Job Searching During the Holidays: Make it Ho-Ho-Ho, Not Humbug

Although hiring activities may slow during the holidays, they certainly don’t stop. Companies are still reviewing applications and scheduling interviews. They still need to fill openings and maintain their operations. Forging ahead with your job hunt over the holidays will give you a head start on all those people who take a break from their search for employment during this time of year.

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Many companies post their job openings before the holidays, even though they won’t make any hiring decisions until the new year. So, you will again have a jump on all those people who have stopped looking.

Moreover, continuing your job search will enable you to keep the momentum going on the job-search work you have been doing, rather than letting it slow and perhaps even become non-existent.

So, if you are thinking of suspending your job search during the holidays, we urge you to think again. Here are a few tips on making the most of your job hunt over the holidays.

  1. Make a schedule and stick to it.

With all that is going on over the holidays – shopping, family gatherings, holiday parties – it is easy to lose focus and let the job search slide. One way to keep up your efforts is by making a daily schedule, where you block out time that is devoted exclusively to your search. It is best to do it the same time every day so you get into a routine.

Doing this should help prevent procrastination or avoidance because you have a definite time and date set up to do it.

People currently employed should especially make a job-search schedule because you will likely have vacation time available, some of which you can use for your job search if you plan well.

  1. Renew connections.

The holidays present a great opportunity for networking. You can send a card or email to your contacts with a holiday greeting. Then also mention that you are searching for a new job and would appreciate any information they could pass along.

If you don’t feel comfortable bringing up the job search with the holiday greeting, your card or email is also an opening to get reacquainted and to set up more conversations where you can bring up the topic later.

  1. Use holiday gatherings to network.

Whether the gatherings are work related or not, they are also great opportunities to do some networking and letting people know about your job search. Attend as many as you can. Talk to colleagues and any other professional connections, as well as friends and family, about your search.

  1. Use volunteer events.

Around the holidays there are also many opportunities for volunteering – with church groups, charities, and others –which can also be used as networking opportunities.

  1. Update your search materials.

This time of year is also a good opportunity to make sure your resume is current. Naturally , each resume you send out will be tailored to the particular job you are applying for, but you can still make sure your work history is up to date and that you have plenty of examples of your accomplishments to draw from when you need them.

It’s also a good time to review your social media presence and to make sure that it is current. Do you have a current picture of yourself posted on LinkedIn? You can also use the time to write a few blogs or engage in a few discussion groups to enhance your professional reputation and make contacts.

Our Clients Always Need Great People Every Day of the Year

Whether you’re looking for work during the holidays for some extra stocking-stuffer money, or you’re looking for a new full-time position, contact the Helpmates office nearest you for more information on our job opportunities.

Prepare for Your Career Talk with Your Manager

Have you ever discussed your career hopes with your manager? No? You’re not alone: too many employees, unfortunately, are not having these kinds of conversations with their supervisors. Many supervisors do not talk about career development with their employees during the performance review process.

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So, if you want to move ahead in your career, you need to take the bull by the horns and start the process yourself – and you don’t have to wait for your performance review to do it.

Preparation

The first step in this process is preparation. You need to have some idea about where you want to go before talking with your supervisor.

Begin by considering a few career issues. First, think about where you want to go with your career. As part of this, think about your values and whether they match up with your career goals. Review your strengths and weaknesses – how can you put your strengths to use in advancing your career, and what skills do you need to work on to move ahead?

What are your short-term and long-term career goals? For example, short-term – within the next year or so – do you want to move to another type of job or take on more responsibilities in your current position?

Longer term goals may be a bit more difficult to specify simply because of the time frame involved. But in general, you should be able to talk about what you want to accomplish in your career.

After you have contemplated all of these issues, develop a plan of action for achieving your goals.

Meeting with Your Supervisor

The first thing to do when you meet is to get some sense of how committed your supervisor is to helping you. You can begin by telling her that you want to talk about the next steps in your career, that you would like to advance within the company but are not sure how to make that happen.

