Getting Ready for Generation Z

Talkin’ ‘bout their generation…and we don’t mean millennials.  Now it’s time to discuss Generation Z, those born between about 1995 and 2010. These young adults – the oldest of whom will turn 24 this year – are coming to your workplace. Are you ready for them?

They are, in fact, probably already working for you:

In addition, due to high levels of student loan debt, many members of Gen Z are opting out of going to college: they’ll be knocking at your company’s door right after high school. (Which means now, by the way.)

Fullerton staffing agency

Here are some important statistics regarding Generation Z:

  • There about 61 million members of this generation in the U.S., more than Gen X (but fewer than millennials, which numbered 71 million in 2016).
  • They may be a bit more difficult to train and manage since they don’t have the social interaction skills of older generations.
  • They pretty much can’t remember life without smartphone and the Internet. They also don’t have personal memories of 9/11.
  • Studies show that this generation wants to learn and work hard. They’re also seekers of truth, value individual expression and tend to avoid labels.
  • They are eager to improve the world and solve conflicts.
  • They’ve seen their parents and grandparents struggle through the Great Recession and have seen a good portion of older brothers and sisters (or themselves) struggle with student loan debt. So it’s expected that this generation will try to stay away from debt. In fact, a survey by the Center for Generational Kinetics recently found that this generation plans to start saving for retirement in their 20s. Some have already started putting money away in their teens.

What This Could Mean for Your Workplace and Recruiting Strategies

Understand that this generation could make up as much as 20 percent of the labor force by 2021 (just two years away), so it’s probably wise to think ahead and discover how  to make  this generation feel valued and welcome at your company.

  • Make sure your company stays on top of the latest technology: your Gen Z new hires will expect it. Remember, they are true digital natives – even more so than younger millennials. If your company isn’t on top of all things tech, these savvy young adults will move on to companies that do.
  • Provide work space that allows for cooperation (open workspaces) as well as privacy. Members of Gen Z don’t mind working alone (and often prefer it) and so a quiet space that gives them the opportunity to work by themselves when needed is a plus. But open space that encourages collaborative work also helps them learn to work in teams.
  • Gen Z’s job candidates expect a really good candidate experience. They are not as willing to put up with a poor one as older generations are. Make your application process as effortless and efficient as possible.
  • This generation is very attracted to inclusion and diversity. (It is, after all, the most diverse generation workforce ever.) An inclusive and diverse company will have a leg up over companies that are less so when it comes to attracting this generation.
  • Gen Z’s members want to do a variety of things, even in just “one” job. So if you can offer shadowing, learning and other development opportunities, you have a better chance of becoming this generation’s employer of choice.

Need some help recruiting Generation Z to your company? Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you to learn more about how we can help source, vet and place these young workers in your temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire job opportunities.

The Art of Posting Engaging Comments on LinkedIn

Do you often comment merely “Good point” or “Great article!” when one of your LinkedIn connections posts something interesting on the platform?

Well, blah, blah, blah: you might as well have not commented at all, so little is your reply going to help you build a professional network. (Although it sure will make your connection feel good, so there’s that, at least.)

LinkedIn is an incredible tool for building your professional brand and it’s not hard at all to “work” the social platform to do so. Plus, it’s enjoyable!

Buena  Park recruiters

Take a look below for how to comment on LinkedIn in ways that result in engagement….and growth in your professional brand.

LinkedIn’s algorithm loves it when you provide engaging comments and shows its love by giving your profile more visibility. The more your profile pops up in other members’ feeds, the better for your visibility on the social platform.

But the key words here are “engaging comments.” The “Good point” gets you nowhere.

In other words, if you put in the effort to comment and so long as those comments provide – ahem – value to your network, LinkedIn pays attention….and helps you rise up in your connections’ feeds as well as their connections. Your presence on LinkedIn thus grows exponentially, as does your brand.

What types of comments are engaging and provide value?

Those that reply to something in the original post and then add an opinion or fact to the conversation.

For example: let’s say a connection posts that they’re having a tough day with a client and that they did such and such to make the day better.

