Archive for the 'Career Tips' Category

7 Ways on How to Make Your Company Creative

Creativity calls for commitment. With no commitment, you will slide back to where you have started. Get rid of policies, rules and memos that back creativity. Creativity should not be stifled – it should fly like a bird on wings.

It should be welcomed. It will bloom in the workplace if management let it be known that new ideas (no matter how weird), experimentation and inquiries are encouraged. Personnel should be assured that false starts and failures are more common than flashes of genius.

Here are 7 ways on how to make your company creative:

1. Create a pleasant atmosphere. Creativity prospers in an environment where management and coworkers listen to one another. Exchanges of ideas may give birth to something that the company urgently needs.

2. Encourage personnel to look for fun in their work. A positive attitude toward one’s job is often the very source of what is called the Eureka! Experience or a spark of genius!

3. Make the workplace “a garden where ideas spring up and grow like seeds.” If you are the manager, help the idea grow by “watering” it, so to speak; do not be the first to “uproot” it. Most managers are often the ones who “abort” good ideas that might have proved the lifesavers of the company.

4. Be a good example of the “creative manager.” Do not be afraid to experiment right in front of your personnel; or get embarrassed when you make a mess of it.

5. Mix your employees especially during conference or brainstorming. A mixture of different background, education, attitudes, training and talents is like a cauldron where good ideas are “curdled” and “cooked.”

6. Welcome questions from employees about anything related to the company. It is one way of correcting what they may think or have assumed all along. The truth will set them free – and truth and freedom spur creativity.

7. Remember that some ideas may sound impractical, even weird – on the surface. Creativity theorists all say that a good manager will always ask how he can turn an idea into action, instead of killing it. It could be a very good one.

Corporate Image is really an Inside Job

For some workers, a job is just a means to an end. Take the worker who repeatedly checks the clock as afternoon ticks toward 5 p.m. Or the worker earning $10 an hour, who has a job only so he can afford to escape to the desert on weekends to ride dirt bikes.

There is nothing wrong with this, unless you are the company that employs these workers.

According to Moshe Engelberg, president of a consulting firm, it is an aspect of human nature that people work harder when they care about what they are doing. And that is something every employer should be concerned about.

He further stated that clients complain that no one knows what their company does or that they misunderstand the company which actually means that they have no internal focus.

Before a company can create public image or establish brand identity, an internal identity must be developed.

A lot of businesses ad to its work force but sometimes they are not as attentive as they should be to keeping corporate goals in the minds of their workers.

Engelberg uses the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as an example. He was called ion to consult at the federal agency, whose work force had different ideas about he organization’s identity.

Some workers thought of the agency as the keeper of America’s health and safety. Others saw it as a trusted information source on health issues. Still others saw it as an important conduit among the nation’s public health agencies.

Engelberg said that the workers in CDC saw different aspects, but they did not see how they fit together into the broader picture.

He was able to link the organization’s focus with those three main aspects, building a unified image for its employees.

According to him, people want to do work that matters. He said that if there is a focus for the company, it helps them connect with the goals and makes them want to work harder. Companies such as Southwest airlines, Nordstrom and Home Depot are high-profile examples of companies that have energized their work forces and corporate goals.

He stated further that those workers who seem to be happier in their companies than other workers in other companies are people who know what the company is trying to achieve and feel that they are contributing toward that.

Some companies never reach that point. Engelberg contends that they lack customer focus by failing to realize that those employees are one set of customers.

Workers who see a connection between their jobs and the success of the company feel it within themselves, and the company benefits.

That internal commitment translates into everything the company does, and it is reflected in how is customers view it.

How to Deal with Co-Workers Effectively

It is nice to exercise freedoms and feelings at work as well as off work. The problem is that everybody feels that way, and since the office brings people together, they can easily get in each other’s way.

When there are seven, 70, or 700 in the staff or in a building, reality dictates that they work together as some form of a team, with a single purpose and spirit. In this situation unbridled individualism can really muddy the water or ruffle the feathers.

Hence, the number one requirement for work efficiency and enjoyment: compatibility. Working with co-workers means magnanimity, not just proximity.

The team approach

No matter how good you are at our job, you often need help around the office, and finding an ally is a smart move towards simplifying work. It can be someone who works with you, for you, or even just around you – someone you can call on when a task is better done by two.

Someone who can be trusted to pass on a message in your absence, cover for you, suggest you not send that angry letter, make a joke when you take yourself too seriously.

