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The Best Career Advice In The Wizarding World (For Muggles)

The Best Career Advice In The Wizarding World (For Muggles)
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When you’re the Boy Who Lived, you don’t really get a chance to pick a career. It was Harry Potter’s destiny to defeat He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, and his teachers and mentors worked to guide him down that path. As a result, his skill set really only translated to one job: Auror. While even by wizard standards, that’s an awesome career, it might have been nice for Harry to have a few options.

In the Muggle world, we have the opposite problem: endless career possibilities, but next to no guidance in our choice. And how we pick a career is decidedly less magical. The closest thing we have to a spell to help us determine our career path is a free app.

Still, just as Harry and his journey taught us about friendship, courage, and the power of love over hate, it can also inspire you to pick a career path that’s right for you. With so many careers to choose from, here are a few knuts of wizardly wisdom to help you decide which of these jobs best suits you:

Interpreter or Translator

“Differences of habit and language are nothing at all if our aims are identical and our hearts are open.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

As the world becomes increasingly connected, the jobs translators perform become more critical. In this career, you would help people cross language and culture barriers so they can better understand others.

To give you an idea of your options as a translator, they are often employed by such entities as schools, hospitals, courthouses, and the U.S. Department of State. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, their projected job growth is 29 percent through 2024, which is above average. In 2015, the median salary was $44,190 per year and most entry-level translator positions don’t require education past a bachelor’s degree.

Writer

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

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Many believe writers are a dying breed, but the skill set is still in high demand. Granted, print media is in dire straits, but the world can always use strong communicators and storytellers, especially in burgeoning new media formats.

Writers are now in demand as content marketers, copywriters, journalists, and editors. Also, the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2016 survey found that 70.2 percent of employers across industries are looking for written communication skills when considering job candidates.

While the Bureau of Labor Statistics, projected a slower than average job growth of two percent in this field, the 2015 median salary was $60,250.

Community Organizer or Activist

“You do realize that your sheets are changed, your fires lit, your classrooms cleaned, and your food cooked by a group of magical creatures who are unpaid and enslaved?” — Hermione, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

If the thing you remember about the Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare was all the hard work Hermione did to help the elves and not its unfortunate acronym (S.P.E.W.), you should consider becoming a community organizer or activist. People who take on these jobs spend their career fighting against economic and social injustice and raising awareness for their cause. But it takes more than passion to work as activist; you’ll also need strong organizational and communication skills.

Don’t think that choosing this career comes at the expense of a liveable salary. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, social and community service managers had a 2015 median salary of $63,530, and the number of positions will grow around 10 percent by 2024.

Law Enforcement

“It is important to fight and fight again, and keep fighting, for only then can evil be kept at bay though never quite eradicated.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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Want to protect and serve the public by fighting the bad guys? Then a career in law enforcement might be for you. And while most people think becoming a police officer is the only option in this field, there are other choices — like crime scene investigators, prosecution lawyers, and 911 dispatchers — that allow you to do your part to fight crime.

Depending on which law enforcement course you choose, there is a wide range of training you might need, as well as a large salary range. But to give you an idea, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a 2015 median salary of $60,270 for police officers.

Human Resources

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals.” – Sirius Black, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Wise words, Sirius. Although, if he had treated the family elf, Kreacher, more kindly, he might have lived to fight another day.

When it comes to a career choice, this sentiment is something people in human resources recognize and why they work to create a better workplace for everyone, despite their role in the company. Their focus is the organization’s people. Having a good HR department can make or break a company if they aren’t successful in improving employees’ satisfaction or in bringing the best talent on board.

This is also a very stable career path to choose. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a steady job growth of nine percent through 2024 and a 2015 median salary of $104,440 for HR managers.

Musician

“Ah, music,” he said wiping his eyes. “A magic beyond all we do here.” – Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

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Not every musician is a rock star, so don’t think this career path is unobtainable. Many musicians make their livelihoods playing as studio or session musicians or in music-related careers, such as a teacher, sound engineer, or concert venue employee.

Depending on how you decide to use your musical talent, there are different educational requirements and pay grades. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, musicians and singers made an average of $24.20 per hour in 2015, while music professors make around $72,000 a year.

Retail Sales

“One can never have enough socks.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

If you live and breathe fashion, retail is the route for you. What’s nice about this industry is there is a store and position for every personality. From Brooks Brothers to Hot Topic to Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions, there’s a company that will match who you are and what you are interested in.

While entry level positions in retail start out with lower salaries — the Bureau of Labor Statistics, found the 2015 median salary to be $22,040 per year — there are more opportunities as you move up the ladder. For instance, retail buyers, who decide what a store will sell, had a 2015 median salary of $59,620.

School Counselor

“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels, but old men are guilty if they forget what it is to be young.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

If you believe everyone has an inner child who shouldn’t be forgotten, a career counseling children would be good for you. Being able to communicate with young people and to reach them is a special gift. Not to mention that working as a school counselor or social worker can be very rewarding.

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school counselors have an average projected job growth of eight percent and a 2015 median salary of $53,660 per year. You could also go into private practice as a child and family counselor or work as a social worker.

Politician

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” — Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

If you believe that people shouldn’t have to distrust their political representatives, then maybe you should consider politics. Elected officials have the opportunity to dedicate their lives to their community and country while trying to positively impact the world on a large scale.

“There is no good and evil, there is only power, and those too weak to seek it.” Professor Quirrell, quoting Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

Or if you really are just a power-hungry, wannabe despot who was rooting for Voldemort throughout the series, I guess politics is an option for you, too. Just keep in mind that Voldemort’s career ended pretty badly.

What are some other great quotes from Harry Potter that can help a Muggle pick a career? Share in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: FF16 via pixabay.com

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

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