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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. Lesson of the Week – I Need More Mental Health Days.

    July 20, 2016 by Lady Unemployed

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    I tend to not take many mental health days. This year I think I’ve taken maybe one or two. But in reality, as I learned the hard way yesterday, they are necessary part of adult working life. At least, that’s what I think.

    So, not to overshare, but I am going through the process of taking care of my financial situation. I’ll divulge more another time, but it’s stressing me out significantly and I spent the good majority of my past weekend dealing with it. It didn’t help yesterday I ran across an extremely rude person who is supposed to be helpful in this whole process and she just crumpled me yesterday emotionally as a result. Sad to say I was dealing with this at work.

    After the call, I went back to my desk thinking I was fine, until a couple of hours later,  a coworker informed me about a mistake I made. When I tried to fix it, I made ANOTHER mistake to fix the previous mistake. Well, I ended up in tears during my lunch hour over everything that happened. I knew then that I should go home. I told my boss – again, in tears – that I needed to go home, I wasn’t feeling well. She said it was fine and I left.

    Now today I am feeling more refreshed. Stressed still, but refreshed. I think I need to do better about checking in with myself about how I’m doing. If I had clued in, maybe I have known to take Monday as a mental health day rather than letting the stress build.

    Overall, though, I think mental health days are important. I do have a hard time with it though. The whole premise seems to be gone on so many of my fellow coworkers (i.e. those who NEVER take sick days) and so I worry about how it looks sometimes. Not to mention the whole thing of “do I really want to use my precious dwindling PTO hours for this?”

    But sometimes I need to do what’s right for me, and not worry so much about what other people are doing.


  3. Can You Always Trust Glassdoor Reviews?

    April 13, 2015 by Lady Unemployed

    I tend to monitor my company’s glassdoor page. Mostly because it shows the evolving personality of the company and how happy my coworkers really are. From my point of view, I can spot right away the people who were fired and left a negative review. I can also spot the people who are management’s favorites and would never say a bad thing about the company. Some people do see things honestly, but for the most part, I feel like the reviews are split between people who left on bad terms and people who were asked by management to leave a good review.

    So this left me with the question, can you trust Glassdoor?

    I do think you can sometimes. Just because a company has one five star review, it doesn’t mean they are perfect. It does give you a good idea of what to expect, though. You can pretty much bank on the fact that it isn’t a horrid place to work. I think when a company begins to accumulate reviews is when the honesty levels start to skew.

    I dug around and found this post about Glassdoor. The honesty behind these anonymous Glassdoor reviews are questioned by this blogger, Ask the Headhunter.  He says, “Any disgruntled employee or job applicant can trash a company publicly. An HR department can spam Glassdoor, singing its own praises..” He continues by questioning the anonymous reviews and wonders the truth to them.

    I don’t question the need for anonymity on Glassdoor (hey, I’m anonymous, so I won’t judge). But my questioning comes from the fact that just because someone had an awful experience somewhere, doesn’t mean you will too. But like somew people who commented on the above mentioned article said, if you see a common thread, that’s where the truth is.

    But like this other article says, “When you fix the underlying problems, your Glassdoor reviews will change all on their own.” A sudden turn around in reviews, though, probably isn’t a sign that the company has changed. I noticed a surge in positive reviews once I spotted that my employer’s rating started to drop. It’s plunged again thanks to the latest one star review.

    All of this still leaves me wondering though how much you can trust Glassdoor and what it says about companies. I don’t think you can really trust the all-good-nothing-bad reviews. But is it just me, or do you trust the mostly-negative review? If a company has 75 reviews and teeters towards a one star, I’ll stay away from it like the plague. If it has 5, 5-star reviews, I’ll also stay away from it. Me, I like a good healthy 3 star, 3 and a half star review. It’s reasonable and you can usually weed out the really honest ones.

    Have you ever written a Glassdoor review? Has Glassdoor ever influenced you to take a job or reject a job offer? I want to know your thoughts.