Run through your achievements at the company during your time there and emphasize how much you have enjoyed working there. Then, observe the kind of feedback you get to gauge how supportive your supervisor is.

Talk to her about your goals for the coming years, giving her a general idea of where you would like to go professionally. For example, do you want to get involved with managing people or work more with clients? Also, discuss the skills you would like to acquire, as well as the knowledge you want to gain, and make sure to do so  within the context of how this can benefit the company.

If you are interested in a promotion, you have to let your supervisor know. You could ask her for ideas on what your next step should be. If the response is unbridled enthusiasm, you are off to a promising start.

On the other hand, you may simply get a blank stare, with little in the way of support or ideas. In this case, you will have to forge your own path if you want to stay at the company. Start by looking at other departments that can use your particular talents and where you can expand your knowledge and experience.

Check with colleagues at the company about possible opportunities, such as assignments or projects that you could get involved in.

Talk to your supervisor about what you would like to do and ask her to give his support to your efforts. If your performance has been noteworthy, she should be willing to do that. Review what your investigation has turned up and, working together, decide on a few possibilities that would be a good next step for your career and the best course of action to take. Ask your supervisor to take the appropriate actions to help you get started.

If you’re not sure where you want to go with your career, consider exploring a bit by working as a temporary associate with Helpmates. We have many terrific opportunities that can allow you to try out different industries and companies. What’s more, many of our assignments can turn into an offer of employment with our client (so long as both you think it’s a good idea).

Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

 

 

Here’s Why Your Colleague Got the Promotion and You Didn’t

You’ve been passed over for a promotion. And maybe not for the first time. It’s baffling. You’re a good worker, you do your job well, exceeding expectations. You feel that you have proven your value to the company. You work well with your colleagues and are generally well liked. Why, you wonder, have you been passed over (again)?

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To get some idea of why you didn’t get the promotion, you have to put yourself in the place of a supervisor and look at the situation from their perspective. Here is a short guide.

  1. They are looking at the future.

While past performance is certainly important, it is not what management gives the most weight to. They are looking to the future, not the past. What they are concerned about is how the person will perform after being promoted, what kind of value they will be able to offer the company in that future role. In fact, performance reviews really don’t matter that much when management makes promotion decisions. Studies have shown they are often ignored.

Managers often tend to rely on their intuition and relationships when deciding on promotions. That is because jobs higher up the ladder generally deal with information, analysis and more complex decision making. There are more intangibles involved. Managers are often wary of putting too much emphasis on performance reviews because they cannot reveal much about these qualities.

So, you cannot simply assume that technical skills are all that is needed. You need to demonstrate soft skills as well. Are you a person who routinely looks for new challenges? Are you a good communicator, someone who can resolve conflict, motivate people and get them to work together? How resilient are you in the face of failure? Do you take responsibility for it and learn from it? Are you looking ahead, planning how you can use your knowledge and skills to take on roles with more responsibility?

All of these things give some indication of your future value to the company.

  1. They don’t know enough about you.

Again, your performance may have been stellar, but HR experts say that only counts for about 10 percent in the decision making process. It is generally assumed that everyone being considered for a promotion is performing well, or they would not have been nominated for the higher level job to begin with.

The other 90 percent is connected to what management knows about you. How much exposure have you had, and what kind of image do they have of you? These are the things that will really make the difference.

So, if you want a promotion, you need to come up with ways to increase your exposure at your company.

  1. They don’t see you looking at the big picture.

You may be focused on your career goals, but you cannot let that overshadow the goals of the company. If you want to get ahead at the company, you need to be looking at the big picture. What does the company want to achieve? You need to help its managers and executives accomplish those goals, to help the company carry out its mission.

People who are promoted into leadership roles are ones who look beyond the duties and responsibilities of their own job. They look at problems that affect the entire company, attempt to find solutions to those problems and then work to put those solutions into practice.

