A Recession (Probably) is Coming: How to Become Recession-Proof

The sun comes up; it sets. You eat a meal because you’re hungry and you become hungry again in a few hours. You slept yesterday, you’ll sleep again tonight. It’s the way of things.

So are economic recessions. The economy always rises and falls, rises and falls. Always.

Economic recessions occurred in the U.S. most recently in:

Huntington Beach jobs

  • December 2007- June 2009 (also known as the Great Recession)
  • March 2001- November 2001
  • July 1990 – March 1991
  • July 1981- November 1982
  • January 1980 –July 1980
  • November 1973 – March 1975
  • December 1969 – November 1970
  • (There have been several more since the Panic of 1785; the U.S. has weathered almost 250 years of economic recessions.)

Notice a pattern on the list above? Recessions tend to come around about eight years after the previous one ends. The Great Recession ended in June 2009, almost 10 years ago. Many economists believe we are quite overdue for the next one and just as you always will fall back down to earth if you leap up, another recession is coming, possibly as early as later this year (but more than likely some time in 2020).

Many of you may never have experienced a recession in your career (you graduated high school or college in 2010, for example). If so, you may think that this hot candidate’s market will last forever. It won’t: recessions mean that employers cut back on hiring and lay people off. People out of work don’t have discretionary income so businesses lose sales and….lay people off. More and more people are out looking for work. Competition for jobs heats up. Instead of there being more job openings than job seekers as it is now (with 0.9 people available for every opening), things will reverse and you may find yourself competing against dozens of other people who, just like you, need a job.

Do NOT Think it Won’t Happen to You!

Sure, it may not happen to you. But, truly, it could: no one is irreplaceable. And, if you’re one of these types of workers, chances are better that you will be among the first to go if you’re employer needs to save some money.

So how can you make yourself recession proof? Read below.

  1. Remember: It CAN happen to you!!

We really can’t emphasize this enough.

  1. Be indispensable (as much as possible).

While no one truly is indispensable, if you have a reputation of being the go-to guy or gal and the person who gets things done, it’s going to be much easier to lay off your slacker coworkers than it will be to let you – you dynamo, you – go.

In a similar vein, the more of a utility player you are, the better. If you can do many things (for example, in marketing you write copy, perform market research, you LOVE data, etc.), the more tasks you’ll be able to do when your department has fewer people. The more you can be a Swiss Army knife of skills and abilities, the more your manager will see you as “Hmm, I can let Josh and Emma go, and then Tyrone can take up the slack,” the better chance you have of surviving.

  1. Start networking. Now!

Relationships count in a recession. You should start cultivating strong relationships with good people throughout your organization. You also should – if possible – strengthen your relationships with any clients your business serves (“We can’t let Charlotte go; the XYX account LOVES her!”)

Also start reaching out to peers within your industry and forge relationships. Be of help. Offer your expertise. Remember: LinkedIn is your new BFF.

  1. Keep your skills up to date.

Never become complacent. Always be learning, especially when it comes to technological tools. Doesn’t matter if you’re 50, 35 or 25, if you don’t know something, be amenable to feeling awkward and stupid while you learn it. Regardless: do it!!

To paraphrase Game of Thrones: Recession is coming. Prepare yourself.

Another way to get ready is to start cultivating relationships with recruiters, including staffing recruiters. As one recruiting professional told a laid-off worker during a recession years ago “The best time to reach out to me was before you needed me.” Harsh? Yes. But true.

Send in your resume/cover letter. Be nice when a recruiter contacts you about an opportunity. Follow him/her on LinkedIn and offer value when you comment on a post. Go ahead and ask for advice (don’t expect a really detailed answer and say thank you when it’s given). Have you ever ghosted? Those days are over!

For more information on how we can help you now and in the future, contact the Helpmates branch nearest 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.

Having Difficult Conversations….with Your Boss

It’s natural – so work hierarchy goes – for a supervisor to call in a subordinate and have that conversation:

  • You’re performance has been lacking lately.
  • You come in to work late too often.
  • You’ve missed two project deadlines in the last month.
  • And so on.

Cypress jobs

But sometimes it’s the subordinate who needs to bring up a difficult topic with the boss:

  • I’ve noticed you didn’t assign me to the new project.
  • You provided me only a “meets expectations” rating on my annual review and I disagree with your assessment.
  • You refused to let me take Friday off when I worked the last three Saturdays in a row.
  • And so on.

Notice all the topics mentioned above have to do with the employee’s performance. Many people may be wary of bringing up such things to a manager: “If the manager had an issue with me, surely she would bring it up? No news is good news, right?”

No.

