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The Jungle Pets – The Benefits of Bringing Pets to the Workplace

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 29, 2016 in Thinking Positive

PetIf you work in an office that doesn’t allow pets on the premises, you probably envy friends working in atmospheres were pets are welcome. Management that does not allow pets in the workplace often cite mess, distraction and possible annoyance of clients as good reasons for their decision, yet those who actually work in the companionship pets will tell you that this is far from the case. Most well-behaved pooches are content to relax in a comfy bed by your desk, waiting patiently until the next walk. Moreover, most offices with pets will probably tell you that clients usually enjoy seeing and interacting with dogs when they do visit your office – very few (or none) will probably mention anything negative about their close encounter with the furry kind.

The benefits of bringing pets into the office far outweigh any hassles (such as having to take a short break every few hours to take them for a quick walk). Research has shown, for instance, that pets significantly reduce stress levels, so much so that they are being employed across the nation to help those suffering from conditions such as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), ADHD and addiction. Indeed, some of these patients report that since spending more time in company of a dog, their anxiety and panic levels reduce dramatically, so much so that pets do away with the need to switch or increase any medication they are taking. Pets have been found to increase levels of feel-good hormone, oxytocin, thereby decreasing levels of stress hormone, cortisol.

Pets also help by encouraging a state of mindfulness – the latter is a buzzword in many recovery centres, and all it involves is ‘being in the here and now’; enjoying the present moment instead of allowing oneself to get stuck in the past or to worry about the future. Regret, guilt and panic are powerful triggers for a host of conditions, including anxiety and depression. Across the globe, millions of people are turning to mindful activities such as yoga and Tai-Chi, in an effort to battle stress and mental disease. Pets allow us to achieve a mindful state in a much quicker and more direct fashion, and nowhere is this more important than at work, when we need to keep our mind on the task at hand and on our ultimate goals. Having a pet in the office allows us to utilize our free moments between tasks in a positive manner, by interacting with our pets, enjoying a break without the need to escape from the present moment.

Dogs have been found to alter our autonomic body functions – this means that without even thinking about the effect they are having, we benefit greatly from the presence of a calm dog. Our blood pressure and respiration rate are decreased, as is our oxygen consumption and muscular tension. Interacting with pets has also been proven to release endorphins, which enhance brain functioning by improving our problem solving skills, stimulating our imagination and strengthening our communication skills with others. It is no wonder that some of the best managers are waking up to the positive effects that pets (particularly dogs) can have on the workplace – clearly, the office itself has plenty to gain from workers who are more alert and creative, thanks to the presence of pets.

Scientists at the American Heart Association have concluded that having a dog in particular can lower the risk of heart disease, thereby increasing our lifespan. People who have dogs have been found to live longer, and it isn’t only because they are forced to be more active and take their dogs for walks. Because having dogs lowers blood pressure and stress, they are more likely to be less vulnerable to the effects stress can have on their health, and be more likely to survive a heart attack. One study, carried out in 2001, observed a group of people with high blood pressure and high stress jobs who committed to adopting a dog or cat. Six months down the line, their blood pressure lowered significantly when they were stressed, compared to those who did not adopt a dog or cat. Another study followed 369 people with heart disease, to see the effects pets could have on their condition. One year later, those who owned a dog where four times more likely to still be alive.

It could be argued that dogs are not only beneficial to a workplace, they are actually necessary owing to the many effects they can bring to the health not only of their owners, but rather, to everyone in an office. Stress busting, mindfulness inducing, heart healthy dogs should be part and parcel of every work environment that values the mental and physical health of its workers

This Guest Post was contributed by Gemma Matthews.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Dolphin – In the Job Market: The Importance of Social Quotient

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 22, 2016 in Building Confidence, Job Search, Thinking Positive

DolphinImage Source

The job search jungle has often been characterized by the diversity of its inhabitants. Be it the kind of environments one has to cope with, or the competition you’re up against while making a run for the best of career options suiting your needs, it has never been an easy fight while surviving here. However, there’s one thing that you can learn from the animals around and especially the ones living underwater.