     


  4. 5 Signs Your Employer Isn’t Doing As Well As They Think They Are

    February 21, 2015 by Lady Unemployed


    Lay offs are in the air again at my company. Not to mention, things have slowed down significantly in my own job duties. I’m stagnating in my department and I’m no longer getting work from the creative department. Right now everything is screaming at me that it’s time for me to leave. It doesn’t feel right yet – and no, that isn’t the fear of change talking – but that’s another conversation for another day.

    Anyway, despite the smiles and encouraging meetings saying how WELL the company is doing and how STRONG we are, I am noticing small inconsistencies with these statements.

    1. Remodeling seems more like cutting the fat.

    They’ve repainted the walls, sure. Bathrooms seem to be more organized. But I’m not seeing a whole lot of remodeling actually happening. The carpet is the same, the break room looks the same, the desk layout is the same. Pretty much everything is the same. Except books, artwork, and excess furniture are given away to employees as well as donated.

    It might just be a slow process, but it just doesn’t seem right to me.

    2. Layoffs are happening.

    I feel like this is the most obvious sign. Worse is when layoffs happen without some big depressing meeting to follow. Just the other day, two employees were let go right after a meeting that spewed (false) uplifting messages about how well the company is doing and how this year will be a great one.

    The people let go were directly related to dealing with clients and if the clients leave that means more lay offs will happen.

    3. Key people are leaving.

    Since this year began, the revolving door quality of the company has slowed down a bit, but I noticed a couple of key people have left for new opportunities. According to IAAP (International Association of Administrative Professionals), one of the signs a company is going under is high level employees have started to leave.

    The most notable person leaving is a guy in human resources who usually has the most positive attitude and engaging quality. No, he’s not a manager, but still, he’s definitely not someone I would have expected to leave.

    4. There aren’t many new clients coming in.

    If I recall correctly, in the most recent company meeting, the main boss stated that we need to start pursuing the “big clients” and that smaller clients require way too much effort for little return. It makes sense to me from what I understand about things. But I don’t see the company I work for getting new clients like this. They aren’t getting high revenue generating clients these days. In fact, from the clients they do have, I am noticing more and more reduced budgets and spending.

    5. When one big mouth takes vacation, you can see how quiet things really are.

    You know that person in the office that always seems to generate noise? That no matter where they are, conversations bubble upon around them like new spring flowers. Well, just let that person take a vacation and suddenly things are dead as a doornail. The office doesn’t seem nearly that busy any more.

    I feel like this is one small sign. It isn’t a big one but it flies in the face of a bubbling percolating business. It tells me that they know how to hire and encourage the right personalities so things SEEM busy.

    Like I always say about my insights, this may just be me. Also I really think it only takes one time of being laid off to be cautious and hypersensitive about it happening again. I’m also certain that the company won’t go under overnight and that it takes time for things to happen (boil a frog slowly metaphor anyone?). But no one’s job is secure no matter what the reports say about economic growth and no matter how many encouraging meetings my company has.

    What are signs that you’ve noticed about a company going under?


  5. Are Layoffs Bad for Business?

    January 8, 2015 by Lady Unemployed

    A couple of months ago, my company did layoffs and about 10 to 12 people were let go. Luckily I did survive, but about two months later I still sense things aren’t right.

    It left me wondering what the true impact of layoffs and whether if can hurt more than help. Two months later after these layoffs, two people have left the company I hadn’t thought would leave any time soon. For me, I am trying to transfer departments, but if nothing happens my reasoning staying will be gone.

    Meanwhile, I’m hearing conversations about business not doing well from coworkers alongside talk of renovations and remodeling getting done. I think the problem here is just bad management. But the tragic thing is that work loads are higher and people are getting behind on things.

    I’m also seeing fewer “new clients” meetings and tours and even more emails about existing clients spending less money. Do fewer people mean more work and less energy for their coworkers picking up the tasks left behind?

    I’m watching this closely and keeping my ears out. I do know in the department I’m in, particularly for my position, they can’t afford to lose one more person without losing the ability to keep up overall. So I feel I’m okay for now until they figure out how to outsource my job and replace me with people who will do it for much cheaper.


  6. My Five Work and Career Goals for 2015

    December 30, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    2015 is around the corner and that means all of us are lining up our resolutions and goals to inspire us into the new year. For me, for the first time since I’ve had this blog (I think), I want to put together a list of career related goals for myself. I’m hoping this will keep me on track and help build better habits too.