A good comment for you would be to acknowledge that what they did was brilliant. And then to add your own reasoning as to why their successful action worked.

Notice that you didn’t give an example of when you had an unhappy client and what you did to make him feel better. Instead, you kept your comment focused on your connection’s success and then backed up their genius with a reason why it was genius.

Another example:

Let’s say someone comments/complains that they’ve noticed that new connections always seem to ask them for a meeting or a conversation as soon as they become a connection!

A good reply would be to commiserate: “Sheesh, that’s annoying!” and then add that you’ve noticed that those who provide the best value on LinkedIn usually try to build rapport with a new connection first before asking for a sale. This way you don’t denigrate any who one who does ask for a sale immediately and you infer that your connection is the type who would never do that (of course!).

Additional Types of Engaging Comments:

  • Ask a clarifying question of the original post or commenter.
  • Add a link to relevant data that backs up your comment, if applicable (the link should not go to your own work).
  • Mention your own success applying the technique/advice in the post.

General LinkedIn Commenting Guidelines:

  • Always keep comments professional. Always. No matter what.
  • Never slander or insult other commenters.
  • Keep your comment relevant only to your area of expertise.
  • Focus your comment on building up the person who started the conversation.
  • Be polite and gracious.
  • Never use ALL CAPS.

Have you looked at our job opportunities lately? If not, take a look and if one or more look interesting, follow the instructions on the job posting and/or contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Is 50 the New 65?

Why There’s a Good Chance Your Career Could be Over in Your 50s

If you’re nearing 50, older than 50 or plan on being 50 someday, you need to read this: ProPublica.org published a story in late December – one backed up by rigorous research with the highly respected Urban Institute – that said 56 percent of people older than 50 are being “pushed out” of a “longtime” job “before they choose to retire.”

Torrance careers

It doesn’t matter what your salary is, what profession you’re in, if you have a college degree or not, whether it’s a recession or a boom: if you’re 50 and over, you stand a very good chance of leaving your job earlier than you’d like to. What’s more, according to the article, many of those this happens to often suffer “financial damage that is often irreversible.”

Yowza!

The study took a look at data from the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), considered to be a top source of information regarding aging in America. From 1992 to 2016, the HRS followed what the article calls a “nationally representative sample of about 20,000 people from the time they turn[ed] 50 through the rest of their lives.”

In other words, the study followed people 50 and over through boom, bust, boom, bust, and so on. Through the first tech/Internet boom and the most recent. Through the Great Recession and the current stock market rise and jobs boom and found that between the time someone “entered” the study and when he or she left paid employment, 56 percent “are laid off or leave a job under such financially damaging circumstances that it’s likely they were pushed out rather than choosing to go voluntarily.”

And what happened to them once they are out of work? “Only one in 10 of these workers ever again earns as much as they did,” the article states. “Even years afterward, the household incomes of over half of those who experience such work disruptions remain substantially below those of workers who don’t.”

We urge you to read the entire article. It’s a long one, but it goes into great detail about the different ways people are told/”encouraged” to leave and who is most liable to be let go. It’s an important eye opener.

Bottom line? Leaving work before you’re even eligible to take advantage of Social Security and Medicare – even being able to start drawing down your 401(k) without tax penalty – is a real possibility for anyone.

It’s obvious this definitely is a form of age discrimination/ageism. The right thing to do is to call your California and Congressional representatives and ask for stronger age discrimination and hiring protections.

Still, understand that leaving your job at mid-life before you’re ready appears to be something to anticipate, as sure as we anticipate that the sun will come up tomorrow and we we’re going to need to eat again a few hours after lunch.

In other words, be prepared to retire in your 50s, rather than your 60s.

Don’t think it can’t happen to you because it can. What will you do if it does? What will you live on? Do you have savings? What’s your debt load like? Will you be paying college tuition for children? Do you have a mortgage?

If you’re 45 and younger (especially if you’re in your 20s or 30s), knowing that this is a real possibility gives you plenty of time to prepare. If you’re close to 50 or already in your 50s, it’s probably wise to sit down with your family and figure out some possible contingency plans.

