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  1. Do Happy Employees Make Less Mistakes?

    April 12, 2017 by Lady Unemployed

     

    photo credit: Miranda Mylne presentation images cc via photopin (license)

    I can feel it’s officially time for me to seek out new pastures at my present job. Between coworker issues and just a general feeling that I’ve hit the wall of growth at this place, I’m just not that happy at my job anymore.

    And lately I’ve noticed I’ve started making more careless mistakes. Not reading emails completely. Getting behind on small assignments. And a few other small mistakes which made me wonder today if being happy at your job equates making less mistakes?

    Sure, we’re all human.

    Yet, somehow I don’t think me wishing for an earthquake every morning is likely to improve my ability and drive to succeed at this currentjob.

    I came across a bit of research that proves my theory. According to the Journal of Applied Business Research (Vol. No1, March 2014), “Engaged employees make fewer mistakes than disengaged employees because they want to ensure a job well done. They pay more attention to details and work with a greater sense of accuracy.” (SOURCE)

    Isn’t that interesting? When we’re engaged at our job, we’re less likely to make mistakes. We’re more accurate. We pay better attention.We WANT to do well. I ask myself – do I want to do well at this job? In all honesty, I don’t really care. Mostly, if I was being honest with myself, I just want to get through the day and go home. Considering I’m spending eight hours of my day feeling like this, I think that may be why I’m making more mistakes.

    Perusing on Google brought me to one site that recommended ways to make employees happy. One key tip jumped out at me.

    “Listen to your employees.” (read the full article here)

    The thing is, I do know I am asked for feedback at work. They send out the yearly surveys which I answer as honestly as I can without being rude. I even sit with my supervisor every few months to talk about goals. Recently, I sat with a supervisor to talk about what motivates, what I like about working there (including what I don’t like) and what perks would I appreciate.

    Yet, for me, there is a difference between someone listening and someone being heard. Anyone can listen. I listen to conversations on the bus all the time. But I feel like when you are HEARD, your words are taking action. They have an impact. They get legs and start running a marathon.

    I think what I want instead of my supervisor listening, I want active listening to happen at work. I don’t want to just suggest that working from home be more of an option. I want active listening. I want to hear in a meeting about how they know people want to work at home, but here’s why it isn’t happening or here is how it CAN happen.

    I mentioned to a supervisor recently that when people are afraid of making mistakes, they make more. She acknowledged that of course. Admitting that management worries a lot about losing money which is why the reaction is so bad.

    But can a company reduce that fear?

    I remember once when I was in my first few days of a new job (not the one I’m in now) and the person training me said, “There is no mistake you can’t make here that can’t be fixed.”

    I can’t tell you the burden that lifted off my shoulders when I heard that. I can also tell you that the place I’m working in now does not keep this truth close to heart. The last thing they would tell anyone is that mistakes are okay or even understood when you’re new. People are intolerant to mistakes and sadly that impacts the level of happiness people have at this place.

    So back to my question – do unhappy employees make more mistakes? I think the answer is yes. And I think the theory here is if you can’t make your job a happy place, it may be time to move on. What are your thoughts?


  2. Will the Mall Survive?

    April 8, 2017 by Lady Unemployed

    photo credit: Nicholas Eckhart The Old Mall via photopin (license)

    For those who haven’t heard Macy’s is closing 68 stores this year.  Sears and Kmart are closing 150 stores. I pass a Macy’s department store enroute home and the images of clearance posters are haunting. And now Payless Shoes has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.  It seems like the mall as we know may be dying.

    All of this has made me nostalgic. I think back to my childhood and teen years and think about how much fun I had going to the mall. Even if all the mall had was a few discount outlets, a coffee or ice cream shop, and some benches, you could still have a nice time. A few years ago, I visited a Barnes and Noble that I grew up near. I had spent my pre-teen years all the way to my early college years at this store. I even remember the day it opened. It was ironic and haunting when I heard recently it had closed. This was the bookstore I visited to find my 5th grade science experiment idea. It was the same one I sat in while writing short stories and poetry while I waited for my mom to pick me up when I was in high school. It was also the same one I met several first dates for coffee during my brief attempts at online dating in college. Not to mention, this was the place I bought all those countless books, journals, bookmarks, and coffees over the years.

