Embracing the Up, Backwards and Sideways Career

Content

No one’s career moves straight up. Most successful people see their share of failure and even simple treading water (no movement up or down). Just a few examples of people who failed on their way up:

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  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
  • The University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts rejected Steven Spielberg several times.
  • The first book Theodore Geisel (Dr. Seuss) wrote was rejected by 27 publishers.

Yet putting aside these famous folks’ failures, all of us should know: especially today, careers almost never move ever upward and/or always in a straight line. There will be detours, failures, false starts and mistakes.

And understanding this is a very good thing. After all, think about the possibilities:

  • Embracing the fact that a non-linear career path means you won’t be blinded – and trapped by – the idea that you must always move up. This hyper focus on an ever-upward trajectory can blind you to the many other opportunities for growth that taking a different path can give you.
  • Failing at something means you get to build your resilience muscles: dusting yourself off and standing back up proves to yourself that a) you can stand back up, b) that it gets easier each time and c) you’ve undoubtedly learned a ton because of the failure. In other words, you’ll know at a deep personal level that the old saying is true: those who experience and then overcome difficulty are stronger and better for it!
  • If you you’re willing to take risks, knowing that failure often is the absolute best teacher available when it comes to life and careers can transform the risky move easier to make.
  • You may find that you actually enjoy a different industry more than the one on which you had your sights set.
  • Embracing a squiggly career trajectory (up, down and sideways) means you’ll let yourself do the things that interest you, thus helping you learn what you don’t want to do. This can be as important as learning what you do want to do.
  • What’s more, you’ll understand that you don’t always need to continue doing something when it’s not working. For example, if you find that the career you just knew would make you happy doesn’t actually do so, you can unashamedly look into a new path.
  • You may actually find that promotions, higher pay and more responsibility aren’t the be-all and end-all for you. You may find that your definition of success instead entails spending more time with family and friends rather and/or creating art and/or volunteering for a cause in which you believe than working 60+ hours a week for the glamour (and almost certain stress) of being a person of importance in your field of work. (Or you may find the opposite: you discover that you want to be the boss!)

Just remember, careers today rarely move up and up and up. Embrace the failures. Look for opportunities to move sideways. Consider jobs you never have before.

And think about registering with a staffing agency such as Helpmates. Why? Because if you’re at all interested in exploring different career paths or industries, working for a firm such as ours allows you to “try on” different industries and positions without committing to any. Then, if you do find a position or industry you enjoy, there’s a good chance it can become permanent: more than one-third of people working on assignment received an offer of regular employment with the staffing company’s client.

To learn more about the many career-exploring opportunities we offer, contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

Moving from Colleague to Manager

Congratulations on your promotion to manager! Now you’re the supervisor….of your past colleagues!

Moving from co-worker to boss can be, well, fraught. No longer can you be true buddies. No longer can you dish on the boss together because, well, you’re the boss! Now you have to discipline former peers when they don’t perform as expected or needed. What’s more, you’re now going to have to deal with other managers as a peer and you want to make sure they look at you as an equal, not as a subordinate.

Take a look below for tips on how to make a smooth and successful transition to management.

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Dealing with Former Co-workers as a Supervisor

Face it: your relationships will change and it’s best to deal with it ASAP.

In fact, if at all possible, meet with your colleagues as soon as you’ve heard of the promotion.

Ask them all to lunch, for example, let them know of your new role, how excited you about the added responsibilities and how you realize things may be a bit awkward for the first few weeks or so.

Once the promotion takes place, meet with the team again and let them know your vision moving forward.  Ask them for ideas for improvement and let them know things will take time to improve, but that you’re committed to taking  the department  to new heights.

The most important thing you can do is establish your authority. For example, if during your first meeting with your new team, the “how can we improve things” discussion devolves into a whine-fest.  If so, speak up quickly and ask team members to bring up problems that have a solution and remind them to offer potential solutions as they do so.

In addition, never give special privileges or breaks to former colleagues.  Doing so only helps you stay their “buddy” in their eyes; you must establish your authority.

