How to Be a Hardworking Employee Without Sacrificing Your Personal Life

imageLet’s be real for a second. These days, many of us live in a world of excess, where more is definitely better. We heap our plates full with seconds when we’re already full, overstuff a drawer with t-shirts we’ll never wear again, and ensure that we own at least 20 mugs. (I know, I know—each of those mugs serves a very specific purpose.)

Often, we apply this “more is more” principle to our professional lives, too. Clocking in at the crack of dawn and logging off only when our eyelids can’t stay open anymore are often heralded as hallmarks of star employees.

But, I have news for you: This type of lifestyle is not necessary for success, growth, or job satisfaction. In fact, I’d argue that it can actually hurt you(but that’s a story for a different day).

The main message here is: You can be the apple of your manager’s eye even if you don’t make working overtime a habit. Provided of course that when you’re in the office, you’re kicking ass, completing everything assigned, and turning it on time.

Ready to start leaving before dinner time? I recommend making these three things habits:

1. Stay Engaged

I used to bring my laptop to every single meeting. And, without a doubt, I’d spend the entire time answering emails, surfing random sites, and chatting with friends.

Now that I work in an office where this isn’t the norm, I realize just how annoying it is. A surefire way to signal that you don’t care about your job or your teammates (even if that isn’t necessarily true), is to spend your time with them with your eyes glued to a screen.

Instead, be present in meetings and all other conversations you have. Ask questions, provide helpful feedback and context, and flex those active listening muscles.

And yes, this applies to remote workers, too. Working off site doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to communication. If anything, you’ll probably need to make a bit more of an effort, but it’s worth it if it means you’re staying in the loop and others are, too.

2. Know When to Say “Yes” and When to Say “No”

Lending a colleague a hand or volunteering to take the lead on a new project are invaluable characteristics, and there’s an added bonus if you can anticipate needs and offer your services before someone needs to ask.

It’ll show that you’re a go-getter, a team player, and someone who wants to learn and grow. It’s a big plus for a supervisor if his staff isn’t constantly muttering, “That’s not my job.”

But—but—this doesn’t, in any way, mean you should be a “yes person.” It’s also crucial to know when and how to turn down requests for help, new assignments, and so forth. Putting too much on your plate is a recipe for becoming severely overwhelmed.

You may start producing shoddy work or missing deadlines completely, and, well, neither of those are invaluable characteristics. The key is knowing not just how much you can fit on your plate, but how much you can execute at a high-quality rate.

So if you’re at the point in which you can feel yourself starting to slip, say no.

Not comfortable with saying “no?” This strategy will help.

3. Check in With Your Boss Regularly

In each position I’ve had, my manager and I met regularly. And, I admit—these times weren’t always helpful. Sometimes, it was because my supervisor always canceled them (thanks). But other times it was because I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible, so I didn’t say much.

That was a mistake. This one-on-one time is so important. It’s your time to update her on your progress, ask for help, discuss career goals, and get to know each other a little bit better.

Taking these meetings seriously will reassure your boss that you are, in fact, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and it’ll also signal that you care. And caring is a big part of being a good employee.

If you’re stumped about what to talk about in a one-on-one meetings, these questions may help you get started.

And hey—If you don’t have regular time like this on your calendar, I highly recommend requesting it.

Yes—there will be occasions in which you need to put in a little extra time. But that doesn’t have to be an ongoing theme in your life. I’m here to tell you that you can be a rock star employee and live a life outside of work.

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

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4 Truths About Turning Your Passion Into Your Career

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There’s a harsh truth about getting paid to do what you love that most people aren’t aware of: If you’re not careful, you can follow your passion right into poverty.

In all our talk of meaning, purpose, four-hour workweeks, and lifestyle design, it’s easy to overlook the reality that people have to pay their bills, keep the lights on, and put food on their tables.

There are also so many parts of creative work that nobody sees—countless hours and years of deliberate practice. One big difference between amateurs and professionals is that professionals treat their creative work like a job—because it is one. They show up every single day because they understand the profound power (and importance) of consistency.

One reader emailed me a few weeks ago and asked me the following question:

I would love to get paid to do what I love, which is to write, to speak, to share my voice, and to act/produce. Working a corporate office job is soul-sucking for me, as I don’t care about job titles and I’m not purely money motivated. But I have no idea where to start.

