By J.T. O'Donnell Two weeks ago, a fellow blogger e-mailed me about the launch of his company's new social media platform for Gen Y workers. He said, "It's like LinkedIn for young people." While I didn't say it directly to him, my first reaction was: What's the point? I couldn't see how connecting a bunch of young folks who lacked work history or professional connections was valuable. The power of using LinkedIn is to 'link' with a person who can help your career - which usually involves someone with more experience and connections than you. So, why would a 23-year old recent grad want to connect with a bunch of other 20-somethings with the same limited career identity? In fact, I'm sure many people had the same short-sighted reaction to my blogger friend's new platform, so let me get back to the story and explain what changed my mind... A week later, I received the results of a study which proves Gen Y is knowingly narcissistic and thinks social media for self-promotion is vital to career success. In particular, it highlighted how 80+% of Gen Y use a form of social media on a daily basis and believe that drawing attention to yourself is a good way to move up in your career. I started to think about the connection between this study and my friend's new social media tool and suddenly thought: "Wow, Gen Y is on to something. Being a Social Media Narcissist is a good thing." Based on my observations, here are 3 reasons to seriously consider becoming a Social Media Narcissist: #1 - Who Cares About IQ, It's Your EQ That Will Advance Your Career Yes, we use social media to draw attention to ourselves so we can connect with others, but social media offers a powerful added benefit: It's also a virtual classroom that can help us improve our emotional intelligence (EQ). In this day and age, studies show EQ (ability to perceive, use, understand and manage our emotions and those of others) is a better predictor of professional success than IQ. The more you engage in social media use, the better you become at representing yourself online in order to get the reaction you desire from others. Now, that's not to say that a lot of young people haven't made some pretty BIG mistakes with social media (i.e. photos on Facebook, trash talking on Twitter, unprofessional blog posts, etc.), but those very public incidents have been well-documented in the media, thus helping others learn how they may want to engage (or not engage) social media to build their personal brand. Which means, young professionals who choose to participate in social media platforms designed to discuss career development challenges (like my blogger friend's new platform), are educating themselves on how to interact effectively with their peers - who also happen to be their future co-workers, managers, and even potential customers. Which leads to my next point... #2 - Friends Today...References, Mentors & Clients Tomorrow Looking back on my own work experience, I realize now that many of my close professional colleagues are people who I connected with in my 20's. At the time, we didn't have anything to offer each other except friendship and support on-the-job. Yet today, those same people have become references, advisors, and in some cases, clients. Now, what would have happened if I had the opportunity to network with an even broader group of my peers early on in my career? What if geographic and corporate boundries were dropped and I had access to 1000's of like-minded young professionals to connect with in the early stages of my career? Fast forward to today and I can only imagine how different my situation might be. Would more doors be opened to me? I have to assume they would. Not to mention, I would have most likely connected with a good number of individuals who I might not have normally felt inclined to meet. Here's why.. #3 - The Ultimate Equalizer, a.k.a. Discrimination Elimination When we meet someone via social media, we are forced to evaluate them based on how they interact with us on-line. In short, we focus on what they say and how they say it. Things like race, gender, sexual orientation and religion aren't part of the equation because we are too busy reacting to the person's virtual persona. This means that ANYONE can develop a style that gains the respect of others. If you can articulate your thoughts in a compelling and intelligent manner, you'll connect with people on-line. In fact, your particular style will attract a like-minded set of peers. I can attest to this. I've been actively using social media for several years and can say that I have more than a dozen close colleagues that I've NEVER MET. These are people that I now e-mail for advice and even trust with helping me make professional decisions. I've also collaborated successfully with several of them and have found our ability to work together in a virtual capacity effortless. I recently stepped back and took a closer look at these individuals and realized that if we had all been put in a room together prior to getting to know each other online, we probably wouldn't have tried to connect with one other. Our ages and interests vary widely. And yet, now that I've come to know them, I honestly can't wait for the day when we finally meet in-person. So, How Can YOU Become a Social Media Narcissist? I hope this has convinced you to consider becoming a Social Media Narcissist. I tell people all the time: In today's unpredictable job market (where EVERY job is temporary!), we are all just businesses-of-one. So, using social media to draw attention to yourself is a smart way to make sure you stay employable long-term. When it comes to job search, it's not who you know, it's who knows YOU! Narcissists take pride in their physical appearance - Social Media Narcissists take pride in their online appearance. Here's what to do: For Those of You in Your 20s I'd suggest heading over to BrazenCareerist.com and setting up your free account. The contributions you make there today could help you forge professional contacts that you'll be most grateful for tomorrow. I'd also be sure your LinkedIn, Twitter and any other social media accounts, like blogs, are consistent in their content and appearance. The sooner you build the personal brand, the quicker you'll get noticed! For Those of You in Your 30s, 40s and Beyond It's time to get up-to-speed on social media. Don't be the dinosaur who doesn't know how to use LinkedIn or Twitter to network. Each has their own specific use. Invest some time in getting your professional hygiene in order so you can maintain a great social media presence. If you need help with any of these tools, check these resources out: LinkedInTwitter Finally, regardless of your age, be sure to come back here and shamelessly promote your brand by posting your thoughts and social media links below so we can embrace and support the Social Media Narcissist in each of us!
