One key thing to do to getting the job you want

It’s a hot job market right now in the west, at least in the U.S. where I am. Employers are throwing all sorts of incentives at people. Why this is happening is a complex mix of covid lockdowns, early retirements, people getting other jobs, supply shortages, you name it. So as someone looking for a job you are in a fantastic position. Changing jobs is the single best way to increase your employer based income. Simply put, when you get a new job you likely do so with a 5-25% increase in pay.

Promotions happen too, but it’s not as likely as you going out and getting a new job for more money. How do you get the job you want though? It’s one thing to get another job, there are plenty out there and chances are you’ll make more but how do you get a job you really want?

Before I answer that question we have to be clear here. I want to be a base player for a rock band and play in front of thousands of people. That’s not going to happen, lol. The “key thing” only applies to realistic career expectation. If you are a financial planner and you want to be a brain surgeon this probably won’t work.

For those of you who are closer to the mark, maybe you are a carpenter and want to run your own crew, or you are a warehouse worker and you want to get into management this tip can help.

Careful for what you wish for, you might get it.

So how do you get the job you want? 

You have to ask for the job.

I know sounds WAY to simple doesn’t it. Here’s the thing, asking the question starts the ball rolling. You are planting the seed now, so you can harvest the bounty later. Whomever has the ability to give you the job you have to ask them for it. Every question you don’t ask is a default no anyway so there is that but asking this person that question helps them, help you get that job.

How you ask

  1. “What can I do now to better prepare me for (insert new job name here)”
  2. “I’ve been working hard and improving my skills so I can eventually move into (insert new job name here) my best guess is 2 years from now, that sound about right?
  3. “I see myself in this role (insert new job name here) as part of my career path, do you think I am going to be a good fit for it?”

There are many other ways to frame this dialogue, you have to find what works for you but the point is you need to ask the question, directly or by inference. This can be done during interviews, annually performance reviews, whenever you feel it’s the correct time. The one major caveat is, you have to be asking the right person.

You know who they are, you know who has the ability to put you in a position to get the job you want. This is by no means a full proof system but by asking the question, you put it out there for you and the universe to know that’s what you want. It’s empowering and it puts anyone who hears the question on notice. In today’s work environment that’s huge, now is the time to go after the role you want. It’s a sellers’ market, you are in demand.

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Anxiety issues: Negotiating Salaries

Individuals with Anxiety really struggle with salary negotiations. I know because first I have anxiety and have been there and two I have hired people in prior roles and negotiated salaries. So in this post we will cover 3 things you need to know BEFORE negotiating a salary and 2 things you can say to an interviewer when the subject of salary comes up. First up: What you need to know before negotiating a salary

  1. Your bottom line: So this is vague let me explain. You have to know what your minimum number is. Your circumstances might be unique, maybe you are unemployed, maybe you have a high paying job. Whatever it is you have to know what your bottom line is. Specifically, you need to know what number you will not go below.
  2. Be educated on the range: So there is no one absolute number. Not all Analysts get paid 125K a year etc. You need to go online find a salary range website (there are several) and use that as a gauge for what you should be asking for. HR dept.’s is using these sites as well and they know what the range is. So if its 60-80K and you’re asking for 55K they know you are undervaluing yourself. This presents a few issues; first they are wondering why you are underselling yourself. Second, if they hire you they are doing so knowing that you are undervaluing yourself and its likely they know you will walk (once you find out what you should be paid).
  3. Your skills: You have to be crystal clear on what you can and can’t do. Skills are now paramount and with more and more online work if you say you can do excel you better be able to do excel. Companies aren’t as focused on work history anymore it’s all about the skill set you bring to the table. Included in that is maturity, how well you work with others, attitude. You have to really be clear here, if you don’t work well with others you better know that and if they ask you don’t say it outright but you don’t claim that you can when you know you can’t.
Negotiating pay can be a nightmare

So what about when they ask about salaries? This comes up eventually if you are a serious candidate. Often you will be asked on the first call from HR what your “salary requirements are” so they can eliminate you quickly if it’s not in their budget. Look I’m going to be blunt here, you don’t want to answer this question directly and if they press you then you ask for your max number. Here are two ways to answer it:

  1. “I don’t have a firm number in my head at the moment but I have done the research on the job requirements and with my experience I know approx. what the range is but I am flexible, what is the companies range for this role?”
  2. “I haven’t come up with a number yet as I was really focused on the role and job tasks. The job is very interesting but I suppose I do have to get paid right (chuckle here). I don’t know, what is the range the company is offering?”

