Archives for posts with tag: work

The holidays are fully upon us, and if I’m being honest, I’m not always fond of this time of year. Between the increased holiday hours at work, the flurry of year-end articles to write for Damage Control, increased traffic both on the streets and in stores, holiday parties, present buying and gift wrapping, and actual Christmas plans, everything can feel overwhelming. The sense of being overwhelmed and dropping my usual habits got to a point where I even stopped exercising. It wasn’t until I began to feel pain that I knew it was time to take a step back and pace myself.

When everything is said and done, aren’t the holidays something to be enjoyed rather than endured? Because I do enjoy Christmas and seeing my family. I do enjoy the time I spend at Christmas parties. And I do enjoy bringing home larger paychecks from work so I can buy family and friends gifts. After rethinking some of my priorities I came up with some helpful ways to maintain control of a schedule when time is tight.

  • Sleep: It’s always one aspect of modern day life that’s overlooked and undervalued. A goodnight’s rest can help you stave off sickness, maintain a healthy weight, and help with your mood.
  • Family: This is the time of year where most people spend time with their family. Whether they are blood relatives or a chosen family. Don’t forget to take some time to reach out and keep in touch with them.
  • Gratitude: When you’re on the grind, it can be easy to forget what you’re thankful for. However an attitude of gratitude can help keep you grounded and your eyes focused on the bigger picture.
  • The holidays are temporary: Eventually, the holiday season will end and your schedule will return to normal. A little patience and perspective can go a long way.

Even if you’re not a fan of the holidays or you don’t celebrate them, it’s still necessary to keep yourself well-paced during this time of the year because in many ways you are still impacted by the holiday season.

 

What are some of the ways you get through the holiday season?

 

The Mont Saint-Michel Candles by Samuel S of Flickr
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I can’t believe it is the fall season already. Between the bouts of bad weather, needed home repairs due to the rain here in Philadelphia, and increased writing activity, I’ve been quite busy these last few weeks. In fact, I ended up skipping my week to journal here at Unveil Your Brilliance. As the saying goes, “life happens.” The trick is to find a way to get back on track when things occasionally go off the rails.

Even then, there comes a point in your life when people will demand your time and energy, and you have to say “no.” I remember when working for Epic Careering a saying in various forms stuck with me. Basically, if you don’t take control of your time, someone else will. A key component of success is knowing when you are at your limit, when to prioritize tasks, and when to decline some requests. This also applies to your life outside of work, especially when people (not your employer) ask for favors. Of course you want to help family and friends, but it is possible have all of your free time taken away if you don’t set boundaries.

For me, my mother had asked me to redo the résumé of one of her friends. It was a task that required me type up what was on hard paper, plus hand-written notes to include in updating the résumé. The document also had to be properly formatted. I said I could help her on a certain day of the week, but that day came and went without the résumé being delivered. Then it was suddenly dropped in my lap a day late, a half hour before I had to start getting ready for work. I pushed back and stated the friend would have to wait a few more days since the request wasn’t on the day agreed to, and I already had plans for the following days.

While I ultimately finished formatting the résumé on a Saturday night, I set my future boundaries. No more volunteering me for requests, and no more last minute requests (outside of emergencies). Having a day and time really sets up what works for me and what doesn’t work, versus sudden out of the blue requests. Sometimes you have to say “no.”

 

Do you make a habit of saying “no” often when it comes to your time?

Stack of Papers by Jenni C of Flickr

Stack of Papers by Jenni C of Flickr

One of my professional goals is to be a tiny dot on the radar for my manager. Meaning–I don’t want him to constantly think about what I’m doing and require reports from me. If this is required, then I haven’t proved that I’m a great employee who excels at independent work. I want to be the self-sufficient person my manager never has to worry about. I think I’ve developed this nicely because at my former job, we underwent several major changes and I had to report to someone for a time who was my boss’ boss. I didn’t want her to have to worry about me at all (she had enough on her plate as it was!), so I used my coworkers as resources and navigated a lot of issues on my own. Anything that had to be elevated I did, of course, but I made sure I could get through my day-to-day work without having to involve this upper manager. It went really well!

I’ve been slammed this past week with several projects that will linger into the end of September, which means that I’m having to buckle down and really organize myself in order to get everything done well, correctly, and on time. My manager emailed me for an informal status report and I laid out all of my plans for the upcoming weeks; he was so kind and offered me any help that I needed. I also have a colleague who offered her help for one of my journals which she used to work on before me. I’m very lucky to work in such a supportive environment.

I consider it a success when I can speak with my manager or send him emails about my work and how it’s all going and ask him for help when and if I need it, but otherwise remain the employee that he knows will do a great job. I never want to have him or any one else in upper management worry about me! I think I’m doing alright in that area :).

How about you, readers–do you have a more hands-off, helpful manager or someone who prefers to be in the loop about everything? Please let me know!

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Friday July 20th was the ten year anniversary of Damage Control, my video game and geek culture blog. Although the blog was created in June 2008, it would take another month after its creation for articles to start going up. In celebration, some of us wrote retrospectives. A common theme was how we all never expected the blog to last for a decade. The original idea behind the blog was to keep writing after graduating from college. After we took on full-time jobs as journalists the blog would slowly fade away. As 2008 came to a close, it became clear that landing a decent job in journalism wasn’t going to be a reality as the country moved into the Great Recession. Even as we made our own career decisions and did what worked best, Damage Control remained because it was an enjoyable way to express our creativity and maintain a connection to writing.

A decade after graduating from college (and founding DC), my life didn’t quite head in the direction I expected. It took nearly two years for the Great Recession to end, and by then I had not landed a journalism job. I was fortunate at to have my evening part-time job for nearly seven years at that point, and I wasn’t in danger of being laid off. It also provided various benefits such as medical, which helped ease a lot of stress. As for news industry jobs, either I was turned down, or the qualifying positions came with long hours and very low pay. I eventually found myself in retail, got roped into multi-level marketing, briefly dabbled in real estate investing, did some freelancing, tried ghost writing, and worked with Karen and Epic Careering for a few years. All of this before I was able to land full-time by chance at the evening part-time job I originally had. Ten years after the recession, the journalism print industry still isn’t in a good place. Although my dreams didn’t come true, I felt like I may have dodged a very stressful life.

It is fairly common for journalists to be laid off from their publications, especially smaller ones. Sometimes the reasons are due to staff cutbacks, other times the publication itself may fold. The cutbacks for the New York Daily News are making huge waves as journalists use the news as an opportunity to keep sounding the alarm of stagnant wages, poor work-life balance, and a dying medium. While I can’t say what life would have been like if I had made it in journalism, I’m still happy for the opportunity to write, whether writing is in the form of a paid gig like my time with Epic Careering or as part of a passion project.

 

How has the last ten years been to your career? Has it stayed on track or changed in drastic ways?

keyboardandmose

Keyboard and mouse.

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