Be it the whistling, grunts, squeaks or the loving nature they display with those near, the dolphin has been adored by all owing to its social prowess. Known as the most ‘socially active’ animal after humans, Dolphins live together in pods (groups), with each group including species of variable sizes. This sure does press over the fact that your stature in the job market doesn’t matter. All that counts is the group, or simply put, the network you represent. Communicating actively to tackle problems together, Dolphins have immense social skills that you can learn from and implement in your job search strategy.

Consulting Your Network Every Now and Then

Obviously, the most significant step in this instance would be building a network full of professionals and connections you can learn from, one that keeps you together even during the most negative of situations.

Building on similar lines, being an active communicator to your network and expressing your concerns, such as resume formatting or difficulties, while following up with employers is also necessary. Observe Dolphins and you will surely find their entire pod coming up against the Shark every time they get attacked. All it takes is a message from a single Dolphin and the network stands as one from there on. This can happen with you as well, just stay active in expressing your concerns.

Beating the Stress through Efficient Means

Dolphins have quite a large brain and a great capacity to memorize complex tasks. Such is the case with you, except for the fact that you face the downs that come with stress and anxiety while chasing employers or waiting to hear from one. The moment Dolphins find themselves stuck in any such situation, you’ll observe them frolicking around with those around them (out of the water even). This calls for you to behave similarly and use your ‘social quotient’ to stay in touch with your network, friends, seniors, and mentors. Find ways to keep your mind off the stress and keep performing at your own pace. That is what the modern job search is all about.

Keep Finding More and Don’t Just Settle

Watch a Dolphin doing tricks and jumping out of the water, scoring a fish or squid snack every time and it still isn’t satisfied until a larger meal. Well, that certainly is a quality you can adopt for your job search campaign as well. Think about it every time you’re about to compromise on your choices and settle for an alternative just because the competition is fierce. Being socially active, there will be numerous chances for you to stay on an active lookout for opportunities while being updated regarding the competition around also.

Dolphins always keep an eye on their mates while staying on a fish hunt, but keep searching for better options, nevertheless. It is this knack that will get you in to the corporation of your dreams, soon enough!

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman. Anshunan Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the emirates job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Crocodile – Being an Opportunist During Your Job Search

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Dec 29, 2015 in Job Search, Thinking Positive

Crocodile2A trip to the Zoo or any natural habitat would definitely allow you to observe one of the most static yet mystical creatures the jungle has to offer – a Crocodile. A large tropical reptile that preys on animals and sustains itself, the crocodile surely is one of the slyest creatures any living being can learn from.

A crocodile stays silent and calm until the right moment arrives and then lunges with its full force to capture prey. This draws us towards an analogy fit for the job search jungle as well. Be it any field you aim for, job offers start falling into your lap only when you are truly an opportunist and move ahead with the right approach. The discussion below talks in the same regard.

Growing should be the Only Thought in Mind

An opportunistic attitude is often viewed as a negative trait, one which makes you the ‘undesirable’ amongst others. Think about the Croc for a moment. It might be considered one of the most dangerous and harmful creatures in its vicinity, but isn’t that the way it sustains itself?

As far as a learning attitude is maintained, grabbing chances by the bud and making the tide turn in your favor is nothing to be worried or embarrassed about. Whether it is applying for new jobs, generating employer leads, networking or working on your personal branding efforts, there are numerous ways you are growing. Just don’t take it as another job, rather, it’s a new opportunity to grab!

It is the Only Way to Take Control of Your Career

There are people who keep waiting for the right opportunity throughout their lives and end up with nothing to show for it. There are also people who don’t wait, but create chances from whatever comes their way. Well, that is one attitude which ensures survival in today’s competitive work arena.

Chances to work and earn crucial skills come in all shapes and sizes. It’s up to you and your plans to make the right pick. In short, you take control of your career and propel it to greater lengths.

