For many years, being a “busy, successful professional” could mean “married to the job” and/or “work always comes first.” But in the past decade and a half - particularly post-Great Recession - thinking on this topic has changed dramatically.
Stewart D. Friedman, the Practice Professor of Management at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and the author of Leading the Life You Want: Skills For Integrating Work and Life, wrote in a 2013 essay in the Harvard Business Review that if a company has committed to promoting better work-life balance for its employees, top executives have to walk the walk, too.
He offers several case studies of executives with big-box retailer Target who began modeling flexible work schedules and taking adequate vacation and the impact it had on both them and their teams, then muses:
“When senior executives are modeling healthier behavior, it lets a grassroots movement take hold. … When steps like these are taken to improve performance and reduce stress, and employees see that this is a legitimate and fully authorized activity, then an increasing number of them are going to generate experiments of their own. Slowly, the culture changes as new models for what’s expected emerge, and as people at all levels demonstrate that it makes good business sense to take care of all the things that matter in your life.”
In the spirit of work-life integration, we’re offering a mix of career- and job-hunt-oriented tips this month, plus a hearty helping of advice about gratitude (always a hot topic in November) and what you can bring to the office Thanksgiving potluck. Enjoy!
Hunting for a new job is demanding, even more so if your hunt continues for weeks and months. It’s easy to become stale, frustrated and stuck. Flexjobs has created a quick list of ideas for recharging your search strategies and keeping your sanity throughout the process. My personal favorites include “pick the worst idea” (meaning, consider ALL options), “connect with three persons,” and “daydream and doodle” (use hobbies and recreational activities to locate a job you’re passionate about).
Ah, yes, that awkward moment: do you help someone who is in a full-time job search during the holidays by providing a gift that relates to their quest, or do you cut them a break by not mentioning it? The good folks at Top Resume have assembled a list that helps you figure out practical, thoughtful and encouraging gifts for your favorite career ninja-in-progress.
There are old stand-bys such as a resume makeover (a natural, given the blog site!) but there are lots of contemporary and forward looking suggestions, such as:
- Providing “commuter credit” in terms of a gas card, a light rail/bus pass, etc.
- Gifting them with a LinkedIn profile makeover (many resume writers will do this in conjunction with other services)
- Helping job seekers upgrade professional skills by purchasing a membership in Lynda.com or Skillshare.com for them (monthly or yearly rates are available)
Since Thanksgiving is a major secular holiday in the United States, November has become the unofficial (maybe official?) month to celebrate gratitude. Sort of like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), only with feelings.
This post does a good job of rounding up the research related to gratitude and making the case for how actively “practicing” gratitude (by keeping a journal, reaching out to say thanks, etc.) can improve your professional relationships, boost your self-esteem, improve your physical and mental health, and help you appreciate small bits of awesomeness in your day. One of the keys to understanding why gratitude is so darn helpful is voiced by Robert Emmons, a psychology professor at University of California Davis, who is quoted in this article. “Grateful people take better care of themselves and engage in more proactive health behaviors like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and regular physical examinations.” Which (in my mind anyway) is a fancier way of saying “What you appreciate, appreciates.”
I’m not big on posting things that are essentially open threads on the career blog, and I can’t remember the last time I posted something that was from a food website. But … there are going to be a lot of office potlucks in the next month or so, and even when we have the time and energy to prepare something … sometimes ideas are needed. And not everyone is a Pinterest junkie.
The 25 posts to this article (in which the author requested ideas for appetizers and main dishes that can be served at room temperature) offer suggestions (and recipes) for everything from cabbage chicken salad and “yummy” broccoli salad to spiral wraps, deviled eggs and bacon-wrapped dates. (How about bacon-wrapped ANYTHING???)
This is a post that provides a nice little jump-start if you have a potluck coming up and are burnt out on your usual contribution.
~ Liz Massey, Managing Editor, ASU Alumni Association