    I’m not sure what this now closed Barnes and Noble is now. Maybe it’s become an outlet store. Maybe it’s a series of holiday shops that change every season. However, it’s part of a bigger picture. It’s attached to a modest tiny mall that never really got bigger than having a Target and a Nordstrom Rack. I haven’t been back in a few years, but I can’t imagine it could take more closing stores for it to stay afloat.

    Hearing all these major stores close down – ones that usually occupy the malls of the suburbs – reminds me that the mall as we know it has changed and may longer part of our future. To be honest, I can’t afford to shop anymore. I would love to support the place of my nostalgia, but I’m barely making ends meet as it is.

    In fact, quickly Google search abandoned malls and you will find a creepy walk down suburbia lane. In fact, there’s a whole website revolved around it. 

     

    According to NPR, many malls have returned from their watery retail grave as churches, medical centers, schools and disaster recovery centers.  About a year ago when I was venturing down the path of my obsession about abandoned malls, I found an CBS article about how one mall became “Plaza Fiesta” which had everything the local Hispanic neighborhood needed.

    I feel a tad worried about what this means for neighborhoods surrounding closing malls or malls down to minimal stores. I recall one mall I used to go to that had an amazing arcade, some cool stores, good food shops and now is down to a theater and an empty retail walk through experience. I read recently it may be revived thanks to a developer that purchased it, but I’ve seen it go down that path before and I have little hope for that actually happening.

    What do you think can be done about the malls of the past that seem to be going by the way of the dinosaurs? Do you work at a near empty mall? Do you live near one? Have you seen a mall return from its retail grave? I want to think that some innovative person will come along and revive these old relics the same way you will see old furniture piece turned into something new. Or maybe that’s just the nostalgia talking.

    UPDATE: Yesterday I watched a TED video that talked about America’s “Dead Malls” and the guy makes short films based on the dead malls of America. Well, I highly recommend you watch this but you know he made an interesting point. Late in the video he wonders why malls don’t just build a bar and add a ton of seating and then the stores will come. I was thinking that same thing. Maybe add a space for food carts, healthy options, and add a TON of better seating and I think the stores will return. Maybe the malls are going away because they aren’t advancing with the times and the interests of people anymore.


  3. 5 Grown Up Things I Dread Doing

    April 3, 2017 by Lady Unemployed

    via GIPHY

    Would it surprise you if the majority of what was on this list was money related? Probably not. So, here’s the start of a new day with LadyUnemployed.com. So, there’s a few things I need to do and some things I’ve done that I am just not a fan of. It just makes me wish this was automatically done for me and that I could just press a button and WOOSH it’s complete.

    1. Shaving my legs.

    I can’t be the only one. In reality, I hate shaving my legs. More specifically, I hate shaving my legs after the winter season is over. So, it’s spring time, a razor hasn’t touched that skin for a while and it just sucks. I can’t imagine waxing and that Nair stuff is like waiting for water to boil. I just have no patience for it. So I shaved my legs over the weekend and it was just, yuck.

    2. Doing my taxes.

    Oh yes and that deadline is just around the corner. I will likely worry about this when I know it’s the due date. It’s getting later and later for me every year too. It’s annoying and I’m always disappointed by the refund I am getting. It’s also a process for me, because there are a million forms.

    3. Paying student loans.

    I’ve exhausted the ability to put things off for my student loans and in comparison to other people, it really isn’t that bad. I pay twice a month and for the most part it isn’t breaking the bank (yet). But it sucks. It’s like when you go out to dinner and they give you a check at the end and you think to yourself, “What am I buying this for now? I’m not even hungry!”

    4. Drinking water.

    It’s one of those have to things that I do, but seriously unless I have chocolate or I’ve just gone to exercise or I’m’ hot and I need iced water, it’s a hassle. Maybe not a hassle. But I’m not a fan of the taste. I know I should appreciate that I even HAVE clean water to drink. So I do know that my appreciation level for water really isn’t as high as it should be.

    5. Commuting.

    You know I wonder if about 100 years ago if they thought we would have teleportation available by this point. In about 45 minutes, I will venture off to my commute home. And I just wish there was like a tub I could step into and ZAP I’m home in 5 minutes. I’ve looked into the whole teleportation thing though and I think the risk is far too high to ever feel comfortable doing.

