The only online publication for women in Greater Cincinnati
Career

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How many of you just show up for work and that’s it? Do you only care about punching the clock and simply getting your job done? For some people, work is work. You show up on time, do what’s expected and go home for the day. However, for others it can be more. It is the sense of accomplishing something, completing a measurable task by the end of the day. There is a sensation that needs to be filled of worth and value—the desire to be wanted and needed by your coworkers.

In either case, it is very important to know where you stand in the company. When using the phrase "where you stand," you can cover quite a few areas. Have you been in trouble? Do you work well with others? Does your superior see growth for you? Is a raise in your future, or a pink slip? Knowing the answers to key questions like these can make all the difference in your workday, no matter what your philosophy is on getting the job done.

Important Things to Know


Most organizations complete monthly, quarterly or yearly reviews. These are not only tools to give you feedback on your work and help improve your job performance, but can also be used in determining raises AND whether retribution is needed. The reports should cover basic criteria, such as:

  • Attendance
  • Tardies
  • Rates
  • Percent of sales


Your review should also cover additional comments on:

  • Management observations
  • Individual goals
  • Company goals
  • Room for improvements
  • Quality suggestions


Businesses vary on what they “grade” an employee on, but you should always know the basics. There are many different methods for performance appraisals, but the most popular is a method known as Goal Setting, more commonly called management by objectives. There are several factors and requirements involved, but in a nut shell, the objective is to set a clear understanding of work to be done by the employee and establish action plans to achieve the objectives. This of course needs to be done on a regular basis so that your work and any other barriers can be discussed between you and a supervisor.

Things You Should Watch Out For


When there isn’t a clear-cut, documented source in front of you, there are things you can look for to gauge where you stand. It is important to keep a self-inventory of your own performance even when you aren’t being reviewed. This can help prepare you for future discussions of your goals within the company, as well as preventing those accumulated tardies from sneaking up on you.

Here are five easy tips for keeping tabs on yourself:

  1. Use an attendance calendar to track any absences, tardies or time off. Typically, an administrative assistant should have one for the current year with an easy coding system.
  2. Take a look around you. Does your desk look unorganized? Are there stacks of uncompleted work? Having your workload under control not only shows that you are completing the tasks given to you, but also that you probably know where everything is — a big plus in great time management skills. Both of which result in bonus points when proving you are worthy of that raise.
  3. Watch who and what you talk about. By doing this, you can maintain complaints from coworkers and keep foul talk at bay. Knowing you are ethical and abide by the code of conduct curbs any disciplinary action, or even worse — a trip to Human Resources.
  4. Compare yourself to your peers. Do you keep up with work flow and production? Do you step up to take on projects more than others? Recognizing your hard work (or lack of) can either set your mind at ease that you are doing or good job, or light a fire under your rear to put forth more effort.Remember old reviews, poor marks on your record, disciplinary actions, etc and simply change your actions! Making self-improvements keeps you out of trouble, and shows that you took corrective action (which will more than likely pop up on your next review).


If you are competing for a higher position, or looking for a promotion, take all the different things the business looks at into consideration. They can range from many factors including:

  • Seniority
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Age
  • Effort
  • Work historyLevel/difficulty of job
  • Responsibilities


Even if you don’t appear to be qualified by the listed standards, just showing interest and initiative goes a long way. Just because you have only been there one year and the other gal has been there ten, it's always good to let the company know your interests — so (pardon the cliches here) stick your neck out, go out on a limb or take a shot in the dark to put your best foot forward!

If there is ever a time where you are concerned about your job, talk to someone about it. Even though you might not get a straight answer, you can at least find areas of opportunity. Of course events like layoffs or business closings are out of your hand, but termination or getting rejected for that promotion is not. There is always room to improve; even when we think we are the epitome of perfection, or at least as close as it comes.

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You haven't even passed over hump day and you are as backed up as a line for the ladies room. The thought of staying late or working on Saturday has given you a migraine that no pill can fix and your boss is already on your case about your extra hours.

There just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. Eight hours barely allows you to skim the surface, and putting in more hours at the office takes away from everything on your personal life's "to-do" list.

Don't Get Personal
With the Internet, that is. According to a survey done by Salary.com, 44.7 percent of polled workers say web surfing is their biggest distraction. Save checking your personal e-mail or Web pages for your lunch time (it's okay to finish this article, though).

Turn off the news alerts. They are wonderful features, but evaluate how often you get one and then read other stories that have been posted.


"Oh my gosh, you won't believe what I just heard!" Stop it right there! As much fun it is to talk with your neighbor and share your personal lives, it kills a ton of good work time.

Make a List
Write down a list of time specific items (such as meetings, conference calls or package pickups) and a list of items you need to complete. Completing time specific items first helps a ton when getting the smaller things finished.

