I Hate My Job!

Photo Credit: Theskooloflife.comAt one time or another many people have utter the words “I hate my job“. This is a loaded statement and can include a number of reasons one feels dissatisfied at work  like; not feeling challenged, dislike like boss, dislike co-workers, doesn’t believe in culture or C-Level leaders, no opportunities for growth, location, pay, corporate shenanigans’  and/or  lack of recognition.

According to a study done by Mercer, 32% of workers are seeking new employment and according another study done in 2012 by Mercer a total of 64% of the participants cited being somewhat to total dissatisfied with their job. That’s a lot of unhappy and disengaged people in the workforce. That information should be a HUGE RED FLAG to our business leaders but that’s another issue and post. We all know we can only control ourselves. So then the question is: “what can we do to take control the situation? Whining, complaining and crying is a waste of time and immature.

Here is what you can do to regain control of your work situation:

Evaluate and assess the situation: Slow down. Make a list of your the parts of your job that create dissatisfaction. Once you have your list to paper you will be able to see the true business issues and pure emotional issues. Then assess whether or not you have any control or impact on the items in your list. Then depending on your evaluation determine whether the best route is to A: Stay and design ways to solve your problems or B: If the issues are not in your control you need to design a way to move forward.

Develop an exit strategy: Many people cannot leave a company without another job, and honestly in this marketplace leaving without another job could be career death! It’s important to develop a job search strategy and then commit to finding another job. Or maybe it’s time to start your own business?! Regardless your desired path you need to develop a plan for finding and gaining new employment.

Create Enjoyment: Focus on the aspects of your job that you do enjoy or create new challenges. This will introduce a new zest into your workplace, making it easier to stay engaged. Or maybe just take a lunch break everyday, a walk, get fresh air and rejuvenate.

Shut-up: Stop talking about your job dissatisfaction at work. Chances are you’ve been unhappy for a while and have shared that feeling with a few trusted c0-wokers. Heck others may feel the same way you do, but after a while it really becomes annoying! Once you’ve decided you’re unhappy in the workplace keep it to yourself and work on your exit strategy. This is why you need to shut-up; other co-workers may be really happy at work and you could be bumming them out, or maybe they are unhappy and you’re making it worse. Honestly, after you’ve vented to your co-workers there is really no value added to your time or reputation in continuing to discuss it, it just becomes non-productive gossip. So suck it up and shut up. (Remember, if you are choosing to be proactive about your concerns then definitely don’t shut-up about your solutions.  If you have ideas for correcting issues that are making you unhappy then now is the time to bring those ideas to your leader and start working on implementing those strategies.) 

Game Face: Lastly, get a reality check! The company is not paying you to sit around and complain about your job, so put on your game face . Essentially I’m saying you need to be an actor. Since you don’t own the company and most likely don’t hold the power to change anything pretend that you are happy and satisfied at work. You’ll be surprised because not only will you start to feel happier, you’ll strengthen your resilience skills. 

We all go through these difficult moments. It’s important to take a little time to evaluate the issues and make a clear business decision about your career path. Stop wasting your time on a treadmill of “I hate my job” rants and take control of what you can (which mind you is a lot). Then make it happen find the job and company that will revive your passion and excitement, or take measures to improve the aspects of your job that you do not like. It all comes down to you and your ability to take accountability for your actions, control your destiny and motivate yourself to move forward!

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Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth? Listen Up People!

“Do you understand the words that are coming out of my mouth!” ~ Chris Tucker, Rush Hour. Guess what if you’re only hearing people speak you’re not going to “understand the words coming out of their mouth” and here is why….

Welcome to the 2nd Whine Wednesday of the HR life. Today’s whine is a classic, listening. Listening has been a concept at the forefront of my mind since middle school when we learned about how humans send, receive and interpret messages. The act of listening is more than just “hearing” the message being communicated, it’s the act of absorbing, processing and retaining that message. Hearing, in the workplace, is all too common cause of breakdown in communication. People think because they are hearing others speak means they are listening, well friends it’s totally different.

