You Got the Job Offer! Should You Take It?

You applied for a job opportunity. You were called in for an interview. You aced it. You were called in for another interview. Ditto. The hiring manager tells you she’ll make her decision in a week and in that week you hear from her and she offers you the job!

You’re excited, naturally. Flattered, of course! Proud of yourself, natch!

But just because you’re offered a job in no way means you should actually take it.

careers in cerritos

Take a look below at four things you should consider before accepting any job offer.

  1. Do you know what constitutes success in the job?

In other words, has your potential new boss spelled out clearly what she expects of you? If in doubt, take a look at the job description and go over it with her, asking her for clarification and – more importantly – asking if there’s anything she expects that’s not in the description.

Taking a job with ill-defined expectations can be a prescription for disaster. If your boss says “I’ll know when you’re doing a great job when I see it” also could end up meaning “Your idea of what  ‘doing a great job’ means is not mine.”

  1. Do you think you and your boss and new coworkers will have a respectful, friendly relationship?

If you think you can be respectful but not head over heels in “like” with your boss/coworkers, that’s OK. Respect is far more important than liking each other because if your boss/coworkers don’t respect you, chances are great they won’t “like” you much either.  A lack of respect means they won’t trust you, won’t have your back, will second guess you, etc.

Still, having respect for and liking each other will make your working relationship much more enjoyable and will go far in helping you succeed in the job. But if there’s no respect, your working life will be miserable.

Another important aspect of respect/like: do you think you’ll fit in with your department’s/company’s culture? It’s probably best to go with your gut on this one: what was the vibe of the department when you visited/met with colleagues? If your intuition is saying there are red – or even yellow – flags ahead, it may be best to turn the job down.

  1. Does the position fit in with your overall goals?

Many of us see our career going in a certain direction. While it’s sometimes necessary to go sideways or even move “down” a bit in order to get ahead, if the new position isn’t going to at least teach you new skills or put you in front of new challenges – especially if they can help you move to the next step upwards – it may not be a good idea to take the job.

For example, let’s say you’ve been working in as an account executive in finance but want to move into marketing. It may be a good idea to take a “step down” and work as a marketing assistant in a finance firm that has a marketing department. But if it’s a lateral move with a salary increase to another finance company – but one that has no marketing department and no chance to learn marketing skills – you may want to turn it down.

Which brings us to the last thing to consider when deciding whether to take a job offer…

  1. Money isn’t everything, but it definitely IS something!

We put the salary question last because while money is an important consideration when mulling a job offer, it’s not the most important thing.

As mentioned above, it may not be worth it to take a job that offers no new challenges even if it pays more. It also may be advantageous to your career to take a job that pays a bit less so long as you the new position challenges you and helps you get where you want to go.

Still, you do want to feel that you’re being fairly compensated and you also want to look forward to the benefits package offered. (Remember: if you’re not happy with salary/benefits, the only time you can easily negotiate them is before you accept the job offer.)

If you’re looking for new opportunities – whether temporary, part-time or direct-hire – check out our job openings here with Helpmates. See one or two you like? Follow the instructions on the posting and/or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Hacking the College Job Fair

Yep, it’s February. If you’re a college senior, you’re busy. And one of the things your busy with is getting ready for your campus’ college job fair this spring.

jobs in carson

What? It’s not on your radar!!! Why not!? College job fairs are a terrific way for you to land job interviews with potential employers. Understand that you’re not going to get a job offer at a career fair: your goal instead is to line up job interviews with different potential employers.

The great thing about college career fairs is that employers come to scope out potential employees. They want to talk to you and, if it you looks like you might be a good fit, set up a full-fledged interview at a later date.

So sign up for the career fair!

Yes, dozens if not hundreds of your classmates are going as well. But they may not have read this blog post. YOU have and in this post are three hacks that, if you follow them, will get employers to ask you in for a job interview.

Warning: these hacks will take some time and a good bit of effort on your part. But if you want to stand out, put in the time and you’ll be rewarded.

Take a look below for our three college job fair hacks.

  1. Study the list of companies coming to the fair.

See what companies are coming and then go research the ones that look interesting to you. And almost all of them should look interesting to you because even though, for example, you’re looking for a marketing job, just about  every company has a marketing department, so don’t automatically say no to a bank or a manufacturer, etc. Still, it’s OK to designate your top 10-15 companies and then focus on them

By study we mean, research. Take a look at its website. Look it ALL over, not just the careers or jobs page. Read as much of the site as you can. Take notes about things that pertain to your degree field.