Prioritize your "to-do" list. A good rule of thumb is categorizing items as urgent, important and neither. In a work diary or planner, break down tasks by time. Plan out your day, allowing time for interruptions or emergencies, and stay on task. Example: 9:00-10:00 check e-mails, 10:00-11:00 research statistics for report, etc).

It's All about Timing
Work on the more difficult tasks when you are at your best. If you know you hit the afternoon slump after lunch, try working on something that doesn't take so much thought and focus then.

Get the dirty work done pronto. Don't wait until Friday, 10 minutes before you leave, to approach someone about a problem.

Set up a specific time of day that you aren't to be disturbed. Having the "open door policy" is one thing, but taking it literally is another. It doesn't hurt to close it for an hour or so, just let people know that you aren't to be interrupted except for emergencies.

Take your lunch or breaks at the times of day when you loose your perk, or when it's not important to be around the building. If you can, flex your schedule to come in early. You can avoid rush hour traffic, and have a quiet peaceful office to yourself.

Get It Done in Groups
Allot specific times of the day to check and respond to e-mails. Close your e-mail when you are done and don't open it until you have another time set aside. Stopping what you are doing to read, answer and fulfill e-mail requests interrupts your thought process, schedule and efficiency.

Make your phone calls in one sitting. Gather all information needed before making calls and go down the list. Go through your inbox in one sitting. Trash or shred documents that aren't needed, and immediately file those that are of relevance. Have piles of documents to be filed? Grab your headset, let someone know you are away filing and do it all at once.

Hang It Up!
Don't waste time holding while the person you are calling for is found. Just say, "I'll give them a call back around 'state time,'" or leave a message.

If you have an associate answering your phone at work, let them know when to forward calls to your voicemail. If it is a telemarketer of sorts, immediately have them transferred to your voicemail. Let them know when you are busy and are not taking calls, as well.

Keep the personal calls to the bare minimum on both your cell phone and office phone. That includes text messages!

Get Healthy
Eating more nutritious foods can help give you the extra energy to make it through the work day, even those pre-lunch hunger pangs.

Skip the vending machine all together. Not only are you wasting your money, you are wasting time putting your work down, traveling to the vending area and eating your snack (Cheeto dust orange finger prints won't qualify as an "artistic touch" to the presentation due to your boss today).

And get plenty of proper sleep. This helps avoid that mid-week burnout, and keeps you from making those "lead eye" mistakes that take up more time to go back to correct.

Utilize Co-workers
Depending on what age range you fall in, sit next to someone in a different generation. Studies show that people in the younger generations work not only harder, but better, when they sit next to someone in 50+ age bracket. For those in the 50+ age bracket, you can pick up fresh ideas, and newly-taught techniques, from the young pup in the cube next to you.

Delegate any extra work to another worker. *GASP* But that means you have to let go of control! It's a win-win, trust me. You clear up time for your serious projects, and empower others at the same time.

Just Say "No"
If you know you don't have time, don't take on the extra project. It can take away from the quality of all of your work, and possibly backfire when you don't get something finished on time.

Cut out the meetings. If it's not necessary for you to be there, request to have a copy of the minutes and utilize the time to get work done. If you need to hold a meeting, try setting the time for an hour before lunch to avoid going over.

Keep this in mind: as much as some like their overtime checks, it is important to remember that you aren't always guaranteed to have it, and not everyone has this luxury. It is smart, personally and professionally, to live within the means of a normal 40 hour day. By trying these tips you can learn to get everything done, while still sticking to the timespan of 9-5.

 

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In order to make your life less stressful, it is very important to learn about your personality style, the strengths and limitations associated with that style and with whom your personality is most compatible. Personality Plus is the name of a book by Florence Littauer, and it helps you understand your personality and how you interact with others.

By understanding these personality types, you're able to better understand the people around you and learn how to interpret their actions based on their individual personality styles. This will remove some of the guesswork and will eliminate the desire to prematurely jump to conclusions, which often leads to tension and conflict within the work environment.

According to Littauer's Personality Plus, these are the four main personality types and characteristics:

Choleric: This is the commander-type. Cholerics are dominant, strong, decisive, stubborn and even arrogant.

Melancholy: This is the mental-type. Their typical behavior involves thinking, assessing, making lists, evaluating the positives and negatives and general analysis of facts.

Sanguine: This is the social-type. They enjoy fun, socialising, chatting, telling stories – and are fond of promising the world, because that's the friendly thing to do.


Phlegmatic: This is the flat-type. They are indifferent, unexcitable and relaxed.

Positives and Negatives
None of these types are specifically described as positive or negative – each having upsides and downsides. The book makes it clear that the characteristics are for observing and identifying, rather than judging.

