In my quiet time, I worry about odd things, and one of those is that the English language may lose three important words due to lack of use. Unfortunately, these are words that we all know, and could, and should, use every day; but somehow we’ve stopped. Those words? “Please” and “you’re welcome.” (Okay – one of those words is really two words, or really three, but give me some literary license, please.)
Let’s take these on one at a time. I’ll bet that when you were a toddler, your parents told you multiple times every day to say please and thank you. Somewhere around the teenage years you probably started dropping the please – and maybe the thank you. As I interact with business professionals all day, many of them make requests of me. They ask for information, for assistance, to be hired for a job, etc. I could probably count on one hand the number of times someone included “please” in that request so far this month. While please may still be common for toddlers, it seems to be slipping from the business vernacular.
As a side-note, “thank you” is not endangered – at least not from usage. I hear “thank you” and “thanks” all day long. Granted, many of them are perfunctory or insincere, but the word lives on. I am concerned that all too often its use is insincere. What bothers me most is when someone writes or types “Thx.” Really? You want to show your appreciation, but you don’t have enough time to use three more letters? And how about saying the full “thank you” once in a while? Wouldn’t that be nice to hear?
The first word/phrase I think we might lose is “you’re welcome.” I rarely hear this anymore. Instead I hear, “no problem”, “okay”, “no biggie”, “any time”, and other phrases that suggest that whatever they did for me was insignificant and not worthy of being thanked. In my mind that is plain rude. If someone is going to tell you that they appreciate what you’ve done for them – presuming that appreciation is sincere – then the least you can do is acknowledge the receipt of that appreciation by saying “you’re welcome.”
So, the purpose of this manners rant? I wrote a post a while back about the importance of making a good first impression. You can enhance and sustain that impression by being polite. When you ask for an interview, say please. When you get that interview, say thank you. When the interviewer says, “Thanks for coming in today,” say, “You’re welcome, and thank you for the opportunity.”
Incorporating all three words/phrases into your everyday conversations will not only improve the quality of your relationships, you’ll also be saving these words from extinction. Thank you for reading this blog. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
The last 18 months (at least as I remember them) …
February 2020 – there are growing concerns about a new virus. A major outbreak in the Seattle area.
March 2020 – like a lightning bolt, suddenly we are on lockdown. Only essential workers can go to work. Most business closed and everyone working from home or out of a job. Surely this can’t last too long, can it?
August 2020 – Life is better. Masks, social distancing, testing. Schools are opening with many virtual learning. Zoom is the big thing.
March 2021 – the vaccine is available, things are getting better, we’re going to be okay. We can start to take off our masks.
Present day – What has happened? We barely have half of the eligible population vaccinated. Governors are outlawing requirements to wear masks or get vaccinated. The hospitals are again reaching capacity. Cases and deaths are increasing. Masks are back. Is another shut-down looming?
There is a lot going on in society and business that we can’t control. But there is one thing we each can control. So, if you are looking for a job, get the shot. If you have a job, get the shot. If you choose not to work, get the shot. From a job-search coach’s perspective, here are three reasons why:
- Simple practicality – Being fully vaccinated will allow you to work for the growing number of companies that require all workers to be vaccinated.
- Your own heath – the vaccine is safe and effective, and you are much less likely to get the virus, or get seriously sick, if you’ve been vaccinated.
- Everyone else – Being vaccinated means that you are less likely to contract COVID-19 which means you are less likely to spread it to others who are not able to get vaccinated.
This is not about politics. This is about public health, personal responsibility, protecting yourself, and making yourself more employable. GET THE SHOT! If you are struggling with other aspects of your job search, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
I have to say that this may be the strangest job market I’ve ever seen. We are coming out of the pandemic (hopefully) and businesses are doing well. Unemployment is almost gone, yet through pandemic over 4,000,000 people left the job market and now we have critical labor shortages. In my area many restaurants are offering only take-out service because they are unable to find enough wait-staff to open for in-dining services. Then, there are still people standing on street corners asking for help because they can’t find a job – right in front of signs that say “We’re Hiring”. It is all very wacky.
Right now, if you want a job, you can get a job. It might be working in a warehouse, in the hospitality industry, or in retail, but you can work. Now, if you want to find your dream job, well, that might be a little more difficult.
The message I try to share with this blog, and book, is that if you want a vibrant career where you work for a company you love, doing things you like to do, the best way to find that job is through networking. Meeting people, telling them about you, asking them to introduce you to others, and repeating that process, over, and over, and over. When you do that, you’ll eventually meet the hiring manager who has been looking for someone exactly like you.
Yes, that takes work and time. Yes, it can be uncomfortable for many people. Yes, you will have to face rejection on a regular basis. But it works. And I believe that it is the only thing that works on a consistent basis for virtually everyone who does it (and I mean really does it.)
In this labor market you can find a job tomorrow, and if you need one badly then you should do that. But if you really want to find the right job for you, you need to network. It is as simple as that. If you are struggling, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/
As you sit down to write your elevator speech, or practice your potential interview questions, one thing you have to be clear on is: who are you? You need to know yourself, what you are good at, where you need to improve (you don’t need to tell others that), and what you want to do. One thing I highly recommend is that you learn, or confirm, these things by taking some tests. Here are a few of my favorites. There are many, many more on the web.
Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves. This is a great little book that explains what emotional intelligence is, provides an excellent online assessment of your emotional intelligence, and then provides exercises to improve.
Strength Finders 2.0 by Tom Rath. Strength Finders is an outstanding assessment that helps you find out what you are good at, so you can do more of that. This book by Tom Rath explains the assessment, has a link to an online test, and then helps you better understand your top five strengths and how to make the most of them.
DiSC – Since the ancient Greeks men have been creating personality assessments that evaluate your personality relative to four components. The Greeks used water, wind, earth and fire. My favorite simple assessment is the DiSC profile which stands for Dominance, influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness. You can pay from $0 to $100 for a DiSC online. While you may take the same test, the more you pay, the more information you generally learn about yourself. I’ve included a link to one quality vendor – there are more.
Enneagram – the Enneagram is a very different form of personality assessment that may help in day-to-day living as much as in the workplace. Check out the Enneagram Institute for lots of information.
o*net Interest Profiler – this is an online career interest assessment offered by the US Department of Labor. While it will take more than just a few minutes to take the test, it may help you identify a career area you had not been considering.
Take some time, assess yourself, learn to talk about your strengths and passions. They will lead you past your next job and into a satisfying career. If you are struggling with your job search, this might help. https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/