Read everything you can about the company.  Google it and see what others say about it. Check out Indeed.com and Glassdoor for reviews.

  1. Decide what skills and experience you bring to an employer that bring value.

Remember: employers hire people to solve problems. What problems do you solve? What value do you bring to an employer?

Yes, you have little to no real-world experience in the field you want to enter. But do you have initiative? Are you a member of the dean’s list? Have you worked full-time while going to school full time (that shows you know understand what hard work is and that’s highly valuable to an employer)? And so on.

Write down the skills you have that the field you want to enter requires. Have professors, managers at internships, etc. commented on how great these skills are?

You’re going to need to know what problems you solve/value you bring because now you’re going to….

  1. Write a custom cover letter and resume for EACH company you intend to visit at the career fair.

That’s right: one cover letter and one resume for EACH company. No template cover letters/resume for you. And, while many people say there’s no need to bring a cover letter to a college career fair, writing one specifically for each company helps you stand out. And standing out is what you want.

Yowza, this is going to take work! Yes. It certainly is.

But understanding what particular skills and background you provide to a company and then showcasing how they bring value to a particular company shows a recruiter you understand why an employer hires people.

Any time you look for work you should make it as easy as possible for an employer to hire you.  Presenting how you help solve a company’s problems, etc. makes it a lot easier for a recruiter to see how you match a company’s needs (she doesn’t need to read between the lines) and you’ve made it much easier for her to ask you in for a formal interview.

We can pretty much guarantee that very few – if any – of your classmates are going to customize a cover letter/resume for each company at the job fair. Few – if any – of your classmates are going to be able to talk to a recruiter with as much information as you will because of your deep-dive research. Perform these hacks and watch how well recruiters will respond!

Want some real-world experience before you head to the job fair? Take a look at our job opportunities here at Helpmates and if one appeals to you, follow the instructions on the opening or contact the branch office nearest you.

Everyone’s Leaving My Employer. Should I Go, Too?

Today’s hot, hot, HOT candidate market means many people are leaving one job for another. And it feels as if everyone is doing so. Why? Because they can. With unemployment in Los Angeles County at 4.6 percent (in October, the latest figure available) and 2.9 percent in Orange County in October, employees are leaving for what they believe are better opportunities in droves. (And some don’t even bother giving their employers notice.)

So what do you do if you see “everyone” at your company or in your department leaving? Should you leave, as well?

South Bay Careers

Take a look below to see when it’s a good idea and when it’s better to stay put.

Better to Leave

  • If rumors of layoffs are rampant – and these rumors have the taste of reality – then it’s far better to leave sooner rather than later, especially if there’s more than one of you with the same duties and you realize that you’re not the best of the bunch. (Yes, it’s true: employers tend to keep top performers and let lower performers go, even if the lower performer is doing just dandy.) It’s best to leave before being asked to leave because you’re much more attractive to an employer when looking for work if you’re employed while doing so. There’s unconscious bias in hiring that if you’re unemployed – even through no fault of your own – that there must be “something wrong with you.”
  • Similar to if layoffs are nigh is when your company is purchased by another and it has one or more people doing the exact same thing you do. Most layoffs occur on the side of the company purchased (not at the buying company), so unless your skills and the value you’ve been bringing to your employer are top-notch, it may be best to start looking elsewhere.
  • Your employer had layoffs and you’ve survived but the workload is now awful. If you’re overwhelmed and stressed at work after surviving an employee purge, it may be best for you to start looking elsewhere.

