Archives for the month of: August, 2015

I recently was browsing through a few articles on Epic Careering and realized I’ve been freelancing with the blog for a year now. My first article, “How Fear Limits Careers” was posted on August 14, 2014. When I started writing for Karen, I had no idea how long I would stay. In fact, I almost believed I wasn’t up to the task for writing until Karen persuaded me to give it a try. There was a lot to the revision process as I had to wrap my head around the Epic Careering way of doing things. I learned a lot and I’m still learning a lot. I certainly didn’t envision myself becoming a staff member a half year later.

Working with Karen has had big a impact on my life. She helped me see how others could well, have their brilliance unveiled. In other words, I see people in a more positive light. When writing about the news or current events, a sense of cynicism can slowly overtake your thinking. At times I found myself frustrated with people, and I often shook my finger at them when writing. Sometimes it was a conscious decision, sometimes it happened subconsciously. Ever since I’ve started writing for EC, that process doesn’t happen quite as often. Additionally, working back-and-forth with Karen on articles means I can see how to help people realize their own strengths. Suddenly, an article that starts out telling a reader what they should do instead becomes a way to encourage and empower them. It is an awesome feeling!

It’s amazing where your journey may take you, if not physically, then mentally.

Thanks for an awesome year, Karen!

Cupcake with one candle and napkin by yanyanyanyanyan of Flickr

Cupcake with one candle and napkin by yanyanyanyanyan of Flickr

One of the first things I promptly forgot when I started my new job two weeks ago is to STAY ORGANIZED. A lot of information has been coming my way since day one and I haven’t been as vigilant as I usually am with putting things in their proper place, keeping track of correspondence, and writing down anything and everything that seems important to remember. Now, I’m not just throwing caution to the wind and taking each day as it comes, but my usual level of organization has been lacking.

In my current position, I work on academic journals and I keep track of correspondence between myself and authors, editors, typesetters, and many others who are integral to the publication of articles. I don’t believe for a second that my ways of staying organized are going to work for every person in every industry, by any means, but I thought I would share what I do in case it does help someone else out there! Below are the three things I adhere to religiously so that I stay organized, sane, and confident in the workplace:

  1. In my last job, I would keep a daily planner and write down my daily and weekly tasks and adhere to that religiously; in this new position, I don’t think a planner will work as well. Instead, I’m using a regular blank notebook to keep track of tasks, but I’ll also be using more Excel spreadsheets and databases to keep track of my work. Think about what you do each day and how you do it–what kinds of tools do you use? What do you think you can use (or stop using, for that matter!) to make your life better/easier/less stressful?
  2. Now that I have 2 years of experience at a different company doing similar work, I have at least a rough idea of what to expect in this new position in the coming months. My advice is, if you can, plan ahead for this; if you are given a task at work, think about similar tasks you completed at your previous position. What steps did you take to resolve a particular issue? How did you prevent problems from occurring? Usually, you can apply rough ideas to your current position and then revise as needed.
  3. Keep your email organized from the beginning. Maybe this sounds way too Type A, but I promise you will feel less overwhelmed and stressed if you don’t have 679 unread emails just languishing in your inbox. Create a few folders in your inbox to keep track of correspondence and delete unnecessary messages as soon as possible to cut down on clutter. This also makes it quick and easy to retrieve old correspondence regarding a particular job or problem.

Does this help? Or do you have different ways of staying organized?

stress
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I’m learning a lot about my peak productivity when it comes to doing tasks that require mental focus. Lately, writing has been a big one for me. In my quest to write shorter articles at a faster pace for work, I made a valuable discovery about my abilities. My peak productivity is in the late morning to early afternoon. It is the time of day when I’m able to write with the most clarity, ideas come to me faster, and revising work isn’t a difficult task. The real challenge has been attempting to write comprehensive articles off peak productivity hours on Sunday nights. At one point I was able to do this, but in recent months it has become nearly impossible.

The best I can manage are early Monday morning hours where I don’t find myself disturbed, but it is a constant battle to stay awake. The easiest way to remedy this issue would be to simply change my Sunday hours. That is easier said than done, at this moment. My mornings are usually dedicated to God and my afternoons are filled with chores. That said, I seem to be on the verge of a breakthrough. Recently, our church has started services at 9AM, which means worship ends around 11, as opposed to services starting at 11:30. The biggest breakthrough will be moving out next month, as I’ll be free to set my own Sunday afternoon schedule. When that time comes, I can’t wait to experiment and see how my productivity is increased when I’m writing during my peak hours.

Small update on my cleaning challenge: I’ve cleaned up the mail on my desk and bundled a fraction of my magazines for recycle. Overall, my desk is much neater and that makes me a LOT happier. 🙂 (I also upgraded to Windows 10. So far, so good!)

Yesterday was my first day at my new job! I’m very excited to be starting at this company-so far everyone seems very nice! It’s a bit larger than my previous job (office/building-wise and people-wise) so that will take some getting used to! I’m also located in a pretty busy part of town, whereas before I was in a nice, fairly quiet part of the city. I am also RIGHT across the street from my train station, so that’s amazing :-). For awhile I’ll be training and shadowing current employees before I get my own assignments, so I’ll try to enjoy the “down time” while I can!

I wanted to talk about first days, whether they’re at a new job, school, or any place else. I do think first impressions are important, but I also think that they’re not everything. I was introduced to a lot of people yesterday and I tried to be friendly and positive; for example, when someone would welcome me to the company, I would say “Thank you! I’m very excited to work here.” Or something similar. It was important for me to express that I was not nervous about this job, but happy and willing to learn. Of course I’m nervous, but I don’t want to communicate nervousness to all my new co-workers!

I also dressed up–my office requires business casual dress (but a little more on the casual side, I think, much like my previous job) and I made sure I looked nice. Not that I don’t try to look nice all the time at work, but I put a little extra effort in on my first day to show my manager that I’m serious about this opportunity. Also, I made eye contact. I don’t remember who I talked to or where I learned this, but I know that it’s important to establish myself as a new employee when I meet people by making eye contact with them. Also, I noticed that it helps me remember people’s names a little better (I am terrible with names) because it forces me to give my full attention to the person I’m meeting.

Finally, I smiled. I want to make friends and network in my new position and I want people to know that I’m friendly and approachable. But, really, above all else, just be yourself. I know that sounds cheesy but you’re great, right? So if you just continue to be great, everyone will notice that and gravitate toward you :-).

Does anyone else have any first day stories?

New-Job-Tips
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