Is a Toxic Job Adding Too Much Stress?

Toxic workplaces are bad for your mental and physical health.  In a recent survey, an astonishing 53 percent of workers said their place of employment brings no happiness to their lives.  Too many Americans are trapped in toxic jobs. Are you one of those people?  Perhaps it is time to do something about it.

Toxic Job

What Is a Toxic Job or Workplace

toxic workplace can be defined as any job where the work, the atmosphere, the people, or any combination of those things cause serious disruptions in the rest of your life.

The interruptions can include “sleepless nights, feeling constantly vigilant, sweaty palms, and a racing heartbeat.”

A toxic workplace also has negative health impacts that can affect your personal life by damaging everything from your self-esteem to your friendships.

Signs of a Toxic Workplace

Below are some solid indicators of a toxic work environment:

  • Employee Sickness: Toxic workplaces lead to employee burnout, fatigue, and illness due to high levels of stress that wreak havoc on our bodies. If people are calling in sick or worse, are working sick, that’s a good sign of a toxic work environment.
  • Employees Are Not Using Their Vacation Days:  It is estimated that 54 percent of employees only take half of their vacation days for fear they will fall too far behind and a whopping 66 percent do work-related activities when they do use vacation days.   So employees never truly relax.
  • High Turnover: When the work environment has nothing good to offer except dysfunction, poor morale, and sickness, people will start heading for the door to find a better situation. If you notice a high turnover rate in your company or department, take that as a sign of a toxic workplace.
  • Narcissistic Leadership: Your higher-ups demand that you always agree with them, tell them they’re right, and feel they’re above the rules. They expect everyone else to be perfect while they can meet lower standards.
  • Employees Stuck Behind a Desk All Day:  The average worker spends 9 hours a day sitting down.  Sitting that much increases the risk of premature death and the worker’s chances of developing diabetes by 25 percent.  Productivity and efficiency could be increased by standing and movement
  • Little to No Enthusiasm: Look around the office. Is anyone happy to be working there? Is anyone smiling? Are conversations positive and upbeat? Is anyone talking at all? A ”no” to these questions equals toxicity.  If employers discourage conversation between employees, that is even more toxic.
  • Lack of Communication or Negative Communication: You and others don’t get the necessary information to do your job. You work hard with no positive feedback and no recognition, and you might even be told to be glad you have a job at all.
  • Cliques, Gossip, and Rumors: Everyone seems to be out for themselves, and there are no genuine friendships among employees. There’s lots of infighting and paranoia as well as gossip and rumors.  Gossip tends to trickle through poor communication channels, and it starts at the top.  Did you know gossip is actually a form of workplace violence?

Signs You are Affected by a Toxic Job

Your body may know before your brain that your job is to blame for your stress symptoms, sending you red alerts that you are not okay.

Muscle Aches

When your job is toxic, it can feel like you’re fighting off a wild tiger at your desk. Under a perceived threat, your brains flood your system with adrenaline and other stress hormones.

Insomnia

Not being able to sleep because your mind is racing or not being able to stay asleep. You wake up in the middle of the night thinking about your to-do list.

A few restless nights is not a huge deal, but if it becomes a pattern, that may be a sign your job stress has become toxic.

Headaches

Your muscles tense up to guard your body against injury. When you see the workplace as a danger zone, it keeps your muscles wound tight, according to the American Psychological Association. Chronic tension in the neck, shoulders, and head can be associated with migraines and tension headaches.

Increased Sickness

If you are catching colds constantly, consider how you are feeling about your job.  Research shows that chronic stress can compromise the immune system, making you more susceptible to illness.

Mental Health Issues

Increased stress can exacerbate existing mental health issues.

Tiredness

This is fatigue, a bone-deep weariness that no nap or weekend catchup seems to cure.

Appetite Changes

Your appetite is closely linked to your brain. Under acute stress, your fight-or-flight response releases adrenaline, telling your body to suppress digestion to focus on saving us from a perceived danger.  When your job is causing long-term emotional distress, you may turn to food for comfort.

