Is a curmudgeon creating a conundrum at work? You know every workplace has at least one – the bad-tempered, complaining, irritable, negative, grudge-holding office grouch. You can hear their groans when there is an invitation to a company event or even when they’re asked to sign a birthday card. You must drag them out of their office to join coworkers for lunch. Change is inevitable, but a new office policy, product, or alteration in plans can really set them off.
We’ve heard the concept that your worst enemy can be your best teacher. Enemy may not be an entirely appropriate word to describe the grouch (perhaps annoyance is better), but you get the idea. You can learn from people that you find the most bothersome.
NEWS ALERT: Curmudgeons can be valuable to an organization.
Writing this blog post is on my list of things to get done today, as I leave the office for a holiday break, so I don’t have to work during my time off. However, being the AgCareers.com employee that I am (and I know many of my coworkers would agree with me), I intend to bring my laptop home over my break to tend to some small duties while absent from the office. I wouldn’t say that I struggle unplugging from work, but at times, like during my two-week vacation this summer, I wonder why I can never just totally leave work at the office.
Google unplugging from work and you’re sure to find many research-backed articles explaining the benefits of taking time away from your computer such as an increase in productivity and creativity when you return. It’s true; I often feel recharged and ready to tackle challenges after I’ve stepped away from my desk for a time. Soaking up time with your families and friends, pursuing outside hobbies and interests, and simply relaxing instead of worrying about what emails may be coming in is not only healthy for us but also for those around us and our relationships. It all sounds good, right? And deep down, we know we all want that feeling of revitalization and peace of mind to just let go of work.
If only it were that simple, you may be thinking. Well, it can be. Here are some tips for unplugging from work over the holidays or a vacation:
We have all been there, struggling to stay awake during a marathon three-hour meeting, only to leave and wonder, “what was the point?” The statistics on unproductive meetings in the workplace are staggering, both the amount of time spent and the amount of money paid on salaries for hours spent in unnecessary meetings. So, what can managers do to limit unnecessary meetings and make what is necessary productive?
Ever feel like your meeting looks like this?
Ahhhh ’tis the season for office Christmas parties…necessary in a way but oh so difficult to pull off appropriately while still having fun and showing appreciation. Office Christmas parties are meant to give your guests (and perhaps their significant others) a nice evening out to show your appreciation for all their hard work this year. And let’s be honest: it’s kind of tacky if you don’t do something to show extra appreciation to your employees. Here’s how to throw a nice office Christmas party for your employees without getting out of hand or being boring.
What To Do: This is the trickiest task: doing something fun but simple. First, try taking the party offsite. It will be more fun for your employees to get out of the atmosphere of the office and experience something more interesting. A dinner is a simple, go-to choice for office Christmas parties, but shake up the mold by going for a theatrical performance or a sports event afterward. To make the event more formal, consider a progression dinner at various fine dining establishments throughout your city. Start somewhere for hors d’oeuvres and light drinks followed by a different main dining location and concluding with a dessert location. If you’re interested in holding the event to just one location, choose a restaurant or banquet setting (such as a hotel) with plenty of room to socialize and say a few words of thanks.
As a high school freshman attending my first FFA meeting, I remember glancing toward a classmate I knew lived in town and likely knew nothing about agriculture. I thought, I wonder what she’s doing here. Is she chasing a farm boy? She was a successful and popular student that excelled in all sports; what interest did she have in agriculture? To my surprise, that classmate of mine ended up teaming up with me on soil judging and multiple speaking contests as well as studying both plant science and agribusiness in agricultural education courses alongside me. While she became quite active in the FFA chapter and agricultural classes in high school, her future endeavors eventually led her away from any prospect of an agricultural career.
As I sat down to write this blog meant to discuss AgCareers.com’s new Careers in Agriculture E-Book, I couldn’t help but think about my initial judgment of her, thinking she couldn’t possibly have any interest in agriculture or agricultural careers. It’s how I looked at most of my classmates and peers in high school as well as college that weren’t from a farming background, especially at the small liberal arts college I went on to attend (perhaps someone could have labelled me similarly to how I labeled my classmate, after all). But what was stopping me from discussing with them the opportunity of pursuing agricultural careers?
