Category Archives: 3. News You Can Use

Career Planning—The Key to Success

While it may be tempting to allow your career unfold without direction—accepting any job you’re offered or moving from position to position without an end goal guiding your decisions—such a haphazard approach often leads to job dissatisfaction. Instead, experts advise choosing a career path that points toward a specific outcome with defined steps along the way.

This is because end goals help you make choices that will lead to a career you enjoy rather than to a job that offers little reward beyond a paycheck. For example, say that you accept a job in a real estate office because a relative helped you land the position. The problem is you have no interest in real estate. In fact, the idea of showing properties and dealing with the mountains of paperwork to close a deal gives you anxiety. After some time in the position, you decide to look for more satisfying work. But where to turn? Now your only experience is in an industry you dislike.

But that doesn’t have to be the case. Planning for a rewarding career—the kind that will bring you pleasure instead of dread and use skills you possess or attain—leads to greater professional rewards and enjoyment.

To start planning for a gratifying career, ask yourself these questions.

Is my current job in a field I want to be in for a long time? For those who already have a job, think about where it could lead. If you like what you envision, great. Examine the opportunities at that organization or the field at large and set your ultimate goal. However, if you don’t enjoy your present job, it’s time to think about where you really want to spend your working life.

In which industry do I want work long term? To help define the field you think will lead to a satisfying career, begin by listing the activities and arenas that excite you. Ask yourself how your skills and talents might fit into that world. However, be savvy. Examine the job landscape in that field and be realistic about barriers to entry.

What steps do I need to take to enter the field? Define the elements you need to enter a particular industry or field. If your research leads you to believe that area offers a viable opportunity, decide what you must do to prepare. Do you need a résumé that demonstrates your readiness? Do you need more education or training? Whatever it is, get moving!

Most people work about 100,000 hours or more before they retire. That’s too much time to spend floundering. Now is the time to take control and enjoy the ride toward a gratifying career.

Discussion

  1. Why should you take advantage of your campus career center before you graduate?
  2. What steps can you take now to determine if an interest could become a profession?
  3. If you must take a job that doesn’t bring you gratification, how could you simultaneously work toward getting into a field that would better suit you?

Identifying Strengths to Become a Valuable Employee

Recognizing your strengths can help you be a happier and more effective employee. However, not all workers automatically understand what strengths they possess. Explore your abilities by following the steps below.

Identify your talents. Talents can be tasks at which you excel, activities with which you’ve had a lot of experience or knacks you possess. Essentially, talents are anything you do extremely well. Are you known for your organizational skills? Quick learning? IT abilities? Great people skills? Once you name your talents, you know the strengths you can develop.

Identify your patterns. Patterns are your typical behaviors or processes. For example, some people procrastinate when they have a task to complete. Some people do their best work in the morning or late at night. Once you are aware of your personal patterns, you can pick the ones that will move you forward or hold you back.

Build upon your strengths. If, say, you a good writer or shine when giving presentations, identify the workplace situations where those talents will be most appreciated. The more you do work you’re good at, the more you’ll shine.

Include your leaders. Let your superiors know about work you excel in and ask them to give you more of it so you can help the organization (and yourself.)

Invest in yourself. Continue to boost your strengths. Obtain training, join professional groups, and work on your professional development to consistently grow and improve.

Once you’ve begun the process of identifying your strengths, constantly monitor your performance and question the efficacy of your efforts. Are you getting more done? Are you happier with your work output? If the answer is yes, you’ve found the way to not only be more valuable to your employer, but also to be happier in your life.

Discussion

  1. Why do you think some people minimize their abilities, and why is that an unproductive attitude?
  2. What steps can you take to develop your talents even further?
  3. Why is it important to communicate with your supervisors about your talents?

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Source: Moran, G. (2021, April 28). 5 ways to identify the strengths that will make you more effective at work. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com

How Much Freedom of Speech Do Employees Have?

Workers who want to exercise their Constitutional right to free speech might want to think before they speak. Whether an employee leans right or left, wears red or blue, the bottom line is that employers have the final word on what can and cannot be said at work.

Attorney Jim Hendricks, an expert in employment and labor law, explains: “The First Amendment only prohibits the government from restricting free speech—not your employer,” he wrote in The Wall Street Journal.

It is true that public employees are covered by state and federal statutes protecting freedom of speech. However, private companies have the right to decide what is acceptable for their employees to say when it comes to political speech.

For example, if an employee’s political opinions disrupt the business or its workers, the employer has the right to fire that individual. Similarly, when another employee interprets a co-worker’s comments as harassment or a personal insult, those comments could be deemed disruptive enough to merit termination. The upshot is that the business owner’s rights supersede those granted by the Constitution.

It’s not all arbitrary, however. Employers must be consistent in implementing free-speech policies. If they allow a MAGA cap, they must also allow a BLM pin. But since blatantly divisive opinions in the workplace can lead to tension that affects productivity, nearly 75 percent of workplaces prohibit any politically-inspired attire. 

Experts suggest that before spouting off, workers should check employee manuals and read up on state laws affecting political speech in the workplace.   

Discussion

  1. What kinds of clashes may erupt when employees voice strong political opinions at work?
  2. Do the laws that govern free speech in the workplace unfairly suppress discourse? 
  3. What are the pros and cons of prohibiting politically-inspired attire? 

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Source: Steele, A. (2020, October 25). Is political speech protected in the workplace? Here’s what you need to know. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com