When you head a team, the ideal assistants are the ones you can give an assignment to and just let hem run it – research things as necessary, and then carry through. To achieve this:

  • Make them part of the process of decision-making.
  • Take them to meetings with you.
  • Fill them in on the whole and they will do their part better.
  • Give them specific goals but let them tell you how they are going to get there.
  • Do not do all the interesting work yourself and leave all the boring, brainless stuff for them.
  • Give them things that challenge their abilities and knowledge; let them become team experts in some areas.
  • Do not let yourself get so busy that you fail to communicate with them regularly (and that does not mean once every other week as you are rushing out the door).

If you accomplish a task early, help your team members out. When someone is stuck with a problem, try to help find the solution. Such efforts get reciprocated.

Never make a job indispensable, it is too much pressure for any one person. Arrange things do everyone has relief.

Kind coaxing, or a cuff on the side of the head? The other part of the team has not gotten its share of something done, and it is undermining your efforts. The options:

  1. Bad: Ask them again and beg and whine for it.
  2. Worse: Report them to the boss – you have just made new enemies.
  3. Worst: Shame them in front of everyone – you have just made new eternal enemies.
  4. Marginally better: Do it for them – generally the quickest and simplest solution, but a bad precedent.
  5. Best: Diplomacy. Offer to help them do it and schedule time to do so.

Unreliability usually is not a lack of skill or ability, but of commitment. It can be corrected by nailing down expectations (the job or assignment, its time, the place, the requirements) and then asking just three questions of the person to whom it has been assigned.

  • Do you really want to do it?
  • Do you have full instructions for it?
  • Will you do it?

If the answer to all of the above is yes, wait a while, and ask one question more: Did you do it? If the answer is no, you do not need their “help.”

Giving and getting clear instructions

Let’s say you are willing, ambitious person, arriving fresh and inexperienced on a ranch, and the foreman says simply, “Go get the cows.” That is clear objective but not clear instruction. Whether you are giving instructions or asking for them, strive for clarity:

  • Where are the cows?
  • Do we want them dead or alive?
  • Shall I use the pinto or shank’s mare?
  • What’s our brand?
  • How many cows are there? What breed?
  • Both cows and calves?
  • Where should they be corralled? Where do you want them after I get them?

How to Deal with Irritants in the Office

At times, people working with other people get annoyed. But this widespread feeling does not have to ruin the work day. Instead, workers need to detach, confront or withdraw from the particular situation. Pet peeves into two categories: environmental and social. Here are the top five in each group:

Environmental

  • Room temperature – 56%
  • Noise – 37%
  • Odors – 25%
  • Uncomfortable/cramped offices – 23%
  • Messy workstations/common areas – 22%

Social

  • Bad habit – 36%
  • Office gossip – 29%
  • Difficult boss – 25%
  • Foul language – 18%
  • Speakerphones – 12%

A close look at both categories of annoyances leads to one big conclusion – that each troublesome situation is precipitated by other people. Tuning out irritation requires detachment.

Environmental Irritants

If both environmental and social irritants invade your office, challenge the environmental ones first so that you can work up to the more complex social problems. Resolving environmental annoyances can teach you to focus on a specific situation rather than the person or persons causing it. You will be less likely to blame a person.

One wholesaler with an office over a busy downtown street that was being drilled during a citywide renovation was stressed to his limit. So were his employees. He considered his alternatives. Ear plugs would have kept everyone from hearing each other, telephone callers and office visitors.

Turning on office machines and equipment as camouflage would have created troublesome noise in the immediate workspace. Moving would have cost too much. Finally, the owner settled on detachment, because the noise would be continuing only for a stated period.

A messy or dirty common area, such as a kitchen, can be more complicated, because it involves personalities. Here is your hook: it is also bad business. Customers or suppliers who drop by for a cup of coffee will not be impressed if the facility appears unsanitary or unkempt, because they will think that it mirrors the behind-the-scenes work you do for them. Conscientious workers may start resenting having to clean up for everyone else.

A common problem lends itself to a common solution. Focus on the situation. Tell your boss and/or coworkers that you are concerned that customers and suppliers may assume that the unseen work you do for them is equally inattentive. Suggest assigning each employee a day to clean up the area. Hang a chart in a visible place to remind every employee each day whose turn it is.

To keep people motivated, offer an incentive that the whole group can share. Motivate everyone to use that area as if it were his day to clean. Maintain the momentum by ordering in an occasional treat, such as the best coffee in town. Make it often enough to be a reward without being a bribe.

