In these uncertain economic times, more people than ever are worried about their jobs. The career that you have built up over the past few years is suddenly brought into doubt because of the coronavirus crisis. Just six months ago the world was markedly different with the markets buoyant, the lowest unemployment figures for a generation, and people looking forward to the future. Fast forward to today and the world has shifted immeasurably. You are now considering your future career and questioning what is important to you in life. While it might have been a fast car, a large pay packet, and a big house, now you are more concerned about quality family time, forging positive relationships, and feeling fulfilled. Covid-19 has made everyone reflect and focus on less materialistic things.

However, this doesn’t mean that you are not worried about your job. If you work in an industry that is seeing hardship such as the hospitality, catering or tourism sectors, your job could be hanging in the balance as large companies across the globe are shedding employees in order to try and survive. This can cause you untold amounts of stress on top of the anxieties you may already be suffering from because of the pandemic. To ensure that your job worries don’t get out of hand and become a problem, you need to be proactive. Take a look at how your job worries can be kept in check so that they don’t become a major problem.

There may be more people hunting for jobs in the near future. With unemployment rising in the short term and fewer jobs to go around, you need to make yourself stand head and shoulders above your fellow job hunters if you do find yourself out of work. Or maybe, you simply fancy a change of career – you could find yourself seeking out new and more fulfilling opportunities as you question what makes you happy.

Upskill

During the time of Covid-19, we have been forced to stay within our own four walls. As businesses have shut down, restaurants no longer serve diners and retailers no longer cater for shoppers, we have stayed at home a lot more. While you could choose to procrastinate, watching box sets on Netflix, and scrolling endlessly through Facebook, this is not a proactive way to consider your career. Instead, look at the ways you can make yourself stand out from the crowd. Consider heading online to do some free courses. There are plenty of free leadership webinars to attend, free online business skills qualifications, and more formal MBAs to enroll in online. Doing this shows any potential new employer that you are committed to improving yourself even when times are tough. To be proactive and seek out betterment opportunities takes motivation and guts. 

When you have upskilled, you need to consider how best to relay this information. By honing your resume, making it more concise, interesting to read, and engaging, you can show companies how ready you are for the next step. It doesn’t matter whether you are struggling with redundancy or whether you are switching careers, upskilling, and showing off your experience in a positive way will help get you shortlisted for jobs.

If you are looking to switch to a wholly unrelated sector to what you are currently in, don’t assume that this is a lost cause. Yes, you’ll be competing against experienced candidates but you will have transferable skills. Leadership, teamwork, presentation, and the ability to prioritize are necessary skills for all sectors from teaching to catering and from social media entrepreneurship to accountancy. Whatever you want to do, use this time during lockdown to craft a plan to help you succeed.

Worst Case Scenario

If you are struggling to find a role, think about opting for a job that allows you to make money in the short term. While you might not be making a fortune, trying to earn a living wage is crucial to help you keep your head above water. The best roles could include becoming an Uber driver or working a shift pattern in a factory. While these roles are relatively unskilled, they can be easily sought in most economic circumstances. If you become an Uber driver, you don’t need overheads and can use your own car. Ensure that you take a look at ride share car insurance rates to ensure you retain fully comprehensive cover when you are carrying passengers. You may need to alter your tax return and you may be able to claim back certain expenses.

Talk To Your Boss And Network

If you know that things are looking a little uncertain in your current workplace, think about talking to your boss. Be flexible and enquire about any other opportunities there might be in the office. For some people, a side step or even a demotion is favorable to losing a job altogether. 

If you don’t want to stay within your current place of work and you want to seek work elsewhere, get networking. Head onto social media groups and network with like-minded professionals. Get yourself into webinars, try to forge a positive relationship with industry bodies, and try to lead a tutorial. This can get your face and name out there. If you want to run a consultancy eventually, big names in your sector will flock to see who you are and what you have to say. Experts are always sought after so consider the niche you will be targeting. If you work in finance, don’t specialize in conglomerates or tax returns – this is too common. Instead, focus on providing tax relief to small IT contractors, or look at how business change management is impacting the financial sector. This will help you to bring something new to the industry and will see your expertise in demand.

