Blog

Parents with responsibilities at work and at home commonly struggle to find balance between these two often conflicting sets of obligations. Surveys have indicated that working professionals who work less are more likely to be happy with their work-life balance than those who burn the midnight oil at work, but for many adults, working less is not always an option. A 2012 report from New Zealand's Ministry of Social Development found that the percentage of working professionals who were very satisfied or satisfied with their work-life balance declined as their hours worked increased. Canada's General Social Survey discovered similar results, noting that, while the majority of working parents were satisfied with their work-life balance, those who were not most frequently cited their dissatisfaction at not having enough time for family life as the main culprit behind their discontent. Creating a better work-life balance is an ongoing commitment, and even working parents who employ the following strategies may find they need to periodically tweak their routines so they can fulfill their obligations at home and at the office. Schedule family time. Since working professionals unhappy with their work-life balance often cite lack of family time as the reason for that dissatisfaction, finding time for family may be the key to changing that outlook. Schedule time for family just as you schedule the rest of your daily commitments. Listing family dinners or activities in your daily schedule will ensure you don't mistakenly schedule other activities during family time. Employ technology where possible. Some working parents may feel as though technology has made it harder than ever to leave work at the office. But while smartphones, tablets and other devices may mean you're never too far away from work, technology also can be used to create more time with loved ones. Employ an app such as FaceTime to eat lunch with your spouse or chat with your children each day. Such interactions may not be as enjoyable as face-to-face interactions, but building them into your day can help you stay in touch with family and provide a welcome respite from busy workdays. Use your vacation days. A recent study from Project: Time Off, a national movement aimed at highlighting the important role that time off from work can play in the lives of professionals, 55 percent of surveyed participants did not use their full allotment of vacation days in 2015. That translated to 658 million unused vacation days, 222 million of which could not be carried over into 2016. Professionals who want to create a better work-life balance can examine their vacation day usage and resolve to use them all if they are not already. Parents can use vacation days on national holidays when schools are closed so they can squeeze in family time even when they are not going on trips. Parents who put their minds to it can create a more fulfilling work-life balance.  Metro Creative
Just as a candle cannot burn without fire, men cannot live without a spiritual life.  Buddha What does spirituality mean you? Spirituality means something different to everyone. For some, it's about participating in organized religion: going to church, synagogue, a mosque, etc. For others, it's more personal: Some people get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks.  Recent surveys reveal there is a growing interest in spirituality in the workplace. People want strength to deal with work challenges. They want to derive more meaning, support and inspiration from work. Spirituality includes becoming more humanistic. Imagine a harmonious, peaceful workplace where everybody is responsive, respectful and equal, regardless of culture, religion, education or organizational level! Both employers and employees would benefit. With more creative, motivated, productive employees, organizations would have fewer retention and morale problems; employees would have greater satisfaction, less stress. Tips for practicing spirituality -- Be positive, accepting, and helpful. Respect others’ beliefs and their rights to hold these. Expect good things to happen. Smile to everyone. Befriend new employees. If you’re unhappy, identify why . Notice how you dealt with the issue previously, and then choose to behave differently. -- Know yourself and what you want. Be yourself. Identify your purpose. Notice things that give satisfaction, come easily. Recognize absorbing childhood activities, how you would occupy time if you had billions, an important cause, and people you admire. Identify common threads such as helping others, working with machines. Develop a career goal based on the threads. Work to achieve it.  -- Understand the concept of universal energy. The basic component of our physical universe is a kind of force, essence or energy, often referred to as God or Divine Intelligence. This energy vibrates at different rates of speed, and thus has qualities from fine to dense. Thought is a quick, light form of energy. Matter is dense, slower to move. Your thoughts set vibrations in motion that attract the positive or negative. When you release positive energy such as love, happiness, you attract good things. Life runs smoothly. When you release negative energy such as hate, fear, you draw unpleasant things. -- Boost creativity. Creativity involves finding new and better ways of working. It includes discovering novel ideas, strategies or products, and tackling problems in new ways. Anxiety, stress, anger, cultural pressures, lack of security and overemphasis on external rewards hinder imagination. Relaxation, autonomy, support and feedback promote creativity. Laugh and play. Laughter enables you to remain creative under pressure. Identify ways to make work fun. Brainstorm ideas with your team. When something is difficult, approach it with another angle. Refocus, meditate, move to another task. Acquire new experiences. Focus on learning and experimenting with something new, rather than previously mastered tasks. -- Communicate openly, directly. People need to communicate to achieve common goals. What you say and how you say it often determines how you’re viewed . When you communicate effectively, people feel understood, valued, trusted. Talk with colleagues. Listen to them. Ask questions when you’re not clear. Summarize what you hear to correct misunderstandings. Maintain eye contact when speaking. Make specific requests rather than complaints. Let others know you appreciate their efforts. Don’t speak when angry. Prepare and rehearse before confronting potentially difficult conversations. Avoid malicious gossip. Advise others of important news and stay informed about company developments. -- Be a team player. Effective partnerships require trust, communication and commitment. Teams that include people with diverse views offer superior problem solutions and can resolve disagreements without hostility or domination. Respect and cooperate with co-workers. Acknowledge co-workers’ interests, concerns and contributions. Volunteer to help colleagues who need assistance. Offer innovative ideas. Demonstrate loyalty to employer and supervisors. -- Schedule time for reflection daily. Centre yourself. Take time every morning to meditate or pray. Reflect on things important to you. Breathe deeply when feeling anxious.  Eliminate negative thoughts. -- Display mementos . Keep a small stone with a number one painted on it to remind yourself never to cast the first stone. Screensavers can remind you of the infinite beauty and abundance of nature. These mementos often precipitate questions that contribute to comfortable conversations about spirituality.  Additional strategies for developing spirituality are found in Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life . You have the power to create a better career and life for yourself and others. Start practicing spirituality today! © Dr. Carole Kanchier, registered psychologist, coach and author of the award winning, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life   and the forthcoming Arouse the Force Within , helps individuals and organizations integrate spiritual principles into their policies and practices.    
The days when professionals would spend their entire professional lives with a single firm are largely a thing of the past. In fact, many people not only switch companies multiple times before retirement, but also some even switch professions before retiring. As exciting as it can be to pursue a new career, men and women over 50 know that such a decision is not without risk. While younger professionals with few obligations can often handle bumps in the road on their way to a second career, older professionals making a similar move often must consider the potential effects such a pursuit might have on their families, finances and futures, including their retirements. But as difficult as it may seem to pursue a second career after your fiftieth birthday, there are steps men and women over 50 can take when pursuing a new career to ensure their second act is as successful as the first. Decide what you want, and not just what you want to do. The desire to pursue a second career no doubt stems from more than just dissatisfaction with a current profession. Many people switch jobs or even careers because they find their current careers too demanding, leaving little time for family or hobbies that have nothing to do with work. If what you really want is more time at home or more time to pursue a particular hobby, then keep this in mind when looking for a second career, and make sure that career won't demand too much of your time. For example, if your goal in finding a new career is to get more work-life balance, then starting your own business, which can require long hours at the outset and even after the business has established itself, might not be for you. But if what you want is a more challenging career and to be your own boss, then you will likely find the cost of achieving that goal, even if that cost is more demands on your time, is worth it. Assess your skillset. Professionals over 50 have lots to offer, but it's still important for such men and women to make an honest assessment of their skillset and find a career in which those skills are transferable. Some men and women might want to pursue a second career that will make little to no use of their skillset, and that's perfectly alright. But extra schooling might be necessary in such situations, and going back to school oftentimes requires a considerable commitment of both time and money. For those who simply want to put their existing skills to use in a different field or environment, assess those skills and look for lines of work in which they figure to be