Best to Stay

  • Just because “everyone” is leaving is no reason you should. Be careful of herd mentality and have a meeting with yourself to see if your desire to leave is because you’re now lonely in your department. If that’s the case, make an effort to make new friends at work, not only in your department but throughout the company.
  • You’ve just been promoted. It’s time to prove to yourself and the manager(s) who believed in you enough to recommend a promotion that you have what it takes to succeed in your new role. Once promoted, try your best to stay in that new role for at least one or two years.
  • If there have been layoffs, you survived and your manager starts to hire replacements, you can take a look at your situation in a much more positive light: now is the time you – as the experienced one – can be a leader among the new hires. Showcase your success with these people to your manager – how your mentoring/leadership of them has provided value – and you have an excellent argument for a promotion/pay raise in a few months.
  • Is yours a company that has a history of not laying people off in a recession? (Perhaps it asks folks to take reduced pay in order to keep everyone employed, for example.) Regardless, chances are great there’s going to be a recession or – at the least – a growth slowdown at the end of 2019 or in 2020. [Will link to January Post 3.] Job layoffs may result. If your company has a track record of keeping people employed, it’s best to stay instead of leave because a new employer may end up laying people off and if you have yet to prove yourself to them, you may be one of the first to be let go when payroll funds become tight. (Of course, as noted above, if layoffs DO appear imminent and you feel you’re not a top performer, start looking!)

Whether you’re currently employed or unemployed, today’s candidate market is one of the best on record and if you’re interested in “seeing what else is out there,” take a look at Helpmates’ current opportunities. If one or more of them appeal to you, follow instructions to apply, or contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you.

Southern California’s Job Outlook for 2019

So here it is, mid-January. Talent still is hard to find around the country. Candidates are ghosting when it comes to job interviews and even employees are just leaving their employer without notice.

But that’s nationwide. What’s this year’s job outlook for Southern California? We put on our sleuthing hats to find out.

  1. More of the same: an absolute candidate market (at least through the 2nd Q 2019).

Brea Jobs

No surprise there. According to the California EDD (scroll down to the link at “Short-Term Projections: Two-Years” and download the spreadsheet), employment in Orange County from 2nd Quarter 2017 to 2nd Quarter 2019 is projected to grow overall by 3.4 percent (interestingly, self-employment is projected to grow by 4.2 percent). Not every employment sector is going to grow (mining and oil/gas extraction, for example, is projected to fall by 8.5 percent overall), but most are growing.  Manufacturing is to grow 1.8 percent; while software publishers are to grow a whopping 13 percent; auto equipment sales and leasing by 6 percent; professional and business services by 3 percent; advertising, PR and marketing by 3.4 percent; professional, scientific and technical services by 4 percent; office administrative services by 6.7 percent; and so on.

(Take a look at the document; it’s fascinating. For example, if you’re looking for work in the “travel arrangement and reservation services,” growth is expected to be 5.6 percent. And this, remember, is in a day when many of us make our own travel arrangements online. So much for the “death of the travel agent”!)

  1. But that’s statewide. And it’s for mid-2017 through mid-2019. What about in Southern California and in just 2019?

We hear you. It’s a bit trickier to find info/predictions for just Orange and Los Angeles counties, but here’s what we found: we may experience an economic slowdown in late 2019.

If you don’t want to read the link, here’s what it says in a nutshell:

Although the economy is currently operating at full employment and benefiting from the massive tax cut and spending increases, the economic stimulus coming from that combination will likely run out in 2020, and deficits it creates will linger for another decade.

In spite of concerns about the risk of a full-blown trade war with China, the forecast for the U.S. economy is one of growth, albeit slower growth. California remains one of the most prosperous states, with a strong market that is expected to continue to grow.

You’ll notice it says the big growth ends in 2020, but further down the report states the growth “will slow to 2 percent in 2019 and to a near recession at 1 percent in 2020.”

As for California: the state’s growth will slow along with the nation’s but our economy is still expected to grow faster than the country’s as a whole. Here’s the skinny, below:

The total employment growth forecasts for 2018, 2019 and 2020 are 1.7 percent, 1.8 percent and 0.8 percent, respectively. Payrolls are expected to grow by 1.7 percent in 2018, by 1.8 percent in 2019, and by 0.8 percent in 2020. Real personal income growth is forecast to be 2.5 percent, 3.6 percent and 2.9 percent in 2018, 2019 and 2020, respectively. California’s average unemployment rate is expected to have its normal differential to the U.S. rate at 4.2 percent in 2020. Home building will accelerate to about 140,000 units per year by the end of the 2020 forecast.

  1. Most job growth is in the Inland Empire.

Sorry, OC and LA, but the job growth is greatest due east. Which could be great news if you live there and work west and wish to find a job closer to home. Pay rates are a bit lower, however. For example, Indeed.com reports that the average hourly rate for an administrative assistant in Anaheim is 16.21/hour while in Riverside, it’s $15.28. Yet housing also is less expensive, with the median gross rent in Riverside County hitting $1,212/month, while it’s $1,264 in Los Angeles County and $1,608 in Orange County. (Data is from 2017.)