Starting Your Own Business

If you don’t want to remain in the rat race, it might be time to consider your position in your current role. If you have always had a money-making idea whirring around at the back of your head, now might be the time to give it a go. Say goodbye to your steady wage, your promotion prospects, and the office politics in return for being your own boss. You can launch your own venture to try and bring something new to the market. As the coronavirus pandemic shifts and new business entities form, there will be more space in the market to make your mark.

Think about what you are passionate about and try to launch a startup that allows you to enjoy your working day. Rather than go into an office and sit at a laptop all day, you could be trading antiques if auction houses are your passion, you could be designing custom made tee shirts if you want to flex your creative muscles, or you can import the finest ball bearings in the world if you have links in the automotive trade. If you have an idea that you think can work, give it a go.

You must ensure that you do the market research needed before you launch. You may think that you have the best idea that your industry has seen in a generation, but your potential market may think differently. Consider conducting focus groups and carry out surveys. Heed the advice and feedback from these individuals and adapt your product or service accordingly. Think about changing the price point, adapting the materials used for a product, or changing how you provide a certain service. Market research is costly, but worthwhile if you are to launch in an effective way.

Planning is a crucial facet of starting your own business. You cannot print off a generic template form the Internet and fill it in only for it to be filed away in a drawer forever. It needs to be a well-thumbed working document that will help you to construct your business vision and become a market leader. Detail your financial forecasts for at least the first three years of trading and ensure that you know your gross from your net. If you are looking to pitch to a loan manager at the bank or a business angel, it’s vital that you are ready to field questions and know your business like the back of your hand. Be engaging, genuine, and enthusiastic. Have a haircut before your appointment or presentation and ensure that you are suited and booted. People will be investing in you as much as your business idea.

Going it alone, seeking a career switch, or finding yourself out of work all bring different and contrasting challenges. While the pandemic world has thrust a new normal upon us, we have to learn to adapt rather than resist this change. Your career may not be the be-all and end-all of your life anymore, but it is still an important aspect of your life. With a solution-focused mind and some creative, proactive thinking, you can survive, if not thrive, these testing times. 

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Asking your boss for a raise is hard. Most people don’t ask for more money because of two reasons

  1. You believe it’s vulgar to ask about money – even when it is your money.
  2. You’re afraid you’re not worth what you’re asking.

Here’s the thing: if you feel that you deserve a raise, there’s every chance that you do. Most people never ask for more money, feeling that they should wait to be rewarded. However, if you’re going above and beyond in your role, you need to consider lacing up your bravery boots and learning how to ask for more from your boss. A lot of employers know that you won’t ask and they’ll wait you out. So, here are a few tips for asking your boss for a raise:

1 – Asking for a Raise is Perfectly Normal

The first step is knowing that it’s totally normal to ask for a raise. Payroll professionals out there won’t be stumped if employees suddenly have more money added to their monthly wage, they’ll roll with it. You will not be inconveniencing anyone when you ask for more money, so it’s always worth it to do it.

2 – Prepare Evidence that You Deserve the Raise

Go with proof you deserve this raise if you decide to ask. You want to ensure that you definitely are offering the business something stellar before you ask to be recompensed. You have to be able to argue your case succinctly, and that requires evidence on your part to show you are worthy of the additional cash.

3 – Timing is Everything

Time this conversation well. Approaching someone in authority and asking for more is not easy, but your boss is also human. You need to think about timing this when they’re not having a rubbish day or dealing with back to back meetings. Time it well and you’ll likely find favor.

4 – Mention Your Seniority

How long have you worked in your job? It’s likely that the length of time that you have been in your role will be enough to ask, especially if you have served rather a length of time. Revisiting the salary with which you started and asking for more at the right time is not a bad thing and you will likely be told yes!

5 – Think about the Company’s Budget

If you know what’s going on with your company budget, you are going to be in the know. If you can factor in your company budgeting cycles, you’re going to have time to plan your meeting well. This way, you cannot be told that you can’t have it due to the budget – you know the budget!

6 – Do Your Salary Research

Get online to places like Salary.com and figure out what your work is worth. Once you know what others are being paid around the world for the same job, compare your salary with theirs and you can go in armed and ready!