Being forewarned means you can become forearmed.

If you do find yourself laid off or “encouraged” to leave your employer in your 50s, don’t forget about Helpmates. We can help you keep income coming in while you look for another position. We also can help you find that next position. Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you.

Dealing with an Over-talkative Co-Worker

What’s by far the best thing about work? Engaging with colleagues! Several studies have found that the thing just about all of us like about work the most is the camaraderie and engagement going to work each day provides us as we interact with colleagues and customers.

In other words: we often enjoy work because of our co-workers.  Humans, in short, are people persons!

Fullerton Careers

Yet as much as you enjoy chatting with friends there usually is at least one colleague who just…takes the talking up a notch to where it becomes too much of a good thing. As in, you have a hard time getting work done because a certain work buddy is always stopping by with the latest work news, news of the world, personal news, and so on.

Take a look below to learn how to deal with an over-talkative co-worker professionally and kindly.

  • Remember, chatting is good.

Talking with colleagues helps you build professionally personal bonds. If you want to take  the relationship to a true personal level – that is, be friends beyond work – that’s up to both of you. It’s not necessary to become best buds but daily interaction in a friendly way is important – and makes going to work enjoyable.

  • Always be polite when you want to disengage – or not engage at all.

If a colleague comes up and starts talking without asking if you have the time, politely let him know you are on a deadline or are deep in the throes of something and could this wait until you have more time to give your friend your full attention? Say something like “I’d love to hear more, but I need to get XX done now.” NEVER fib, saying you need to prep for a conversation with your boss in 15 minutes without really having a confab with your boss in 15 minutes.

  • Wear headphones or ear buds when you really want to concentrate.

You don’t need to actually listen to anything, but wearing headphones has become something of a universal “do not disturb” sign in the workplace.

Important nice-guy/gal tip: don’t jam the headphones on as soon as you see Chatty Charlie headed your way. He’ll no doubt see it and his feelings will be hurt. Instead, make sure to put your headphones on every time you need to do concentrated work.

  • You’re wearing your headphones but the colleague interrupts you anyway.

If this happens, explain your need for concentration and ask if your colleague needs help with a work-related problem that can’t wait or if he has other truly work-related news. If he says yes, determine if it really is important. If it isn’t critical for RIGHT NOW, ask if you two could schedule a conversation for a bit later.

In other words, ascertain if it really is important to talk right then because sometimes it, well, is.

  • If your friend doesn’t get the “do not disturb” message for non-critical conversation, it’s time for “the talk.”

Gently explain how much you enjoy speaking with your friend, but that there are sometimes you need to concentrate. You value his friendship, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do, and that’s concentrate on something.

If your friend balks or is affronted, understand that your request is a legitimate one: work is for working after all. If your friend doesn’t understand that, it’s on him, not you and it pretty much shows a lack of maturity and/or self-centeredness one his part.

If he persists or if he starts teasing, cajoling, whining, or even bullying you somewhat over this – and especially if the friend still interrupts you without concern for your need to concentrate – it may be time to speak with your own supervisor about it or even HR.

Are you looking for new work friends with whom to share quips at the water cooler? Then take a look at some of our current job opportunities and if one or more appeal to you, follow the application directions or contact the Helpmates’ branch office nearest you.

How Much Social Media Use at Work is Too Much?

You know your employees visit their personal social media channels at work: they use either their company-supplied computer or their own mobile devices.

But from an HR or management standpoint, how much is too much? Should they look at it just on their break time? Only on their own devices?

Brea staffing agency

Now that it’s 2019 and we’re well into the world of social connectivity and media 24/7, chances are great your company and/or department already has guidelines and policies in place regarding social media usage. But there always are loopholes or guidelines/rules that just aren’t clear.

In general, if employee productivity isn’t being affected, there’s probably no need to curtail social media usage, so long as employees are following your company’s social media policy. (We’re assuming here that you have one.)

We understand that chances are good only one, two or just a few employees appear to be social obsessed, so in those cases it’s best to look at usage individually, again with an eye toward how tweeting, scrolling on Instagram and pinning on Pinterest affects – or doesn’t – each employee’s performance.