especially valuable. If there are any particular aspects of your current job that you want to avoid in the future, consider that when assessing your skills and choosing a second career. Even if they don't know it, established professionals over 50 have many transferable skills, and such skills can be a considerable asset when pursuing a second career, especially when those skills have been assessed and can be applied to a new profession. Make a trial run. Nowhere does it say that professionals can't take a trial run at a second career while still fully engaged in their first career. In fact, testing the waters before you jump in is a good way to gauge your interest in a potential second career and how well your skillset applies to that field. A trial run, which can be conducted by volunteering with a non-profit organization or through a part-time job or simply offering your services to a company free of charge in exchange for a chance to learn how the business operates, can shed light on the inner workings of a particular industry, showing you how things work behind the curtain. Testing the waters may reaffirm your belief that a certain line of work is for you, or it might send you back to the drawing board. Either way, it's valuable experience that may reassure you that whatever decision you ultimately make is the right one. Don't go it alone. Switching careers after 50 carries some risk, but it's certainly a risk that many before you have been willing to take. If you know any people, be it a friend, family member or former or even current colleague, who has reinvented themselves professionally, then speak with these people and ask for any advice they might have. If you know you want out of your current career but aren't quite sure of what you want to do next, those who have faced a similar fork in the road may be able to help you narrow down your options. The notion of changing careers is exciting, and you can expect your personal and professional confidantes to share your excitement and be willing to help you in any way they can. Making a career change after 50 can be a risky yet ultimately rewarding move, especially for those men and women who take a thoughtful approach to finding their second careers.  - Metro Creative
A strong cover letter may not guarantee you land a good job, but a poor cover letter may guarantee you won't. On its own, an effective cover letter can catch the eye of hiring managers tasked with finding worthy candidates among stacks of applications, while a poor cover letter may ensure hiring managers never even glance at an applicant's resume. An effective cover letter should be concise, conveying an applicant's work history and goals in a few paragraphs or less. The following are some additional ways men and women can craft effective cover letters. Address a specific person when possible. When responding to a job posting that listed a specific contact, address your cover letter to that person rather than beginning the letter with, "Dear Sir or Madam" or "To Whom It May Concern." Personalize each cover letter you write so the hiring manager does not get the feeling that you are sending out cover letters en masse. Make sure names are spelled correctly and job titles are accurate. State your purpose early on. The purpose of your letter, which is to state the job you're seeking, should be made clear early on. Hiring managers often handle the vetting process for a host of positions at their companies, so the earlier the hiring manager knows which position you're applying for the better. Hiring managers may become frustrated when applicants don't make their intentions clear or do so in the final paragraph instead of the first. Explain why you are a qualified candidate. While it's good to note your work history, your resume will do the bulk of that legwork. A cover letter is your opportunity to show how your work history makes you a qualified candidate for a specific position. Remember to be concise but relate a specific example that illustrates how your work history would help you thrive in the position for which you're applying. Exhibit some knowledge about the company to which you're applying. An effective cover letter should help you stand out among your fellow applicants, and expressing some knowledge about the organization can do just that. The goal here is to illustrate how you and the organization are a good fit, so you don't need to go overboard or be too specific. But hiring managers are likely to be more impressed by applicants who do their homework and show knowledge of the company than applicants who submit a form cover letter where the company is scarcely mentioned. Be cordial in your closing. A cover letter should close with a cordial request for an interview or a friendly way of indicating you look forward to a company's response to your application. In addition, thank the reader for his or her time and mention you would be delighted to answer any questions he or she may have. An effective cover letter can go a long way toward making a strong first impression on a prospective employer. Men and women should look at their cover letters as their first opportunities to connect with a company and write their letters accordingly. - Metro Creative
