08 Jul

Having the Talk: Approaching Your Boss About Work-Life Balance

Blog No Comments by Travis Jones

Having the Talk: Approaching Your Boss About Work-Life BalanceAre you feeling overworked? Is the concept of “work-life balance” far fetched? You’re not alone. Working longer hours is becoming more and more common. Overwork can have negative effects on your health, happiness and productivity.  This month we’ll focus on how to tell if you’re overworked and what you can do to change your situation and become a happier, healthier employee!

The thought of approaching your boss with any request, let alone asking to work less, can bring a rush of anxiety and dread. Like any appeal to your superior, you want to be strategic and purposeful, but especially with an issue as sensitive as work-life balance. If you are feeling stressed, overworked, and stretched to your limit by work, the time is now to start thinking about your plan of action. Life is too short and your skills are too valuable to be wasted on being unnecessarily overworked.

The first mistake people make when thinking about having “the talk” with their boss about their frustrations around work-life balance is focusing all of their attention on their boss. How will they react? Will they understand? How can they help? All of these are important questions, but they are secondary to the most important person in the equation: YOU!

Before you ever approach your boss, you want to take some time to ask yourself several questions so that you will be as successful as possible in negotiating a happier, more balanced work life.  Here are three suggestions:

1. What does balance look like for me?

Work-life balance is never the same for any two people, so you have to take some time to define what this looks like for you. Will having a 9-5 type schedule where you can leave your work at work bring you balance? Would the flexibility to leave early and finish some tasks later in the evening allow you to handle other responsibilities you may have? It may be helpful to make a list of all of your demands and prioritize them. Spending time thinking about your ideal balance will make your efforts more focused when you finally approach your boss. Lastly, although the problem of work-life balance affects millions of workers around the world, many companies have already made great strides in making more options available to improve their employee’s lives. Before you have the talk with your boss, ask yourself if you have already exhausted every available option from your company. It is possible that our exhaustion and stress may be the cause of our own inability to stop working, and not our boss’s demands for us to continue.

2. What is my plan of action?

In addition to defining your personal balance goals, you want to be clear about a possible plan of action to make them come to fruition. Most bosses are busy, so you want to be as concise as possible when you approach them. And the last thing you want to do is come across as whiny and complaining. A detailed solution for addressing your work-life balance issues will show your boss that you are committed to the company and have dedicated time to solving the issue. Bosses are also busy, and may be lacking in work-life balance themselves, so involving them in the solution is a great way to relieve you of the burden of feeling too needy or out-of-place.

3. What is my value to the company?

Tim Ferris, in Four Hour Work Week (which has become something like the work-life balance bible for many people), argues that one of the beginning steps for carving out more balance in your life is convincing your employer that your value far outweighs their demands to always have you present. I think Tim’s four-hour ideal is far-fetched for the majority of us (although it would be nice!) but the principles apply. Your greatest asset in appealing to your boss is your current productivity and value to the company. You should spend time thinking about the ways you contribute to the company’s goals and how indispensable your skills are to their success in preparation for talking to your boss. If you cannot make a good case for your value, it may not be the right time to approach your boss. For many bosses, productivity is the number one priority, so you must make this your primary focus as you make your case for more balance.

In short, before you have “the talk” with your boss about your work-life balance, you want to spend some time “talking” to yourself about your personal balance goals, your solution to reaching them, and your value to the company. The answers to these questions will highly increase your chances of being heard and attaining your desired outcome.

Overcome Being Overworked!

 

30 Jun

How to Explain Your Low GPA in a Job Interview

Blog No Comments by Mareisha Winters

How to Explain Your Low GPA in a Job InterviewMaybe you just graduated from college, or you will be graduating soon…this can be a scary time in life. You might be starting your first job, still looking for a job, or you may be planning to continue your education. Whatever the case may be, the real learning starts now. This month at LTAW we will be giving tips for recent college graduates and soon-to-be college graduates.