Being proactive in all things that have to do with your performance always is best when it comes to succeeding on the job and in your career. Speaking up in a professional, respectful manner puts you on a more even footing with a supervisor and helps the esteem a manager feels for you rise.

In addition, mentioning something that troubles you about your manager’s interactions with you allows you to find out if your boss does have an issue, or – and far more likely – discover that the “new” way of interacting with you is a fluke: the boss was distracted,  worried, stressed, etc.

Still, bringing it up is a very good thing. You may not want to do so at the first instance of a change in your manager’s interactions with you, but if it continues, gird yourself and ask.

Here’s how to have this conversation.

  1. Ask for permission to meet. When your boss appears calm and open, ask to meet to discuss. You should be somewhat specific, but don’t go into detail: “I’d like to discuss my review.” “I’d like to ask you something I’ve been wondering about.” And so on. You also can request a meeting in an email. Regardless of which method you choose, make it a brief request.
  2. Be clear. Don’t go into detail. Don’t whine: “I gave up three Saturdays to work here because I knew how important this project is for you. You mentioned a couple of weeks ago I could take a Friday off. Yet when I asked Wednesday, you said no. May I ask why?”
  3. Ask for your manager’s perspective. “I don’t remember any negative aspects of my review. Perhaps I missed something?” Or “Did something come up of which I’m not aware?”
  4. Listen closely and ask questions. If you’re confused about something, ask for clarification Remember, don’t whine/complain. Don’t make excuses. Explain your thinking in more detail but don’t become defensive.
  5. The goal isn’t for you to “win” and your manager to “lose.” Instead, your goal should be to arrive at a resolution about which both of you will be satisfied. For example, perhaps your boss gave you only a “meets expectations” rating because she believes your work has been better in the past and she noticed a decline. The two of you could work out an agreement that if your performance rises back to its previous level by a certain date, she will change her assessment to “exceeds expectations.”

Yes, chances are good you’re going to feel uncomfortable asking for a meeting/during the meeting.  But careers are made and broken on one’s ability – or lack of – to have difficult discussions. Look at this as an opportunity to exercise your ability to deal with discomfort.

When looking for a new job or career, check out the opportunities here at Helpmates. For more information on how we can help you find work, contact the branch office nearest you.

Striking a Friendly Balance at Work

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

Garden Grove recruiters

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

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

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

  • Choose your friends wisely.

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

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

  • Be careful what you say about others.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buena Park Job Interview

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

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

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

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

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

Men

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

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

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

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

Women

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When You Chose the Wrong Career

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

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

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

Brea Careers

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

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

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

But if:

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

Then it may be time to change careers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Making the Gig Economy Work for You

The Great Recession definitely “did a number” on many individuals’ careers. Mid- or late-career professionals were downsized and unable to find a similar position at a similar income. New college grads struggled mightly to even find their first post-college position. Many men were let go and unable to find work due to a lack of positions in “traditionally” male occupations such as construction, transportation, etc.

Southern California jobs

If you’ve struggled to find employment in the years since then, you may have found that you prefer to work as a free-lancer, subcontractor or even temporary associate due to the independence and flexibility such positions offer.

Yet the “gig economy” is attractive to many people today, not just those who fought to find regular work with an employer, because the siren call of freedom is hard to resist for many who have the skills to make it in this new, flexible economy:

“No one can ever fire me again!” is their mantra!

Additional reasons why more and more people are embracing a non-traditional work style (from Forbes.com):

  • Only 14 percent of companies offer pension plans to their employees (down from 60 percent in 1982), so what’s the point of working for an employer (some people may figure)?
  • LinkedIn reports that the average length of unemployment is almost six months (25 weeks). Many people may have decided not to look for work anymore and instead started a freelance enterprise.
  • Developments in technology make it easier than ever for people to start up new ventures and/or freelance from home.
  • Artificial intelligence probably will uproot the workplace in ways as yet unimagined, forcing/pushing more and more people to go solo. The Forbes article predicts that 47 percent of jobs are “at risk in the next 20 years,” with those who work in transportation, office and administration, logistics, and production probably at the most risk of employment upheaval

If you’d like to become a member of the gig economy, take a look below for some steps you may want to take in order to do so:

  • Ascertain your skills.

Many freelancers develop websites, work as business writers, write code, provide bookkeeping services, work as virtual assistants, consult for businesses, etc. What skills do you have that you could sell to others? Start researching how much money you may be able to make as a freelancer.

  • Save money! Lots of money.

It’s going to take time to start making money, so you’ll need some sort of income/cushion to tide yourself over as you start marketing your services. If you have a working spouse, congratulations! If you have debt, pay it down while you save.

