Archived entries for professional advice

Fighting Recession Depression:
8 Tips On Keeping Your Spirits High
In A Rough Economic Climate


It’s been official, we are in a global recession. Seasoned workers are out of work, unhappy workers are looking for work, and recent college grads are coming out finding that this economic climate is not as welcoming as they would have hoped. One problem with this recession and people loosing their jobs or remaining at jobs they hate is that it aids in depression. Its an extremely slippery slope, it tends to be gradual, but all the rejection from potential employers or lack of calls for interviews takes its toll, the effects can be damaging.

Here are some tips that I have come up with to try to maintain and emerge triumphant in this recession:

  1. Start cutting back on unnecessary expenses. This one is pretty simple, if you are out of work, you need to start conserving your money, you have to make that money stretch. Go to parks, museums and free shows for entertainment. Remember, you do not have to spend money to have fun.
  2. Get Out. You know how everyone says you need to get out when your girl/boy friend dumps you, getting dumped by a job is no different. Do no stay in the house, you have to remain active. Yes, you should spend your day actively searching for a job or working on your personal venture, but go to the library and do it. If you have a laptop go to a park that has WiFi (many major city have some). Notice, I did not say go to Starbucks, or Panera Bread etc, when you are in that setting you will be tempted to buy something, this is a CLEAR violation of rule # 1.
  3. Exercise.. Lack of a job is not an excuse to let yourself go; plus scientific studies have shown that daily excurses helps to relieve stress. Also, exercise can help you look better, good looking people tend to be a little better received than people that don’t look good. Physical fitness is often times synonymous with discipline and hard work, these tend to be things that employers like in potential new hires.
  4. Volunteer. Just because you cannot find a job, does not mean there is not work to do. There is absolutely nothing wrong with finding an organization that needs services you are qualified to offer. Sometimes volunteering can eventually lead to a job within the organization. One thing volunteering can do, aside from helping out a good organization, is inflate you resume, and help you gain experience.
  5. Learn more and sharpen skills. Realize that the competition for jobs is fierce. Brushen up on things you are weak on. Investigate any free training opportunities that may be available. A lot of cities have Offices of Employment Services that have listings of free and paid training services, take advantage of these services. If you can afford to spend the money you may want to take some specialized training, you might try to get a certification or two. If you cannot afford to take paid classes, this is perfectly understandable, but not an excuse; read books, if you cannot afford to buy books, go to the library. Do everything you can to strengthen your skill set, it can only help.
  6. Re-brand yourself. Make no mistake, when it comes to finding a job you have a dual role; you are both a product and the salesman of that product. It may be time to investigate a new marketing strategy. You may want to investigate redoing your resume, either paying to have a professional redo it, if you can, or get a resume-writing book with lots of examples and give your resume a facelift. Work on your sales pitch, practice your public speaking. TAKE HEED to tip # 3, looking good can not do anything but help when it comes to finding a job.
  7. Start a business or personal project. What do you have to loose? If you are already unemployed or unhappy with your current job, starting a business is a win win situation. If you are unemployed this will give you something to work on and possibly make money from. Furthermore, you will be able to improve your skills and learn new things, which may in turn help you in your job hunt, while possible providing you with a way to gain some income on the side even when you do find employment. This is such a great tip, I plan to expand on it more in the near future.
  8. DO YOUR BEST TO STAY POSITIVE. It is hard in these times, but getting down does nothing to help.

The Lifers: How and Why People Become
Unhappy Lifetime Employees.

I have met various type of people since I began my sentence in corporate servitude. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with one of my past co-workers, who was about for years older than me, about the categories she put different workers in. Of all the categories she mentioned, none scared me most as the “lifers”. The lifers are the employees that are dedicated to the company. The lifers are the ones that would never dream of quitting. The lifers are the ones you see in the grocery store with the company t-shirt on Saturday. They’re the ones that have been with the company for more than 15 to 20 years. They’re the ones that bleed the company colors. They are the ones that every new entrant to Corporate America with an entrepreneurial spirit should be scared of becoming.

How does it happen? How does one become a lifer? Since I am not one (and have no aspirations to become one) I can only offer thoughts and conjectures. I have a few reasons why I believe people become lifers. One of the primary reasons is that they drank the company kool-aid. Another reason is safety, but ask yourself, is one truly safe when solely relying on employment from an external source? A third reason is indolence and comfort; and yet another reason is fear. I have only given a brief introduction into the reasons I believe people become lifers here, but worry not; a more in depth discussion follows after the jump.

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Working For A Small Company –
7 Reasons Why You Might Want To Do It.

Of course I want to work for myself and that is my overall goal. I still feel like you are not truly financially independent unless you are working for your self. However, I will concede that I have noticed some benefits from working at a small company as opposed to a larger company. Granted, I have not been at the new company that long, but here are a few of the things I have noticed.

