Dienstag, 23. Januar 2018

What to do if your co-worker smells?

Do you know that uneasy feeling, that befalls you when you notice that your co-worker doesn’t smell so fresh anymore? And it’s no like you both work at a construction site or in any other field that regularly requires hard physical work or it’s the middle of summer... Well, seems like you can’t make up any more excuses for them. But you start feeling uneasy, because you know that there’s no subtle way to talk about it. But should you even say something or should common sense and decency keep you from it? Would it be rude? Because this probably isn’t the only uncomfortable situation that you have to talk out with your co-workers, read on to find out about the diplomatic way to deal with these situations.

Body odour is still one of the few remaining taboos. It doesn’t matter how we look at it – cleanliness and a flawless personal hygiene are criteria that we hold in high regard and therefore easily judge others based on them. That’s why it will be obvious to any of us just how exposed someone else might feel if their hygiene is being criticized. We can’t help taking every negative comment regarding this topic deeply personally. And because we as humans are capable of empathy, we can understand how they feel. That’s why we are almost just as ashamed to point out a lack of hygiene to others as they must be hearing about it. The funny thing – studies show that most people would be thankful to others, if those pointed out their flaws.

Of utmost importance, however, is the way to communicate it. Nobody wants to feel judged, exposed or compromised. That’s why you shouldn’t talk to all other co-workers beforehand, turning the one with the problem into the talk of the town. It’s best if you ask your co-worker aside, so that you can speak to them privately. A good start is a statement, like: “I really value you as a colleague and as a human being, but I would nevertheless also want to know if I was in this position...” You’ll immediately show them that you are not about to attack them personally. Not that great would be saying: “Everybody else thinks that...”, because the statement implies that everybody knows and talks behind your co-worker’s back.

It gets a little bit more complicated if it’s not your co-worker, but your boss. In this case, it would be wiser to let the person from your department who is closest to your boss do the talking, in private and using an opening remark like: “I thought it would be good to let you know about something before a client notices...”.

Whatever the actual, real situation may be, not saying anything is the worst solution. As long as it’s done empathically and respectfully, they will be tankful to you for guarding them from even greater embarrassment. 

Pic.: © helpingwriterstobecomeauthors.com

Donnerstag, 18. Januar 2018

New Year’s resolutions – how to keep them and ensure a great 2018

It happens every year on New Year’s Eve – the wildest plans for the next twelve months pop up. Of course, everything is supposed to get better. The most popular resolutions always have to do with the own health: finally more exercise, giving up smoking, taking up jogging, starting a die, eating more fruits and veggies and less sugary sweets, and so on. Others plan to find a new hobby, spend more time with their families or go more often to the museum, theatre or concerts. The balance at the end of the year is usually somber, though – most resolutions stayed unfulfilled again. Maybe you‘re part of the strong willed ones who kept their plans. In this case, sincere congrats! For all the others, we’ll take a look at the reasons for failing and give you some advice for pulling through.

What is the reason behind always choosing virtually the same resolutions year in and year out, but failing to fulfil and forgetting about them and starting over the next year? Psychologists provide an explanation. If we have concrete plans for the forseeable future and those are, furthermore, things that might actually improve our lives, we’ll automatically feel very much in control of our lives. This feeling of control is benefic to us and also gives us a sense of safety and motivation, increasing our self-esteem. On the other hand, our brain is very bad at accepting change and inevitably brings up old behavioural patterns. That’s why our resolutions usually get stuck in the planning stage.
To avoid all that, we’ve gathered some good advice for you:

1. Don’t take on too many things at once. One important piece of advice, especially if you are working on ten resolutions at once. This will only get you tired and frustrated and ready to throw in the towel. Take things on a step-by-step basis and work on your goals one at a time.

2. Write down your resolutions and keep the list close by. Studies have shown that writing things down makes us take them into close consideration. Written words are more important than spoken ones, apparently. Make a list with all your resolutions and keep it always somewhere close. It will remind you of your goals.

3. Get support. Exercising will seem a whole lot easier if you spend the time with your best buddies. They help you stay motivated and achieve your goals. Whatever your new endeavour may be, let some good friends share in the fun.

4. Make plans for „hickups“. Everybody has moments of weakness, especially when it’s about new habits. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you still smoke that one cigarette or eat one more bar of chocolate. Otherwise you’ll soon think that you can’t accomplish anything. That’s one step closer to giving up.

Mittwoch, 6. Dezember 2017

Digital nomads – a new way to work promises more freedom

The difference between young employees and the generations that came before them is represented through the values they believe in. They care less about status symbols and salaries and more about working with an added value.