  • A Choleric is focused on getting things done, but can run rough-shod over others. They are decisive and stubborn.
  • A Melancholy is a planner, making sure things happen, although sometimes they can paralyse themselves with over-analysis. Lists and "doing things the right way" are characteristics of this personality type.
  • A Sanguine gets on well with people and can get others excited about issues, but cannot always be relied upon to get things done. They love interacting with others and play the role of the entertainer in group interactions. They have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver.
  • A Phlegmatic is neutral – they tend not to actively upset people, but their indifference may frustrate people. They try not to make decisions, and generally go for the status quo.


Interactions
The Personality Plus system is less about identifying a person's profile, and more about the implications that may have for group interactions. As such, it is used in sales and negotiation training, and for understanding group dynamics in business.

A Choleric might get frustrated by a Phlegmatic who doesn't seem to want to get things done now. This pairing however can work well, though, because Cholerics tend to tell people what to do, and Phlegmatics tend to do what they are told. This coupling often have relationships with each other – although interestingly this may introduce a downward spiral, where the Choleric becomes increasingly commanding, and the Phlegmatic becomes more indifferent through their interactions.


Melancholies might make lists and work through them point by point, and get frustrated by Sanguines who tend to bounce from one idea to the next, often without completing the first.
A simplification might be that a Choleric likes it "my way," a Melancholy likes it "the right way," a Sangine likes it "the fun way" and a Phlegmatic likes it "any way."

 

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The humidity has arrived, Kings Island is jumping, and all the hot acts are on their way to Riverbend.  Its Cincinnati’s way of saying, "summer's here!"

The time of year is upon us that makes memories and sets the stage for unforgettable trips to escape the daily grind. Here are some tips on how to schedule that much needed time off and what to do before you leave.

Compared to other countries, Americans receive the fewest vacation days per year. According to About.com, Americans take an average of 13 vacation days, which is dismal compared to Japan's 25, Canada's 26, Britain's 28, France's 37 and Italy's whopping 47! So what can you do to help leave the worries of work behind?

 FIVE TIPS FOR EVERYONE
Regardless if you are an hourly employee, salaried manager or owner, there are some basic guidelines and "to-dos" we should all try to follow.

  1. Make sure that time is available. Before you book flights, hotels or other accommodations, check to see if you can even take off. Many, if not all, companies require submission of a vacation request.
  2. Notify clients, customers and fellow employees that you will be out of the office. Two weeks is the minimum, but try to give as much notice as early as possible. Let them know who they can contact in your absence, their contact numbers and e-mail address.
  3.  Take care of all forms of communication. Many e-mail programs have "out of office" messages you can set up, or your IT department can help. Change your voice-mail or set up a message that directs the caller to contact your designated person. Also, make arrangements for your faxes to be picked up and taken care of. Instead of saying you are on vacation, out of the country or nobody is at the building, state that you are out of the office and what date you will return. For small business owners or home businesses, this announces to thieves that the coast is clear to break in.
  4. Take an inventory of recently completed, current and future projects. Try to finish as much as you can before you go so nothing sits while you are gone. This also helps ease the apprehension of coming back to an overflowing workload. It's a good idea to give a heads up, or go over any possible problems that might arise with certain accounts or projects with some other workers.
  5. Try to cross train. Even though another person might not know everything there is about your job, it is very helpful to have someone who knows the basics just incase something needs to be done. Pass on any odd jobs or office duties that you are responsible for such as stocking the restroom, maintaining the copy and fax machine, turning off fans or lights, etc. Many of these things go unseen—there isn't a paper fairy who stocks the 8½x11 tray every night while everyone is gone.


IF YOU ARE A MANAGER OR OWNER
Being a location manager or business owner makes it a little harder to take planned vacation time. You might be able to sneak out of the office early or take extended lunches, but actually leaving for days on end can leave a lot of open holes in the daily business. Besides covering the tips listed above, don't forget about these items:

  1. Make sure that all checks are signed and bills are paid. Get together with whoever receives mail or handles accounting to make sure that all bases are covered.
  2. Stock your petty cash, and if needed, leave a check for a designated person to cash in case of an emergency.
  3. Leave emergency contact information for any maintenance problem that might arise such as the electrician, phone, computer systems, etc. This also includes your emergency information—and stress "emergency". The point of taking a vacation is to get away from the office, not have it calling you. Don't want to sound too stern? Joke and say, "Unless the building is on fire, I'll be at the beach!"
  4. Arrange for you confidential documents to be handled accordingly. Designate a trusted employee to handle your e-mail, snail mail, faxes or voice-mail. If you would rather keep all documents unopened until you return, at least have someone collect any items that arrive for you.
  5. Have your employees give you a list of items or issues they need to address with you before you leave. Take care of any problems or questions—this helps set your mind and theirs at ease.