Consider your hectic schedule of holiday parties, gatherings, school events, and preparations for the season. Pile that on top of your already busy work calendar, and the holidays can quickly become overwhelming.
How do you remain productive over the holidays?
It might be enticing for you to take a bit of a “hiring holiday” at work. Besides recruitment, your HR department is likely knee-deep in planning annual reviews and salary increases for January. Do you really need to continue recruiting during December? YES! Your competitors are actively recruiting, and candidates are still searching.
It’s becoming more difficult than ever to interact with others without someone diverting their attention to their phone to scroll through social media. Whether it’s Facebook, Instagram or another site, generations across the board are increasingly engaged on at least one social media platform. However, social media has long outgrown its roots as a place to connect with high school classmates and post pictures of grandchildren. Increasingly users are relying on social media to job search. Job seekers can gain a lot of insight about company culture from the organizations social media presence, and understanding how different generations are using social media during the job search process can help companies leverage their posts and platforms in a meaningful way.
Regardless of what generation is interacting with your organization via social media the key is authenticity in representing your company and its culture. Don’t try to be something you’re not to attract a certain audience.
I’m a Blue, a Yellow Hat, an ISFJ. I rank high in responsibility, self-awareness, and conscientiousness. You guessed it, results from a few of the personality assessments I’ve taken in my time. Assessments aren’t for everyone, but personally I find them pretty intriguing and have experienced both personal and team advantages from the intel several have provided.
There are so many personality assessments on the market and consultants ready to share the next greatest thing. I’m definitely not bashing on consultants because I do think there is a lot of value in pairing the use of an assessment with guidance of someone that is trained to help you interpret and take advantage of what the results are telling you. However, I think assessments can offer plenty of value out right.
We are going to answer the What, When, How and Who of personality assessments! I’m not an expert but base my offerings on personal experiences.
Oh the horror! Of the cliché job posting wording! Seriously, how many job postings have you read that DIDN’T begin with “We’re looking for a self-starter to join our team!”? Working for an outstanding site that offers a job board among our many talent solutions services, I tend to feel like just about every one begins that way. It always strikes me when a job posting uses ridiculous language and overused buzzwords to try to attract applicants when really, it’s doing the exact opposite. So grab a thesaurus or read on for new and improved ways to update your job posting wording:
Self-Starter: Let’s get this one out of the way first. I literally feel like I see this buzzword on every other posting I view and it’s getting to be annoying. Pretty sure everyone wants a self-starter, otherwise it would imply that they need a babysitter. And like multitasking, which we’ll get to in a minute, everyone is going to say, “Hey, I’m a self-starter. I should apply to this job!” This is because it’s not a skill or a trait, it’s just a fluffy word that doesn’t have much meaning. Flip the switch here: if you see “self-starter” on a resume, does it really get you fired up about a candidate?
Job Posting Wording to Use Instead: Independent, Outgoing, Gear-Shifter, Reliable, Motivated
While very rewarding, being a mom is hard. Period! When you add working on top of things, that brings about additional challenges. One of the toughest? Transitioning back to work after being on maternity leave. Dads, not leaving you out. I know this transition can be rough on you too. Let’s face it though, I don’t have quite the same perspective on your situation.
As a mom of two young children, I’m not far removed from my own transitions back into the workplace after having them. I have my own opinions on maternity (paternity) leave policies in this country and have also been influenced by working with fellow mothers from other countries that have different policies. The truth is, I think there are pros and cons to all. I’m going to share a few tips that helped me and a few things I wish I would have known during that time.
1. Know your policies ahead of time. Ideally this would be discussed during the offer/benefits discussion before you are even employed, but not all of us had baby fever when we accepted our jobs. If you are employed and considering starting a family review the company’s policies. Some companies offer a short term supplemental plan in lieu of formal maternity leave. These can have a waiting period before they are able to be used.