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No one wants to think they’ll be injured at their place of work. The fact is, that in 2019 alone there were over 3 million workplace injuries in the USA. 

According to the Workplace Injury Source, the most dangerous occupations to work in (according to the total number of reported accidents) are:

  • Health and social care 
  • Retail
  • Manufacturing and construction
  • Accommodation and food
  • Transportation and warehousing

A workplace injury is a very broad term and can include anything from carpal tunnel syndrome to a fatal accident.  

Luckily, increased regulation means that employers are required to invest a lot of time and resources in providing a safe working environment for their employees, and the number of accidents that occur has been falling for the past 10 years. 

If you are injured while you’re at work, it can be a very scary time and you may not be sure what to do, who to talk to, or what your rights are. This is what you should do in the first instance:

Report the accident

You should report the accident or injury to your employer as soon as possible.  If there is a possibility that you will need to claim compensation, then this is even more important as most states will have a statute of limitations on how long after an accident occurs that you can claim.  Each state is different but it is often around two years. 

Not reporting an accident could violate your employer’s policies and may leave your open to disciplinary action if you fail to report it 

Seek legal advice 

If you believe your employer is liable for your accident or illness through negligence, then you will need to seek specialist legal advice.  

If you are a member of a union, then you may be able to get a free initial consultation for free to see if you have a case. As your local union rep for further information on any benefits you get. 

If you’re looking for legal advice, choose carefully, as there are many unscrupulous lawyers out there.  

Look for a lawyer who has experience in your specific type of case.  For instance, if you’re a truck driver you would look for lawyers for truck drivers, as they will have specific insight into your case. 

Many employers are required to have a compensation scheme for their workers, but will not pay out if an employee sues them.  You need to weigh up what you could potentially get from the compensation scheme versus what you might be entitled to in a legal scenario. 

Seek a medical opinion

Your employer will likely insist that you see a doctor that they choose for you.  It is a good idea to get a second medical opinion of your own from a different doctor. If both doctors concur, that’s great, but if they have very different diagnoses then you may even need to seek a third opinion. 

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There are a lot of surprising factors that can affect the quality of your communication. You might not think that these small mistakes are making you a poor communicator, but one or a combination of more than one of these little habits can get in the way of people understanding you. Here, we discuss what some of these may be. Knowing them will help you be more effective as a leader and team member.

1. Being Overly-polite

Some people think that being polite is an all-important part of speaking and negotiation skills, and while that’s true, it is possible to overdo it. Being overly-polite and indirect is one of the worst ways to communicate in a business. The truth is that the business environment can be extremely hectic, no matter the industry. You should write your emails, memos, and texts in a way that’s concise and to the point.

You should minimize the amount of time needed to get a point across. This might come off as rude to some people, especially when writing emails. But if your manager only has 2 minutes to scan your email, instead of filling the first paragraph with formalities, you are better off getting to the point first. Avoid lengthy asides and transitions (“on the other hand,” etc.) and keep your sentences short. People will appreciate you for saving their time and will pay full attention to you when you speak.

2. Being Vague and Non-Committal

In the same way that direct communication is important, being vague is a liability in the world of business. While sometimes you need to hedge your language to leave room for changes, vague or uncertain statements when discussing contracts and such results in leaving the people you talked to feeling uncertain themselves.

Use numbers, specific dates, and ranges in estimates, to be as accurate as possible. Leave out the fuzzy language: some, a lot, in the next month. This kind of non-specific language results in less urgency and clear planning- everyone assumes the exact meaning of everything, which leaves room for misunderstanding and misalignment.

3. Not following up

Whether you are a manager talking to your employees, or are an employee talking to your superior, always remember to follow up. Following up means taking the time to send emails, and can even include asking questions immediately following a conversation. If you don’t understand something, make sure to seek an explanation.

Google has built-in follow-ups now from your inbox, but being generally in the habit of following up on requests, and project statuses will go a long way. Going into the Kanban method will also help you keep track of your projects, especially if your team is juggling several.

4. Using the wrong medium of communication

It is also important to keep in mind that even with the correct messaging, using an inappropriate channel of communication can still have detrimental effects. You need to use the right methods and tailor your communication channel to the recipient.