Being a business owner, it can be hard to let go of control. This can really put your business, and staff, to the test to see how well it functions without you. Even though when the cat's away, the mice will play, try to trust your workers that they will do their job. Even with the freedom they might feel with you being gone, they will still get their tasks completed – probably to avoid retribution when you return – but they will work.

If you still feel more comfortable calling to check in, keep in minimal, once or twice and only talk to one designated person (probably the same person handling your communications). Whether you call daily or once, it is a good idea not to call at the beginning and end of your vacation. It's your time away from work, enjoy it!

RELAX, RELAX, RELAX!
If you have vacation time, use it. It is important to take time off, both physically and mentally. Some companies offer payment for vacation time not used, and while it is tempting to get an extra check on your anniversary date, relaxing poolside for a few days is well worth it. Vacation time is given to you for a purpose, so don't feel bad taking time off or feel that you are burdening others with your absence.

Finally, try taking vacation time for extended periods rather than one day here, another day there. You will feel much more relaxed once as you get to unwind and breathe for more time than a three day weekend. Also, ease back into the work week. Avoid flying in at 8:00 on a Sunday night, only to turn around and head to work at 7:00 the next morning. Take a day or two to slip back into reality before slamming yourself with work less than 24 hours of heading home from the beach.

Now if only you could only figure out what it is you forgot to pack…

 

 

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Put those endless 9 to 5, pencil-pushing, desk-sitting doldrums to an end by taking a step beyond the desk into a new job opportunity: real estate.

Many professionals are drawn to real estate because of the freedom, excitement and – if you’re good at it – hefty pay. “Your own dedication affects your paycheck,” says Meghan Ferguson, agent with Coldwell Banker West Shell. “If you’re a go-getter, you get paid accordingly.”

Agents are also drawn to the opportunity to set their own hours – making their own appointments, days off, etc. Ferguson chooses to work every day, unless she’s in another city: “I’m out of town a lot more than I used to be,” she laughs.

Others become agents because they have the disposition for the business. Ferguson was one of these: “My father was a salesman and always pushed me toward it, but I was always like, ‘Ugh.’ I thought it was all corporate,” Ferguson says. “But then I realized that sales was just building relationships and helping people. I’d already been doing that my whole life. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Aside from the monetary benefits, selling real estate can be a positive experience, Ferguson says. “Every time you go after a sale or project, you set a goal for yourself and your client. Helping them in a very important step in their lives is very rewarding,” she says.

Real estate is generally acknowledged as a fast-paced profession, so one thing to keep in mind before committing is deciding whether you can juggle the rest of your life (family, hobbies, etc.) with the market. “It is possible,” Ferguson says. “You end up having to schedule that time. Put your family commitment first, and schedule your appointments around that.”

Training to become an agent takes six weeks if the classes are everyday, but you can accommodate it to your lifestyle, Ferguson says. “Some people who have another job can still keep that job. It’s pretty flexible in that sense,” she says. Some real estate companies will pay for future agents’ training, once that prospective agent is officially licensed and under contract with that agency.

The first integral step to real estate is getting a mentor, someone who’s been in the business for a long time, Ferguson says, since the fast-paced market can be scary when you’re starting out. “It’s better to team up with somebody who knows their business, and then change their technique to work for you,” she says.

Although newcomers to the market can get started fairly quickly, Ferguson advises future agents to put money aside before beginning training. “Go in expecting not to make money your first year. And if you do, that’s fine. But if you can stick to it for a full year, your second year will pay you back,” she says.

According to Ferguson, by the second year, the agent has forged connections with clients, which in turn yields referrals, some of which Ferguson says she had no idea how they’d heard of her. “I don’t have to go out and actively pursue leads, but in the first year, that’s all you’re focused on.”

More experience also brings a specialty, whether an agent’s expertise is in selling condos, homes, land or property. Ferguson recommends trying them all, and then going with the one you feel most comfortable with.

Another decision to consider in real estate is which company you should become a part of. Different companies offer different benefits and programs, so finding a company that fits your needs is essential.

Cincinnati-based Huff Realty is very agent-centric, says Joy Amann, chief operating officer of the Ft. Mitchell location.

“The ability to facilitate and manage it to its final success is all provided for our agents and clients alike in a manner that just really gives them a competitive advantage,” Amann says.

Huff also pays for continued education classes, says Angie Sabet, an agent with Huff Realty for nine months. “I interviewed with three managers before I chose Huff,” she says. “During training, I followed my poor manager around for weeks before I felt comfortable enough to be on my own.”

Chuck Thompson, owner of EXIT Realty’s Cincinnati branch, says EXIT differs from other realty companies in many ways, namely in different programs set up to reward exemplary agents.

