BOSS blog 10.29.13

Happy Halloween week!! We love excuses to throw a party and get dressed up. What plans do you have for the spookiest day of the year? Whether it be a trip to the pumpkin patch, trick or treating through the neighborhood or attending a costume party, we hope you have something planned! Not all offices allow you to get festive for the holiday, but we have found a few easy ways to incorporate Halloween into your work life.

If you are lucky enough to work in an office that encourages costumes or is throwing a soiree, don’t wait until the last minute to plan!! Decorate your door or cubicle, plan a costume with your coworkers, and bring a fun treat to share at the party!! As far as costumes go, remember to keep things professional… avoid sensitive topics, politics, or anything too crude. Imagine losing your job over dressing up as Miley from the VMA’s.

For the more subtle celebrators: If your office is strict about holidays, try to have a little fun with treats for visitors or have a decoration here and there. If you are brave enough to dress up but don’t want to be the only one in your office in costume, dig deep and come up with a costume that could pass as a normal outfit… or steal one of our ideas. We love Betty/Don Draper from Mad Men, a secret spy, Dwight Shrute from The Office, or Sheldon/Amy from The Big Bang Theory. Check out our Pinterest board for more recipe ideas and costume inspiration (http://www.pinterest.com/dparlon/halloween-at-work/)!!

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BOSS blog 10.24.13

You found the perfect job, wrote out an awesome cover letter, updated your resume, and sent it in WITH a follow up email….but never heard back. Wonder why?? What if you found that it was something as elementary as simple grammatical and spelling errors?

Breaking news: Word doesn’t always catch every mistake and put that very helpful red or green zigzag line under it. Because they’re/their/there are still words, they may have just been used incorrectly and cost you a job or two. Some people (hand is raised) who spend a decent amount of time reading articles and typing out our own, take personal offense to typos and will immediately reject something that sticks out like a sore thumb. Job seeking is no easy task, so don’t make things harder for yourself: double, no TRIPLE check your resume and cover letter. Have a friend look it over just so we can all rest a little easier at night knowing it is flawless and doesn’t have errors like these:

  • They’re/Their/There:

-Apostrophes tend to confuse people… think of that little apostrophe as the shortening of the words. They’re=They are. There=a place. Their=possession.

-They’re going to look at your resume. Resumes are collected by their assistant. From there, they will contact you.

  • PowerPoint/Excel:

-Know the difference, but know that PowerPoint is two words, each capitalized but put together. Excel has that little c in there, sound it out! Make sure the words are both capitalized, as they are brands!

  • Verses vs. Versus:

-Musical verses

-Red Sox versus Cardinals

  • Affect/Effect:

-Use affect as a verb and effect as a noun. Affect is an influence, while effect is a result.

-A good resume affects an employer’s opinion of you. The effect that the typo free resume has on an employer is second to none.

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BOSS blog 10.16.13

We have decided to tackle one of the business world’s greatest debates: Working from home- Awesome or Awful?? Personally, some of the hardest working people we know do business from the comfort of their own home – ourselves occasionally included. But is it beneficial to the company or just one huge distraction?

For those who spend 8-10 hours a day under fluorescent lights in a tiny cubicle, we understand your bitterness. But we want to settle a few rumors. Thanks to programs like Skype and WebEx, meetings can be held virtually, so onesie pajamas don’t exactly fit that dress code. And while music can be played at maximum volume, screencasting makes it impossible to surf YouTube or BuzzFeed all day long.

But there are some true benefits, especially for those who spend an extra 2 hours a day sitting in the parking lot that is I-95. The ability to go for a run or hit the grocery store mid-day is wonderful, as is full access to the kitchen. Those who are given an hour lunch break in the office tend to take the full 59 minutes and 59 seconds. When working from home, it is more common to grab something from the pantry and snack while working. We are finding that those working from home are more productive and also lead healthier lives because of that extra time not spent commuting or waiting in line at the fast food joint next door to the office. So if you have the option to work from home, we suggest it but not without a little guidance:

-Be knowledgeable of social media and networking tools.

Because you no longer have cubicle neighbors, you need to make time to stay connected with coworkers and clients. Start conversations, spark each other’s creativity, and keep people motivated. It is a good outlet for you to prevent from going stir-crazy.

-Set a where and when.

While you do have the entire house/café as your office, that doesn’t mean you should stretch out your work all day to the point that you are fitting in meetings after dinner and between soccer games. Set a time frame and work during those hours so you have time to run errands and be with family. This means when your allotted work hours are over, be able to shut down, step away from emails and focus on life outside of work.

Get out of the house!

Instead of creating an office space on the couch and trying to work while watching Real Housewives (we know which will get more attention), sit at the kitchen table, or better yet get out of the house a few days a week! Research shows that light background chatter increases productivity, so head to your favorite café and set up camp. Another brand new idea- Work Bar. We have seen a few popping up in Boston and find them to be GENIUS. Pay a monthly fee and get access to a kitchen, office supplies, a full bar and other entrepreneurs looking to strike conversations.

-Don’t become invisible

One of the greatest fears of becoming a virtual worker is that you become invisible to the company and to your superiors. That doesn’t have to be the case. Chime in, speak up and don’t be afraid to show your face at meetings or company events. Be the extrovert we know you can be!

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BOSS blog 10.11.13

Thanks to Columbus sailing the ocean blue, we have one last warm (-ish) long weekend ahead of us. What do you have planned? Well, if you find some down time in between running the kids to their various sports, cooking up a storm, and bringing down the winter clothes from the attic, we have a few ideas in mind.

Job hunting is certainly exhausting and can be frustrating, especially when you find that employers never get back to you to say that they simply aren’t interested. So, take a step back and let’s look at things from their angle, maybe there is a reason you aren’t hearing back? In this day and age, over 89% of job seekers use social media AND about 65% of employers use social media to gauge their prospective employees.

