What it’s really like to work from home? Well, for starters it’s 9:06 pm and I’m writing this post. I’m not writing it at 9:06 pm because I spent my eight to five work day, watching movies, cleaning my house, baking cookies or running errands. Insert eye rolling emoticon for people who think that everyone who works from home does those things all day long. I’m writing it at 9:06 pm because I work from home, or I live at work, either way you put it – it’s always accessible for me to be working, and stuff needs to get done! That’s how business works.
For those of you reading this who think that statement is my attempt at brown nosing to let my boss know that I’m a dedicated employee, I can assure you that is not the case. To be honest with you, I can produce multiple performance reviews where my boss has told me to stop working after hours so often. I’ve been with AgCareers.com for nearly twelve years now, way back to 2004, when blogs didn’t even exist. I have years of theoretical, blood, sweat and tears in this company so, I work after hours because I want to finish my projects, be a dependable co-worker, and check things off my to-do list, and contribute to the greater purpose of the company.
Examining all the events that take place on a college campus, the career fair ranks right up there as one of the most prolific activities one should take advantage of but often is grossly under attended by the average student.
Don’t get me wrong, I myself have fond memories of the night we annihilated our rival and campus was showered in toilet paper. When I tossed that roll of Scotts 2 ply into a tree I knew I was crossing some obscure bridge as a rite of passage into what it really meant to be in college. As well as attending concerts on campus between the biology and math buildings, and the ‘dead week’ campus ritual of hiking from bar to bar in protest of actually studying during dead week. All great memories but none of those impacted my future as much the two hours I spent visiting with various company representatives at my college career fair.
Even if you’ve already got your summer plans nailed down, or already have a career lined up after graduation, you should still attend the career fair to build your professional network. Networking can be scary, but the career fair setting takes a little of that scariness away.
In a career fair setting employers are lined up waiting for you to network with them. You still have to make the first move to actually walk up and talk to the representative, but they want you to, and are expecting it! Having this structured setting to help break the ice is much easier than seeking these connections later when you are in the job or internship hunt and scrambling to find contacts.
Here are 3 simple steps you can take to prepare for your campus career fair:
AgCareers.com recently offered a webinar for HR professionals regarding tips for setting up a telecommuting policy for their employees. I attended not only as a telecommuter but also as someone who helps guide companies on such topics. If you’d like to read the thoughts from the employer’s perspective, check out Setting up a Telecommuting Plan for Your Employees, on our Talent Harvest blog.
As someone who has been telecommuting full time for nearly 6 years, I had quite a few ‘ah-ha’ moments while listening to the presenter. Dr. Di Ann Sanchez shared a ton of great stats that support creating a telecommuting plan for your employees. Right off the bat she mentioned that there are almost no 100% telecommuters in the general workplace. Most employees who telecommute average one day a week, either Monday or Friday. I’ve been a 100% teleworker for 6 years now, rather than viewing myself as the odd woman out on this fact, I’m looking at the glass half full and considering myself one of the privileged few! After all, 80% of employees consider telework a job perk! It was a great bit of information for me to hear though, the struggles, and benefits, of working from home are real! While two thirds of people want to work from home, they, and their employers, know it can be a challenge to be in a home office 100% of the time.
Talk about a big question. A big question in which the answer could significantly impact your life, both immediately and long term. There are many reasons people pursue advanced education after being in the working world; in pursuit of a higher salary, job advancement, knowledge, to make a career change, or maybe you just really miss your college days and hope to relive every scene in Animal House. Those are just a few of the reasons. People have a variety of motivators for considering advanced education. Below are 5 questions you should ask yourself when considering if it is time to go back to school?
1. What is your motivator? Being certain about your end goal will help with answering the next 4 questions. If you are seeking a career change and you know the job market for that career will still be in demand when you have the degree is much different than the motivator of hoping to obtain a higher salary in your current role.
2. Financially is it worth it? This is especially important if continuing to work while going to school is out of the question. Will the return on the investment pay off long term in your career path? How will going without a paycheck for X number of years impact your retirement? What type of debt might you incur by going back to school?
Reading never was top of my priority list, not for school or personal enjoyment and certainly not, when it came to professional development. When I first started my career, fresh out of college, I thought I was done with reading novels, textbooks and Cliff Notes! My first job was also my first relocation, to the tune of 1,000+ miles away from home. My new boss sent me along my way with reading material, Who Moved My Cheese, by Spencer Johnson, a book about dealing with change in your work and life. I thought to myself, yeah ‘both are changing but I don’t need to read a 95 page book about it, I am living it every day’ and I was done with required readings, that was not in the job description! Well when you’re 1,100+ miles from home, working in a small office where 95% of your co-workers are 20+ years older than you, your social calendar can be a little empty that first week or two. I found myself picking up that book to read out of boredom one night. There were some parallels I could see between these mice and my life, but I was glad to see the end, and shelve that one!
Unfortunately, I kept this attitude through too many of my influential, professional development years as a young person in the working world. Around year seven or eight, as I became more involved in business planning activities, I realized that successful people all around me were referencing books they had read or were reading, and applying them to whatever scenario we were planning. As part of my role at the time I was conducting trainings for college students and again there was my boss with a book recommendation. He had recently head the author speak at a conference and read her book now he thought I should mention it as a resource in my trainings. Well you can’t promote a book if you haven’t read it! So I did, They Don’t Teach Corporate in College, by Alexandra Levit. Wow. Everything in this book was dead on! They sure as heck don’t! Why had I not read this book in year one of my career, what a difference it would have made? And what else was I missing out on because I wasn’t reading? Professional Development books provide deep insight on such a variety of aspects in your career; how to deal with your co-workers, how to be better at your job, outside factors that impact your job, company and industry!