Both of these answers throw it back on the person you are speaking with. This is the negotiation phase and everyone has to go through it. They want you at the lowest price possible, you want the highest price. Don’t take it personally, its business and good business too I might add. Chances are the person you are speaking to knows what you are doing and they might press, again your fallback position is the high end of your personal range. ONLY if they demand the number, this gives you the best position in that scenario, if your number wasn’t too high.

Negotiating a salary with anxiety doesn’t have to be painful. Know what you can command in the market place. Your current salary and job is a good starting point. Someone is already paying you that number for that work, so you know you are at least worth that.

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Working from home has one huge pitfall you need to be aware of

So here we are the end of 2022. Time flies when you are having fun eh? The pandemic is mostly over but the new normal is well, normal. Part of that is working from home. Now full disclosure here I have been 100% remote for nearly 3 years. I don’t need to go to the office to do my job and I get paid well for doing it. I know there are a lot of people like me out there and while this is a great work outcome for me (and many others), it comes with one huge pitfall.

What is that? If you can do your job remotely, its highly likely someone else can do the job cheaper. Remote work has opened up the possibility of outsourcing more than ever. A few decades ago it was manufacturing that was outsourced to international workers who performed the labor cheaper. That’s why you’re getting T shirts at Walmart for 7 bucks. Then it became call centers, next? Your corporate job.

Let me use my situation as an example. In the role I am currently in I am a “senior financial analyst”. To be blunt I am over qualified for this role as I have management experience. I took it because I didn’t want to manage people any more. I make less then I could if I was still in management but I make very good money. I am processing data and summarizing its impact on a portfolio of business owned by the larger business I work for.

There is someone else out there who can do what you do.

It is by no means “light” work, its nuanced and requires experience and knowledge to execute the data in a way that can be consumed by decision makers. However, anyone can LEARN how I do it and learn how to deliver the product to the consumers (my bosses) nearly identical to how I do it. YES, I have established relationships with the people I work with and for but it’s the corporate world, we aren’t friends we are coworkers there is a major difference.

I could be replaced by someone in another part of the world who could be paid less. Not only in wages but in benefits. Now initially it would be problematic for the customers I serve. There is so much nuance to the work I do the only way to master it is to do it for a few business cycles. It can be learned though, like a lot of other remote work. Unless you are creating unique material you are essentially performing tasks others don’t want to do, or don’t have time for.

Hence the pitfall of working from home. There is likely someone else out there who can do the same work, and achieve 90% of what I (and likely you) achieve for less expense. This is why you always have to have a backup plan. What if that happens? For me I will get another job in finance somewhere. Even processing Accounts Payable I can at least make some money. You have to have contingency plans as well if you are a remote worker. The new normal is here and companies are looking to maximize profits (they always are). The new reality of people working from home provides opportunities for many, including company looking to cut staff expense.

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Work Anxiety: A few ways to get relief

I know, I’ve done these before but these never get old and are critical for all of us who have anxiety issues. Let’s face it, work plays a huge part in our lives, we need income to survive and from plumbers to CFO’s we all get stress inputs via expectations from work. Maybe you thrive on it, or maybe you cringe from it. If you are having a bad day at work and need quick relief here are 5 things to try.

Maybe you have a bad boss? Maybe your coworkers are toxic? Maybe you have just checked out and just loathe going to work every day? Whatever it is you are not alone, tens of millions of people all over the world have work anxiety issues. It manifests itself in several ways. Maybe it’s too cold? Maybe it’s too hot? You get the picture. Below are 5 things you can do to fight anxiety at work.

Surviving 2020 & covid
A negative work environment can break you

1. Have plants: When you’re stressed at work, water your plant, prune it a bit, touch it. Often when we care for another entity, plants, people, pets we create positive feelings within ourselves. This can translate into a temporary emotional boost and get you through a tough moment.

2. Go home: I know; this is probably not on the top of peoples list but hear me out. Companies give people sick time and vacation time as a benefit of their employment. If things are horrible at work one day, bag out early. I mean this isn’t going to stop you from thinking about it, but you’ll be thinking about it in a comfort setting (your car, your home) rather than wallowing in thought at work, the source of the pain.

3. Call your parents: If your parents are no longer with us, call a family member. You don’t have to dump the stress on them but just call and say hi. If you call mom or dad they are going to figure out quickly something is wrong and comfort you, that’s what parents do, the great ones anyway LOL.

4. Indulge your sweet tooth: Look I’m not telling you to go on an eating binge here but have something to eat that you enjoy. Chocolate? Doritos? An apple… Doesn’t matter, sometimes eating provides comfort and while unhealthy eating and overeating can prolong and enhance negative emotions associated with anxiety there is nothing wrong with indulging once in a while.

