3 Signs of a Miserable Job

You don’t need to be reminded if you have a miserable job. You already know if you’re reluctant to get out of bed in the morning, if you’re scouring job boards, and if you’re emotionally exhausted and defeated at the end of each workday. But it’s important to know the root cause of your job misery so you can find a way out of it.

Author Patrick Lencioni addresses the problem of job dissatisfaction in his book, The Truth About Employee Engagement, which was originally published with the title “The Three Signs of a Miserable Job.” The book is for managers improving the health of organizations but knowing Lencioni’s three signs is also helpful for employees. Being aware of these three signs, you can take better actions that bring satisfaction to your current job and, if your action is leaving your job, asking interview questions to detect another miserable job.

First, you must distinguish between a bad job and a miserable job. A bad job, as Lencioni explains, can be based on pay, prestige, process, or whatever a person values in their work. A miserable job is objective. It’s largely the same if you’re a university president, a professor, admissions counselor, maintenance worker, or anyone else on campus who dreads going to work.

Also, the manager is often a reason why employees are miserable. There’s truth to the saying that people quit bosses, not jobs. According to a 2019 survey by DDI, 57 percent of employees have left their jobs because of managers (another 32 percent considered it), while Gallup research shows that managers account for at least 70 percent of variance in employee engagement scores. No wonder Lencioni’s book is directed at managers.

Managers influence each of the three causes of job misery, but that doesn’t mean employees should be absolved from their own job satisfaction. For example, if your boss doesn’t give you feedback, don’t sulk in the misery of not having adequate feedback — ask for it! The same goes for a miserable job that you’ve attempted to remedy: eventually you need to move on and find a better job.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are Lencioni’s three signs of job misery, followed by one action and one job interview question for each:

#1 Anonymity

If nobody cares what you’re doing and you feel anonymous, you’re not going to feel satisfied with your work. Although you might profess modesty and say you don’t need praise from your boss, not being recognized for your work has both conscious and subconscious psychological effects on your wellbeing. Consider Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs: once your basic human needs of food, clothing, shelter, and security are met, what’s important is a sense of belonging and love. One of the many lessons learned from the pandemic, and remote work, is that the higher education industry desperately relies on an environment with human contact, which means less anonymity and more human interest.

Action to take in your current job: Make it easier for your manager to recognize that you’re a human being and not an agent for workplace transactions. Talk to your boss about what you’re going through and what you’ve accomplished. Don’t conform to his or her lack of empathy or social skills. Act more like the manager you want. “Employees who take a greater interest in the lives of their managers are bound to infect them with the same kind of human interest they seek,” Lencioni told Fast Company.

Question to ask in a job interview: “What do employees at your institution do well and how are they recognized or rewarded for their work?” Give hiring managers a chance to talk about their employees because that’s how they’ll describe you if you’re hired.

#2 Irrelevance

Everyone needs to know that their job matters to people, not just to the manager. Employees need to see the connection between their work and the satisfaction of others, both in large and small ways. To quote the 18th-century economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith, people desire “not only to be loved, but to be lovely,” meaning that praise is not enough but also knowing that respect was earned. “There are jobs that have an obvious impact on the lives of others,” Lencioni told the Harvard Business Review in an episode of the IdeaCast. “Even a teacher needs to be reminded about what a profound impact they have on their students.”

Action to take in your current job: Have more conversations with students so you see the impact of your work through them. A 2007 study led by Wharton management professor Adam Grant showed that university call center employees, after just a five-minute conversation with a student scholarship recipient, dedicated 142 percent more time to fundraising phone calls and raised 171 percent more money.

Question to ask in a job interview: “How have students benefited from the work that your employees do that students would not otherwise experience at other institutions?” If the search committee can’t offer at least one specific example, that’s a sign they see themselves and their employees as irrelevant.

#3 Immeasurement

This is Lencioni’s term to describe the inability of employees to gauge their own progress and level of contribution. Lencioni wrote that “people cannot be fulfilled in their work if their success depends entirely on the opinions or whims of another person,” in most cases their manager. “Without tangible means of assessing success or failure, motivation eventually deteriorates as people see themselves as unable to control their own fate,” Lencioni added. Basically, if you don’t know if you’re winning or losing at work, then you’re experiencing immeasurement.