     

     


  4. Lady (Un) Employed – Is This Thing On?

    April 3, 2017 by Lady Unemployed

    Long time no speak everyone!

    Yes, it has been close to six months maybe even longer since my last post. Confession – I’m sneak writing this at work.

    Well, I thought I would write a post and check in on people. I may need to rethink my promotion methods and seek out some ways for this little blog that could to get some attention.

    Anyways, life is sort of the same in some ways. I’m still at the day job I got over four and a half years ago. Still in a city I’m not too happy about. However, I think change is on the way. Have you ever felt change coming before it came? That’s how I’m feeling. Maybe that’s why I decided to revive this dusty blog.

    As the seasons turn and I rethink how I can reach new people, I thought it was time to find out if you were still out there, reading this blog. I would love to know!

    I still accept Unemployment Stories by the way. Feel free to send me an email to lady_unemployed@ladyunemployed.com if you want to share.


  5. I feel for you [An Unemployment Story]

    September 20, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

    When I was reading your story I felt like I was reading my own story wrote by someone else. We are in the same boat right now because I am also unemployed.

    Three years ago when I first arrived here in California, I had no work permit to show that I was eligible to work here. I was waiting for my work permit when I got pregnant. Then my miseries started. I wasn’t blaming my pregnancy but it was my husband who made me felt worthless. He was telling everybody that I don’t do anything but sleep and eat at home. Since he was the only one working to pay our bills, I think it was so unfair of him to make me feel so worthless. He doesn’t know that I was the only one keeping the whole place organized. I felt like I was in hell, there was nobody to talk to, and when he comes home, he goes straight to playing his video games. I was so hopeless and and I felt that I was greatly abandoned. I told myself that ones I give birth and have my work permit I will look for a job right away. I had C-Section and and I was supposed to rest for at least 2 months but my goal was to get a job because i can no longer stand being humiliated.

    So I got a job interview and they hired me. I was so happy. It was like a load off my shoulder. Then my husband started treating me nicely. I felt like God left me alone in times that I needed him. I was praying all the time, begging to please listen to me. When I finally got my job, I realized that there’s really a right time for everything. Please don’t lose hope. It is not your fault that you don’t have a job.  know you are doing everything at your best. I am sure that God will one day answer your prayers. I hope also that your wife will realized how hard your situation is.

    Good luck and keep looking for a job.. you deserve to have one.


  6. Getting Rejected for Being Too Nice [An Unemployment Story]

    September 18, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

    After nearly 4 months of receiving rejection emails, going on interviews and never hearing from the interviewer again, and sending out hundreds of resumes into the electronic abyss, I thought that I was getting used to this. The rejections stung a little less, and I made a tentative peace with the fact that I’d get about 1 call for every 20 resumes I’d send out.

    But this one, this one got under my skin. I applied for a freelance writing job – blogging for a small business owner who was trying to launch a particular business. I sent the requested writing sample – an article that I researched and wrote on her specific business. To protect her confidentiality, let’s say her business was baking cakes. I am not a baker, so I spent a good deal of time reading about how to bake a cake, and wrote an awesome article about cake baking and why people should hire this person to bake their cakes.

    Within an hour of sending in my resume and writing sample, the business owner emailed, saying how much she liked my article. We scheduled a phone interview for the next morning.  I then spent more time looking at her website, and reading the existing blog articles. The business was only a few months old, and there were about a dozen blog articles on the website. To say these articles were poorly written would be kind. There were typos, grammatical errors, and a stock photo graphic that, when paired with its particular title, alluded to pornography. I understood why she was hiring a freelance blogger, and I felt sure that I could help her business.

    We spoke the next morning, discussing my experience and her needs. I felt that my qualifications more then met what she was looking for, and I was willing, no eager, to work for the low flat rate she was offering. The money wouldn’t have paid for a week’s worth of groceries, but after being unemployed for so long, I just wanted to feel useful again! She stated that she was deciding between me and another candidate, and promised to call by the end of the day. As the hours slipped by, and my phone stayed silent, I knew it wasn’t a good sign.