Maybe you partied a little too hard or had to work a part-time job or were involved with too many extracurricular activities. Whatever the situation, your GPA suffered from it. Now it’s time to find a job or an internship and they want to know your GPA. Don’t fret, it’s not the end of the world. Trust me you are not the first college student to suffer from GPA issues and you surely won’t be the last. Unfortunately when you’re still in college or just out of college, your GPA is one of things that employers and others will use to determine your skill level, work ethic or your ability to learn new things. You can still get a job with a not so stellar GPA, but you may just have to put in a little extra effort. Here are some tips for explaining your low GPA in a job interview.

Tip 1

Seek advice from your college career center. Their career counselors can help you find the right way to dispel potential employer’s negative perceptions about you based upon your GPA. They can also help you learn how to develop additional skills and behaviors employers want.

Tip 2

If the application requires a cover letter use that as an opportunity to give a detailed explanation of any extenuating circumstances that led to your low GPA. Be honest and take responsibility and explain anything that was out of your control.

Tip 3

During the interview spin the negatives into positives. If you had to work full-time to support yourself or your family while you were in school, explain that in a way that demonstrates you are trustworthy and have a good work ethic.

Tip 4

Perhaps it was a course or two that you took that brought your GPA down. Consider retaking those classes before seeking employment. You not only will make a significant improvement on your GPA, it will demonstrate to your future employer a strong work ethic.

When it’s all said and done own your GPA – regardless of what it is. A low GPA is not the end of the world – yes, you may have to work a little harder to show why you’re qualified for the position. Just be honest and take responsibility and you will win in the end.

You’re Graduating…Now the Real Learning Begins!

 

24 Jun

Job Hunting Tips for New College Grads

Blog No Comments by Susan McCuistion

Job Hunting Tips for New College GradsMaybe you just graduated from college, or you will be graduating soona��this can be a scary time in life. You might be starting your first job, still looking for a job, or you may be planning to continue your education. Whatever the case may be, the real learning starts now. This month at LTAW we will be giving tips for recent college graduates and soon-to-be college graduates.

Youa��ve made it through all of your classes, had a little (ok, maybe a lot) of fun along the way, and now reality sets in. Ita��s been about a month since college graduation, and youa��re still looking for a job. What can you do?

Invest your time. Expect that any good job search is, in and of itself, a full time job. It takes time to network, build your brand, search for jobs, and prepare for and go on interviews. If you are not treating your job search like a full time job, then you are not being serious enough about it.

Go wide, not deep. Dona��t make your job search too narrow. Be willing to do a related job, or the same job in a different field, than your ideal. For instance, instead of narrowing your search to a�?public relations jobs in healthcare,a�? be willing to also search for a�?communication jobs in insurancea�?.

Always be ready. Have an a�?elevator speecha�? prepared a�� be able to describe the job you want and how you can contribute in a minute or less. You never know who you meet standing in line at the grocery store, waiting for a bus a�� or even in an elevator!

Take advantage of social networking. First, clean up any personal social networking sites you have. In todaya��s hyper-connected world, probably the first thing anyone will do is search your name to see what they can find, and you dona��t want what they find to be a picture of you doing a keg stand at your graduation party. Second, make use of the connections you have a��who is working at a company you are interested in, what introductions can be made on your behalf. Dona��t forget to offer something first, or find a way to quickly return any favors you receive.

order periactin, buy dapoxetine online. Always act professionally. Dona��t take introductions or meetings for granted. Dona��t show up wearing anything less formal than a suit, especially for a first interview. Always write follow-up thank you notes after interviews. (It will be even more impressive if they are actual written notes versus e-mail!) And remember, no one owes you anything. Check your attitude at the door.

Finding any job in this economic environment is not easy a�� finding your first is even harder. Make sure you are spending enough time in your search and branding yourself appropriately. Be willing to explore different opportunities and experiences. Set you expectations accordingly, and in time, you will be successful.

You’re Graduating…Now the Real Learning Begins!

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