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5 Tips for a Successful Career

The politics and the requirements for having a successful career are changing in the wake of the Internet revolution. Certain things such as privacy and separation of the work and home life are not as important any more. Many more people are performing well in careers that have less to do with their college degree and more to do with their personal skill set.

Below are five tips for a successful career in the modern era.

1) Love what you do

In times of recession, employers want to know that you want to be there working that job. The worst hire is the person who is doing it for the money.

If you limit yourself to apply only to jobs that you truly enjoy, you will find that your selectivity will pay off with a much more positive response. Even if you do not get the first job that you apply for, this positive response will keep you going until you actually land one.

2) Specificity in your skill set is an asset

In past generations, people had to wear many hats. However, now your resume should detail your specific certifications and skill sets, especially when you are dealing with the IT industry.

Employers do not want to train employees any more. They want to know that you can step right into the position and do the job at hand immediately. In order to make yourself the most attractive to employers, be specific in your presentation of what you can do.

There are direct paths to a successful career. But there are plenty of indirect paths, too.

Clayton M. Christensen

3) Do not expect long term employment

You should begin looking for your next job from the second that you get your first one. No matter how good your performance is, the very task-oriented nature of the business market today means that an employer may let you go after a superb performance because they simply have no more need for your skill set.

4) Learn on the job

If you like a company and want to stay there, take it upon yourself to learn other aspects of the job and make yourself irreplaceable. You will need a great deal of self-discipline to do this.

The boss will not necessarily want to take the time to teach you other skills, but if he or she sees you taking this responsibility on your own, it will definitely be rewarded. This is really like looking for another job (tip 3) within the same company.

5) Learn the politics

The bottom line is that people want to work with people they like, especially in times of recession. Learn the internal politics as quickly as you can and find your place within it. Make it a point to make yourself likable.

5 Ways to Overcome Fatigue at Work

Everyone has days here and there where they just can’t seem to wake up, but if you find yourself tired at work every day, you may be dealing with fatigue. Fortunately, there are some simple ways you can fight fatigue and keep yourself at the top of your game for your work day.

Smarter snacks

Food can be a good way to jump-start your body when you’re running low on energy, but don’t reach for cookies or greasy potato chips. Fruit, veggies, and cheese are all good options to help give your body a little boost of energy in the afternoon. Pretzels and baked chips can also be good (in moderation).

More magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral that has many functions in the human body, one of which is breaking down glucose and turning it into energy. If your magnesium levels are low, so is your energy. To make sure you’re getting enough, make sure you’re including some magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as almonds, bran cereal, or fish.

More active movement

If you’re tired, it’s tempting to move as little as possible on your way to work and at work, but the more you move around, the more oxygen flows through your body, and the more energetic you’ll feel. Exercising in the morning is a great way to get some energy for the rest of the day, but if you start feeling fatigued in the middle of the day, try getting up and walking around on a break.

Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.

Dale Carnegie

Less technology

If you’re at a technology-heavy job, this can be difficult, but multitasking with technology means your brain never gets a break from constant electronic interaction. Try to set aside at least an hour a day where you don’t use technology at all. Turn off your cell phone during lunch. Read for an hour in the evenings instead of checking up on emails.

More variety in routine

This helps keep the brain active and keeps you on your toes. Change up your travel route or exercise routine or take an evening class to give you something new to look forward to once or twice a week. Stimulate your brain by presenting it with new challenges, and you’re less likely to feel fatigued at work.

If none of these options work, you may want to get checked for an underlying medical cause to help fight your fatigue, but most people find that changing just a few simple things about their day helps them feel like a whole different person. You’d be surprised at how just a little thing like more movement or better snacks can drastically improve your work productivity!

People Are More Afraid of Losing Their Jobs

When someone says, “I don’t want to be unemployed,” that person joins millions of other workers who are worried about the future. Losing a job can be a difficult experience even in a good economy, but when the economy struggles, so does the job market. Millions of long-term unemployed workers testify to the fact they can’t find a job after losing the one they had. Therefore, many people should make keeping their current job a priority.

Even a great resume is no guarantee of getting a job, because a long record of experience and education can be something of a disadvantage. With so many people out of work, industry veterans are at a disadvantage to younger workers who can start at a lower salary. With so many students it’s an added problem when it comes to finding a job.

There are some things workers can do now to make them less vulnerable to a layoff.