I didn’t really have a good answer for him. So, I started writing, and ended up with these four insights on getting paid to do what you love:

1. There Has to Be a Market Demand

In No B.S. Wealth Attraction in the New Economy, Dan Kennedy attacks the “follow your passion” mantra in a hilarious way:

I like to lie in a hammock, eat pizza, and bet on horses. I have yet to find anybody who will pay me for this. My passion can multiply and nobody will pay me. Businesses have to be market driven.

If your passion doesn’t intersect with some sort of need in the market that people are willing to pay for, you’re not going to make a living from it.

That being said, if you hate what you’re doing, but there’s a market need, that’s probably not going to make you rich, either. It’s hard to show up as the best version of yourself when you can’t stand how you spend your days.

2. You Have to Create Value

If you want to get paid for anything, it has to create some value for other people.

As my friend Garrett Gunderson says, “Money is a byproduct of value creation.” Value that satisfies a market needs to falls into one of these three main categories: entertainment, education, and service.

  • Entertainment: As Jeff Goins brilliantly points out in his blog post, “Art Needs an Audience (Why Art for Art’s Sake Doesn’t Work)”, if you want to make a living from it, your work needs an audience. You can’t just paint, write, or do whatever it is you desire in a vacuum and expect money to fall from the sky. If there’s no audience for what you’ve created, the likelihood that it will make you money is almost zero.
  • Education: With creative work there often tends to be an overlap between education and entertainment—an author that teaches writing workshops, a professional guitarist who gives guitar lessons.
  • Service: Providing a service of some sort gives you the widest range of options in terms of getting paid for your work. For example, copywriters, web designers, and freelance writers all provide a service that increases traffic, conversion rates, and in some cases, even revenue.

Whether you entertain, educate, or serve, it’s going to take time to get paid to do the work you love. Start planting seeds today for who you want to eventually become.

3. You Need to Pay the Bills

While many people dream of quitting their job to pursue a passion, doing so without any means to survive is a bit like base jumping without a parachute.

Before you take the leap, you have to have figured out what your actual expenses are and build a financial runway. If you’re not at a comfortable state yet, take on a paying job that helps you to build transferable skills. After several failed businesses, a good friend of mine decided to join a startup. His day job is teaching him a whole new set of skills that he’s already applying to his next entrepreneurial venture.

If you’re worried about how to put a roof over your head, your mental bandwidth for creative endeavors will be hijacked.

4. There Are No Shortcuts

When trying to respond to this reader, I was a bit frustrated that despite reading hundreds of books and interviewing over 700 people, I couldn’t point him to any one resource that would be the solution.

That’s because there are no shortcuts in following your passion. Everybody’s path will be different. I know plenty of people who started later than I did who’ve surpassed me in revenue or success. But once I started to compare myself less to others and focus on creating and learning more, that’s when I started to gain momentum.

When you finally do get paid for the work you love, you haven’t made it.

In fact, the work is just beginning. The stakes are higher. Suddenly, your work is no longer just about you. Editors, agents, business partners, and customers are all counting on you. Creative success is an infinite game.

The only question is whether or not you’re up for it.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-truths-about-turning-your-passion-into-your-career

6 Job Search Tips That Are So Basic People Forget Them

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The irony of job search advice: There’s so much available that you don’t have to spend more than four seconds Googling before you land on some nugget of wisdom or another.

Yet, at the same time, there’s so much available (some of which completely contradicts other advice you’ll find) that it can easily overwhelm you. Which, in fact, is probably the exact opposite outcome you’re looking for when you go sleuthing for genuinely useful counsel in the first place.

So let’s do this: Let’s boil things down to a short list of sound, timeless tips that’ll help you fine-tune your strategy so that you may sail through the process (or at least cut out some of the unnecessary time and frustration).

1. Make Yourself a “Smack-in-the-Forehead” Obvious Fit

When you apply via an online application process, it’s very likely that your resume will first be screened by an applicant tracking system and then (assuming you make this first cut) move onto human eyeballs. The first human eyeballs that review your resume are often those of a lower level HR person or recruiter, who may or may not understand all of the nuances of that job for which you’re applying.