8 Ways You're Being SHUT OUT Of The Hiring Process
1-hour workshop to help job seekers figure out what's getting them tossed from the hiring process
September 28, 2022
Are you terrified of screwing up a job interview? Does the thought of writing a cover letter horrify you? Are you scared to network with others? What do you even say, anyway? If you're struggling to overcome your job search fears, this live event is for you.
We get it. Looking for work can be scary, especially if you’ve been at it for a long time and haven’t gotten any results.
Understanding which fears are getting in the way and how to overcome them will make all the difference. Sometimes you might not be aware of which obstacle is getting in the way of your goals. If you want to overcome these fears once and for all, we invite you to join us!
In this training, you’ll learn how to:
- Utilize strategies for coping with your job search fears
- Be confident in your job search—from writing your resume to networking
- Face your fears and move forward
Join our CEO, J.T. O'Donnell, and Director of Training Development & Coaching, Christina Burgio, for this live event on Wednesday, October 5th at 12 pm ET.
CAN'T ATTEND LIVE? That's okay. You'll have access to the recording and the workbook after the session!
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October 05, 2022
You hate your job. You find yourself complaining about it daily to your family and friends. Every Sunday night, you tell yourself that you're finally going to quit and find a new job because you just can't take it anymore. But you don't.
Instead, you go to work, come home, complain, and start the whole cycle over again. You're completely miserable in your current job, but you're absolutely terrified to find a new job. Why?
You're Afraid Of The Unknown
Yes, starting a new job can be scary. You have to adapt to a new work environment, make new work friends, and even learn some new skills—and you don't know if you'll even like it after everything's said and done. What if it turns out to be worse than your last job? What if they don't like you? What if you don't fit in? What if you don't perform at the level they expected? It's similar to starting at a new school where you don't know anyone, where anything is, or how your teachers are going to be.
The truth is, starting a new job can be intimidating. You're walking into a new situation and you're not sure what to expect. The best thing you can do is get to know the company as much as you can before accepting a job offer there. Learn it inside and out, make an effort to get to know people you'd be working with over LinkedIn or coffee, and ask questions that can give you insight into the company culture.
You're Not Confident In What You Have To Offer
Don't feel like you've got what it takes to make it anywhere else? Afraid to find a new job because you don't want to look like an incompetent employee? If you think you're lacking the skills to succeed elsewhere, take an inventory of your skill sets. Then, compare them to the skill sets that are required for the jobs you're considering.
What are you missing? Where do you need to ramp up your skills? Do you have additional skills that could lend themselves to the job? Make a list of the skills you have and the ones you need to develop.
You're Not Really Sure What You Have To Offer
You need to understand what you have to offer so you can market yourself effectively to employers.
Again, go in and take a look at your skill sets. Think about past accomplishments at work. What have you achieved? What are you proud of? What problem do you solve at your current company? Make sure you quantify your work experience on your resume so employers know what you have to offer and can see the value you provide as a business-of-one.
You Don't Know What You Want To Do Next
You want to find a new job, but you have no idea what you want to do. All you know is that you hate your current job and you want out. If you're having trouble figuring out what you want to do next, you need to take some time to explore.
Research different jobs, industries, and companies. Talk to people about their work—why they like it, hate it, and what excites them about it. Take some time to figure out what interests you and what projects energize you.
You're Afraid Of The Financial Repercussions
What if you don't get the benefits you have at your current job? What if you have to take a pay cut? What if it takes too long to find a new job and you run out of money? Research competitive salary rates using Glassdoor's salary calculator before you look for a new job. Also, research the companies you're interested in to learn about what kinds of benefits they offer employees.
It's important to understand what your priorities and must-haves are in your new job. The last thing you want to do is accept a job knowing that it won't meet your needs because it will just result in you looking for a new job in a few months. However, understand that you might not necessarily make the same paycheck as your current job. Research so you know what to expect.
If you're terrified to find a new job, you're not alone. We hope that by identifying these fears and following the tips above, you'll have the confidence and courage to look for your next job. Remember: you'll never know what you can do until you try!
Need more help with your job search?
We'd love it if you signed up for Work It Daily's Power Hour Event Subscription! Get your career questions answered in our next live event!
This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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Can engineering benefit from the lean principles of waste? The simple answer is yes!
To begin, what are the lean wastes?
TIM WOOD — Who Is This Guy?
Classically defined as the seven wastes within the lean principles. With a little imagination and a dash of common sense, engineering teams can use TIM WOOD as a friend, making things flow better and driving improvements.
Time — It’s Ticking In Your Head!
Do engineers waste time? NEVER!!! Are you sure? How long did it take you to look up a part number for your last project? Have you spent hours on the internet combing for the perfect transformer? Did you rework the drawing because it was missing information? All of these take time.
