Seeing the Green Flags: How to Tell if You Are in the Right Job

pictured: green flag with a blue sky and clouds behind

Seeing the Green Flags: How to Tell if You Are in the Right Job

October 30, 2023

pictured: green flag with a blue sky and clouds behindHave you ever been in a place where you felt completely in sync with your job? Where the issues were challenging but surmountable, the environment was uplifting, and your contributions were recognized and valued?

Those moments of alignment are what I refer to as "green flags"—the signs that you're not just in a good job, but the right job for you.

The Positive Impact of Being in the Right Position

Being in the right job is not just about satisfaction during working hours. This positive alignment has ripple effects that impact your overall well-being, motivation, and even your personal life. When evaluating your career satisfaction, we need to adopt a holistic view that considers both your work and its broader impact on your life.

Here are some of the key green flags to look for that indicate you’re in the right role:

Consistent Engagement and Drive
When you wake up on a workday, do you feel energized and driven? This isn’t just about not dreading the day, but about looking forward to what’s in store. Tasks feels purposeful, you feel like you make a difference, and you're keen to tackle challenges head-on.

Personal and Professional Growth
Do you feel like you’re evolving, not just as a professional but as an individual? When your company provides avenues for you to learn and invites you to step out of your comfort zone in a safe but challenging way that is in alignment with the direction you envision for yourself, it’s a sign that you’re in the right place!

Alignment with Your Personal Values
Do you feel a sense of pride when you tell people where you work.? This is a sign that your company's ethos and values resonate with your own, making you feel like you're part of something bigger.

Beyond your individual role, we also want to look at your overall professional environment. Let's dive deeper into these signs.

Green Flags: Recognizing When You're Where You Need to Be

Fulfillment and Job Satisfaction
It’s okay to occasionally feel down about going to work, like at the end of a great weekend or vacation when you need to switch back into work mode. But if they’re few and far between, it’s not a bad sign! No job is perfect every day, but if the majority of your time is spent feeling accomplished, valued, and fulfilled, you’re probably in the right place.

Opportunities for Advancement
You should see a clear path for where you can (and want to!) progress. If you can visualize your future with the company and that feels like vision you want for yourself, this is a really positive sign.

In Sync with Company Culture
Do you feel like you “fit in” with your company’s culture? Or even better – do you feel like you can thrive there? These are indications that your company’s culture complements your own personal work style and ethos. If there’s mutual respect, understanding, and a sense of community, take it a sign that your company’s values are in sync with your own.

Work-Life Balance:
If you are feeling like you can create the space that you need for your personal life, then your company likely respects boundaries and promotes a healthy balance. This is much better than feeling drained or like you have to sacrifice your personal time for work. There may need to be an occasional give-and-take, but if you feel like you are balanced more often than not, then it’s a great sign that you can maintain a fulfilling personal life alongside your career.

Recognition and Fair Compensation
Are your efforts regularly acknowledged, and do you feel fairly compensated for your role? It’s essential that your contributions are recognized in ways that resonate with you.

Trust and Transparency with Leadership
Do you feel like there’s open communication between employees and leadership at your company? If you see decisions as being transparent, and there’s a mutual trust that empowers you to do your best, then you’re at a company where you will likely thrive!

Valuing the Green Flags

Spotting these green flags doesn’t mean there won’t be challenging days or moments of doubt. Challenges and down days are a normal part of life. But when there are way more good days than bad, that’s an indicator that the good far outweighs the bad, and that you’re in a place that aligns with your career goals and personal values.

So, while it’s essential to be vigilant about red flags, it's equally, if not more, important to recognize and appreciate the green flags. They're a sign that you’re on the right path, and that your current position is a stepping stone to the career you envision for yourself.

Remember: Being in the right job doesn't mean it's easy; it does mean it's worth it.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Managing Expectations: Dealing with Silence During Your Job Search

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Managing Expectations: Dealing with Silence During Your Job Search

May 22, 2023

Woman waiting with her hands clasped on desk, waiting for iphone to ringWhen you’re actively looking for a job, not hearing back from employers, network contacts, or interviewers can be extremely frustrating. The waiting game can feel never-ending, and it's easy to become disheartened.