  • Generally, if it appears that social use is affecting someone’s work results and productivity, it needs to be addressed,  but not necessarily in “I see you’re on social media a lot and it’s affecting your work,” because chances are another employee is on social media just as much…but is still productive.

If that’s the case, the issue is productivity/quality of work for a particular employee and not his or her social media use, per se. Focus on the issue of productivity and ask the employee what he or she can do to be more productive/focus more.

  • If visitors to your office notice the social use, that’s something that you can – and should – address, because if you know they’ve noticed it, it’s because they mentioned it and if they’ve mentioned it chances are great that they don’t like what they are seeing.
  • Does it appear that the person is on social All. The. Time? And therefore you’re wondering how could he possibly be truly focused on work? Any manager/supervisor would wonder. This would be a time to pay more attention to not only the employee’s productivity but the quality of work he delivers.

If you do find that most of your team members seem to spend an inordinate amount of time on social media, one suggestion is to hold a meeting and mention that while productivity and work product appears to be fine, it also feels as if too many people are on social media too much.

Let your team members know that you are not judging and ask them to estimate how much time they spend on social in a day and add it up. Let’s say the amount is about three hours a day for each person. Subtracting 15 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon, the lunch period and work “lulls” that happen frequently during the day, ask them if “spending 90 minutes a day on social media when we’re not at lunch or on break is the best use of our time?”

Then, as a team, come up with solutions to lessening the amount of time spent on social media.

And, by the way, even if your team doesn’t feel that 90 minutes on social a day on the clock isn’t too much time, it’s fine – as the boss – to say it is.

When you need talented workers for a day or a year in Los Angeles and Orange counties, contact Helpmates. We can provide terrific folks for temporary, temp-to-hire and direct hire needs you have. Contact the Helpmates branch nearest you for more information.

When it’s Time to “Settle Down”: No More Job Hopping

Is this you? You’re 25 or 27 and have been in the workforce either since graduating high school or college and you’re on your fourth job. You stayed at your first job a year, your second and third jobs 18 months each (well, let’s quibble: 16 months for that third job) and now, well into your fourth you’re getting….restless.

Los Angeles Careers

Stop! Employers tend to be quite open to young people who move from job to job their first few years in the workforce. But around or even before the five-year mark, they start to think twice about hiring someone who sticks around for less than a couple of years at previous jobs, especially if someone has four or more jobs on the resume in those five years.

And the job-hopping stigma is particularly acute for college graduates or for those with certifications/licenses that put them on a more traditional career track. In fact, job hopping, if done strategically – and if the hopper has an in-demand skill – can be a way to accelerate a career trajectory and/or receive considerable salary increases with each jump.

But the operative words here are: in-demand skills and strategic. Most people tend to hop about haphazardly, and that kind of job-to-job movement can hurt you in the long run, especially if several employment stints in a row are less than nine months to a year in length.

Here’s how to stop incessant hopping as you approach your mid- to late-20s.

  • Your youth IS a time to explore.

There’s really no harm nor foul if you start your first “real job” after college or high school graduation and then leave in less than a year. Employers understand this: they know that young workers may not know exactly what they want out of their work life/career. They know that even if the young person was gung ho in the beginning, she may end up finding that the company or career just isn’t for her. So leaving your first job before a year is up is OK.

However, if you enjoy the work, if you like the company, and especially if you come to the realization that this career really is one you want to pursue, you could aim to stay there for two years or so. There’s no harm in sticking around in your first job, either.

  • Remember, no matter how much you love a company, an industry or your job, it will get boring. All jobs do.

Our point? Don’t leave a job merely because you get bored. Or the excitement dissipates. No job is fun all the time. Most jobs have a lot of repetition and same old, same old. This is reality. This is the way of work and careers.

You don’t need to stay if you’re miserable, of course, but it’s often the case that newly minted workers somehow, kinda sorta, subconsciously hoped the world of work would be exciting, fresh and new All. The. Time!!!