  1. Wrapping up.

So things look great for job seekers for at least the next six months and possibly throughout the entire year. After all, slower growth still is growth. But don’t be complacent because often in business, slower growth often means….job cutbacks! And that means the unemployment rate will rise and jobs will be harder to come by.

 

So if you can:

  • Learn new skills.
  • Take note of your accomplishments and add them to your resume.
  • Work to add value to your employer (don’t just “show up for work,” do the minimum expected of you and then think that you’re “valuable”).
  • Grow your professional network.
  • Never, ever become complacent. If you’ve never been laid off from a job before, if you’re laid off next year or early in 2020, get ready for potential WEEKS of unemployment. It happens. And to talented, valuable workers. No one is immune.

That’s why it’s a good idea to have a Helpmates recruiter in your professional network. In fact, take a look at our current opportunities, and if one appeals to you, follow the directions to apply. You also can contact the branch office nearest you to register.

Making Career Resolutions that Actually Stick

Merry Christmas!

While chances are that you’re reading this on some day other than December 25 (the day this went live) and you’re no doubt now thinking of which gifts to return, why not also take some time in preparation for the New Year to think about what career resolutions you plan to make… and how you plan to keep them in 2019.

Long Beach careers

Take a look below for some tips on how to keep your career resolutions this year.

  • If you’re looking for a new position, 2019 is probably one of the best times to do so. Yes, even better than it has been this year.

This resolution should be easy to keep: the economy next year is expected to continue to grow and the fantastic candidate market (if you’re a job candidate) or war for talent (if you need to hire someone) is projected to continue.

In fact, the unemployment rate nationwide is expected to fall in 2019 from 3.7 percent (2018’s rate) to 3.5 percent. (One caveat, however: the economy may slow a bit in the second half 2019 as a result of the current trade war and other factors.)

Still, if you’re unhappy at work, now is the time to put your toe in the job-hunt water: recruiters are eager (some might say, desperate) to help you.

  • Explore careers that might interest you. As in REALLY explore.

It’s one thing to say you want to change careers. It’s another to actually start researching different possibilities because doing so probably will take you out of your comfort zone.

You don’t want to move to a different career just because you “think” you’ll like it. Instead, you need to “try it out” as much as possible before making any change.

How can you do so? At minimum you should read as much about it as you can. Your second (easy-ish) step is to find people who work in the field now and talk to them. Talk to at least three and ask them what they love/hate about it, how they got the work they do in the career and ask what you should do to learn more about it.

If at all possible, try to work in the career yourself. See if you can get a part-time job within the field. Or freelance. Do this for at least three months so that you can be sure you actually like the profession/work.

  • Get those skills you’ve been promising yourself you’ll get.

Hard skills are in great demand today, especially in technology and healthcare. So desperate are Southern California employers for people with these skills that the state’s community colleges offer dozens of two-year (or shorter) degree and/or certificate programs that will help residents learn new job skills. Getting trained in some in-demand-positions (such as “middle skill” healthcare positions) may not take nearly as long as you think and could raise your salary, possibly considerably.

If you’re not up to two years or several months of education, consider taking short certificate programs, either online or off. Don’t forget to ask your supervisor about being reimbursed for short training programs you find online (although many online professional development courses are free).

If you’re thinking of finding a new job (or a new career), consider registering with Helpmates. We have many part-time and even direct-hire and temp-to-hire opportunities waiting for you; one of them could well have your name written upon it. If you see one that interests you, follow the posting’s instructions or contact us.

Happy New Year! And here’s to a wonderful 2019 for you and your loved ones!

Navigating the Office Holiday Gift Giving Obstacle Course

It’s December! Bring on the office gift exchange!

As we move into the 2018 gift-giving season, many of us may wonder: Do I give my boss a gift? Do I have to purchase holiday wrapping paper from my colleague’s son’s Scout fundraiser? Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

Brea jobs

The answers to these questions are – frankly – important because office interactions do impact career success. What’s more holiday gifting traditions at the office often can be fraught with landmines. Here’s how to navigate them successfully while also enjoying this lovely time of year at work.