Less Interest in Sex

The American Psychological Association notes that when women have to juggle professional stress on top of their ongoing personal and financial obligations, it can reduce sexual desire. For men, this chronic stress can result in lower testosterone production, which in turn leads to lower libido.

Relaxation and time are imperative and many people report not having enough time to have sex.

In addition to the list above, trust your gut if it tells you something is wrong. Once you know what you’re dealing with, it’s time to develop strategies that can help you stay sane and deal with the toxic environment you are working in.

 

What Can You Do?

  • Start your exit strategy. Start making the plans to look for a new job.  Since it takes time to find a new job,  begin your search and then take steps to improve the current situation.   This will help you stay positive when things get tough. If you needed to leave yesterday, consider a bridge job that will keep you active while you find something in line with your career.
  • Create lists to keep yourself busy. A list can help you stay focused on your tasks instead of the toxic atmosphere and gives you a reason to keep going every day.
  • Try to develop friendships.  Even if it is just one person, it is a bright spot in your day.
  • Document everything you do. Save emails and write down comments and decisions from meetings, phone calls, and every person who interacts with you. If you need to file a complaint, you will need the evidence to back your claim.
  • Do something after work that can help relieve stress. Go to the gym, do home repairs, or learn a new skill. The key is to make sure you’re living a fulfilling life outside of work to combat the drama of your 9 to 5.
  • Take breaks.  As you go through the day, take breaks to talk with co-workers, walk around the building, eat a healthy snack, do some exercises at your desk.  Whatever it takes to give your mind an escape for a few minutes.
  • Use your vacation time.   Find a way to use it.  Even if it means taking one day per week or extended weekends off.  You need time away from your job to relax and rest.   Do something fun when off.  You don’t need to go to an exotic location to get the benefits of a vacation.  Consider reading the book you have had on your nightstand for a while.  Or spending time working in your yard or sleeping in each day.   Whatever makes you feel relaxed and rested.

Knowing the signs of a toxic work environment and how to handle it will allow you to take your next step if and when you feel the time is right.

Do You Need Help?

 If you need help planning an exit strategy and getting ready for the job search so your next job will be a place you truly enjoy working, your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider at Career Find and schedule a consultation.

Using Text Messaging In Your Job Search

Do you text often?  Are your texting skills lacking or do you “rock” it?

According to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, 43 percent of hiring managers have communicated with job candidates via text.  This trend will continue to increase.  So it is in your best interest to brush up on the texting skills and be prepared to respond should a hiring manager contact you.

Text Messaging

Text Messaging Tips

How do you ensure that you can present yourself as positively as possible when you have to be short and succinct?  These tips might help:

Don’t Initiate Text

Let the interviewer or recruiter be the first to use text between you.  Send your initial job application and resume through traditional channels, and communicate afterwards via email or phone.

If the interviewer reaches out to you via text, they will be expecting a response.  At that time it is fine to return a message via text.

Don’t Ignore Messages

If an interviewer texts you, they can usually see when it was read.  So be prompt in responding.  If it will be a while, let them know you are currently working and will respond in an hour or whenever.

Keep It Professional

It can be tempting to just give them a one or two-word answer, use abbreviation, emoticons, etc.  Don’t do it.  Use complete sentences, full words, and a professional tone. You are not texting family in a relaxed tone.  Keep a degree of formality and professionalism in job search texts.

Check your Text “Signature”

If you have a text “signature” that is sent at the bottom of every text message, make sure it’s appropriate for use in professional communications.

Spelling and Punctuation Matter

Check and re-check your spelling, grammar, and punctuation, and watch out for auto-correct errors.

Stay Within Business Hours

Because texting, like phone conversations, is “real time” communications, only send your text to a recruiter during normal business hours.

Double Check Who You are Sending to

Before you hit send, check that you’re sending the text to the right person.  We have all heard the horror stories of messages being sent to the wrong person.

