their employees.

So, how do these people manage to pull this off? It’s not as tough as you think.

1. They Schedule Intentionally

You’re aiming to view Friday as the extra day tacked onto the end of your workweek—a day when all of your weekly tasks are finished and you can finally have a clear head and a somewhat empty plate.

This means you’ll want to avoid scheduling meetings, phone calls, and other important get-togethers on that day (unless it’s just a casual coffee get-together with a networking contact). Instead, you want Friday to provide a large chunk of totally uninterrupted time that you can use however you’d like.

Dustin Moskovitz, co-founder and CEO of Asana, swears by this no-meeting structure—although, he implements it on Wednesdays for his team. “With very few exceptions, everyone’s calendar is completely clear at least one day out of the week whether you are a maker or manager,” he says in an article for Inc., “This is an invaluable tool for ensuring you have some contiguous space to do project work.”

This intentional scheduling applies throughout your entire workweek. In order to set yourself up for an empty Friday, you’ll also need to keep a close eye on your schedule during the other days as well.

No, you don’t always have complete control over your calendar. However, it’s important that you frequently check through your schedule to see how your week’s shaping up. If you think you have far too many commitments and not enough time to actually work, you’ll need to see what you can move around or back out of.

2. They Focus on Priorities

You start your week with the best intentions and a laundry list of things you’re going to tackle in the office. But, when Friday rolls around, you’re shocked to realize that you barely accomplished any of them. You were too caught up in the emergencies that cropped up.

As Stephen R. Covey, the incredibly successful businessman and author, said, “Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important.”

People who get everything wrapped up before Friday know the value of effective prioritization, and many of them use the time management matrix developed by Covey in order take a step back and readjust their focus on the things that are critical, rather than time-pressing.

Oftentimes, there’s a big difference between how you’re actually spending your time and how you should be spending your time. And, if you want to have Friday reserved as free space, you’re going to need to constantly evaluate your priorities and ensure that you’re channeling your energy into the right things.

3. They Tune Out Distractions

Of course, you’re going to need to maximize every single minute of the days you actually do have. And, that means minimizing distractions as much as possible.

If you can’t focus at your desk with the office chatter and phone calls happening around you, try to find a quiet spot (or, if you’re desperate, some noise-canceling headphones) so that you can get into a groove and zone in on whatever you’re working on.

Another distraction you’ll want to keep at bay? Emails. So, close out that browser tab and resist the siren song of your inbox. You can even take a cue from Tommy John’s CEO, Tom Patterson, and set an out-of-office message that lets everybody know you’re only reading your emails at a certain time. That way, you won’t feel as tempted to keep checking in on your inbox.

4. They Find Shortcuts

You might hear the word “shortcut” and assume that means shoddy work. But, that’s not what this strategy is about at all.

Successful people are always concerned with producing top-notch results—however, they also find little ways to save time in the process. So, take a page from their book and have a good, hard look at your routine. Are there places where you’re spending a lot of unnecessary time?

Perhaps it’s a document you’re repeatedly drafting. Create a template so you always have the barebones in place. Is it an email you’re always sending? Save a canned response so you don’t have to draft the same message over and over again. Is there a menial task you need to complete daily or weekly? See if there’s a way you can automate it.

These changes seem small. But, if you managed to save yourself 15 minutes each day between Monday and Thursday, that’d be an entire hour by the time Friday rolls around. See? It all adds up.

Cutting a day out of your week might seem like a surefire way to get far less done. However, that’s not always the case. In fact, four-day workweeks have been proven to offer plenty of benefits—including increased productivity, higher levels of engagement, and happier employees.

Studies also show that longer hours don’t always equal more tasks being accomplished. After a certain point, we check out and our productivity either flat lines or takes a total nosedive.

So, even if your office won’t officially implement a compressed week, you can still roll up your sleeves, make the most of Monday through Thursday, and reserve Friday as a more low-key day when you can tackle bigger projects or set yourself up for success next week. After all, there’s no better way to head into the weekend.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-successful-people-finish-all-their-work-by-thursday-stressfree?ref=carousel-slide-5

1

I felt nervous when I left for maternity leave. Yes, mainly about bringing a child into the world; but if I’m being honest, I wondered about my job too. What if my team realized I was replaceable while I was gone?

