Volume I Number 4 Fall 2020
LIFE CONTINUES AND SO DOES COVID-19
SOME EMPLOYEES RETURN,
WHILE MANY STILL LOOK FOR WORK
HOW HARD IS IT GOING TO BE TO FIND A NEW JOB IN THIS MARKET?
by Tony Beshara
I’ve been finding people jobs since 1973. I’ve personally placed more than 11,000 candidates on a one-on-one basis in professional jobs. I began in this profession when our phones were black with a dial … before faxes and computers. This is my seventh economic recession and every one of them has been different and very difficult.
Of all of the recessions that I have experienced, I suspect that this one is going to be the easiest. Don’t get me wrong, none of them are really easy, especially if you’re looking for a job. But this one has been caused by one, even though dreadful, still just one major worldwide event…the COVID-19 virus. My sense is that once we sort through all of its ups and downs and, primarily, get a vaccine, our economy is going to get back on track. Previous recessions, like the ones in 1986, the dot bomb recession, the one culminating with 9/11 and the one in 2008, were all created by a number of converging issues. Now, it is true, that this present pandemic has had a “domino” effect on many other factors in the economy. However, once the source is brought under control, the economy will come back. But my sense is that it will take at least 18 months to two years to bounce back.
If you are looking for a job full-time or are looking for one while trying to keep the one you have, there are a few things you have to be more aware of than you ever have:
Doubt, Uncertainty and Fear
All hiring authorities are operating under a cloud of doubt and uncertainty and fear. They are downright scared. For the past few years, employers have been hiring because of positive growth, expansion and a great growing economy that appeared to be “can’t miss” regarding success. Most companies and the people who run them always thinks that way when the economy is expanding: It will last forever. They think it’s because of their dazzling business acumen and don’t give enough credit to the fact that the economy is expanding and they just happened to catch it at the right time.
When times like these come along, however, they are scared to death. Their business is down, they have to lay people off, many have to worry about survival and, the major issue is they have no idea when it’s going to end. So, they are just playing scared.
When scared people go to hire anybody, from the CEO to the janitorial staff, they are overcome with the fear that who they hire won’t be the right person, and may wind up being a mistake. Let’s face it, when anyone does anything with fear in the back of their mind, they have an extremely difficult time doing it. When times are good and companies are making money, their attitude is “well, I’m so good, we’re making money and even if I make a mistake hiring, I can fire that person and just find another one. After all, we’re doing extremely well.” But doubt, uncertainty and fear change that whole mindset.
For every candidate they interview, they are thinking just as much about how they won’t work out as much as how they might work out well. They are afraid of making a wrong decision. They try to interview too many candidates. They look for Mr. or Ms. Perfect and they often postpone making a decision until they absolutely have to. And, often times, won’t make one at all.
What This Means to a Job Seeker
First of all, it means that you’re going to get fewer interviews than you ever thought. It’s going to be harder than you ever imagined to even get an interview. There are going to be fewer opportunities because companies, for the most part, aren’t expanding. They are “maintaining” by hiring only when they absolutely have to.
This means that when a job seeker even gets an interview, they are going to have to perform better on that interview than they ever imagined. If a person has been laid off or is out of work, it means that they may have to interview and settle for a job that isn’t their perfect career move.
Looking for a job hasn’t been this difficult since 2008. The job seeker needs to be prepared for a phenomenal challenge.
BUILDING CONNECTIONS VIRTUALLY:
NETWORKING AND BEYOND
by Danielle Oliver
The COVID-19 pandemic brought dramatic changes to both the professional and social environments around the world. Personal interactions abruptly became virtual, which removes the valuable human connection. This sudden change complicated employees’ opportunities for typical networking. Lunches and coffee breaks at work became obsolete as employees worked from home, closed restaurants prohibited dinners and grabbing drinks with coworkers, and networking events and conferences were cancelled. For employees seeking to build their network, their opportunities nearly vanished.
Luckily, technology provides great opportunities to continue to connect with professionals and build your network. Whether you are looking for your next employer, trying to move up in your own company, or simply increasing your connections to set yourself up for the future, your professional network will serve as the basis of your opportunities. Therefore, be sure to take advantage of virtual methods to continue making and maintaining professional connections.
Social Media Can Be Professional
Most people think of social media networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as personal outlets. Today, however, they can be extremely useful in job searches and building connections. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 84% of recruiters use social networks to search for talent. By simply having social media profiles, you are already increasing your presence in the virtual world and allowing recruiters access to you.