Finally, you must understand that you probably aren’t going to be asked to go to lunch with the group or meet with them in your favorite after-work hang out. You certainly can ask about family and non-work activities, but you will need to do so as a manager, not as a work buddy.

Becoming an Equal in Other Managers’ Eyes

If you treat your former colleagues as a leader — always with great respect – rather than as a colleague, your new manager peers will notice.

And, speaking of what they’ll notice, they’ll notice if you continue behaviors more typical of a subordinate. In other words, if you were routinely late to meetings and continue this pattern, you won’t be taken seriously. If you complain about upper management without offering possible solutions, you won’t be taken seriously. In other words, remember you’re your fellow managers’ peer and act accordingly.

To do so, take a look at a manager you admire. Watch what he/she does and how he/she does it. Aim to do the same in similar circumstances. In fact, it may be wise to ask this seasoned manager to be your mentor.  For example, chances are great you’re going to have to discipline a former co-worker at some point and if you’ve never done so before, you’ll want to do so as well—read: managerial – as possible . Going to a mentor and confidentially asking for advice on how best to do so can go a long way to helping you become the well-respected manager you want to be in the eyes of both former colleagues and new peers.

Looking to move up in the world? Is your Brea employer too small able and not able to promote you to the level you deserve? Then contact Helpmates. We have many direct-hire positions (you never work as a temporary associate but are hired directly by our client) with some of Orange and Los Angeles counties’ top employers. Contact us today.

When You Have to Give Tough Love at Work

No matter if you’ve just become a manager or supervisor or you’ve been serving as one for a few years, there’s going to come a time – perhaps sooner than you think – where you’re going to have to provide some tough feedback to one of your team members.

When do such times crop up? When an employee is late in meeting a deadline. He rarely takes initiative. She made a mistake that could have been avoided. He has poor time-management skills. Her overall performance suddenly has taken a dive.

Take a look below for suggestions on what to say to these members of your team when warranted.

(Important note: always have these conversations in private – and private means in an office with the door closed, not huddled at the employee’s work station.)

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  • She misses a deadline.

Do you know why you weren’t able to meet the deadline/the project was late? Whenever you believe you’re going to be late with something or miss a deadline, I prefer that you let me know as soon as you think this may happen. That way we can see if we can find a solution to whatever is keeping you from completing a project on time.

  • He has overall poor time-management skills.

I’ve noticed that you tend to struggle with time management. When you’re late or behind it effects everyone because your colleagues often can’t do something until you do your part. Can you tell me why you’re struggling? Would meeting with me every morning for a few minutes help you prioritize your tasks  and goals for the day? I’d also like to encourage you to read [this book; these blog posts] on time management. They have many great strategies you can start implementing immediately.

  • She just doesn’t take initiative.

I’ve noticed that you haven’t been able to get yourself started on some tasks/projects you’ve been assigned.  Can you tell me why, in confidence? Is there anything I can do to help? Are you feeling overwhelmed and perhaps need to learn project management?

I know you are capable of doing this, otherwise I wouldn’t have asked you to. Perhaps if we met each morning briefly for a couple of weeks to discuss what needs to be done would be helpful to you?

  • He made a mistake that could have been easily avoided.

No one likes to make mistakes and I know you didn’t want to make this one. What’s done is done and we’re not going to dwell on it. What do you think you could have done to avoid it?  What are you going to do differently from here on out to make sure you don’t make a similar mistake again?

  • Her performance has been declining.

I’ve noticed that you haven’t been working at your usual high level and so I wanted to touch base with you to see  if there’s something I can help you with. If you want/need to talk to me about something, please know that I’m always here to listen, talk and act as a sounding board. Do you feel comfortable talking to me so that I can know what’s going on and together we can work to solve it?

Does your Southern California company need some more terrific people to manage? Let Helpmates help! We can source, vet and place skilled and reliable workers for your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities. Contact the branch nearest you.

Researching an Employer Before an Interview

We talk a lot here about how important it is to research a potential employer before a job interview. But we’ve never explained in detail about how and why you should do so.

Take a look below for why researching an employer is valuable and how to use the information during your interview.

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  • Start with the company’s website.