Use text or messaging apps to send urgent messages out to people out in the field. Similarly, knocking someone on Slack can be a timelier way to reach them than over email. What this requires is that you first establish clear lines of communication for your team. Knowing which comms channel to use in which situations will considerably boost the response time.

These are just a few issues that can affect your communication skills. Better business communication is a work in progress. You need to work on it constantly in order to become a better and more effective communicator.

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We all know that office politics can be complicated, especially if you’re trying to create a fair workplace. Whether you’re an employer or an employee, there are ways you can help to create better equality at work, with a balanced, diverse workforce.

1. Take a look at your current workforce.

What sort of balance is there? Look at management positions as well as general employees. What ratio of your senior staff are women or minorities? If there’s a big gap, you might need to ask yourself some hard questions about why. 

2. Get an equal employment policy in place.

If you don’t already have one, get something into your company policies to ensure fairness in decisions about hiring, firing or promoting. Make sure you have policies to protect minorities at work, and to protect reasonable allowances. Review any system you put in place at regular intervals to be sure it’s up to date and remains fair. 

3. Offer diversity training.

Make sure current staff understand company policy, and give employees training in sensitivity to diversity issues. 

4. Make sure there are set consequences for discriminatory behavior.

Whether that’s a staff member using homophobic or racist language, or behaving in an inappropriate manner to women in the office, make sure you respond to any complaints, and discipline staff involved. This means other employees feel there will be a consequence if they are made to feel harassed at work, and increases their trust in you. 

5. Be aware of other religious and cultural holidays when planning office events and closures.

If you close for Christmas, make sure staff of other faiths are able to take time off for their own celebrations. Don’t push staff to take part in the office Christmas party if they don’t celebrate. 

6. Communicate.

Staff need to feel they will be listened to and taken seriously if they need to make a complaint. Invest in your HR team to make sure that happens. 

7. Take inspiration from community leaders.

Look to leaders in minority communities, such as Cynthia Telles of the Latino Victory Project, who are working to promote diverse interests across the country. 

8. Train your managers to spot tension

…or issues in the team and how to deal with them effectively and with sensitivity. 

9. Think about work/life balance.

Women in the workplace often take the hit as the ones in charge of childcare, so be sure you’re offering suitable flexibility to allow them to excel at both. You could offer childcare vouchers to help offset the cost, or provide some on-site facilities. Allow staff to work remotely to avoid them having to take days off to care for sick children. Flexible working hours so they can still make the school run will also make a real difference. 

10. Make sure family leave is available to both men and women.

Allowing fathers to take time off to care for their children will allow them to be more present in their children’s lives, and gives some relief to working moms who might be desperate to get back behind their desks. 

11. Ensure you’re offering equal pay for equal work.

Help to close the gender pay gap further by making sure you have fair practices when it comes to hiring, pay rises and promotions. Each level should have a pay bracket that everybody gets, regardless of gender.

12. Offer mentorship.

Allowing your employees access to mentors will help them develop and excel in their roles. Make sure male and female mentors deal with employees to stop one group being spread too thinly. Mentoring is a key part of helping staff to progress in their careers. Offering the right people to guide them can make sure minority staff aren’t left behind, and has the added bonus for you of creating loyal employees who can be promoted within the company and are then retained longer by you.

13. Re-evaluate job specifications.

If you’re getting a high number of male applicants, look at your descriptions and see what could be putting women off for applying. Are you asking for more experience than the position really requires, or suggesting the workplace is a bit of a boy’s club? Be careful with your job adverts to encourage a wider variety of applicants. 

14. Give staff some predictability.

If you can’t offer a flexible working schedule, make sure staff do know well in advance when they’re required to be at work. With shift work, like retail or hospitality, offering details of shifts early gives parents time to arrange for childcare and will minimize the need for shift swapping. 

15. Be open about salaries.

This doesn’t mean you need to tell everyone exactly what everybody else earns, but don’t be secretive either. Clearly advertise jobs with a salary range that lines up with the salaries of current staff. Allow your staff to openly discuss wages with you, and with each other. If people felt free to talk money, they won’t worry they’re earning less than their colleagues, due to discrimination. 