Social Piques

Pet peeves based on an individual behavior can be more difficult to solve because of potential personality conflicts. Something as irritating as a speakerphone can often be stopped if you ask the person in a slightly peeved tone if he is using one. Telling him that you are having a hard time hearing him should prompt a switch.

It is best to detach from office gossip, but to confront foul language. Tell the person that you are uncomfortable with the language he uses. He may just be having a “bad hair” day. If not, that person is creating verbal harassment, an issue you might want to take up with human resources.

If you have a difficult boss, detach first, because you probably are not going to change his behavior. No luck? Confront not the person but how your work is suffering. If reason does not work and you are convinced that the pet peeve stems from a big problem, find a new boss.

A bad habit that annoys you can be particularly irritating if it makes working difficult. For example, if a team member chronically hands you his part of the work so late that you have to race to met deadlines, tell him that you are concerned that your work may become inaccurate or sloppy. Agree on an “early warning” system to get his part of the project to you. If that does not make him more responsive and responsible, speak to your project supervisor.

Pet peeves do not have to hamper your work. Overlook them if they are insignificant. If they are not, take action. Be creative, and use all of your resources.

Meetings – When Participants Disagree

If you are in-charge of a meeting, it can be very frustrating when the participants start disagreeing. Precious time is wasted and decisions are left unmade. So how should you handle the situation?

Use Humor

When nothing else seems to diffuse tension between disagreeing participants, you might as well crack a joke ease up frayed nerves. Humor can be refreshing, but a word of caution: Don’t ever crack a joke at the expenses of either of the disagreeing party. That will only worsen the situation.

Proper Seating Arrangement

If you are aware (even before the meeting) that some of the participants are on opposing sides, then it may be wiser to seat them beside one another instead of across. People are more prone to confrontation when they are facing each other than when they are seated side by side.

Stay On Line
Always remind the participants to stick to the topic being discussed. There is a natural tendency for people to disagree especially when they get all fired up from disagreeing. Once you allow either of the disagreeing parties to stray, you will not get anywhere.

Don’t Take Sides

When heated arguments continue, taking sides is the fastest way to turn the situation into a disaster. Be neutral at all times. Reserve your opinion up to the time when your decision should finally be aired.

Postpone

If the disagreement leads into a heated argument, then the best thing to do is to postpone the discussion. When nerves are frayed, it is hard to come up with wise discussions.


Clear the Clutter

It used to be said that an empty desk is the sign of an empty mind. Not anymore. A streamlined desk is considered to be the sign of an organized, competent, productive employee.

Here are ways to clear the clutter on your desk:

  • Gather all loose papers and files and put them into one or two large piles.
  • Sort the papers into four categories: To do, To pay, To file and To read.
  • Delegate, re-route or toss the rest.
  • Throw out at least one-third of the material in the “To read” stack. There simply isn’t time. Concentrate on magazines relating directly to your business.
  • Turn the large file drawer in your desk into a project or action drawer, containing current projects and items that are time sensitive.
  • Go through and set priorities for the papers in your To Do box every day. Otherwise. It will be a dumping ground and important papers may be overlooked.

Move Down the Career Ladder

You are tired of being at the top. You love your place of work but the responsibilities are beginning to wear on you .You don’t want to leave the business you work for yet to remain in your current position just is not going to work any longer for you. So what do you do? You decide to ask for a demotion. It makes sense and if you are honest with your employer, many will appreciate the honesty and gladly allow you to move further down the career ladder.

Here are some tips for moving down the career ladder. One of things you will need to realize with the demotion will sometimes come a cut in pay. Can you financially afford to make less money? If you can then you are part of the way there to making your move down the career ladder.

You already know your current job is stressful and very time consuming. The move down to be demoted will provide less stress and more flexibility to your daily routine on the job. Yet before you make the choice to be demoted, find out if you can transfer laterally to a different position within the company with less responsibility and more flexibility. This may be an option to consider. Yet you may also decide against this option.

Before you ask for the demotion, find a job within the company you would like to do. Maybe you will have to leave the company to find the right job so be prepared for this option also. Yet don’t be discouraged, you will find the right job you desire. You may consider taking a part-time job in the interim of finding a different job if you are to the point where you just can’t make yourself go to work anymore due to the stress. You can also decide to start your own business and work out of the home. Both options will mean a cut in pay and maybe even more changes in your life than you are ready to take on. Think seriously how each would affect your life before doing either option.