Being Opportunistic Makes you Time Efficient

With the world crunching down to the dire needs of the moment and everything coming with a sell-by-date, time efficiency is one of the major constraints one has to deal with. It might be nothing less than a piece of news, during one’s job hunt campaign, opportunities get out of hand as fast as they come.

Having realized the same, you definitely have a good reason to abstain from any detour on your path to the desired career goal. You realize how precious every small chance/option is, hence availing them the moment they arrive. There’s a reason the opportunist drank the glass of water while the optimist and pessimist were busy fighting over whether it was half full or half empty.

Critics Shouldn’t Matter

An old saying iterates that if you’re doing something different, criticism is obvious to follow and the same applies to the job search jungle as well. For many might despise the Crocodile, think of ways to prey on it and save themselves, but none succeed in stopping it from having a nice and healthy meal. Likewise, no matter what your peers talk about, reasons are plentiful for you to make full use of the opportunity. Give it a shot and see what follows next in your career!

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman, Anshuman Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Firefly – Lighting Up The Jungle With A Video Contest!

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 6, 2015 in Building Confidence, Thinking Positive

Hey you! Yes, YOU! Do you love your job? I sure hope you do..

Just like the firefly lights up the jungle with its brilliant glow to let everyone know how great they are, YOU CAN TOO.

The Merito Group is launching a nationwide video contest! It seems as though a lot of people just go through the motions and check the box at their 9 to 5. However, there are some people out there who truly love what they do and we want to celebrate that. Light up the jungle and make a 60 second video telling us and the world why you love your job!

Hopefully by seeing how much other people enjoy their work it will encourage others to see the positive in any situation. After all, enthusiasm is contagious! #ILOVEMYJOB

Prizes such as a $500 Amazon Gift Card, Go Pro, and $100 Starbucks Gift Card will be offered to the best videos! Find out more at www.facebook.com/meritogroup or visit http://www.meritogroup.com/ilovemyjob/.

Ilovemyjob

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The Leapfrog – Being Positive in Career Transition

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 14, 2015 in Executive Coaching, Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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Frog2All frogs hop, but no frog hops like the red-eyed tree frog. The red-eyed tree frog stealthily roams the jungles of Central and South America in a way different from the rest of his rainforest pals. The red-eyed tree frog is not only able to leap great distances quickly, but his feet have distinct sticky pads that allow him to hop from place to place with poise, precision, and grace. It is a given in today’s economy that career transition is the norm. As you navigate the job search jungle, you will want to act with the red-eyed tree frog’s finesse and poise as you leave one employer and interview with the next.

There is never a time when landing with grace is as important as when you are interviewing. Twice in the past couple of weeks, people have been passed over for great job offers because they spent too much time in the interview focusing on why they left something that was broken rather than moving towards something that was better for them. As you leapfrog through the job search jungle, positivity is the key to successfully landing gracefully.

For instance, when the interviewer asks you why you are leaving your present job, this is not an open invitation to bad-mouth your current or past companies. This would not be transitioning with poise.  Even if your experiences have been negative, or if the company has more problems than profits, delving into the miry pit of your poor employment situation will only hurt you. Any negativity you project in the interview will set the tone regarding your personal outlook and most likely reflect poorly on you. The more you detail the negative aspects of your job, the more the interviewer will wonder, “If we hire her, what would he/she be telling other people about us?”

Positivity, on the other hand, pays off. So, how do you frame your story when it’s not all sunshine and roses? It should not be about what you are leaving; the point is you don’t look for reasons why something wasn’t a good fit for you in the same way you may not have been a good fit with the job. There is always something wrong with every organization. You will want to answer why the position you left or are moving towards is or was a positive step. How is it an opportunity for personal learning or professional growth?