Thus, it behooves you to make it very simple for both the computer and the human to quickly connect their “Here’s what we’re looking for” to your “Here’s what you can walk through our doors and deliver.”

Tip

Study the job description and any available information you have on the position. Are you mirroring the words and phrases in the job description? Are you showcasing your strengths in the areas that seem to be of paramount importance to this role? Line it up. Line it up.

2. Don’t Limit Yourself to Online Applications During Your Job Search

You want that job search to last and last? Well, then continue to rely solely on submitting online applications.

You want to accelerate this bad boy? Don’t stop once you apply online for that position. Start finding and then endearing yourself to people working at that company of interest. Schedule informational interviews with would-be peers. Approach an internal recruiter and ask a few questions. Get on the radar of the very people who might influence you getting an interview. (More on that here.)

Tip

By lining up with people on the inside of the companies at which you want to work, you will instantly set yourself apart. Decision makers interview people who come recommended or by way of a personal referral before they start sorting through the blob of resumes that arrives by way of the ATS.

3. Remember That Your Resume (and LinkedIn Profile) Is Not a Tattoo

Yes, your new resume is lovely. Your LinkedIn profile, breathtaking. However, if they don’t position you as a direct match for a particular role that you’re gunning for, don’t be afraid to modify wording, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out.

Your resume is not a tattoo, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search (and career).

Tip

If you’re a covert job seeker, remember to turn off your activity broadcasts (within privacy and settings) when you make edits to your LinkedIn profile. If your current boss or colleagues are connected to you on the platform, they may get suspicious about all the frequent changes.

4. Accept That You Will Never Bore Anyone Into Hiring You

Don’t get me wrong—you absolutely must come across as polished, articulate, and professional throughout your job search. However, many people translate this into: Must. Be. Boring.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Realize that few people get hired because they had perfect white space on their cover letters, memorized all of the “correct” interview questions or used incredibly safe, common phraseology (i.e., clichés) throughout their resumes. All of this correctness is going to make you look staged and non-genuine. Instead, give yourself permission to be both polished and endearing. Memorable, likable candidates are almost always the ones who go the distance.

5. If You’re Not on LinkedIn, You Very Nearly Don’t Exist

Considering that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, this is not an understatement. If you’re a professional, you need to not only be on there, you need to be using it to your full advantage. Don’t believe me? Think about it this way: If tomorrow morning, a recruiter logs onto LinkedIn looking for someone in your geography, with expertise in what you do, and you’re not there? Guess who they’re going to find and contact? Yes, that person’s name is “not you.”

Tip

If you figure out how to harness the power of no other social media tool for job search, figure out LinkedIn. It’s (by far) the best resource we have available today for career and job search networking, for finding people working at companies of interest, and for positioning yourself to be found by a recruiter who has a relevant job opening.

6. Thank You Matters

I once placed a candidate into an engineering role with a company that manufactures packaging equipment. He was competing head-to-head with another engineer, who had similar talents and wanted the job just as badly. My candidate sent a thoughtful, non-robotic thank you note to each person with whom he’d interviewed, within about two hours of leaving their offices. The other candidate sent nothing.

Guess why my candidate got the job offer? Yep, the thoughtful, non-robotic thank you notes. They sealed the deal for him, especially considering the other front-runner sent nothing.

Tip

Consider crafting, original, genuine thank you notes (one for each interviewer) the moment you get back to a computer, following the interview. The speed with which you send the notes, and the quality, will make an impact.

And finally, remember that the interviewer cares much more about what you can do for them than what you want out of the deal. Certainly, they’re going to care a bunch about what you want once you establish your worth. But during the interview, you must demonstrate why you make business sense to hire, period.

Now, go forth and show your job search exactly who is the boss.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/6-job-search-tips-that-are-so-basic-people-forget-them

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com

5 Habits That’ll Free Up Room in Your Schedule to Work on Your Side Gig

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“I’d love to, but I don’t have time!”

This is the biggest excuse I hear when it comes to people explaining to me why they could never ever have a side gig, even if they have a great idea. But here’s the truth (that I know you know): We all have 24 hours in a day—it’s up to you how you prioritize your time outside the office.

