Open post Image of Man Searching Sky - Title: Not Sure What You Want to Do? Let's Figure It Out

Not Sure What You Want to Do? Let’s Figure It Out!

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

There’s a good chance at some point, you’ve been asked the following - “what do you want to be when you grow up?” This question may have been fun to think about as a child, but now that you’re an adult and the pressure is on, it can be stressful and confusing.

Whether you’re just entering (or re-entering) the workforce or you have been employed but are looking to take your career in a different direction, the first step to securing a job that you can thrive in is to determine your goals.

Even if you’re only planning for a minor career shift, or simply want to work at a different company, reevaluating your priorities and motivations can help you to go into your next job search with some clarity.

If defining your career goals seems intimidating, you are not alone. The stakes seem so incredibly high. How can you possibly take your interests, experiences, and dreams, and decide on one thing you are meant to do?

We’re here to help get you started on that reflection and make it a bit less intimidating. Keep reading for some very simple and fun exercises to help you realize your career goals.

Don’t worry about the “perfect fit”

The idea that your perfect career awaits you and you just need to find it, has been fed to many of us.  The pressure to find the ”perfect fit” can lead to having expectations that are unhealthy and unrealistic.

Take some of the pressure off. Don’t worry about finding the perfect fit, and just focus on coming up with some options that are a good fit.

Also, remember that choosing what you want to do does not mean that you’ll be locked into that career path forever. It’s actually quite common for people to make career shifts. In fact, a recent poll found that over half of middle-income workers are considering changing jobs right now.

Drop the “shoulds” from your life

In life, there are so many things that you are told you should do, in order to live your best life. Some of these are well-supported by evidence, like getting enough sleep most nights. But others, like the idea that you must receive a certain level of education to have a fulfilling career or that your path will be clear and straightforward, are not true.

All of these “shoulds” can cloud your judgment, and make it hard to get in touch with your true values and goals.

Before you go through the following self-reflection exercise, take all of your “shoulds” out of the equation. This might be tricky at first because so many of these thoughts are automatic but stick to it. The “shoulds” are probably not serving you as well as you think they may be.

Career assessments and personality tests

While career assessments and personality tests are not the end-all-be-all for defining your career goals, they are a helpful starting point. Many personality and career tests are not based on scientific method and haven’t performed well on tests of reliability and validity. But this does not mean that they can’t still be useful tools for you to use.

They can help you learn about yourself, your interests, your strengths, and your weaknesses.

Regardless of how accurate you find your results, taking the tests and interpreting them will encourage further introspection. If you find some careers that look promising, it might be a good idea to research those positions. For example, results may reveal strengths that really resonate with you. It might then be helpful to investigate careers that will require you to harness and apply those skills.

Here we’ve listed just a few free and popular career and personality tests (but there are many more available online) :

Career Assessments

•             The MAPP Career Test

The MAPP career test is comprised of about 70 questions in which you are asked to sort your likes and dislikes. It’s supposed to take about 22 minutes. It aims to help you discover careers that would suit your interests and fit with your motivations.

The MAPP test has held up to reliability and validity studies and has been used by many institutions and career counselors.

•             The Work Importance Profiler

The Work Importance Profiler is aimed to assess what’s important to you, and then show you careers that are compatible with your values.

Personality tests

•             The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator

The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is one of the most widely used personality tests available. It takes about 20 minutes, and then upon completion, you are given a personality profile.

There are 16 possible personality types, that are presented in the format of four letters. The personality types are determined by whether you’re:

  1. Introverted or Extroverted (I vs E)
  2. Intuitive or Sensory (N vs S)
  3. Thinking or Feeling (T vs F)
  4.  Judging or Perceiving (J vs P).

The test will give you a brief description of your personality type, along with a list of strengths and weaknesses. It will also provide you with careers that others of your suggested type are excelling at.

•             The Big-5

The Big Five personality test will give you a score on five personality traits: openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism.

This test should help you understand some of your tendencies and skills. Providing you with important factors to keep in mind whilst in your career search.