You’ll find a true wealth of information there. Check for news releases: this will tell you what the company is proud of and also will tell you if it’s planning on expanding, if it won an award, if it just hired a new marketing manager, etc.

You should look through every tab listed on its homepage. Look at its social media accounts. See what’s new and what its employees have accomplished.

If the company is publically traded, you’ll probably see a menu tab labeled “Investors” or “Investor Relations.” (This section might be under the About or even the public relations/marketing section, and if the company is multi-national, you may have to do some digging around the site to find it).

This section truly a gold mine: companies publically traded on a stock exchange in the United States must file each quarter what are called SEC filings.

You’ll want to check in particular for what are called “10-Q” reports. These are free to download and you will find within them what the company’s profit and loss was for the quarter, what went well for the company and what – well – didn’t go so well. (You may see a link to its annual report in that section and you should read it, but an annual report often only is filled with the positive stuff; quarterly filings tell everything about a company’s financial health. The Securities and Exchange Commission requires it.) The reports also often give an overview of what challenges and opportunities the industry in which the company offers services/products is facing and how well the company is faring inside those industry challenges.

Seriously: read the 10-Q reports. They are fascinating! (And just watch a hiring manager’s eyes widen in admiring amazement when you say at some point in the interview: “I just read your 10-Q for the third quarter and I found it interesting that….”)

  • Set a Google Alert for news about the company.

Go to Google Alerts and type in the name of the company, provide an email address where the alert can be sent and decide how often you want any alerts to appear in your inbox (once a day should suffice, especially if it’s a large company).

Now you’ll see in real time news about the company, such as press releases, news articles, even employee reviews on review sites, etc.

  • If you know the name of the hiring manager, check out his/her LinkedIn profile.

Don’t worry that this could be construed as stalking. After all, you can bet that if you’ve been called in for an interview, the recruiter/hiring manager already has checked out your profile!

If you’re not already a first-level connection, consider asking for one.  (If you’ve already scheduled an interview, the hiring manager should easily accept.)

See if you share any connections and if you know any well, ask them for any insight they might have into the hiring manager’s background, personality, etc.

  • If working with one of our staffing recruiters, ask for insights into the company and hiring manager.

Helpmates’ recruiters will provide you with lots of information regarding the company, the position and the hiring manager before you go on an interview. We’ve worked hard over the 40-plus years we’ve been in business forging great relationships with companies throughout the Orange County and Los Angeles region and we know their needs well. If looking for work, you can rely on us to help you as much as possible. Contact us today.

‘So, Tell Me a Little About Yourself.’

The following questions are so common, there’s no chance you’ve never heard them in a job interview: “Tell me about yourself.” “What’s your biggest strength/weakness?” “Why should I hire you over someone else?”

Common interview questions, all. Yet as common as they are, consider them unimportant at your risk: recruiters and hiring managers aren’t so much looking for a right answer as they want to see how you approach your answer, how you carry yourself and how you handle yourself during your answer.

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In fact, here’s a bit of a secret: most job interviews don’t take place to see if you can do the job (after all, you wouldn’t have been called in if the hiring manager didn’t think you had the skills and background necessary). Instead, the hiring manager/recruiter is looking to see how you will fit in: does your personality mesh with the company/department? Are you thoughtful in your answers? How much do you know about us? And so on.

And, believe it or not, how you answer “Tell me about yourself” is one way your future boss tries to figure that out.

Take a look below for how to answer the above four questions.

Tell me about yourself.

The hiring manager doesn’t want to know your personal history; he really wants to know why you want the job. So give a brief synopsis of your career and then segue into how the job opening fits in with your skills, background/education and career goals. Make sure to provide one or two specific reasons why your skills/background are a good fit: “With my background in social media marketing at a marketing agency for startups, I’m excited to take the strategies I learned there to help a startup’s marketing as part of its internal team.”

What’s your biggest strength/weakness?

This question can be just one (your biggest strength) or the other, or it can be a combination of both (the hiring manager will ask one and then ask you the other).

The old “I have such a great attention to detail it drives my friends/spouse crazy,” in which you try to couch a strength (attention to detail) into a weakness (it’s so great, it’s crazy-making), is too old hat and the hiring manager will be on to your mealy-mouthed answer.