Get out your resume and update it. Highlight your skills on the resume so you will shine to the prospective employers. This is the time to reflect on what you want to do for a job instead of the prior job experiences. If you are moving down the career ladder, refrain from management positions by removing any wording referring to management and supervisory positions. Take yourself out of the management pool and into the job field of the other employees.

Revamp your cover letter also. Do the same techniques regarding the management and supervisory experience and duties. Make it a less critical position and you will attract the employers seeking an employee you want to be. Remember to be honest with prospective employers when they ask why you are seeking a lower level position. Tell them the truth. Chances are you will be hired for your honesty and integrity. Employers love honest employees and you have just made a great impression by being honest when most people would have thought of a lie instead.

Moving down the career ladder is something many people do to avoid becoming burnt out with their job. Make the wise career choice and leave your position when you feel yourself starting to experience the burnout.

How to tell if it is time to change careers or a job

One of the best signs you are need a change of career or job is when you just cannot make yourself get up in the morning to go to work. You dread facing another day at work and you just can’t find it in yourself to even concentrate one more day on the things you have to do at work. Well, don’t be hard on yourself; you are not alone in the workforce. Many people suffer from the same thing and decide to make a job or career change to spice up their lives.

The question you ask yourself is what to do if you are thinking about changing careers. Do you want to go into a new career or do you just need to change jobs? Knowing the answer is not always easy so take time to seriously think about why you want to leave your present job.

Are you bored or just no longer interested in the work you do every day? If you are bored or no longer interested, then the chances are you need to change your career. You need to find a job that will hold your interest and be something you do enjoy doing daily.

The next step is think of what you want to do. To find the solution to this quest use the internet to seek the new careers. The internet is filled with options of the numerous career choices. The variety of careers is unlimited with all the different divisions of the major careers. Some will require additional education yet to take the time to improve your chances of finding a more enjoyable and fulfilling career is worth the time you invest in additional education.

You may have enough current experience to locate a different job in the same field. Maybe your current job is boring but another job at a different company will provide the mental stimulation you are craving. Different jobs have different requirements for each employee. Maybe you were just at the highest level you could be at your current job, or maybe you were just in the wrong department within your career field.

For example, you have been working in the payroll department for over ten years processing payroll. You may decide to find a job where you are a supervisor or manager. This role in the payroll career is different than processing the payroll.

You will be responsible for the employees and are their managers guaranteeing they perform all of their work duties. You are the superior and have the responsibility to make sure the work is completed as needed. This may be the cause of your current boredom, you do not have a challenge but becoming a manager or supervisor will provide a new challenge where you will enjoy your career.

Take the time to evaluate why you are not happy with your current job. Find the reasons and take the needed steps to be happy with your career.

Accounting career

Accounting a career field that will always be in existence. A career is also ever evolving and changing. The career has many different types of accounting so there are bound to be a place that is perfect for you. If you enjoy dealing with numbers then the accounting career is perfect for you. You be continuously working with numbers no matter what field of accounting you select. You will find it a fulfilling career that will have many benefits as well as a highly rewarding career.

The three top major careers in accounting are public accounting, private accounting, and government accounting. They all share the accounting characteristics yet each is a specialized division with different procedures and rules to follow for each method.

The salary range for accountants range from $20,000 to $100,000. Yet the extended jobs within the accounting field can pay much higher. Those fields include a Controller or Comptroller, and CFO or Chief Financial Officer. They have the responsibility of overseeing the fiscal duties of the company.

Based on the experience the salary will continue to increase. The CPA or Certified Public Accountant earns much more each year. Most CPAs belong to an accounting firm or have a private practice that earns them higher incomes. They provide essential services to many aspects of a business including the yearend accounting and even the payroll services for a business. They prepare the financial tax returns and even audit the business’s activities throughout the year.

It is a very detailed profession so it takes time and dedication to be an accountant. The need to be aware of details with different areas of the accounting and bookkeeping functions is necessary. This career does have special qualifications to reach the CPA status such as a four-year college degree, working in the public accounting sector, and passing a state provided test.

The CPA is required by various state laws, which do vary state-to-state, continued education so they are able to stay current on all the accounting laws and requirements. It is a highly respected profession with many organizations and affiliations to help each individual continue to grow within the industry.