  1. Should I give my boss a gift?

In a nutshell: you don’t have to. In fact, it’s probably best that you don’t, because it could come across as toady-ish: as if you’re trying to curry favor with your supervisor. If you really, really want to, it’s best if you go in a group gift with your department.

If you feel you must give your manager a gift because he/she expects it and will not look upon you favorably if you don’t, you may want to think about getting another job and another boss…

By the way, many bosses often give gifts to their team members. (Such holiday gifts often are flowers, movie tickets, food, gifts that are the same for everyone, etc..) This is appropriate and in no way obligates you to reciprocate. Even if the boss gives different gifts to everyone (the boss has taken note of his/her team members’ likes and dislikes), accept the gift graciously.

  1. Do I have to give my coworkers gifts?

If you feel that one or more coworkers is a true friend (that is, you’re personal friends outside the office and you want to give a personal gift), then do so. Just make sure you give the gift outside the office.

As for giving coworkers with whom your professionally friendly? It’s appropriate to do so with those with whom you interact daily or with those in your department. If you feel uncomfortable giving individual gifts, consider asking if there’s a formal office gift exchange event such as a white elephant gift exchange (often hilarious) or Secret Santas.

If you’re hard up for funds and you don’t want to provide gifts for colleagues, you should never feel ashamed (or shamed into doing so). If people give gifts as a matter of course and you don’t want to come across as Scrooge, consider baking cookies or bread and giving those as gifts.

If you plan to give gifts to some, but not all of your colleagues, present the gifts privately so that the co-workers who are left out don’t have hurt feelings.

  1. Do I have to purchase items during holiday school fundraisers?

No, you do not. Yes, it can be very hard when a colleague asks you to purchase flavored popcorn or wrapping paper for his/her child’s school fundraiser. If you don’t want to, say so politely. A simple “No, thank you” should suffice.

  1. Can I opt out of the office gift exchange?

Probably not. The good news is that full-office gift exchanges often come with price points (you don’t have to spend more than $10, $20 or $25, for example) and you often only have to purchase one gift for one person.

In addition, office holiday gift exchanges often come with office parties and are festive and usually loads of fun. (Look up white elephant exchanges, for example….)

But refusing to play along if your department holds an “official” gift exchange? You could hurt your reputation as a team player. Probably best to play along, follow the stated budget guidelines (or make your own) and enjoy the fun of the exchange itself

Why not give yourself a great holiday gift by taking a look at Helpmates’ current opportunities and then following the instructions within each job description to apply and/or contact the Helpmates office nearest you to register with us.

Making the Most of the Holiday Season

The holiday season is here! Times of good cheer, holiday parties (at the office and friends’ homes), gift purchasing and giving/receiving….and a GREAT time to finally get some work done!

Anaheim recruiters

Work in December often slows down as you and your colleagues think ahead to the 25th. That’s why this month can be a terrific time to focus on what you need to do to improve your skill sets, catch up on networking, revamp your resume, and so on.

Take a look below for how to use the slower days at work this month to improve your job/career prospects.

  1. Use holiday parties to best networking advantage.

While you won’t want to network blatantly for new job opportunities at your office/professional parties, you will want to ask people what they do for a living, maybe talk shop if it interests you and (most importantly) get their contact information so that you can follow up with them later.

Just about everyone is in a great mood at holiday parties and well may be in a “giving” mood, so don’t be shy about asking to meet later.

(Important tip: don’t drink too much – or at all – at your company’s holiday hullabaloo or at networking events. It may be a party, but you’re there in a professional capacity.)

In fact, instead of “networking,” think of the parties as a way to make new or build upon existing relationships. Relationships, after all, are what truly make the world go round, whether in our personal or professional lives.

  1. Update your resume to include recent accomplishments.

The slower times could be the perfect opportunity to update your resume. However, while it may be slower at work, be very careful: don’t write your resume at work. Don’t print it out there, either. Take notes, writing them down for working at home later when you’ll do the actual revamping.

You may be too busy when home with holiday preparations (why is it the holidays seem so jam packed at home but slow at work….) but if you have time off between December 25 and January 1, use the quiet break in the hubbub to think about what you want to accomplish professionally in the coming year.

  1. Updated your skills.

If things are slow at work, ask your boss if you could take an online course, certificate program, etc. during office hours. Your boss/company may be happy to pay/help pay for these courses. If not, there are many free ones online.