Instead, in the case of a weakness, be honest and discuss something you are working to improve and then give specific examples of how you’re doing so: “I have a tendency to speak to quickly when I’m nervous and that doesn’t help in sales calls. So I’ve joined Toastmasters to improve my speaking skills.”

And if the interviewer asks for your greatest strength? Think of a strength of which you’re proud and how it benefits this particular position: “I’m an excellent listener, which allows me to really dig down and find out what’s really behind a prospect’s objections to a sale. I can then provide him honest and detailed answers that alleviate his concerns, which has helped me close more sales.”

Why should I hire you over someone else?

This is where your deep research into the company’s goals and challenges really pays off. You will answer in a way that shows how a particular skill, experience or educational achievement helps the hiring manager solve his or her problems or reach goals.

For example: “I noticed on a press release on your website that your company just hired a construction firm to add another wing to building so that you can expand your print-on-demand capabilities. I’ve trained people on how to use such printers and I’d look forward to the chance to help train the new workers you’ll need to man them.”

Helpmates can help you find your next full-time position. We work one-on-one with our job candidates, helping prep them for their job interviews with our clients.  Check out our current job opportunities and if you find one or more that interest you, follow the instructions on the job description.

Striking a Friendly Balance at Work

Work is a great place to make good friends. In fact, having at least one good friend at work is pretty much required in order for us to enjoy our jobs. Friends also make us more productive. What’s more, having a good work friend also may be critical to succeeding in our careers.

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But it can be tricky, this whole “friends at work” thing: be too social and you risk earning a reputation of being a party animal. You want instead to be seen as professional and hard working.

Yet you risk taking that professionalism too far: you could be seen as a cold fish and unapproachable.

Take a look below for how to make good friends at work while keeping your reputation for professionalism intact.

  • Choose your friends wisely.

This goes without saying, but this can be tricky to do. For example, let’s say you’re the new gal and one of your new colleagues immediately asks you to lunch. You say yes and then at lunch he regales you with all the gossip and fills you in on all the drama. Or he whines and complains about your boss.

That could be a warning sign that this person is all about drama, gossip and not taking responsibility. Our advice? Be friendly, but be careful: you may want to keep your distance because while we bring our personalities and personal lives to work, work is for work not for drama, gossip and whining.

  • Be careful what you say about others.

If you gossip about others, sooner or later you will be known as someone who gossips. If you whine, you’ll be “the whiner.” If you talk too much about how a girlfriend wronged you, you’ll eventually be known as a drama king or queen.

  • If you go out with friends after work, you’re still “at work.”

What we mean is that you shouldn’t try go completely loose. What you do and say “with the gang” very well could get back to your supervisor. Relax and be friendly, but if people start to complain, whine, moan and gossip, pull back. You don’t have to leave, just don’t participate.

In a nutshell: be friendly and approachable. Ask colleagues to have lunch together or take a break. Ask questions (personal but not intrusive). Answer questions truthfully but remember: be careful what you say to others until you know for certain they’re trustworthy.

Reading the above it appears as if we believe you should make “friends” at work who aren’t really friends. After all, we’re advocating keeping your personal conversations close to the chest and not overtly personal, yet the only way to become real friends with others is by being vulnerable and open.

But if you do find one or two people with whom you just “click” and feel they are trustworthy (they don’t gossip, whine, complain and create drama), you can test the waters and open up more to them. See if they reciprocate and, if you tell them something personal, watch to see how they handle it. If they prove themselves to you, these are the colleagues who can become good friends. Close friends. Friends outside of work. Lifetime friends.

Ready to make some new friends in a new job? Contact Helpmates. We have many temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job and career opportunities waiting for reliable and talented people just like you. Check out our current openings and, if one or more look interesting, contact us.

Dealing with “The Gap”

While most of us will work until about our mid-60s, not all of us will work all the time until then: most of us probably will have a gap in our work history either due to illness (ours or a family member’s), raising children, being laid off/quitting outright, or even taking a sabbatical.