The way an agent’s commission is split is one of EXIT’s benefits. Most agents start out with 50/50 at other companies, Thompson says. EXIT, however, splits commission 70/30 no matter what, but agents who have earned $100,000 in gross commission in one year earn 90 percent of profits for the rest of the year.

EXIT agents are also rewarded for referring other agents for the company, Thompson says. If an agent refers another agent to EXIT, he or she will receive 10 percent of the gross commission every time the referral closes a deal, with a maximum of $10,000 given per agent per year, just for sponsoring.

This referral percentage is rewarded to an agent even after the agent has left the company (as long as the agent doesn’t join another real estate company) at 7 percent of the commission, and after death, 5 percent of each referral’s commission is given to the agent’s beneficiary.

 

 

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Put those endless 9 to 5, pencil-pushing, desk-sitting doldrums to an end by taking a step beyond the desk into a new job opportunity: real estate.

Many professionals are drawn to real estate because of the freedom, excitement and – if you’re good at it – hefty pay. “Your own dedication affects your paycheck,” says Meghan Ferguson, agent with Coldwell Banker West Shell. “If you’re a go-getter, you get paid accordingly.”

Agents are also drawn to the opportunity to set their own hours – making their own appointments, days off, etc. Ferguson chooses to work every day, unless she’s in another city: “I’m out of town a lot more than I used to be,” she laughs.

Others become agents because they have the disposition for the business. Ferguson was one of these: “My father was a salesman and always pushed me toward it, but I was always like, ‘Ugh.’ I thought it was all corporate,” Ferguson says. “But then I realized that sales was just building relationships and helping people. I’d already been doing that my whole life. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Aside from the monetary benefits, selling real estate can be a positive experience, Ferguson says. “Every time you go after a sale or project, you set a goal for yourself and your client. Helping them in a very important step in their lives is very rewarding,” she says.

Real estate is generally acknowledged as a fast-paced profession, so one thing to keep in mind before committing is deciding whether you can juggle the rest of your life (family, hobbies, etc.) with the market. “It is possible,” Ferguson says. “You end up having to schedule that time. Put your family commitment first, and schedule your appointments around that.”

Training to become an agent takes six weeks if the classes are everyday, but you can accommodate it to your lifestyle, Ferguson says. “Some people who have another job can still keep that job. It’s pretty flexible in that sense,” she says. Some real estate companies will pay for future agents’ training, once that prospective agent is officially licensed and under contract with that agency.

The first integral step to real estate is getting a mentor, someone who’s been in the business for a long time, Ferguson says, since the fast-paced market can be scary when you’re starting out. “It’s better to team up with somebody who knows their business, and then change their technique to work for you,” she says.

Although newcomers to the market can get started fairly quickly, Ferguson advises future agents to put money aside before beginning training. “Go in expecting not to make money your first year. And if you do, that’s fine. But if you can stick to it for a full year, your second year will pay you back,” she says.

According to Ferguson, by the second year, the agent has forged connections with clients, which in turn yields referrals, some of which Ferguson says she had no idea how they’d heard of her. “I don’t have to go out and actively pursue leads, but in the first year, that’s all you’re focused on.”

More experience also brings a specialty, whether an agent’s expertise is in selling condos, homes, land or property. Ferguson recommends trying them all, and then going with the one you feel most comfortable with.

Another decision to consider in real estate is which company you should become a part of. Different companies offer different benefits and programs, so finding a company that fits your needs is essential.

Cincinnati-based Huff Realty is very agent-centric, says Joy Amann, chief operating officer of the Ft. Mitchell location.

“The ability to facilitate and manage it to its final success is all provided for our agents and clients alike in a manner that just really gives them a competitive advantage,” Amann says.

Huff also pays for continued education classes, says Angie Sabet, an agent with Huff Realty for nine months. “I interviewed with three managers before I chose Huff,” she says. “During training, I followed my poor manager around for weeks before I felt comfortable enough to be on my own.”

Chuck Thompson, owner of EXIT Realty’s Cincinnati branch, says EXIT differs from other realty companies in many ways, namely in different programs set up to reward exemplary agents.

The way an agent’s commission is split is one of EXIT’s benefits. Most agents start out with 50/50 at other companies, Thompson says. EXIT, however, splits commission 70/30 no matter what, but agents who have earned $100,000 in gross commission in one year earn 90 percent of profits for the rest of the year.

EXIT agents are also rewarded for referring other agents for the company, Thompson says. If an agent refers another agent to EXIT, he or she will receive 10 percent of the gross commission every time the referral closes a deal, with a maximum of $10,000 given per agent per year, just for sponsoring.

This referral percentage is rewarded to an agent even after the agent has left the company (as long as the agent doesn’t join another real estate company) at 7 percent of the commission, and after death, 5 percent of each referral’s commission is given to the agent’s beneficiary.