You want to keep your text message as short as possible, but don’t be afraid to convey information that will showcase your abilities and heighten the interviewer or recruiter’s interest in you.  You want to appear professional regardless of what tool is used in the job search process.

If you would like to learn more, I found this article about what it is like to apply for a job via text to be very interesting.

Do You Need Help

If you need help preparing for the job-hunt, contact your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find for an Introduction Call.  I can help you create a resume that will differentiate you from the competition, develop a unique job search strategy, and help you to feel confident as you begin the job search process.

 

 

 

Top 10 Tips to Ace Virtual Interviews

You have applied for your dream job and they have contacted you for an interview.  Surprise…it is a virtual interview.  You’ve never done one of them before and now you are getting nervous.
Virtual Interviews
Virtual interviews are becoming commonplace now to cut down on travel costs.  Usually, they are used for your first round and employers use them to get to know you and determine if they wish to move you to the next round of interviews.  But some companies are using them for second and third round interviews as well.  So it is important you are prepared for this type of interview and know how to use the technology.

Tips

So how do you make a good impression and ace the interview?  Here are a few tips to help”

1. Look at the Camera

By looking at the camera, the person on the receiving end thinks you are looking at them.   If you are watching the computer screen it appears you are looking at the keyboard and not paying attention.  If you want to watch yourself onscreen, move the box closer to the top near your camera lens.  This also cuts down on drastic eye movements.

2. Lighting

Make sure you have sufficient light in the room where you will be interviewing.  The interviewer will want to see you, not shadows.

3. Dress Professional

Dress for an interview from head to toe.  If they ask for something and you need to get up to get it, you will look ridiculous if you are only dressed professionally from the waist up.

4. Grooming is Essential

The interviewer will probably see you up-close on the screen.  Most likely closer than they would during a regular interview, it is important to make sure you have taken some time to groom yourself.  Comb your hair, brush your teeth, floss, remove unwanted facial hair, and use some light make-up if female.

5. Background is Important

Set your computer or phone up in front of a calm area without distracting things in the background.   Everything they see will shape what they think of you.  Don’t skip this step.  I have heard of candidates who did not get jobs because of all the clutter in the room.

6. Colors to Wear

While you want to be professional, you also want to wear colors that complement your complexion and are not too busy on the screen.
  • Refrain from polka dots or busy prints.
  • Stick with solid colors if possible.
  • Avoid white, bright red and all-black outfits. All three of these colors pose technical problems.
  • Jewel colors show up best.
  • Keep jewelry simple.

7. Sounds

We talked about distracting visual backgrounds, quiet the noise.  Sounds can be distracting to you and the interviewer.

8. Speak Clearly

Now is not the time to mumble.  Make sure you practice speaking clearly and loud enough so the interviewer can hear you.

9. Important Documents

Have a copy of your resume next to you, as well as paper and pen to take notes, and some pre-written interview questions (At least two) that you want to ask them.  Treat this the same as an in-person interview.

10. Practice

Do a few trial-runs with someone to see how you look, sound, and how comfortable this interviewing format is.   It helps to use the technology in advance so you feel confident.  It IS unnerving, so to rock out, you need to try to practice to feel comfortable and shine.
Follow these tips and you should have a great virtual interview.

Do You Need More Help?

If you would like more help preparing for a virtual interview, consider working with me, your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find.  We can schedule a meeting to create a resume that will differentiate you from other candidates and practice virtual interviewing.

Are You Dreaming of Early Retirement?

Do you dream of early retirement?  Many people do.  Thinking about retiring early and not following someone else’s schedule is appealing.

Early Retirement

As many young people dream of retiring early, there are many  workers in their 50’s and 60’s that wonder if it will be possible to retire at regular retirement age.  Some feel they will need to work till 70 and beyond.

What about you?

Are you interested in exploring an early retirement?

Early retirement is possible but it requires planning, sacrifices now, and focus on a long term goal.   Planning from the perspective of finances and all the perks that come with having a full-time job such as vacation time, sick time, health insurance, etc.   Will you replace them and if so, how?

FIRE Movement

There is a current movement toward Financial Independence, Retire Early (FIRE).

Greg Daugherty, a Personal Finance Writer, who has researched people who retired in their 30’s, points out the three steps to make early retirement a reality:

  • Embrace a frugal lifestyle.
  • Save like crazy­ – 75 percent or more of your income — and invest the money.
  • Once your investments are sufficient to support that very frugal lifestyle for the rest of your life, consider yourself free to retire.

The FIRE movement is not for everyone.   If you have children or other responsibilities, saving 75% of your income might be impossible.  So are you doomed to work till you are 70?

You don’t have to retire in your 30’s.   Making adjustments when young can allow you to at least be on track to survive leaving your job at normal retirement age or to perhaps retire 5 or 10 years early.

Small Adjustments

Some adjustments that are easy to implement now no matter what age you currently are:

  • Earmark any raises, bonuses, and tax returns to go directly to savings.
  • Buy used cars instead of new and invest the difference.
  • Learn to cook so you will spend less on meals out and eat healthier.
  • Take care of your health. It is easier to retire healthy than if you have a lot of medical issues that will make insurance expensive.
  • Learn to live with less. You don’t have to make drastic cuts but small cuts to expenses every month add up.  Do you need all those extra cable stations, do you need a new cell phone, do you need the latest tech, are those designer clothes a must?   Little savings add up.
  • Cut back on luxury vacations.
  • Research costs of things such as health care, etc. so you are prepared and don’t have sticker shock after you quit your job.
  • Invest the money you save so it works for you.
  • Plan ahead. Do you want to retire 5 years early, 10 years?   How much money will you need?

Sometimes retiring early doesn’t mean you stop working.  It means you no longer work the job that is currently paying the bills.  It might mean you now have the time to work on your own schedule.  Maybe you now have time to start your own business or work for a non-profit that you are passionate about on a part-time basis.

Mr. Money Mustache, a financial writer states, “Financial independence is not an age-related concept,” he says. “It simply means your income from sources other than work is enough to pay for your lifestyle.”   Those sources can vary from pensions, savings, passive income, to part-time work.

It Is Possible

Whatever you are dreaming retirement will be, just know it is possible.  But to make it a reality you need to plan ahead and make some changes now while you are employed to make it happen.

Things to Consider Before Applying for a Non-Profit Job

If you’re ready to leave the corporate world behind and look for a job with a non-profit, you may think it’s a great shift. But the needs of a non-profit are very different from that corporate job you’ve been working. Before you send out your resume, there are a few roadblocks that may keep you from getting hired.

non profit

Here’s what you need to consider before applying for a non-profit job:

Thinking the Job Will Be Easy

Maybe one of the reasons you want to leave the corporate world is because you’re feeling overworked and underappreciated. While the non-profit world will probably appreciate you more, you don’t know the meaning of overworked yet.

Most people take a job with a non-profit because they’re passionate about the cause. This usually translates to working as much and as often as they possibly can to support their non-profit organization. Weekends and 12-15-hour days are pretty normal.

Not Volunteering

If you’re applying for a non-profit position without ever volunteering your time, hiring managers are going to question your commitment to the organization’s mission.

If you say you care deeply about an issue but you don’t have any volunteer experience, that’s a red flag. If you truly care about the mission, volunteer first and prove you’re committed to their mission.

Assume It’s Not a “Real” Business

While non-profits are deeply committed to their cause, they also want to hire people who can manage their staff and volunteers, cut costs, and raise money. If they’re going to spend the money to hire someone, they want someone with management and financial skills.

Thinking Too Highly of Your Skills and Experience

You may think that because you earned your skills in the corporate world that they are superior to the skills you would’ve earned in the non-profit world. Most people who work for non-profits are professionals who have worked their way up and have strong experience.

While it’s important to be confident about your skills during your interview, it’s also important that you not underestimate the skills of the other people already working at the non-profit.

Being Seen as a Stand-Out

In the corporate world, your successes are usually your own. But in the non-profit world, successes are about the team. It’s important to be seen as a team player in your interview, otherwise, you can kiss that non-profit job good-bye.

Highlight your experiences with people you worked with in the past and share successes that the whole team enjoyed.

Non Profit Tips

To ensure a successful interview for a non-profit position take these tips to heart:

  • Use a chronological resume to highlight your job growth from one position to the next.
  • Customize your resume to the position you’re applying for instead of submitting a generic resume.
  • Show that you understand and connect with the non-profit’s mission by doing some research on them before going to your interview.
  • Share how you have the ability to work with others to resolve a problem and find a solution.
  • Show that you care about their mission by volunteering for their group or another similar group before submitting your resume.

Working in the non-profit world is not for the person who wants a Monday-Friday, 9-5 job. It requires a lot of hard work and commitment. Know what you’re signing up for before wasting both your time and that of the interviewer.

Still Interested?

If working for a non-profit still sounds like a good fit for you, consider working with me, your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find.  We can schedule a meeting to create a resume that will differentiate you from other non-profit job seekers and develop a job search strategy to help you feel confident as you meet with various non-profits.

5 Areas of LinkedIn Job Recruiters Use to Screen Applicants

Would it surprise you to know that social media has become an almost universally adopted hiring tool, with 92 percent of recruiters surveyed using it as part of their interview and hiring process?   Of the various social media, LinkedIn comes out on top with 87 percent of recruiters using Linkedin.  Fifty-five percent are using Facebook, and 47 percent are using Twitter.

LinkedIn Use in Job Search

Recruiters are searching more than just your profile, they are giving it a thorough review for not only qualifications but to learn a little more about an applicant’s personality.

Screening Applicants

Here are the top things job recruiters look at when screening applicants:

1. Is Your Profile Completed?

If your profile is incomplete, it probably means you don’t give much thought to how you present yourself to others. It makes a bad first impression. Your profile should be your online resume showing your previous and current places of employment with accurate start and end dates.

You should also include a summary of your qualifications, awards, work history, and skills along with a recommendation or two. Your summary should be short, concise, and easy to read with bullet points.

Make the most of your headline, it’s your first profile impression. Check for discrepancies, they can be a red flag to employers that you’re not detail-oriented.

2. Your Photo

Is your photo a professional headshot or a selfie? Are you wearing professional attire or dressed casually while at the beach? Is it a close-up or just a dark shadow in the background? Your photo represents who you are in the business world, not on vacation.

It should represent the job you’re seeking. If you can’t afford to get a professional headshot, dress in business attire and have a friend or family member take a photo of you against a solid color background.

3. Your Connections

The more connections you have, the more a job recruiter sees that you are a networker and make connections that can improve your knowledge and referrals. If you have less than 300 connections, you need to take some time to beef up your profile and connect with more people.

4. Your Activity

During a job search, recruiters want to see that you’re active on LinkedIn. Are you reading your news feed, sharing content, and commenting regularly? This will show a recruiter that you have a level of professional interaction with your connections.

If you’ve written articles, be sure to include links to them in your profile so that recruiters can learn more about you. Keep any content you post professional, this is your online image.

5. Your Status

If you’re currently seeking a new position, using the “ Open Candidates ” option will allow you to privately let recruiters know that you’re searching. If recruiters know this in advance, they are more likely to send opportunities your way.

Job Recruiters Take Your Profile Seriously

Job recruiters take your LinkedIn profile seriously so you need to as well if you want to grab their attention.  Spending an afternoon updating your profile is time well spent if you’re looking for a new job.  You can make it easier for recruiters to find you by joining industry groups and commenting on discussions. Recruiters are always seeking professionals within their industry to connect with.

Rate Your Workplace Happiness

This is the time of year when new initiatives are starting, bonuses are often paid, and things get into a routine at work.  It’s a perfect time to look at your workplace happiness.  Do you “love” your job?   If not, it might be time to take inventory and consider your options.
Workplace Happiness
More than a third of all workers are planning to move to a different job during the next year.  Will a new job live up to expectations, or will they be back to hunting the perfect job in just a few months?

Evaluating Your Job Happiness

Before jumping ship and switching jobs, look inside yourself and evaluate what exactly you are unhappy about.   What criteria do you need to use to make sure the next job makes you happier?   Is there anything you can do to improve your job happiness with your current employer?

Personality

Take your personality into consideration. Do you enjoy social interactions and communication or is working with smaller groups or by yourself more your thing?  Can you concentrate for long stretches of time on a single thing, or do you like constant change?   Is your current occupation using your strengths or tugging at your weaknesses?

Understanding your personality traits will help you to recognize which working environments are best suited for you.  Work environment plays a big role in your happiness at work.

Skills

Next, let’s look at the skills you enjoy using.   Do you like to work with numbers or words?   Do you like to do research?  Are you a problem solver?   Are you strategic?   What skills make you feel energized when you use them?  What skills drain you?

Work Requirements

All jobs have requirements and we might not like all of them, and it is something to take into consideration when looking at a new position.   Do you like working 9-5 or do you want more flexibility?   Do you want to set your own schedule or work when you are assigned?  Do you want to come into an office or work from home? Are you required to do mandatory overtime?  How often do you have to stay late?

Studies have found that people who work 40 hours or less are usually happier than peers who are working 40+ hours.   If you work long hours you have less time for family and friends.  Unrealistic work demands can decrease employee happiness.

Challenge

Do you have the opportunity to learn new things?   Does your current job challenge your mind on a routine basis or is it routine?   Most people enjoy a bit of challenge.

Money

Some of the happiest employees make very little in comparison to some of the high paying jobs available.  You have heard the saying, “Money isn’t everything.”  While that is true, money is important.  You should be paid fairly for the job you are doing.  Wages and benefits have an impact on your happiness with the job.

While a six-figure salary may appear to make a person happy, if it eats up all their time and is constantly stressful it might not be worth it.  Many will pick a lower salary for more freedom and time away from the job.  Money is not an indicator of job happiness but is something to consider.  More money does not always make a person happier but being underpaid certainly contributes to job unhappiness. Only you can answer the questions regarding how much money contributes to your job happiness.

Other Factors

Other factors that contribute to job happiness include:

  • Relationship to co-workers
  • Treatment of employees
  • Job Security
  • Safety
  • Organization’s stability
  • Relationship with immediate supervisor
  • Communications
  • Culture
  • Future opportunities
  • Training
  • Support and recognition
  • and others

As you take inventory of these items and how they contribute to your workplace happiness, you might find you are not happy and want to make a shift.  Utilizing a coach for career guidance may help you find the perfect job that would be a better fit for your personality.

Let Me Help

If you need help preparing for the job-hunt, contact your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find for an Introduction Call.  I can help you create a resume that will differentiate you from the competition, develop a unique job search strategy, and help you to feel confident as you begin the interviewing process.

 

Remove the Stress From Job Hunting

Hunting for the perfect job for an individual requires time, effort and knowledge. Sometimes we get stressed with the amount of time and effort involved with the process of job hunting.  Has this ever happened to you?

Job Hunt

Steps to Remove the Stress

For stress-free job-hunting, every individual must first consider the following pointers before starting your job hunting process:

  1. Know what type of job you would like to apply for. Attending job fairs that offer work which is not related to one’s degree or work preference would be a waste of time.

Consider your interests, preference of work location and job shifts.  If all these fit the category of the job opening available, then consider applying.

  1. Prepare possible needed documents or career portfolio. Have several copies of your resume, transcript of records and any certifications or reference letters ready for immediate submission if needed.

Waiting until you get the call to get these items updated and together just adds to the stress.   Be prepared in advance.

  1. Know where to look for job postings.    Below are some ideas:

*Internet.

One of most widely used searching options is the Internet.  Aside from the fact that browsing the Internet for available jobs is less time consuming than personal appearances to inquire at the offices, this can also be the least productive form of job hunting.

* Newspapers

Local newspapers advertise jobs that are within an applicant’s commuting distance.  Available jobs are usually printed on a regular basis.

*Career or Job Centers

Depending on where you live, you may have a center in your community.   They work with employers to keep an updated list of jobs available.

*Trade Periodicals or magazines

Professionals are best advised to look for jobs in magazines/journals since employers that would want to hire the same would advertise in such journals.

*Offices

Most companies have postings of job openings on their website with instructions on how to apply.

*Friends 

Friends are a great source of available jobs especially if they already work there and can put in a good word for you to get an interview. Just a word of caution, don’t expect to get the job just because you have a friend working there.  Do your due diligence and research to make sure this is a good fit for you and you are prepared to go through the interview process just like everyone else.

Searching for a job will always include some level of stress but you can do your best to minimize it and help yourself be a confident job-seeker.

If you need help preparing for the job-hunt, contact your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider, at Career Find and schedule a meeting to create a resume that will differentiate you from other job seekers and develop job search strategy to help you feel confident as you begin your job search.

Be Prepared When Disaster Strikes

I live near Houston, Texas.   Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the wrath of Hurricane Harvey on my area.   I thought I lived in a very safe zone, but I had to evacuate.  My home ended up being OK, but several homes close to me had water damage.

So how do you prepare for something like a hurricane or other disaster?  Even if you live in a safe zone, you need to be prepared with some items ready-to-go at a moments notice.

After living through the Harvey evacuation, I would like to share a couple items to gather together so you are prepared no matter what the emergency.

Prepared When Disaster Strikes

Create and Evacuation Box or Backpack

Creating an evacuation box or backpack will be so helpful for you and for your family.

Include the following items in your evacuation box:

  • Copies of important documents. (Copies can also be saved in Dropbox or Evernote for retrieval)
    • Bank and credit card account info
    • Mortgage company info
    • Computer account info
    • Insurance policies
    • Driver’s license
    • Social Security Card
    • Passport
    • Copy of your electric bill to prove where you live
    • A sheet listing any phone number you might need during an emergency such as insurance agent, family, minister, etc.  (it also helps to pre-program these on your phone)
    • Copy of birth certificates or citizenship papers
  • Your checkbook
  • A backup external hard drive of your computer’s info, pictures, etc.
  • A thumb drive with all versions of your resume on it (These can also be saved in Dropbox or Evernote for retrieval later)
  • Extra keys to your safe deposit box
  • Flashlight and batteries
  • Some extra cash
  • Phone and Charger

Each of these items should be sealed in ziplock baggies to avoid water damage, etc.

Other Items

Depending on where you live, you might want to include other contents.

I would suggest a couple bottles of water be packed as well.

Don’t forget to pack your medications in ziplock bags too.  Make sure you have enough to last a week.

Babies

If you have babies, make sure you have diapers, wipes, baby food, formula, etc. packed to take in a rush.

Pets

If you have pets, you may want to have a bag packed for them for emergencies that includes little bowls, some pet food, an extra leash and doggie-waste bags.

If You Evacuate:

Hopefully, you will never have to evacuate but if you do, please know a dozen people will be there to help. You may feel alone, but your neighbors, friends, first responders will be there to help you.

  • Wear shoes that can get wet.
  • If you travel, call your credit card companies and banks so your card/account is not subject to a fraud hold.
  • Contact FEMA and The Red Cross to help with expenses, etc.
  • Contact your insurance agent.
  • Contact family and let them know you are safe.

What You Will Need in The Aftermath:

If your home is involved in a disaster you will need the following items when it is time to return and clean up.

  • Trash bags
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Mops
  • Brooms
  • Camera or cell phone camera for pictures of damage
  • Storage bins for things you can salvage
  • A pair of rain boots

Save all receipts.