    1) Stop eating out of my boss’ candy jar.

    Okay there are only so many mini-snickers you can eat before you realize how crappy they are for your body. So my number one goal is to completely eliminate this habit. And no more left-over-sprinkle-kitchen-hunting either. If I have yogurt for breakfast, I just have yogurt. I don’t need to toss in crap to an otherwise healthy start of my day.

    2) Transfer Departments.

    I’ve been in the same department for over two years now, and due to my big mouth, I’ve stayed STUCK in this entry-level position for this whole year. One year longer than I wanted. I expressed to my boss I wanted projects from the creative department and she honored that by giving me time in my day for it. She also honored that by not giving me additional responsibility in the department I AM in right now. As a result, my job duties haven’t changed too much and the amount of work I get from the creative department doesn’t come by as often as I would like.

    I have taken a step in the right direction, though, because I spotted an opening in the creative department and I told my boss I wanted to try for it. She approved. I told the manager of the creative department, but I really don’t think anything will happen anytime soon, because of their recent layoffs. Overall, I’m very proud I spoke up.

    3) Take more time off.

    I found out recently I have approximately 80 hours of paid time off accumulated. This is a result of feeling guilty for taking days off and my boss making the whole requesting process a total pain. But my goal for this year is to take a lot more time off and actually USE my PTO rather than letting it sit there.

    4) If I don’t get a transfer, find a new job.

    I officially got the okay to get projects from the creative department back in May. It’s been over 6 months since then and I’ve been patient. My promise to myself if I don’t get transfered into that department is to find a new job. I want to be careful about where I go, though, and I won’t start looking around until about March. I’ve been at this job two years and, as you can tell by my blog, it has been tough. I have made it work though and for that I am proud.

    5) Learn new software.

    I recently won a new tablet that allowed me to download Office Suite (that includes acccess and publisher) to the tablet AS WELL AS a separate computer. I plan on downloading those two programs to my laptop and getting a book from the library (or maybe just tutorials online) to learn those programs. If I can put those on my resume (and really mean it when I say I know it), I will feel so proud of myself. It will also help me if I decide to look around for a new job.

    So that’s my list for 2015! Do you have any career goals for the new year?


  7. Lessons Learned in the Business World – Knowing How to Say Someone’s Wrong

    October 21, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    Today I had a major lesson in knowing how to be tactful when working on a project with a senior-level person. So, to give you some background details, I am finally FINALLY getting work from the creative department at work and one of the senior copywriters will bring me in on projects.

    This is one of the second ones I’ve worked on with them and I was somewhat familiar with the details of the project (it was based on web searches, and SEO stuff which I’ve gotten familiar with thanks to blogging). Well, once I got the directive from this copywriter on this, I immediately knew they had misunderstood the directions.

    Assuming maybe I misunderstood their misunderstanding, I went ahead with the project with the details I knew to be correct. You see, for this project it was creating a meta-description (which basically is the search description that comes up when you Google something) and they had confused THAT with the paid ad search that comes up when you Google something.

    To avoid boring you with the nitty gritty details, once I shared my work in progress, basically they started correcting me on my approach on this. That’s when I began to gently point out the difference in the two different Google searches. One is paid. one is not. Mostly the argument was over word count and they didn’t want me to be as long winded as I was (and I knew you could at least use a certain number of characters before Google truncated your description).

    Okay, nitty gritty, sorry.

    So, I gently, but firmly stayed on my point. They brought in another person who was more of an expert who explained in detail the difference between a paid search and search result information that comes up naturally. Lo and behold, they said the exact same thing I did.

    I feel so mature for handling this in this way. In the past, I may have just followed this senior person’s direction in hopes someone else will point out the error. But I knew my information and I knew it was right.

    The key lesson here is there is always a way to teach someone else and share information. No matter what level a person is in a company, it doesn’t mean they are always right because of their status. It also doesn’t mean that you’re automatically wrong if you are at an entry level status. We all have something we can learn.

    As for my project, I may not have received a big banner “you are correct!” but I at least got them to admit they “misguided me.” It’s something at least.