  1. More interaction with company leaders.
    One of the biggest problems I sometimes experienced at the larger company I was with was that I did not get to interact with real decision makers, matter of fact they didn’t even know my name. I could sometimes interact with mid level managers pretty well, but the people that really made decisions were hard to speak to. It’s kind of hard to learn how the real decision makers got where they are without ever getting to talk to them. When I say decision makers, I mean your VPs, Presidents, CEOs, and tech directors. I am talking about the people that don’t have to ask to permission to get something done, I am talking about the people that give permission.
  2. Continue reading…

Working for a Big Company vs Working for a
Small Company.

Making My Decision To Move To A Small Company

When I made the decision to quit my first postgraduate job at a large (20,000 people large) successful consulting firm and go to a small startup-consulting firm, I felt like the decision was huge. When I notified my old job most of my co-workers had mixed reactions, some told me I would be running back, other’s told me that I should do it now since I am young and could afford to take the risk. After working at the large firm for close to three years I was beginning to get comfortable and to some extent lazy. I will never forget what one of my co-workers, who was a subcontractor from a small company told me; he sent me an email saying that I was about to make a great decision and that working for a small companies has advantages and disadvantages, but that it would force me to work harder and tap into my innovative entrepreneurial spirit. After a month of weighing the pros and cons, I made the switch. Continue reading…

Time To Start Thinking about Retirement

A few days ago my job called in some reps from the company that handles our 401k plans to give a presentation about our benefits. I am glad that I actually attended this meeting as opposed to skipping out on it like I wanted to. It was very interesting to hear the thoughts and concerns of the various age groups that were present at the presentation. While there were many different views on retirement, everyone agreed on the fact that retirement is something that needs to be meticulously planned out. I can honestly say that retirement planning has not been something at the forefront of my mind, at least in terms of utilizing a 401K or some similar financial instrument as the sole actor in my retirement strategy. Especially due to the current economic climate I have really been wondering what I should do with my money and how I should save for my retirement. At my first job I did contribute to my 401K a little, but I have not begun to contribute at new job.

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Pay Me For My Work, Not My Time

As I have said before, I recently switched companies. One thing that I used to hate about my old job was when I would finish work too early and have nothing to do for the rest of the day. I found a much similar situation on my first project with my new job. I am a consultant for a small company, which pretty much means we work as sub contractors with larger companies. However, I don’t feel that the problem of pay for time rather then pay for work is unique to my field. I talk to a lot of people about this issue and it seems to a problem across multiple industries. Now the problem does not really apply to people that are hourly employees, they are explicitly paid for their time, I am talking about salaried employees.

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A Hour a Day

A while back I read an article about Markus Frind and how he initially started Plenty of Fish. I am sorry that I can’t remember exactly where the article was, but has a good profile on him. Anyhow, I read that initially he had a lot of trouble getting started, basically getting focused. In order to overcome his problem of not being able to focus, he forced himself to spend at least an hour a day working on the site. Eventually it got to the point where he would find himself spending more than an hour working on it. Fast forward to today, this guy makes about 10 mill a year from online advertising on plenty of fish. Continue reading…

Essence Lost


Once you’re out of college and you begin your quest through the maze of corporate servitude, you will begin to notice many changes in yourself.  When you really think about this it makes perfect sense.  Most of the places that we are sentenced to work are extremely drab, to say the least. Most work environments don’t promote creativity, especially in my field. It’s almost as if there is a interior design template for the cubicle populated buildings I have been sentenced to work in. The sole purpose of this template is to rob people of their individuality.  I have been in some office buildings that are extremely nice, but even still they are not places that evoke a feeling of creativity.  Both, my last job and current job were horrible in terms of overall aesthetics.  My first job was in a building with no windows, grayish whitish walls, with the ugliest grey carpet you have ever thought of, oh, and did I mention that the cubicles where faded purple; my current job is much similar except for the fact that they’re are windows, but those who sit by them always keep the blinds shut.
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Its Time For Change

As I have said in my bio and my first post, I was recruited for my first job directly out of college.  Matter of fact, I was recruited about four months before I graduated, so throughout a good part of my senior year in college I knew that I had a job lined up once I graduated.

I was at my first post college job for a little over two and a half years, and I just recently quit.  It took a lot of time, boredom, stress, anger, and finally dumb lunch (or fate depending on how you look at it) to leave.  When I first started this job I thought it was great.  I was learning new stuff, and making pretty decent money.  It’s crazy when you get your first post college check and it is the same amount that used to take you a whole summer to make.  When you start getting those post college checks, if their good checks, it takes a while to realize you may not be happy with your job.

Continue reading…

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