Unfortunately, no one is going to pay you more money because you bought a bigger house or because the job you accepted isn’t perfect. However, an employer will pay you more if your expertise is in demand. Try to make the connection between your skills and enthusiasm and why this new job is an even better and exciting opportunity. If you can articulate this, your interview will come across as positive, and you, will be seen as a positive person. You will be transitioning gracefully.

Why is positivity so important? Based on your resume, the interviewer is aware of many of your skills, many of your accomplishments, your employment history, and your education. When they contact you for the interview they are giving you the nod that you could be making the right leap. By the time you are sitting face to face, the interviewer is just trying to figure out how you might fit in with the team, what it would be like working with you day to day, and how you respond to stressful situations in the office. When you demonstrate positivity, you assure them that you will effectively make the daily challenges easier to bare, and you will not bring in an attitude that demoralizes the team.

As you consider your next job, think about that nimble little red-eyed tree frog. Hopping from place to place can be awkward when you are not expressing the positivity necessary for a sticky landing. Your job transition is not about leaving a negative situation, it is always about moving positively towards opportunity.

This post was contributed by Jenny of Merito Group. Visit www.Meritogroup.com for more information and current job openings.

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The Jungle Outskirts – Part-time Online Jobs

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 23, 2014 in Job Search, Thinking Positive

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Even if you were lucky enough to keep your job during the last several unstable years, you may not be happy with your current financial situation. Just like a walk through a dangerous jungle, you are always alert Jungle2and ready to make a jump to new opportunities or run away from predators. And, like many other consumers, you probably have taken serious debts. You might be thinking about finding a new job, but with the state of today’s job market you may not want to risk your current position. There are many online jobs available that can supplement your current salary. Millions of people work at part-time jobs as freelancers and contractors from the comfort of their homes.

With such a large number of job opportunities available in the work-at-home field your personal story will be unique, and the pay may vary. Before you jump into online employment, consider getting familiar with some new technologies and techniques such as HTML and WordPress. Here are some options you may choose for supplemental income:

  • If your jungle animal likes to take it slow and steady like the sloth, you might think about becoming a Survey Taker.

If you only have couple of free hours a week to commit to your part-time online job, you could consider a low-maintenance job like survey-taking. The best paying surveys focus on in-depth questions that are targeted at specific groups of people. And even if you don’t qualify for some surveys, as they usually have demographic and educational restrictions, you will surely find some general surveys that will accept your opinion.

  • Have some features in common with a tiger? Consider being a Marketing Affiliate.

If you already have a blog or personal website, you can supplement your income by monetizing it and becoming a marketing affiliate. If you are comfortable promoting products and services of other people on your site, you could earn extra cash. Build up your audience by promoting just couple of niche vendors, and if you have enough time, consider creating a separate website for each niche, so that you drive the separate search traffic.

  • Or maybe you are as flexible and wise as the boa? Then Freelance Writer is just for you.

There are dozens of specialized websites for talented people who want to earn some cash with the help of their writing talent. If you are able to write a couple of paragraphs a day, you may be able to build a nice portfolio that will help you generate some cash. Remember – the more the boa eats, the bigger it becomes. So always search for new experiences.

This guest post was contributed by Maria who writes for Job Tonic. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, , let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

 

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The Gorilla – Ego In The Interview

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 15, 2013 in Executive Coaching, Interviewing Skills, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

Bookmark and ShareGorilla

Conflicts among gorillas are most often resolved by ritualistic displays intended to intimidate without becoming physical. These displays can include chest beating, ground stomping, and other showings of strength.

Gorilla-like behavior can surface under a wide variety of circumstances in the workplace. Perceived “threats” such as:
• authority being taken away
• new policies and procedures
• company reorganization

can cause the “gorilla” to emerge by making individuals feel self-doubt or under appreciated. Skill sets might be stretched into previously un-treaded territories, new responsibilities can trigger inner feelings of self-doubt, or the person isn’t feeling as challenged in a new role which they feel is beneath their abilities.

Consider this interview scenario; a management level person is participating in interviews where the new employee will become their peer. How will they view the interviewees if they are experiencing self-doubt about themselves and their own work?

