Monthly Archive for January, 2011

How To Reduce Your Chance Of Catching The Bug

Germs are on the warpath, attacking in full force in your workplace. Hacking coughs and running noses are the order of the day. Aches and pains abound. Absenteeism is high.

And you are not immune.

Here are six steps you can take to reduce your chances of catching the rampaging bug:

• Get a flu shot.

• Wash your hands five to six times a day. That’ll reduce your chances of getting sick by 50 percent, says Dr. Chris, chief medical officer for Precept, a provider of health management benefits. Waterless hand sanitizers and antibacterial wipes are good. But don’t use them in excess because they can reduce good bacteria.

• Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t be reluctant to ask others to do the same.

• Wipe off telephones and keyboards, probably with a sanitizer, before and after use.

• Avoid hot, crowded places.

• Don’t wait until you are sick to begin these practices. If you are coming down with a cold you may start spreading the virus before you have any symptoms.

• Don’t be a martyr. If you are sick, coughing and running a fever, stay at home. You are doing your fellow employees and your employer a disservice if you come to work spewing out germs.

I wish you great success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Ten Steps To Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

What’s happening with your New Year’s resolutions?

If you are like most of us, you have fallen behind in working to achieve the goals you so resolutely set for yourself in 2011.

The good news is that it’s not too late to on track.

“Good resolutions are a pleasant crop to sow,” a wise man has declared. “The seeds spring up so readily, and the blossoms open so soon with such a brave show. But when the time for flowers has passed, what as to the fruit?”

It’s also been said, “He that resolves upon any great and good end has, by that very resolution, scaled the chief barrier to it. He will find such resolution…like the star to the wise men of old, ever guiding him nearer and nearer to perfection.”

Today Is The Day To Start

There are 10 actions you can take to turn your resolutions into achievements by the end of 2011.

1. Take a hard look of what happened to the resolutions you made for 2010. Did you achieve your goals? Did you learn from your accomplishments and shortfall?

2. Make certain your goals are realistic and attainable.  They should be a real stretch, but reachable with your best efforts.  It’s fine, for example, to resolve to win a big promotion, but it’s not realistic to expect to make it all the way to the top in one leap.

3. Create a plan and work it. Quantify each goal. Make sure each resolution includes actions to be taken with deadlines, as well as practical ways to measure progress at least once each month.

4. Put unrelenting pressure on yourself to make progress toward your goals every day. Accept no excuses for failing to meet deadlines.

5. Treat your resolutions as binding contracts. Put the contracts in writing. Post the document in a prominent place so you will see it every day. (The bathroom mirror is a good place.) Put pressure on yourself by sharing your resolves with other persons you respect.

6. Take credit for progress. Celebrate your accomplishments.

7. Don’t be discouraged by the sheer size of the challenges. Think of each of them as a series of small, manageable tasks to be accomplished one by one.

8.  Have a low tolerance for diversions. Permit them only if they are advancements toward achievements that are more important than the original goals.

9. Start now, this day.  Don’t let the time slip by until it’s too late and another year has gone by – lost forever – without measurable progress toward your goals.

Take seriously this advice from Marie Edgeworth: “There is no moment like the present.  The man who will not execute his resolutions when they are fresh upon him can have no hope from them afterwards; they will be dissipated, lost and perish in the hurry and scurry of the world, or sunk in the sloth of indolence.”

10. Remember. Nothing provides greater rewards in terms of material benefits and peace of mind than having career goals and feeling at the end of each day that you have made your best efforts, according to a plan, to reach them.

I wish you great success.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: How To Succeed In The New World Of Work

You’ve got your head buried in the sand if you are not preparing now to survive and prosper in the new world of work that is evolving day to day.

There are three main points:

1. The work environment will be different from anything we have known in the past.

2. As for the job market, there is a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel—conditions are improving marginally–but many experts think it will be at least 2015, or even longer, before we get out of the deep hole we are in.

However, as reported by the New York Times, the current rate of employment “is not enough to absorb people entering the work force for the first time in the United States, much less to shrink the unemployment rolls.”

