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What You Haven’t Learned in School? How to Survive at Work

No one can discredit the importance of education, but schooling only gets you so far. Even if you worked part-time during college or completed an internship, you have no idea what you are in for once you start working full-time. College or specialty schools only give you the skills and information that you need to complete specific tasks in your job. College does not prepare you for what you actually encounter and face in your job. If you want to survive at work, you need to learn the tricks that make you the best employee possible.

The first thing you should learn is to dress appropriately for your job. Some people say that you should dress for the job that you want and not the job you have, but this is potentially risky. If you wear suits on a regular basis, while your co-workers wear jeans, you might draw too much attention to yourself. Take note of how your co-workers dress and present themselves at work and use that as inspiration. Spend time in the morning making yourself presentable and present a professional front. If you wear the wrong type of clothing, your supervisor might overlook you for any potential promotions.

Forming relationships is an important part of surviving in a new job. Even though you might not hang out with your co-workers after work or on weekends, you should still form relationships with those people. You should also attempt to form a relationship with your supervisors or bosses. The only way to get through the day is if you can work comfortably with others. When you set yourself apart from the group, you risk alienating your co-workers. The next time that you need support for a new idea, those co-workers might just look the other way.

I’ve been making a list of the things they don’t teach you at school. They don’t teach you how to love somebody. They don’t teach you how to be famous. They don’t teach you how to be rich or how to be poor. They don’t teach you how to walk away from someone you don’t love any longer. They don’t teach you how to know what’s going on in someone else’s mind. They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying. They don’t teach you anything worth knowing.

NEIL GAIMAN 

College teaches you skills and how to complete tasks, but it does not teach you how to promote yourself. The only way that you can get ahead in your career field is by promoting your talents. The way that you promote yourself depends on your exact field. You might promote yourself by seeking out new clients or bringing sales from new clients into your business. You might promote yourself by making yourself available to customers and answering any questions that they have. You can even get ahead by taking the initiative and doing the jobs that your co-workers do not want to do.

To gain success in your career, you must take responsibility for your actions. You cannot expect to succeed if you simply do what your supervisor assigns to you. You must be willing to step up to the plate and go beyond your basic tasks. When your supervisor points out something particularly good that you did, make sure that you explain you did it yourself or with help from your co-workers. Only take responsibility for the things that you did and do take away from the work of your co-workers. Do not be afraid to take responsibility for the things that you did wrong either, as your supervisors might view it as a learning experience.

Job Interview: What is your biggest weakness?

A job interview can be stressful no matter what questions are being asked, but there’s one traditional job interview question that strikes fear into the heart of every job candidate: “What is your biggest weakness?”

Why is this question so terrifying? Job seekers are afraid that giving the wrong answer could ruin their chances of being offered the job. If they talk about a weakness that the interviewer sees as a liability, they’re out. If they say the same old thing about “being a perfectionist” or “working too hard,” the interviewer won’t take them seriously. If they make a joke out of it, it will seem like they’re avoiding the issue.

With all those fears that arise in every interview, it seems impossible to get this question right. What can job seekers say about their biggest weakness that will make them look like a better candidate?

The job search experts have conflicting opinions about this topic. Here are a few of the common suggestions for how to answer a question about your biggest weakness.

  • Mention a trait that is usually regarded as negative but put a positive slant on it. As one example, say that you sometimes have trouble delegating work if you think that it will be done more completely by yourself, because you have high standards for excellence.
  • Talk about an issue that you used to struggle with and describe how you’ve addressed the problem. For example, say that you used to have trouble locating important files because you weren’t very organized, but go on to explain how you revamped your systems to improve the results.
  • Tell a story about a great piece of advice you’ve received that helped you overcome your weakness.
  • Say almost anything—what matters isn’t the content of your response, just how you say it. This question is designed to put a job candidate on the spot, so a winning response is one that’s delivered in a calm, lighthearted tone. Another hint: don’t talk too long! Keep your response under 20 seconds.

Build up your weaknesses until they become your strong points.

Knute Rockne

Remember, in the end, this is just one question that probably won’t make or break your interview. With a little preparation, you can present your response calmly and with humor, leading your interviewer to the next question—and ultimately, if all goes well, to a job offer.

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.

Benefits and Disadvantages When Running a Family Business

Running a family business can be a rewarding experience. It allows several relatives or family members to pool their financial resources towards a central business goal. While family businesses can be good for entrepreneurs in certain fields, there are some disadvantages. The following guide explains some benefits and disadvantages when starting a family business.

It can be challenging to raise funds to start a business. A new business requires capital and human resources. Capital can come from existing funds or a credit line. Human resources can come from friends, families, or strangers.

Families share a bond of trust that can be damaged by a business relationship. Family bonds can be a great way to start a business, but business interests may damage relationships over time. Different people may hold different interests in a business. In addition, some family members may choose to compensate themselves in different ways. This can create a sense of anger, resentment, and hatred among family members. In addition, family relationships may lead to poor business decisions in the future. A relative may believe that a business venture is a good idea, while in reality it is a poor idea. The family member’s clout as a relative may lead to a poor business venture. This can result in bankruptcy, loss of capital, and damaged relationships.

According to the Small Business Administration, more than 70 percent of all family businesses do not survive though the second generation, and 8 percent do not make it to a third.

It’s important to approach a family business from an objective point of view. While it’s always good to maintain friendly relationships with family members, business decisions may require ideas to be rejected. It can be challenging to turn down a family member’s business idea, but it’s essential to maintain the integrity of a business.

An excellent way to maintain a family business is through a non-relative. It’s a good idea to hire an accountant or attorney to assist in business decisions. He or she can help the family decide what is a best for a business. An outsider can provide several advantages for a family business. An outsider can be brutally honest about what is good and bad for a business, while a family member may not be willing to provide that information. In addition, an outsider can provide a point of view that can be beneficial for future business decisions.

It’s important to hire a non-relative who has solid experience in one’s field. His or her resume should reflect a successful past in related business ventures.

A larger family business should provide shares that can be sold to family members and outsiders. While a small business does not need to go public, shares in a business can be a great way to ensure that everyone has an interest in the performance of a company. An outsider who receives shares in a family business will work to make sure that the business performs to the best of its ability. In addition, involvement of a non-relative will help ensure financial and business integrity into the future.

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