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Surviving a New Boss

Nothing stays the same forever and that includes management.  If you’ve stayed at a job long enough then you will likely experience a change in management. Whether the transition is good or bad it’s important to remember that being flexible can go a long ways.  There are several key factors that can help you survive getting a new boss.

First, it’s important to know that they are probably worried about getting along with the new employees and are most likely just as nervous about starting as you are about having new management.  It’s imperative to be friendly and welcoming to your new boss, they will likely remember you for it later on.  Being approachable will make them more comfortable and lessen the awkwardness.

Second, remember to roll with the punches.  Your new boss’ management style may not be anything like your former boss’.  Pay attention to your new boss’ likes, dislikes, and preferences when it comes to how they manage employees.  Find out as much as you can about your boss’ style and try to adapt to the new style.  It’s also important to not make comparisons between your old and new boss. This is a new person with a different style of management so drawing comparisons is not productive.

Third, be helpful but not overbearing.  If your new boss is not familiar with certain office programs or equipment lend a hand and help them out.  Providing a helping hand with give you an opportunity to find out more about how your boss likes to run things which goes back to the second factor; learning your new boss’ management style.  Also remember that they will need time to familiarize themselves with their new work environment so don’t overwhelm them with too much information. Also you don’t want to appear as if you are flattering them to get ahead of your coworkers. 

Fourth, set up a meeting with your new boss to discuss what their expectations are.  Explain to your boss what your goals, contributions, and update them on any projects you are currently working on, who is involved in the project, and what your expectations are for that project.  Let your boss know what your plans are for upcoming and current projects you are working on and get their opinions or comments on how they would like you to complete your work if it is different than what your former boss had suggested. 

Fifth, don’t exaggerate about your skills. Eventually your new boss will find out what you are qualified for and what you are not qualified for.  Simply because they are new does not mean that you can falsify your skills and take advantage of your new boss.  Also slacking because there is a new boss is not a good plan, trying to get away with doing things that you normally wouldn’t do will backfire in one way or another, likely ending with your new boss finding out about your lax attitude.

When a new boss arrives it can be a stressful situation for everyone involved but remember that they are nervous too and if you are helpful and positive it will make for a smooth transition for all parties involved.     

6 Things That Might Be Preventing You From Getting a Job

Although you may very well be a highly qualified candidate for the job in which you are applying, the job market is tough. There still could be a plethora of reasons for which you are not being hired for the multiple positions that you have applied for.

Hiring managers in today’s market are looking for certain skills, such as being keen in social media, global perspective, and computer skills. To avoid losing the chance of being considered for a job, review some of the traits that hiring managers do not want to see in a candidate below:

1. Lack of energy. You must show that you have enthusiasm about the company or position for which you are applying. If not, this will be visible to hiring managers during the interview. Showing enthusiasm, in turn, shows that you have the desire to achieve and are driven. This is a quality that hiring managers view as a trait of a hard worker. No one wants to hire a complaining employee with a sour attitude.  Remember that your enthusiasm will be visible as soon as you walk into an interview, so you should commit to being energetic and enthusiastic from the very beginning.

2. Inability to utilize your free time. Hiring managers look for a candidate who has additional interests and a personality outside of the work industry. They want to see you as a human being, and not a “bot”. Hiring managers love seeing someone who has hobbies or possibly has utilized their free time by acquiring a second job. This shows hiring managers that you are capable of managing your free time to expand your interests and skills; which is a quality that is likely to flow into your professional life as well.

3. Procrastinating. Managers look for a candidate that is punctual, and they avoid any traits that do not demonstrate the ability to follow through. Show hiring managers that you are an individual that makes quality use of your time. Give them examples of large projects that you have delivered on time. They will view this as an indication that you will employ the same dedication to their company as well.

4. Being unprepared. If you go to an interview without any knowledge of what the company is about, who they service, what their mission statement is, etc. this will show that you did not do your homework. Make sure that you do your research prior to the interview, and bring some questions with you to ask at the end of the interview. This shows hiring managers that you are already engaged in the company.

5. Job hopping. If you have held several positions in the last couple years, or show a tendency to leave a company prior to being with them for six months. This is a red flag to hiring managers that you could be difficult to work with or that you could be unsure of what you really want to do in your career path.  Do not lie on your resume, however. Simply explain as to why you have changed jobs so many times. Reassure them that although you have shown some job instability in the past, there are also several instances in which you have shown your dependability. Provide them with examples.

6. Lacking social media presence. In this day and age, more and more employers are checking their candidates’ social media sites. You may have noticed that some job applications have asked for your Facebook or Twitter information.  If you are lacking in this area, it could be viewed as you being incapable of paying attention to social trends or that you simply do not care about other’s perception of you. Be sure that you have some sort of social media presence online. You could start your own blog or professional Twitter account, and learn how to brand yourself.

There are a lot of diverse qualities in which hiring managers look for in their candidates. These can vary depending on the nature of the position for which you have applied. However, no hiring manager wants to see the traits listed above. Remove these negative attributes before your next job application or interview. This could make the difference between you remaining unemployed and finally landing that job you applied for. Good luck in your job search and future interviews!

