Here’s some great questions from my readers.
“Dear Kathy, I’m new to the corporate world and I’m trying to decide what kind of employee I should be. The funny guy who always has a joke? The pervert who hits on all of the ladies? The stressed out guy? Or the guy that always blows out the bathroom on a different floor than I work on? Please help, as I really want to make a name for myself and do well.”
Anonymous bathroom boy, I wouldn’t suggest you become the Grim Reaper in the water closet. You’re question is relevant to all of us. Don’t feel like you’re alone. Whether you’re entering or are new to the work force, or trying to reinvent yourself, all of these questions are good ones.
I don’t think that you should walk around acting like Lumbergh, so forget the jokes, the sexual harassment, and being that guy sweating his job security all day.
Instead, focus on what you can do right now to make an impact.
- Ask your boss for mentorship. Find out what he thinks that you can do to move the needle.
- Make friends with HR. They know more than you think when it comes to the “up and comers.”
- Teamwork dude. Get your peers on your side. Making relationships at work is one of the most important things that you can do. You want people to have your back. Good leaders have teams that respect and believe in them.
- Market yourself. You need to be the one that shows and tells people what you can do, and more importantly, what you’ve accomplished. If you don’t do it — no one else will.
- Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Learn from bad decisions and move on. Don’t focus on being right all of the time, because it will ultimately lead to a lack of creativity and innovation because you’ll be scared of the results.
Be “that guy.” The one that everyone respects for his integrity, motivation, and drive.
“Dear Kathy, my name is Anne and I’m just getting back into the workplace after staying home with my young kids for 9 years. I don’t even know where to start. Do you think that I can get back into the workforce after I’ve been out of it for so long?”
Anne, my dear, yes you can! I did the same. I changed diapers, cleaned up vomit, and wiped behinds for years, all without a job. I was scared to get back into it too. I mean who wants to hire a woman that’s been associating with screaming 5 year olds all day long other than a lion tamer? Trust me. You’re more hirable than you think you are. I mean think about it— you’re enduring the toughest job of all, being a mom. You can certainly learn to re-navigate the workplace. Hell, I rather be at work, than at home with my snotty kids.
I think that the biggest issue for us fellow moms is remaining relevant in a world that we’ve been displaced from for a long period of time.
This is what I would do.
- Pull out your old resume and update it. Although your last job was 9 years ago, think about what you’ve done while you’ve been at home. You might have done community service projects, joined the PTA at school, been president of your local moms club. Although these sound a little trite in the face of a hiring manager, it does show leadership and a willingness to stay engaged.
- You might want to consider hiring a recruiter. Not only will they help you reframe your resume and write your cover letters, they will also lead you in the right direction to your next big opportunity.
- Talk to your peers. You’d be surprised what your friends and family will say when you let them know you want to go back to work. Not only will you get encouragement, these people will have your back. You can never imagine the power of networking. Your friends and family may have contacts for you that at least lead to a casual discussion or even an interview.
- Go on any and all interviews. Even if the opportunity isn’t ideal, use the opportunity to practice. Then when you go to land that dream job, you’ll have more experience and know how to seal the deal in the interview.
- Be confident. There is absolutely no reason for you to be scared. You’re smart, talented and ready for a new chapter.
I try to write these every few weeks, so let me know if I can address your questions.