Action to take in your current job: Develop your own short- and long-term metrics to track your work and tie it to the demands of your academic discipline (tenure requirements) or the strategic plan or mission of the institution (graduation or job placement rates). Obviously, there’s a delayed return on many of your efforts, so create personal productivity metrics that you can track on a daily basis: minutes of deep work, phone calls with prospective students or donors, or students’ engagement rates with online course content. Compile a report each week, month, or semester and email it to your manager, which will also address both your anonymity and irrelevance.

Question to ask in a job interview: “How do you define success for this position/department and what do you measure to know when success is achieved?” Make sure you ask about time frames, so you know if the expectations are reasonable. Playing a losing game can also be miserable.

In conclusion, there are many signs of miserable jobs but there are also many ways to escape this misery, by addressing these three causes or finding a new job. You have the ability to take action.

Source: Justin Zackal

5 Job Search Tips for 2021

Here are 5 tips for landing your dream job:

1. Update your resume. Recent accomplishments, newly acquired skills, and current position title are a few updates that should be made to your resume at least once a year.

2. Apply to five jobs a week. Use job search filters to find new positions each week to apply to. Create a job alert and have newly posted jobs directly in your inbox.

3. Setup a mock interview. Whether it’s with the mirror, a housemate, or a professional job coach, take time to practice answering the most commonly asked interview questions.

4. Increase your online presence. If you are looking for content to share on your professional channels, consider sharing topical articles and jobs you aren’t applying for, to keep yourself top of mind with your professional colleagues.

5. Make five new professional connections. Ask these individuals about their jobs and the company they work for to develop a relationship. Leverage these contacts as references or referrals when the time is right.

Top 5 Careers Worth Chasing

1. Find your calling

“Some people are very money-motivated, but most are looking for career fulfillment, not just a big paycheck,” says Molisani. That’s especially true of the millennials: 65% of them said they took their first job because they saw an opportunity for personal development, a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found. (Only 21% based their decision on salary.)

During the early stages of your career, one of your main professional goals should be finding what industry best suits your ambitions. “Now is the time to explore different career paths,” says Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a New York-based job-search consulting firm. “It’s more difficult to change industries later on in your career when you have a family to support and need a steady paycheck.”

2. Develop a broad skill set

Today, you’re hard-pressed to find a job that requires one skill and one skill only. “Employers want to hire people with a spectrum of talents,” says Molisani. Hence, instead of concentrating on what you want your job title to be in five years, focus on developing skills that will make you more marketable to future employers.

Start by honing your communication skills. Molisani recommends joining Toastmasters, an organization that helps people sharpen their public speaking. You may also want to take a writing class since nearly every industry will require you to write something, be it an email or an annual report.

3. Set a timeline for education

Depending on your chosen field, you may have to complete certain training, certification programs, or education to excel in your career. To avoid getting sidetracked, set a goal to acquire the skill or degree within a specific time period (e.g., “I will go to law school in two years”).

However, before enrolling—and potentially taking on student loan debt—think about why you want the degree and if it’s really going to make a difference in your future. “A lot of people go back to school for the wrong reasons,” says Safani, “and then they get frustrated because their education doesn’t lead to better career opportunities.”

If getting an MBA will increase your earning potential, it’s probably worth the investment; but if the degree isn’t relevant to your work, you might be better off going without.

4. Distinguish yourself in the field

To become a leader, you’ll need to raise your visibility at your current company and in your field. Show the boss you’ve got management potential by spearheading an initiative. Working on a group project? Be the one who presents the report to your manager. Join an industry group or association and regularly attend networking events.

“In-person networking is irreplaceable,” says Marcelle Yeager, president of Career Valet, a professional coaching firm based in Washington, D.C. Read: you’re more memorable when you meet someone face to face. You may even want to take on a leadership role (e.g., secretary) to further boost your public profile.

Also, develop a strong online presence that will help you demonstrate your expertise. That entails being active on social media—meaning you need to tweet on a regular basis, not simply have a Twitter account.  

5. Align your life goals with your career goals

Think about where you want to be in five years in terms of your personal life, advises Molisani. Looking to start a family in your hometown? Build your career there. Want to buy a house or pay off your student loan debt?

Check Monster’s salary guide to see what the average salary is for someone in your industry with five years’ experience, and determine whether you need to make adjustments in order to stay on course.