Time is an engineer’s best asset. With any project, more time is always preferred. Despite our best efforts, everything has a deadline, and you will be out of time. So why do things take so long to accomplish?
Much like production, everything an engineer does has a process—formally or informally. If your process requires you to do unnecessary tasks or wait in a queue for information, it all takes away from our time.
Review what it truly takes to complete a task versus the total time to complete an action. The difference is your opportunity. How can you make tweaks or eliminate wasteful tasks to improve your time?
Inventory — How Can Engineering Have Inventory?
In the classical sense, engineering typically does not have dozens of parts on their desks or stacks of products on the shelves.
How many projects are on your desk needing your attention? How many drawings need revisions from production markups and changes? Do you have software programs written for customers? How many documents need approval?
Each of these “soft” products is inventory. Thinking broader, any accumulation of work ahead of you is your inventory. The more projects, tasks, and activities on your desk, the higher the inventory for you as a worker. How do we deplete inventory?
For administrative tasks, plan a time every day to work through the tasks. Approvals in the ERP system are complete at 9 am each day. Drawing reviews are scheduled at 2 pm on Tuesday. Some days you may have five or more of these tasks, and other days you may have none. Scheduling your time to complete these tasks is essential.
Larger tasks can be managed the same way. Use large blocks of time with no meetings to eat the elephant one bite at a time. Make sure you take action weekly on these tasks to prevent overwhelming inventory numbers.
Finally, do you need to do this task at all? Delegate or eliminate the work. Is it necessary? Am I the right person to do it? If the answer is no, get rid of it!
The goal is to minimize your inventory and focus effort on where you add value.
Motion — Do I Need To Leave My Chair?
Unlike production where work may be completed in different physical locations, engineers typically work in their station and may even be sedentary. So how do I eliminate motion?
Do you walk to meetings twice a day in a different part of the building? Do you need to cross the room to use the copier? Are you required to deliver signed documents to another member of the team? Is your telephone or headset across the desk?
Motion is trickier in an office setting; however, with some creativity, you can eliminate the waste. Can my meetings be scheduled back to back to keep from leaving your office as often? Do I rearrange my desk for better optimization of my mouse, keyboard, phone, etc.? Think outside of just walking back and forth.
Waiting — Why Can’t I Get Any Answers?
How often do you need to wait for a customer to agree to a specification? Does accounting owe you a price for the transformer you are quoting? Is your boss sitting on the drawing approval needed to submit to the customer?
Each time an engineer waits for an answer or another process, this leads to waste. You cannot proceed without someone else’s action. You rely on someone’s actions to complete your own.
How do we eliminate waiting? It is inevitable to be waiting on someone. Can you send an email ahead of time asking for their help to approve the drawing? Could you call your customer asking for clarification versus sending an email? Could you walk something to the accounting department asking for their attention?
Find ways to eliminate or minimize wait times. Take proactive actions to ask for assistance. Ensure all the necessary information is available to the next person in the process. Look for those subtle little items that add up over time.
Overproduction & Overprocessing — Why Do More Than You Are Asked?
Both of these wastes involve doing more than what is expected. Throughout my career, I have been encouraged to under-promise and over-deliver. Why?
Of the wastes, I would say these two are the most difficult for engineering. We are expected to (over) produce products that exceed customer expectations.
Experience will tell an engineer when enough is enough. Over-designing a solution is a waste. Making more drawings than are necessary is a waste. Look for opportunities where you are handling the same item more than once. Can I do both tasks at the same time?
Be careful of the trap of tinkering with a project simply because you have time. If your work is complete, meets the need, and is robust, stop. Continuing to tweak is an example of overprocessing. Learn from your mentors what finished looks like!
Defects — I Hate Doing Something Twice…
Defects are an enormous opportunity for anyone to eliminate wastes! Who likes doing the same task twice because it was wrong? If an engineer needs to do rework, the results are wasted.
Similar to the goal of “zero” safety incidents, engineers need to strive for perfection. This goal is philosophically correct, and reality shows our human side. Mistakes will occur.
How do you eliminate these defects? If you make a mistake, begin by correcting it, and follow up with changes to keep the mistake from returning. Write a procedure, make a checklist, and educate yourself (and your team) to prevent the error. When you have “extra time,” check your work. We all get tunnel vision on projects, so taking another step to verify your efforts is valuable!
When mistakes occur, learn from them. Do not swipe them aside as a trivial element of your work. Take time to make improvements to eliminate the chance of error in the future. We all make mistakes… Some of us learn to keep from repeating them repeatedly.
Is TIM WOOD My Friend?
The concept of eliminating wastes is paramount to a lean journey or continuous improvement. Look around every aspect of life, and you will observe wastes. Knowing what wastes look like is the first step. Your best opportunity is to find ways to eliminate them from your work. Make something better, eliminate an unnecessary step, error-proof your processes, and make things better.
So is TIM WOOD my friend? For years, the answer was no. I had no time for him in engineering because he worked in production. Now that I see him clearly, I embrace him and use him to make me, my team, and my company stronger.
YES — TIM WOOD is my friend!
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