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A statistic that raises concerns is that almost 50% of U.S. employees don’t use their vacation time. While this could be the perfect opportunity to get away from work and spend some time on a beach or with family members, taking the time off has become a matter that many people would rather avoid.
The big question is—Why wouldn’t Americans use their vacation time?
Vacation Time As a Stressor Instead of a Time To Relax
Plenty of American employees claim that taking a vacation stresses them out instead of helping them to relax. The primary reason is that they feel like they can’t disconnect from work.
Some people say that they can’t stop thinking about the projects and deadlines that are waiting for them when they come home. Among the main culprits are Wi-Fi and smartphones. People keep checking their emails and communication apps, and before they know it, they’re talking to their colleagues about what’s happening back in the office and discussing the workload that is piling up while they’re away.
While someone would say that people should “just relax”, the truth is that their fears aren’t ungrounded. Some people reported that they’ve returned from their vacation only to come to the office and get scolded by their boss for the company suffering losses while they were away.
Some American employees claim that they are being pressured by their bosses not to take any vacation days. Others believe that doing so will hurt their chances of advancing in the company.
Taking a Vacation Can Be Beneficial Both to Employees and Companies
The issue regarding vacation time is alarming because taking time away from work is crucial for employees. It’s not only beneficial to their health but it also helps them alleviate stress. Taking some time to travel and socialize outside their daily routine can help them reset and become more resilient. It’s particularly valuable if they’re suffering from burnout and need a way to recharge their batteries.
Various studies have shown that working long hours and not taking occasional breaks can have a negative effect on the employees’ health. This includes sleep deprivation and an increased risk of stroke and heart disease.
It should be an employer’s priority to ensure that their workers are healthy. Providing the employees with vacation time also benefits the company because it has shown to increase productivity in the long run.
Job Security of American Employees
Even though 91% of full-time employees in the U.S. get paid time off, the amount of vacation time they receive depends on their employer. There isn’t a state or federal law that requires employers to provide vacation time, which leaves any related decisions to their whim.
Being pressured by the management to stay at work makes it unsurprising that many employees fear that they will be replaced if they take some time away from work.
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To many people, browsing job ads and sending applications seems like the easier part of the job hunting process. While it may take a while before they get a positive response from a hiring manager, it’s the interview that makes people start feeling anxious.
Even if you’re an extroverted person that likes talking about themselves, being interviewed for a job is hardly pleasant, knowing that the future of your career hangs upon every word you say.
The only way to make your next job interview a simpler and less stressful experience is to prepare for it properly. With that in mind, we present you with some of the most practical pieces of advice on how to get ready.
- Research the company
- Match your qualifications with the job requirements
- List your references
- Practice for the interview
- Pick the right clothes
Research the Company
You need to learn all you can about the company from various sources, such as the official website, social media profiles, and recent articles that you can find on Google. Hiring managers often ask the candidates what they know about the organization to see if they did their research. This shows them that you care enough about the job and what the company is all about.
Throughout your research, you will learn about the company’s culture. This will help you determine whether you’re a good fit and enable you to present yourself as such during the interview.
Match Your Qualifications With the Job Requirements
You should analyze the job ad to determine what the company expects from candidates for the role. This will enable you to match your qualifications with what the job requires.
Make a list of crucial certifications, relevant experiences, and hard and soft skills, and bring them up during the interview to elaborate on why you’re the perfect candidate for the job. Reciting your qualifications isn’t enough—you need to prepare concrete examples from your previous work experiences. It’s important that you illustrate how you gained particular skills and the way they helped you solve different problems.
List Your References
The hiring manager might ask you to provide your list of references before or after the interview. See if you can get as many professional recommendations as you can that can help you land the job, and make sure that you have a list prepared.
Practice for the Interview
Look up the most common interview questions online and come up with adequate answers to them. You can practice by recording yourself, so that you can hear what you sound like and work on fixing potential issues such as mumbling, verbal tics, etc.
You can take your interview practice to the next level by having a friend ask you the questions. Try practicing in the same format as the actual interview, such as via Zoom, over the phone, or with a few friends imitating a panel.
Pick the Right Clothes
When you decide you’re ready, pick the right clothes so that you don’t have to do it at the last minute. If the company is more traditional, you should dress in business attire. Otherwise, you can choose more casual clothes, as long as you make sure to look neat and tidy for the interview.
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The concept of sick leave as the time you take off to rest and recover from an illness has become an issue in the United States. People generally avoid taking a day off, even if it means working from home with a slight fever.
Why are Americans afraid to take sick leave?
With about 45% of U.S. workers not being able to take paid sick leave, it’s hardly surprising that even those that can are worried about how it will affect their performance.