Develop new goals

No matter how much preparation you do to work toward achieving your goals, know that nothing is set in stone—and that’s OK. Your goals may change with time, and it’s important to be flexible. If you notice your career path is moving in a new and unexpected direction, allow yourself to explore it rather than resist it. The workplace changes, industries change, and you yourself will change too.

Source: Monster.com

Why You Should Consider an Apprenticeship

What is an apprenticeship?

The federal government defines an apprenticeship as “an industry-driven, high-quality career pathway where employers can develop and prepare their future workforce, and individuals can obtain paid work experience, classroom instruction, mentorship, and a portable, nationally-recognized credential.”

Or put another way, an apprenticeship is an alternative path to beginning a career in a profession, says Aaron Olson, Chief Operating Officer of AON, which created an apprenticeship program in the Chicago area.

“In our case, this alternative is important. As a professional services firm with white collar professions, we would traditionally hire from four-year degree programs. An apprenticeship is an alternative to that,” he says. AON’s apprenticeship allows people to go to work while they complete an education program at a partner community college. “When they’ve completed the apprenticeship, they’ve done the equivalent of a four-year degree,” Olson says.

If it sounds too good to be true, it’s because not every company and industry is on board just yet, so you may have to do some digging to find an apprentice program that fits your interest. Monster currently has thousands of listings for an apprentice. Read on to find out some other reasons why you should consider an apprenticeship.

1. It’s an alternative foot in the door without four-year degree debt

Apprenticeship programs are not only free, but you actually also get paid while you’re working through them. Certain programs also fund some schooling or provide credit that you can put toward a degree should you decide to go back to school to finish a degree at some point.

Compare that to attending college and having to borrow money to do so while also not earning any income. The average student loan debt per borrower was $35,359 as of 2019, and the scarier part is that there’s no job guarantee upon graduation.

With an apprenticeship, a person does not have to take on debt, and they can try out an industry while getting a paycheck.

2. You get paid a real salary

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, workers who undergo apprenticeships have an average starting salary of more than $50,000, and earn $300,000 more, on average, than non-apprentices over the course of their careers.

At AON, apprentices are paid as full-time employees with full benefits, and at the completion of the two-year program, they’ll come out with a two-year associate degree. While they are an apprentice, they are paid less since the company is also subsidizing their schooling. 

3. It’s a legit career path

“Being able to start in a career that would otherwise have required a bachelor’s degree is a real benefit,” says Olson.

AON believes so strongly in apprenticeships that it started a network with 26 other companies called the Chicago Apprenticeship Network, and have collectively hired more than 540 apprentices. “That validates that across multiple companies that we understand and believe in these programs,” says Olson. “We’ve legitimized this as a career path.”

There’s also a big push at the federal level with more than 1,000 occupations registering apprenticeships with the Department of Labor. And, it’s not only in fields that people typically think of as a traditional apprenticeship, like becoming an electrician or painter. You could train in health care, cybersecurity, information technology, and energy, for example. 

Furthermore, apprenticeships aren’t only for recent high school graduates. “When we started in the first year, we expected people right out of high school, but we did find folks further along in their careers who wanted to switch careers,” says Olson. “They have been really great for us.” 

4. It’s good for the economy, too

Apprenticeships could have a positive impact in filling in some of those skills gaps and helping organizations find qualified job candidates.

That’s probably part of the reason why the government is investing heavily in apprenticeships, with a $150 million in grants to support sector-based approaches to expand apprenticeships on a national scale in key industry sectors.

At the company level, it’s a good investment as well. Even though AON doesn’t require that apprentices stay on beyond the two-year period (some apprenticeship programs might), they’ve found that there’s a high retention rate among apprentices, and they stay with the company longer than more traditional hires.

Find your path

Whether you don’t think college is the right choice for you, you don’t want to take on student loan debt, or you simply want to fast track your start into a new career, researching apprenticeships could prove to be a good move. Could you use some help getting started? Join Monster for free today. As a member, you can upload up to five versions of your resume—each tailored to the types of apprenticeship programs that interest you. Recruiters search Monster every day looking to fill top jobs with qualified candidates, just like you. Additionally, you can get apprenticeship alerts sent directly to your inbox to cut down on time spent looking through ads. 

Source: Monster.com

10 Skills Employers Look for from New Graduates

Below you’ll find the top 10 most sought-after attributes that hiring managers want from the class of 2020. So if you’re on the hunt for an entry-level job.