 

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I like to think of business cards as tiny gifts that get passed from one hand to another. They’re often the first impression for your business, and as such, they need to communicate the care and attention you’ll give customers. So how do you make sure your cards send the right message? A crafty touch or two — no special skills required — can set you apart from the masses. Here are a few ideas to get your creative juices flowing and the phone ringing:

Make Your Mark
An eye-catching business card might be as close as the rubber-stamp aisle at your local craft store. Pick a fun design and apply it to the front or back of an existing card with metallic ink. You can also order custom-made rubber stamps featuring your logo and contact information online (www.simonstamps.com) and simply make cards as you need them.

Sew Easy
If there’s a sewing machine collecting dust in the back of your closet, it might be time to take it out of retirement. A simple row of stitches across the bottom of pre-printed cards lets people know you pay attention to details. You can also spray the back of your card with adhesive mount (available at craft stores) and attach a square of patterned fabric. Then add a few decorative stitches as finishing touches. 

Picture Perfect
Think about incorporating your own photographs into a business-card design. One card I love features a picture of a photographer’s hand with her business information written across her palm. Do you have memorable shots hidden away in a scrapbook or on the computer? Can you take one that relates to your business?

Don’t be a Square
I recommend sticking with the standard 3-1/2×2-inch size so your business card fits easily into organizers and wallets. But you can set yourself apart by slightly altering that square shape. Hit the scrapbook aisle at a local craft store — or look online at www.store.scrapbook.com — for an inexpensive corner punch. This simple tool allows you to round off the four corners of your card for a softer look. Want something more adventurous? These same outlets carry rolling die-cuts, which allow you to create a variety of decorative edges. 


More Ideas:

  • Print your cards on handmade or linen papers for a tactile experience. I recommend looking for these gorgeous options at Xpedx Paper Store or Hobby Lobby.
  • Do you have pretty handwriting or know someone who does? Write out your business information by hand for a truly personal touch.
  • Print your cards in one color then use markers to add additional shades by hand.
  • Create a two-toned card by gluing two relatively thin pieces of paper — in different colors — together then cutting down to size. 

 

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The alarm clock starts beeping. You hit the snooze button as many times as you can, then slowly realize you have to get up. You have to go to work. Problem is you don’t want to go — not just today, but everyday. You have felt this way for a while now, and every morning it’s like fighting with a kid to get up for school. “I need a new job.” Before you take the leap, check out this useful to information to make sure you are making the right choice.

WHERE THE PROBLEM LIES
If you hate your job, you aren’t alone. A national survey conducted this year by Conference Board shows that more than half of the respondents said they dislike their current job. With numbers like that, it’s no wonder we want to quit and move on. Anne Houlihan, HR trainer and founder of Golden Key Leadership, says that women usually “know in their heart” when it is time to move on, and that we plan it out from there rather than up and quit.

According to Houlihan, the most common reasons/situations that women consider leaving their place of employment are:

  • No growth opportunities
  • No longer challenged
  • Not inspired
  • Become disengaged
  • There is no flexibility
  • Become stressed out
  • Stagnation


When you have job satisfaction, odds are you are have a sense of commitment to the organization itself, but when you are dissatisfied, more serious problems can arise. Job dissatisfaction can lead to an increase in absences, tardiness, accidents, “strikes” or “occurrences,” even sabotage. There are five major components of job satisfaction:

  • General working conditions
  • Monetary benefits
  • Attitude toward the work group
  • Attitude toward management
  • Attitude toward the company


It can be said that job satisfaction and your performance go hand in hand, and that one is the result of another. Remember that when you are dissatisfied and your performance and attitude is poor, it can be a red flag that something needs to change before you are the one being handed a pink slip.

WHAT WE DO WRONG
Of course there are the typical turmoil’s when it comes to quitting that women face such as having children or following their spouse on a move, but often times we find ourselves struggling with the emotional, more personal reasons that aren’t so cut and dry. “Women often times make the mistake of not looking at the bigger picture,” says Houlihan. “They need to get really clear what they are looking for in a new job or career, otherwise they will arrive at a new company and still be dissatisfied.”

Another big mistake we chatty women make is telling other co-workers what we are up to. It’s hard not to tell your friends at work that you are looking into leaving, especially when you spend 40 hours a week with them, often times more. As difficult as it seems, don’t say anything until you have officially given the company notice. The rumor mill starts running like crazy, and when so-and-so tells so-and-so, it doesn’t take long to get back to management.

But what if it’s not the company that is the problem, but instead it’s just your job? Don’t be too hasty in turning in your notice if there is the possibility of transferring departments or altering your job description. Houlihan suggests sitting down and communicating your problems with your supervisor to come up with a solution and action plan. She reminds us to stay positive and try to create a win-win situation for both you and the company.