5. Address the issue head on: this is the most challenging depending on your workplace but if the source of the stress is an individual, a project or the work in general talk to your supervisor or HR. Companies want productive employees and if you don’t tell people there is a problem, you can’t assume they know one exists. If you tell them at least you know they are informed.

Look none of these are wonderful catch all solutions to work stress, but you need something. I used to work in a high stress environment, I know I have anxiety issues and when I was in a stressful work environment it was a THOUSAND times worse. How do you deal with it? I had one woman that I worked with that every hour on the hour she dipped out for a smoke break. Really nice lady but her skin looks horrible, but I never criticized her, that’s what she needed to do to get through the day power to her.

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Work Anxiety: The worst kind of Co-Worker and how to deal with them

Most of us have to work. We do so to make money so we can survive and do the things we love. Now if you have been working, even for a week, you know you run into all kinds of people. It’s not just customers, it’s the people you work with and believe me there are some real idiots out there. A prevalent problem for many is problem coworkers. Even worse are the problem coworkers who are not dealt with by management.

The good news is we have a hot job market; it’s never been easier to get another job then it is right now. Leaving a job is no small thing though, particularly if you have anxiety. So what is this “worst kind of Co-Worker”? it’s the coworker who has no authority over you, but they have power. Let me explain with a few examples. You work in a dept. that produces widgets, you have been there 2 years your coworker has been there 12. You do the same thing, have the same title etc. but because of their tenure they have power, or at least they THINK they have power.

Another example is someone who has a narcissist or “strong personality” you know the type, the person who can never admit they are wrong, they never apologize. Maybe your company tolerates this person because they need bodies or your boss just sucks too. So this person isn’t necessarily in a higher position then you they just exert power because no one will put them in check. Including you, you have anxiety you don’t want conflict. These coworkers are the worst kind, they have no authority but they have power so how do you deal with them?

I work for money so I can live a good life and do the things I love.

There are a couple of ways really, but most create even more toxic situations. You can go to the boss, that may or may not be the best idea only you know if your boss is trust worthy. You can go to HR, which IMHO is always a mistake. HR departments are marketed to be for the employees but it’s actually the exact opposite. They are there to protect the company from legalities involving employees. It’s been my experience that when you go to HR you put a target on your back, don’t do this unless you are prepared for all sorts of B.S.

The last best solution? Is ignore the coworker. Now this will result in that person reacting, but again we are in a situation where this person has power but not authority. When you ignore them, you remove their power so you now put them in a position by which the only way they can enforce their power is by using authority (which they don’t have). This creates the situation where they are forced to over step, and then you have them.

Now by “having them” I mean they have created a situation where you are forced to either comply or there is a consequence. This is when you use one of the responses below:

  1. “Let’s go talk to the manager, if she says I need to do that, then I will”
  2. “I am going to do my job first, if I have time later I will do yours”
  3. “No”

Each one of these has the potential to create a serious melt down but you’ve done something remarkable here. You have changed the power dynamic; you are now the one with the power. You see the equation is simple, and human interactions are predicated on this simple equation. Someone wants something, they want you to do it, you do it because you benefit. Both people in the equation benefit, prior this person was the only one benefitting, with anyone of the response above you begin to benefit as well.

Work is work, these people aren’t your friends. They might want to be, you might consider them to be, but at the end of the day you do work to obtain a benefit (mostly wages). Don’t put up with any crap at work, particularly in this job market. YOU have the power (for now), companies need you more then you need them. Start flexing.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Why do people leave jobs? Is it always money?

This is going to be an opinion post but in my opinion, an extremely important one for your career. If you have been in the “game” for a while you probably have figured this out already. For my younger readers you will experience this at some point in your working life. Now this isn’t industry specific, meaning most industries this is applicable too but some it’s never really going to apply. This specific advice is for those who work for companies. The capacity isn’t important, you can be a contractor, a temp, a full time employee. This advice isn’t really applicable to consultants, small business owners etc.

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders

Let’s put it this way, most companies offer the same thing, the magnitude of what they offer might be different but it’s really all the same. They offer:

  • Pay/Salary
  • Benefits
  • Steady employment
  • Job security (most of the time)
  • Holidays or Holiday pay

Basically they all have the same premise, they pay you for your time to help them make money. You get X, and they get Y. No matter where you go in your career this is true. I know its general but you get the point, all companies essentially offer the same outline of employment. What makes or breaks a job, or a career are the people you work with.

Toxic people at work are not hard to spot.

The most important person at work is your immediate report. That person largely determines if you stay with that company or not. People leave leaders not companies, the deal you have with the company is the standard deal you’ll get anywhere. Sure you might get more somewhere else, but the core of the deal is the same. The person you work for directly though can make it an absolute nightmare.