So if you leave your first job in eight months because it wasn’t as exciting or interesting as you’d hoped, and then you leave the next one after 14 months for the same reason, and a third job after a year for pretty much the same reason, pause a minute because it may not be the job. It may be your expectations.

If that’s the case, re-read the bullet point just above.

  • How to find “the one.”

Once you’re ready to “settle down” for more than two years after moving between 3-4 jobs by your mid- to late-20s, you want to find a position that you can stick around for more than two years, one in which you can grow and prosper.

You’ve no doubt found what you don’t like about certain aspects of an industry or career, so you know to steer clear of those. You also probably know what you do like, so you want to move toward those aspects.

So before accepting a new position, follow your gut…and your head. Research the company thoroughly online: check out its LinkedIn page, its social media channels, its news releases, etc. Read its website thoroughly. Google its name and see what information comes up. After the interview and before you accept a job offer, ask if you can talk to your possibly-soon-to-be-new colleagues to get a flavor for their personalities and how they enjoy working there.

In other words, because you plan on sticking around for a while, you should aim to find out as much about the company as possible so that you’ll know more about what you’re in for. This way, you will be able to “commit” to your next employer for an I-can’t-believe-you’re-asking-me-to-stay-here-for-more-than-two-looonnnnnng-years time period.

Working as a temporary associate with Helpmates allows you to explore many different industries, companies and even roles within those companies and industries, helping you discover which ones appeal to you for the long term. Take a look at our current opportunities and follow the application instructions on those you find interesting.

The Signs Are There. Do You See Them? A Layoff Is Coming.

Did you not see it coming? Were you gobsmacked when your boss called you in to her office one Friday afternoon to let you know you were being pink-slipped? Did you walk out of the building in a daze as you held a small box with your personal items? Did your spouse or parents open their mouths wide in shock when you told them you’d been axed and say the words you’d been saying to yourself all afternoon: “How could this have happened!? What a surprise!!”

Cypress jobs

What a surprise indeed.

NOT!

Very few layoffs happen in a vacuum. Truly: very few. There almost always are signs, indications of a pending reduction in force (known in the biz as a RIF) at your employer. Here are a few of them, below.

Signs, signs, everywhere a sign.

Businesses lay off employees for many different reasons. Among them are financial issues, mergers/acquisitions, loss of market share, weak earnings for more than one quarter, simple cost-cutting measures, etc.

The easy-to-see signs in such cases (corporate issues) include:

  • Your employer puts a freeze on spending. Not a freeze on hiring – not yet – but projects that a month ago were on the docket are postponed, capital improvements are delayed, etc. Business travel is curtailed and/or you’re asked to travel coach rather than business class.
  • Perks start disappearing. No more Free Lunch Fridays. Business trips have you staying overnight at The Sleep Inn, not the Hilton.
  • If there’s a big financial crisis – a merger/acquisition, stock sell-off, or your company’s latest and biggest product falls absolutely flat – start firing up your idling professional network and revamp that resume. And pronto!

You could call these signs of impending continued-employment doom “macro” signs because they tend to be of a company-wide sort. There also are signs of a “micro” ilk: they are smaller and are more subtle in their clue-giving.

  • Your boss is often too busy to meet with you. For several weeks.
  • You’re not receiving the plum assignments anymore. In fact, your workload may even lighten.
  • You’re not asked to attend key meetings anymore.
  • You’re moved to an entirely new position. One you didn’t ask for. You don’t receive a pay cut, but there’s no raise either. Extra “goodbye to you” points if the position is lower on the org chart.
  • You’re put on probation for performance issues.
  • You’re asked to take a pay cut. This could be a company- or department-wide request, if it’s more of a macro-issue for the entire department/company. Regardless, if this happens to you it’s time to start looking for a new employer…yesterday.

It’s the Economy, Bucko

Recessions, come and go, come and go, come and go. It’s the absolute way of things. Just because it’s a definite candidate market today doesn’t mean a recession doesn’t arrive in year or two. Because recessions are inevitable. And with them come layoffs: many employers lay off many hard-working, talented people. Since a recession is coming (someday, and possibly soon), we wrote recently on how to help yourself become recession-proof.

