Workplace Minute – Surviving Day One

Today’s workplace minute will cover tips on surviving day one at your new job.

Things you should take with you:

  • Notebook & Pen
  • Lunch
  • Bottle of Water
  • Cash (Vending Machine)

TIP: Pick out you day one outfit the night before!

  1. Wake up nice and early, eat a good breakfast, and get ready for the day ahead.
  2. Check the weather report to avoid any potential clothing mishaps and commute delays.
  3. Aim to arrive at work at least 10 minutes before your scheduled shift but no earlier than 20.
  4. Sort out your work area, have your notebook and pen handy and be sure to take notes.
  5. Say hello to your new colleagues, introduce yourselves with a smile and use this time to ask questions.
  6. Be prepared to be thrown into the mix! Most employers give their newbies a work task on day one.
  7. If you are invited to an office meeting, be sure to take notes.
  8. Staying super late will not impress your boss. Stay for your shift, perhaps a wee bit longer depending on business needs, go home and reflect on everything you learned on day one. Set the example early.

TIP: Ask questions if you are not sure about something, but make an attempt to figure out the problem yourself. Doing so shows initiative!

Remember… your first week, especially your first day will be overwhelming. Whenever it feels like a bit much, take a moment to yourself for a breather. It will make a world of a difference.

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Workplace Minute – Workplace Stress

It’s normal to get stressed out time to time at the workplace. It is how you handle the stress that determines the gravity of the situation.

Here are a few tips to help improve and banish workplace stress:

  • Don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
  • Learn to manage your emotions instead of letting them manage you.
  • Remind yourself of what’s really important in life.
  • Try looking at situations from different points of view.
  • Learn to say “no.”
  • Stop procrastinating.
  • Avoid negative people as much as possible.
  • Get clear on your life goals and take a small step toward those goals every day.
  • Learn to prioritize.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Don’t try to control what is uncontrollable.

These along with previously mentioned tips: Workplace Minute – Workplace Stress (Nov.) can help alleviate some of that stress and get you moving in the right direction.

Your morning routine… does it help or hinder?

So it’s Monday. You’re probably thinking… “wonderful” [insert sarcasm], right?14724e0ee9f1a6ffbf56507154cbc637

Well… that is a sure way to start off your entire week pretty blah.

The reality is there are the people who love what they do, and there are the people who aren’t pretty hyped up on their current work situation. If you’re of the latter, my advice to you is to make the most of your current situation until that situation is changed. (Absolutely NO complaining if you keep yourself in a situation that you are unhappy with.)

So whether you love your current work situation (or loathe it), here are some routines you can implement to start off your week smoothly and set up for a productive week.

Get a head start on tomorrow, TONIGHT.
Planning your week on Sunday night gives you a head start on being prepared for the upcoming week. This means you have more time Monday morning to focus and get the ball rolling on the week you’re facing. Would you rather wake up in the wee hours of Monday planning your week or take advantage of the alone time that peaks up Sunday evening? I plan my entire week Sunday night. Of course, things come up throughout the week however, to have my MIT’s (Most Important Things) covered and a plan in which I can throw in the pop-up items, that helps make my week progress swimmingly.

Start your day in bed.
Okay so this one is a catch 22. Some have the ability to do this, some don’t. If your lifestyle allows this then by all means, take advantage! I am inundated with emails on Monday morning (and pretty much every morning of the week). Rather than wasting my first hour at work, stuck in my office sorting through my inbox, I tackle those suckers first thing in the AM. If you are fortunate enough not to be attached to your inbox, I am green with envy! Today, email, despite many reports that email is an ancient form of communication, is still a fundamental part of my position and I think it’s fair to say for most exempt positions, especially those primarily remote positions.

If you aren’t going to get a head start, start your day by planning what needs to get done.
A morning routine can be particularly important to setting up your day in the best way. Your morning routine can include everything that is important to you, personal, family and work. One of the most important aspects of planning your day is to determine your MIT’s for the day/week. Also, flexibility is essential. Your morning routine can be tweaked but should generally remain consistent. Consistency forms habits.

Don’t skip over breakfast.
When designing the best way for you to start your week, be sure to include a GOOD BREAKFAST. Your body needs fuel. Be sure to include a breakfast regimen to get your body and brain ready to work. This could be a fruit, protein bar, something to get your energy up. Breakfast doesn’t have to be a chore, make it fast, easy, but effective.

Sleep as well as you can.
Sleep is also essential in getting your body ready for the upcoming day. My daily routine includes being asleep by 10:30pm on weekdays. (You can stop looking at your screen crazy now.) I know myself well enough to know that if I do not get a certain amount of hours of sleep, it will throw my day off completely. Once again, circumstances can refrain from such an “early” sleep time however, to have a well rested body plays an essential part in your work performance. Consider the total hours of sleep you get, even conduct your own experiment to determine how sleep affects you.

Switch yourself off at night by turning off those pesky phone notifications.
DISENGAGE. DISCONNECT. Give yourself time away from your electronic communication devices. No, you don’t need to check your Facebook newsfeed, and your Instagram will be there tomorrow. (Most of you are NOT checking your email.) I am guilty of this, but awareness is key and so I have incorporated a daily habit of shutting down at 10:00pm. It’s improved as most of the time I don’t look at my phone after 9:00pm.

Android has the perfect feature called “Blocking Mode.” Read up on it Android users and USE IT. When you activate “Blocking Mode” notifications for selected features will be turned off. I have mine auto-activate starting at 10:30pm and deactivate at 7:00am. This shuts off all notifications and turns off the LED Light Notifications.