  1. Look for work.

If the idea of returning to this particular employer in 2019 is ruining the holidays for you, start looking for a new opportunity (during your off hours, of course)! It’s a big myth that “no one hires during the holidays.” Instead, hiring managers often have to fill empty positions before the end of the year or they lose their budget for the positions (the ol’ “use it or lose it” budget policy).

So, go ahead: enjoy this lovely time of year, full of hope and good feelings. And consider extending those great feelings for yourself by contacting the Helpmates branch nearest you and registering as one of our associates. We look forward to meeting you!

Negotiating Salary? Don’t Say This!

So you’re in the salary/pay rate part of the hiring process. (Congrats on getting to this point, by the way!) And you and your soon-to-be-employer both want pretty much the same thing, but with a BIG variant: each of you wants to come to a number both are happy with but you want as much as you can get and your employer pretty much wants to give you as little as you will accept while still keeping you happy.

Buena Park Careers

So while we’re going to discuss what you shouldn’t and should say in a salary negotiation, understand this: your salary is only part of your cost to an employer. Benefits, taxes insurance and so on add about another 30 percent to your employer’s salary outgo. So if your salary is $50K, understand that your employer’s cost to have you work for him actually is $65K.

Also remember that your main job as an employee is to provide value to your employer. If you made $40K at your last job and want to make $50K at this one, understand that your possible employer sees that as $65K. So keep this in mind: will you bring in $65K in value? If so, make sure you’ve been showcasing that value (particular education, experience, skills) during the job interview.

Say This, Not That

  • Never give a number first.

Employers no doubt will ask you almost right away what your current salary is and what salary you’re looking for. It sounds like an innocent enough question, but you give yourself little wiggle room when it comes time to negotiate if you answer. Instead, say something like this: “I’d like to focus on the value I bring to you and I’m certain we’ll come to an agreement both of us are happy with.”

If the employer refuses to continue if you don’t give a number, give a range. (And if the employer refuses to move forward even with a range, reconsider this employeer. A salary negotiation should be a good-faith, true negotiation. You may want to rethink working for someone with such a “my way or the highway” attitude, especially in this market, where employers are hard up for great workers.)

  • Be positive.

Avoid saying no. For example, aim to say “I would be more comfortable with” instead of “that doesn’t work for me,” or other negative-type words, including no.

  • Polite assertiveness is a good thing.

Never apologize for negotiating. As mentioned above, an employer who absolutely refuses to look at your value rather than his previously set number, probably is not the employer for you.

Yes, many employers have real constraints when it comes to salary. Government agencies, for example. But most have some room to compromise. And that said….

  • Negotiate benefits.

If an employer truly can’t budge and explains why with a legitimate reason, see if you can negotiate benefits such as vacation time/PTO. Or ask about returning in six months to discuss a raise. Mention that you’ll have proven without a doubt why the value you bring is worth it. (And then make sure the value you bring is worth it!)

Bottom line: if you’ve already been through at least one interview, the employer wants you; she wouldn’t be talking salary if she didn’t. You do have some power in this negotiation; don’t be afraid to wield it in a respectful, professional  manner. It’s exceedingly rare for an employer to stop speaking to you because you try to negotiate: most employers expect to negotiate, especially in today’s candidate market.

If you’re looking to make a move to a new position, check out Helpmates’ latest job opportunities. We have several direct-hire, temp-to-hire and temporary jobs that just may suit your needs. Contact us today.

The Wisdom of Creating Your Own Brain Trust

CEOs have them. So do entrepreneurs. What they have is a small group of people – possibly five or so – that they go to when they need objective advice and strategy. This group is known as a brain trust and you should have one for your career.

Garden Grove jobs

A brain trust is something akin to having mentors, but not quite. Mentors often work in the same field/profession as their mentee but have much more experience. Members of a brain trust, however, have experience in a different field/profession. The idea is that all of you receive input and knowledge from people at your level who know things you don’t. In other words, a marketing professional may want a brain trust that includes an attorney, an accountant, an HR professional, and so on. Having such a network allows all of you to tap into each other’s expertise and help each other out when needed.

Finding Your Brain Trust

As mentioned above, you don’t really want people in your field, but individuals who share the same type of vision for their careers in different fields.