Known as “The Gap,” this “hole” in your work history often isn’t looked at kindly by employers. And you can’t just cross your fingers and toes and hope a hiring manager won’t notice it. Instead, you absolutely must have a good reason for it and, most importantly, be able to explain it in a professional manner. Even better: if you can couch the gap in way that is beneficial to an employer, all the better.

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Here’s how to deal with “The Gap.”

  • Above all, tell the truth.

You may think saying you decided to take time away from working so that you could take care of your ill mother (which really is what you ended up doing) is far better than saying you were laid off, but it’s not: a hiring manager can simply contact your last employer to verify dates and it’s easy for her to find you were part of a reduction-in-force or even were fired.

Instead, tell the truth; you were laid off (and then decided to help your sick mother). Or you were fired for cause (and make sure you own up to your mistake). You took time off to raise children. You were ill. You decided to take a year off to travel the world. (Lucky duck!)

  • Talk about the skills you learned while gone/how you kept your skills up.

Many employers are nervous about work history gaps because they think you’ve gone stale or that you’re not up on the “latest and greatest.” So aim while you are not working to take a class or two (online works), work as a freelancer or take on some part-time work or temporary assignments and make sure your skills are current.

  • Explanations for different scenarios.

If you were fired, talk about your responsibility in your firing (it’s never all the unreasonable boss’s fault: we all have some culpability when fired). Reiterate how you’re a changed person and actually better for the lessons learned.

If you took that year-long trip around the world, discuss how it helped you be more compassionate to people different from you, you learned a new language, you started a part-time business online, etc. In other words, show how your travels provided you with new insights, lessons learned and even skills.

  • Repeating because it’s important: keep your skills up-to-date.

We understand how difficult this could be if your time away from work is because you or a family member is ill. But if you’re staying home to raise children for a few years, if you take some time off to try something new and/or travel, keeping those skills/knowledge base up to snuff shouldn’t be that difficult: classes abound online and off and temporary staffing services such as Helpmates can help you find part-time/temporary work while allowing you to keep your skills sharp (and even learn new ones).

Take a look at our current temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities and follow instructions on the job listing if one or more appeal to you.

Acing the Phone or Video Interview

Many companies conduct preliminary screening interview with a phone or video interview before asking candidates in for an in-person interview. Such calls are real interviews and should be treated as such. (You won’t get a chance to shine in person if you don’t “pass” the screening interview.)

In addition, because many jobs are done remotely today, a face-to-face interview may take place via video/Skype conferencing software.

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So it’s vital that you understand how “real” these interviews are in a hiring manager’s or recruiter’s eyes. It’s also important that you feel comfortable interviewing over the phone or via a screen, so depending on your familiarity speaking on the phone and/or talking to people via video, we’re here to help you ace these types of job interviews. Take a look below at our tips.

  • Whether on the phone or via video, make sure you’re in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted.

Most in-person interviews take place in an office without interruptions. You need to find a place where you won’t be interrupted during the phone call/Skype session. (After all, you don’t want this to happen.)

If a recruiter calls and asks if you have a few minutes to talk, it’s OK to ask if you could set a time to talk later or ask to call back in a few minutes. Truly! You really should make sure you’re in a quiet place where you won’t be interrupted. (We know a woman who was on vacation with her daughter when called by a recruiter for a screening call. The woman asked if she could call back in a few minutes, drove to a park, asked her 10-year-old daughter to go play where she could see her for a few minutes and then called the interviewer back. She did well and was called in for an in-person interview and eventually was offered the position.)

  • Dress as you would for an in-person meeting.

Even if the interview is by phone only, it’s still wise to dress well, even in the same clothes you would wear for an in-person meeting. Doing so puts you in the right frame of mind: it’s a job interview and it needs to be taken seriously so serious clothes are called for!

Dressing job-interview appropriate is even more important in a video interview because, well, the interviewer will see your face, shoulders, possibly even your torso. You could dress as some newscasters do – in a jacket/shirt/tie/blouse and wear jeans because only your top half will be visible. But, seriously: dress for the part completely. You’re going to be “on,” and just as actors dress according to their roles, you should dress correctly for this important role: that of job candidate.