    I emailed this morning, a professional follow-up. Her response as to why I wasn’t chosen: “the deciding factor was he read my blog posts and pointed out typos or grammatical errors in one of the posts.”

    My heart sank. Silly me, thinking it would be rude and unprofessional to point out all the errors on the existing website during my interview.  My recommended changes were neatly filed away in a Word document, waiting until I was hired for implementation. I’m angry with myself for not being assertive enough, or savvy enough to figure out a polite way to say “I want you to hire me, so let me tell you everything that’s wrong with your existing blog.” Mostly, I want to email her back and tell her that she’s making a big mistake, because I had some really great ideas for her blog and her business.

    Lesson fully learned though: no more Ms. Nice Kate. I’m putting on my assertiveness cape and my ass-kicking boots, and flying off into the electronic abyss again.


  7. Wrong Choices [An Unemployment Story]

    September 16, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

    People meet you and want to greet you not for you but because of your designated seat in the office. I was a fool in love and a topper among my classmates. I graduate and started working as a Teacher’s Assistant just to see my boyfriend. Wrong Choice.

    I started working as a primary sector when i should be in a corporate sector just for the sake of my boyfriend. Wrong Choice. He broke up with me that year and i realized i ruined my personal and professional life. People who used to be friends with me were all gone because now they didn’t need for notes, but have a better position in a corporate sector. I came to know about the real meaning of friends for life then. I didn’t lose hope and secured myself a job as a HR Executive in a research firm. I was so happy then, but later my friend wanted me to set her up with her crush so she manipulated me to work for that guy and he turned out to be another wrong choice. My status turned to be an Unemployed.

    I again secured myself a HR Executive position in a software house where I got to learn that you have to be a slut to move further in your career rather than being a good employee. A slut who wanted my job slept with that boss and I got terminated for a fake reason. The boss was an asshole. He was rude, arrogant bastard who lied about me to the whole office and made me design all the HR processes and polices and kicked me out of the office and gave my position to the slut who knows nothing about HR.  I regret leaving an amazing internship for this stupid job. Wrong choice.

    Well, my status was unemployed again. Being in an Asian family means if you don’t have a job then get married. My love life is also full of wrong choices as my professional life. Then my same friend told me to work in her office. I was again happy to have job but later I got to know that she wants me to work as her assistant with no pay or offer letter and become a liability for the firm to hire me. Hmm… that turned out to be an interesting scenario. Later she turned down that opportunity because her arrogance come in the way when i said i don’t want to work this way. Pretty twisted!

    For making things worse, my family is forcing me to marry a random guy they seem fit for me. I know my choice in guys sucks, but who wants to marry a random guy. I wake up at noon and sit all day watching terrible shows on T.V making myself numb to think about my professional and personal life. I have given so many interviews in almost every organization but I don’t know where I am going wrong cause I am not able to secure myself a single job in  this 6 months time period. Even the guy i liked broke up with me. WOW!!

    So, currently,

    • No boyfriend
    • No friends
    • No self confidence
    • Being forced to get married
    • Do nothing and stay in my room all day
    • Gained 5 kgs and became fat and ugly
    • Too broke to get into gym
    • depression made me too lazy to do something about my life
    • I owe a lot of money to a lot of people
    • I don’t have a single penny in my bank accounts

    But, i motivate myself everyday to workout and focus on myself in this time of despair and depression. Keeps myself positive during the day and cry at night. This has effected my self confidence, self respect and sanity in a lot of ways. I don’t know what to say in the end because life sucks. So read my blog, i write really good.

    https://lifeofahopelessoptimist.wordpress.com


  8. Employer contesting my unemployment [An Unemployment Story]

    September 14, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

    My employer fired me. They tried to get me to sign a legal document stating that I left voluntarily for personal reasons. This was not the truth. I told them to amend the document to say that I was let go because I was not a good fit for the job. I considered signing the amended document but decided not to. The employer said if I don’t sign it they would contest my unemployment which they ended up doing. However I won the unemployment case. Now my ex employer is appealing the decision and I have to go to a hearing. They clearly lied about why I was let go, so I am not sure why they are appealing. What could they possibly say? I was never written up for any misconduct. It is their word against mine. I am nervous to attend this hearing alone. My income is too high to get a free lawyer yet it is not that high that I can afford one on my own. Also the work environment was hostile and I was bullied while employed there. I am concerned that these bullies will come to testify. I am not sure how to proceed.


