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The Landscape – Surveying The Job

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 13, 2012 in Job Search, Lessons Learned

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“The Bare Necessities of any Job Hunt”

Whether you’re fresh out of college or a veteran of the workforce, establishing expectations is one of the biggest favors you can do for yourself when you’re searching for a job.

Many people are so consumed with obtaining a job they may have to forgo considering whether it’s a good job. Settling for a good enough for right now job is likely to be a poor investment, but unfortunately it is sometimes unavoidable. With so many dangers and pitfalls in the job search jungle, a survey of the landscape in any position will give you enough information about what kind of employment is right for you.

If you find yourself in a less than favorable position, turn it into a learning experience. Write down what you dislike about your work life, and consider what circumstances would make it better. This can give you a better sense of what you will want in your next position, and it could possibly inspire you to suggest changes in your current job.

For those young, bright-eyed college graduates who are not expecting the pitfalls such as office politics and income taxes, it’s easy to get blindsided by a job that seems appealing in the interview stages. The challenge is, without work experience, you may not know what you want.

In the jungle, you will need food, water, and shelter to survive. In the work world, salary, coworkers, and work environment are among the bare necessities. Here are some questions to help you whittle down your expectations to the bare necessities.

But first, let me explain that the bare necessities are different for everyone. Some people crave order and instruction, while others crave creativity and independence. Some people prefer benefits over salary, and some prefer great personnel dynamics.

How much money will I take home?

The least romantic (but most practical) question is often the first and only question that eager potential employees will ask. The answer to this question is more complicated than it seems. In addition to the salary, you will need to factor in the state’s income tax, cost of benefits and other costs such as commuting and purchasing new clothes. All jobs come with a price.

Employers are rarely upfront with starting salaries in the preliminary interview, which means you can be excited about a position only to be disappointed with the amount of money offered. Also, the opposite is possible. The job could sound iffy, but the money may be appealing.

Money is the bare necessity of any job, but it can’t realistically be your only gauge for whether a job will be a good fit. Before you step foot in an interview, know the absolute lowest amount you can afford to accept and be willing to negotiate based on the above factors.

Who is on my team?

This question isn’t just about who is on your team; it’s also about how your team operates. Office dynamics can ruin or strengthen a good work experience.

If you haven’t had enough experience to know what type of office environment suits you, consider what types of organizations or circumstances have allowed you to excel.

Think back to your strongest relationships among peers, employers, mentors, coaches, parents, teachers and professionals. Did you feel that the motivation was coming from a superior, your team or yourself? Chances are, you’ve found motivation in all three; but pick the one that made you feel the most successful and brand it as a bare necessity.

  1. I respect strong leadership from my superiors.
  2. I need a strong support system and open communication from my teammates on all levels.
  3. I prefer minimal supervision for maximum creativity and success.

Depending on which type of communication you prefer, you can use an above statement to open up a dialogue with your interviewer about team dynamics.  The right communication is vital to feeling motivated, inspired and fulfilled at your job.

What are the working conditions?

Considering the job, you could be on the road, at a desk or under the sun. Asking this question in advance can help clue you in to overtime expectations. It can also prepare you for the challenges of the office environment. (No office environment is perfect.)

In this instance, your health is the absolute bare necessity. Make sure your work environment offers plenty of breaks and that it won’t strain existing medical conditions. If you feel it’s appropriate, inquire about social activities (sports teams, happy hours or charity events) that allow for a sense of community beyond the office.

Whatever landscape you prefer, keep your salary, coworkers, and working conditions on your mind for your next position.

This blog post was contributed by Mariana Ashley. Mariana is a freelance blogger who primarily writes about how online education and technology are transforming academia as we know it. Having spent a good portion of her professional career trying to reform high schools in East St. Louis, Mariana is particularly interested in how online colleges in Missouri make higher education a possibility for students of all backgrounds. Please contact her at mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com if you’d like to discuss this article or education in general.

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 Lioness or Tigress? – Woman in the Workplace

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jul 28, 2010 in Building Confidence, Self Improvement, Thinking Positive

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We’re called the fairer sex, but when it comes to the workplace, there are certainly no discriminations that favor the female of the species. You can count on looks for some jobs, but for the most part, it is talent and sheer tenacity that count. Look at the feminine aspect of the jungle, more specifically, the lioness and the tigress. Undoubtedly two of the most powerful creatures in the wild, these two females may belong to the same cat family, but they’re like chalk and cheese when it comes to their profession. So the question is – as a professional woman, are you a lioness or a tigress? How do you know which species you are?

The lioness is brave, audacious and single-minded; she hunts down her prey with precision and skill; and her family means more to her than anything else. She is loyal to the point of docility, a trait that shows in how she waits for the lion to eat her kill first, after which she and the cubs eat their share. So if you’re a lioness, you’re very good at your job, extremely committed to your organization, determined to be the best at what you do, and willing to go to any lengths to achieve your company’s goals. But on the downside, you don’t stake claim to your victories; rather, you allow your boss or immediate supervisor to garner the glory while you’re happy with the scraps they throw you. You don’t like the limelight, even when you know that you deserve to be in it. And you don’t mind staying in the shadow all your life, even though deep down you long for your place in the sun.

The tigress on the other hand is a beast that prefers solitude. While she’s protective of her cubs and willing to share her kill with them and the father, she does not take too kindly to other tigers from intruding on her turf. She is neither dependant on the tiger nor subservient to him. She decides if she wants to let him share the kill or not. So if you have a tigress in you, you’re a team player even as you still retain your individuality. You don’t brook any nonsense, from your coworkers or your superiors. You demand acknowledgement for your achievements, and you know that you can do anything as well as the male of the species, even though you’re smaller in size.

So now tell me, would you prefer to be a lioness or a tigress? The answer is obvious – so if you’re a lioness, it’s time you started morphing into a tigress. It’s not that hard if you set your mind to it – the basic characteristics are all similar, it’s just your attitude that needs to change. All you need to do is to take pride in what you do and stand up for your own rights at your workplace; demand what you deserve, be your own person instead of being content to stand a few steps behind other people, and you’re well on the way to becoming a regular tigress.

This guest post is contributed by Anna Miller, who writes on the topic of degree online. She welcomes your comments at her email id: anna.miller009 @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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