Keeping that in mind, we suggest spending a few hours this weekend screening your social media pages as an employer might. Are your pictures appropriate? Are you constantly posting whiny tweets with multiple curse words and typos? Are you making an effort to network and start engaging conversations? These are all things that can sway an employer one way or the other. Social media pages can show your personality that otherwise wouldn’t be shown to employers from your resume or cover letter.

• Facebook: Make sure all of your pictures are appropriate. If you are confused, think “would Grandma like this?” before posting. We also strongly encourage the highest level of privacy. You don’t really need likes from strangers, do you? Another note- if you tell your boss you have come down with the flu, but then update a status about how CRAZY Vegas is…. What does that say about you?

• Twitter: If you choose to go with a public account, then you have lost your right to use Twitter as a diary. ANYONE can see it, including the boss you mentioned as an incompetent idiot in that last tweet. Use twitter as a source, a place to keep up with your favorite celebrities, news hubs and hot, new companies.

• Instagram: Yes, the filters can make a landscape gorgeous or make you look slightly less pale. But they do not make a party photo any more appropriate or the constant PDA pics with your boyfriend any cuter.

• LinkedIn: This is the ultimate job networking site and the LAST place to gossip with friends. Keep your photo and job title current. Almost everyone has a LinkedIn account, so if you post your job description, make sure it is insanely accurate. You can’t get away with saying you “played an integral role project managing with 3 supervisors” if you actually were taking Starbucks orders.

While you’re cleaning out your social media, keep in mind that staffing firms like Black Oak Staffing often post the positions they are looking to fill. Or they post clever, adorable and super helpful blog posts (wink, wink). Use social media to your advantage and not just as an outlet to brag about the latest party or post the 879th picture of your pet (although my pet is really, really cute!!!!).

Have a wonderful long weekend, make time for family and enjoy the weather!!

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BOSS blog 10.8.13

Ah, October. For some of us, this means breaking out the boots, scarves and sweaters, standing in long lines for pumpkin spiced ANYTHING and penciling in time for apple picking and pumpkin patches. But for others, like employers, it means that the dust is finally settling on summer hires. While the autumn season seems discouraging, with the kids going back to school and everyone getting back into their routine, it actually is the beginning of a wonderful transition time.

As companies finish training their new employees, they assess how satisfied they are and if they have room to add more. Current employees assess their own personal satisfaction and debate if they want to try something new. In both situations, new openings are created in companies, making room for YOU.

Speaking of making room in companies, we just wanted to give you an update from our last blog post. Marina Shifrin had created a viral video quitting her job with Next Idea Animation, earning her interviews on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and on The Queen Latifah Show. Her creativity, boldness and ability to stand out caught the Queen’s attention. She CREATED a position for Marina, offering her a digital content producer job right there on the spot.  In other news, Next Idea Animation shot back with their own video to announce that they are, in fact, not heinous to work for and are actually hiring. Both are perfect examples of great timing and finding creative ways to stand out.

When Mother Nature greets us with a new season, we always find that people tend to be friendlier and more excitable as we wake up to dew on the grass and a crisp breeze. Talk to your neighbor while raking the leaves, strike up a conversation at the pumpkin patch or in line for your PSL at Starbucks. You never know who might know of a position or an awesome staffing firm like Black Oak Staffing who can help you find that dream job.

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BOSS Blog- 10.4.13

Viral Videos: great distractions from work, ice breakers to an awkward conversation and now… a potential way to quit your job? The viral video of the month highlights Marina Shifrin, an unhappy writer for Next Media Animation, a company who strives to generate views on videos. 9.4 million views later, her video, showcasing her dance moves and creative take on the “I QUIT” conversation, is their biggest hit yet. Her work environment was not a pleasant one, as she was given few lunch breaks and had varying schedules and responsibilities.

Now, we have to give her credit. Not only did she stand up for herself, but the video is incredibly creative and generated so much more attention than she could ever have thought. But was the attention good or bad? And, if you are THAT unhappy at your job, do you take it this far? Quitting a job, in a foreign country, without a fallback, is an insanely risky move. Had we had the opportunity to speak to Marina prior to the video’s debut, or any other unhappy employee who is thinking of quitting, what advice would we give you?

First of all, a full time job is obviously consuming and we tend to get wrapped up in our own little worlds. So we first recommend taking a step back and really thinking about your unhappiness. As a MAJOR fan of lists, we like to write out my emotions into neatly organized, bulleted columns, maybe even color coded. What else is going on outside of work? Think of your living situation, your social life, relationships. Make sure none of that is contributing to your unhappiness.

No? Okay, next step, next list. What do you dislike about your job? If you could change things to benefit your happiness, what would they be? Take a look at what you’ve written down and see if any of these are viable options. Talk to your boss or HR confidentially, as one of their main responsibilities is to make sure employees are happy and address any questions or concerns you may have. Be reasonable, be calm.

Still can’t come up with enough bullet points on the “why to stay at my job” list? It happens. But before drafting that resignation letter, we suggest getting a headstart on job hunting. It’s tough out there, and the perfect job doesn’t always just land in your lap. It could take months to find a good fit for you. Keep in mind that by quitting, you are forfeiting and THEY win.

Let’s make things relative. Think of quitting in terms of filing for divorce. Once you are separated, you have to learn to be on your own again, which is not always easy. You don’t fall in love again right away. It takes time. You have to think about what your “ex” will say about you (i.e. in future reference checks), so make things as amicable, honest and pain-free as possible.

Best advice, post breakup? Try a staffing firm…. like maybe Black Oak Staffing. We’ve been there, we get it. And we would love to help you fall in love with the perfect job and have you happy to wake up and go to work every morning!