People leave jobs for various reasons. Some individuals cite disparities in pay, an inability to advance through the company or incompatibility with a particular place of business as their reasons for seeking new employment, while others leave jobs to take time off for family obligations, only to re-enter the workforce at a later time. The Bureau of Labour Statistics says the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times (with an average of 11 job changes) over the course of a career. Reports about employees in Fortune 500 companies have found, while women make up nearly 50 percent of these companies, they represent just 7.5 percent of top earners. Dissatisfaction with their income encourages some women to look for greener pastures. But whether you’re a man or a woman, transitioning between jobs is common. Professionals can take certain steps to ensure their transition works out for them and does not burn any bridges along they way. * Have a definitive reason for leaving. It's foolish to change jobs on a whim. Be clear about why you are leaving and whether problems can be remedied by speaking up or if leaving for another company really is the best solution. Having firm reasons for your resignation will enable you to leave with more confidence and conviction. * Provide enough notice to the company. If you have been working in a particularly poor environment, it may be tempting to run out the door even before your written resignation has finished printing. This may not bode well for future recommendations and leave your name tarnished within the industry. Instead, give ample notice and find a mutually acceptable window of time in which your position will be filled. While two weeks is standard, some positions may require more or less time. It's best not to drag your exit out too long though. * Meet with your boss first. Don't let a boss find out about your intentions to leave the company through the workplace gossip mill. It is always more professional to keep plans to yourself and show your boss the respect of hearing about your decision to leave first. Do so in person and not over the phone or via email. * Continue to do your job to the best of your abilities. Giving notice is not a ticket to goofing off or participating in an office vacation. Slacking off damages good will and is a sure-fire way to burn some bridges. Put in your best effort until the day you leave the company behind. * Avoid making negative comments. When discussing your reasons for leaving, be diplomatic but honest. Similarly, do not talk poorly about your former job to your new employer. You may inadvertently portray yourself as a disgruntled employee. Furthermore, word travels fast within many industries, and a loose tongue may compromise future networking opportunities. * Maintain decorum even if it was not your idea to leave. Being fired or downsized can hurt, particularly when you thought you were doing a good job. Remain cool and always be professional. How you conduct yourself when facing adversity could speak well to your future employers. William Shakespeare may have said that a person is remembered for his entrances and exits, and this is particularly true in the workforce. When it is time to leave an employment position for a new one, do so with grace and humility.   - Metro Creative
Fatigue can prove a formidable foe to anyone. Exercise enthusiasts and couch potatoes alike periodically can suffer from fatigue, which can affect performance at work and one's relationships with friends and family. Fatigue can be temporary or chronic, and while quick fixes like an energy drink might work for a little while, such solutions may only mask fatigue for a brief period before it returns once the stimulant wears off. Many times fending off fatigue involves making some lifestyle changes that can boost your energy over the long haul and make fatigue a distant memory. * Eat breakfast no matter what. According to a study published in the International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, a high-fiber, high-carbohydrate breakfast can increase alertness between breakfast and lunch, a period of time during which many professionals begin to feel fatigue settling in. Whole-wheat toast or a bowl of high-fiber cereal can pack an energetic punch that lasts all the way to lunchtime. * Choose high-energy snacks. One of the problems many people have when dealing with fatigue is how they choose to combat their feelings of sluggishness. Eating a candy bar from the office snack machine might seem like the ideal energy booster, but a sugar boost does not last very long. Chances are your feelings of fatigue will return sooner rather than later. * Give yourself a break. Burning the midnight oil might be necessary, but failing to take breaks throughout the day will likely exasperate any feelings of fatigue. That's because taking periodic breaks throughout the workday has been proven to be very effective at combating fatigue. A study conducted at Louisiana State University compared a trio of different work schedules for workers who used a computer. Those who took brief, frequent breaks were better at fighting fatigue and more productive at work than those who did not. A short break of 5 to 10 minutes can be enough to provide an immediate energy boost and fend off feelings of fatigue. * Hit the road, Jack. Another way to effectively fight fatigue is to get walking. A decades-old study conducted by a researcher at California State University, Long Beach, found that walking briskly for 10 minutes provides people with more energy than eating a candy bar. Though the candy bar led to an initial energy boost, that boost died down within an hour, whereas the boost provided by a brisk walk increased energy levels for roughly two hours. Get up and walk around the office or take a brisk walk around the block or the parking lot of your office complex. You'll come back to your desk refreshed and ready to resume your workday. Fatigue is no laughing matter for many men and women. But a few tried and tested fatigue-fighting methods can increase your energy and productivity. - Metro Creative
