When you have a job you know when to get up, when to catch the bus, when to arrive at work, when to eat lunch, when to take breaks, when to go home and forget the work, and when to take a day off. When you leave your job, your formal schedule goes out the window. For awhile this can be a good thing. MANY unemployed people just need to take some time to grieve, decompress, and rest.
However, sitting on your couch playing X-Box or updating your facebook every 10 minutes can get old fast! These activities will NOT get you the next gig, so at some point you will need to get into a new routine. That can be tough, especially if its something you have little experience with . . . like looking for work.
Never fear! We have been through this ourselves, AND we work with dozens of job seekers every week.
Here are some things to consider when you go to make a schedule for your job search:
• Set weekly goals that you can measure. Nothing is more frustrating than getting to the end of the week and not being able to say, “I accomplished something this week.” EVERY Sunday evening sit down and decide what you need to achieve over the next week. Then, on Friday, review your goals to see how you have done. It will make the job search much more bearable!
• Network, network, network. How many networking groups do you attend each week? How many 1-on-1 meetings or informational interviews do you conduct? Your goal should be somewhere in the 8-10 range PER WEEK. If you aren’t out talking to people, your chances of finding a job are slim! More than 80% of people find their job through networking, so get out and do it!
• Don’t answer email or touch the computer during daylight hours. (That’s when you should be networking!)
• Practice your “elevator pitch.” Nothing is worse than being in a group and listening to a bunch of people drone on about where they worked before the company went and laid them off. Have something interesting to say and say it with ENERGY! People will listen if you give them something to listen to. But you better be well rehearsed, or they will tune you out!
• Plan for some “you time” in your schedule. Stephen Covey calls it “sharpening the saw.” You can’t cut wood with a dull saw. If you don’t take care of yourself, you will be dull and ineffective in your job search.
• Let it go. When you have completed your day’s work, leave the job search behind. Let it go. Disconnect. Go enjoy time with your family and friends. One of the reason’s you need to set clear goals, is so you can look back and say, “I’m finished for now.” Then disconnect. The job search will be there tomorrow.
When you leave your job, your regularly scheduled routine evaporates. As a job seeker, you will need to set goals and create your own schedule. A schedule helps you track your progress along the job search, and it allows you to take time for yourself, your friends, and your family.
With any new employment, there is often training involved, even if you just graduated from one of the finest traditional colleges or the best online universities. You may be given a title as an apprentice, the training may be referred to as new-hire training or the period of time may even be called a probationary period. The employer wants to make sure you are the right “fit” for the position, which will and usually does confirm the successful completion of the hiring process.
Although you may feel as though some, perhaps all, of the material being taught or reviewed (if you have been in this or a similar job before) is either unnecessary or a waste of time, keep those feelings to yourself. They may be true or partly true; however, if you value the opportunity afforded by the position, do not verbalize these feelings. Rather look for opportunities to excel at the training you feel is unnecessary. In many cases, it will be abundantly evident to the trainer, or maybe even your boss, that not much of that training is necessary.
For example, you are being hired as an assistant manager of a restaurant. Part of your training is learning to run a cash register, make change and both greet and thank customers for their patronage. You feel very comfortable with such work, because you worked in a fast-food franchise while in college. The trainer observes that you are very comfortable and polite in your communications with customers. Therefore, he spends little time on that training. Soon you find yourself being introduced to the head cook; and the process of receiving and preparing orders is explained in some detail.
Appropriate Work Ethic
However, even if there are facets of the new job which are familiar, expect many others to be hard, especially at first. Expect a learning curve, maybe even a steep learning curve. One of the major reasons you went to college was to learn how to learn. Now you are being tested. With very few exceptions, college will not teach you everything you need to know to do you first job. You can be very sure that your new employer will be watching you closely as you go through new hire training. How quickly do you learn? How well do you follow instructions? Can you work unsupervised? How do you handle frustration? Do you ask for help when necessary, or do you struggle an inordinately long time before asking for help? Do you give up on tasks easily? (Obviously, there may be a fine line between asking for help and figuring out how to do a task by yourself.) These are some of the types of questions your trainer, and employer, must answer.
