Friendly reader and job seeker. I’m dealing with some technical issues so I’m going to take a few weeks off, enjoy the holidays and get things taken care of. I’ll be back with more job hunting help after the first of the year.
I wish you, and your family, all the best for these holidays and fantastic success in your job search efforts in 2022.
Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Feliz Navidad, Happy Kwanzza, and Happy New Year.
In the meantime, if you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/. Also makes a great stocking stuffer!
This week I took a course on time management. The basics that have been taught forever are still true. You need to do what matters most first, and then let your schedule be filled in by all the rest. If you need some resources to improve your time management I suggest you check out Do What Matters Most – either the book or the training – or First Things First – either the book or the training. But what I was thinking about as I went through this course was all of the ways that I’ve failed in applying these techniques in the past.
I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People probably 35 years ago, and it blew my mind. I’ve reread it several times since, and I’ve taught the seven habits in many workshops. Habit 2 – begin with the end in mind, and Habit 3 – put first things first, form the core of time management. The challenge to the 7 Habits is that second word, habits. For these techniques to really work you need the discipline to practice them every day – to make them habits. And when you do that, you will be unstoppable.
But what gets in the way? Lots of things. Life throws you curveballs. Plans change. But more than anything else, the think that gets in the way, at least for me, is – me. I procrastinate. As my father used to say, “why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?” In many ways I am my father’s son.
But there is a bigger question. Why do we procrastinate? Usually, it’s because we don’t want to do something. If I set a plate of cookies in front of you, who’s going to say, “I’ll save mine for tomorrow?” You like to eat cookies, and if they are right there, you do. There is no procrastinating. But, what if you are supposed to be contacting strangers to schedule networking meetings? Or filling out a job application for a job you’re not sure you really want? That’s when procrastination kicks in.
When you are looking for a job, and for the rest of your life, you need to learn to do what matters most. Find the tools, techniques, discipline you need to make those calls, fill out those applications, send those thank you notes, and do your research. Very few of us can find our next, best job just by sitting around and eating cookies. We need to stop procrastinating, and get it done. If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.
About 6 months ago I posted about remote work. There are more and more jobs available where you can work from home some, or all the time. But, before you apply for those, I encourage you to take a hard look in the mirror.
Remote work is not for everyone. A few months ago, I facilitated two workshops on how to manage remote workers. One of the things that I learned from developing those workshops was that being a successful remote worker is a two-way street. Yes, there are things the organization and your manager need to do to help you be successful. But there are also some things you need to do as well.
Working remotely requires discipline. You must be able to avoid the distractions that live in your home, like dirty dishes, laundry, the television, food in the kitchen, mowing the lawn, your children, and the list goes on and on. An advantage of going to the office is you typically leave your house and go someplace else – ON TIME – and you leave those distractions at home. When you work remotely, you really just need to roll out of bed and walk 10-50 steps to where you work, and you bring all of those distractions with you. To be successful, you need to be able to clearly separate “at work” from “at home,” even when “at work” may still be in the corner of your bedroom.
Secondly, you need a place to work, not just sitting on the couch or lying on your bed with your laptop on your lap. That can work for an hour or so, but you can’t do that 40-hours a week. The kitchen table is better, if you are home alone, but distracting otherwise, and you have to put everything away every night. Really, you need a desk or table, a good quality chair, good lighting, and as much quiet as possible. Stable high-speed internet access is a must. While you may not need a “home office” if you can make that happen it really helps.
Finally, at least for today, you need the full support of the people you live with. Again, “at work” need to mean “at work.” You will be challenged to work from home if you are also caring for your kids, spouse, parents, etc. The research shows that it can take over an hour to fully recover your productivity after a distraction. If you hear “Mom, …” every 30 minutes, you’ll struggle to get your work done.
A significant part of the post-pandemic workplace is remote work, but before you raise your hand to work from home, make sure you’re really ready and able to be successful. If you need some tips on how to make the most of your search, this might help https://im-fired.com/about-the-book/.