If Apple’s iPhone has a similar feature that you know of, please feel free to describe in the comments section their version of “Blocking Mode”.

Remember: DISENGAGE. DISCONNECT.

and finally…

Track your habits to understand yourself.
Track your habits for a week to find the insight you need to improve your routine. What can you do to improve your current routine? What can you incorporate in your routine to make it better?

Understanding how you live right now, can help you to work towards how you want to live.

Do you have tips for improving your daily routine? What does your routine look like right now? Let us know in the comments.

Workplace Minute – Working Better

MINUTESome quick tips on how to work better:

  • Do one thing at a time
  • Know the problem
  • Learn to listen
  • Learn to ask questions
  • Distinguish sense from nonsense
  • Accept change as inevitable
  • Learn to be open to change
  • Admit mistakes
  • Say it simple
  • Be calm
  • SMILE!

Now put this knowledge into practice to improve how you work!

Workplace Minute – Attitude

MINUTEAttitude is everything at the workplace. Employees with positive attitudes tend to be more productive than their counterparts. There are several benefits to having a positive work attitude, and just as many ways to cultivate a positive work attitude.

Here are some quick tips on how to keep your attitude in the workplace on check.

  • Take control of your attitude
  • Be solution-oriented, not problem-focused
  • Avoid whiners and complainers
  • Be constructive, productive, and pleasant; never criticize
  • Stay away from gossip

Most importantly, keep in mind the people your surround yourself with at the workplace play a significant role on your daily outlook!

General Interview Questions and Tips

Job InterviewSmart job seekers know the importance of preparing for job interviews. Doing your homework beforehand will help put you in a position to convince the hiring manager that you have the talent they need to fill the seat.

This segment will cover the most general interview questions that hiring managers often use along with tips to assist you with coming up with great answers.

If you are actively looking for employment, a good resource will be to go through each question and create a cheat sheet. Come up with answers to each question and study the answers before every scheduled interview.

Let’s get into the most common general interview questions and tips.

1) Can you tell me a little about yourself? 
I firmly believe this is the most dreaded interview question. This question, when asked, makes most interviewers cringe, their eyes cross and smoke come out of their ears. This is why it is imperative to prepare for interviews. When you are faced with this question, a great way to answer it is using your elevator pitch. What is an elevator pitch you ask?

ELEVATOR PITCH

Elevator

Now let’s say you don’t have an elevator pitch, start off with specific accomplishments or experiences that you want the interviewer to know about. Gear the answer to this question with the position you are interviewing for. You want to end this question with a pitch that is concise, compelling and one that shows why you are the right fit for the position you are interviewing for.

2) What do you know about the company?
Take a moment before the interview to read through the organizations website. Mid-to-large sized organizations usually have their mission and vision statements in the “About Me” section of the website. Familiarize yourself with a couple of keywords and phrases from the website however make all your statements personal, show that you care about their mission.

3) How did you hear about the position?
Simple question right? Straight to the point, no need to dress up? WRONG. This question gives you an opportunity to stand out and express your passion for and connection to the company. If you were referred to by a colleague or friend, share why you were so excited to have the opportunity to interview with their organization.

4) Why do you want this job?
You want to have a great answer for this question. So, what makes a good answer? First, identify key factors that make the role a great fit for you, then share why you want to be a part of their organization. You can relate this to the industry or the type of services/products they represent.

5) What are you looking for in a new position?
Put the Job Descriptions to use. If you found the position using a job search website or applying online from the organizations website, read through and familiarize yourself with the position description. Those are the items you want to mention, the same things that this position has to offer. Be sure to be specific.

6) What type of work environment do you prefer?
Use the same tactic as you did for the “What are you looking for a new position?” question. Review the Job Description and say one that’s similar to the environment of the company you are applying to.

7) Why we should hire you?
Time to sell yourself and your skills! Your answer should cover three items:

  • That you can do the work and deliver great results;
  • that you will really fit in with the organizational culture and team;
  • that you would be a better hire than any of the other candidates.

8) Why are you leaving your current job?
I emphasize… KEEP THINGS POSITIVE. You have nothing to gain by bashing or being negative about past employers. Instead, focus the conversation in a way that indicates you are eager to take on a new role and new responsibilities. If you are interviewing in a different industry, you can say you are looking for an industry change, one that aligns you with your future career goals. If you were let go from your previous employer, keep it simple. Saying “Unfortunately, I was released,” is an acceptable answer.

9) What other companies are you interviewing with?
This is a popular question with recruiters. I typically keep the answer to this question short and sweet. If you are actively looking, it’s okay to mention that you are exploring a number of other similar options within the company’s industry. Also a great angle is to state there is a common characteristic of all the jobs you are applying to such as abilities and skills you possess.

10) What are your salary requirements?
Research… research… RESEARCH! Use sites like Payscale and Glassdoor to do research on the industry salary trends. This is a great source to help you come up with a range based on the industry, your experience, education and skills. You want to make sure the hiring manager knows that you are flexible. You want to communicate that you know your skills are valuable, you value your knowledge, skills and abilities BUT that you want the job and are more than willing to negotiate.

11) Do you have any questions for us?
What do you want to know about the position that you haven’t already covered? How about the company, department, the team? This is your opportunity to catch up on anything that may have been missed throughout the interview. You can also ask questions that target the interviewer, the company’s benefit packages or the growth of the company.

Be sure to take a moment and review tips on how best to prepare for an interview: You’ve got an interview… NOW WHAT?

Lastly, click on the link to access a handout for you to print and use as a reference to come up with your answers. Be sure to study your answers and be a smart job seeker, BE PREPARED: GENERAL INTERVIEW QUESTIONS & TIPS HANDOUT