With larger workloads due to company downsizing, plenty of employees are anxious about falling behind with their tasks. Some are afraid that their employers will see them taking a day off as a sign of disloyalty or incompetence. This is especially the case with freelancers that have even less job security.
The situation has led to many people working in circumstances when they should be resting at all costs, such as when passing a kidney stone, undergoing cancer treatment, etc.
On the bright side, some businesses provide their workers with sick leave that they don’t have to explain to be able to get. In many such companies, taking a day off is known as personal emergency leave.
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If you’re a funny guy when you’re not working, why shouldn’t you entertain your colleagues at the office with your jokes?
While some people would tell you—Why not?—the answer to the question is a bit more complicated than that. Let’s take a look at a few perspectives on humor in the workplace.
Funny People Stand Out
If there’s something we can all say about people with a sense of humor, it’s that they stand out from the crowd. This applies to movies, parties, and workplaces alike. The issue with being the office funny guy lies not only in the subjectivity of humor but also in its appropriateness in line with a particular situation.
If you show your sense of humor at the workplace, you can boost your status by appearing as a more confident person to your colleagues. The problem is that you can sometimes lose that status with a single inappropriate joke.
When Is It Okay To Be Funny at the Office?
If you’re a humorous person, you should feel free to let your personality shine at the office. What’s important is that you are considerate to your co-workers. There’s a thin line between being funny and obnoxious. You should be respectful to others and keep a healthy balance between humor and professionalism.
When it comes to joke types, you should steer clear of sex jokes and political humor. While the advice to “play it safe” may sound boring and restrictive, there are certain lines that you shouldn’t cross. The last thing you want is to make someone feel offended or start a fierce political debate in the wrong place.
How To Be Funny at the Workplace
The best way to joke around with your colleagues is to treat humor as a way to build relationships with them. Don’t be the guy that tells a joke so loud that the entire office can hear unless you know that everyone’s going to appreciate it. If you know your colleagues well, you can joke with them when you’re alone.
Humor can be a great method for building friendships and smoothing out work relationships. Don’t make jokes at the expense of others if you don’t know how well they’ll take it, especially in front of others. If you’re going to be the office funny guy, do it in a way that brightens the mood and makes your co-workers appreciate you more.
When Not To Be the Office Funny Guy
If you’re working in an office with more traditional values, you don’t want to be the office funny guy. Even if some of your co-workers find your jokes funny, chances are that your managers don’t. If you don’t want to get called into the boss’ office, you should tell your jokes only to colleagues that you’re on familiar terms with.
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It’s almost impossible to get away from work-related stress. Even if you love your job, you will face situations that will trigger you and make you feel uneasy. Sometimes the triggers are clear enough for you to identify them, while at other times they are too complex to figure out right away. They can also be an accumulation of various smaller triggers that you haven’t even paid attention to.
Whatever the cause, it’s important to learn how to deal with work-related stress. There are various techniques for relieving it so that you can go back to work and do your job properly.
Determine the Cause
One of the most important methods for dealing with stress is determining what is causing it. Looking at your job, you need to figure out whether it’s the work that’s stressing you out or it’s something else.
We all have behavioral patterns and coping mechanisms that we tend to apply to similar situations. It’s crucial to understand whether it’s a particular aspect of your job that’s triggering you or if it’s you that is applying a familiar coping mechanism to the wrong situation. If you don’t know how to deal with stress in general, that’s where you need to start.
You need to make a distinction between what you feel and what caused it. Work can make people stressed in various ways, especially if it’s their first job. Some people have trouble taking up new responsibilities, while others feel insecure about whether they’re good enough for the job.
To deal with the stress, it’s crucial to be able to separate your work from your daily life as much as you can.
Get Rid of the “What If?”
“What if?” is a question that is one of the largest causes of stress and anxiety. If you wake up and start asking yourself various what-if questions before you go to work, you’ll create a trigger for stress before you’ve even got the chance to face one.
When facing stress, it’s crucial to focus on concrete issues and not hypothetical situations. The only proper answer to the question “What if?” is “So what.” Give yourself that answer and move on to face the real issues.
Face the Situation That Triggers You
When you put hypothetical fears aside, you’ll be able to face the real problems more clearly.
Let’s say that you’ve come to work and you’ve realized that you’ve messed up a part of a big project. The worst thing to do is to start making excuses in your head, such as trying to make yourself believe that the mistake isn’t so bad or that no one will notice that it happened. This kind of defense mechanism leads to rumination—more and more thoughts that will only increase your stress.
What you should do instead is think of the worst-case scenario. What is the worst that could happen? Your boss might scold you. Your co-workers might be irritated with you. It might be uncomfortable for a while. Then, it will stop being uncomfortable.