Chances are good you already know several people who could become members: your neighbors, former school mates, former colleagues, current employees of your current employer but in another department, and so on.

Your brain trust can be quite informal: just ask if people want to join and if they’d be available quickly for their input when any of your trust’s members need input, advice, knowledge, a shoulder to learn on, etc.

It’s Best to Ask for Advice Instead of Favors

Brain trusts aren’t really “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” Instead, your trust is a group of people you go to for knowledge and ideas, not for introductions and favors. Referrals eventually will come from your trusts’ members naturally, but it’s best to approach them by asking for input rather than asking them to do something for you.

If, by chance, you hear that one of your trust’s members is facing a problem but hasn’t reached out to you, it’s perfectly OK to reach out yourself. Don’t assume you know what your fellow trust member needs; just let him know you’re there, just in case

You Don’t Even Have to Create an Actual “Brain Trust”

Many people have people in their professional network that they often go to when they need advice/input. In fact, chances are good that you already may have a brain trust of sorts if you find that you have two or three people that you often call upon to “get their input.” And you may find that the same handful of people call upon you every now and then.

It’s wise to actually think about people you’d like to add to your trust (formally or informally) as you find people whom you automatically think of when you need some type of input.

The point is: always look outside your department/employer/profession “bubble” for people you can turn to when stuck, when you need input, or when you need a fresh take on an old problem. Doing so can help you progress in your career while also growing a network of people with a (more than likely informal) vested interest in your success.

If you’d like some new input regarding career possibilities, take a look at some of our current opportunities and either follow the instructions to apply when one or more pique your interest or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

When Following Your Passion is a Bad Idea

We hear over and over to “follow our passion” when it comes to careers. But this may not be a good idea. After all, our skills and natural abilities must align with our passion in order to be successful within it. For example, if we have no sense of rhythm but still love to dance, do we really think competing on – let alone winning – So You Think You Can Dance? is a viable possibility?

City of Orange careers

In addition, think about the times you’re doing whatever it is that really floats your boat. Often it’s every now and then for a few hours a time. What if you had to do it eight hours a day, five days a week? Then it becomes work and work is something we must do about 40 hours a week, whether we’re “in the mood” for it or not.

Plus, no matter how great a career or job is, there’s always something about it that is tedious. Take, for example, the woman we know who is a physical therapist. She loves working with her patients. But then – oh, then! – there’s the paperwork. About one hour of paperwork for each patient. She generally sees four patients a day and then needs to get four hours of paperwork done. And she hates the paperwork. HATES IT!!! And yet the paperwork (patient notes and insurance forms) takes up half or her work day. Is this a career/job she enjoys? Is it worth it to love – or at least really like — what she does half the time when the other half is absolute tedium?

What we love changes over time.

This, unfortunately, is far too true: we as humans are really, really, really bad at predicting now what will make us happy in the future. If you’re 21 chances are the thought of sitting at home reading a book or watching Amazon on a Saturday night sounds like the last thing you want to do (FOMO and all). But – and it’s hard to believe, we know – by the time you’re in your mid-30s or so, going to a club on a Saturday is all “been there, done that.”

In your 20s , 30s and even 40s, all you can think about is getting to the top of your career. But as you age, that desire fades. Big time. So much so that puttering around in the garage or hanging around the soccer field watching your kid play community soccer is your idea of a great time! And this holds true for both women and men. So working 80 hours a week to build a business probably isn’t going to be all that enjoyable once you hit 40 and beyond.

Making a contribution/a difference leads to the most career satisfaction.

Studies show that the key to happiness for humans in relationships/connections. What’s more, a feeling of mastery and a feeling of purpose/meaning – of contributing to something greater than ourselves – is truly what makes for satisfaction at work.

In other words, find the things at which you’re good (bonus: you probably enjoy doing them) and figure out what type of career/job involves using those skills. Using the physical therapist example above, she always loved working with people, she’s always enjoyed learning how the human body “works,” she’s interested in fitness and health, and she enjoys making her patients’ lives better.  The  loathsome paperwork? It’s a real bear. But she figures half a day of happy and meaningful work makes up for the other half. Overall she’s quite happy.

What are you good at? Take your skills and make a real contribution to businesses throughout Orange County and Los Angeles. Look at the opportunities we currently have open here at Helpmates and contact us/apply if one or more look interesting. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

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