It’s important to know as much about whom you are interviewing with and how your level of experience compares with them so you might be able to spot areas that would cause the interviewer to pound their chest and try to intimidate you. If you find yourself in this Gorilla’s cage, seek common ground where you can show how you will be a supportive experienced member of their team working towards a common goal.

But don’t be afraid to pound your chest a little in the interview. For example, I recently had a conversation with someone who had performed 4 general ledger systems conversions in his career and they were interviewing for a job that required that type of experience. Having successfully completed this work “only” 4 times before had left this person feeling that there were other, more qualified consultants in the world who perhaps had far more experience. The truth of the matter was, that in the interview setting they were the expert in the room because no one in that company had ever completed more than one system conversion. So, while you might suspect you aren’t the “most” experienced at something, it doesn’t mean you aren’t the most experienced person at that moment and, therefore, the immediate subject matter expert in the eyes of the hiring manager.

Be proud of your accomplishments and achievements. Prepare for every interview by researching the individuals you will be interviewing for and do a personal inventory of what you have made, saved, or achieved in the past and how your accomplishments will benefit your potential new employer in the future.

Have a bit of the gorilla’s confidence while steering clear of threatening territory!

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The Bobcat – An Adaptable Predator

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 23, 2013 in Job Search, Thinking Positive

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In an ever-changing world, job seekers need to become adaptable in order to succeed. Just because opportunities may be limited in your current locale, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. In order to become successful, some creature comforts may have to be sacrificed. Ties that may bind you could be holding you back. There may also be other aspects that could improve your chances of finding a lucrative position in your career of choice.

1. Locale – Much like how the bobcat will alter its location in order to hunt, the job seeker may need to look in other areas to score the job he or she is qualified for. The bobcat will hunt prey that is in abundance in any given location. If the opportunities are slim in one area, this lynx relative will simply choose an easier target or move to an area that has a better supply of what it wants.

Family and friends are important in your life, but being able to support yourself and/or a family has to take priority. If the opportunities are slim for what you want, expand your hunt to encompass areas outside of your city or perhaps even in a different state. You need to survive and if the meal is better in a different location, that is where you need to hunt.

2. Resilience – Although the bobcat has been widely hunted for a variety of reasons, the species stays resilient and continues to flourish. Although you may not land the job of your dreams, your continued resilience will keep the goal in focus. While you may have to accept work in a separate field of study, it doesn’t mean you have to commit yourself to it for the rest of your life.

Obtaining a degree from college can open a new world of possibilities for employment and career choices. However, many students don’t experience that career in their chosen field of expertise. Although you may have to flip hamburgers or bag groceries for a while, it doesn’t mean your aspirations have to be any less. Put food on your table with menial jobs while you hunt for the career you want. Stay resilient in your beliefs of being something more and continue to strive for your goals.

3. Prey – Although the bobcat will prefer a larger dinner, smaller animals will suffice if the game is lacking such delicacies. As stated above, there is nothing wrong with having to settle for a small job if it keeps you alive. If you have to accept something lower than your standards, pounce on it as you would with larger game. A good reference from a present employer can greatly help your chances for furthering your future career options elsewhere.

If it is edible, the bobcat will eat it. View your job seeking methods in the same manner. If you can do it, you might as well. There is nothing binding you at any job if a better opportunity comes your way. However, treat each job like it’s a meal for a starving cat. It may be a rabbit, but it will sustain you until that juicy deer comes along.

Many employers find tenacity a good trait to have. The attitude of never giving up shows that you will continue to strive even when the odds are against you. By being adaptive to your situation, you can flourish while others dwindle. Go into the position with confidence that you are the best candidate for the job.

