Highly Sensitive Person at Work

DSC_0044Many people know the feeling. You show up to work, most likely wearing something that meets dress code without standing out too much. As soon as you walk in, you notice the temperature, smell, lighting, and noise level. BAM – your day is set.

For the highly sensitive person, initial details have the capacity to either drain you completely or fuel your work day. For the HSP, many office details are almost always something you can’t control.

Work with me for a moment and place yourself in their shoes… the first agonizing moments of a Highly Sensitive Person’s day at a “regular job.”

Truth is: Environmental stimuli have a profound effect on the HSP; an effect often not recognized as “legitimate” in our Western culture. Think it about this for a moment before water-fountain fodder damages more than team morale.

Time to educate: Barrie Jaeger describes three categories of work in her book, Making Work Work for the Highly Sensitive Person. These can also be considered “stages” of work, as most people at least attempt to climb a ladder of employment to get to something more fulfilling. HSP or not, climbing the ladder and finding professional fulfillment is one thing we ALL have in common. Perhaps we are not so different after all in our pursuit to happiness.

Taking a look at how fulfillment becomes a reality, time to summarize Jaeger’s work:

Drudgery

This is the type of work that is just miserable, especially for the HSP. The misery of a job like this can get in your head and stay there, affecting your routine even far from work. Driving home, dinner, family time, and even your dreams can be preoccupied with the dread of returning to a Drudgery type of job.

For a Highly Sensitive Person, it most likely does not matter how well you are paid, you just. Want. Out. Interestingly enough, this type of work may only be this miserable to the HSP, and could be chalked up to the environmental stimuli of the workplace itself. It may very well be a normal job that is taken in stride by non-HSPs because it is much easier for the non-HSP to work strictly because “it’s a job” to just “make money.”

Truth is: Highly Sensitive People can develop physical illness due to chronic stress and other psychological injuries by feeling “stuck” in a job like this.

Craft

Jaeger describes a “Craft” job as something more tolerable for an HSP, one offering moments of genuine appreciation for the work performed (which is imperative for the Highly Sensitive). This is a job where the HSP competently works, completes tasks, and doesn’t mind going to work.

Craft can be considered as a middle ground where you won’t find yourself looking forward to going to work all that much, but it may (or will) have disperse great moments… and when it comes for the HSP, a little bit of greatness goes a long way. Being midway to happiness, crumbs now and then might muffle any desire to escape for just long enough to get the experience necessary to get to the next step.

Calling

Of course, everyone wants to find their calling. No one really wants to work a mediocre-at-best job their entire lives. For a Highly Sensitive Person, it’s about slightly more than wanting to find your calling. You need to.

A Calling is making a living by doing what you were born to do. What brings you to life? What are you most passionate about? Can you imagine the satisfaction of being able to do want you love all the time and getting paid for it? How liberating that would be.

Truth is: Many HSPs find their ideal calling somewhere in the self-employed arena but few take the risk and, for the HSP, taking risks appear more daunting than for the non-HSPs.

Unfortunately, many (if not most) Highly Sensitive People find themselves stuck in “Drudgery” type jobs for a large portion of their life. If this is you, don’t be as distressed as I’m sure this makes you feel at first. After all, there are things you can do to make the best of where you are, no matter where you are, and restore not only your productivity as an employee but also your overall well-being.

We will delve more into that next week; but in the meantime, feel free to e-mail me at rpayne@edu-cs.com with any questions, concerns, or for sneak-peak tips!

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

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Show Me the Money, But WHEN!

DSC_0005Looking for employment can be intimidating and tedious.  The interview process can be nerve racking whether looking for a “dream job” or just looking for something to gain experience.  Whatever the reason for the search, there is always a common goal: money.

Let’s get real: Do you believe people dream about making just enough to get by?  Truth is, we all want to make enough to live comfortably and securely but most would feel better with a cushion.  With so much stress going on, how does one approach salary compensation during the interview process?

Postpone the Talk

Most career experts suggest you let the company approach the subject.  Don’t walk in to an interview and automatically say “I want this much,” especially during the initial meeting.  Try to leave negotiations for a second interview.  Bringing up pay rate too early in an interview can be a major turn off and may turn uncomfortable into disaster.  If the company brings it up, let them know you are interested in a mutually rewarding career and try to leave it at that until later in the interview process.

Know the Going Rate

When approaching any interview, research the industry, job posting, and the company.  Learn as much information possible in general as well as position duties and requirements.  Research what the average salary is for a person with the same title in the area and experience.  Use websites such as Payscale.com and Salary.com.  Onetonline.org can be a good salary staring point.  But remember these sites offer a general scale; the company you are interviewing for may be higher or lower.  Being prepared can better the negotiation process.