Unfortunately, the answer is not to stop or skip the silence. Rather, you need to learn how to manage your expectations and accept the silence that comes with the process.

Below are three key pieces of advice to help you manage the silent times, which will also help you have realistic expectations and stay confident.

Realistically Assess Your Timeline

The first step in managing your expectations as a job seeker is to realistically assess your timeline for finding a new job.

If I were to ask you when you want to be re-employed, it's likely that you’re thinking: "As soon as possible!" However, it's important to set a timeline that is feasible and takes into consideration the typical hiring process in your industry and location.

For example, if you are planning to spend six to eight weeks to find a job, you should already be in the interview process. The entire process, starting from when you’re first looking for a job to apply for, takes much longer than that. Setting unrealistic expectations for a quick turnaround can lead to disappointment and frustration.

Other factors that can affect your timeline for finding a job include your qualifications and experience. If you have the skills and experience that are currently in demand in your industry and the companies you are applying to, your job search may be shorter compared to someone who lacks these qualifications.

Additionally, the process you are following to find a can also impact your timeline. If you're not utilizing effective and organized job search methods, it may take even longer to receive a job offer.

Seek Realistic Expectations

Another way to manage your expectations is to seek realistic advice from a career coach or other career guidance resource. Many early to mid-career professionals and recent college graduates may not have a clear understanding of the job search process or the current job market.

Seeking guidance from professionals who can provide insight into your specific industry and local job market can help you set more realistic expectations. Career coaches can also help you determine how much work you need to do to reach your goal and provide valuable strategies and insights to improve your job search.

Consider Market Conditions

The condition of the market you are in can also impact your job search timeline and expectations. Job markets can vary greatly depending on the location and industry, and it's important to consider these factors when setting your expectations.

Research your local job market and determine if it's a good time to be looking for a job in your field. For example, some industries may be experiencing high demand for certain roles, while others may be more competitive or have limited job opportunities. If you're considering a career change or looking to transition to a different location, be aware that it may take longer to find a job in a new field or area.

Managing your own expectations is a crucial aspect of the job search process. When you set realistic timelines, seek advice from career professionals, and consider market conditions, you can keep yourself confident and motivated during your job search journey.

Remember that job searches almost always take longer than we anticipate. It's important to be patient and persistent while also being realistic about the process. With the right mindset and strategy, you can increase your chances of success in finding your next job opportunity. Good luck!

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Strategies for Navigating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

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Strategies for Navigating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

April 10, 2023

Work team members in an office, talking as a group. In the modern workplace, employees are expected to bring their best ideas and thoughts to the table. However, for many, expressing their opinions and thoughts can be a daunting task. This is where psychological safety comes into play.

Let’s dive deeper into the concept of psychological safety in the workplace and explore what you can do if you feel that your workplace is not a psychologically safe environment.

What is psychological safety?

According to Garnter, “Psychological safety is an environment that encourages, recognizes and rewards individuals for their contributions and ideas by making individuals feel safe when taking interpersonal risks.”

Taking it from the opposite perspective, the Center for Creative Leadership describes psychological safety as “the belief that you won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.”

What is psychological safety in the workplace?

When you take a look at Psychological safety as it applies to the workspace, Gartner explains that it is “a shared expectation held by members of a team that teammates will not embarrass, reject, or punish them for sharing ideas, taking risks, or soliciting feedback.”

What does this mean for you?

If you have differing point of view with your colleagues or manager, it’s important that you feel comfortable expressing your opinion.

Speaking up to your manager is a courageous act all on its own. If done respectfully, the outcome can be positive.

However, I have learned that many of my clients do not feel safe expressing their opinions at work. As a result, they are stressed, anxious about going to work, and not fully engaged in their workplace. Their overall well-being is affected across the board, both at work and in their personal lives.

Fear prevents employees from voicing their opinions. They are afraid of being fired, or of being given a negative performance review because they were deemed “difficult.” They worry about getting on someone’s radar; if they cross the line just once, they can be labeled and on a powerful person’s bad side from there on out.

If your workplace is psychologically unsafe, what can you do about it?