This guest post was contributed by Allison. Blogging for was a natural progression for Allison once she graduated from college, as it allowed her to combine her two passions: writing and children. She has enjoyed furthering her writing career with http://www.nannyclassifieds.com/. She can be in touch through e-mail allisonDOTnannyclassifiedsATgmail rest you know.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Underbrush – New Nannies Navigating The Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 16, 2012 in Career Path, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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In a jungle there are many layers. The top layer is the canopy, where birds flutter from treetop to treetop. A little farther down are the branches. They are a bit harder to move through but still navigable. Then you get to the lower layer. Shadowed by the treetops overhead and tangled with underbrush, this layer is full of snares and entanglements that can trip you up.

The job market is like a jungle. You have the top layer of well-educated and experienced job searchers who seem to flit and fly from job to job landing where they please. Then you have the middle layer of individuals who are either well-educated but not experienced or experienced but not well educated. These job seekers have a little bit of climbing as they grasp and swing from branch to branch collecting experience and education. Then you come to the bottom layer. This layer can contain job seekers who may only have a basic education, little or no experience, or have decided to change fields and are starting from scratch. It is the most difficult layer to navigate and not for the faint-hearted explorers. Experience will come with time and many in this layer are also pursing higher education, but challenging and rewarding employment opportunities may seem few. Someone on this path in the jungle who loves children may want to consider becoming a nanny. You get to spend time one-on-one with a child and really get to know them.

Being a nanny is very different then working in a day care facility or even as a teacher. You get to spend time with one child or maybe a couple of children inside their home, where they feel comfortable. Typically, nannies are also paid more than a day care worker depending on the number of children they supervise and the family. But how do you become a nanny?

Nannies do not generally need any special qualifications. A degree, for instance, is not necessary to get started. What you do need, however, is a clean criminal and driving record. If you are or wish to be certified in CPR or other childcare related things such as early education, it is certainly helpful but not necessary.

The lives of many nannies involve traveling the world and making money. Some nannies vacation with families while others look specifically for work overseas. Job seekers who enjoy children and are interested in exploring can take steps to prepare themselves for a career as a nanny.

1.Consider Your Skills

Nannying seems similar to babysitting, but parents take the job very seriously. You should list all qualifications that make you capable of caring for a child like your educational background, volunteering experience or aspects in your personal life. Miscellaneous jobs and hobbies may also be relevant. If you know how to play an instrument or had a job cooking, then your experiences can add value. Taking the initiative and being CPR certified or learning a families’ native language also shows you are serious.

2. Applying

Taking the time to consider your skills and build the strongest resume helps for the next step. The easiest way to find opportunities is to join an online agency. Nanny boards appeal to families because they usually require ID verification and a background check. You can search through families and apply to good fits, and many sites cater specifically to opportunities abroad. Applications will vary, but most will require a resume, personal statement and references. Agencies usually charge a fee. Ensure the site you choose is easy to navigate and can send applications to as many available jobs as possible.

3. The Fine Print

When vacationing with a family or residing in a new country to nanny, various details should be considered. Find out if you have to pay for airfare, dining, or other expenses. If residing in a country, research the specific requirements for work visas and nannying. Pay rates may be different than what you are used to in foreign countries. You may also be paid less if the family provides accommodations. Not all nanny jobs are lucrative, but you are given spending money and a chance to visit foreign locations.

4. Meet The Family

Impressing the parents with an application and interview sets you on the right track. However, the real challenge is meeting the child. Communicate honestly with parents because you may not meet the child before traveling. You and the parents will have to decide if your personality and skills will work well with the child. You may have plans, but do not be afraid to make changes. Start friendly and tailor your approach to the child’s attitude. It may take time for them to see you as an authority and trust you.

Patience, adaptability and determination are crucial when nannying overseas because you cannot back out easily. Considering your skills, researching, and finding and communicating with families that you work well with will make the process rewarding.

To look for a nanny job close to home, simply contact a local agency or go online to a site like enannysource.com or nannypro.com. There you will be walked through the application process and your resume and application will be seen by families in your area that are looking for a nanny. If you have any previous childcare experience, like babysitting or even taking care of younger family members, that is a plus. Parents also love multi-lingual nannies.