Have you been passed over for a promotion too many times at your current employer and you want to take your considerable skills and knowledge to new heights? You may need to move to a new employer.

Helpmates can help you in your search. Contact the branch nearest you for more information on our direct-hire opportunities.

 

How to Make Big, Career-Changing Decisions

At certain points in our lives, we are confronted with some big decisions. It could be whether to take a new job or change careers, start a business, buy a house, or move to a new location.

When facing such a challenge, it is natural to wonder about the best way to go about making a decision. Should you rely on your head or your heart, think things through as rationally as possible, or rely on your feelings? Actually, you should do both.

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In fact, begin the whole process by assessing how you feel about making a particular decision. Imagine taking a particular course of action and see how it makes you feel. Do you feel good about your choice, or does something not feel right about it? It is OK to trust your instincts because they may be telling you something.

  1. Clarify your decision.

The first step is to pinpoint exactly what you need to decide because the crux of your decision may not be what you think. For instance, you may be faced with a decision about taking a job in a new city but you’re not sure if the salary you’re offered will provide you a better lifestyle in your new home (or even merely the same lifestyle).

So, the actual decision here is not whether or not you want the job – you do – but whether or not it’s financially worth it to move to another area on the salary you’ve been offered.  You have to consider the cost of living new the new town and how far your new salary will go in it.

  1. Gather information.

You naturally want to gather as much information as you can about the choices available to you and the consequences of those choices. (In other words, you’ll need to research how much things cost in the new city). But you also need to be careful here because you will seldom be able to gather all the information you want. You will always be under some kind of time constraints, and often you will have to act rather than waiting for more data.

  1. Cause and effect.

Another framework to help in making decisions is to look at them in terms of cause and effect – the decisions being the cause and the consequences of that decision being the effect. Logically, this takes the form of an if-then proposition – if something is decided in a certain way, then particular effect will follow.

For example,  if your salary will go far in the new city, your life probably will be easier and if it’s not, you may regret making the career move.

  1. See the decision as the beginning of a process.

We often look at decisions as a once-and-done kind of thing, a choice that we make. And while this is true in part, we also need to look at decision making as part of a process, because every choice we make has consequences. Everything we do after making that initial decision is important as well. We need to follow through and do whatever we can to make the decision the right one.

Taking the new job in the new city question: if it turns out you discover your new salary won’t go far in the new city, but you decide to take the job anyway, you will need to figure out how to make the salary work in your new home. What additional decisions do you have to make? Can you downsize from a home to an apartment? Cook at home more? Take fewer vacations? Could you ask for more money before you even decide whether or not to take the new job?

We can make a good decision (a great, new career opportunity) but even good decisions can have poor consequences. You need to consider what the consequences might be and if you can live with them.

  1. Watch out for cognitive bias.

Cognitive biases are things like emotions, ego, and prejudices that color our thinking and get in the way of making good decisions. For example, one such inclination is called the anchoring bias. It describes the propensity we have to give more weight to the initial information we receive about something than information we get later.

In the case of whether to move or not, your first thought upon receiving the job offer is how great your new position will be and how much you’ll enjoy your new role. Once you realize your new salary won’t go as far in the new city it may not register as strongly as your initial excitement about the position.

Yet that information is important and you should recognize it as such. After all, living like a pauper day-to-day may – or may not – make up for your fabulous new position. Only you can decide that, but you need to be careful about how cognitive bias and anchoring can make you “forget” about how hard it may be actually live in the new city when you’re not working.

Bottom line: think through any big career decision carefully, from all sides, from pros and cons. Think about the what-ifs and what you’ll do if they occur.

If you’re considering a big career change – such as a complete change in careers – consider “trying” it out a bit on an assignment with Helpmates. Contact the branch location nearest you to learn more about our temporary,  temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities.

Why Are You Interested in this Job?

This is one of the top standard job interview questions, so expect to hear it at your next interview. Employers ask it because they want to know why you want to work at their particular company, as opposed to simply doing it to make money.

