Posts Tagged ‘networking’
We have two months to go before 2011. You might be tempted to ease into the holidays and push into the New Year your work on landing a new job, starting a business, making a career change, or getting a promotion. But there are certain things you should do now to take advantage of the remaining days of 2010.
Prepare for end of year discussions. If your company pays bonuses or determines promotions at year end, this might be the time that decisions are made. Make sure people are aware of your contributions. If you have any emails from colleagues thanking you for a job well done, forward these to your manager. (If you have none of these, you should, so start collecting them for 2011!) If there is no formal review process, schedule a meeting proactively, so you can discuss in detail your contributions and your expectations going forward.
Use the holiday festivities to step up your networking. Many professional associations have holiday mixers, so if you haven’t kept up with your industry colleagues, now is a good time to play catch-up. If you have extra bandwidth, volunteer to assist at the mixer. You will make deeper connections with the group, and it’s a great way to ensure you meet with most of the attendees. Sending holiday cards is an easy but thoughtful way to build in a hello each year.
Plan and organize for next year. Clear out your office files. Mark your 2011 calendar for key meetings and appointments. Look at your company’s training calendar, and sign up now so you prioritize your professional development before your schedule gets too crazy. Think of your big career goals for 2011, and schedule your calendar now for reminders throughout the year. For example, if expanding your network is a goal, then schedule a weekly reminder to reach out to several contacts.
Finally, if there is a career goal you know you want now (e.g., land a new job, start a business, make a career change, or get a promotion), then start now. It’s a myth that hiring stops near the holidays. It’s also dangerous to wait for that perfect time to start. The above checklist of items are still good ideas, but should not displace efforts you make towards bigger career goals.
— Caroline Ceniza-Levine
What are your lunch plans tomorrow? If you’re like many workers today, you do not have any. You’ve decided to skip going out with co-workers and classed it up a bit by enjoying your meal at the newest restaurant in town – “Your Desk.”
Yesterday, AM-NY featured this new trend in a front page story, titled “Step Away From The Desk.” The article cites recent polls taken by The Energy Project, which show that the average person takes less than 20 minutes each day for lunch away from his or her desk. Why? According to the article, many people work through lunch in order to save time and avoid working late, but it never actually works out that way.
Psychologist Catherine McCarthy, co-author of “The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working,” is quoted by AM-NY as saying that pacing oneself actually sustains higher performance, and no truer word has been spoken. As a journalist, I have found that even on the most stressful of deadlines, taking a lunch break led to a better work flow than staring at the computer screen for several hours straight. I will go even one step further and say that, in addition to lunch breaks, smaller breaks are necessary throughout the day in order to avoid the stress of the day and keep someone motivated to continue their work.
Recently, Vault.com’s own career expert Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio was on The Takeaway, a national informational morning show program, to discuss the same topic. Connie encouraged workers to take their lunch breaks. In addition to the fact that a break from the office monotony helps one refresh for the rest of the work day, Connie states that getting out and about and meeting people for lunch helps the average worker network. If you stay at your computer all day at work, chances are you might end up staying at the same job for the rest of your life. In order to go places, networking is the key to future success and there is no better time to network than at lunch.
Connie also stated that a consistent lunch break won’t sound off any alarms should one suddenly go out for a job interviews in the guise of taking a lunch break. Supervisors and co-workers are more aware of your actions than one would think. A sudden change in your behavior will be noticed, suspicions will be raised and rumors may be started as to why you are suddenly taking a lunch break once a week. There is no need for that.
There is also this simple logic. Some companies do not pay an employee for a lunch break, so why work for free? There is no reason why you shouldn’t take some time for yourself and relax a bit before going back to the daily grind. You earned it. Don’t cheat yourself out of something you deserve.
And if that is not enough to convince you, AM-NY interviewed Elizabeth Stein, a nutritionist, who explains that eating lunch in the office can actually cause you physical harm. “Elevated stress levels lead to increased cortisol, which leaves fat accumulation in the body,” she told the paper. She also noted that eating at your desk leads to overeating, because the distractions from work cause you not to realize that you’re full until you’ve eaten too much. Do you notice how many trips you take to the snack and soda machine at work?
Go out and grab a bite to eat with friends. Take a real lunch break. Your mind, your body, and in the long run, your employers will thank you.
Here’s a trend we’re hoping catches on: a blogger over at CNBC has discovered perhaps the ultimate resource for job-seekers: an unemployment center located in a bar.
The bad news (at least for most of us): the center at present is focusing solely on helping Irish immigrants to find work—an understandable decision given that it’s located in O’Casey’s Irish Pub on E.41st St in New York, and organized by a group of Irish ex-pats.
We’ve already seen the rise of the pink slip cocktail mixer—particularly on Wall Street—since the onset of the recession. But imagine the possibilities if the phenomenon should happen to catch on and spread to other groups. Think how much easier it would be to network in a venue that’s made for it—and where there’s a ready supply of social lubricant on tap. And think of the added benefits for recruiters—once they’d taken the mandatory training teaching them exactly what they can learn about someone from their drink, of course.
Example: ” The rum drinker is an adventurous type. Think Hunter Thompson. Think Jack Kerouac. Think hot summer day with the sun setting.”
In other words, not the best choice if you’re trying to land a position in, say, accounting compliance.
Another example, from a different article by the same writer as the last: “Beer is the most ambiguous of drinks. It is the everyman drink. So it’s sometimes hard to decode exactly who the beer drinker is.”
One to open up with, perhaps, as you get to know whether your recruiter is looking for the sort of “traditionalist” who drinks gin or is more in the market for a martini-sipping “sophisticate.”
Let us know your thoughts: have you gone/would you go to a bar to look for a job? What signals do people’s drink choices send out? And—perhaps most importantly—are there any definite no-no’s in terms of bar etiquette that one would want to keep in mind when trying to land, or just get some networking done, in a pub setting?