Are You Overworked? Underpaid? Unappreciated? Belittled?

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If going to work each day involves dragging yourself out of bed, swallowing an antacid, and gritting your teeth as you head to work–you have a problem! You might be overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, or belittled.

This kind of unhappy work situation impacts many people and can make unemployment look almost attractive by comparison. Note that I said “almost.” Unemployment–particularly involuntary unemployment–carries its own difficulties, but “employed misery” will definitely give you a major challenge.

Demoralizing & Demotivating Work Situations

You could face one of these demoralizing and demotivating work situations:

  • Overworked: Your boss piles on the work, and you’re doing the job of three people. Your pleas for help are ignored or flatly rejected. (“Quit complaining. You should be glad you’ve got a job.”)Tired business woman with documents in her workplace
  • Underpaid: What you were hired for and what the company expects you to do are miles apart, and you’re working well above your pay scale. However, your raise requests are rejected, sometimes for reasons that make little sense. (“You haven’t been in the job long enough.” OR “Paying you that much would insult others who’ve been doing the work longer.”)
  • Unappreciated: You’re making a valuable contribution to the work of your department, but it’s taken for granted or dismissed as less valuable than it is. (“You shouldn’t expect to be congratulated for doing your job. It’s what you get paid for.”)
  • Belittled and/or intimidated: When your immediate boss or others put you down and suggest that you’re basically a warm body filling a chair, that’s belittling. If they exhibit aggressive or domineering behavior, that’s actively hostile. (“Can’t you do anything right? What do we pay you for, anyway?” OR “You should remember no one is irreplaceable!”)worker under magnifying glass his boss

One of my bosses years ago used to say, “Life is too short to….” (Fill in your own ending.) He  would never have indulged in any of the above behaviors with the people who reported to him. However, I have seen and heard of too many situations where that was not the case.

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Is Your Career Progress Stalled or in a Downward Spiral?

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Realistically, you can’t expect career growth on a daily basis. That’s not a real-world scenario. On the other hand, if your career progress has stalled for an extended period or, worse, entered a downward spiral, you do have cause for concern. A key question is: What can and should you do about the situation?

What if Your Career Progress is Simply Stalled?

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Say you’ve missed out on more than one promotion opportunity in the last year or so. How worried should you be? If you’re overloaded with work and senior management turns a deaf ear to your requests for an assistant, is that a sign that you’re spinning your wheels or being written off? Are you still basically at the same place you were a year ago, with no real potential for progress?

Maybe it’s time to get a sense of perspective about your situation. To begin with, is this something only you are facing or is it part of a larger issue within your company? If others at your level aren’t going anywhere in the foreseeable future either, maybe you should be looking at a different concern–in other words, whether the company itself has troubles you might want to examine carefully. For instance, is its management making decisions you suspect could threaten the company’s future or endanger the survival of your department?

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Job Interview Prep – What Have You Got to Lose?

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Job interview preparation is critical–if you hope to have a positive outcome for interviews. And why else would you be pursuing interviews?

Very few people in this world, from entry-level to senior executive, can afford to blow off interview preparation as if they’re somehow “above” it and don’t need to pay attention to it. I’ve never met anyone who could legitimately make that claim–smart job seekers at all levels know better.Interview Preparation Concept

Interview preparation is simply an item that should always rank at or near the top of your priorities in the job search.

Job Interview Prep – What’s the Worst that can Happen?

Let’s see… if you blow the interview by failing to prepare appropriately, you could lose any chance at landing the position you’re aiming for.  Worst case, you could leave a bad taste in the interviewer’s mouth that would kill your chances of landing any job at that company in the foreseeable future.

Is that a serious enough consequence to make you abandon any thought of leaving job interview preparation off your job search “to do” list?

Okay, I get it. There are a lot more fun or interesting things to do than buckling down to get ready for an interview. The trouble is, most of those won’t do a darned thing to help you snag your next job, much less advance your progress toward ongoing career success.

Interview Prep: Timing is (Almost) Everything

There’s probably a right way and a wrong way to bring up certain topics in an interview, and doing proper interview preparation can help you decide what the right (or best) way is for some of them. One good rule of thumb is to consider the employer first and yourself second. By that, I don’t mean that what you want necessarily matters less than what the employer wants/needs. However, putting your own desires out there first and foremost can demotivate employers in a hurry.

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Tough Job & Career Choices

Choosing the right path.

If you had several job opportunities to consider, wouldn’t you think that was a great situation to be in? Maybe. Sometimes, having multiple possibilities to choose from isn’t as clear-cut as it might seem at first.

Tough Choices & Only You Can Decide

Confusion about decision.Suppose you have five companies interested in you. You’ve had preliminary phone conversations with them and have had a job interview or two, with the possibility of more in the near future. I have a friend who was in this situation just recently, and she received a firm job offer from one of the companies. However, there was somewhat of a catch.

What was it? Company A needed an answer (i.e., accept or decline the offer) by a date just a few days away. At the same time, she was still in discussions with some of the other organizations.

Also, although she really liked the people she met at Company A, she was a bit unsure that the nature of the job would challenge her enough to keep her fully engaged, and the possibility of advancement or professional growth into another position was probably a couple of years in the future.