HOW TO MAKE THE DECISION
So you are really considering find a new job. Before you turn in your two weeks, Houlihan suggests asking yourself these questions:

  • “What am I looking for?” Do you want to work for a large, competitive company, or a small, more laid back business? Things to look at are the differences in pay, benefits, work environments, and structure. Some people like the more structured, “by the book” corporations, where as others like to have the flexibility and casual atmosphere of “the little man” type business.
  • “Will this job be fulfilling? Am I passionate about the work?” Houlihan states that is important to weigh out any commute time, as well as scheduling flexibility. Basically, is the position you are looking at going to be exactly what you want, or do you have to compromise your career desires just to receive a paycheck?
  • “Are there opportunities for growth?” Are you a risk taker, or would you rather stay in your comfort zone? Look at your career goals and compare them to what you are doing now. Are you willing to take on new challenges, or are you the type that is content with just sitting pretty? Houlihan also reminds us to ask ourselves which decision will give us better balance and time with our families.
  • “What kind of contributor am I? What kind of contributions can I make to this new company?” Without getting too John F. Kennedy here, you do need to ask yourself what exactly you can do and bring to the business. Often, we look too much at what the business can give to us, but what good is that theory if you can’t contribute to the success of the company? Look at what and where your strengths are and try to fit the puzzle pieces from there.


If you are suffering from physical or emotional signs of workplace dissatisfaction, you need to evaluate your career immediately or even make an appointment to see your doctor. Remember, your health should not be compromised for a paycheck. If you just know it’s time to make a change, consider talking to a career counselor, or look into career testing. A few simple questions can make a world of a difference, especially when it comes to where you spend a minimum of 25 percent of your week.

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When it comes to your job, it takes more than just meeting a quota to move up in the company. It takes panache, assertiveness, and even a bit of couth. Often times our “Miss Thang” attitude can turn us into “Miss Unemployed” well before the stroke of midnight. Just as you try to have some class in your personal life, it is equally important to have some class in your career. So to all you self-proclaimed *bad word here*, leave your two snaps and a twist at the door and check out these workplace no-no’s.

Here are 10 things you do NOT want to do at work:

#10 DATE CO-WORKERS
So that hunk down the row has caught your eye, or there is some fresh meat filling out an application. As hard it might seem, ease up on the hunt. Dating someone you work with comes with a lot of hardships. If you work in a large company where you rarely see the object of your affection, or if you work in two separate departments, it can sometimes work. However, if you are desk buddies or work in departments very close to one another, you might want to avoid it. Office romance can blossom into one of those beautiful, rare flowers that bud once every 10 years, or it can blow up in your face—and often those who work around you. You can end up so heartbroken you quit a job you really like, or ruin the other person’s career in the process.

#9 USE COMPANY E-MAIL FOR PERSONAL USE
This one is sometimes hard to follow through with. I think it’s fair to say about 99.9 percent of us have been guilty of using our work e-mail for personal use. Not only are you wasting company time and resources, but you are putting yourself at serious risk of violating company policies. It’s easy to laugh when you hear an embarrassing story of how some wife sent a racy e-mail to her husband, only to have sent it to her boss. It’s not so easy to laugh when it’s you that sent it.

Being realistic here, we aren’t going to completely stop forwarding on those funny messages, or e-mailing our friends about weekend plans. However, the steamy letters or the 2007 calendar of half-naked studs should be nixed. Businesses have elaborate systems that can flag anything with inappropriate language, keywords like "resume," to addresses that aren’t recognized as secure users. It’s better to save your butt than get fired for forwarding the picture of one.

#8 LEAVE WHILE ON THE CLOCK
Sometimes 30 minutes is just not enough to get lunch, and that sandwich joint is just around the corner. It seems so easy to slip out the back and return unnoticed in 5 minutes, right? Think again, 007. You might get by once, maybe twice, but making a habit of it is sure to land you in hot water. The thing to remember here is you are on company time and off company grounds. What might turn into a 5-minute drive can turn into an air-care trip to the ER. You’ll also have a lot of explaining to do too if your boss is looking for you, or if there is a family emergency and someone is trying to locate your whereabouts.

#7 USE OFFENSIVE LANGUAGE
“Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?” Cursing, vulgar or discriminating langue might be accepted amongst your peers, but the gal in the next row doesn’t think it’s so funny. Odds are, the co-workers you see every day and hang out with are used to your mouth and share the same views and philosophies that you do. However, that person who overheard you can report you in a second, faster than you can finish your rant as colorful as the rainbow. Bite your tongue and take the conversation elsewhere. And remember; don’t use that company e-mail to express your thoughts to your friend down the hall!