Regardless of the reason, if you’ve been let go recently, contact the recruiters at Helpmates, as we can help your find a new job and/or help you keep money coming in while you look. We look forward to hearing from you.

Getting Your Job-Search Mojo Back

Looking for work is hard and it certainly isn’t a night out on the town with your friends. It’s hard and a slog whether you’re looking while employed or whether you’re unemployed, making it quite easy to lose your “passion” for the endeavor.

Fullerton Jobs

But persist you must, especially if you’re currently out of work. Here’s how to get that job-hunt mojo back!

  • Talk yourself up to others and…to yourself!

If you want to hear no all the time, look for work, right? So many “no thank you’s” pile up. And pile up. Again and again and again. It’s no wonder you start doubting yourself. And if you’re looking for work because you’ve been laid off or even fired, the negative talk to yourself can build exponentially with each negative response.

Here’s the good and bad news: we are what we believe we are. As in, how we talk to ourselves truly matters. Talk trash about yourself, you’ll feel like trash. Instead, take inventory of your better qualities (and no matter who you are, you have great qualities) and make sure you communicate these to people with whom you network and in resumes/covers letters and during job interviews.

  • Show employers how these qualities – as well as your skills and experience – benefit them.

Sure, you may be great at “reading people,” but that doesn’t say anything about how that helps an employer. For example, does “reading people” mean you’ve discovered you’re great at sales? If so, give concrete examples of how you’ve overcome some pretty solid objections and landed a big sale.

Remember: whenever you’re looking for work you need to understand and be able to articulate how your qualities and skills solve an employer’s problems.

  • To-do lists and set schedules are your friends.

The more you look for work, the faster you’ll find employment. After all, the more people with whom you connect and then ask them others with whom you might want to talk, the more informational interviews you’ll receive. The more informational interviews you receive, the more real job interviews you’ll land. The more interviews you go on, the more job offers you’ll receive. And then – oh, then! – you well may find that you have the “problem” of choosing between two or even three great job offers.

But you don’t connect with people by merely scrolling the job boards. Even applying for jobs on job boards won’t do you much good: 85 percent or more of all jobs are found via networking. And unless you have daily job-search goals/to-do list, and unless you actually adhere to your to-do list, your job search won’t move nearly as fast as it could.

So keep the positive talk going,  set a work schedule for your “job” of looking for work, and make sure you connect with real people in real life (or at least via email and phone) and you’ll start seeing results.

Make sure you bring your skills, education and positive self-talk to Helpmates by contacting the branch office nearest you and setting up an interview with one of our recruiters. And/or: take a look at our current job openings. If one or more look interesting, follow the description’s application instructions.

Getting More Commitment from Temporary Staff

Temporary workers on assignment at your company…leave. After all, it’s right in their description: they are “temporary.” So why should they even expect any type of commitment from you? And why should you expect any commitment from  them?

Torrance staffing

Excellent questions! But here are better ones: why shouldn’t you provide them more commitment (albeit temporarily). Why shouldn’t they be more committed to you?

Sometimes referred to as “external workers,” many HR professionals believe it’s critical to “align” external workers to a business’ goals. In addition, according to a recent survey by the Society of Human Resourcees Professionals (SHRM) and SAP SuccessFactors, even more HR pros think that engaging temporary workers would have a terrific and positive effect on their organizations.

They are, of course, right.

That said, here are some strategies and attitudes your company can try to get more commitment from your temporary workforce (without entering the bugaboo of co-employment).

  • Offer training.

Yes, they’ll leave with the new skills or education without “paying” for it and you will lose the benefit of their new abilities going forward, but providing such a great perk can make you an employer of choice in your region’s temporary marketplace. Word does get around, after all, and you soon enough could see temporaries eager to take on assignments at your company, rather than your competitors’.

After all, in a Los Angeles/Orange County region where temporary workers are willing to drive long distances in order to receive a higher minimum wage, becoming the company that helps them learn new skills could come to be a game changer for you when it comes to attracting top temporary talent.

