May 21, 2012

stunts that can harm your career

I love the idea that we can be the creators/architects of our careers. Gone are the days when you have to accept the first desk job that comes your way and stay with one company for 30+ years. There are no limits to how creative you can be with your career, and it's never been a better time to be your own boss or juggle multiple projects/roles. I love having a full-time job and combining it with free-lance projects and part-time studies.

But whether you work for yourself or for an actual boss, there are some things that can really harm your career and personal brand if you don't pay attention:

  • A bad attitude: Weather you work in an office full of people or with clients you visit for consultation, people will be people, and if you leave your manners at home it will have a negative impact on whatever you do for a living. A client will often choose a provider they get along with above an arrogant one that does the job equally well.
  • Missing deadlines: We all know the saying "under-promise and over-deliver". Promising your boss or client the world but not delivering on time will reflect very poorly on your sense of professionalism. An employee or consultant who does not keep to agreed timelines will most likely be perceived as unreliable.
  • Not saying sorry: Just like respect and good manners, admitting your mistakes and being open to criticism will show your character and encourage people to trust you more. No one likes to work with someone who is too proud to admit that they are not perfect.
  • Gossip: Even if some colleagues enjoy your gossiping at the office, it ultimately sends the message that you cannot be trusted with sensitive information. Your lunch-buddy who can't wait to get the next scoop from you will most definitely not trust you with his/her confidential information. Clients also need to feel confident that you will act in their best interest.
  • Inconsistency: Any boss and any client will be frustrated if you perform inconsistently. Can they trust you with projects or not? Can you stick to timelines or not? Can you manage your personal life or will it constantly be interfering with your job? You don't want them to be asking these questions, so be sure to maintain some consistency in your performance, regardless of what kind of day you are having.

We are all human and it's impossible to behave perfectly professional every second of every day, but these are things that are within our control to a large extent. Working on these skills are just as important as knowing your job content and improving your performance if you want to be a rock-star employee.

What other stunts can you think of that can really your career?

May 10, 2012

not just 9-5: succeeding as a part-time sudent in a full-time world

I am very excited to share today's guest post, written by Zach Buckley! Zach is a freelance writer who is interested in exploring the intersection of culture, science and education. He lives in the Midwest and enjoys music, literature and good food.

You have graduated with that coveted undergraduate degree and are ready to start your career and 9-to-5 job. Or are you? As you get out there in the “real world,” you may discover a few things you have yet to learn about the work force. 

Once you land a job and begin building your reputation in your industry, you may also find that you actually need more education. Pursuing an education as a part-time student while maintaining your full-time career is not impossible, but it is challenging. Here are some tips that might make it a little more feasible: 

Choose Flexible Education Options. As a full time worker you are not going to be able to take classes the traditional way. That 8:00 a.m. first hour course at your local college campus is going to directly clash with the 8:30 meeting you have with a client. You need flexible education options.

  • One option is to take night courses. This can work well for some students, especially if the campus is near your work location. However, this choice might keep you on a stricter schedule.
  • A better option may be to take online classes. An online master’s degree program will offer much more flexibility than any on-campus program. In some programs, you may not have any set times to meet with fellow students, making your schedule much more accommodating.

Limit Social Activities. Each day only gives you 24 hours, so for the time you are pursuing your degree, you are going to need to limit your social activities.
  • Completely eliminating them will likely cause you to go crazy, so learn to choose wisely. While you may not be able to attend every social event you are invited to, you need to attend a few for your own sanity. 
  • Choose events with your closest friends or ones that provide the most benefit to you.

Plan Meals Carefully. While balancing career goals and educational requirements, you may feel tempted to grab fast food on the fly as you rush between work and school. 

  • Avoid fast food whenever possible. The lack of nutrition will impact your ability to study, and you may blow your budget simply on dining out. Plan your meals ahead and aim for things that are quick, but nutrient packed.
  • For instance, a salad with some grilled chicken on top doesn’t take long to create, yet it will give you nutrition needed to fuel a late-night study session. If possible, plan your meals each weekend so you have something ready to cook quickly. With a plan, you will be less tempted to grab food on the run.

Studying part time for your degree may take a little bit longer than it would for a full-time student, but in the end you will have more of the tools you need to succeed in your career, without taking any time off of work. Stay committed to furthering your education, even though it is challenging, and you may eventually reap the rewards.

Thanks so much for these tips Zach! I look forward to working with you again! ☺

May 7, 2012

taking my own career advice seriously

Over the past few months I have loved sharing tips and ideas regarding work-life balance, juggling multiple jobs and studying while working full-time. But I am coming to a place where I need to take some of my own advice in order to regain my work-life balance.

Until the end of June you will find me consulting with clients, studying and doing research after hours, while attending regular band practice sessions, spending quality time with my hubby and finding time to go to the gym. To avoid my own melt-down I will not be writing as many posts as I have for the past few months.

Wanna help me out?? 

I would like to give you the opportunity to write a guest post! I love featuring posts written by my readers! If you are a young working adult with some career advice to share, this is your big chance ☺

Topics I'm interested in:

  • How you got the job you wanted
  • How NOT to be consumed by a busy lifestyle
  • Habits that may cost you your job
  • Gap year stories
  • Looking professional on a budget
  • Or any other career related topic you may have on your mind for that matter!!

Word count? 600 words or less.

Please send your masterpieces to aWannabeEmployee (at) gmail (dot) com.

See you again real soon!!