Photo courtesy of Phil Long via Flickr.
It has been, to put it mildly, a year of change for most people living in the United States. Many of those changes have been put in motion by the 2016 elections, with the outcome on many fronts - including those related to one’s professional life - completely unknown as of this posting.
Self-improvement author and blogger Remez Sasson recently wrote a lovely blog post on how to deal with surprises and unexpected events. In addition to counseling such sound actions as always making a Plan B, and taking time to assess a surprising turn of events to determine how severely it will disrupt your life, he also suggests that readers prepare themselves for future surprises by intentionally introducing small changes into daily life, such as:
- Taking a different route to work in the morning.
- Eating something different for breakfast.
- Drinking tea in the morning instead of coffee.
- Deciding on the spur of the moment to go to a movie with your spouse or a friend.
- In general, doing things that you usually do, but in a different way.
This month’s links all relate to surprise in someway, and how to cope with the unexpected. Enjoy them as they help you better adjust to everything life has to send you!
If you dream of making a career with one of the Big 4 accounting firms, then you probably do want to review this post, which recounts some of the most humiliating departures from PricewaterhouseCoopers, one of the Big 4 firms. Post author Michael Stephens lists actions that range from the brazen (selling company toner cartridges on eBay and mailing them to customers FROM WORK) and the risque (leaving inappropriate pictures of a significant other on a work phone) to the just plain oblivious (accidentally messaging a manager with a rant about said manager). As much as we’d all like to think we’re above such shenanigans, it’s better to read this post and think ahead than to receive a really “bad surprise” if you’re caught doing one of these things.
Surprise! Despite an endless slew of online postings that seem to question the value of higher or continued formal education, here’s a post by Matt Krumrie on FlexJobs that emphasizes how your college experience can provide you with essential skills for today’s job market, including dealing constructively with failure, utilizing available resources well, and critical thinking skills. He also highlights a few situations that speak specifically to the workplace in 2017, such as college’s ability to immerse you successfully in a diverse work environment, and how most college students leave their degree programs now with some degree of digital fluency.
Lindsay Pollak bills herself as an expert on Millennials and the multigenerational workplace, but you don’t have to be part of the under-30 set to benefit from reading this link roundup (yes, I’m including a link roundup in this monthly link roundup!). She has collected a number of tips that go beyond the expected; for example, here’s the article snippet she’s paired with advice to not minimize the importance of small talk:
“As you make your way to the interview space, the light conversation you exchange is a great opportunity to develop rapport. In an interview, there is no such thing as small talk. If the interviewer asks about upcoming weekend plans, talk about a hobby or personal interest of yours that you pursue in your free time. You might not have specific plans for those interests this weekend, but you don’t have to answer this question so literally. Don’t talk about errands to run, and certainly don’t say you have no plans! People want to work with people they like, and small talk is an opportunity to be sociable and therefore more likeable.”
Let’s face it - the process that sets the job of your dreams in motion probably will NOT start with a phone call that comes at a pre-appointed time. Over the course of my own career, I’ve pulled over in my car at least two or three times to finish unexpected screening phone calls and/or set up more lengthy phone interviews. Workplace columnist Anita Bruzzese, writing on her personal blog, provides great tips for how to adapt to taking a life-altering interview call on the fly. One of the most important pieces of advice she has for candidates is to stay professional on the phone, no matter where they are during the call:
“While the recruiter may have called you at home, this is anything but a casual chat. Just because you're in your bunny slippers doesn't mean you should let down your guard and get too chummy or casual. Be wary if the call is on speaker phone -- you never know who else might be in the room.”
~ Liz Massey, Managing Editor, ASU Alumni Association.