When you realize that the world isn’t going to end, you can get down to planning how to fix the issue. Quite often, what actually happens is much less terrible than what we imagine it might be.
Other Ways To Deal With Stress
When it comes to stress, you need to be proactive. Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve tension. If you don’t feel like jogging or going to the gym, you can try meditation and breathing exercises.
One of the most common exercises for relieving tension is progressive muscle relaxation. It works by tensing your muscles, breathing in deep, and then relaxing the muscles slowly as you breathe out.
Work both on your mind and your body, and you’ll learn how to relieve stress and face different work-related issues with a clear head.
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While some people’s greatest dream is to land a job at an enterprise such as Apple or Facebook, plenty of employees are more than happy working for a small business.
Many people love to know that they’re bringing value to the company they work for. Small businesses are the perfect environment for that because they provide more space for their employees to feel like they’re making a difference. The staff can see the results of their hard work and get a commendation for it.
If this sounds appealing to you, here are some of the reasons why you should consider working for a small business:
- Learning about the business
- Getting recognition for your work
- Taking part in crucial decisions
- Working in a relaxed environment
- Interacting with different roles in the company
- Finding a mentor and advancing your career
- Participating in innovation
- Getting creative bonuses
Learning About the Business
If you’re looking for a job where you can expand and develop your skill set, small companies provide plenty of opportunities. Instead of being limited to a specific set of responsibilities, you’ll often have a chance to perform tasks that aren’t strictly related to your job role.
You’ll get to collaborate with higher-ranking roles, learn new skills, and gain various kinds of work experience. You’ll also learn more about how different areas of the business work. Your working days will often be different, keeping you from falling into a dull routine and boosting your productivity and job satisfaction.
Getting Recognition for Your Work
When working for a large company, you often perform tasks as a part of a big team, which decreases the chances of your personal accomplishments getting noticed. In a small company, your contributions to the company are much more likely to get recognized and appreciated. There’s no need to compete with your co-workers for your hard work to be acknowledged.
Small businesses cultivate a stronger sense of belonging than larger companies. You get to be a part of a collective that applauds you for your talents.
Taking Part in Crucial Decisions
Working as a part of a smaller team, you’ll often work closely with essential decision-makers in the company. In an organization where you’ve got the space to provide your input for various issues, you’ll likely be involved in helping the company make crucial business decisions. This way, you’ll be able to show your commitment to the company’s vision and take part in shaping its future.
Working in a Relaxed Environment
Plenty of small companies are close-knit organizations started by friends or family members. Working for such a business, you’ll have the chance to get away from the drama that’s common for larger companies.
When a business is run by a family, it often provides a much more relaxed and informal environment. If you’re not dealing with customers, you might not even have to worry about a particular dress code. Companies like these care about each employee and have a stronger sense of community. You will have an opportunity to build valuable relationships and even make good friends.
Interacting With Different Roles in the Company
Working for a large company, you’ll most likely never have an opportunity to sit down and talk with a CEO or director. In small companies, people working at higher-ranking positions are significantly more accessible. Not only will you be able to talk to them, but you’ll also have plenty of opportunities to learn from them, tell them about your ideas, and build relationships with them.
While the positions of authority remain clear, small companies often build work environments that bridge the gap between lower-ranking and higher-ranking staff members.
Finding a Mentor and Advancing Your Career
While large companies may offer a wide range of training and educational programs, small businesses provide the opportunity to find a one-on-one mentor. Small business owners usually play a more direct role in employee development, providing you with a hands-on learning experience.
Small companies also make it easier to advance your career. Instead of waiting for years to move up the ladder, you’ll likely be promoted sooner thanks to your hard work and competence. Since your supervisors will be more familiar with your contribution to the company, you’re likely to get rewarded fairly when you get a promotion.
Participating in Innovation
Small businesses are usually capable of adapting to the changes in the market quickly. This enables them to come up with innovative products and solutions. As a respected member of the team, you can play a crucial role in reshaping the company by helping with the implementation of fresh business ideas and practices.
Getting Creative Bonuses
While small companies may not be able to afford large bonuses, they have more flexibility to get creative with what they can offer to their employees.
The management can customize employee benefits and reward their best workers with a rafting trip or a day off at a luxurious spa. They can also enable you to have a better work-life balance by providing more flexible work hours.
Working for a small business provides a fulfilling environment rich with opportunities. By gaining plenty of experience while performing a variety of tasks and learning from your superiors, you’ll have enough knowledge of how businesses function. This way, you might even be able to start a company yourself someday.
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If you’ve grown tired of your old job and you’re looking to make a change, you’ll likely go through various job postings via different platforms. When applying for a new job position, in some cases you’ll have to choose a specific title from a drop-down menu. With options like Director, Manager, Assistant, and Coordinator, you might be wondering—Why is my current job title not on the list?