Questions to ask yourself

These questions are all aimed to help you learn more about your specific skills and interests, and how you can match those with careers.

The more detailed and true you are with your answers, the more helpful these tools will be.

What criteria do you have for your life?

To define your career goals, a good place to start is to consider what criteria you have for your life, both in and outside of work. This can include positive and negative criteria: positive things that you would like more of in life, and negative things that you would prefer to avoid.

For example, a positive criterion could be that you want to work in an industry that allows for promotions and career advancement. Or maybe you want a lifestyle where you can spend frequent time with family.

Whilst, a negative criterion could be you don’t want to work in a highly stressful environment, or that you don’t want a role that requires you to work during your personal time.

What are your interests?

This seems like an easy question, one you’ve likely answered many times but this time you will need to dig deep. When you were younger, what did you enjoy learning about?  What do you go out of your way to learn more about now? It’s helpful to understand what your interests are to gain insights into what you’d like to have in your life.

What are you passionate about?

The best and most fulfilling work often comes when you follow your passions. What is truly important to you? What are your values? Is there a topic that you could talk about for ages, or listen to others talk about without becoming bored?

What do you excel at?

Everyone has certain skills that just seem to come more naturally to them. This could be a specific technical skill such as coding, or it could be a soft skill, like empathy.

If you’re struggling to come up with answers to this one at first, it can be helpful to reach out to a close friend or someone who knows you well for insight. Taking the career and personality assessments will also give you a solid foundation to answer this question.

Who do you admire?

This question can really get you thinking about the qualities you value and can help you to direct your aspirations. You may think of people you admire for their job-related accomplishments, or simply for who they are as people.

Once you’ve determined the qualities you admire in others, you can begin to institute them in your own life.

How much additional effort are you able to put in to achieve your career goals?

There might be a certain job that you’re interested in, but it requires another degree or certificate. And maybe going back to school is just not practical for you at this point in your life. That’s perfectly understandable; going back to school is a huge commitment of time and money. It just means that you may need to get creative.

Depending on what it is you’d like to do, you may be able to find free courses that you can fit into your spare time. Self-directed learning has become more available and accepted.

Look for entry-level positions for the job you’d like. You may qualify for the position with the skills you have and then are able to gain skills and knowledge on the job.

There are many ways to get to where you’d like to be, they don’t all have to be conventional.

Find people on social media who are in your dream position and follow them. You will learn a ton about the industry, what it takes to make it, as well as potentially make valuable connections that can help you to achieve your goal.

If none of these are available to you, begin to pay attention to the aspects of your current position that you really enjoy. Focus on those. Does your current company have a position like the one you want? Seek cross-training opportunities to learn more and gain skills. After some time you will be able to apply those to the position that you are really interested in.

Conclusion

Ultimately, if you are not currently where you’d like to be, there are many roads you can take to get there. It’s most important that you just take the first step – regardless of how small that step may feel.

You are a wonderful collection of unique skills, experiences, and perceptions. And you are at your best when you are interested and invested in what you are doing. If you have it, take the time to truly get to know yourself. It will be the best thing you ever do. Future you will thank you!

 

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Open post Header Graphic - Authenticity - Bringing Your Self to Work

Authenticity – Bring Your “Self” to Work

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

“Just be yourself” - you’ve probably heard this throughout your life.  Although cliché, it is great advice. Being yourself helps you to avoid burnout, form meaningful relationships, and even perform better. But being your true self is easier said than done in some situations. One area where you may struggle with authenticity is at work.

It can be particularly difficult for individuals with marginalized identities because they too often face consequences for being themselves. Historically, there have been strict written and unwritten rules for how to conduct one's self professionally, with those rules not always being fair to everyone. But it seems that many of those rules are now being questioned, as the majority of us have been working from home for the last couple of years.

In her Ted talk entitled “The Myth of Bringing Your Full, Authentic Self to Work,” Jodi-Ann Burey uncovers some of the challenges she has faced as a Black woman in the professional world. A quote that stands out from her talk is, “Without accountability to examine the systems of bias and power, the call for authenticity fails.”