Ultimately my friend decided to decline the offer and continue to investigate the opportunities with the other prospective employers–and to keep the door open for other possibilities that might come up.

What would you have done in her situation?

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Job Interviews & Salary Negotiation – Winner or Loser?

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Is there one right answer to how to be a winner in job interviews and salary negotiation? Not really. There are many ways to be a winner–or a loser, if you don’t handle the situation well.

I should note that before I became self-employed, I never negotiated a salary as high as 6 figures , so I can’t say I’m an expert on that, although I’ve talked to quite a few people who did. However, you don’t have to be aiming that high to realize you need to be on your toes throughout the interview process–if you’re looking for a job offer to consider and possibly negotiate.

Salary Negotiation – Not a Slot Machine Gamble

Salary Slot Machine Wheels Dials Job Income Pay EarningsIf you view salary negotiation as like pulling the handle on a slot machine, you’re on the wrong track. Achieving a desirable salary can’t be left to luck. You need to be able to position yourself and be prepared to make your case. But NOT along the lines of, “Gee, I really need the money!” Hardship is not a convincing argument.

Arming yourself with salary-related information is an obvious first step toward negotiating effectively. How can you negotiate appropriately if you don’t know:

  • What you can offer that’s more (better than) your competition does
  • What you’re currently worth in the marketplace you’re targeting
  • What employers are or could realistically be paying for someone like you
  • What external factors might affect your target range (geographical location, etc.)

Job Interview Value Proposition

You need to have something your target employers want badly enough to consider paying you close to the salary you’re after. Unless you build a value proposition based on skills and/or specific experience you can offer, you’re going to find yourself at a serious disadvantage in any negotiation–or in the interview itself, for that matter.

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Career Opportunities with a “Catch”

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What would you do if the kind of career opportunity you’ve been eagerly seeking suddenly appeared–but it came with a “catch”? That is, it carried some baggage that wasn’t what you wanted. Would you walk away in disappointment or take it and hope for the best? Career opportunity decisions can force choices you’re not sure how to make.

What Do Career Opportunities with a Catch Look Like?

Let’s suppose you’re targeting advancement from your current position as a sales department manager to a role as sales director–within your current company or at a different company. You’ve been discreetly looking at job possibilities for several weeks and finally get an opportunity for a higher role in your existing company, along with a decent compensation increase.

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What’s the catch? The company wants you to relocate from your current location in Pennsylvania to its new headquarters in California. In fact, the job offer is contingent on your acceptance of the move.

The problem with this is that your family is nicely settled in Pennsylvania. Your spouse has a great job there, and your kids are happy in their schools. Also, you’re aware that the cost of living in California is higher than in Pennsylvania, and your current home wouldn’t sell for enough to make up the difference in California’s exploding housing market.

Good Choice and Bad Choice Road SignSo where do you go from here? How do you make the best choice and avoid one that’s going to cause you grief?

 

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Resume Impact – Executive Summary vs. Objective

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Are you still clinging to the idea of starting your resume with an objective? You know the kind: “Position utilizing my extensive background in technology sales and marketing.” Or maybe: “Growth-oriented technical sales position in a well-established company.”

Stop! Please! These are painful.

I hate to tell you this, but you’ve just put your intended audience (potential employers) to sleep! Or worse, you’ve sent them rushing on to the next resume–your competitor’s.

Why an Objective Doesn’t Work Well – If at All

First, too often you use an objective that says more about what you want from the company than what it can gain by hiring you.

Second, an objective tends to look and sound more or less generic, so it fails to distinguish you from your competition–that is, make you stand out from the herd.Depositphotos_79821198_m-2015

Finally, an objective basically wastes valuable “real estate” (space) by stating the obvious (“I want a job”).

Why an Executive Summary is Better – Or Could Be

Quick note: “Executive” doesn’t mean you can’t use one unless you are a senior-level person already; you could word yours somewhat differently so it’s appropriate for your situation.

A good executive summary gives prospective employers a quick snapshot of your potential value–it doesn’t make them try to decipher that by reading reams of material.

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Job Search: Are the Odds Stacked Against You?

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As if job searching weren’t enough of a pain to begin with, it seems new wrinkles are added all too often. And they’re basically never designed to make your life as a job seeker easier. Companies seem to do their best to put distance between themselves and the great talent they say they need to hire.

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This means that something already considered painful or unpleasant just got harder. You’re forced to stumble around trying to find the path to your desired goal–a new job that gets you to a better place in your life and career.

Who or What is Standing in Your Way?

Theoretically a lot of things could stand in the way of conducting a successful job search. However, one that keeps rearing its ugly head in one way or another is “service providers” that insert themselves into the recruitment process between the hiring company and you as the job candidate. It’s one more hoop for you to jump through, and sometimes there’s more than one such hoop.

I recently read a blog post by Nick Corcodillos (of Ask The Headhunter) that comes down hard on this aggravating situation, and I strongly urge you to read the entire post, which is too long to quote here in a meaningful way. You can find the post at “HR’s Submission to ZipRecruiter.”

What are some of the disturbing complications being introduced into the employment process by ZipRecruiter? According to Corcodillos and the job seekers who’ve been contacting him, these include:

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