The times when employees have been seeking their personal fulfilment mainly in their free time, by doing volunteer work or being active in associations, seem to be over. The boundaries between the working self and the leisurely self have been blurred during the last years, so that young employees expect their work to not only provide for them financially, but also to fulfil them. They aren’t willing to spend all their energy and creativity in boring office jobs anymore, they are looking for projects and tasks that have the potential to change the lives of others long-term. That is one of the main reasons for which more and more young people decide to become entrepreneurs, working on their own.

It figures that this change of attitude was spurred mainly by the start-up culture of tech companies. These are the best and most comprehensive examples for the fact that it only takes the right product or software to not only become wealthy, but also change the lives of millions. At this point, virtually no one could imagine life without social networks. Facebook is nevertheless not the result of some complicated production process, nor did it come from some conveyor belt. It’s the product of a student’s dream, that was developed and went online on a university campus and later took over the world. And that is only the most famous example. It’s the technological advancement that made the rise of digital nomads possible.

Because, besides wishing for fulfilling work, the representatives of the new generation also value their freedom greatly. 8 hour jobs are no longer their goal. That would be working where and when they feel good. It goes beyond home office, it’s about dividing their time freely in a way that allows them to spend enough of it on friends, family and own interests. And the internet gives them this possibility to work anytime and from wherever they want, basically from all over the world.

Will this new trend prevail and will we soon see employees freed from their offices and working from anywhere else instead? There is no answer to this question because no one can predict the future. Long-term, it seems more and more likely though that jobs will evolve to the point where employees have more opportunities for self-fulfilment. The classic nine to five job could soon be a thing of the past. 

Dienstag, 14. November 2017

Things to consider before deciding to work abroad

The current Jobswype poll underlines it again – working abroad is still attractive for a lot of people, even if they don’t represent the majority. The reasons are as different as the people themselves. Some get sent abroad by their own company, some move for love, some think they’ll find better working conditions and better pay than in their home country, while others simply like the adventure of it all. They are all facing a complicated and complex enterprise, that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Without taking into consideration all reasons, because that would be impossible, we’ll give you a brief overview of what to expect and where to pay attention.

Moving abroad is always a life changing decision, that can’t be taken easily. In order to minimize inconveniences as much as possible, you should start by gathering all available information about the situation and the conditions in the other country. Can you enter without complications or do you need a visa or a special working permit visa that is different from a touristic one? Do you have to prove that you own a certain amount of money? Citizens of the EU have it easier if they decide to move into another EU member state, but, as a general rule, every other state has their own rules and regulations regarding immigration. And one more thing – optimism is a good and helpful personality trait, but you should nevertheless know what you can expect from welfare in the foreign country of your choice in the unlikely event that you can’t find work or are injured. It could be a lot less than what you are used to from home.

Also of importance – what is the general situation of the job market in the foreign country? Are there professions where the demand outsizes the offer, is there a lack of professionals? If you work in one of those professions, you’ll have much better chances to find a new job. But even if that would be the case, it’d be pretty reckless to see yourself in the safe already. You aren’t used to the foreign system of job searching and don’t have any professional or social network to fall back on for advice or useful contacts. It can also be that life in the foreign country is ruled by different societal and cultural laws and standards. You must prove your intercultural competence. The first step: master the new language. Start taking lessons before you move, so that by the time you are in the foreign country, you’ll already be able to speak the language on a basic level. Informations about the cultural differences are usually also part of foreign language classes. You’ll know about them in advance, having the necessary time to adjust.

Montag, 23. Oktober 2017

The perfect photo for your job application

No application is complete without a good portrait photo. Although the trend coming from the USA is to renounce the photo in order to avoid any kind of discrimination based on looks, skin colour, etc., most European recruiters still expect one. If you invested a great amount of time in crafting the perfect application documents, you won’t want a bad picture to spoil your good prospects. We’ll share our pointers for taking better pictures.

 Make sure to be in good spirits and play your favourite song in the background or do anything else that gets you in a good mood. Your face won’t be able to hide a bad disposition and that, in turn, won’t make you look friendly, positive and in charge. Next step is to decide, what you want to communicate through your portrait – what kind of position are you applying for and what attributes that can be conveyed visually would make a good case for hiring you? There are a few camera tricks available. Are you applying for a managing position? Then the photo should be shot slightly downwards on you, from higher up. Are you applying for an executive position where they are looking for a congenial personality? In this case, the photo should be shot upwards, with the camera slightly down below. In both cases, don’t forget to smile, in the latter even brighter, so that your smile highlights your seriousness and competence, respectively your positive and warm personality.