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This question also helps the hiring manager learn about your career aspirations and how the job fits into that, as well as what you know about the company.

In answering the question, there are two issues you need to address – why you want to work at this particular company, and why you want to work at this particular job at this company.

Why the Company?

In order to answer why you want to work at this particular company, you naturally need to know something about the business. That means you need to do research. There are a number of sources for this, beginning with the company website.

On the website you can find out all the basic information about the company – its history, mission, products, and recognition it has received. Check out the press releases from the company as well as the company blog if there is one. Another place to look is social media to see what you can learn about the business.

Research online as well to see what pops up in your search. Finally, can check to see if anyone in your network has information about your potential employer.

All of this research should enable you to come up with specific reasons why you want to work at the company. These reasons could relate to the reputation of the business, its leadership, the products or services it offers, its culture and values, its growth or success, or particular programs, such as its marketing efforts, community involvement or training programs.

What you need to avoid are answers that are too vague or general, things that could apply to any company, or answers that show you haven’t done your homework.

Why the Job?

You have told the hiring manager what you like about the company. Now you need to focus on why you want to work in this particular job. You have to show the hiring manager why you are the best qualified person for this job.

To formulate an answer, first take another look at the job description. What caught your interest about the job? Why did you decide to apply for it? You need to talk about what really turns you on about the job because hiring managers want to hire people who love what they do and are excited about doing it.

Your answer should also explain why you would excel at the job, what skills and knowledge you have acquired that will allow you to deliver an exceptional performance  and value. Your answer should cover both why you are interested in the job and why you would be good at it.

Again, you want to avoid answers that are too vague or general, ones that could apply to any job. You don’t want to give the hiring manager any reason to believe you only want the job because it’s available. You need to convince him or her that you are the perfect match for the position.

You need to show enthusiasm also, explaining why you find it interesting using particulars about the job. If the hiring manager senses a lack of interest, your chances of getting the job are gone.

If you need help finding the next job at which you can excel, contact the recruiters at Helpmates. We have many direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary assignments just waiting for your special skills. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

When Someone Takes Credit for Your Work

It happens much more than we’d like – we do all the work and someone else, usually a boss or colleague with more seniority or the person who ends up making the presentation – gets all the credit. Here’s what to do when someone takes all the credit for your great idea.

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When it’s a Supervisor

In seeking appropriate credit for your idea or work, you need to tread carefully. First of all, collaboration and teamwork are highly valued in business today, and someone who is intent on claiming credit may run the risk of not appearing to be a team player.

It is best to choose your battles wisely. Sometimes, for example, it is better for a supervisor to take over an idea in order to give it more exposure in the company and push it to company leadership. Focus on instances where your contribution was clearly pivotal to a project and important enough to possibly impact your career progression, where recognition is clearly warranted.

If your manager has been taking credit when he should not, it’s best to start documenting everything when working with him so that there is a record of your work and contribution.

After meeting with the supervisor, send a follow up email summarizing your conversation and make reference to your idea or work in the message by saying that you appreciate the opportunity to put your idea into action or, for example, take the lead on the project.

If you feel that a more direct approach is needed, here again, tact is called for. Making accusations is simply counterproductive. You need to show how giving credit benefits the team, your supervisor and the business. For example, one good business reason for giving credit is that it enhances morale, employee engagement and productivity.

But if you have a supervisor who is constantly touting your ideas as his own and refuses to give you credit for your work, the best course of action may be to look for another job. You need to ask yourself, is this really the kind of person you want to work for?

Good managers do the exact opposite because they know how important it is to employee morale. They are more than happy to offer praise and recognition to workers who have made important contributions.

When a Coworker Steals Your Rightful Thunder

You’re on a more or less level playing field here and so can assert your rights more actively. If you are working with a person who steals credit, again make sure to keep a record of who contributed what in a project. Don’t share ideas with the person when you are alone with him.

You also can set some conditions when working with him. For example, you can say you will only work on the project with him if you present it.