I experience a great deal of hearing in employee relations meetings. For example, an employee will see me to discuss an issue they are experiencing in the workplace. Now, I have trained my ear, my mind to fully and engage and listen to that employee. I’m careful not to make assumptions and jump to conclusions. I listen intently and collect facts and information before speaking. Nothing is more irritating than finally receiving the opportunity to speak and offer information, knowledge and/or advice than seeing the employee just hear me!

Here’s how you know someone is just hearing the your message:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Glossy, blank stare or gaze in their eyes
  • Interrupting your time to speak
  • Continuing to state the same question or issue after hearing your message

Here’s how to aide someone to listen:

  • Engage them by asking questions like: “Does that make sense?” “Does this information help you?” “How can I best help you?”
  • Engage them with continue eye contact
  • Ask if you may complete your thoughts before they speak

Here’s how you can listen:

  • Maintain proper eye contact
  • Clear your mind from preconceived notions, thoughts and ideas. Essentially be unbiased.
  • Listen completely to the words they are saying
  • Do not interpret their words, just listen
  • Repeat back to them what you understand from the message they sent you
  • Ask questions and gain clarification

Hopefully, these tips with help you with the art of listening. A listener will have more opportunities to succeed than employees that just hear messages! The reality is everyone is a poor listener, aka “hearer” at times but in every conversation there is always an opportunity to get back on track and engage with the person you are speaking with to make sure there is limited breakdown in communication. Employees work best together when they understand each other, the company and the leaders expectations. There are less conflicts and time wasted when we actually listen to one another. So next time you’re talking with someone at home or at work, LISTEN UP!

Sorry HR can’t help you!!

Sorry No People allowed in HRServing in an HR position requires a number of various skills, which include customer service. HR representatives are responsible and involved in all aspects of human relations in the organization, thus the critical importance of highly customer focused people is key to a successful HR department. Serving in a recruiter, talent acquisition or related position requires customer focus on both the internal and the external fronts. In addition to supporting our internal customers  we are providing serves to a number of external customers or potential customers such as; agency recruiters, community members, applicants, candidates, etc.. Here are a couple sure-fire ways to make sure your HR department shows commitment to both your internal and external customers.

Be accessible, BE A.C.C.E.S.S.I.B.L.E! You heard me!! Nothing is worse than the BIG BLACK HOLE of HR. I work for a medium-sized company and I cannot tell you the number of times applicants have said to me “Wow, I can’t believe I’m talking to a real person in HR! Usually, I apply to positions and never hear a word back!” All I think is “Wow, how sad is that! Way to take the human out of Human Resources!” While small and medium-sized organizations may have less challenges to connecting directly with their external customers, larger organizations still have that opportunity to make that connection. Organizations that care about their people, inside and out, will be accessible whether by phone or web. If HR is not accessible via the human resources site it sends the message that HR does not want to be bothered by people, they are busy and have work to do.

Listen to your voicemail,  better yet have someone else listen to your voicemail. I for one hate to hear my voice especially since my husband noted that I sound like the product of Fran Drescher (minus the east-coast accent) and Mini Mouse! Anyhow he was also the one that said to me “Why do you sound so angry on your voicemail?” I was like WHAT! Naturally, since it was coming from him I was defensive and said “I sound friendly and inviting, and professional.” He responded “You sound mean.” So I listened to it and wow I totally sounded unenthusiastic and I admit it… mean! Have you ever called another company HR department and they answer the phone in a dry, stale and irritated way that is exactly what I sounded like, boy was I embarrassed. I changed the voicemail to have more pep while maintaining my professionalism. To this day when I change my out of office messages I have to make a conscious effort to sound friendly and inviting, not overly professional and boring. Overly professional and boring will send the wrong message to external customers. It will say “Our HR department is stale, archaic and we don’t care to interact with real human beings.”

Answer the phone with a smile! I don’t care if you’re the recruiter’s assistant or the senior-executive-manager of recruitment /talent acquisition you need to answer that phone with a smile EVERY freaking time! If you happen not to answer in a friendly way change your tone quickly while the person on the other end is stating the purpose of his/her call. Think of every conversation you have as your opportunity to sell your company to the person on the other end. Whether you end up employing that person or not, that person needs to leave your conversation saying “Holy cow, company ABC is so friendly, I really want to work for that company, they care.” . Another tid-bit for answering the phone, NEVER EVER answer with a greeting and an immediate “can you please hold”. Not allowing the person on the other end to speak is plain RUDE! You are a human being answering a professional line not an operator routing calls. Answer like so “Hello thank you for calling ABC, my name is Bonnie Ungaro. How many I help you?” Once the person has stated his/her purpose then you may ask to place them on hold.