The American Institute of Stress notes that various disorders, both emotional and physical, have been linked to stress. Such disorders include depression, stroke, hypertension, and anxiety, among others. In its 2015 Stress in AmericaTM survey, the American Psychological Association found that money, stress and family responsibilities are the three most common stressors. While the symptoms of stress are uncomfortable and potentially very dangerous, the APA notes that such indicators also serve as a warning from the body that it needs maintenance and extra care. The following are some of the ways the body might be telling adults to step back and make an effort to relieve stress. Headaches, muscle tension, neck or back pain: Some headaches or aches and pains might be mere nuisances or indicative of issues unrelated to stress. But when such symptoms are accompanied by stress, this could be the body's way of alerting men and women that the stress is approaching unhealthy levels. The AIS notes that when a person is under stress, his or her muscles tense up. The contraction of these muscles for extended periods of time can trigger tension headaches and migraines, among other things. Chest pains and/or rapid heartbeat: Chest pains and rapid heartbeat may indicate various problems, including stress. This happens when the body is stressed because stress causes the nervous system to signal the adrenal glands to release hormones that make the heart beat faster and increase blood pressure. Difficulty falling or staying asleep: Men and women who are feeling stressed out and also experiencing difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep should consult their physicians about ways to alleviate that stress. When strategies to alleviate stress are successful, adults should be able to return to normal, healthy sleeping patterns. Increased frequency of colds: Stress can attack the body's immune system, making it increasingly vulnerable to colds. The AIS also notes that a weakened immune system also makes the body more susceptible to additional viral disorders, including herpes, and autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Loss of appetite or overeating: Stress can affect the gastrointestinal system in various ways, including influencing appetite. While not all problems with appetite are indicative of a body that is overstressed, stress can prompt some people to eat much more than they normally do, while others may eat considerably less than they normally would. Diarrhea or constipation: Another indicator that stress is compromising the gastrointestinal system is diarrhea or constipation. Again, while these problems are not exclusive to sufferers of stress, when a person is under stress, this can affect which nutrients the body can successfully absorb and how quickly food is metabolized. This can cause some people to experience diarrhea, while others may be constipated. - Metro Creative
When adopting more eco-friendly lifestyles, it can be easy for men and women to overlook their offices. While drivers can drive in ways that conserve fuel and homeowners can take steps to reduce their energy consumption at home, few people may give as much thought to making their offices friendlier to the environment. But there are many environmentally friendly practices that business owners and their employees can adopt around the office. Turn computers off at quitting time. Frequently turning computers on and off can produce small surges of energy each time the computer is turned on. But the Department of Energy notes that this energy surge pales in comparison to the energy consumed when computers are left on for long periods of time. When going home for the day or leaving your desk for more than 20 minutes, whether it's during lunch hour or to attend a meeting, turn your monitor off. If you expect to be away from your computer for more than two hours, turn both the computer and the monitor off. Employers who make these suggestions to their employees may reduce their office energy consumption and save money along the way. Recycle old equipment. Advancements in technology now occur at a breakneck pace, so the equipment businesses use today may very well be obsolete tomorrow. Businesses that want to be more eco-friendly should recycle rather than discard old equipment. Simply throwing equipment away might even be illegal depending on where an office is located. Some electronics contain mercury, lead or arsenic, hazardous materials that can do significant damage to the environment when not properly disposed of. Some retailers, including the office supply chain Staples, accept old equipment for recycling at their stores at no charge to business