The less outgo you need to worry about and the more savings you have as you start your new gig-economy career, the better. If at all possible, have at least three to six months’ savings handy and no debt.

  • Build a website and a social media presence.

Don’t spend too much time on your website in the beginning; it needn’t be fancy at all. Create social media channels and start posting/curating information of benefit to your target market.

  • Start trying different marketing tactics.

Whether you want to network at business functions in your local area, email or cold-call prospects, approach them on LinkedIn (or a strategy that uses all three), you’re going to have to start putting yourself out there.

If you consider yourself a shy person, work hard to take yourself out of your comfort zone: many introverts think they can simply email/reach out on social media to get clients. Of course you can, but it will take you far longer to land clients that way than if you were to pick up the phone and call and/or attend many networking events. At least in the beginning.

Instead, if you hustle up some courage and actually ask people for work, you’ll grow as an individual and grow your business much more quickly than you will hiding behind a computer.

  • Treat your freelancing as a business.

Sure, you can take an afternoon off to see the latest blockbuster, but if you do so and miss deadlines, you’ll have seen the movie but missed out on income. You can do both (see the movie when you want and get paid), but understand you may have to work on the weekends/late into the night in order to meet deadlines.

Remember: most clients want a reliable freelancer, not the best freelancer. Good enough is more than good enough if your clients know they can count on you to meet deadlines.

If you’ve decided to become a part of the gig economy and need some income to help you along as you build your business, consider working temporary assignments with Helpmates. You can work one-day assignments here and there, or work at a client for several weeks, which will help you keep your coffers full. Contact the Helpmates branch office nearest you today.

All I Want for Christmas is a Great 2018

Chances are good that you want your career/job situation to be the greatest it can be. With Christmas and the season of giving gifts upon us, it’s understandable if you’re hoping that this coming year will give you all you hope for and desire.

better career in 2018

And it can, so long as you realize you are the one who will deliver that gift. In other words, effort and some sacrifice on your part are what will help you obtain the career goals you dream of.

Happily, you really need only two things to make your job situation/career great this coming year.

So write a “Dear Santa” letter to yourself and ask yourself for these things:

  1. I will give myself the gift of additional training/education.

No one wanting to build a career – or stay employed – should think he or she can sit around and do the same old, same old every year and not feel the consequences at some point.

Additional training/education/certification always is going to be critical to success in the job market of tomorrow. Technology is changing such that artificial intelligence more than likely will (disrupt the employment prospects of millions now-employees in the next few years.

(Just some of the careers/jobs that could be affected: dermatologists, lawyers, sports journalists, financial reporters, retail clerks, border patrol agents, middle managers, pharmacy technicians, program software, and  more.)

Bottom line? The next time your boss asks if you want to go to a seminar on such and such, say yes (and then ask if you also can get certified in it).

  1. I will give myself the present of learning how to be a better “political” animal in the workplace.

Office politics exists. The most successful among us learn how to make their way through it with grace and skill because those who rise to the top are able to:

  • Be friendly – but not too much so – with everyone.
  • Stand up to bullies without becoming a bully themselves.
  • Take bad news stoically.
  • Give bad news with kindness yet firmness.
  • Know when to take a stand and know when to stand back.

Some people appear to easily navigate the politics of the workplace. Others struggle. But all of us can learn how to improve our own skills dealing with it.

Success truly comes easier if you can promote yourself and your “causes” fairly with your boss, clients and co-workers. Learning the “art” of office politics can be a terrific gift you give yourself this coming year.

Would another great Christmas gift to yourself be a new job? If you’re looking for work in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, take a look at Helpmates’ current job openings.

Looking for Work During the Holidays: Why it Works

It’s the holidays! Time for great food; enjoying the red, green, yellow, blue, and white lights; listening to noels as well as goofy old-fashioned holiday songs (which still make you a tad weepy in a good way because they remind you of your grandmother); watching children’s faces light up with delight at special holiday decorations; getting together with friends and loved ones; shopping for gifts for those you love (and even those you’re not that keen on).

So who could possibly have time for job hunting?

holiday job search los angeles

You do!

At the least, you should make the time for job hunting because as busy as you are getting ready for the holidays, as much as you may not want to look for work (it’s not nearly as much fun anticipating the hunt for a job as it is the hunt for the perfect gift), looking for work during the holidays is a terrific idea because (drum roll): employers still have holes in their employee rosters! What’s more, here in December 2017, it’s still a candidate’s market and employers pretty much are desperate to find good people.