If the coworker steals credit constantly and deliberately, take the problem to your supervisor. Frame the issue as a teamwork problem — explain how his or her actions are affecting the working relationships among team members and needlessly causing friction.

How Important Receiving Credit When Credit – to You – is Due?

Again: maintain perspective and remember why you seek credit – to advance your career. But you may be working at a company where who gets credit isn’t an issue: whether you get credit or not has no impact on your career progression or promotion at the company. In a case like this, it may not even be worth worrying about.

Give Credit to Colleagues

If you expect to receive credit for your work, you should be willing to set an example and give credit to others when they deserve it. If you make a practice of recognizing others, they are less likely to harbor negative feelings toward you when you seek credit for yourself.

Helpmates has many job opportunities for Orange County and Los Angeles residents. Take a look at our current openings and if one or more look interesting to you, follow application instructions or contact the branch office nearest you.

 

Think You Don’t Need to Job Hunt Because You LOVE Your Job? You’re Wrong!

You always should be on the lookout for our next job. Yes, even if you absolutely, positively LOVE your current job. Even if there’s no hint whatsoever about a possible coming layoff. Even if your boss loves you and says again and again that she’ll never let you go.

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If things are so perfect in your current job, why should you always be on the lookout for your next one? Because things can change. And change quickly. What’s more, if you’re in a job we love, it’s too easy to become complacent and to just skate along. Yet if you truly want to advance in your career, you need to learn new skills and have new responsibilities. You’ll often get them much more quickly if you move to a new employer.

Take a look below for a deeper dive into why regularly applying for new jobs is wise.

  1. Things can change quickly!

You love your boss and your boss loves you. You love your duties: they are exciting and keep you engaged. You love your coworkers.

But bosses themselves leave and their replacement more than likely will not love you nearly as much. Your BFF at work can leave and be replaced by someone who soon becomes the fly in your at-work ointment.

Layoffs also can seemingly come out of nowhere. Yes, rumors often start flying weeks or months before layoffs are announced, but some employers are really good at keepingthis information  on the QT, surprising most everyone. In fact, some HR experts encourage employers to keep looming layoffs a secret.

  1. If you want to move ahead in your career, you often have to find another job.

Staying in a job you love often means you become complacent, even lazy. You’re not eager to learn new skills. Yet if you want to advance quickly, you’re going to have to learn new skills and stay abreast of changes in your field.

Some people do this as a matter of course, but many others need a “push,” and a new job often is just the push needed. And, while you don’t want to job hop too much, especially as you reach your late-20s, moving to a new position regularly often means you’ll progress up the career ladder more quickly.

  1. You’ll keep your job search and interviewing skills sharp.

Just because you go on a job interview, doesn’t mean you have to accept the job if it’s offered. But applying for jobs, participating in interviews, negotiating job offers, etc. keeps your job-search skills sharp.

In addition, as mentioned above, you may find your next perfect job, one that probably gives you a raise and helps you learn valuable skills.

  1. You’ll start clarifying what it is you want out of a job/career.

Interviewing and meeting people in other companies, hearing about what they do and what they can offer you helps you keep abreast of what’s going on in your industry, and how your professional peers and possible supervisors believe it’s evolving. You can start seeing how you might be able to advance within it, etc.

In a nutshell, always being on the job hunt means you’ll better be able to stay true to your career goals.

Still, the best reason to always be on the search for your next position is the first one on our list: things can always change quickly. And, because it’s best to find your next job while you still have your current one, regularly applying for new jobs and going on interviews means you’ll find your next position while still happy in your current one. You won’t be desperate and you’ll be able to turn down offers that don’t match your needs.

Take a look at our current opportunities and if one or more interest you, follow application instructions or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Your First Job Will Not Be Your Dream Job

Coming out of college, you may picture in your mind the kind of job you would love doing – your dream job. It is one that pays you lots of money, is challenging, enjoyable, exciting. Unfortunately, the odds of finding such a job right out of the gate are very slim, for a number of reasons.

