We’re in the throes of Winter Break and it’s a time to be spent with loved ones. I’m still in the midst of getting my office holiday cards done and writing proposals for potential clients, but I’m taking time to re-charge and to harness my energy for 2017. I’m truly an optimist. I believe in taking a pragmatic approach to life: assessing risk, looking at the different avenues for outcomes, and believing that there is good in the world, even when it seems like everything is falling apart. There are a few key people in my life that hear of my concerns and complaints because life isn’t always rosy, but I like to believe that I’m a messenger of positive thinking. There are times when I’m forcibly surrounded by negativity and I get defiant when people want me to go down that path with them. I like to find people’s strengths, especially those people who I consider to be friends and give them something positive to hold onto when darkness appears. I refuse to let anyone drag me into gloom. Let’s be real about the future and utilize one another’s strengths to get through it together.
In the meantime, Tuesday Truths!
- I know that there are a lot of you brushing up your resumes to prepare for transitions. You’ll probably want to do a triple spell check (I often try to get fresh eyes to read for grammatical errors because my fingers sometimes likes to type something else than what my brain is telling them) and you’ll probably want to confirm with your references that you’re using them as such (in advance please! I sometimes get calls from employers before I get the call from the person putting me down as a reference). It helps to know what kind of skills I should emphasize to help YOU get the job. If I’m talking about skills that aren’t that important to the employer, it doesn’t really help (just saying!). So don’t make these common resume mistakes!
- Oftentimes, looking for a job when you’re unemployed is a full time endeavor. You work from home or if home is too confining, you work from a coffee shop or some other space to get out of the house. I’ve been on my own for 14 years without an official office and people ask me, “How do you separate work from home life?”. My easy answer is that I work certain hours just like I do when I used to go into an office. I don’t get distracted by home activities because I’m too busy with my to do list of work items. Procrastination doesn’t come in the form of doing laundry but if you follow me on snapchat (madalene.mielke) or instagram (madalenemielke), you’ll see that I sometimes do cooking during the work day. I have the flexibility to do that and I also know that I’m not cooking when I have a deadline. My work schedule during the work hours takes precedence and everything else fits around that schedule. You have to be disciplined to not let the distractions destroy what you really need to do (when there’s a Star Wars marathon, can you still do your work or do you know that you need to leave so that you can stay focused?). Creating habits and a routine will establish your work productivity just like having an office because now your home is your office!
- December is generally filled with holiday parties and gatherings, which are opportunities to network. I’ve heard a lot of people during this season talk about how they really don’t want to hit up these functions because they hate the networking aspect but they know they have to because they’re about to be unemployed. It’s hard to get into a festive spirit when you’re going to these things because you feel the pressure of being “on”, you don’t really want to be there and you need to tell people of your situation so that you can ask for help. Let’s rewind to when you were employed and you went these functions because you actually enjoyed hanging out with people. You were probably approached by others talking about a similar situation. Networking should be viewed as constant communication and maintenance of your current network so that you can meet new people and expand the network. It’s a process that should happen ALL. THE. TIME. Not just in the times you need it. As an introvert that sounds totally and utterly PAINFUL. It really isn’t because when you think about how networking SHOULD work, you’re really planting the seeds for the future. Networking is about not getting anything in the immediate return. You want to connect people to one another and you want to help people who are in the room. The holidays are a good excuse to get into people’s faces so that if you ever find yourself in the “unemployed” situation, you actually will have a lot of people who will want to see you and help you.
- When we talk about the realities of the job market, we recognize that there will be thousands of political appointees flooding the market come January 2017. Some have plans to go to graduate schools or fellowships, others will be moving back to their non-government jobs, while there will be those who will be competing in every type of government/non-profit/political sector job. Stay with me…this is giving recognition to the landscape and realizing that you are GREAT and it’s your self-confidence that needs a boost to power through this market. If you believe in yourself, you will be successful. Do not feed the doubts. Take care of your mind, soul & body because it’s the vessel in which you convey your confidence. You know your strengths and you know how you could be an asset to an organization so even when you think it looks bleak, your confidence will help you shine differently from the others.
- I’m a non-practicing Catholic, meaning I was raised Catholic but as an adult I’ve made my own decisions on what parts of Catholicism I choose to believe and practice, one of them not going to church but participating in Lent. With that context, I usually give up meat every Lent because it is a choice that makes my life less convenient. It’s not that I enjoy meat so much that taking it away is a sacrifice, it’s more that it’s no longer a choice for me to have it becomes the sacrifice. Instead of giving up meat this year, I’ve decided that I don’t want to “sacrifice” anything because honestly, it’s a #firstworldproblem and I want to do more to give of myself. So I’m in the process of researching places where I can be a part of something bigger and volunteer my time and/or my skills to help those who are disadvantaged. Kindness may seem in short supply and I want to be a person who can learn from those who offer it freely as well as demonstrate it myself. Life can be cruel and the more I learn to be kind, I think it will help me to be a better leader in my work.
- With the increase of hate crimes and outright physical attacks, it’s difficult to decide if you should intervene. Of course, you say but are you taking on more than you can handle? We all have good intentions and when in the moment, the person who is being affected should be made to feel safe and you as the intervener should help to defuse the situation, not escalate it. You would think that being in a crowd that people would jump to the aid of a person being attacked, but studies show that individual responsibility lessens in that kind of situation. Here are things that you should consider before you intervene so that everyone involved comes out safe in the end.
- There are a lot of women who are concerned for our future and they’re doing something about it! Big props to these 9 fierce women in working to make this world a better place and elevating women leaders!
Wishing you all the best for this holiday season. Thank you for your continued readership! See you next Tuesday!