Nobody, no matter their race, sexuality, gender, age, or any other part of their identity, should ever be made to feel like they must hide who they are in order to succeed in the workplace. We will discuss some ways that leaders and employees can make space for authenticity for all workers later.

But first, let’s get familiar with what it means to be authentic and why it is so beneficial.

What is Authenticity?

What does “just be yourself” mean at work? It doesn’t mean that you must act exactly the same way throughout all of your interactions, as that is unrealistic. Nor does it mean that you need to share every detail of your personal life. At times it may be necessary to protect your boundaries and keep aspects of yourself separate from certain settings or people. And that’s perfectly okay.

Authenticity is simply when our internal selves (our values, motivations, and interests) align with our behavior. This can look very different depending on your preferences and work style. Cultivating authenticity is a lifelong practice of learning about yourself, and it requires experimentation.  You might try something and then realize that it didn’t feel right. When this happens, you learn something new about yourself and might be more comfortable being a bit more open in the future.

Benefits of Authenticity

Avoid Burnout

Hiding your authentic self in the workplace is likely contributing to burnout more than you may realize. The effort you expend trying to control your work image is costly — performing all day at work is exhausting. Once that pressure comes off, you free up so much energy to put into your work. You will also probably notice that you have more energy to spend on developing other aspects of your life, like your relationships. This brings us to the next benefit...

Form Meaningful Relationships

You might think it’s easier to put up a barrier while you’re at work and separate your social life from your work life. But you most likely spend a good portion of your days at work, so being able to have those strong connections at work will be extremely beneficial. The importance of having meaningful relationships cannot be stressed enough. Studies have found having strong connections to be related to better job performance, and even to increased longevity.

 Perform Better

When you constantly put on a mask at work and feel like you have to stay silent on topics that are important to you, you will likely feel stressed and disconnected from your work. However, once that mask comes off, you’ll be better motivated to engage with and commit to your work and you can watch your performance soar. In an interview about authenticity at work, Human Resources and Recruitment Practitioner Madison Butler explains “When you empower people to be exactly who they’re intending to be in the world, you get people who are more focused on what they’re doing every day. If I’m not focused on the sound of my voice, I can really focus on what I’m saying.”

In Google’s research on what makes a successful team, they found psychological safety to be the most important factor. Psychological safety means that people are given the space to communicate openly, and they know that they can make mistakes without facing harsh consequences. Psychological safety is directly related to authenticity. When people know that they won’t be punished for being themselves, they are much more likely to act authentically.

How to Practice Authenticity at Work (and Make Space for Others to Do the Same)

Now that we’ve established what authenticity is and why it’s important, you might be thinking “okay that’s great, but how do I actually do it?” Whether you are in a position of leadership at your organization or not, we’ll go over some strategies to help you encourage authenticity in yourself and others.

As discussed earlier, some work settings might not be particularly conducive to authenticity, especially for those with marginalized identities. That needs to change. Both the companies and the employees will see the benefits of more open and inclusive workspaces. When authenticity is encouraged, it has been shown to lead to better employee motivation, innovation, and productivity, as well as much higher retention rates.

Make Inclusion a Priority

The first step in enabling authenticity for all employees is to make workplaces more inclusive. This starts with strong leaders who encourage empathy and a sense of belonging. Strong leaders also take steps to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the recruiting process.

If you are not in a position of leadership, you can still play a major role in contributing to a more inclusive work environment. Some actions you can take to achieve this are to speak up if you see fellow coworkers being treated unfairly and to normalize authenticity by doing so as much as you can (without facing consequences).

Practice Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to increase your capacity for authenticity. Through mindfulness exercises, people can become more aware of their own values, feelings, and motivations. The more self-aware you are, the easier it will be to act authentically. Many also report that through mindfulness practice, they have learned to live more intentionally and remain more present in their day-to-day lives.