  • Additional pointers.

In many ways, a phone or video interview is much like an in-person interview: the rules still apply.

  1. Be on time.
  2. Make sure you know the exact number to call, or if the interviewer will call you.
  3. Be ready for some introductory chit-chat.
  4. Speak clearly. This is even more important via phone/video. You also want to be sure to smile. The interviewer may not see your smile on the phone, but your tone of voice does change when smiling and it makes you come across as friendly.
  5. If on a Skype chat, make sure you look into the camera, not “into” your screen. (You may need to practice this with a friend.)
  6. Be careful of answering “Uh-huh.” “Hmm,” and so on. These may be fine in an-in-person setting where the interview can see you but they may be lost in a phone/video interview and, especially over the phone, may not be heard at all. In addition, if on a phone interview, remember that you and the interviewer can’t see each other and therefore can’t pick up on visual clues. So it’s even more important that you speak clearly and even ask if the interviewer understood what you meant.

If you’re thinking of how to best come across in a job interview, you’re probably looking for work. If so, check out Helpmates’ current job opportunities. If you find a few that interest you, follow the instructions on the job description and/or contact the office listing it.

Can I Wear a T-shirt to a Job Interview?

Our first thought when hearing this question is “Heck, no!’ But then we realized: the workplace is much more casual today than even five years ago. Many people wear t-shirts on the job, so it’s an understandable question: why couldn’t you wear one on a job interview?

Buena Park Job Interview

Well, today, you probably could, if you’re a woman and the shirt is made of a dressier weight fabric such as silk or a fine knit and you wear a work-appropriate jacket or blazer over it. Or if you’re applying for a job in a warehouse/distribution center. And then the t-shirt must be very clean and free of graphics.

We provide those ifs and caveats and suggested jackets to wear because it is important to dress well for a job interview. Why? Because dressing (more) professionally (than you normally do) shows that you take the entire process seriously. Work is a serious business: an employer is going to hire you to solve his company’s problems and he wants to know if you take that task seriously. Dressing professionally signals that you understand this.

That doesn’t mean you need to wear a suit and tie (if male) or a skirt suit (if a woman). It does mean you should dress well for an interview and that definition will vary depending on the company’s day-to-day dress code as well as the role for which you’re applying.

If you don’t know what the company’s dress code, it’s perfectly OK to ask the recruiter or hiring manager.  (You can do so when asked to come in for an interview: ask if the company’s dress code is professional, business casual or casual.)

Below are different interview outfits to wear for your interview depending on the dress code.

Men

Professional: A suit and tie. If you don’t have a suit, a pair of nice slacks and a blazer (such as khaki slacks and a navy blue blazer). Shirt should be collared and long sleeved. Shoes should be dress shoes.

Business casual: You don’t need to wear a suit, but you should wear nice slacks, a collared long-sleeve shirt and a blazer. Take a tie along and if you see men wearing ties, duck into the men’s room before your interview and put it on. Save the polo-like shirt for when you start working there. Shoes don’t need to be dress shoes, but they shouldn’t be sneakers and they should be clean and/or polished.

Casual: If you’re going to be working in an office, you really can’t go wrong with a blazer. You can wear a nice polo under the blazer with nice chinos/khakis. You can wear a short sleeve shirt, but long-sleeved is better. You can ditch the tie. No sneakers.

If you’re interviewing for a warehouse/distribution/labor position, chinos/khakis and a polo or collared short-sleeve shirt are appropriate. Work boots, so long as they are clean, are fine. Jeans, so long as they are absolutely clean and not faded, ripped, or excessively baggy/loose also are fine.

Women

Professional: a skirt- or pant suit is appropriate. No prints.  Darker colors (navy, black, grey) are best. Blouse should be solid or have small stripes. No florals. Jewelry should be kept to a minimum. Stud earrings are best; if you wear dangling earrings, they should be short. One bracelet at the most (if you wear a watch, skip the bracelet). Necklace should be single strand and not too long.

Pantyhose no longer are required but polished heels (no more than three inches high) or professional-style flats are fine. Keep perfume to a minimum (none is best).