It isn’t surprising if you can’t find your current job title in almost any job postings. Plenty of companies use unusual job titles to brand themselves as trendy and different. The big question is—Does having an uncommon title affect your chances of finding a new job?
Various experts have different options on the matter. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the perspectives and help you use them to your advantage.
Be Honest and Clarify What Your Job Is
When it comes to finding the right people for a company, recruiters search for specific keywords and job titles. If your title is unusual, chances are that you’ll never come up in the search results for businesses you’d like to work for. The problem is that you can’t lie about your job title, because your potential new employer will find out.
While experts advise that you be honest about your job title, they also suggest you add a more common one in brackets. If your title is Daylight Specialist, you can add what your job role is better known as in the industry, such as curtain designer or glass manufacturer.
Elaborate on Your Responsibilities
You need to establish the difference between what your job role and title are. While you may be named an Expert, Manager, Director, or Vice President, it doesn’t explain your role fully to a potential employer without context. You should present your job title as is and elaborate on what your responsibilities within the company are.
Who and what do you work with? Is your job to deal with clients or customers? Do you manage particular business processes or is your job to assist with them? Explain your role as best as you can, and you’ll have better chances of landing that new job.
Embrace the Title You Have and Use It to Your Advantage
If you’ve got a job title such as a Brand Warrior or Digital Prophet, some experts believe that you should embrace it and let its creativity be one of the aspects that catch the eye of a potential employer. Aside from adding common titles that are similar next to it so that companies can find you, write a unique cover letter that explains what your unusual job title means.
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Plenty of people aren’t satisfied with their jobs. Spending a lot of time doing what doesn’t make you happy often leads to disengagement.
Disengaged employees let the way they feel about their work and company affect their performance. They lose interest, stop putting in the extra effort, allow their work relationships to falter, and become the broken wheel of the team. Not only do they lose their enthusiasm, but they often affect the morale of the entire workforce.
While they are usually the ones to get blamed, it’s often not their fault that they no longer believe in the company they work for.
You need to do your best to avoid and battle employee disengagement. Here are seven essential tips for ensuring that you don’t fall into that trap.
Do Your Research Before Getting Hired
Before you send your job application to any company, you should do thorough research on it. There are various websites where you can find plenty of information on what kind of a reputation the organizations you’re interested in have. These sites include employee ratings and reviews that will enable you to find out how these companies treat their employees and help you decide if they’re worth your time.
Be Straight About What You Can Do
One of the worst things that you can do is lie about your skills and experience during a job interview. While one of your primary goals is to present yourself in the best light, you don’t want to face the consequences of claiming that you can do something that you can’t. If the job ad states that a particular skill that you don’t have is required, be open about your level of proficiency and let the interviewer know that you’re willing to learn.
Finding yourself in a situation where you are overwhelmed by the work that is too hard for you will not only make you become disengaged, but it will also get you into trouble with your team and supervisors.
Ensure That You’re a Good Fit
You should look into the company’s culture to determine whether you’re a good fit. See if it’s a flexible organization that listens to the employees’ suggestions or a more traditional one where you mostly follow what you’re told. Find out whether it’s an environment based on strong teamwork and collaboration. See if the organization’s core values align with yours.
If you find that any of these aspects can be a dealbreaker for you, you might want to search for better opportunities where you won’t become disengaged.
Build Relationships With Supervisors
It’s important to have someone in the company that will show appreciation for your work and give you a hand. If a supervisor isn’t willing to guide or mentor you, you should look for someone else in the company. Having a strong relationship with a higher-ranking employee is crucial for engagement.
Socialize With Your Co-Workers
Having a few friends that you can socialize with at work can boost your engagement. Even if you aren’t happy about your daily workflow, you might be able to get through it faster and better if you’ve got people that respect and support you. A solid chunk of employee engagement depends on feeling that you’re a part of a collective that has similar needs and goals.
Keep Learning and Developing Your Career
One of the most common reasons that people become disengaged and quit their jobs is because they feel like there’s no space for them to grow and advance their career. You should do your best to look for opportunities to learn something new.
Take the initiative and talk to your supervisor about taking on different tasks and responsibilities. See if the company offers training opportunities that you can benefit from.
Evaluate Your Decisions
When you decide to work for a company, you should be honest with yourself when it comes to your decision. There’s a big difference between needing and wanting a job. If you start a job because you need the money while knowing that it may not be the kind of work you’re looking for, don’t try to deny it.
You should do your best to accept the job for what it is. It’s important to find some kind of motivation to perform your daily tasks. If getting acknowledged by your peers and superiors isn’t enough, you should do your best to be engaged because you’ll also be more successful at what you do. This can lead to more appealing opportunities, both within and outside the company.
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