While they didn’t have any major revelations about my role, I did. I felt—for certain—that I wanted to keep my job. Maybe you’re nodding along, because you care about your work, too. But after you returned you realized that your workload just wasn’t sustainable, and your ideal situation would be transitioning from a full-time to part-time role.

No sugarcoating it: It’s a big ask. It means that others on your team will have to pick up the additional work (or a new hire may even be in order). There will be factors that are out of your hands ranging from company policy to team structure, budget, and resources. And, yes once you’ve mentioned your current load isn’t working for you, you can’t just pretend that conversation never happened if the answer is no.

But that’s also not to say it’s impossible. Maybe new people are joining your team, junior members are being promoted, or an intern is coming on full-time. As with anything else, the only way to know is to ask.

If you’ve weighed all that out and are ready to explore the idea (especially if you’ve decided you need a part-time role regardless), here’s how to go about it:

How to Prep

To begin, think about ways your role could be compartmentalized and then divided. List out tasks that naturally go together, as well as those that you feel someone else could do equally well, as well as any group initiatives where you’re an extra warm body. No, you don’t want to approach your boss with a project-by-project list of what you’d like to keep and ditch; but this exercise can help you think creatively about how you’d split your role into two.

For example, my current title includes “writer/editor,” so it seems pretty intuitive that I’d pitch splitting those two words up, so my manager would need to find someone with experience as a writer or editor, as opposed to both, which requires more skills.

Of course, other titles aren’t so obvious. In a previous job, I was a program manager tasked with recruiting and interviewing graduating students, referring them to partner organizations, and coordinating with volunteers during their fellowship years. Since I left, this job’s been split across the team, so one person is the point of contact for volunteers across programs ranging from fellowship to mid-career, and another reaches out to all applicants.

Ideally, you’ll come up with a large chunk of your role that you can foresee someone else (internally or externally) doing equally as well. The other half, the half you’re pitching to keep, should be what you excel at.

Think about your specialized skills and what your boss has praised at past performance reviews. This is the foundation for your argument: that you’ll add so much value to the work you’re retaining that keeping you on and changing the team composition will be better than simply replacing you.

What to Say

It sounds like this:

Thanks so much for making the time to talk to me about my workload. As always, it’s my goal to do the best job possible.

To be candid, I don’t feel that I have the capacity to keep working at this level. I care about this work deeply, so rather than running myself into the ground and risk having something drop, I wanted to speak to you proactively about a possible solution.

The best situation for me at this time would be to bump down from a full to a part-time role. (If applicable: I recall [some other creative work arrangement] or I know we’re looking to hire a new team member and—) I’ve thought through how my role can be split up.

I could retain [part of role]. I [have developed strong relationships/possess certain skills, have x amount of experience] that makes me particularly valuable in this capacity. At the same time, I know l I could train [someone else/ current team member/ a new hire] to take on the other half of role. I could see this benefiting the composition of our team by [value add].

I know this ask involves broader considerations and am prepared to discuss changes to salary, benefits, and title. If it’s not possible at this time, I’d love to discuss any opportunities to cut back even slightly in the meantime, discuss flex or remote work arrangements, or get a better sense of if or when this might be an option

It’s true this isn’t an easy talk to have with your boss. But if you’ve come to the decision you absolutely need to change your role, it’s probably easier than sticking it out and driving yourself crazy, or cutting your losses and jumping straight into a job search.

So, go into it well-prepared and with a positive, collaborative mindset: You just could get the ball rolling toward the exact role you’re looking for.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tricky-conversation-template-how-to-tell-your-boss-you-want-to-work-parttime?ref=recently-published-1

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There’s been a lot of tough stuff going on lately, and it can be frustrating to feel like you’re unable to make a difference from behind your computer screen. Your days are packed, right? Between a hectic commute, back-to-back meetings, and doing your actual job, the work week leaves little room for good deeds—especially if you don’t work for a nonprofit or other organization that’s primarily about making the world a better place.