You could talk to your boss. If you feel like they are approachable and just not aware of the impact on you and your colleagues, a simple conversation might be enough to make the changes that you need. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. If no one has spoken up to them before, they may just not realize that what is happening is inappropriate.

If the issue is with your manager or your colleagues, and your boss isn’t approachable or responsive to your concerns, consider talking to their manager. (I think of them as the “big boss.”) It is possible that they aren’t aware of the situation and wouldn’t approve of it if they knew about it. This can be a scary option, especially if you’re concerned your immediate boss will be angry that you went over their head and take it out on you.

This is a great time to find a coach. When you talk to your boss or the “big boss” about these types of sensitive topics, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to say it. A coach can help you put together how you want to convey your message. They can also help you gather the courage that you’ll need to take these steps.

This whole scenario is just one reason why it can be helpful to develop positive relationships with your boss and their boss. Ideally, you don’t want the first time you talk to the “big boss” to be when you’re talking about a problem that you’re experiencing.

If neither your boss nor the “big boss” is responsive, that may be the time bring in HR. I consider HR to be the last resort. It’s important to make sure you try other steps first. Once you bring in HR, you’re bringing in more people and a bigger response. This is another good time to have a coach who has your back. They can help you find the right words to explain what you are experiencing and guide you through what may be an emotionally challenging time.

If you experience a lack of psychological safety throughout the company, it’s likely embedded in the culture. Your boss and their boss may not only be unaware that it’s happening; they may see it as “this is just how things work around here.” If they don’t understand the problem (or are so much a part of the problem that you can’t talk to them) it still might be worth talking to HR. It is possible that they don’t realize the negative experience of the culture on their employees. But if it’s truly embedded in the company culture, it’s going to be even more difficult to drive change, especially in a very big corporation.

If you truly feel like there’s no way for you to change what’s happening, your best option may be to leave. If that’s the case, at least you now know more about what you don’t want in the company you work for.

Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and compassion by everyone, especially by your manager and colleagues.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Quiet Quitting: What to Do Instead

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Quiet Quitting: What to Do Instead

September 12, 2022

Pictured: woman at work desk with head in handsHave you heard of the phrase “Quiet Quitting”? It is the latest hot topic in the world of work right now.

Before I get into it, let’s clarify: What does “Quiet Quitting” mean?

It does NOT mean quitting your job quietly, so no one knows that you’re gone!

Quiet Quitting is a behavior that is tied to a belief system.

From a behavior standpoint, it means you stop going above and beyond in your job. You do only what is required and nothing else.

From a belief system standpoint, it means that you’ve decided that your worth is not defined by how productive you are. You have decided that work is not going to be your whole life. It is going to be PART of your life.

If you are considering Quiet Quitting, I suggest you first pause and reflect on your work experiences before you start making any changes. The impact could be significant, so it is important that you first determine what is most important to you at this time in your life and career.

To help you in your consideration, I want to dig into three key aspects of Quiet Quitting that I mentioned above.

#1: What do we mean by going “above and beyond?”

Going above and beyond has a different meaning, depending on the circumstance.

Sometimes, it means going beyond the job description with the potential of being promoted. For example, let’s say you are offered the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities without a pay increase. This gives your manager time to determine if you can do the job well… in other words, you are given the opportunity to prove yourself.

Other times, going “above and beyond” is a requirement of the job. It shows up in the job description as: “extra duties as defined by the supervisor.” This gives your manager the ability to delegate responsibilities that you wouldn’t get if you just work within the parameters of the clearly defined job description. These are growth opportunities!

So, what happens if you are working “above and beyond” to an extreme level and giving more to the company than you are to your personal life? This can cause problems! You become stressed, resentment sets in, your emotional well-being is affected… and then the “quiet quitting” may suddenly make sense to you.

If how you perceive “above and beyond” is different from how your boss sees it, there is a conflict in expectations which needs to be addressed.

What should you do?

Take the time to evaluate two things: (1) What you want and (2) What you are doing.

Is the work you are doing that goes “above and beyond” being recognized with growth opportunities or are you being taken advantage of?

Where do you want to go in the future, and is the work you are doing “above and beyond” going to help you get there?