Become more valuable. Workers who offer the most value to their company are most likely to keep their job. Any employee should evaluate his or her position and find ways to become essential to their company’s mission. This could mean developing new skills. A wise employee will find out what skills their employer needs and then learn them. This works well, especially if the needed skills are in short supply in the current workforce.

Building skills may mean taking some college classes or doing some self-study, but the extra time spent in personal and professional development will pay off when layoff time comes. Those with fewer skills have less value and will be the first ones out the door.

When people under the age of 30 are applying for jobs, it is common to see resumes that touch on education but emphasize experience – both in life and in the workplace. The job market has changed so much over the years that it is now quite common for young adults to have already worked for a variety of different companies and to even have held multiple positions of the type that would have occupied a person’s entire career a few decades ago. In fact, aside from those who work in family businesses or dedicate themselves to certain fields, such as teaching, law enforcement and a variety of jobs typically falling into the blue-collar category, it is now perfectly normal for people to make multiple career changes throughout their working years.

If you’re brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with another hello.

Paulo Coelho

Employment experience and job duties are essential to any resume, and life experiences that show you are a well-rounded person with diverse interests and an interesting life can certainly help you stand out as a unique applicant in a large pool of resumes. At the same time, it is essential to keep in mind that older generations generally place a higher importance on education. This means that you must ensure you have included a strong, well-written education section on your resume that spells out your areas of study, academic achievements, and degrees, diplomas or certificates earned.

Improving skills is another way to boost survivability in the workplace. Anyone with a commitment to excellence will be the last to go. Anyone can do average work and produce average results, but those who produce exceptional results will keep their jobs while others are in the unemployment line.

More than half of people who leave their jobs do so because of their relationship with their boss. Smart companies make certain their managers know how to balance being professional with being human. These are the bosses who celebrate an employee’s success, empathize with those going through hard times, and challenge people, even when it hurts.

Travis Bradberry

There’s an old saying that says, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Knowing the right people in a company can make the difference between beans and steak at supper. Those who want to keep their jobs will make a concerted, planned effort to set goals for meeting and pleasing the right people at the office. When the decision makers start making the lay-off list, the workers who they don’t know will be at the top.

Finally, a worker who doesn’t want to be unemployed should make his boss look good. When a worker finds ways to help the boss by taking on new responsibilities, completing special projects and providing useful ideas; that worker will have a job for a long time.

Guidelines for Working During Maternity Leave

Many new moms imagine maternity leave as a relaxing time to bond with their new baby. You might picture spending your maternity leave taking long walks with your baby, gazing into his precious eyes and reading your favorite children’s books over and over as he drifts off to sleep.

However, many moms face the reality of feeling pressured to work during their maternity leave. Conversely, some moms are disappointed that their office does not remain in contact with them during their time away. Each mom has different expectations when it comes to maternity leave. It is important to discuss both your needs and your employer’s needs long before the baby arrives.

Pre-planning and clear communication are the keys to a successful maternity leave. Several months before your due date, request a meeting with your supervisor. During this meeting, discuss the details of your upcoming maternity leave. How long will you be away from the office? Are you willing to accept phone calls or e-mails? Who will cover your normal duties during your leave? What paperwork needs to be completed? Does your supervisor have any concerns regarding your absence? Acquiring clear answers to these questions will align your plans with your employer’s expectations regarding your maternity leave.

Every time a woman leaves the workforce because she can’t find or afford childcare, or she can’t work out a flexible arrangement with her boss, or she has no paid maternity leave, her family’s income falls down a notch. Simultaneously, national productivity numbers decline.
Madeleine M. Kunin

As you approach your last day of work, compose an e-mail to send to your supervisor outlining your plan for maternity leave. Once your supervisor approves the plan, forward the e-mail to each of your colleagues. The e-mail should clearly state the start and end date of your maternity leave. It should also give guidelines for communicating with you during this time. For instance, you could state that you are unavailable by phone, but you will be checking your e-mail around 10:00am each Tuesday and Thursday to deal with any pressing issues.

Your e-mail should also give information regarding the contact person for your projects while you are away.

Once you, your supervisor and your colleagues all understand your maternity leave plan, you are free to relax and enjoy the most important thing: your new baby! Be polite, but consistent about your communication guidelines, and be sure to keep up with your end of the communication plan.

Work projects will be there when you return to your job, but you only get to spend the newborn days with your baby once. By planning carefully and practicing open communication, you can enjoy your maternity leave without alienating your workplace.

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