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By Patrick O'Shea Feuer, Bellingham Case Manager – Employment Specialist
Balancing the four main areas of your life is a juggling act. Family, friends and work all demand your attention, and you give attention to those elements that deservedly need it at any given time. Plus, you need time for yourself. A commonly used term for this is "Work-Life Balance," which describes the balance between an individual's work and personal life. However, there is more to the equation when it comes to you.
Your life is full of opportunities to be distracted from your own needs. Technology only complicates matters with the lure of instant communication. It may be hard to know when to turn off and tune out the distractions.
One thing you can do to take care of yourself is set clear boundaries. Make time during your day that belongs to you. Set aside the hour before bedtime or when you first wake up. At work, take your breaks and lunch. Be clear about what you can and can't do for family, friends and coworkers, and don't feel guilty about saying no. Make sure you stay active and get time for exercise such as walking or stretching.
Try to maintain relationships that strengthen your own self and limit time with individuals who seem to waste your time or focus on the negative. Manage your personal and professional time and track where you are spending time that could be used more effectively. Your work is important and reflects on you, so keep focused and eliminate wasteful habits. Remember, if you feel overwhelmed or frustrated, it's perfectly okay to ask for help. There aren't any set rules that identify when a person has given enough of themselves, so it is okay to evaluate your situation and make changes.
By Amy Olson, Bremerton Job Training Program Site Manager
Congratulations…you got the job! While your first order of business should be learning the details of your new position and how to do it well, some experts say this is the best time to start planning your next career step. How can you develop skills in your new position that will later help you gain a promotion or a higher-level position? Here are some suggestions to help you strategize.
Communicate your interest. Don't be afraid to let your supervisor know that you are interested in building your skill set and taking on challenging assignments.
Take advantage of any company-sponsored trainings or certifications and document those accomplishments. Anything that adds to your list of credentials is beneficial. Some organizations offer tuition reimbursement. This is an amazing opportunity to make an investment in your future.
Identify coworkers who demonstrate great leadership or have been in their positions a long time. Find out if one is willing to be a mentor.
Seize opportunities to be cross-trained in other areas. An employee who can be placed in a variety of positions is extremely valuable.
Be open to feedback — even if it's negative. This one can be difficult! Try to see constructive criticism as a gift — one that is offered to help you grow and develop as a worker.
Be positive! Every job has its own set of challenges and frustrations. Try to see how you can use those challenges as problem-solving and learning opportunities.
Best of luck in your new position. Use it as a stepping-stone to gaining a wider, more valuable set of work experiences that serve you throughout your career.
By Liz Dang, Job Training & Education Administrative Assistant
While finding love might be an aspiration in life for many people, your workplace may not be the best place to search for romance. Conducting personal relationships in a professional environment might cause more problems than you want to deal with. After interviewing several human resources professionals about this topic, here is their advice:
Understand your work policies. Many employers now have policies for workplace relationships. Take the time to understand what is acceptable at your work place and what is absolutely not allowed. Very often, relationships between supervisors and staff people they manage are strictly not allowed due to issues that might arise as a result of the relationship, such as favoritism. Coworkers who are peers may be permitted to date, although it is not encouraged. Before you engage in a relationship, make sure you aren't violating your work policies and make sure you understand the consequences if you do.
Be honest. If you are in a relationship with someone at work, let your supervisor know—whether your relationship is in compliance with your work policy or not. Your supervisor can help you find a solution, such as transferring you or your partner to a different department. In some cases, one of you may need to resign. Whatever options your employer presents are better than disciplinary actions or, worse, termination because of a romance that happened in secret and without a realistic resolution.
Be accountable for your work and job performance. Your employer holds you responsible for doing the job that you were hired for. All relationships have problems from time to time, but when those problems interfere with your work, it becomes a bigger issue. If you are in a relationship with someone you work with, don't have a personal disagreement at work. Or, if you ended a workplace relationship, don't be hostile or unpleasant with one another. Maintain professionalism, because your romance should not affect the work team or create negativity and conflict for your employer.
Say "no" clearly. There might be times when another employee sees you as a potential romantic interest but you don't feel the same way. Or, in a worst-case situation, a supervisor might use his or her authority to make you do something you don't want to do. It's very important that you say "no" and set clear boundaries between you and the other employee. If the employee continues to persist and send unwanted invitations, let Human Resources know; this is considered a form of sexual harassment and will not be tolerated. Have the power to say "no" to protect yourself and get help if needed.
Remember that you are representing your employer. When socializing with coworkers after work hours, you have a responsibility to positively represent your company or organization. This includes how you socialize and behave with coworkers on social media as well, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Use good judgment and don't put yourself in a position outside of work that would put you in a bad light or compromising situation at work.
Value your job. The bottom line is, you were hired because your skills are desirable and valuable to your employer. Don't engage in a relationship that would jeopardize your job or prevent you from future employment.
Leaving a job sounds like it should be easy and straightforward, correct? Yet, as with most decisions, there is a right and a wrong way to do it. Here are five easy steps for leaving your job the right way!
Inform your boss before telling your coworkers. Your boss should be the first person in the office to know that you're leaving. Don't show up unannounced to break the news—schedule a meeting. After you talk to your boss, make sure you write a resignation letter.
Give your employer some transition time. Two weeks is the general timeline. This gives the employer time to begin the process of hiring your replacement and to transition your tasks and projects to your coworkers and/or replacement.
Don't spend your last days at work complaining. Complaining will only leave a bad impression of you. Be tactful and respectful. Continue to work hard; you definitely want to leave on a positive note.
Don't criticize your former employer on social media. If you criticize your employer on social media, your comments could hurt the company, your coworkers, and ultimately you. Remember, although your social media account might be set as private, your previous and future employers may have access to your status and comments through mutual connections.
Say goodbye and thank you to your colleagues. If you have access to corporate email, send a message to your coworkers letting them know you are leaving and to keep in touch. The email should have your contact information. Your coworkers could one day be your references when applying for future jobs.
Now that you are leaving, keep in mind that last impressions can be as important as first impressions.
Best of success!