owners. If equipment is still functional but somewhat outdated, look into donating it to local organizations in need. Cut back on printing. Printing documents used to be the most effective way to share them with coworkers and clients. But nowadays printing is one of the least efficient and least eco-friendly ways to share documents. Instead of printing documents to show coworkers, create PDFs and email the PDFs instead. And rather than mailing contracts to prospective clients, email contracts that accept e-signatures, ultimately storing the contracts on your file server rather than in a dusty old filing cabinet. Develop telecommuting policies. Working from home is often seen as employee-friendly, but it also can benefit employers and the environment. When employees work from home, their employers need not purchase or lease as much office space, saving them substantial amounts of money. In addition, working from home cuts down on the number of commuters driving to work, decreasing fuel consumption and vehicle emissions. Employers who cannot allow employees to work from home full-time can still help the environment and their employees by allowing workers to work from home one or two days a week. Offices are not always eco-friendly, but there are several ways to make office life more efficient and environmentally friendly.  - Metro Creative
While losing weight and quitting smoking remain among the most popular New Year's resolutions each year, many more people resolve to change careers at the dawn of a new year. Changing careers is a significant step, especially for men and women who are firmly established in their fields. A career change can be just as rewarding and life changing as losing weight or quitting smoking, and there are some things professionals might want to consider before resolving to change careers in the new year. Changing careers vs. switching jobs Changing careers and switching jobs are not the same thing, and some people may want the former while others may only be in need of the latter. A full-fledged career change may require returning to school and a willingness to start from the bottom. A job change typically allows professionals to stay in their fields and move on to another position, whether it's with their existing employer or with another company. Career trajectory The direction of a person's career may also influence whether or not they want to make a career change. Established professionals mulling a career change should consider their willingness to start anew. Many mid-career professionals have worked for years to establish themselves in their fields and within their companies. Switching careers does not mean that experience and reputation is invaluable, but neither attribute may carry as much weight in a different line of work, and that can affect career trajectory and future earnings. Effects on others Established professionals must also consider the effect that a career change may have on their families. Married mid-career professionals should discuss changing careers with their spouse, and even their children if the kids are old enough to understand. Discuss the pros and cons of changing careers and the impact that making such a change may have on your family's daily life. Will the family have to move? Will the family lifestyle change dramatically, if at all? Spouses and children may feel better about the change knowing they were involved in the decision, and talking things through with family may help working professionals determine if changing careers is the best decision for them. Long-term goals Long-term goals are another thing to consider before making a career change. That's especially true for mid- or late-career professionals who may already have made significant progress toward achieving their long-term goals. Discuss long-term goals with your spouse or significant other and how changing careers might affect those goals. Long-term goals can change, and while the ability to realize those goals might not weigh heavily in your decision regarding a career change, understanding how such a change might affect your retirement or other late-life plans can only help you make the most informed decision possible. Many people resolve to change careers at the dawn of a new year. But such a decision requires the careful consideration of a host of factors. - Metro Creative
As the cost of college tuition continues to rise and the job market grows increasingly competitive, college students are giving greater consideration to their prospects of being hired before choosing a major. A 2015 study commissioned by the National Association of Colleges and Employers asked 201 employers, including companies like Aetna, Macy’s and Procter & Gamble, which degrees are most in demand, even distinguishing between the most in-demand bachelor’s degrees, master’s degrees and doctorates. The following are the results of that study, courtesy of the NACE. Most in-demand bachelor’s degrees: Accounting Computer Science Finance Business Administration/Management Mechanical Engineering  Most in demand master’s degrees: Computer Science Electrical Engineering Mechanical Engineering Information Sciences & Systems Business Administration  Most in demand doctorate degrees: Electrical Engineering Computer Science Software Engineering Computer Engineering Mechanical Engineering   - Metro Creative