  • Respect – really respect – temporary workers’ contributions.

Your company says it wants an engaged workforce, but are you walking your talk? If you consider external workers as “just temps,” you’re effectively saying they are second-class in your eyes.

And don’t think your temporary team members don’t notice: they definitely see when they’re excluded from the pizza party, when they don’t get the free movie passes after their department exceeds goals for the month, and so on. They may “say” they understand. But, really? Really!!?

  • From a “self interest” standpoint: many temporary workers work with the public….

…don’t you want them to come across as proud of their place of employment, invested in providing terrific customer service, etc.? Do you really want to run the risk of one of your external staff having no problem saying “I’m a temp and I can’t help you with this”?

How much better would it be your temporary team members were equally as invested in the customer experience as your regular employees? And how difficult would it be – truly – to help them become as invested in your success?

Are you going to have to be careful regarding co-employment issues? Of course! But that’s where Helpmates comes in: we will work with you and our temporary staff members to keep them invested in your company while helping you avoid less-than-obvious co-employment complications. Contact the Helpmates’ location nearest you for more information.

If You Don’t Know Where You Want to Go in Your Career, How Can You Get There?

If you don’t know where you want to go, going anywhere will do, right?

But do you really want to “go anywhere” when it comes to something as important as your career?

La Mirada Careers

We know of a truly and genuinely nice man, nearing retirement, who has worked in the cut-throat, exceedingly stressful financial services industry most of his working life. He has made an extremely good living for his family and his wife is quite grateful that his career has made it easy for her to be a stay-at-home mom. But he hasn’t been exactly…..happy in his career.

How did he get into this miserable-yet-lucrative career? He says he pretty much fell into it. He’d wanted to be a journalist in college but he graduated in the midst of the 1980 recession and journalism jobs were hard to find and didn’t pay well, so he took a gig in a bank. And then another position in a financial services firm. Then he got his MBA. Then he got married. Then he started making some serious money. Then they had children and the couple decided she would stay home. More money. More expenses (his children are lucky – and know it – because he and his wife paid for their children’s private-college tuition). And so on. And here he is today, literally counting the days until his retirement.

“If only I’d thought beyond taking that second job because it ‘paid more,’” he says.

Don’t let that happen to you.

No matter where you are in your career – graduating college or high school this spring, a year or two on this side of graduation, five years out, in mid-career, and so on – thinking about where you want to go helps you actually get there.

Yet, unlike the man described above, having a vague “I want to go into this and that” won’t get you far. After all, what if it’s not easy to find jobs in the field you’ve chosen (journalism jobs aren’t exactly plentiful today, either)? What if you meet up with roadblocks? What if you need to postpone the career for a bit and take another job until you find one you want? What if you find you don’t like where you’re headed?

What’s your Plan B? And Plan C? And so on.

But don’t worry, it’s not that you need to map it out completely.

After all, most of us have no idea what will make us happy in the future: we have an “idea,” but we don’t test it out. We think we’ll enjoy being an actress but – oops! – we never thought beyond actually being in a play or movie and forgot how awful it is to actually audition again and again and again and hear no so many times our head explodes from the rejection.

So while you don’t need a step-by-step plan, be careful. Take time to sit with yourself and be brutally honest. You want to help troubled children, but you also love to travel to Europe. Perhaps working as social worker – with its low salary – isn’t for you.

Conversely, let’s say you know exactly what type of career you want and you’ve thought it over carefully, talked to people who work in it, perhaps interned or volunteered within and it feels just right.

Now ask yourself, where do want to be within it in five years? Will you need more education or skills training? Do you want to go into a leadership or management role? How do you know if you’ll be a good fit? What will you do to find out?

And so on.

In other words, don’t wing it: have a plan, yet keep it flexible. Do so, and you have a greater chance of finding work that suits you as well as a career that unfolds as you want it to.

If you’re not quite sure if a field of work is the one for you, experiment with it via temporary assignments with Helpmates. Contact the branch office nearest you and let us know what you’re looking for. If we can help you “try a career” or job, we’ll be happy to do so.

 

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