Yes, employers may distracted by the holidays as you are and hiring decisions may be put on hold later in the month as many people take vacation and some businesses close for a few days. But if you keep your full-court press on your SoCal job search at this time you’ll keep that momentum going in your search (a job hunt thrives on momentum).

Take a look below for X reasons why looking for work during the holidays…..works!

  1. Not everyone can stay focused on the job search, so you’ll have less competition.

We understand all too well how distracting the month of December can be. And not everyone can compartmentalize their different priorities – certainly not as well as you can! And because you can focus on the search, you can snag an interview from someone who’s distracted by holiday events and to-do lists.

Yes, you may find that hiring managers are a bit slower to get back to you. You also may find that when you are hired your new manager may say you won’t be starting until after the New Year. (But that’s OK, because instead of being “unemployed,” you’ll be “on vacation” and you can truly enjoy the holidays!)

  1. Can you say “Networking opportunities galore!”?

Take advantage of the many holiday gatherings and parties held at this time of year to – discreetly – connect with people who could possibly help you in your search. Not sure how to network at holiday gatherings? This article has several good tips.

  1. Many companies have “use it or lose it” budget policies.

Many department/hiring managers are given department funding that requires them to use all of the funds budgeted to them each year or else the money not used won’t show up in their budgets next year. (“After all,” their manager may reason, “they didn’t use it this year, so they don’t need it next year.”)

So hiring managers may be eager to fill an open position before the year ends and you may find yourself being called in for interviews and getting an offer faster than you might have anticipated.

  1. Many holiday positions can turn into permanent work.

Seasonal jobs often do turn into full-time work even after the holiday season ends. Savvy department managers know they would be foolish to let great workers go and so you well could be pleasantly surprised to be offered the chance to continue working after January 1.

So there’s one more reason to look into seasonal/holiday work if your “real” job hasn’t yet panned out.

  1. Temporary assignments also often become full-time opportunities.

Working with a staffing service such as Helpmates during the holiday season – or any time of the year – can help you bring in some cash while you look for work.

Yet many of our associates take on a temporary assignment and later are hired by our client company as their own employee. This happens regularly throughout the year and during the holidays.

So if you’re looking for your next opportunity, take a look at our current openings and, if one or more look interesting, follow the directions for applying.

Happy Holidays!

4 Reasons Why You’re Unhappy at Work

It’s unfortunate but it happens to all of us at least once in our working lives: we really dislike our job. As in, we really, really, REALLY dislike it! Hate is not a too-forceful description of how we feel about our job.

In fact, if at least one of the following four scenarios apply to you, chances are good you may be seriously thinking of breaking up with your job.

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  1. The commute is too long.

How long is too long? Studies show that anyone with a 30-minute or longer commute one way is pretty much miserable. Not only can such long commutes wreak havoc on your health, it also messes with your family life: taking a job that means you give up seeing your friends/family on a regular basis means you’d need to earn “$133,000 just to make up for the lack of happiness.” (Note that the linked post was written in 2004; how much more income would it take to make up for your long-commute misery today?)

Of course, in this scenario, it’s not your job you hate (necessarily), it’s the commute. Still, it’s time to find work with a shorter commute.

  1. Your co-workers/boss are idiots.

Granted, they probably aren’t idiots, but you’ve come to see them that way. They also probably didn’t “start out” as idiots either, but as nice people who, as time has gone on, moved from “nice new co-worker who invited me to lunch on my first day” to “annoying woman who always wants to eat with me and looks so hurt when I turn her down because she talks about her kids SO much.”

And your boss is a jerk.

Seriously. If you and your boss don’t get along (and we’re being nice when we call the boss the jerk; it could be you, after all), life is too short to be miserable. It’s time to move on (and look at why you and your boss don’t get along and try to figure out how to do better with the next boss).

  1. No one notices your good work and you’re not rewarded for it.

If you’re working hard, if you’re solving the problems you were hired to solve and you’re doing so well you should be recognized for it and rewarded. Yes. Definitely. Smart companies know this. If your company isn’t acknowledging and rewarding you, it’s not smart. You’re smart; move on.

  1. You’re not able to use your talent to the best of your ability/no chance for upward mobility/career development.

It’s something of a no-duh finding, but IBM recently found that 81 percent of workers are happier on the job when the work they do makes effective use of their abilities and skills. The reverse also applies: if you feel your job is a dead end, offering you no way to use your talent or grow in the position (opportunity for advancement), you tend to be….unhappy.

If the idea of going to work makes you cringe each and every morning, it may be time to make a change. Helpmates can help: take a look at our current temporary, temp-to-hire and direct-hire opportunities and, if something piques your interest, follow the instructions on the job description and apply and/or visit one of our locations.

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