#6 TALK POLITICS
It’s a wonderful fact that we live in a country where we are free to vote. Whether you are left wing, right wing or somewhere in the middle, it’s best just to keep your views to yourself while at work. It’s great to be patriotic, and free speech is one of rights, but the passion you share for your political party or issue can start an all out office war.

#5 COMPARE PAY
Human Resources can keep a lid on disclosing individual pay rates, but can’t keep employees from talking amongst themselves. I’m telling you, nothing good comes from sharing your hourly or salary rate with your co-workers. Having your diploma mounted on the wall proves you have put in some long hours at college, but who’s to say the guy that’s been there for 10 years hasn’t worked just as hard to move up the ranks? Even if your company has a flat starting rate that every Joe Schmoe makes who walks through door, don’t discuss it. When we talk about how much we bring home a week, factors like insurances, child support, taxes and other benefits aren’t usually brought up in that comparison. After all, not many people brag about paying backed support or having their wages garnished.

#4 TALK ABOUT OTHER EMPLOYEES
The rumor mill never seems to close. What we hoped would stop after high school graduation actually doesn’t. It is pretty sad how much grown adults relish in a good gossip session, especially us women. The thing with gossip in the workplace is that something false puts someone’s entire livelihood at stake. I have seen it first hand—someone thinks that girl is sleeping with a married supervisor; it starts as a rumor, someone else contacts the man’s wife and the next thing you know girl’s reputation is ruined and the man is losing his family. All from one very wrong suspicion. Moral of the story, leave the trash talk to Jerry Springer.

#3 HAVE THE “I DON’T CARE” ATTITUDE
Raise your hand if you have ever said, “I don’t care, they can kiss my butt!” (or another choice word). If you really believe that, and honestly don’t care, it shows. Your “whatever” attitude might also be portrayed as aggressive behavior. Often times those negative thoughts are portrayed in your appearance and your work. Changes in attitude and work are noted by supervisors, and can even become an issue during your performance review. If you are having some personal issues that affect your attitude at work, don’t be afraid to discuss it with your supervisor or human resources — they can assist you in finding help.

#2 PUSH THE ENVELOPE
Programs such as the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Worker’s Compensation, or short/long term disability were created to help those who really need it. However, there are always those that abuse it. The thing to remember is that abuse of these programs are usually violations of a business’s Code of Ethics, and can also result in trouble with the law. All it takes is one anonymous tip to a hotline from a fed up co-worker who caught you red-handed and you can face some serious allegations. Avoid abuse of company benefits and government programs. Sick days, bereavement, tardiness — those fit this package as well. Keep in mind, nothing in life is free — you will pay for it somehow.

#1 TAKE YOUR JOB FOR GRANTED
Be thankful you are working. Outsourcing is a real thing and many states are considered "at will." Just because a business fires you, it does not mean you are entitled to unemployment. A business can argue that you weren’t a good worker and you can end up with no financial aid from the state. So hold your tongue when you get the urge to say, "Well, fire me then!"

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Can that work wait until tomorrow? More than likely the answer is "yes." Between Blackberrys, cell phones and laptops, we've conditioned ourselves to remain connected, even when we don't have to be.

Remaining plugged in at home can strain your personal relationships and rob you of the essential down time needed to rejuvenate yourself for the next workday.

Check out the problems you may have on the job resulting from R&R deprivation, courtesy of mindtools.com:

  • Difficulty focusing
  • Harsh mood swings and rising workplace conflicts
  • Lack of fresh ideas
  • Loss of enthusiasm for your job


Never fear, you can be saved from becoming the office grump by following these helpful tips:

Leave the corporate gear at work. The best way to ensure you won't work at home is to ditch the trusty laptop and office gadgets. Odds are, the closer the Blackberry is to the sofa, the harder it is to avoid looking at it.

Out of sight out of mind. Just as you physically prepare yourself to leave the office, take a mental break, too. Put all deadlines, e-mails and meetings on the back burner. Concentrate your thoughts on family, fun and friends.

Create routines to help you unwind before you get home. Play your favorite CDs on the car ride home. Reward yourself for a hard day's work and stop for ice cream. Meet a friend at a park for a quick walk before heading home.

Lose the uniform. Remaining in your corporate armor may make you feel as if you're still in work mode. Scrap the starched shirt and stilettos for a favorite pair of jeans and flip-flops.

Set boundaries with your private life. Avoid making yourself accessible after work hours. Establish clear guidelines with co-workers on when you can be reached regarding business matters.

We've all heard the saying "life is too short" and it really is. The average employee will spend 269 days and over 2,100 hours per year at work. So, believe it or not, the company can survive without you skipping Rover's walk to send that e-mail. Take a break from the corporate throne and enjoy your personal life!

 

Use these resources to in your quest for happy and healthy work-life balance: