Tag Archives: How to Wow

What To Do On A Slow Day In The Office

27 Jul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t know about you guys, but this past month has been REALLY slow for me. I went from being so busy that I could barely breathe to wishing I had a million things to do and couldn’t breathe again. My husband always tells me that I am never happy – that when I am slammed at work I complain and when I am slow I complain – and maybe that’s true. While I hate having to come into work on the weekends while my husband soaks up the sun with our friends, I would rather do that than have absolutely nothing to do. How about you guys?

So, what have I been doing at work this past month? I have been trying to read through certain code sections to at least know what they discuss (yes, I know, fun stuff). But now I am at the point where reading another code section is going to maybe, possibly, make me scream at the top of my lungs.

Summer is one of those times where people just seem to be slower at the office. Maybe this is because the weather is nice and people are enjoying their time outside rather than generating business, or maybe its just a coincidence. Whatever it is, there is no denying that being slow at work is miserable.

If you are in my situation and your work has dwindled during the summer months, what are some things you can do to stay busy and keep progressing as a professional? Obviously Facebooking, online shopping, or chatting with friends on G- chat is not the best way to spend your time (although I know a LOT of people do it anyways). Here are some POSITIVE things you could be doing with that extra time you have on your hands.

READ ABOUT THE CHANGES IN YOUR INDUSTRY

If you are in a particular field where changes in the laws, regulations, etc., affect you, then spending time on those slow days making sure that you haven’t missed any of those changes is probably a good idea. If there are such changes create a Word document making note of those changes and make sure that you thoroughly understand them. What I mean is don’t just read that the government is dropping funding for the program you are working for – find out how this is going to affect you, where the additional funding will come from, and why they are dropping the funding. In my line of work (legal) it is always important to read up on the changes in the laws and make sure that an opinion that was issued the previous day doesn’t somehow change something that you are working on today.

ORGANIZE YOUR EMAILS

If you are anything like me then your inbox contains thousands and thousands of emails that you have not yet taken the time to organize into folders. I don’t do this because it is VERY time-consuming to go through all of your emails and organize them, and because I like being able to search through my inbox for something that I need. But, even I have to admit that it is nice to have your emails organized into appropriate folders, so if you have the time to do it – then do it.

READ A GOOD PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOK

The slow times in the office provide a great time for you to help develop your professional skills. Try reading a professional development book. Here are some of my favs:

If you aren’t in the mood for reading an entire book then read professional development articles by typing “Professional Development” into Google and reading the various things that come up.

WRITE A MANIFESTO

If you don’t have a how-to document that would tell someone how to do your job if you died tomorrow, i.e. where everything is, who to call, what to do in certain circumstances, then making one is a great idea. Not only will this help someone if you decide to leave your job in the future, but it can be used as your go-to guide if you ever draw a blank on what to do next.

TAKE A CLIENT TO LUNCH

If you have the time to connect with a client on a particular day then call a client and asks them to lunch. Not only will this phone call give you a chance to chat with your client, but the lunch may lead to work (which, if you are reading this, you are in desperate need of).

ASK SOMEONE IF THEY NEED HELP

Just because you aren’t busy doesn’t mean that the people around you aren’t. So, if you are in the mood to get busy and keep your mind occupied, ask someone around you if you can help them out. Being a good neighbor is always important, and maybe they will offer to help you one day.

Have you guys been slow this summer? If so, what do you do to occupy your time?

Interview Preparation: Know Yourself

17 Jul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview or visit to the dentist? Interview or an hour of traffic on your way home from work? Interview or working on a Saturday? For many of us it would be hard to choose which scenario we would prefer. Why is this? Because we all perceive an interview to be just as uncomfortable, just as painful as a visit to the dentist or sitting in traffic for over an hour or working on a Saturday. Why are we so uncomfortable with the interview process when it is an inevitable step in landing that coveted job that we want so badly? I think it is because people don’t know how to properly prepare for an interview. Sure, we all may get that butterfly feeling in our stomachs right before the interview and that is normal (that means that you care), but we shouldn’t dread going to an interview.

So, outside of knowing about the company (inside and out), knowing whom you are going to be interviewing with, and the inevitable questions you will be asked, i.e. why do you want to work here, how can you better prepare yourself for an interview to make the interview process more comfortable?

KNOW YOURSELF

I think an important part of being comfortable in an interview is knowing who you are, i.e. knowing what your flaws and weaknesses are as well as your good qualities. I am currently reading the book How To Wow by Frances Cole Jones, which is a good read for those of you looking to make a good impression at work and with colleagues. In Chapter 4, Jones discusses the interview process and suggests making a list of 3 words that describe yourself. I know, I know, when an interviewer asks these questions we never know how to answer them correctly – should we be honest or should we make ourselves sound better than we really are? But for this exercise just be honest. Write down 3 words that you think  accurately describes you.

My three words would be as follows: Reserved, Hard-Working, Punctual

NOTE: While it should have been easy for me to come up with three words it was rather hard. I find it very difficult to describe myself to others, but maybe this exercise will be easier for you.

The next step, according to Jones, is to ask those around you whether those descriptions of yourself are accurate. Jones says that doing this will allow you to properly see how others see you, which can be completely different from how you see yourself.

If I were to ask those around me whether I was reserved, some people would agree while others, those that I know very well, would laugh in my face. The reason being that when I don’t know someone well I am reserved and shy, and have been told that sometimes I look unhappy or mean. But for those who know me well, they know that in new situations I am shy and that I am not being mean. The ones who know me well see me as the talkative woman who isn’t afraid to voice her opinion, but for those who just meet me they see something completely different.

So, how does doing this exercise help? For me it is helpful to know that people perceive me as reserved. Why? Because employers want people who are exactly the opposite – talkative, personable, outgoing. So, knowing that I come off as reserved and kind of bitchy helps me know that when interview time comes I need to smile a little more and talk a LOT more. Knowing how others perceive me makes it easier for me to work on my problems before stepping foot inside the interview room.

Is being something that you are not easy? No, but you can work on it. While I would never want to work in a work environment where the people didn’t like me for who I was, I understand that an employer wants an employee that can go out there and talk to potential clients. So, to feel more comfortable in the interview and to have a chance at landing the job it is important to portray that image that the employer wants to see even if it isn’t you all the time. There is nothing wrong with working on your flaws, and for me that means trying to be a little more outgoing.

If you find yourself nervous about the interview process try this exercise. Write down 3 words you would use to describe yourself in a work environment, ask those around you whether those are accurate perceptions, and if some of those perceptions are off try to work on being more like the word you described yourself as.