The most prominent social media network for professionals is LinkedIn. This platform has become a staple in creating and maintaining professional relationships, and for job and talent searches. Now that its prominence has influenced the professional world, there is even extensive advice available for how to create the most effective profile. Networking experts provide these top tips: choose a professional headshot, create a headline that brands yourself, and use keywords in your profile that recruiters in your industry may search for. They also recommend building meaningful connections, rather than focusing on the number of connections. It is important to continue to maintain these relationships by interacting with them on the social media platforms or communicating with them in a virtual manner. By staying on their radar and keeping them informed of your professional ambitions, you will be one of the first names they consider when they hear of an opportunity.
Make Interactions Meaningful
Once you grow your network, it is vital to maintain the relationships with regular interactions. Face-to-face interactions are usually more personable, as there is additional communication that comes from our body language, smile, and speaking tone. These types of interactions can also be more memorable. Begin by checking in with family, friends, and colleagues through Zoom or Skype to become comfortable with virtual face-to-face meetings. During your conversations, update them about your job search or current professional roles. By starting with people you know, you can become accustomed to these types of meetings in a comfortable setting. Also, your close network may have additional connections to provide.
When face-to-face communication may not seem appropriate, emails or messages are always a great way to check-in with others within your network. Stay up-to-date on social media, especially LinkedIn, and be on the lookout for circumstances that may warrant reaching out. For example, if you notice a colleague just started a new job, reach out and congratulate them. These brief interactions can maintain or even rekindle relationships so that you stay on the radar within your professional network.
Search for Online Networking Events
Now that companies are adapting virtual events, online conferences and networking events are becoming more prevalent. Keep an eye out for these opportunities, and take advantage of their offerings. Many experts and recruiters also provide advice about how to be most successful in these events. Be sure to research the companies attending beforehand, have your resume prepared, and follow-up with companies afterwards.
One benefit to the increasingly virtual world is that geographic locations are less of a hindrance. You could attend a virtual event or webinar from “virtually” anywhere! This can increase your chances to build connections and find opportunities. Even in virtual events, it can be a great opportunity to introduce yourself to new professionals and become aware of companies that may be hiring.
Although business practices and social interactions are changing, you can still build and maintain a professional network. Set yourself up for success, regardless of your current position, by continuing to focus on your connections. It may be different, but the virtual world is limitless. Take advantage of social media, online communications, and virtual events to increase your meaningful connections and overall professional opportunities.
Danielle Oliver is Assistant to the Executive Director for The Pennington HR Institute and Managing Editor of Employee's Life. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the Arcadia University School of Global Business. where she demonstrates academic excellence and holds numerous leadership positions in the University's
Student Government. Danielle is passionate about ensuring positive employee relations and bettering organizations through innovative human resource initiatives.
from the Managing Editor
As the weather cools and the leaves turn, the changing season is a backdrop for a rather tumultuous world. However, we are also reminded that there can be a lot of good in change. Our world has been affected to a rare and drastic extent, and we continue adapting to this “new normal.” Changes in the workplace will likely be long-lasting, so employers and employees are responding the best way they can. Increases in technology, decreases in personal interaction, and completely new business practices can be overwhelming. Despite the challenges we are presented with, this can be an advantageous time as we continue to innovate, adapt, and ultimately come out better and more prepared for the future.
Employees continue to face real issues throughout their workplaces, job searches, and in their home life. Our fall issue covers a variety of topics that are relevant and targeted to the employee. We hope to provide some guidance through these consistently changing times, and offer the best advice from our experts in the field.
We are there for you along every step of your professional career. As we leave behind our summer vacations, send the kids back to (some form) of school, and bunker down for the next chapter in our journey, we stand ready for whatever challenges come our way. We hope you find our fall issue helpful, insightful, and informative. Enjoy!
THE BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
Studies find that mindfulness training increases confidence, intelligence, and focus at work, leading to greater well-being.
by Jeremy Adam Smith
Research says mindfulness works for individuals. But does it work in the bottom-line-driven workplace, or is it just a frivolous feel-good program?
This is the question tackled in a growing number of studies. Here are three benefits to mindfulness on the job.
1. Mindfulness can build self-confidence in leaders
A.D. Amar and colleagues at the University of Westminster measured the self-perception of leadership skills among a sample of senior managers in the London area—and then put them through a 12-week secular meditation-training program.