Book Review: 4-Hour Work Week

Most people in civilized society follow the same typical path of graduating college, finding a job, and keeping that job while working the usual nine-to-five shift until retirement in old age. This lifestyle causes stress in a lot of people and prevents many of those workers from fulfilling themselves in life. However, because to most it is the only way to make a living and contribute to society, many choose this past because they see no other. But one author has found the way to get out of that monotonous routine and has found a way to make the same amount of money working a four hour week as he would working a forty hour week. The book entitled “The 4-hour Work Week” details Timothy Ferriss’ strategy for escaping the same cyclic lifestyle that society molds and thriving in a care-free lifestyle in which you can make your own choices and make money at the same time.

Timothy Ferris is an entrepreneur, author, and a master of many skills. He has been featured in various magazines and media outlets, and has written several best selling books. He holds a Guinness World Record, runs a multi-national firm, and speaks six languages. He has written “The 4-Hour Work Week” to describe his secrets to success and to share his secrets with anyone who wishes to break away from the cycle of life laid before them. The book is over four hundred pages and provides a guide to a life of luxury without the stress of having a job that you don’t want to have. The book encourages readers to follow their dreams and to seek what will make them fulfilled in life, all without having to lose the means to financially support themselves. In essence, it teaches how to work only four hours a week and make as much money as people working ten times more.

The book details how the author when from earning $40,000 a year working eighty hours a week to making the same amount of money working only four hours a week. Ferris includes tips on how to “outsource your life to overseas virtual assistants for $5 per hour and do whatever you want,” “how blue chip escape artists travel the world without quitting their jobs,” and “how to eliminate 50% of your work in 48 hours using the principles of a forgotten Italian economist,” among many other things. The book has earned rave reviews and has appeared on several best sellers lists. Many have read the book and experienced a great change in their lives.

In a way, the book relies mainly on the appeal of what it promises, which is a fun life free of worries, and a way to make money. The author encourages morally ambiguous practices to achieve this goal. Ultimately, a lot of what is described in the book isn’t new or life changing information, but it does provide the boost that many people need to take the next step forward in life. The philosophy of the book focuses mainly on how to reap the most benefits while putting in the least work. Those who believe in this philosophy will benefit the most from this book.

Be Your Own Salesperson When You Search For Jobs

A salesperson would take a different approach to searching for a job than most people take, especially in the current jobs market. Many people simply submit applications and resumes to as many companies as they can, the “logic” being that odds are, one of them will call back to set up an interview. The problem with this approach is that you may end up with a job you hate. Some people mistakenly reason that a job they hate is better than no job at all, but this is not always true. Besides, times wasted applying for jobs you are either over or under qualified for could have been spent positioning yourself for jobs well suited to you.

Think for a moment about the process a typical salesperson follows, and you will gain some fresh insight into how to approach your job search. First, they approach the prospect and attempt to determine their needs. Then, they figure out how they can meet those needs and present their solutions to their prospects. By following a similar approach in marketing yourself during your job search, you will enjoy a much higher success rate than you would have if you had engaged in the more common (but less targeted) “scattered” approach. To borrow from the vernacular of the sales profession, you will “close the deal” far more often this way.

Sales people track their success in a different way from most other people, too, and you could probably learn something from that as well. For example, they measure the number of calls it takes to get through to a decision maker. For you, this might take the form of the number of resumes emailed. Next, they measure the number of appointments it takes to make a sale. Of course, in your case, once you have made your first sale, your job search has come to an end. At least, it should have. If you have only sent resumes to companies offering jobs well suited to your skill set, it will have.

Sales people also evaluate their approach when it is not working. You should do that, too. It could be that your resume is missing some important keywords that it should have. Perhaps your cover letter does not adequately convey the true depth of your desire to work for the company to which you are applying. Fix these problems promptly, and your successes rates will improve.

Book Review: Delivering Happiness

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose is part candid memoir and part fascinating business book written by Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh describing his remarkable journey in the business world and the lessons that he learned along the way. He writes about his rapid and unorthodox ascent from Harvard grad to becoming the CEO of a very successful online shoe and apparel company. The first half of the book reads like an autobiography while the second half of the book discusses his unusual business practices and his philosophy to customer service and company culture. Here is what I like about this book.

1. This book is funny, and easy to read.

I found myself laughing out loud many times when I was reading the first section of the book, which gives details on Tony’s entrepreneur adventures from his childhood, college years, to his association with Zappos. His writing style is informal, down to earth, and entertaining. It almost felt like he is in the room telling me his stories in person.

2. This book is filled with useful business tips.

The second section of the book is about what Zappos is and how they became the largest online shoe store. Tony and his team did a good job collaborating this section by using past company e-mail, personal narratives, and real life examples to illustrate how they came to focus on: customer service, culture/core values, and employee training and development. Check out Zappos’s core values (page 155-190). My favorite one is: Deliver WOW Through Service.

3. This book has a thought provoking take-home message.

The third section of the book details how Zappos got acquired by Amazon in an all-stock deal worth about $1.2 billion in 2009 and how they came to this vision statement: Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world (page 230). The take-home message for me is: the lasting happiness is closely linked with a higher purpose. In pursuing a higher purpose, we will bring happiness to ourselves and to others.

Delivering Happiness is one of those books that challenges conventional wisdom about business and life. I highly recommend this insightful book to anyone who wants to make a profit while living their purpose.

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