  8. The Job Applicant Hierarchy – Who Really Gets the Job? [by Marc Shaeffer]

    August 9, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    who really gets the job?

     

    Overall, the job market is getting better.   Slowly getting better, that is.  Personally, I’ve been having more job interviews in the last 6 months than anytime time period since I was let go from my full-time job in 2010.   Last Friday, there were signs that more discouraged workers that were once sitting on the sidelines were now re-entering the workforce.   The competition for jobs, however, is still a concern.   As of May, there is still an average of more than 2 unemployed people per 1 open position.   If you factor in people with jobs, career fields and regional markets, that number is actually higher.   With more people entering the workforce, that ratio may not fluctuate much in the coming months.

    Anyone who’s been out of his or her career field for a long time knows how competitive the job market has been.   When you apply for an open position at a company, there’s always a hierarchy of candidates that hiring mangers have to consider:

    1. Internal candidates with similar experience
    2. External candidates with similar experience who have a job.
    3. External candidates with similar experience who have been out of work less than 3 months.
    4. External candidates with similar experience who have been out of work less than 6 months.
    5. External candidates with similar experience who have been out of work more than 6 months.

    And then somewhere at the bottom near #1000:

    External candidates with no relevant experience who might just be trying to fill a job search quota for unemployment compensation.

    Technically, I’m at #5 in this pecking order.   I’m under-employed, but I have not found any (non-volunteer) work in my career field for over 6 months.   This is something I have come to realize shortly after the completion of even the most successful interviews.   Recently, I interviewed for a full-time position at a media company involved with theatrical program distribution.   I got my interview suit dry-cleaned.   Went to the barber for a trim (and to de-emphasize my gray hair).   Did all my research regarding the company.   Prepared all kinds of questions I might be asked.   Come time for the interview, I was ready.   Spoke with confidence with the hiring manager.   After it was over, I felt I had a very good shot at the next round of interviews.

    A week later, I got an email on a Friday afternoon from the hiring manager.   He thanked me personally for coming in to talk and that I had “great qualities and a professional attitude” but he added, however, that “we will be going in a different direction and will not need your services at this time.” When I asked a follow-up question regarding what key characteristic the other favored candidates had that I may have been lacking, his reply included this cryptic sentence:

    There are a set of individuals with similar attributes and experiences similar to yours that are currently more ingrained in our industry that make for a better fit.”

    In others words, I was being passed over because I wasn’t a #1 or #2 on the Job Applicant Hierarchy.   Even in this slow job recovery, being a #5 sometimes feels like being all the way down to number #1000.   The only way to improve your chances is stronger job growth or maybe finding a new career path altogether.   I’m at a point where I may have to choose the latter option.

    We’ll see.       

    What do you think of the job hierarchy? Who really gets the job you are interviewing for? 

    You can read more about Marc Shaeffer and is job searching journey by visiting his blog at http://laboringtowork.weebly.com.


  9. 5 Reasons Why Employers Repost the Same Job

    August 2, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

    employers repost
    This past week my mom and older brother, who are both out of work, responded to job postings that later got reposted. In fact, after the second round of interviews, my mom found out that the job she was interviewing for was reposted!  How cruel is this?

    I find this baffling, rude, and pointless. Pointless, because I wonder who this employer thinks they will get with this new listing. The odds are that the majority of applicants from the first round might reapply to that same job again.

    Yet, aside from assuming employers are asshats and do this to be jerks, I decided to search online for an answer.

    I found 5 reasons employers repost that makes the most sense to me.

    1) There are multiple openings for the same position.

    I think this is reasonable. The company I work for regularly hires for this entry level position and over the last 6 months, they’ve had a lot of people leave, and so that means they’ve hired multiple people to replace the ones who left. The job gets reposted, because there are multiple positions (the fact that one person left inside of two months is an entirely different story).

    Source: http://www.askamanager.org/2010/08/what-does-it-mean-that-job-i.html

    2) They want to keep the candidate pool open and active until the job offer is accepted.

    I like the idea of this, although it does put a bit of a Pollyanna spin to the whole idea of job searching and applying. Somehow I wonder how picky do they think job seekers are these days that they worry one or several people may decline the position offered.