1. Problem-solving skills

Nine in 10 employers (91.2%) want to see new college graduates tout excellent problem-solving skills. Many hiring managers use behavioral interview questions—phrases such as “tell me about a time when” or “give me an example of”—to assess a job candidate’s problem-solving ability. Thus, you’ll want to prepare anecdotes that paint you as a solution finder.

You don’t need job experience to provide proof that you’re a problem solver, says Los Angeles-based career coach Nancy Karas. “Think about times where you were proactive, innovative, or highly responsive to a challenge,” like that time you helped solve a customer complaint while working at the campus coffee shop, Karas says. Even better: Show that you took the initiative to identify a problem and then solved it.

2. Ability to work in a team

It goes without saying that nobody likes the employee who wants to hog the spotlight. But unlike your career as a student, where you’re really the only one who can make or break your success, the workplace depends on teams of people to get the job done. No surprise, then, that 86.3% of hiring managers want to know you can collaborate well with lots of different personalities.

You’ll need to learn how to delegate, take direction, value differences of opinion, and play to your and your co-workers’ strengths and weaknesses. “Being a team player is all about being reliable and trustworthy,” says career coach Denise Dudley, author of Work it! Get in, Get Noticed, Get Promoted.

3. Strong work ethic

You need to be committed to your job responsibilities and understand that performing your role is more than just means to a paycheck—after all, a company stands for something beyond business and so should you. That’s why 80.4% of hiring managers want to see new hires demonstrate a strong work ethic. Show up on time, be engaged in your work, and act with integrity.

4. Analytical skills

One in eight hiring managers (79.4%) want to hire entry-level workers who possess analytical skills, meaning they’re searching for critical thinkers—people who know how to gather and evaluate information and then make good decisions based on that intel.

5. Written communication skills

Good communication is always going to be among the top skills employers look for. The survey found that 77.5% of managers feel writing proficiency is the most desirable hard skill among recent college graduates. Therefore, submitting a well-crafted cover letter is crucial.

You’ll want to highlight experiences on your resume that demonstrate your writing skills. If you volunteered to be the scribe for a group project in college, for example, include that on your resume, advises Dawn Bugni, a professional resume writer in Atkinson, North Carolina. And depending on the nature of the industry—marketing, communications, or journalism to name a few—you might also submit writing samples with your application. “A writing portfolio speaks for itself,” Bugni says.

6. Leadership skills

It’s a tall order: 72.5% of hiring managers want potential hires with great leadership skills. Believe it or not, there are ways you can show possible employers that you have leadership potential before you even enter the workforce.

If you held a leadership role in college (e.g., president of the French club), highlight it on your resume. If you emerged as the informal leader on a group project, talk about the experience during the job interview.

Also, get letters of recommendation from former internship managers that speak to your leadership skills. “Glowing references can solidify a job offer,” says Stefanie Wichansky, CEO at Randolph, New Jersey, management consulting and staffing firm Professional Resource Partners.

7. Verbal communication skills

Seven in 10 hiring managers (69.6%) surveyed said good verbal communication skills are a must-have for new grads. Communication skills set the tone for how people perceive you and help you build relationships with co-workers.

Verbal communication prowess is best demonstrated during job interviews. Presenting answers to interview questions clearly goes a long way. You should also ask job interviewers open-ended questions to show that you’re engaged.

8. Initiative

Tied with verbal communication skills, 69.6% of hiring managers reported they want newly minted college graduates who know how to take initiative. This is where the maxim “Show them, don’t just tell them” applies. In the experience section of your resume, cite an example of a time when you deal with a difficult situation in a direct way or a time when being proactive enabled you to head off a problem.

9. Detail-oriented

According to the survey, 67.6% of managers are looking for new grads that have meticulous attention to detail. As a result, make sure your resume is impeccable, free of typos and grammatical errors, and organized with the use of clear, concise, and effective language. As Monster’s resume expert Kim Isaacs puts it: “You want your resume to be as perfect as humanly possible.”

10. Technical skills

Many industries, not just jobs in the technology sector, call for professionals with technical abilities. Case in point: 65.7% of hiring managers said new grads should possess technical skills. Describe how you’re applied your technical skills in the past. For instance, if your resume lists that you have Java experience, it should also describe how utilized the program on a particular project in college.

Source: Monster.com