But if you’re looking for a way to give back, things aren’t hopeless, no matter how busy you are. Whether you can spare a few minutes or a full hour, we’ve found a few small ways anyone can make a big impact.

1. Contribute With the Classics

Itching to donate to a cause, but can’t do it on your own? Try an old standby: Plan a bake sale, book drive, clothing drop, or similar event in your office. Clear your idea with the higher-ups, and once that’s done, game on! The effort can be big or small, depending on what you’re comfortable pulling together, and you’ll likely be able to wrangle a couple volunteers with an email about the charity and the event.

For an event like a bake sale or silent auction, call local businesses for donations (like that bakery with the cupcakes your co-workers are always talking about!). If you’re leaning toward a donation drive (which can be easier to pull together), give colleagues a few weeks’ notice to clean out their closets, and collect things over the course of a week so people can drop off when it’s convenient. In either case, for max participation, do your best to avoid disrupting the workday, and hold the event at lunch or on a Friday afternoon.

Sure, organizing a company-wide event can feel intimidating, but most of the time, all it takes is a couple hours and a folding table to bring people together. Throwing a humble office charity function is a simple way to have fun, support your community, and form connections with your co-workers, all for a bigger cause.

2. Give a Small Part of Your Income (or Spending)

If you’d rather give your money than your time, there are a few things you can do.

Start by seeing if your company has a corporate giving program. This is great for a couple of reasons: First, you can often have your donation removed directly from your paycheck, which means you’ll never see (and therefore miss) the money. For example, insurance giant Aflac has its Duckprints program, which has donated over $110 million to the fight against children’s cancer since it started in 1995—and sees its largest chunk of donations come straight from the commission checks of its agents. As an added benefit for social media savvy Samaritans, for every tweet, YouTube view, or Facebook mention an employee makes using the hashtag #Duckprints, Aflac will donate an additional $2, up to $1.5 million, to childhood cancer research. (That’s another great part of getting involved with corporate giving—companies often match employee donations, making your giving power even greater.)

Another way to get the charitable money flowing at work? When shopping on Amazon—either on the company’s behalf or just for yourself—do so through AmazonSmile. Eligible purchases will result in .5% of the bill being donated to a charity of your choice. Get your colleagues on board, or see if you can if you can get the whole org to sign up for maximum impact. There’s even a Chrome extension that will automatically redirect any Amazon page to its Smile equivalent.

3. Elevate Your Lunch Hour

Of course, volunteering is always an option, but many people feel like they don’t have the time. So why not eat a quick lunch at your desk from time to time so you can use your lunch break for a little good? Whether it’s once a week, once a month, or once every once in a while, whatever time you can give is great.

It may seem like an hour is not enough time, but there’s actually plenty you can do, such as:

  • Donate blood.
  • Drive someone from a local shelter to a job interview.
  • Join a street squad to spread awareness about a cause.
  • Deliver a meal to someone in need.
  • Visit a senior citizen who might need a friend.

It can take some digging to find something that fits your schedule, but many organizations will work with you to figure it out. VolunteerMatch is a great resource for finding opportunities—and even states whether organizations have a set schedule or are more flexible.

If you’d rather donate your skills rather than give any old time, look for ways to do pro bono work. VolunteerMatch also gives the option to search for virtual volunteer opportunities where you’ll help out with anything from marketing to coding. You could also reach out to organizations you care about, giving them info about your skills and offering to help where they need.

Finally, see if your company supports volunteer activities so you can take employer-approved time to give back. Aflac, for example, works with employees to volunteer for organizations like Habitat for Humanity. Other companies give a certain number of “volunteer days,” similar to vacation days, so make sure you’re using them if your company offers them (or look for this perk when searching for your next gig).

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-little-ways-you-can-do-good-at-work-no-matter-what-your-job-is