Always be mindful of why you feel the way you do at work. Consider carefully why you feel that way and what the catalyst is. 9 times out of 10 it’s your direct leader that is at the heart of your issue. That can be fixed and you should examine if there are opportunities to enhance that relationship. In the end your direct boss is usually the sole reason why you are unhappy. Maybe they are unfair, maybe they don’t do enough, maybe they are of poor character.

Remember, people don’t leave companies they leave leaders.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

One key thing to do to getting the job you want

It’s a hot job market right now in the west, at least in the U.S. where I am. Employers are throwing all sorts of incentives at people. Why this is happening is a complex mix of covid lockdowns, early retirements, people getting other jobs, supply shortages, you name it. So as someone looking for a job you are in a fantastic position. Changing jobs is the single best way to increase your employer based income. Simply put, when you get a new job you likely do so with a 5-25% increase in pay.

Promotions happen too, but it’s not as likely as you going out and getting a new job for more money. How do you get the job you want though? It’s one thing to get another job, there are plenty out there and chances are you’ll make more but how do you get a job you really want?

Before I answer that question we have to be clear here. I want to be a base player for a rock band and play in front of thousands of people. That’s not going to happen, lol. The “key thing” only applies to realistic career expectation. If you are a financial planner and you want to be a brain surgeon this probably won’t work.

For those of you who are closer to the mark, maybe you are a carpenter and want to run your own crew, or you are a warehouse worker and you want to get into management this tip can help.

Careful for what you wish for, you might get it.

So how do you get the job you want? 

You have to ask for the job.

I know sounds WAY to simple doesn’t it. Here’s the thing, asking the question starts the ball rolling. You are planting the seed now, so you can harvest the bounty later. Whomever has the ability to give you the job you have to ask them for it. Every question you don’t ask is a default no anyway so there is that but asking this person that question helps them, help you get that job.

How you ask

  1. “What can I do now to better prepare me for (insert new job name here)”
  2. “I’ve been working hard and improving my skills so I can eventually move into (insert new job name here) my best guess is 2 years from now, that sound about right?
  3. “I see myself in this role (insert new job name here) as part of my career path, do you think I am going to be a good fit for it?”

There are many other ways to frame this dialogue, you have to find what works for you but the point is you need to ask the question, directly or by inference. This can be done during interviews, annually performance reviews, whenever you feel it’s the correct time. The one major caveat is, you have to be asking the right person.

You know who they are, you know who has the ability to put you in a position to get the job you want. This is by no means a full proof system but by asking the question, you put it out there for you and the universe to know that’s what you want. It’s empowering and it puts anyone who hears the question on notice. In today’s work environment that’s huge, now is the time to go after the role you want. It’s a sellers’ market, you are in demand.

Thanks for coming by and supporting my blog I really appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Why do people leave jobs? Is it always money?

This is going to be an opinion post but in my opinion, an extremely important one for your career. If you have been in the “game” for a while you probably have figured this out already. For my younger readers you will experience this at some point in your working life. Now this isn’t industry specific, meaning most industries this is applicable too but some it’s never really going to apply. This specific advice is for those who work for companies. The capacity isn’t important, you can be a contractor, a temp, a full time employee. This advice isn’t really applicable to consultants, small business owners etc.

People don’t leave companies they leave leaders

Let’s put it this way, most companies offer the same thing, the magnitude of what they offer might be different but it’s really all the same. They offer:

  • Pay/Salary
  • Benefits
  • Steady employment
  • Job security (most of the time)
  • Holidays or Holiday pay

Basically they all have the same premise, they pay you for your time to help them make money. You get X, and they get Y. No matter where you go in your career this is true. I know its general but you get the point, all companies essentially offer the same outline of employment. What makes or breaks a job, or a career are the people you work with.

Toxic people at work are not hard to spot.

The most important person at work is your immediate report. That person largely determines if you stay with that company or not. People leave leaders not companies, the deal you have with the company is the standard deal you’ll get anywhere. Sure you might get more somewhere else, but the core of the deal is the same. The person you work for directly though can make it an absolute nightmare.

Always be mindful of why you feel the way you do at work. Consider carefully why you feel that way and what the catalyst is. 9 times out of 10 it’s your direct leader that is at the heart of your issue. That can be fixed and you should examine if there are opportunities to enhance that relationship. In the end your direct boss is usually the sole reason why you are unhappy. Maybe they are unfair, maybe they don’t do enough, maybe they are of poor character.

Remember, people don’t leave companies they leave leaders.

Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I appreciate it. Want to see another post like this one? Click here.