3. There will be changes of tsunamic proportions due to two megatrends: globalization of production and marketing and the emergence of new technology. Combined, these forces are making it possible for companies to lower costs by reducing headcount and by improving efficiencies. Bottom line: record revenues and profits. This, of course, reduces the incentives to rehire.

All of this raises critical questions about the job market in the coming years.

Will the skills of those who lost their jobs in the recession be in demand in this new environment? What will those who have been able to hold on to their jobs have to do to stay on the payroll and to move their careers forward? Will there be opportunities for men and women seeking to enter job market for the first time?

What is one to do in order to survive and prosper in this new world?

I. First, let’s consider those who are unemployed.

The hard fact is that the longer one is out of work, the more difficult it is find a job. People who have been unemployed for less than five weeks are more than three times as likely to land a job within a month than those who have been idle for longer than one year. This is primarily due to a combination of growing discouragement and debilitation of skills. There is also the stigma attached to unemployment. These are negative influences against those trying to reenter the workforce.

Jobless benefits paid by the government occupy a critical point in any discussion of unemployment and returning to work. These benefits are a two-edged sword. They put food on the table, but they can be a dangerous opiate.

With subsistence covered, it is tempting to turned down offers for temporary work or for jobs that pay less than previously earned.

There is also the fact that some will take the benefits, figuring they can land a job when they run out.

Another group is composed of people who have become so discouraged with their search for a job that they have dropped out of the competition.

All of this means that those who are unemployed should get back on someone’s payroll as soon as possible, even it means taking a cut in pay on a temporary job. This period should be seen as an opportunity make set goals for a new job and a new life. This exercise should include a plan of action for acquiring new skills required in the future.

II. Now, for a look at those who are employed, but face an uncertain future because the skills their employers require and the number of people needed are changing or they are working in a dying industry.

Some employers in this category have reduced their workforce during the recession/depression and do not plan to rehire when there is an improvement in the economy. With lay-off induced by the recession, they may have found they can get as much or more done with fewer people. Others may reduce their workforce by replacing people with technology which demands new knowledge and skills.

Career Advice For The Unemployed

It is easier to get a job if you have a job. This adage means it is desirable to get off unemployment benefits as quickly as possible, even if it entails taking a temporary job or accepting work that pays less than you formally earned.

This period of unemployment or underemployment is a good time to look to the future. Do you want to return to your former job and/or industry? What changes do you need to make in your set of skills? Where and how will you get the training you need for the new job market that will exist in the future?

Whatever the situation it is not wise to sit back and wait for a job or hold out for something comparable to what once was. Set goals. Determine what it takes to reach them. Get going on a plan of action.

Career Advice For Those With Jobs

Regardless of your present situation, changes are inevitable. It’s time to heed the advice of Charles Darwin who said: “Survival goes not necessarily to the most intelligent or the strongest of the species, but to the one that is the most adaptable to change.”

It’s time to assess your situation. Are you prepared to prosper in the future that is racing toward you?

What is the state of health of your employer’s business and the industry in which you work?

Are you employed in a dying industry? Look for these signs: competitors are acquiring each other; innovation is declining; extreme cost cutting is in place; head count is reduced; and investments are not being made to replace and upgrade equipment.

If these conditions exist, it may be time to leave before the stampede begins. Look for a position in a growth industry.

Ask yourself: am I prepared to succeed in the new world of work with my present employer or in a new job with a new employer? If not, do you have a plan to make a successful move to a new environment?

Are you learning new skills and making contacts with mentors and associates who can help you advance your career path?

Are you adding value to your employer’s benefit from his investment in you? Are you accomplishing more with less? Are you exceeding your employer’s expectation?

It’s worth repeating: Whatever your situation is now, it is wise to accept the fact that the world is changing with lightning–like speed.  Don’t be trapped in the present environment. Set goals. Determine what it takes to reach them. Get going on a plan of action. Otherwise, odds are you will be trapped in a losing position.

Consider this observation expressed in the recent book, The Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs”

“…maybe the Great Recession has acted as a wake-up call, reminding people that they need to take control over their lives instead of leaving their futures in the control of others who may not have their best interests in mind.”

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work

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I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach, Common Sense At Work