Can I Shop on #CyberMonday during #Worklife ? Advice about #jobs & #IT policies

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With Thanksgiving and Black Friday behind us, most of us will be picking up coffee on the way into work Monday morning with five days of work in front of us.   However, the Monday after Thanksgiving can also have a “holiday-feel” as retailers hype up Cyber Monday – supposedly THE DAY to shop online.  If you are tempted to browse in between meetings, have you considered whether it is OK to shop online at work?

Every workplace has different norms and policies.  What is your company’s IT policy?  Using company hardware or the web  interface for personal use is often strictly prohibited, or at best, it can only be used for a limited time during the day.  Most companies will have the capability to monitor every email, every website visited, and all documents created and stored on your computer.  One time I called the help desk and the service representative asked me if I owned a Harley (which I do). He had tracked the websites I visited where I was looking for new shocks for the bike. Cyber attacks are on the rise and the company has every right to protect their equipment, their information and intellectual property.  Company security is everyone’s responsibility – not just the IT department, and your mobile device, tablet or laptop may become a gateway for hackers.

In addition to the cyber security issues, we need to be mindful of keeping up our productivity as the holiday season kicks off.  What do you need to accomplish before the work year ends?  Most work place activity slows down to a crawl during the last two weeks of December, so this is your time to kick it in high gear and wrap up some projects.

I suggest making your Cyber Monday wish list tonight, and hitting the GO button when you get home.  The good news about Cyber Monday is that it lasts until 11:59 p.m.  I wish you a great start to the holidays, and if you decide to shop online on Cyber Monday, here is a quick link to get you started!  www.cybermonday.com

 

 

#Career Thanksgiving Therapy for #postgradlife & #cubiclelife dwellers

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Having Black Friday off without having to take a personal day is one of the many things in corporate life that I am grateful for. Please “Like” this post and raise your thumb if you need a four day weekend – RIGHT NOW!

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Get ready, Launch, Gain Momentum, Pull Ahead

In my book First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates, I dedicated a section on keeping fresh at work.  In the self-help world, many will refer to this as work-life balance.  Many of us with competing priorities are frantically trying to live up to this standard and believing that it must be possible since so many refer to it.

Truth exposed – there rarely is harmonized balance between work life and personal life.  At any given point, work will win, family will win, or you will win!  And something will lose.  Thanksgiving weekend is when work loses.  The six million people that will board planes, trains and automobiles today are fleeing quickly, while “work”  awaits Monday in darkness, cold and stillness.  Don’t you feel better already with that imagery in mind?  Relax – you aren’t getting any farther behind and no one is  getting ahead of you this weekend since everyone is gone!

You can’t do everything well all at once.  This weekend is Thanksgiving Therapy for you and your family, but work or school must be prioritized next week.  You will need  to think about wrapping up year-end goals and hit it hard for the next two weeks before holiday joy sets in again.  Your personal life may lose for awhile.  Work isn’t a coast to the year end finish line – there will be a slight up hill climb to December 31, so give it a little thought today as you depart – commit to the sprint over the next two weeks before you begin to coast.

Here are some ways to make work lose this holiday weekend.

Wednesday – quiet catch up with your closest family members whom you haven’t seen for awhile.  Take someone aside for a coffee or a beer, be sincere, be loving, be real about what you are dealing with and anxious to learn about them.

Thursday – on this meat-filled holiday, absorb yourself into family and friends, and veg out on the couch.  After cooking and cleaning up – try doing nothing.

Friday – SHOP!   Give in to the madness!  But buy at least one thing that will center you as you sprint the next two weeks.  Some new tunes, a new coffee mug, a tablet?  Work is still losing – but there is just a hint of focus coming on.

Saturday – plan today something fun and different for Saturday.  What is the one thing you will talk about Monday over the cubicle wall when your coworker asks the ritualistic Monday Question – “What did you do this weekend?”

Sunday – Safe travels everyone, get home early, get quiet, get ready.

I wish you a blessed and safe holiday weekend and for the workforce who doesn’t receive time off because you are needed to make the world hum and buzz – I am thankful for you!

Joyce Jarek is the author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  Pick up a copy as an early holiday gift for you through the link www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Escaping Confinement – Tales of #Cubicle Life #Postgradlife

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Recently I have joined the community of readers on Twitter and Instagram who read and post about the routine of their new life after college.   This group of young professionals face the new reality of being cubicle dwellers – spending almost one-third of their lives at work surrounded by four fake walls.  I remember these days – it felt a lot like being a freshman in a dorm – the lack of privacy minus the fun.  Many of you are faced with mundane and entry level tasks for hours on end and are experiencing a new boredom and tiredness from the routine of having to go into the office – every day, every week- no breaks.

I encourage you to get up and walk around with purpose. Create a mission each day to learn something new by networking with someone in a different department, ask to be included in a task force or committee where you will work on a special project, or as one follower commented in #postgradlife, live on the edge and go to the bathroom on a different floor.  Walk by and observe what is on bulletin boards and say hello to someone new.

The best way to stay motivated is to have multiple short-term projects along with your daily or monthly work. If 50 to 80% of your job repeats on a routine basis, then you should break up the routine with other assignments that only last 2 to 3 months. Part of managing yourself is being able to manage up. If your boss doesn’t prepare assignments in this manner take it upon yourself to ask him for some project work. This will ensure that you’re constantly learning something new or have an opportunity to build a skill set in a new area. When you spend so much time in one place, over 40 hours a week, you should enjoy it, or work will become boring and depressing.

For more tips on how to stay fresh, pick up my ebook First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  Here is a link to Amazon, Ingram and B&N.  www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

Staying Employed is Key to Avoid Living with Parents

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A 2014 Gallup survey indicated that 14 percent of all kids graduating from college are living with parents. They continue to rely on their parents for support, even if they find immediate employment post-graduation. With Fall commencement nearing, many parents may find their graduate back in their old bedroom.

Who suffers financially? Mostly the parents who are surprised to find their kids returning home after college graduation because they either can’t find a job or have a job with wages so low that they can’t afford to live on their own while paying down college debt. About 260,000 people who had a college or professional degree made at or below the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Boomers had hopes to stash away more money in those last few crunch years before retirement but instead must use their extra income to support their children who by now should be financially independent.

Faced with this growing reality, a 2014 article in Fortune magazine discussed how parents are helping their kids network and find a job, and are struggling to determine how far is too far in assisting their graduate.

We don’t magically change once receiving a degree, but hopefully have developed technical competency and communication skills before entering the workforce.

However, the emphasis in college was likely on technical skills development, but many young adults arrive at their first job post degree with a lack of communication and social skills. Colleges include courses on presentation and writing skills in their curriculum, however, training usually stops there, and today’s new employees are left to navigate day-to-day coworker interactions by drawing upon their short brush with socially-accepted work behavior from an internship. Understanding the soft skills can be key to long-term employment.

What kind of support should we ask for from our anxious parents? Ask your parents to share some of their early career experiences but stand on your own by staying employed.

I recently released my first book “First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.” You will find my personal experiences told through four fictional characters that find themselves in tricky business situations and provides advice on how to prevent them or respond responsibly.

First Job can be read in less than two hours but can impact a new professional during the first two years of work, which is often the most critical for maintaining employment.

For tips on navigating work life and advancing a business career,  visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html to purchase First Job.