As the great philosopher, Ferris Bueller, once said “Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. It’s easy to get swept up by your daily routine and miss out on quality experiences. Mindfulness helps you avoid this.

Practicing mindfulness can look really different depending on your preferences. It could be daily meditations, mindful walking, taking breaks to check in throughout the day, or anything else you like. There really are no rules to it; just make it work for you!

Push Yourself to Be Vulnerable

Being yourself can be scary, but once you step out of your comfort zone and open up just a little bit, it will start to be much less intimidating. You can start small, maybe by talking about some of the ways that you’ve had to adjust to the pandemic with your coworkers.

Be a Good Listener

Authenticity is very much connected to your relationships. This means that being authentic isn’t only about being yourself, but also about allowing others the space to do the same. Being a good listener pushes you to be more present in the moment, and in doing so you learn more about yourself and others. This is one of the ways that authenticity helps build meaningful relationships.

Having someone give you their full attention, and really listen to what you have to say is a beautiful thing. When you are a good listener, others feel seen and heard, helping to give them the confidence to be themselves.

Conclusion

The very truth of the matter is that you are a complicated combination of your DNA and your experiences. You have a perspective that only you can have. Bringing your full self to everything you do will only further strengthen the confidence you have in yourself. What you may be dismissing is that your unique perspective is so very important to the rest of us. You will think of things that we would not consider – and we can do the same for you. True collaboration is the only way we can solve some of the really challenging problems we encounter – and we all need to bring our full selves for that to be possible.

 

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Employee Motivations – What’s Important to You in 2022?

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

Employee Motivations - What's Important to You in 2022?

The landscape of work has been forever altered by what we've collectively experienced over the last two years, and with it, employee motivations. Many have taken the time to reconsider what is truly important, both at work and at home. Values have changed, and people are making concerted efforts to craft a different experience. Finding employment aligning with your values may feel daunting, but the benefits to your mental health cannot be overstated.

If you’re like most employees in 2022, you want to work for a company that grants you autonomy – keeping you engaged and motivated. The flexibility to support a positive life-work balance is also shown to be very important, quite often, even more so than compensation. Additionally, you would likely prefer to work for a company with a great culture: one which supports your wellbeing, helps you stave off burnout, and aligns with your values.

All these requests are perfectly reasonable, and fortunately, it is currently an employee’s job market. Employees are continuing to quit in record numbers. Employers are scrambling to fill positions, and workers are no longer settling for positions that don’t meet their needs.

Keep reading to learn how you can secure a position that meets all your requirements.

Flexibility on the Job  

Autonomy

Having autonomy at work means you have the freedom to decide when and how you work. This should not suggest there is no oversight from upper management. It simply means when you are told what needs to be done, it is left to you to decide how you will meet the goal.

In some companies, you may be allowed to determine when you choose to work, setting your own schedule. In others, you may be allowed to decide how your work is done based on your education and talent. There are varying degrees of autonomy that could be offered, familiarizing yourself with them will determine how much you think you may need.

Studies have shown employees experiencing more autonomy in their job results in increased job satisfaction and productivity. Autonomy is also responsible for increased motivation and happiness and decreased employee turnover.

With positive outcomes that result from autonomy within the organization, one would think it would be standard practice. But finding a company operating this way can prove challenging, although more companies are considering its importance.

With how important aspect is, it would behoove you to do research to ensure the company you’re eyeing trusts their employees. Determining the level of autonomy offered by a company during the interview can feel intimidating. Keep in mind, that their response to your inquiry should give you the information you need to make the right decision for you.

 Flexible Hours

Your life is complex, multi-faceted. You have a lot going on in your personal life; you have a family and passion projects, you have a life. You need a work structure that accommodates these responsibilities and any others you determine.

Prior to the pandemic, you were expected to fit your personal life into your off-hours without question, and you did. The pandemic changed everything, including what you believe is important. With a forced reevaluation of life, it should surprise no one that overworking while missing your life ranks poorly.