Being a nanny can mean different things to different people, so be very clear on what your expectations are and what the parents expect from you. Some nannies also do light housework, like picking up after the kids, or even some tutoring. It all depends on what the parents want and what you are willing and able to do.

Being a nanny can be an extremely rewarding job. If you love children, then you may want to look into becoming a nanny.

This guest post was contributed by Ken Myers. Ken is an Expert Advisor on multiple household help issues to many organizations and groups, and is a mentor for other “Mom-preneurs” seeking guidance.  He is a regular contributor of www.gonannies.com.  You can get in touch with him at kmyers.ceo @gmail.com

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Ostrich – Head In The Sand With A Criminal History

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 10, 2012 in Interviewing Skills, Job Search, Lessons Learned, Thinking Positive

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Ostriches will attempt to avoid dangerous situations by burying their heads in sand and pretending the threat does not exist. Although this saying comes from a false legend about Ostriches, it is true that you cannot avoid risky situations, such as a criminal history in a job search, by pretending that it does not exist.

A criminal history is one of the most difficult things to overcome when it’s time to find a job. Many employers require criminal background checks, or at least self-disclosure of criminal history on applications, and the thought of losing out on an opportunity due to even minor charges lurking in your background can be nerve-wracking. But, this is no reason to lose hope for future employment or faith in your career. In fact, there are many steps you can take to overcome a negative background check during the interview process and even give off a better impression than you would have otherwise. Read on for some steps and ideas:

1. Address it head-on.

If you already know that you have some criminal history on your record that could potentially affect your employment, then it’s a very good idea to address the issue head on. This is something that you have to balance, though. If the charges are light enough, such as a few parking tickets, then you may not want to bring them up at all. If there are some serious misdemeanors or felonies on your record it is never a good idea to stay silent.  Rather than waiting until your interviewer brings it up or (even worse) hoping they don’t notice, take the matter into your own hands and let him or her know in the initial interview stages. You will look much more professional by addressing the issue clearly and honestly than by skirting the possible hesitations of the employer.

2. Tell the truth.

This is probably one of the most important pieces of advice when it comes to dealing with a negative history during a job search. It can be tempting to simply keep this information off your application or make certain charges seem less serious than they really were, but this is almost certain grounds for dismissal if your employer ever learns the truth. If you are honest about your past, many employers will take your honesty into account when they are considering whether to hire you. If you are dishonest, an employer would not be wise to ever consider you for hire. Besides, it is much better to approach a job interview knowing that you are being forthright. Getting through an interview based on lies will only mean that you have to keep up those stories to your boss and everyone else who works there.

3. Discuss what you’ve learned.

If you need to bring up some criminal history during a job interview, try to turn this potential negative into a positive. Depending on the charges and how long ago they occurred, you can use this as an opportunity to discuss your own life with a potential employer and what you’ve learned from past experiences. Everyone has a past, and no one is perfect. If there were issues in your life that caused you to go down the wrong path, own up to them and express why you are a different person now than you were then. Learning from your mistakes does not make you less of an employee, it simply makes you human, and every successful person has gone through trials to get to where they are today.

4. Don’t be picky.

Even though the thought of a future employer uncovering a less-than-stellar background in your past makes you cringe, there is no reason to feel like your life and opportunity for success is over. However, knowing that you have a record that would make many employers look the other way, you have to be prepared for multiple rejections. But, there is always opportunity to re-build and start again. If you have to work in less than desirable positions for a while, then that is what you have to do, but there is always a way to come back from a criminal past, as long as you have a true desire to work hard and continue moving in a positive direction. So keep your head out of the sand!

This guest post was contributed by Jane Smith. Jane is a freelance blogger and writer for http://www.backgroundcheck.org/. She specializes in career issues, managing an online reputation, and making healthy life choices. She welcomes you to email her any questions or comments and can be reached at janesmith161 @gmail.com.

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