16. Lead by example.

Examine your own biases and see if there are any behavior changes that you could make. Seeing you make the effort will show employees you’re taking new policies seriously. Check your language use; do you automatically lean on gendered terms? Do you ask men about their wives without knowing if their partner is female? Consider who you ask to do things. Is it always a woman that you ask to sort out coffees for a meeting or to arrange the office Secret Santa? 

17. Attract younger talent by making sure company is keeping up with modern technology and ways of working.

A young workforce could invigorate your offices, and bring in some new ways of thinking and approaching your projects. 

18. Mix up your teams.

Encourage staff to work with different people who they might not usually work with. Do this with varying groups for projects to help staff communication between different areas of the office. Forging new relationships with a variety of people will foster more effective teamwork and less likelihood of discrimination rearing its ugly head. 

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How to Handle These 3 Shocking Legal Issues at Work Twitter #career #careeradvice

We spend most of our waking hours at work, so we want it to be a positive and fulfilling place to be. But sometimes, things go wrong. Having a shocking workplace issue turns your world upside down. Unexpected and stressful situations like these can lead to a decline in our health and wellbeing, and we can be left unsure of where to turn. If you come up against any of these three shocking workplace issues, you’re sadly not alone in that, but there are things you can do.

Discrimination and Harassment

If you feel that a coworker is harassing you, it’s essential to seek help. Your employer might have an anti-harassment policy that details the steps to take, or you can speak with your supervisor. You might want to note down what has been happening for the record.

But what if you’re being discriminated against by your employer? Did you know that federal laws prohibit employment discrimination? It’s illegal for employers to discriminate against, harass or otherwise mistreat anyone on the grounds of race, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age, or disability. Also, employers must not deny reasonable accommodation for a disability or religious beliefs. It’s important to note that your workplace is not permitted to retaliate against you as a result of you complaining about harassment or helping with a lawsuit or investigation.

So what do you do if you feel your employer has broken the law? File a charge with the EEOC within 180 days of the event. You can do so online through the public portal. As a victim of discrimination or harassment, you can also file a lawsuit.

Unsafe Working Conditions

Your workers’ rights mean you have the right to be safe in the workplace and report any safety concerns without fear or retaliation. If you feel that your working conditions are unsafe, you should report it to your boss. There is also the option of filing a complaint with the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

Accidents and injuries in the workplace are still shockingly common. If you are unfortunate enough to be affected, it’s vital that you report this to your employer right away, and get seen by a doctor. Your employer should initiate any compensation claims, and you should ensure this is happening. If you need to take legal action, consider reaching out to professional attorneys like Hadley Law Firm.

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Wrongful Discharge

Being discharged or terminated from employment is always a stressful time. Particularly so if you feel you have been wrongfully discharged. When you lose your job, you have the right to maintain your health care coverage. You may also be eligible for unemployment compensation to help you during this time. If you think your employer has fired you for reasons not covered under state or federal law, you should seek legal counsel. Your State Labor Office can advise you on which laws apply and what to do next.

Hopefully, you’ll never experience any of these terrible workplace issues. However, it’s always better to be prepared. It’s worth taking the time to read up on your employer’s policies and to understand how the laws apply to you, so you can feel empowered to handle challenging situations like these.

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Studies show that creative hobbies can boost important skills and ultimately advance our careers in a variety of ways. Hobbies that foster artistic pursuits—such as writing, doodling, etc—help in stimulating creative thoughts and out-of-the-box critical thinking skills, essential skills regardless of what industry you work in. In fact, there is much we can learn from those who have creative careers, specifically street photographers. Street photographers are well-versed in observation and studying people, places, and activities. These non-technical skills allow them to be impeccable storytellers and communicators, and ultimately, foster personal and professional growth.

Invaluable created a neat visual that highlights all the ways we can advance our careers and sharpen valuable, non-technical skills learned through the art of street photography. From trusting intuition to embracing perfection, study the graphic below and take notes on how you can implement these characteristics into your daily activities.