Customer Service is in every facet of what we do. Just because you’ve “made it”, you’re no longer working retail, serving burgers or whatever customer service field job you had in college you need to have customer service at the forefront of your mind. Every single interaction is an opportunity to sell yourself, your company and your employer brand. How many times have you walked into a store and not been greeted at all or the greeting was subpar? How did that experience make you feel about that store? Well consider yourself as the greeter for your company. Make every interaction you had count EVERY SINGLE TIME!

Stamp Tramp!

Tonight I caught an episode of CBS’s How I Met Your Mother and boy I’m glad I did because it was not only hilarious but totally related to an HR topic, employee referrals! But before we go further I must clarify the STAMP TRAMP is not to be confused with the infamous TRAMP STAMP, totally different meanings! The stamp tramp is a person that gives their “stamp” of approval on almost anything, thus losing the value of their approval. Others begin to question the stamp tramps standards for recommending products, services, friends etc when their recommendations are less than stellar. (Check out a clip from Stamp Tramp, here.)

In this episode Marshall runs into an acquaintance and fellow practicing lawyer who appears down on his luck. Marshall decides to help him out by scoring him an interview with his boss. Long story short his acquaintance blows the interview and royally offenses Marshall’s boss. As a result of this poor employee referral Marshall’s boss pulls him off a major case. His boss lost trust in Marshall’s judgement. Marshall had to do a lot to rebuild that trust and value in his recommendations. Building trust and a good reputation can take a great deal of time and effort. It’s important to be considerate of your reputation when referring a friend or family member to a position at your company.

How can you avoid a stamp tramp situation? 

Treat the person you are referring as an extension of yourself. How will they represent your brand?

Pretend it’s your company. Would you hire this person?

If you have any concerns or doubts about referring a friend, family member or acquaintance dig deeper. Are your concerns valid? If they are you may not want to refer that person.

Depending on the role you hold at work you may “have” to refer certain people. In that case be honest with the hiring authority. If you don’t know that persons’ work history or work ethic let the company know and they can decide whether your referral is a good fit. You’ve done your part!

Lastly, if you do refer someone who is “bad hire” don’t beat yourself up about it. Just learn from your mistakes and don’t turn into a stamp tramp! Stamping your approval on everything will make your stamps meaningless. To keep your value and weight with employee referrals, in addition to the advice above, you may want to give the people who ask you for a referral a mini interview. If they pass refer them, if they don’t….tell them to take a hike! Just kidding, find a kinder way to break the news.

Getting High and Getting Jobs! Employer Drug Tests

Photo Darren J Bradley from http://www.mnn.com

Soon after the re-election of BO the legalization of marijuana aka (POT) made headline news for Colorado and Washington State. They announced the legalized use of pot for recreational purposes in small doses, 1 ounce or under. From what I have heard and read it doesn’t appear to be in full swing, it should take another month to “iron” this all out. Anyway, Here’s the interest thing there has been no changes to our federal laws concerning pot. I’m not an attorney but from what I know on employment laws is that federal laws supersede state laws. In a nutshell people with possession of pot could still be prosecuted. However, I’m still wondering how these statewide changes will impact employer drug testing if at all? 

A good amount of employers use pre-employment and reasonable suspicion drug testing in the workplace. The reason drug testing is widely utilized is because of high percentages of substance abuse do exist. Research has shown people under the influence in the workplace pose many risks not only to their own well-being but to their co-workers and customers. Aside from injury and liability, I would assume these individuals would produce low work productivity.

Back to the issue at hand, will this change the way Colorado and Washington State process applicants and new hires? The only close example I can think of is alcohol and prescription drugs, while neither are illegal, most employers have a drug-free workplace policy. So if an applicant or new hire tests positive for non-prescribed drugs or alcohol an employer with a drug free workplace could retract the employment offer for failure to pass the drug screen.