The pandemic has helped to normalize more flexible work arrangements. It has also brought forward conversations about work structure. During an interview, you can get an idea of flexibility by asking questions about how the organization has shifted its expectations to meet the challenges of the pandemic.

It’s important to note though, that while general conversations about structure are probably to-be-expected, it’s not a great idea to bring up your personal situation right off the bat. If you do have a specific need for flexibility, don’t give too much information about the situation, as this can bring out unintentional biases. Additionally, make sure to emphasize how you’ve previously been successful in your roles while managing your other demands.

Remote work

After several false starts, companies are starting to seriously discuss a return to the office. What that looks like will depend on the company; some are happy to remain remote, while others are toying with hybrid options, and still, others institute a mandatory return to the office.

Some employees aren’t ready to give up the autonomy and freedom they have gained over the last two years of remote work. In a survey of 1,000 workers, over half indicated that they would prefer to work remotely, permanently. If you are one who is strongly opposed to a return to the office, you may be able to work with your supervisor to gain more flexibility. You can try to do this by showing them that your productivity has flourished during remote work.

Otherwise, you may wish to pursue opportunities that allow more flexibility in this regard. There is still uncertainty going forward, and some companies have yet to make decisive plans. However, if the option for remote or hybrid work is high on your priority list, you’ll want to know what a company’s return-to-work plan looks like.

Pay attention to how the company justifies its future plans, and what factors they consider in determining whether to be in-person, remote, or hybrid. If they have not indicated plans for remote or hybrid options, it can be assumed they will expect employees fully in-person. But if they have adjusted for long-term remote work (such as starting a hoteling policy, where workers can reserve desks on an as-needed basis) they will likely provide more flexibility.

Salary

More workers are asking for raises or increased starting salaries. With the increased demand for employees, employers know that they need to provide appealing wages to remain competitive. If you’re looking for a salary increase at your current job, check out our tips on how to ask for a raise. If you’re looking for a new job and want to know how to negotiate a higher starting salary, read on.

  1. Do your research

Before you begin negotiating your salary, it’s important that you get a preliminary idea of what is reasonable for your position. A great place to start is to use tools such as glassdoor, Payscale, and salary.com. These sites can help you explore the typical going rates for your role.

An article on salary negotiations by the Wallstreet Journal features some expert advice from workplace consultant Lindsey Pollak. She suggests asking company-specific questions on areas such as typical wages and salary negotiations. This will help you better grasp what wages you can expect, as well as help you better prepare for negotiating your salary.

  1. Rely on your performance to justify why you deserve a raise

Prices of everything from groceries to gas are up, and inflation is at play. It makes sense to use the higher cost of living to justify your request for a higher salary, as that seems only fair. However, compensation experts advise against it. It is suggested to be better to focus on your specific performance and achievements, rather than outside influences. Inflation impacts everyone, but your performance and contributions are unique to you.

When asking for a higher salary, it’s important that you find a way to stand out. You should emphasize your value as an employee and explain why you are worth the investment.

  1. Don’t be the first to suggest a number

While it might seem like being the first to suggest a number would be advantageous, negotiation experts advocate against it. The reason for this is that you risk anchoring yourself to a lower salary range. If they offer a salary that is lower than you expected, that is when you should reveal your expectations, and let them know you had anticipated a higher rate for the role.

Company Culture

Another element that has become a deciding factor for many employees is company culture. You spend a great deal of your time at work, and you want to work in a place that feels good and allows you to grow. A big part of this depends on upper management’s style of management, as this affects employee motivations.

The management style of the person you report to will have a great effect (for good or bad) on the company culture, but most importantly on you. Having a great boss can enhance your quality of life at work and at home. Make sure to be on the lookout for these qualities when you are interviewing your prospective employers.  A company with great culture will show concern for its employee’s well-being and will take active steps to curtail burnout. Ensuring your values are in alignment from the start will save you from much stress and regret in the future.

Wellbeing

In a recent survey, 68% percent of Millennials (50% in 2019), 81% of Gen Zers (75% in 2019), and 50% of all respondents (34% in 2019) reported having left roles for mental health reasons. The survey noted here was conducted prior to the pandemic, and mental health issues have only compounded. Mental health matters and you deserve to work for a company that recognizes this. Whether or not the company you work for actively plans mental health initiatives, it is a good idea to maintain healthy boundaries, in order to maintain your own peace.

It should not be difficult to get a sense of whether a company takes mental health seriously. Many companies have implemented some mental health support such as access to counseling apps and company-wide mental health days. These are good indicators that a company is making progress toward mental health awareness.  Most important, however, is to pay attention to the overall culture, and how much empathy and flexibility they make space for.

Avoiding Burnout

Burnout is real. And considering everything we all have been through over the last two years, many are feeling it. Check out our blog on avoiding burnout for some tips you can take on an individual level. You’ll also want to make sure that your current or future job is conducive to fighting off burnout.

One way you can do this is by looking into attrition rates. If there has recently been a high number of departures, this could be a bad sign. It indicates there are factors driving workers away, and the workers left behind are tasked with picking up the slack.

Additionally, if you get a sense that an organization is desperate to hire you, be careful. This could mean that you’ll be overloaded with work as soon as you join on and may not receive the training needed to be successful.

Values

Values matter. Working for a company that doesn’t share your values makes it difficult for you to stay motivated to bring your best to the job. In a recent survey, 71% of workers indicated that they would be willing to leave an organization whose values didn’t align with their own. So, how can you get an idea of a company’s values?

You can start by doing some research. Look at a company’s website and the language that they use. Pay attention to whether they list specific actions they are taking to reflect these values. Also, read laterally by examining other sources and see what they might have to say about your potential company’s history and values.

Furthermore, you can really get a sense of a company’s values by making them a central topic in your interview. This article by Harvard Business Review has some great strategies for conducting a values-focused interview. Start by identifying a few of your key values. Then ask open-indicated questions that give your interviewer a chance to reveal how important these values are to the company.

Conclusion

There is much to think about while looking for your perfect position within the perfect (for you) company. Having a strong sense of self and solid goals will help you find what you are looking for. It is easy to let your excitement drive your decision-making but taking your time to do your research will pay off with a perfect match. Just think of how happy future you will be when you are working in the position you have been striving for, within a company aligning with your values.

Flexibility and well-being should not be considered perks of a job, they should come as standard. The life-work balance you agree to for any company can be to your own detriment if you are not careful. Make sure you are able to fit your work into the life you want, and not let your work take up too much of your life. You only get one life. Never forget that you are human first and you deserve a beautiful one.

 

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How To Job Search With a Busy Schedule

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

How To Job Search With a Busy Schedule

Searching for a job can feel like a full-time job. It requires quite a bit of time and energy, which can feel exhausting even when you have ample amounts of time to dedicate to it. When you may be already overwhelmed by the demands of your current job and other life-related tasks, carving out the time to hunt for a new job can feel almost impossible. But it does not have to be that way for you. Keep reading to learn how to effectively work a job search into your busy schedule, so that you can continue to grow and evolve.

 

Prioritize

When you are job hunting, it is important to remember that not everything is urgent, even if it may feel that way. While some tasks are time-sensitive, like meeting application deadlines or scheduling interviews, other tasks can be worked into your schedule however you can fit them in. Prioritizing your tasks and remaining organized will help you free your mind and keep your schedule under control.

 

Be Active

If you are quite serious about finding a new job, you must pursue it actively. Casually browsing jobs or merely entertaining the idea of applying for a new job is rarely fruitful. Passive job searching is not as productive or efficient as an active search. Your determination here will be a great indicator of how strongly you feel about finding a new job.

 

Taking a more active approach to your job search can benefit you in two ways. First, it will help you feel more in control of the process. And second, it will help you figure out how serious you are. If you find that your heart is not in it, maybe take a break from the search and work on determining some personal goals, instead. This will make it easier for you to figure out where your path goes from here, and how to start drawing that map. But by giving your job search structure, you can avoid feeling as if the work you are putting in is aimless or fruitless. Using a planner to make a timeline for yourself or creating to-do lists will help keep you on track and will also help you to observe your progress. 

 

Take Breaks

It is imperative, regardless of what you are doing, to take breaks and time for yourself. Sure, you feel busier than you ever have, but you should never try to power through each day with minimal breaks. This will lead you to burnout and is not sustainable long-term. Although it might not seem like you have any room left in your schedule, finding time to take breaks is essential to your well-being. Build breaks into your schedule and spend them doing things that re-energize you, whether it is exercising, cooking, or talking to a loved one. No matter what you do, make sure that you are taking time for yourself. Doing so will drastically improve not only your job search stamina but your overall mental health. 

 

Take the Pressure Off 

You are only one human being. You only have a certain capacity, and a job search can take a great deal of it. Consider the work you are putting in at your current job; are you going above and beyond? If so, you may have room to dial it back a little. If you are serious about finding a new job, it is time to cut yourself some slack at your current job. 

This is not to say that you should shirk your responsibilities and risk bad references or strained relationships with your colleagues and managers. But it is a suitable time to reconsider your boundaries at work, maybe don’t answer work emails after hours, or avoid taking on that extra project. Maintaining appropriate boundaries at work is important regardless of whether you are looking for a new job or not. Dedicate some of your valuable time to setting boundaries to protect your valuable time.  

 

Use your PTO 

If you are having trouble balancing your job search with your daily life/work schedule, and you have paid time off available, consider using it. Taking advantage of your PTO is a perfect way to gain the time you need to really focus on looking for a job. If you have longer application tasks, like interviews, taking a day off work will help you to clear your mind of work responsibilities, and really put all your energy into your application process. 

 

Do Not Settle

A job search can feel exhausting, especially when you are also managing the demands of your current job and life, so when you receive an offer, it can be very tempting to take it. But it is crucial that the job you take is really the right choice for you and your life; otherwise, all your time and efforts have been for not. The job hunt takes time, and you will feel fatigued at points. Be kind to yourself and use those moments to check in with your commitment to this process – taking breaks when you need them. You are the decider and the only one who truly knows what is good for you. Do your best not to sell yourself short, the future “you” will thank you.

 

A job search feels incredibly daunting, but if you stick with it and are true to who you are, eventually, all your arduous work will pay off. You will find the company or path that is right for you – fostering your superpowers and discovering your people. Hang in there! And if you ever need help – we are standing by.

 

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The Absolute Importance of Healthy Boundaries

3 Things You Must Start Doing When You Become a Team Leader

The Absolute Importance of Healthy Boundaries

Maintaining healthy boundaries is essential for your mental health, overall wellbeing, and avoiding burnout. Unclear or unenforced boundaries can often leave you feeling depleted, taken advantage of, or resentful. These feelings can be extremely harmful to your sense of self-worth and your relationships. Learning how to establish boundaries will ultimately protect your wellbeing. It will also help you to be happier and more successful, both at work and in your personal relationships.

What are boundaries?

Boundaries are limits or guidelines on how others can behave towards you. They are set to protect your physical or emotional needs and sense of peace. Setting and maintaining boundaries can be challenging for some, but like any skill, it can be improved with some practice. Boundaries are different for everyone and will come in many different forms. Here are some common categories that they fall into:

Emotional

Maintaining emotional boundaries can be challenging but proves very important. Stating and standing up for your emotional needs can feel frightening, especially if it is not something you are used to doing. This just means you need to practice more until you get quite good at it. An example of setting an emotional boundary would be making expectations clear to a confidante. For example, “this is a vulnerable subject for me, and I would really appreciate it if itstayed between us”.

This makes your expectation of privacy very clear to those with whom you are sharing. And it provides the receiver with the opportunity to agree or disagree with the expectation. Additionally, a great way to show respect for the emotional boundaries of others would be to ask your confidante if they have the capacity to support your emotional needs at the moment, and to be understanding if they decline.

Time

You want to be helpful. It is customary and understandable – whether at home or at work. You often fill up your schedule because you may feel there is no good reason to say no. But what you will rarely hear is that you don’t need a good reason to say no; all you need is the desire. In order to be truly helpful to others, you need to be in a good place, which means you need to protect your time. Filling up your schedule to the point where you have no time for yourself or activities that energize you is how you become depleted. If you spread yourself too thin, your personal happiness will suffer.

It’s important to remember that your time is extremely valuable, and finite. You only have so much of it and need to spend it wisely. One example of protecting time boundaries would be to identify the things that make you a happy human. Then create a schedule that makes sure those needs are met. You need eight hours of sleep, to exercise, to eat, to spend quality time with people you love, to write or read or (insert your favorite thing to do here). You have needs, and you are the only one who will defend or enforce them – so build them into your schedule and make them unmovable. Once you have your list of non-negotiables, you’ll be able to determine how much time you have leftover to assist others with their needs.

Physical

Physical boundaries have to do with protecting your personal space, your privacy, or your body. It’s essential that you stand up for your needs with regards to your own personal space, and that you respect the needs of others. Requesting and maintaining your own personal space has never been more acceptable or understandable than it is currently. This could be used to your advantage.

The pandemic has gotten you out of hugging strangers and awkward high-fives, so with the bad comes some good. But you will still need to state any other physical boundaries that make you more comfortable. An example of asserting a physical boundary could be walking away from your workspace to grab some lunch, in order to clear your head or get some fresh air. It may also look like keeping your personal space organized in a way that helps you feel at ease.

What boundaries are not?

Boundaries are not selfish. Protecting your well-being is not selfish. Sometimes setting boundaries might mean declining to give help or your time to others, and this may, at first glance, seem selfish. However, ultimately, it’s exactly the opposite. To understand why, consider the oxygen mask principle. When you’re on a plane, they always advise you to put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others, even if you are flying with small children. And why is this? Because if you don’t put on your own mask, you will run out of oxygen. Then you will be no help to anyone. The same idea applies: if you don’t look out for your own needs, your ability to function and realize your own happiness will suffer and you will be of no help to others.

How to start protecting your boundaries:

Start paying attention to your needs.

When life gets busy, it’s easy to forget about your own needs. But a little bit of self-reflection goes a long way. Your emotions are a very powerful indicator of what your needs are. When a situation causes you to feel a strong emotion, take note of it. You could be feeling upset that someone used a rude tone, stressed because you don’t have enough time to complete a project before a deadline, or happy that someone asked you before sharing an emotionally charged story. These emotions are all tools that help you understand what’s needed to support your own wellbeing.

Determine what your boundaries are.

Once you’ve gained a better understanding of what your needs are, you’ll be well-prepared to determine what boundaries you should implement in order to support these needs. You will likely know that a certain boundary is necessary when the idea of having that boundary provides you with relief. For example, if you’ve noticed that being pushed for time is causing you distress, this is a sign that you should implement some time boundaries. Maybe this means being more disciplined about staying on track, letting colleagues know that you won’t respond to work calls or emails after a certain time, or saying no to meetings or projects that are not essential.

Assert your boundaries.

This is arguably the most difficult component of setting boundaries. While it’s sometimes easier in the moment to just “let things go”, it’s much healthier, in the long run, to advocate for your needs. Being firm with your boundaries will ultimately have positive effects on your life and your relationships with others. For the best results, make sure that when you state your boundaries, you do so from a calm and grounded place. Additionally, make sure that you are direct. If you aren’t direct and firm in stating your boundaries, it will be difficult for people to understand what they are and whether you are serious.

Remember that being assertive and instituting boundaries does not mean that you are being rude or mean. As long as you are being respectful of others, you are well within your right to stand up for yourself. Advocating for yourself can be very difficult, especially if you’re not used to it. It may be helpful to start with smaller boundaries until you feel more confident. The more you start asserting your boundaries, the more comfortable it will become for you and those around you, allowing you the peace you deserve in your life.

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