Before you start “Quiet Quitting,” see if there are ways to address the situation that are less passive aggressive. Talk to your manager. If that doesn’t work, talk to HR. Let them know what your situation is and see if they will work with you to come up with a more productive answer that serves you and them simultaneously.

#2: Your worth is not determined by how productive you are.

Being productive is just one measure of how well you are doing your job.

Measuring how productive you are is less about how much you are accomplishing during defined work hours, and more about the contributions and value you have brought to the organization.

Other ways to measure your worth – or success! – at work include:

  • Positive feedback from your manager
  • Recognition by others
  • Saving the company money
  • Improving processes
  • Doing a great job on a project
  • Leading a team successfully

The challenge here, then, is to get clear about what success looks like in your particular job so that you can get a clearer picture about how well you are doing.

What should you do?

Communicate with your boss about how the company determines your worth as an employee. Beyond being productive, what else do they want to see? When you are on the same page with your boss about their expectations, you’ll be clearer about what growth and advancement looks like, and it will be easier to feel satisfied and valued with that company.

#3: You have decided that work is not going to be your whole life. It is going to be PART of your life

In my experience working in the outplacement field for 20 years, I saw too many employees make work their whole life as they gave up time with their family for the company. I watched them miss their children’s ballgames, recitals, and important family. One day they were fully employed and the next day they were sitting in my office after a layoff and wondering what just. They just gave up so much for a company that didn’t think twice about letting them go.

I completely support not making work your life for that very reason. A company might one day lay you off and you have lost much more than your job. You’ve lost an investment in time and effort that was focused on your growth in a company that no longer wants you. Now what?

What should you do?

Starting right now, find a healthy balance between your work and your life. Set new boundaries for yourself and communicate them to your boss. Take time for lunch and use your vacation time! The company is not paying you to work through lunch or forfeit your vacation. Make sure you are rounding out your life with activities outside of work so that if you lose your job, you don’t lose your identity.

In the end, what I’m saying is this:

  1. Quiet quitting isn’t necessary. You have other options that are more productive and less passive aggressive.
  2. Evaluate what is important to you for your career. Where are you going and what do you  want to learn?
  3. Schedule a meeting with your manager to have an open honest discussion of what is expected of you.
  4. Create a life outside of work. Yes, there’s more to you than that! And it’s up to you to serve that side of your life.

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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How to Set Boundaries That Serve You

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How to Set Boundaries That Serve You

August 15, 2022

pictured: business woman with hand up, creating boundary between her and man with his arms crossedDo you struggle with setting boundaries with people you work with, or with those in your personal life? Do you allow others to treat you in ways that make you feel bad about yourself?

Have you ever wondered why it happens, or why you allow it? What stops you from speaking up clearly and confidently when someone crosses your boundaries?

Before we get to that, let’s define what we mean by boundaries.

Boundaries are established guidelines or rules of conduct around behaviors with people we have a relationship with, both in the workplace and in our personal lives.

We often think of boundaries as a wall that we set up between ourselves and others, but really our boundaries are about the passageway through the wall. It’s about what we allow, and it enables communication, connection, and stronger relationships based on respect.

Boundaries define how you want to be treated by others, with a focus on respect, kindness, compassion, empathy, and understanding.

Boundaries are also about self-worth. When you set a boundary, you are expressing your internal belief of feeling worthy of love and belonging. This is about the value you place on yourself. It is about making decisions that are right for you and not about pleasing others.

The best time to set boundaries is right now. Use the process below to begin identifying them before you’re in the situation where you need them, so that you already know what they are.

Grab a piece of paper and a pen, and answer these questions:

  • Think of one or two recent situations where you were treated poorly. Write out some of the details… What happened? How did it make you feel? For how long after did you ruminate about what happened? What other impact did it have on you?
  • Write down why you didn’t speak up either during the situation or after? What do you think they would have said or thought if you spoke up?
  • Next, write down how you would like to have reacted. What do you wish you said or done? How do you want to feel about it?
  • Drawing from what you’ve written, create a list of three ways you want to be treated in the future. Be as specific as possible.

Identifying how you want to be treated is the first step in creating boundaries with others. In addition to delineating how others will treat you, it helps you get clear on how you want to treat the people in your life as well!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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