Business casual: A more casual-style skirt- or pant suit is fine, as are slacks and a short-sleeved blouse, knit sweater (this is where you can wear that refined t-shirt) under a blazer or jacket. A simple dress also is appropriate and it’s a good idea to wear a jacket or cardigan sweater over it (jacket/blazer is best). The dress should be a solid print; slender stripes are OK but stay away from bold prints/florals. The dress should not be one you would wear to a party or for a night on the town. Keep the stilettos at home. No jeans.

No sneakers with the slacks. Keep jewelry and perfume to a minimum (none still is best).

Casual: khakis/chinos and a short-sleeved blouse/nice sweater/knit t-shirt is OK. If wearing a sleeveless sweater, wear a cardigan over it. A skirt and blouse is fine but it shouldn’t be a denim skirt/going out skirt and shouldn’t be too short.

If you’ll be working in a warehouse, etc. jeans are appropriate, so long as they are exceptionally clean, not faded, ripped or torn and not excessively baggy or tight. A polo-like is best; if wearing a t-shirt, stay away from graphic tees. It should be clean and not ripped. Clean work boots or clean sneakers are fine.

Are you looking for work in the Orange County/Los Angeles region? Helpmates needs you! We have many temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities waiting to be filled! Take a look at them and if you find a few that appeal to you, contact us or follow instructions on the job description.

When You Chose the Wrong Career

It happens: we spend four – or more! – years studying for a certain type of career or profession and then two or three years after working within it, we come to the conclusion that it’s simply the wrong career. For us.

If this is you, don’t panic.  Read below to find out when a career really is the wrong one for you.

Here’s a typical scenario: It’s Sunday afternoon and you start to dread going to work. As in, you contemplate somewhat seriously if the fifth “I’m not feeling well and won’t be coming in today” excuse in three months is going to cut it. (Hint: it won’t.) Once at work, you constantly count down the minutes until quitting time. Your family comments again and again that you look miserable.

Brea Careers

And you definitely are, but before you decide to open up that art gallery you’ve always wanted, understand that you may be miserable not because you’re in the wrong career, but because you’re working for and with the wrong people and/or in the wrong industry.

There’s a terrific saying that’s a cliché but still true: “People join companies but they leave managers.” Your colleagues and manager do make or break your day-to-day enjoyment of the job

If this turns out to be the case, then consider finding another job either in a different department or in a different company within the same industry. Or perhaps you enjoy the tasks of social media, just not in and for the insurance industry? Time to switch to an industry you think you’ll enjoy

But if:

  • You feel that working in this career means you have to compromise your values.
  • You conclude that this career/industry may be DOA in a few years. (Hello, artificial intelligence!)
  • You realize your basic personality simply isn’t cut out for this type of career: not all really personable people are great at sales, for example.
  • You decide that the career you chose for love just doesn’t pay the bills and you’ve crunched numbers and you’ve sadly discovered that the things that are most important to you in life are unaffordable within the career path you’ve chosen.

Then it may be time to change careers.

Still, be careful here. Perhaps a compromise can be made. As mentioned above, it may be more the industry in which you’re toiling and not the career itself. For example, perhaps you want to take your social media skills and help make a difference instead of help sell consumer goods or services. Then it may be a good idea to work for a non-profit.

Or if you’re a lawyer toiling in a law firm, look into working as a corporate lawyer.

If you’ve decided that yes indeed you need a change, before changing careers, consider looking into industries that can use your current skills. For example, in Southern California you could:

  • Take your administrative skills from a distribution center to a college campus, a marketing company, a financial services firm, etc.
  • Move from HR with a retailer to HR in a startup.
  • Change from accounting in a non-profit to within the entertainment industry.
  • And so on.

In fact, moving to a new industry within your career is a great way to ascertain if it’s just your co-workers or industry making you miserable, or if it really is the career. (And if you do discover that if you’ve truly chosen the wrong career, read our blog post on how to successfully change careers.)

If you’re looking to take your skills to a new industry, contact Los Angeles and Orange County’s premier staffing firm, Helpmates. Take a look at our direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary opportunities and then follow the instructions regarding applying when you find one or more that appeal to you.

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