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You are still wet behind the ears, so to speak. You still need to gain experience and the proper skill set that will enable you to perform the kinds of challenging jobs you seek. Your first job may involve a good deal of grunt work, learning the ropes.

You may feel a little disdainful of this kind of work, after spending thousands of dollars and four years of your life earning a degree to prepare you for the working world. But you shouldn’t. It will help you to gain the experience and skills needed to take the next step in your career.

A second reason your first job is unlikely to be a dream job is simply because of a disconnect between what you imagine and reality. We all have an image of what a job will be like, but it seldom comports with real life. It is usually rather vague because we simply do not have enough information about the day-to-day work involved. And this is true even if you have talked with people in the profession. How can you be certain the first job you get is your dream job if you haven’t worked at any other job before?

Finding that dream job, determining your purpose in life and what you are truly passionate about, is more of a journey than anything else. In the beginning, you really don’t know enough about the working world to be so sure about your dream job. A career progression is about exploration. You may take a job you think you will like but find that you enjoy doing something else more. And this may happen several times during your career.

Moreover, there are many things that go into making a dream job other than just what is contained in the job description. These are factors that can make for work that is challenging and fulfilling or something much worse, such as the kind of supervisor you have, your coworkers, and the company culture.

Your destination is a way off. It is something you cannot even see when you take your first “real,” professional job. Your first employment should be looked at as a learning experience. Use it to find out all you can about your industry, your role in it, your company, and about yourself. Use it to begin the process of getting clear in your own mind what you want to do.

According to some business experts, your first job can be considered a good one if you have a boss who is not unreasonable, you fit in with the company culture, you look forward to going to work in the morning, and it provides you with a learning opportunity.

Today, when technology is advancing so rapidly, career experts say it is unwise to focus on a particular job, but rather on planning a career. After all, some jobs that exist now will be gone in the future. The better course of action is to think strategically about career development and look at your first job as just the initial step in your career, a place where you can begin to acquire the knowledge and skills and meet the people who will enable you to move to the next step.

If you’re ready to move on from your first job out of college – or if you’ve recently graduated and are still looking for that first opportunity, take a look at our current openings and, if one or more look promising, follow application instructions or call the Helpmates branch location nearest you.

College Grads: Tell Your Folks to Back Off

They are called helicopter parents, and for good reason. The term is used to denote parents who hover over their children, inserting themselves incessantly into the lives of their offspring, attempting to micromanage and control their lives.

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If the above sounds like a description of YOUR parents, we know they mean well. They actually don’t realize they are going too far in taking over your lives, but see themselves rather as helping. They are not aware that they are doing more harm than good.

But employers are looking for people who can think independently, who can make decisions on their own, who have the motivation and drive from within. If your mom or dad gets involved, talking to a hiring manager or showing up to an interview (this DOES happen!), it makes the hiring manager question whether you have the maturity needed for the job. Bottom line: It reflects poorly on you.

Just a couple of truly egregious examples of parents “helping” their young-adult children in job interviews:

  • In the link above, a mother brought a cake to the company to help convince the hiring manager to hire her daughter.
  • Another mother asked if she could sit in during the interview and yet another parent Skyped in during the interview.
  • One woman even asked if she could be interviewed on behalf of her daughter!

In one study, about one-fourth of employers contacted reported that parents were involved during the hiring process for college seniors. Of those parents, only about four percent actually showed up for an interview, but about 40 percent were involved in researching companies, one-fourth advocated for their child, and another 15 percent complained to the company if their child did not get the job.

Face palm!

Career experts say that there are a number of ways that parents can be involved in their children’s job search without becoming too overbearing or obtrusive. If your parents are too involved, here are some tips on how to ask them to back off.

  1. Tell them you’re happy if they tell their own network of your job search.

Your folks can let their contacts know you’re looking for a job, but ask them to do no more than that. Your parents should just give the contact’s information and let you take the ball and run with it from there.