The accounting field has other degrees other than the CPA level, known as a bookkeeper. This position does not have the same qualifications, duties, or responsibilities. The bookkeeper is responsible for the day-to-day accounting functions for businesses. The bookkeeper can be involved in the payroll functions of the business or they can be strictly the accounting functions. Usually the bookkeeper does process the payroll and is responsible for paying the payroll taxes.

Whether deciding to be a CPA or a bookkeeper, it will take at least a two-year degree. Most bookkeepers have a four-year degree but decided not to pursue the CPA degree.

If you enjoy numbers and working with different detailed paperwork, then accounting is a career you will enjoy.

Teaching Careers

The career of teaching is a highly prestigious career. It is the one career that shapes the children for the future by adding many important factors to their lives. The teacher is the one who takes the uneducated child and shapes them into the productive citizen of tomorrow by providing the essential tools to expand their knowledge and build on their desires to increase their knowledge.

Teachers show children many things during their years in school they need by gently guiding and encouraging the child to explore many facets of life. Without teachers, the world lack the least acknowledge detail of the child’s development and learning.

Teachers are a special breed of individuals. They want to share with their student’s knowledge and watch the delight in the student’s eyes when they get to experience something new. The teacher is the one who exposes the children many facts in life they badly need and desire. That is why teachers are called educators.

There are different levels for a teacher. They can teach elementary education, which is kindergartner to twelfth grade. The college professor expands the knowledge of the young adult and creates the professional of tomorrow. Both are essential parts of the educational system. Both are responsible for the crucial development of every child or adult. Both have seriously responsible duties and both are great careers that will be in existence for many years to come.

To be a teacher, a four-year degree is required. There are many varieties of specialty teaching degrees including history, mathematical, science, business, English, middle school education, special education, and social studies. These are only part of the specialty sectors but this is the basic groups. For the college profession, they are required to have a master’s degree and specialty designed for the class they are instructing.

With the demand for teachers, the demand for colleges and universities has increased. There are the standard universities and colleges with campuses. There are online universities providing the same quality education so the students can attend class more flexible allowing the student to also maintain full-time employment while obtaining their further education.

Studies show the enrollment for students in the teacher field is at a high currently. This means there will be plenty of teachers to meet the demands of the educational system. Nevertheless, even with the amount of current students enrolled in college, there will continue to be a demand for more and more teachers in the future. As the population continues to grow, so will the need for the teachers.

Becoming a teacher is a fulfilling career for anyone that enjoys sharing a terrific learning experience with young eager minds. It is one career that will continue to expand due to the ever-changing society and the demands for newer methods to teach.

Medical careers

Medical careers are a field of careers that will have job security due to the continuous demand and need of every individual everywhere. From the doctors to the nurses, to the nurse’s aides, the career reaches many lives daily. They are public servants dedicated to the health of every patient in every walk of life.

The education levels required for the medical careers start with a two-year degree and progressing up to the four-year degree then onto the master’s degree for doctors and surgeons. They have specialized fields so they are required to obtain specialized skills for each type of service they perform.

There are many fields of study within the medical field including, nurse’s aides, registered nurses, physicians, cardiovascular technologists and technicians, dental hygienists, diagnostic medical sonographers, opticians, and radiologic technologists and technicians.

As with any profession, many of the levels require continual additional training an education to stay abreast to the newest medical advancements in the constant changing medical field. There are always new medical breakthroughs to be researched and studied. The career advancement opportunities change as much as the technology so this type of career has ever-increasing potential for the health care individuals.

The individuals going into a medical career need to like and enjoy working with the public. They will be constantly around the public since they are providing a much-needed service for general population. They need to be caring and compassionate why displaying tenderness and sympathy in certain situations. It is a tough career in some situations where there is sometimes a life or death situation involved.

The medical career is highly rewarding and highly prestigious as well as appreciated. Think about the last time you visited your doctor and the treatment you received there and the many levels medical personnel you encountered. They were all friendly and helpful. That is what the medical career is all about, helping patients and being a friendly smile and helping hand when needed.

The medical career is one career where the professional is on all levels. They have thorough training on every level and are expected to always be friendly, warm, and helpful. They provide a service that everyone needs and appreciates especially at times such as in emergencies or surgical procedures. Think what the world would be like without the medical profession and you will want to join the many that are currently taking care of the people.

The individuals desiring to provide a service to the public where they can help to maintain the health and well-being of many people from different ages are the people who join the medical field. They are the people that go the distance in the time of need without failing to provide the care each person needs.