Choose a neutral background for your photo. You know those pictures of people, whose shirt or blouse matches the print of the wallpaper behind them and makes them visually fade into the background? You’ll want to avoid that at all costs. Think about your mother’s advice and straighten your back. It won’t necessarily be visible in the photo, but your whole body language will change with a straight back and pulled back shoulders – you’ll look vital, optimistic and full of energy. And those are attributes every recruiter is looking for. The outfit that you wear should be professional above all. That obviously means no visible creases and stains. Think about whether you want the photo tob e coloured or monochrome – black and white looks very serious, colour on the other hand livelier and warmer. Choose according to the type of position you are applying for.

You still have that great photo from ten years ago? Put it in an album, not in your application! Even if it is your favourite photo of yourself, you should still always use a new one. They will know the difference, at the latest at the job interview and it won’t make you look good. “But it’s hard to take a good portrait photo!” you’ll say. True. That’s why we saved the best advice for last – let a professional do it. In a studio, a professional photographer will be able to get the best out of your portrait.

Things to pay attention to in job ads

It’s been said that career networks are gaining more and more importance in regards to finding suitable, available jobs, the loser being classic media. Or that headhunters are on the lookout and snap up good employees. There is some truth to it, as the run of newspapers declines steadily and as job seekers prefer to look online. It’s also at least partially true that some openings aren’t even advertised to the public, as employers rely on recommendations. Still, job ads remain the number one recruiting tool – you’re most likely to find your new job reading them. But do you know what makes a job ad good? After all, the company advertises itself through it. Read on to find out what the differences are and what you should definitely pay attention to.

Let’s agree on something right at the start – ads which promise you a big salary which, in turn, isn’t at all proportionate with the number of working hours are a scam and you should stay away from them. A good job ad is always realistic. Just as your application portfolio tells the employer all there is to know about you at this stage, a good job ad tells you e erything you need to know about your potential employer and the advertised job. You should expect to find information about the company, the open position, the expected qualifications, the application process and the salary. But let’s talk about each of those.

From the company description, you can take away some basic data, like the name of the company, the industry and its position within. You’ll know right away whether it’s a small family business or an international conglomerate. Next, you’ll find out about the actual job – what will be your tasks and how much responsibility are you supposed to take, but also what qualifications are expected from you. Pay a great deal of attention to the wording of the ad, because some of those key words should also be in your application. And apropos of qualifications – they can be twofold: must-qualifications and should-qualifications. The second category includes qualifications your employer would consider a bonus, but which are not indispensable. Should you meet the criteria of the must-qualifications, apply asap! The ad also tells you about your future salary, but most of the time with the addendum that your actual pay depends on direct negotiations. Companies sometimes mention other applicable bonuses, like gym memberships or public transport cards. The ad usually ends with some quick information about the duration of the application process and a contact person for future questions.
If the job ad you’re reading looks like the one described above and you also meet all the requirements therein, then don’t overthink it and send your application out quickly!

Sonntag, 27. August 2017

This is how you’ll get a promotion for a managing position

You are new in your job, just started working and want to reach the stars? Be in a managing position in a few years? At first, for many it may look like (good) bosses possess a special gene or some extraordinary personality traits. The truth is, they have put in vast amounts of work and also had a little bit of luck. Sadly, we can’t provide you a blueprint of how to be promoted to a managing position. We can, however, provide a few starting points that will set you on the right path. Let’s get started!

1. Build a strong professional network. By building and maintaining a strong professional network, you will find like-minded individuals that are able to relate to your challenges and worries and provide you with good advice and, most importantly, mentors. They have already arrived at the point that you want to get to in a few years and can not only give you good advice, but also point out opportunities for you that you’ve had otherwise ignored. Regularly attend (social) events from your line of work (talks, seminars, fairs etc.) and befriend the right people.

2. Always stay up to date.  A good boss always sets a good example for the team that they are leading. This means that they have to stay up to day with all news and developments pertaining to their field of work, so that they are able not only to help out their underlings in moments of need and provide solutions, but also to give new impulses. It’s only possible, if they’ll actively keep themselves up to date with news, new developments and new methods. Start doing this right now and your superiors will definitely notice and appreciate your effort and dedication. In turn, you’ll be on their radar come promotion time.

3. Don’t forget the basics of your job. You want to be the referee without knowing the rules of the game? In the same way, in order to lead a team, you must be aware of every and each detail and procedure of your daily work. Don’t be afraid to learn from other colleagues and don’t shy away from new tasks and new (and increased) responsibilities. Without solid experience, you just aren’t ready for a managing position.

4. The qualities of a manager. You won’t find the one quality of a manager, because oft he differences between positions, domains and companies. If you nevertheless are reliable, a good communicator, ready to take on responsibility and self-reflected, you are on the right way.