Here is something else to consider, cigarettes! Last I checked cigarettes contain a highly addictive drug called nicotine, while not illegal its still a drug. (See National Institute on Drug Abuse) Many people smoke cigarettes at work. Many people take multiple cigarette breaks throughout the course of their work day. How is smoking cigarettes and pot different? Is it the mind altering agent that differentiates the two?

I’m not a legal person, I’m not a “drug” expert. These are just a couple questions rolling around my HR mind!

Workplace Bullying – A Whitney Kropp Inspired post

I’m sure you’ve heard about the Ogemaw High School student nominated for homecoming court as a prank. If you haven’t learned of this disturbing story check out this article from the New York Times. In the last many years horrific and truly disturbing bullying situations have made headline news. The fact is bullying has been an issue long before recent time. Social media and the viral nature of communication has made it possible for these stories to gain momentum and the attention they deserve.

When I think of bullying, my mind naturally goes to middle school and high school aged people. It’s common for this age group to taunt, ridicule, tease, and pick on other people because of their differences, and or “odd” ways. In my opinion they do so because of underdeveloped minds, lack of understanding of culture and vary background, consequences and plain immaturely.

When I read about workplace bullying it’s not just disturbing, it’s incredibly appalling. There is no reason workplace bullying should even be an issue  in an environment consisting of mainly adult people. At the age of 18 and beyond there is no reason, an adult should act in hostile, temperamental, violent, abusive or bullying way in the workplace. Or anywhere for that matter.

When hired into a company we learn about the culture, company code of conduct, and policies. A majority employees know how to read, comprehend, and apply that knowledge to the workplace. I find it completely 110% unacceptable to keep workplace bullies in the employed. I don’t care how technically skilled a company top sales person, manager, director or vice president is, if they yell, scream, hit, throw, slam doors or lose their temper in any way that person should be gone immediately! Not only is it unacceptable, but this person is likely a ticking time bomb waiting to explode with violence and wreak havoc on any person in their way.

While bullying is more common in the younger ages, I feel it’s unacceptable at any age! There are no FINAL WARNINGS when it comes to bullying in my book. People that act in violent, abusive and hostile ways need should be dealt with immediately. And by dealt with I mean TERMED! It is plain and simple, we are ADULTS we know how to act, so act right at work and in life!

“Treat others as you want to be treated” 

What do you think about bullying? What about workplace bullying? Have you ever encountered a bully in the workplace?

Shaun White “I’m Sorry!”

“I’m sorry!” How often do you hear the words “I’m sorry” from your spouse, friend, family member, co-worker or any person in the course of your day? A common response in place of “I’m sorry” is normally words of “That is not my fault!” “No one told me…” “Someone else does….” The excuses to replace ownership is endless.

I have a strong passion for personal accountability in both life and in work. Personal accountability is the ability to take ownership for your actions and the outcomes and potential consequences. This can mean taking credit, when credit is due. Or taking constructive feedback, when feedback is due. Or even worse, punishment.

Early in life  we are taught the decisions we make have consequences. Somewhere between kindergarten and adulthood some people loose the ability to hold themselves accountable. In life, the workplace, the public, everywhere we turn we see people blaming. Blaming other people or blaming the system. Sending blame to where ever possible to take the attention off them.

The truth is I could write a 10 part series on personal accountability, there is so much to analyze, dissect, and talk about, but for this post I would just like to pay credit to Shaun White. If you are not familiar with Shaun, he is a 26-year old professional snowboarder, olympic athlete, and business man.He was recently arrested for public intoxication and vandalism.

In a statement released by Shaun he concluded with ….I’m truly sorry for my poor behavior.”  When I read this article all I could think was WOW, WOW, WOW! Someone finally did it! They admitted to being wrong, took responsibility and apologized. And guess what, we probably will not hear any more about this story. Why? Because “I’m sorry” is boring. There is no drama with “I’m sorry.” He’s sorry, case closed, move along people nothing to see here!

Using the words “I’m sorry” is a very powerful statement. The ability to recognize the actions you are apologizing for allows you the opportunity to grow as a human being. Growth leads to success in life and in work.

Do you say sorry? When? Why? What did you learn?

My motto: Live for today, Learn for tomorrow!