Posted by sara on Feb 22, 2010 in Advice
Like many employees you’ll spend a great deal of time in your “home away from home”, also known as your office cubicle. If you’re like me staring at a gray wall for months or years on end can become boring. Make your cubicle a relaxing and pleasant corner of your work world instead of a drab space you can barely stand to be in. So what if you didn’t get that swank corner office with bay windows? You have three fabric walls and an imagination, go wild (sort of)!
It is very important that you understand your company’s standards before undertaking any redecorating. Check out your coworkers and managers spaces. Ask your supervisor if you’re unsure of any rules as to how you can decorate your cubicle. Once you’ve gotten the go ahead decide how you want to decorate your space. Perhaps you’ll want to hang personal photos, awards, paintings, a calendar or some other image. When I worked at an insurance agency I brought in Fine Art postcards I collected from European museums I visited and tacked them to my cubicle walls. During hectic afternoons I loved taking a few seconds out to glance at my postcards. I would caution you not to hang or post images of a lascivious, lewd or intimate nature.
Are those overhead fluorescent lights hurting your eyes? Perhaps you could find a desk lamp to make your day a little brighter. Larger retailers carry basic desk lamps in store and online. Check out Target if you’re looking for a cheap, colorful and funky choice. If you’re really adventurous go to a Salvation Army, Goodwill or other type of thrift/antique shop.
Some companies allow employees to listen to small radios, MP3 players or portable CD players. Check into your company’s policies. Burn some CD’s of your favorite band or turn that AM dial to your favorite radio pundit…
Do you have a green thumb? Bring in small plants to decorate your cubicle, make it your garden away from home. Bamboo and cacti are ideal office plants, both require only a limited amount of water and attention.
Finally, keeping your space somewhat tidy and clean will make your work day more orderly and relaxed. Try doing a few minutes of organizing before you leave every day. Yes its a drag after sitting in front of that computer for 8 hours, but you’ll be thankful tomorrow.
Posted by joshua on Feb 15, 2010 in Uncategorized
Harrison Barnes wrote a blog this morning about the importance of holding on to our dreams. In it, he spends a lot of time talking about the importance of positive thinking. As I read it, I couldn’t help thinking it was a cliche. But then I realized something – there’s a reason it’s a cliche.
The word cliche comes from a common practice in the printing industry in the days when printing presses had to be set by hand. Some words and phrases were used so often that it made sense to fuse the letters together to form what was called a stereotype – a block of letters that could be set into the press without having to set each individual letter. When the stereotype was dropped into the molten metal used to make a printing plate, it made a sound that sounded like “cliche” and the word was born.
The benefits of positive thinking are vast and hardly ever disputed. It’s a cliche because it’s true, it works, and it’s important. If you’re serious about finding a career that you love, then you have to be serious about thinking positive. Positive thinking is more than an absence of negative thoughts. If you are passive in your thinking, complacent, thinking neither negative nor positive thoughts, you are stuck where you are and subject to the whims of the world. Positive thinking is active. It requires intent and it is followed by action. Make today the day you give up on complacency and embrace the cliche – the power of positive thinking.
Posted by sara on Feb 8, 2010 in Advice
, Job Search
Do you have a photo of yourself posted proudly on your personal social networking page? No, I don’t mean that professional portrait you framed and gave to your grandma last Christmas. I’m talking about that night two weeks ago when you and 20 of your closest friends decided to play beer pong on the roof of a abandoned petrochemical facility and Bob captured the moment on his phone…
In that handy “personal information” section of the same profile did you list the following dislikes?:Working, collating, filing,bosses, HR departments and wage slavery?
Before you send your resume out to the employer of your dreams ( or lets face it in this economy, any employer) you may want to tighten the privacy settings on your Facebook/MySpace/Social Networking Site of Your Choice and other personal ephemera floating around out there on the ‘net.
Prospective employers do treat these resources like a free background check and they will judge you by what they find.
According to research done by the Career Builders website 53% of potential employers will research you online. 43% of those who do research you rely on common search engines and 12% go directly to Facebook to check you out. According to Career Builders, two in five employers found information during such a background check that dissuaded them from hiring a candidate. One third of employers said that an online search of candidates qualifications proved said candidate lied about his or her qualifications.
Once you’re hired you need to be careful too. 28% of employers reported firing an employee over material they posted on the web. In most cases this material was derogatory towards an employer or another employee. It is important to realize that the internet is a memory monster, all those blogs you wrote when you were 16, those wild beer pong photos, political affiliations, likes, dislikes, music and friends are out there once you put them out there. The best solution is to never give out personal information over the internet. If you do, use a pseudonym and don’t post identifying photographs. Many people live a great deal of their lives on the web so this may be an impossible option. As an alternative, protect the flow of information. Go into your account settings and crank up the privacy. Plug your name into a search engine and read your results. If you see any issues try to fix them if that is possible.
Also remember that Social Networking can be used for good. You may be able to make employment contacts or employers may reach out to you. Make your best impression!
Don’t put your name or identifying information to anything online that you wouldn’t want your grandma to read…unless your grandma belongs to a motorcycle gang ( Hi Grandma!).
Posted by sara on Feb 1, 2010 in Advice
My alarm clock is a tyrant. I hate it. Inevitably at 4:50 am every morning my dreams are interrupted by a loud incessant shrieking noise that refuses to recede into the background. When I can’t block out the noise any longer, I roll over, eyes half closed, and force myself to stumble across the room to turn off that evil plastic black box. I find a pair of warm fuzzy socks (It’s usually about 15 degrees here in the mornings) and start my “routine”.
It’s not always so easy. What about the time (s) I “accidentally” unplugged the clock and fell back asleep for an hour? Or the numerous mornings I’ve played the snooze button tango? Maybe you can commiserate. I do not have an absolutely fool proof way to make you leave the warm shelter of your bed in the morning, but as working adults we inevitably need to wake up and make it to work on time.
The easiest way to wake up on time is to go to bed at a decent hour. This sounds ridiculously easy, maybe too easy. I am naturally a night owl so I know how difficult it is to do this if you have a day time job. Staying up until 1:00 am will not help you wake up at 5:00am. Know yourself. Understand how much sleep your body needs and set aside enough time to actually sleep. Do you need certain conditions to get a healthy, relaxing sleep? Do you need complete darkness to sleep? Do you sleep better with the light on? Does your room need to be toasty warm before dozing off or do you like it to be cooler? Take some time to really think about your optimum sleep conditions.
Stop drinking caffeine and any spicy or heavy foods a few hours before you plan to sleep. Eating and drinking these things can make it more difficult to fall asleep when you need to. Some people find that certain decaffeinated teas or herbal drinks help them feel drowsy before going to bed.
Prepare for your day the night before. Lay out your clothes, do some light housekeeping, perhaps make your lunch. By doing all of these things in the evening you will not be as rushed in the morning.
Once you’re in bed, relax and close your eyes. Put some music on if that helps you drift off. Don’t stress about not being able to get to sleep, that most likely will keep you awake longer.
Move your alarm clock to different locations in your room. Don’t put it right next to your bed. By placing your alarm clock out of arms reach you are forced to get up.
As soon as you get up take a shower, get dressed and take care of any morning chores. Sitting around in your pajamas will tempt you to get back into bed.
If you live in a climate with cold winter weather conditions, make sure to scrape the snow off your car and warm it up if necessary. If you’re in the middle of a morning storm this can take quite a while!
Do you have trouble waking up in the morning? What strategies do you use to make yourself wake up and go?