  1. If they ask, say yes to them offering to help you look for jobs.

Your parents definitely can help you by looking for job openings on job boards, company websites, social media and the like, and passing them along.

  1. Let them be your sounding board. And ONLY a sounding board.

Job hunting is stressful and often frustrating. Your parents can act as a sounding board for you when you need to complain and vent, and parents can offer advice. But your parents shouldn’t try to shield you from failure, which at one time or another is inevitable.

Failure actually is a good thing: you learn how to handle it and learn from it.

Helicopter parents are more common among millennials and members of GenZ, as these parents more than likely were much more involved in their life than previous parental generations.

But you need to let your helicopter parents know in no uncertain terms that it is not OK to contact a potential or actual employer directly. Suggest other ways for them to channel their energies, such as those listed above.

If you are having trouble getting through to them, try enlisting the help of another member of the family who has a more realistic perspective – a sibling, aunt, uncle, or grandparent.

Whether you’re a new college or high school grad, whether you’ve been in the workforce for years or want to return after a hiatus, contact the recruiters at Helpmates for help in your job search.

Take a look at our current job opportunities and then follow the directions for applying to those that interest you. You also may contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

 

 

Working Hard – or Workaholic?

We all believe hard work is necessary for success in life and in our careers. But even hard work can be harmful if we take it too far, because then it slips into something that can take over our life – workaholism. It is similar to an addiction, where we feel the need to work excessively and compulsively. We feel uncomfortable when not working

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And today, when technology has become ubiquitous and the boundaries between work and personal life begin to dissolve, it is easier than ever to fall into the trap of workaholism. People are tethered to their jobs by their smartphones, text messages and email. Here in the United States, more than half of those surveyed said they check email after 11 p.m. And more than 56 percent check it 5.6 hours every day, Monday-Friday.

Although workaholism is gaining more attention, there is still little data on how many people fall into the category of workaholic. Some estimates in the U.S. put the number as high as one-fourth of all workers. In Norway, where studies have been made, the number of workaholics appears to be a little under 10 percent of the workforce.

The Workaholism Scale

Researchers at the University of Bergen in Norway have developed a list of seven basic criteria for workaholism. If you answer “often” or “always” on four or more of the criteria, the chances are good that you are a workaholic. Here is the list:

  1. You are always looking for ways to free up more time for work.
  2. You usually spend more time working than you originally planned.
  3. You work to escape feelings of anxiety, guilt or depression.
  4. Your friends, family and/or colleagues have told you that you should cut back on the amount of time you spend working, but you generally ignore them.
  5. You get stressed out when you cannot work.
  6. Work is always your number one priority, crowding out other important activities in your life, such as hobbies, leisure activities, and exercise.
  7. You work so much that it has affected your health.

People may believe that workaholism is a way of being more productive, getting more done, getting ahead of the curve and so reducing stress. But the exact opposite is true. Working all the time, without taking time to recover and reenergize, leads to burnout, lower productivity, higher stress, and more health problems.

Fighting Workaholism

If you think you may be a workaholic, what can you do to get your life back on a more even keel? Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Try to reduce the distractions when you work, so you get more done in less time. If you can, try working from home to reduce distractions. Or put on headphones or close your office door, if possible.
  2. Delegate more work to others.
  3. Put more emphasis on a healthy work-life balance. You can do this by trying to reduce your work time to a 40-hour work week. Try meditating. Take the time to exercise and socialize more. Set priorities – get the important stuff done first. Schedule a time period for your tasks and stick to it. Learn how to say no to people when they ask for help if you already have too much on your plate.
  4. Turn off the electronics when you leave work. Don’t check your email or send email.
  5. Develop a morning routine. This sets the tone for the entire day.

We’re always looking for hard workers (but not workaholics)! If you’re looking for a new job or just for work for a few days or weeks, contact the Helpmates branch nearest you. And make sure to check out our latest temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job openings.

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