Know Your Worth

Use your skills and prior achievements to your advantage.  Sell the company on the skills that will be useful to them and advise them of how you plan on using your skills to better the company.  Let the employer know you are there to help the company succeed and back it up with the abilities you possess and how they will be useful to the company’s productivity.  You have to sell yourself to prove why you are worth more than the person waiting in the waiting room for the next interview.  If you sell yourself as an over achiever and one who can positively affect the bottom-line, the company will be more prone to pay top dollar.

Consider All Benefit Factors

Most companies have a specific salary range and rarely go beyond the maximum.  It is important to not just consider salary, but all benefits the company has to offer.  If the employer isn’t willing to pay the specific salary you were hoping for, you may be able to negotiate for items such as bonuses or extra sick time or added vacation days.  For many positions, you can even request the company to pick up your cell phone or Internet bill.

Conclusion

Before the interview process begins, research the company, position duties, and salary expectations. Remember to consider all benefit factors and don’t shortchange yourself or let being unemployed make you settle for less than what you are worth.

Until our next career chat, I am

Mari Brooks

Career Boost: What Inspires You?

inspirationInspiration is one of the most amazing things in the world because it is absolutely unpredictable. It can come anytime, from anything, to anyone, anywhere. Paul Smith claims inspiration can be found in everything. If not, he says, look again.

I love this because it shifts responsibility to the beholder. In other words: you can’t blame your surroundings for your attitude, feelings, or standing in life. There is inspiration in everything. All you have to do is find it.

When I need to feel inspired, I go for a walk or a drive. Just seeing the living picture of the world in motion gives me a plethora of inspirational options. I find people inspiring, in different ways at different times. Sometimes it’s buildings, sometimes nature.

If you find yourself stalled out in your job-search, your education, or your career, you may seek inspiration to get things moving again. But where do you find it? Sometimes, the more you need it and the harder you look, the more elusive it becomes.

So the question is… What inspires you? Where do you look when your momentum is gone and your Muse is nowhere to be found? Keep in mind that while inspiration can (and ideally should) be found in everything, different kinds of people access it in different ways.

Take a moment and assess which of the following fit you best:

External

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you go running outside for inspiration, but you do seek it outside of yourself. The words or works of others speak to you and you trust them. It’s important to you to find something bigger or smarter than yourself to follow even if just for the moment where you feel lost and dry. You’re likely to turn to your parents or close friends or a respected colleague to get advice before you weigh your options personally, and their say will have a sizeable impact on your decision. You let these people or circumstances bring you the inspiration you need.

Internal

Are you highly sensitive or extremely shy?

You may retreat deeply into the woods not unlike Thoreau, bury yourself in books or music, or simply not leave your house for days. You dig and dig at your inner self to see where it has all gone – the motivation, inspiration, ambition that fueled you to get to where you are. You ask yourself deep and difficult questions, some of which may not even be necessary, and you may find yourself quite somber at times. This can feel like scratching the surface of a frozen lake with a toothpick to get to the waters below. But as you write, or clean, or cook, or exercise, or whichever solitary activity wakens your Muse, you will slowly find yourself coming out of the tunnel with a gem of inspiration that could very well be priceless.

Now, whether you find yourself more extroverted or more introverted in your approach, there is always something you can do. If walking doesn’t do it, try meditating. Find a movie that is a filmed adaptation of an inspirational true story. Bonus points if it’s a story about your chosen career field. Take a break for a few hours one night and really give in to a good book. So often, just giving your brain some rest will give it a chance to tap into everything that’s waiting below the surface.

Career Reality: You don’t have to get burned out.

Remember the feeling that got you going? Remember why you chose the path you’re on? Hold on to that, open your eyes, and look around.

There’s inspiration waiting in everything.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Why were you fired?

“You’re fired!”

DSC_0085These two words are probably the most dreaded and hardest of things to hear or experience during your career.  (Unless you have been lucky enough to never have been, then congratulations and well done Saint Whoever).

Good news: Being fired doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it just means that circumstance, or not so good choices were made and you had to face the consequences of such.

Unfortunately though, if you have been fired, you know full well that it can be quite devastating and such a knock to ones self-esteem, no matter the reason.  True enough, being fired can make one feel as if you committed a major felony no matter how trivial the reason.  Even harder yet is explaining the reason to a future employer, whether on an application or during an interview. On this note, getting fired can happen to ANYONE, as a friend of recently learned.

Sarah worked for a large corporation for a few years.  Hard worker, loyal and dependable, wore many hats and was able to take on any task given to her.  During a time of enormous downsizing, something awful happened.  One day Sarah forgot to clock out from lunch. On the following day she was called into the human resources manager’s office; in a matter of minutes, she was terminated.  Sarah was told that she “stole time” from the company.  This was what one could say, a definite “wow” moment for her.

Feeling stunned, devastated and hurt, she couldn’t believe that after all she had done for the employer they would do such a thing for something so petty.  Had she been a repeat offender then it would be understandable for their reasoning but this was not the case as the consequence of her action seemed quite harsh.

Reality check: It DOES happen, proving once again that we are all expendable.

After this incident she brushed herself off and searched for another job.  In the following interviews Sarah explained briefly what had happened to her, was honest and remained pleasant and upbeat.

Silver Lining: Sarah remained positive and was employed quite quickly and is happier now than she was before.

If fired, how does one go about tackling this dreaded question?  Of course like my dear friend, be honest but be tactful.  Everyone makes mistakes, even the best of the best have faltered along the way, knocking their halo a little off kilter.

One of the best ways to handle this question during an interview is to not be too detailed or defensive.  Keep your response to the point, positive, and then move on with the rest of the interview.  Though it may be difficult, do not be negative.  More often than not, the interviewer is looking at how you answer the question as opposed to why it happened, meaning your tone and attitude about the situation.  If there is a brief moment of silence, take the lead and subtly segue by asking a question of your own at this point.

To help you along the way, prepare yourself now by answering the following questions:

  • How…did you handle the situation after being fired?
  • How have you learned from it so as to not make the same mistake again?
  • How can you persuade your future employer to trust that you won’t make the same mistake again?
  • Did the experience prompt you into changing your career entirely?

No matter how hurtful the experience is to ones ego, often it is an opportunity presented to us that a career change may be for the best and more advantageous in the long run.  Looking back, think to yourself, were you really truly happy in that position?  As the saying goes, “One door closes, another door opens.”

One more thing, there are many other ways of saying you were “fired” without saying the dreaded “fired” word.  For example, “let go” or there was economic downsizing in the company and you were one of the ones downsized.  Or that you were laid off and then pursued other opportunities.

Don’t beat yourself up because of what has happened no matter how angry or upset you are.  Take this opportunity to start looking for another job, one that is more than likely going to be everything that you ever wanted, never stop striving for what you want in a job.

The sky’s the limit, so reach for the stars and shine on.

Wishing you nothing but the best,

Yolande Kennedy-Clark

Career Success: Your Call to Action

We started the New Year with a critical recognition that nothing has to stay the same. With that encouragement, we began to visualize possibilities for the future, allowing imagination to take flight. After reflecting on these and ruling out careers that you will absolutely not pursue, it’s time now to create a plan of action that will get you closer to the career of your dreams.

This next step is called a T-Chart. Mentioned in the first blog of the New Year, this is a great way to begin your plan of action. Here is a very basic example, with the generic plan of getting “a job”. You’ll notice that the left column lists the requirements of accomplishing the task listed at the top, and the right column lists actions that you must take in order to meet those requirements.

Of course, your T-Chart will be much more specific. You should make one of these for each realistic career possibility that you came up with during your brainstorming. You may need to research the essential requirements for each chart you make and the steps you must take to meet those requirements. Don’t forget – This is your future. The only thing standing between you and the career of your dreams is you.

Career Reality: This is the way to identify and reach goals. Putting your thoughts on paper and organizing them will help you see your next steps. Don’t forget also that your attitude is a large deciding factor in how all this works out. Be sure to keep the following in mind as you face the challenge of bringing dreams to life:

Be Willing

Embrace the process. Even if it seems pointless or tedious, trust that it is not. The discipline and organization of thought alone will be worth your time, and will help prepare you for whatever is in your future. A wise person once said, “Failing to plan is planning to fail.” Don’t fall into that trap.

Be Realistic

This is about finding a career that will make you shine. It’s not just about finding the job that will pay you the most for the least amount of work. Don’t give into that fantasy. You are looking for the place where your capabilities and your passions meet. That is true success.

Be Positive

If you start making your T Chart and you see the list of requirements growing, don’t be discouraged. Remember that this is all an adventure that will ultimately lead to a place of fulfillment. We already agreed it wouldn’t be easy, but that doesn’t have to bring you down. See it as the adventure that it is and be excited that this time next week, next month, next year; you will be closer to the goal of your dreams than you ever were before.

Be Persistent

Most importantly, don’t give up. If you can be Willing, Realistic, and Positive, then Persistence will ultimately be a natural side effect. The right career is out there for you. And there is a legitimate process to reaching an ideal position – it’s not just luck. Take these steps and stick with your pursuit of your goals and I promise – you’ll never regret it.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Interview Relaxation

Have you ever been nervous going into an interview?

Most of us have (our first few times). Not knowing what to say or even how to introduce yourself can be stressful. Physically, your heart starts to race and you get little nervous twitches. The twitches could be your leg shaking, sweaty palms, or messing with your hair. Good news, there are mental and physical ways to prepare and relax for the interview. Here are just a few:

Be Prepared

  • First and foremost, and probably the most overlooked, is getting a good night’s sleep. Have your clothes and everything you will be needing set out the night before so you don’t have to rush around making yourself nervous and uneasy.
  • Make sure you eat something before the interview, even if it is just a couple pieces of toast. You do not want to go in and have your stomach rumble because of an empty stomach.
  • Do not forget to bring a pen! You want to be ready for anything. They usually will have you sign something and if you do not have a pen you may be seen as unprepared.
  • Use the restroom beforehand. Just do it. On this note, look in the mirror, smile and feel confident!

Wear Comfortable Clothes

Ever not know what to wear other than something seemingly nice?

Do   wear

Comfortable

Dressy

Make-up (but not too excessive)

Button up over shirt

Something clean

Presentable

Do   not wear

Tight pants

Uncomfortable shoes

Stuff with holes

Flip-flops

Tank tops

A face full of jewelry

Be Confident
Well.. this is an easy one. You have to know you’re going to do great! Go in thinking and visualizing: “They love me and I have this job!” Do not second guess yourself. All those “What ifs.. What if they don’t like me… What if I mess up… What if.. What if…” This is what makes you nervous. Another way to be more confident is knowing that it is okay no matter what the outcome! As much as you would want to have that one specific job, you will have more opportunities out there. You do not need extra stress that this one interview could have a drastic change on your whole life because it will not. Greatness will come your way if you just give it time and charge through obstacles confidently.

Make Them Comfortable
During an interview, things may seem to become stiff. This means one thing: Research the job and company beforehand. Think of a way to bring up experiences that are in common with the person interviewing you. Just do not make it a life story taking thirty minutes to explain. Smiles can do a lot to lighten the mood of a serious interview session; not to mention, make you feel more relaxed.

Thank you for taking the time to stop and relax with me. Give it a whirl next time you get called in for an interview. One more thing, check out my next blog on “Unspoken Communication.”

Floyd Cooksey

What is YOUR weakness?

DSC_0055There I am, in the interview I’ve been waiting for my whole life.  Giving the performance of a life-time, worthy of an Oscar, I know I’m nailing this and about to land my dream job, then, all of a sudden, I’m asked, “What is your weakness?”

I sit stunned for a nano-second.  Think, think…what on earth ARE my weaknesses?  I don’t know.  I’ve never really thought about it.  Chocolate?  Puppies?  Monkeys riding ponies at the circus?  I just don’t know!  Arrogantly some may say, “I don’t have any weaknesses.”  Which of course we all know is not true because in truth, we all have weaknesses.  It’s just that it’s not everyday that we have to answer, nor confess, such a question to a complete stranger sitting across from you.

Tip of the day: Not all weaknesses are negative.

Think about it.  What would your friends or family say were your biggest weaknesses?

Once you have thought about it, think of how you would communicate the answer in an interview to a potential employer.  What weaknesses are you going to bring to the workplace.  Then, how are you going to deal with it/them constructively.  Answer honestly but be careful what you say and how you respond to his or her reply.

Like most, I find that I am my own worst critic, beating myself up if I made an error, no matter how tiny the error was. I am better about it these days, but before learning how to channel criticism or being corrected, I would let it eat at me for quite some time.

In essence we all make mistakes and it’s okay, we are all human.  Thing is, don’t make the same mistake too often, if you make the same mistake too often, it becomes a problem.

Can weaknesses become strengths?  Of course, not all weaknesses are bad by any means.  Instead of beating oneself up over a mistake, take ownership of it and turn it into a learning experience.  Take the criticism constructively and apply it positively the next time you might feel like you are about to slip.  Remember it, but don’t dwell on it.  Truth is, those at the top didn’t run all the way up those stairs, some missed the occasional step along the way.

This weakness question is the kind of interview question that can throw you off track if you’re not prepared because more often than not, you won’t be prepared. To the person holding the interview, a blank stare places the applicant in a disadvantage.

Truth is, we all possess weaknesses… you are not alone. Until next time, enjoy the opportunity, learn from it, get out there, and GET THAT JOB!

Do you have a specific question? If so, jot down your ideas within the comment space and we’ll take it from there.

Yolande Kennedy