Expect to work, and work hard, during your first few weeks or even months. Your ability to solve problems, show initiative, exhibit good judgment and stay with a job until completion will all be evaluated carefully. To the extend possible, put yourself in your trainer’s position or your boss’s position. Answer the question, “Am I doing my very best? Am I adding quality and/or value to the company, its product or its service?”
Finishing the Training or Training Period
Upon completion of the training, be sure you have a sense about how well you did. If you are not told, ask. Most employers will provide new employees with an evaluation instrument. This may record how long you spent in training or in specific portions of the training, individual scores on successful completion of certain tasks, etc. Such an instrument may compare your scores with the average scores of past employees. Based on these scores and the comments of your trainer, or trainers, you will be advised when the new-hire training, apprentice or probationary period has ended.
Do not feel as though you now know everything there is to know about the job. In almost every employment, you won’t; and you will be watched carefully. Maintain a good attitude, continue to exhibit an excellent work ethic and always be willing to learn by listening to others, observing others and reading literature on different career topics. Then, regardless of the type of employment, you will excel to the best of your ability.
Good luck on your new job, and thank you for reading!
So you’ve decided to start up a business, let me reach out and shake your hand because you just might have made the best decision you could possibly make in your young life! Going into business for yourself means you’ve hung up your ‘employee hat’ and you’ve put on the ‘project manager‘ hat. You might not have the official designation, and you might not even be overseeing actual projects, but personally, I’ve always looked at my business a series of small projects that all need to be managed on a daily business in order to keep the whole machine running efficiently.
And of course, other than the idea and product or service you’re selling, your business cannot and will not function without cash flow. And if you think that trying to juggle your personal finances was difficult, throw the complexities and responsibilities of a small business into the mix, and if you’re not careful, it could spell out financial ruin.
So let’s take a look at some ways to ensure that you’re keeping a lid on your pennies!
1) Be Realistic About Sales
I’ve always conducted my business in a worse-case-scenario format. I constantly under project my sales, and budget accordingly. It’s all well and fine to focus on statistics and positive projections, but when there’s a dip in the market, or the economy takes a turn that you might not have expected, and you’ve already decided to rely on that ‘projected income’, you’ll land yourself in trouble!
2) Get a good grip on your fixed expenses
If you run a home-based business, like myself, it’s quite easy to know what your fixed expenses are as well as manage them. Fixed expenses are things like hydro, (electric for my American friends), gas or heat, rent or your mortgage, maintenance fees etc. But not only do you have a responsibility to know what your expenses are so it’s not a big surprise at the end of the month, you also have a responsibility to manage them. If your heating costs start creeping up because you’re at home all the time now, you need to look at ways to make your home office a little more energy efficient (I’ll talk about that more in the next post).
3) Keep an ongoing list of the ‘wouldn’t-it-be-nice’ items
When you first start-up a business, the bulk of your money goes to things like product, managing your books, advertising, etc. But after a few months of being in operation, there are things that you are going to need and want around the office, things like office supplies, maybe a better printer, some new artwork or even plants. They seem like little things, but these are the sorts of expenses that creep up on you and cut out a chunk of your budget if you’re not careful. Always ensure that you include these sorts of expenses in your budget. And always separate the needs from the wants, and be able to recognize the difference.
4) Don’t blow the profits
Of course you started your business to make money, right? You didn’t go into business for yourself so you could spend the rest of your life breaking even, but before you went into business, if you did your research, you should already know that it can take some time before a business starts pulling in actual profit. And the mistake that most small business owners make the first time around, is they get all excited when they start to get above that red line, and they start splurging on things. Just like investing in your retirement, if you want your business to have staying power, you have to invest in that too!