How To...

04 Aug 2020

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TIDE laundry detergent is seen on a store shelf in Miami, Florida. Strong sales of cleaning products and soaps amid the coronavirus crisis more than compensated for lacklustre demand for shaving products, lifting Procter & Gamble’s quarterly earnings, the company reported last week.—AFP
TIDE laundry detergent is seen on a store shelf in Miami, Florida. Strong sales of cleaning products and soaps amid the coronavirus crisis more than compensated for lacklustre demand for shaving products, lifting Procter & Gamble’s quarterly earnings, the company reported last week.—AFP

Adjust your job search for this moment

Looking for a job is never an easy process, but it feels particularly daunting right now – not just because of the state of the economy, but also because the pandemic is changing the nature of work so drastically. If you’re on the job market, there are several things you can do to increase your chances of success. Tap your network to find out about job openings: knowing someone at the company you’re applying to will give you an advantage. Brush up your resume and cover letter, and be sure to include any experience that signals your success in high-pressure work environments, since so many companies are in crisis mode. If you do secure an interview, prepare by getting familiar with the videoconferencing technology, researching the company’s pandemic response and setting up a professional-looking background. Because you won’t get as much nonverbal feedback during the interview, focus on conveying warmth and establishing an emotional connection.

(This tip is adapted from “How to Nail a Job Interview – Remotely,” by Amy Gallo.)

Take these steps to reduce burnout

If you’re feeling burned out right now, you’re not alone. The good news is that you can do something about it. First, seek out support from a good friend, family member, therapist or coach. It’s hard to make decisions when you’re exhausted, so find someone who can challenge your thinking and give you another perspective. The person might even help you identify patterns in your behavior. Next, get clarity on your priorities. You may need to delegate or say no to projects that don’t serve you in the long run. Finally, prioritise healthy eating, exercise and sleep. Schedule in lunch breaks and stop your workday at a reasonable time. Use all of your vacation time. And examine your work environment. Burnout is often a result of a mismatch between demands of the job and available resources. If possible, and ideally in partnership with your manager, review the structure of your role and make adjustments to your workload.

(This tip is adapted from “5 Steps for Women to Combat Burnout,” by Ellen Keithline Byrne.)

Turn rejection into a learning opportunity

Whether you’re applying for a new job, vying for a promotion or pitching a big idea to your boss, when you put yourself out there and it doesn’t work out, you’re likely to feel rejected. It’s natural to feel a sting after a setback, but internalising that negative feeling won’t help. Here are a few strategies to help you channel your inner grit and seize an opportunity to grow. First, don’t allow your anticipation of any outcome to become an expectation. This can fuel false confidence and obscure your objectivity about how things are actually going. Second, let yourself feel the pain of rejection. Many people either try to bury or overindulge that feeling – neither of which is productive. Instead, name your disappointment, acknowledging that you feel hurt by the outcome. You might even talk to a trusted friend or colleague about it. Finally, use the experience to learn. Consider what part you played in the decision not going your way, and solicit feedback about what you could have done better.

(This tip is adapted from “How to Bounce Back From Rejection,” by Ron Carucci.)

Overcome your fear of making mistakes

The fear of making a mistake can be paralysing in normal times, and it’s even worse when we’re living through a period of heightened uncertainty. But there are things you can do to get unstuck. Start by naming your thoughts and feelings. For example, if you work in retail right now, you might be worried about making mistakes around reopening. Try to pinpoint your specific concern. Maybe it’s something like: “I feel anxious about the safety of my customers and my staff.” Stating your fears helps diffuse them. Next, try to accept reality by making a list of truths you might need to come to grips with, such as: “I understand that people will not always behave in ideal ways.” Finally, think about how you can act on your values to address the situation. Let’s say one conscientiousness is important to you. You might apply that value by making sure your employees have masks that fit them well and easy access to hand sanitiser.

(This tip is adapted from “How to Overcome Your Fear of Making Mistakes,” by Alice Boyes.)

Published in Dawn, The Business and Finance Weekly, August 4th, 2020