Their results, published in the Academy of Management Proceedings, revealed that training significantly enhanced their overall self-confidence, as well as the individual skills like inspiring a shared vision and demonstrating moral intelligence.
“However,” conclude the authors, “meditation did not statistically significantly enhance participants’ skills as a role model and enabling others to act”—areas that will need more study in the future.
2. Mindfulness can help us withstand controlling bosses
The more mindful the supervisor, the lower their employees’ emotional exhaustion and the higher their job satisfaction, according to research published in the journal Mindfulness. But that study also revealed a caveat: When basic psychological needs like feelings of autonomy and connection with other people aren’t being met, the employee can lose the benefits of having a mindful supervisor.
A separate study builds those findings by specifically exploring the link between mindfulness and autonomy. The researchers recruited 259 participants, assessing them for their mindful traits—like the ability to pay attention for long periods of time—and exploring how much autonomy they felt like they had on the job (as opposed to facing a more controlling managerial style).
Echoing that previous study, the researchers found that both autonomy and mindfulness “had direct relations with employee work well-being.” Feeling less-empowered at work was associated with a lower level of health and happiness. These indirect effects, found the researchers, were moderated by mindfulness—meaning that more mindful people were less likely to feel frustration, even when supervisors squashed their independence.
More mindful people were less likely to feel frustration, even when supervisors squashed their independence.
“Mindfulness thus appears to act as a protective factor in controlling work environments,” conclude the researchers.
3. Mindfulness can enhance overall well-being
If mindfulness works in the office, then what’s the best way to deliver the training?
A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine sought to determine whether an online mindfulness program created for a specific workplace, the Dow Chemical Company, could cut stress while enhancing the resiliency and well-being of employees.
Eighty-nine participants completed scientific scales designed to measure their degree of stress, mindfulness, resiliency, and vigor. They were then divided into two groups—one to take the online class and one to sit on the wait list.
After the first group finished, the researchers came six months later to see how everyone was doing. They found that, in fact, the group that took the class was doing a lot better—they were less stressed, more resilient, and more energetic than the group that couldn’t yet take the class.
“This online mindfulness intervention seems to be both practical and effective in… enhancing overall employee well-being,” conclude the researchers.
Jeremy Adam Smith is the editor of Greater Good magazine, which is published by the UC Berkeley Greater Good Science Center. He is also the author or co-editor of five books, founding editor of Shareable.net, and an investigative journalist and essayist whose work focuses on education, family, and community life. Before
becoming a full-time writer and editor, Smith launched the Independent Press Development Fund and served as publisher of Dollars and Sense magazine. In 2010-11, Smith was a John S. Knight journalism fellow at Stanford University.
IF JOB INSECURITY IS THE NEW NORMAL, HERE'S HOW TO MAKE IT WORK FOR YOU
by Anne Fisher
The Japanese have a phrase for it: playing ball on running water. It means staying nimble enough to win—and even have some fun—when the playing field under your feet is constantly shifting.
Does this sound familiar to your career?
“With technology advancing every minute, and buying habits changing on a dime, things have never been more uncertain, or the challenges greater,” says Robin Fisher Roffer, author of Your No Fear Career.
Intended to help readers “manage the chaos one step at a time, with elegance and grace,” Your No-Fear Career zeroes in on dealing with rapid change and uncertainty, including how to turn upheaval into an advantage, how to use your intuition to pick your next career move, and how to recognize what makes you unique—and make sure others see it, too.
“What I’ve found is that, from C-suite executives to the folks who answer their emails, no one is immune to fear,” Roffer says.
As the CEO of brand-strategy consulting powerhouse Big Fish Marketing, Roffer has launched or revamped more than a dozen household names in media, including A&E, Comedy Central, Food Network, and Sony Pictures. Monster recently spoke with Roffer about how you can move forward amid constant change.
Q. In Your No-Fear Career, you describe specific steps for dealing with career anxiety. Which is the hardest for most people?
A. By far, the most difficult is the first step, which is accepting the way things are. Our instinctive response to fear is “fight or flight,” so acceptance is hard because it requires us to do neither of these! But by not reacting right away when we’re faced with uncertainty, we can hear what our intuition is telling us. Before making a decision, it often helps to follow the old-fashioned advice to sleep on it.
Part of this is recognizing the things you can’t control or change. In my own career, I’ve had to walk away from jobs, clients, and business ideas that simply weren’t working out. Accepting that a certain project or business relationship is going nowhere is a sign of progress, not failure. (more)