    Source: http://www.prepary.com/what-does-it-mean-if-a-job-is-reposted-while-im-interviewing/

    3) An overly obsessive perfectionist hiring manager who wants Mr. or Mrs. Perfect Job Applicant.

    I think this makes the most sense to me. Unless you fit the ideal image of what they are seeking, you may see the job you are interviewing for get reposted until they find just the right one. I think this is a sign of a bad boss and one that is never satisfied.

    Source: http://www.indeed.com/forum/gen/Job-Interviews/Employers-reposting-jobs-after-weeks-interviews/t444168

    4) The person they hired didn’t like the job.

    I remember I walked off a job that I had for just one week. When I ended my first week in tears, I knew it wasn’t the right fit. So, I am sure the job ad got reposted in no time flat. Which means someone out there saw that repost. Hopefully they re-applied and it worked out for them better than it did for me.

    So, if you have applied to something and a month later you see it posted again, you can probably assume that someone out there didn’t like the job.

    Source: http://www.cluewagon.com/2009/08/5-reasons-the-employer-re-posted-the-ad/

    5) The required number of candidates haven’t applied to the position.

    For companies that are a touch on the massive side or ones that have strict guidelines and rules about job postings, I could see this being a likely reason that a job gets reposted. If they don’t have enough people moving onto the next stage, they may repost to see if they can increase the pool of possible applicants to satisfy HR expectations.

    Source: http://www.askamanager.org/2010/08/what-does-it-mean-that-job-i.html

    6) Bonus Conspiracy Theory: The repost isn’t the employer at all, but a sneaky job candidate hoping to see what their competition is like.

    I spotted this horrible “tip” once when I was looking for job search tips. A site recommended you post a job online similar to the job you are looking to find and see who replies.

    For these reposts, especially when they are just one week within the post date (and most especially on sites like craigslist), I wonder if someone out there, just copies verbatim what the other job ad was (maybe that real one you applied to) and reposts to see what the competition is like (and even reduce the pool of applicants to the real ad).

    Obviously, this is why I described this as my conspiracy theory, but I think there may be a little truth to this.

    Bottom line is that as the job market gets worse, job searching will become more like the Hunger Games.


  10. Company Goals & When You Don’t Have an Answer

    July 22, 2014 by Lady Unemployed

     

    goals

    Next week is my “company goals” meeting with my department VP (a non-intimidating passive lady who barely speaks to anyone at the entry level status) and my department supervisor (who seems to hate the idea of actually supervising).

    This is an ongoing, quarterly concern for me as I’m not really sure what I should say, especially in this past year when I’ve revealed to them that I don’t have an interest in advancing in this particular department. I’ve taken on one – and only one – project with the department of my interest (the elusive creative department) but I haven’t sat down and talked with the director since my last project. He’s supposed to be back this week and I’ve walked past his office a few times and so far don’t see him.

    My plan of attack is this –

    1) By Thursday, if I haven’t seen the director of creative return, I will send an email to the associate director and ask him if he’s willing to sit down with me about my possible future in the department.

    Depending on the status levels in the company, at least from what I know about my own department, “associate” directors tend to be more involved in the day-to-day muck then the “directors.”

    I’m hoping by someone else aside from the director of creative knowing my interest, it increases the likelihood that I may get more work and attention.

    2) By Monday, after this conversation, I will send an email to my “supervising-hating” supervisor and ask her if I could work with her on setting goals.

    Maybe it’s time I’m honest. I may not want to advance in the department, but it isn’t like I want to do data entry anymore. This part of my job drives me crazy and just doesn’t give me the challenge I am looking for in a job.

    3) And lastly, say my prayers that a job I’ve applied to contacts me.

    This week and early next week would be a wonderful time to set up a job interview, I’ll be less worried about these meetings.

    Overall though, in all honesty, I seriously think these are a waste of time. After talking with a few low-level cohorts like me, I’m not sure any of us really see the point in this. I think this an HR attempt at advancing careers and it just doesn’t have any follow through.

    Does your company make you set goals? How have you approached these types of meetings?