Am I contagious?

“Why did you leave your last job?” – How to deal with this question if you were terminated

I have been fired twice in my life, I deserved it both times. Neither was recent but both were during my professional career, meaning I’m not talking about being 16 and getting fired from McDonalds. In both instances I made mistakes and one of them was pretty big. So if you have been fired, I’ve been there. I wish I had some magical advice that would absolve you of this black mark, I don’t, it doesn’t exist. Until you put years (a decade normally) of work between that event and your current gig you’re going to have to answer for it.

In nearly every interview I have been on, and every interview I have personally conducted I asked some form of this question. As the hiring manager I have a limited view of you as the applicant. At this point I have your resume which is the highlights of your career, I’ve done a google search, I’ve looked at your social media if it’s under your name (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) so I have an impression already. This question though is key and how you answer it makes or breaks my impression.

So here is the first thing to keep in mind as the applicant: The person interviewing you has a work story too. Like I said in the opening, I’ve been fired. Someone gave me another chance, I might give you one. Don’t assume the question is meant to trip you up or expose you negatively, it is meant as a general gauge to know why you want to work here. The hiring manager rarely cares about why you left, but why you want to work there. More money, better commute, shitty boss…..

The second thing to keep in mind as the applicant: Why EXACTLY were you fired? You have to be very specific here and study this and rehearse it in your head. You likely have a formal reason for being terminated from your last job, that formal reason is the ONLY reason. Let me explain. Maybe you were terminated for repeatedly being late. That’s a valid reason, and there may be a valid reason why you were late, I’m not asking for the later. The point? You answer the question directly with as little elaboration as possible and without talking negatively about the prior role.

Some jobs are forest fires

Now a good interviewer is going to ask follow up questions “why were you late” that’s natural and you should expect it. At this point you have a choice. You can be honest, you can be less than honest, or you can lie. It’s highly likely I as the hiring manager that I will never get the actual details of your dismissal, your prior company isn’t going to share it with me, you are my only source of detail for this event. Choose carefully here because lies tend to lead to horrible long term outcomes. That said if you were having an affair with the boss’s spouse at your last job you might want to not share that specific either.

People are terminated all the time it happens you aren’t the first person. If this was a mistake at work you own it, tell them you learned from it and be upfront. If this was a personal situation, like being late because say your kid had an illness, you can share it without playing a sympathy card. If this was a character issue, you stole, you harassed someone, you got into a physical fight with your boss (yes I’ve seen it) these are far trickier and require you to cultivate several references that will affirm you have corrected this issue.

So how do you deal with this question if you have been terminated prior? When in doubt tell the truth. As a hiring manager I am going to respect the hell out of you for owning it, and I will realize how tough that was for you to say it to me directly. Little do you know I’ve been fired too.

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For those with Anxiety: How to tell if you have a great boss

If you are functioning with Anxiety bravo you are doing well. Given how crap the world has become with politics, covid on and on it’s a wonder sometimes any of us get out of bed. If you are now back to work (in the states) or have been going to work all along, or if you are in the midst of a huge surge like our friends in India are enduring you likely still have to deal with work stress. Number 1 cause of work stress? Bad Bosses, coworkers are a close second.

If you have a bad boss you already know it, but how do you tell if you have a great boss? There are of course so many in-between that make up the vast majority of work bosses. Everyone has good and bad days you have to understand that. Good bosses? They are out there and that ideally the norm for all of us, great bosses however do 2 things regularly. They ask the two questions below, with the following elaboration…

  1. “How you doing” – This isn’t just the passing in the hall greeting this is them coming to your work area and asking you. They elaborate by asking about your family, your personal hobbies (if they know it). This may seem like a superficial attempt to become your buddy and it may be but a boss that takes the time to ask this and does so consistently does so because they genuinely care about you. Sure it might be that they care you are doing well to better your work performance but they still care.
  2. “How can I help you win” – This, in context to the first question is in all candor likely in reference to winning at work. A great boss understands that in order for you to be very successful at work you have to be doing well in all facets of your life. This question may seem odd and again self-serving to the person asking but anyone that wants to help you win, even if it benefits them as well is an asset that you want to nurture.

Don’t confuse these two questions with some notion of attaining a deep relationship with your boss where you are having BBQ’s together and your families hang out that’s likely not to happen. It is within the context of you doing well at work. A great boss cares about you as a whole person and asks these questions genuinely to help and make your life better. As someone with Anxiety that is a huge win, we need more people in our lives that want to make things better for us, even if it means they gain as well. I’ll take all the positives I can get.

So ask yourself, when was the last time your boss asked you either of these questions? Do they ask regularly?

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