I know this is easier said than done because I did it. While working full-time as a sales director for a Fortune 500 company New York, I also launched a life coaching business. And while I could lecture you about the fact you’re probably watching too much TV or spending valuable brainstorming hours at long dinners with you friends, I thought it’d be more helpful to jump to the fun part and tell you how I personally found more time every single week to work on what mattered most to me.

1. Use Wait Time Well

I used my time standing on the subway or in line at the grocery to catch up on small personal to-do lists items like reading, paying my bills, shooting my sisters a text to say hi, or responding to some less-urgent emails. Odds are you probably have more idle time each day than you realize–especially on days when you have an appointment with a hairstylist, doctor, or vet. It adds up!

Using this otherwise idle time to accomplish small tasks could potentially free up a few hours every single week to work on your hustle. Create a shortcut for yourself by having a running list on your phone of the various tasks you can complete fast.

2. Make “No” Your New Best Friend

“No” is one of my favorite words. When you say no to what doesn’t serve you, you say yes to something else. In this case, you’re saying yes to making time to work on your passion project.

Remember this: It is OK to politely decline invitations that do not really appeal to you. (And Muse Editor-at-Large Adrian Granzella Larssen has templates on how to do that here.) Let’s say you’re a social butterfly: Well, if you just turn down just one activity each week—be it networking or just happy hour with friends—that’s another few hours you just made for yourself.

3. Split Your Errands Up Over the Week

OK, this one’s a bit controversial and I understand it doesn’t work for everyone. But, I know that very few people are busy every single minute of the workday—and there can be a lot of unused minutes within the day. Rather than spending 20 minutes mindlessly browsing the internet, use it to complete other errands that you’d normally be stuck doing on the weekends: schedule that doctor’s appointment, make a quick trip to drop off your dry cleaning, call and get your prescriptions refilled, and so on.

Like using your wait time wisely, I’m sure you could come up with a list (and you should!) of lots of small activities that cram your weekends despite not being all that time consuming. Now, you’ve just gone from running errands on a Sunday afternoon to having a couple free hours to do whatever you’d like.

4. Outsource

If you have enough money coming in each month to cover your necessary expenses, consider outsourcing. From cleaning your apartment, to fixing your computer, to basic bookkeeping, to picking up your groceries—it can be worth spending the cash if it saves you time to have an expert do something much more easily. Now, of course this isn’t financially feasible for everyone, but giving up a few dinners out each month or passing up a new outfit might be worth checking one of these items off your list.

5. Get to Know Your Peak Hours

Ever heard of golden hours? It’s about figuring out when your mental capacity is at its peak and doing your most important work at that time. I work best in the morning and whenever possible I schedule mornings as my time to write.

When I still had my full-time job and was just writing on the side, I would get up early and pitch five ideas to my editors before 7:30 AM. I would then write a blog post (or at least half a blog post) before heading into the office. Then, at the end of the day when I was beat, I would deal with the dirty dishes in the sink and the email newsletters that piled up throughout the day.

By identifying these hours for myself, I not only was able to get better work done on my side hustle in less time—but I also found myself spending fewer hours in the actual office because I learned to work when I was most efficient.

And there you go, (at least) a few more free hours every single week that you can use to go after what you’re really passionate about.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/5-habits-thatll-free-up-room-in-your-schedule-to-work-on-your-side-gig

ARE YOU IN NEED OF TOP TALENT NOW? Don’t have the time to spend nor available bandwidth to look for your company’s perfect match? Does this leave you with projects undone, unable to launch new initiatives or deliver desired output, let alone to grow your profits? Is your hiring process stalled and limping along with unfilled requisitions? Discover the ease and satisfaction of partnering with experts whose ONLY mission is to accomplish laser-focused search and to acquire top-tier skill on your behalf, each and every day! Contact us at 415-234-0707  or email at connect@superiansources.com Find out what a customized service SAVES you in TIME, MONEY and RESOURCES!

ARE YOU TODAY’S TOP TALENT LOOKING FOR A NEW ROLE? Do you want assurance that you are represented by the best and have opportunities open to you within exceptional workplaces? Have you heard that being presented by a boutique search firm is the edge you need to get in the door and have your opportunity to shine? Contact us at 415-234-0707 or email at  connect@superiansources.com – http://www.SuperianSources.com