If you’ve been working in the business world for any length of time, chances are that you’ve had a boss who absolutely hates you. You know the boss I’m talking about—the condescending jerk who won’t listen to a single one of your ideas and criticizes everything you do. You can’t do anything right, and every muscle in your body contracts when he or she walks into the room.

If your boss is making your life a living nightmare, there are a few things you can do about it before you start crafting your resignation letter.

1. Make Yourself Indispensable, not Invisible

If your boss yells at you as soon as he sees your face, your first instinct might be to hide, but don’t—it will only make the problem worse. Instead, make a list of the things your boss complains about, and make sure you do those things preemptively, before he checks.

Then, make yourself indispensable to your boss by anticipating his needs and acting to make his life easier. If you know he’s doing a presentation on Friday with a client, go ahead and pull the data he needs on Monday or Tuesday and set it up in a PowerPoint slide. If he has to put in a supply order on Thursday, don’t wait until he asks what you need—email him a list on Tuesday.

The point is, don’t just show up to work and do the bare minimum. Bosses hate that. Besides, there has to be a reason why your boss is being nasty. His boss could be pressuring him. His personal life could be falling apart. You don’t know, and at the end of the day, your job is to support your boss and his/her initiatives, so do the best job you can.

2. Be Kind

You can’t control your boss’ actions and attitudes, but you can definitely control yours! Choose to be kind. When your boss throws negativity your way, end the conversation by asking if there is anything else you can do for her today.

Make thoughtful gestures. When you pick up your morning coffee, spend a little extra to buy the Coffee Traveler at Starbucks to bring the good stuff for the entire office. Be sure to pour the boss a cup and take it to her. If she’s not a coffee drinker, figure out what her “thing” is. It might be chocolate, donuts, tea, or soda. It’s a small gesture, but it can go a long way in changing your boss’ attitude towards you.

Think about the small talk you have with your boss. Are you an active listener? Do you know her kids’ names? Is there a sports team she follows? Is she planning a trip somewhere exotic? Always be interested in the things going on in your boss’ life. While it may not seem important, remembering the details shows the boss that you truly listen to her and have her back.

3. Inspire Camaraderie with Your Coworkers

When the boss goes on a tirade, it’s tempting to trash him behind his back with your coworkers. However, you have more class than that (right?). Trashing your boss makes you look petty, and your coworkers will remember it. Save your vent session for after work, with your friends or therapist.

However, you should create professional camaraderie with your coworkers. It will help you on the hard days to be surrounded by positive relationships. You can inspire camaraderie by supporting your coworkers, because the chances are good that the boss who hates you also hates them, too.

If you see the boss berate a coworker for not finishing a task, offer to help your coworker catch up. If you see a coworker working through lunch, offer to bring her back something to eat from the café down the street. If you notice a coworker working late, ask if there is anything you can do for them. Even if you can’t stay late, you may be able to pick up dry cleaning on your way or make an important phone call for them when you get home.

Creating a supportive office environment can make weathering the storm of a negative boss a lot easier for everyone.

4. Gather Your References and Update Your Resume

Of course, if you’ve tried absolutely everything, and your work situation is simply unbearable, it’s time to clean up your resume and gather your references.

If you’ve worked towards creating a supportive office environment, you will have a wealth of coworkers who are willing to write reference letters for you. Start gathering them, and as you do, offer to do the same for your coworkers. If you have three strong references you can use throughout your job search, you will do fine.

As for your resume, make sure it is up to date and looks modern. Make sure you customize it for each job advertisement’s keywords, too.

5. Let Recruiters Know You’re Open to other Opportunities

LinkedIN has a feature you can turn on to let recruiters know you are looking for opportunities. Start talking to recruiters as soon as you can. Be careful, though—they will ask why you are leaving your current job, and the last thing you want to say is, “my boss hates me.” Instead, tell them you are looking for a new challenge. It’s not a lie—you are looking for a challenge besides contending with a boss that hates you.

Know Your Options

When your boss hates you, your options are generally to either stay in the job and make the best of it or look for a new job. However, if you are being harassed, be sure your first stop is the HR office. No one has the right to abuse you, even if they are your boss. If you don’t feel comfortable reporting your boss, find a new job. Don’t stay in a toxic situation—your health and wellbeing must always come first.

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