Dienstag, 27. Februar 2018

Employees vs. Freelancers – who has it better?

The grass is always greener on the other side. At least that’s what people say. It’s definitely true regarding the argument between employees and freelancers. Both categories have a set opinion about the other and think quite often that the others have it better and easier. We can’t provide you with a definitive answer either, as it’s not that cut and dry. We’ll take a look at the most common pros and cons of being both, an employee and a freelancer, and let you draw your own conclusions.

Freelancer don’t have to worry about anything, they are never at the whim of superiors and can split up their time as they please. These are the most common preconceptions that employees have when it comes to being a freelancer. There is some truth to it – being your own boss boosts your motivation, indeed. There is no mean supervisor with unrealistic expectations and requests and there are no annoying co-workers. And every employee has a story or two to tell about conflicts with bosses o colleagues. Most of the time, they are about unrealistic expectations on the side of the supervisors, who openly disregard the available resources of any kind or about gossiping or extremely lazy co-workers. Under these circumstances, working on your own and following your own rhythm sound heavenly. Just as avoiding the traffic jams in the morning or sleeping in do. There are no binding business hours.

On the other side we find especially much of one thing – uncertainty. Freelancer don’t have a fixed monthly income on which they can rely. The income can fluctuate wildly from month to month. Normally, months with better income balance out the ones with lower income. There is also an underside to – at least theoretically -  always being able to take a vacation. Holidays are always unpaid, just like sick days. Every missed working day means a lower income, as with freelancers, time is money, literally. Freelancer have to take care of their pensions - and every other form of social security that the employer pays for the employee -  themselves. They can’t rely on unions and never get promotions. Negotiations are the only way for them to boost their income. The amount of their pay, on the other hand, is influenced by the quality of their work, their experience and their reliability. Under the right circumstances and with the right skill set, freelancer are able to earn a lot more that employees with their job and income security.

From the outside, it’s not easy to determine, which one of these two working arrangements is the ideal one for you, as the answer is dependent on your own opinions toward them and your personal characteristics. With the right working morale, knowledge and experience, you won’t be wrong either way.

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.