  9. Now What? [An Unemployment Story]

    September 12, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

    I just stumbled upon this blog, and have to share my experience. At the age of 57,  I left a job in banking after 16 years. The stress, the politics, the disrespect was literally killing me. I smoked, drank, took antidepressants and finally realized, it was not worth my life. I had enough in savings to live for awhile without worry, so I took the plunge. 

    I had experience in  banking, retail, medical office, and felt I would learn to live on less income and be happy. And, yes, I was very happy. I was able to spend time with my grandchildren, got back into flower gardening, crafts, birdwatching, it has been great. I didn’t need to smoke or drink and was able to come off all the meds!

    However, while I continued to search for work during this time, I was having no luck at all. I had never had such a hard time finding work. So, over a year later, still no job, no income, I have lost my car, my home, and am living with my son. Don’t get me wrong, he is wonderful, but I have been single and extremely independent for many years. This is not what I planned.

    So, sharing a little part of my story is my way of asking, now what? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. No one can solve this but me, I have just run out of ideas….

     

     

     


  10. 5 Interview Questions that Should be Asked, But Aren’t [A Guest Post]

    September 10, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

    I’ve recently found myself on ‘That side of the table.’  You know the one.  The side where you sit alone and face a panel of inquisitors who hold crisp, white sheets of paper with questions that require you to summarize your career in two minute intervals.

    It’s been over 10 years since I’ve had to go through the interview process and I can confidently say the interview questions I’ve been asked are nearly the same ones I answered 10 years ago.

    Questions like:

    – ‘Tell me/us about a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation and how did you handle it?’

    -‘What has been your biggest success?’

    – ‘Have you worked with a difficult coworker? How did you you manage your relationship while working with them?

    The last one makes me want to grin and shout out, ‘Nope.  In 16 years, I’ve never worked with a single person I didn’t like!  Next question, please.’

    These questions have become so standardized that if you Google, ‘interview questions’ you’ll find hundreds of sites offering you the latest, greatest way to answer THE interview question(s) that have been around for 15-20 years.  To put that into perspective, August marked the 10th year since Google’s initial public offering (IPO).  

    Driving home from a recent interview, I wondered why we continue to recycle the same, stale questions; why we are using questions that predate the Blackberry or even the wide use of cellular phones.  Perhaps it’s a human resources best practice thing; perhaps these questions are really informative for some people, or perhaps it’s simply because we have too many emails, too many phone calls, too many everything that precludes us from rethinking the whole interview process.  So it gets pushed off.  Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … right?

    Well, it’s broke.

    Interviews are meant to act as the gatekeepers to your organization.  If the art, and importance, of the interview is going to remain a useful tool, then questions need to be updated for the 21st Century.  Here’s an example of what I mean: during the numerous interviews I’ve been on, not once have I been asked about my knowledge of social media and how I used it for a successful campaign (which is necessary for almost every field these days).  I was, however, asked about the jobs I held in the early aughts.

    With these experiences in mind, I thought I’d take a stab at five questions that I feel interviewers should be asking, but aren’t:

    1. Over the last few years social media has rapidly changed.  How have these changes impacted your work?
    2. Which would you rather have, XX work from home days or an extra week of vacation.  Why?
    3. Where do you see our industry going in 2-3 years?  How are you preparing for those changes?
    4. Where do see a need for improvement in our organization?
    5. What’s the next step in technology and how do you think we can get in front of it now?

    You’ll notice all of these questions focus on today’s technological world and how they are working with/in it.  The questions are also diverse enough to get a better understanding of the interviewee.  Take the work from home question.  The answer may indicate better productivity and less stress on an employee if they work from home, or someone may want an extra week of vacation to take a longer break from work to recharge.  See how easy and fun this is!

    Now, like all interviews, it’s time to wrap things up and ask you if you have any questions.  In this case, what questions do you think employers should be asking their recruits?  Is there a particularly painful question you’ve been asked that you’d like to share?