Be Prepared for a Quick Getaway

Being prepared to make a quick getaway will not only make the evacuation stress less, but also you will have less stress once you have gotten to a safe place.   It helps you to re-status yourself in the event the catastrophe does strike.

I Was Lucky

My home is out of the floodplain and was totally safe until County officials decided that I was going to get 4 feet of water in my house and needed to evacuate ASAP.

It was quite the experience having to sort through unpacked boxes (we moved in 2 weeks prior) and decide what I definitely didn’t want to lose and what could be lost.

After a week, we were allowed back into our area and were very lucky to find no water in the house.

The neighborhood next to mine was not so lucky. For some reason, the flood gates remained closed, and the pump station did not turn on which caused the retention ponds to fill and overflow 2+ feet into homes. Hundreds of homes were damaged.

If You Want To Help

If you want to help actual people and families that lost everything instead of giving to a charity that takes a cut, please email me (rachel@yourcareerfind.com) and I will let you know how you can directly help them.  I have friends from out of state who sent gift cards to me, I then distributed to people that have no flood insurance and had their home flooded in the neighborhood next to mine. This cuts out the middle man and gets much-needed help to families immediately.

 

 

Why Your Handshake Matters – Job Interview Tips

The importance of a handshake is much more than you can imagine.  While a handshake is a nonverbal form of communication, don’t be fooled by thinking “it” doesn’t speak volumes about the person shaking hands.

Having a good handshake can mean the difference between getting the job or not.  Decisions are made about our personality and character based on a handshake all the time, which is why it is so important that YOU master the art of handshaking.

Your Handshake matters

No matter how well prepared you are for the interview, if your handshake is bad, your first impression will take a hit. But the right handshake will do far more for you than designer clothes ever could. So save your money and learn a bit more about the art of handshaking.

Four Types of Handshakes To Avoid

Don’t lose points with someone you are trying to impress before opening your mouth!

The Wimpy Noodle: This one is particularly common among women, but it’s perhaps the worst—a limp, lifeless hand extended and just barely shaken. It’s the type of handshake that can ruin a meeting before it even begins.

The Hand Crusher: This grip can actually make the other person wince in pain.  Some have been taught that the stronger their grip, the more seriously they will be taken—and they clamp down as if their life depended on it.  Be careful of your own strength.

The Alpha: In this case, the hand is extended palm down—seems subtle, but it conveys the intention of having the upper hand in the interaction.

The Double-Handed Clench: The classic two-handed handshake (also known as The Politician’s Handshake)—when you feel your partner’s left hand closing in on your right hand, wrist, arm, shoulder, or neck. The only time this is OK is when the person you’re meeting is already a good friend (and even then I’d reserve it for those times when you want to convey special warmth).

The Steps to a Good Handshake

Follow these steps to learn the key ingredients of a gold-star handshake.

  1. Be Prepared

When meeting people, keep your right hand free. Shift anything you’re holding to your left hand well in advance—you don’t want to have to fumble at the last moment.

  1. Consider Your Body Language

 If you’re seated, always rise before shaking someone’s hand. If you’re standing, keep your hands out of your pockets—visible hands make you look more open and honest.

Face the person and make sure to use plenty of eye contact, and smile warmly.

  1. Get in Position

Angle your thumb straight up to the ceiling when reaching to shake a hand. Open wide the space between your thumb and index finger.

  1. Make Contact

Give a hug with your hand.

  1. Shake It

Shake from the elbow, not the wrist.

  1. Practice, Practice, Practice

Practice with friends or family before a job interview or networking event.

A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake.  Make sure you have the best handshake possible.

Learn More!

Check out the great information about handshakes  in the infographic below:

Infographic by Quill

Need some help?

Call your Career Coach, Rachel Schneider at Career Find and schedule a meeting to differentiate yourself from other applicants as you move forward with your job search.

Start Climbing

Contact us for a FREE CONSULTATION and start the process today.

281.816.6400

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