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6 Reasons Losing Your Job Can be a Good Thing

6 Reasons Losing Your Job Can be a Good Thing
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Unexpected things happen all the time; it’s a part of life. Sometimes those things are good, sometimes they just flat out stink. I recently had the misfortune of losing my job. The company I worked for announced, out of the blue, that they were merging with another company.

My first thought was panic. We needed my paycheck. My husband, friends and coworkers kept telling me things would be fine and that I just needed to start looking for another job.  I realized very quickly that if I didn’t stay positive and focus on the good, then all the bad would overwhelm me.

I’m not trying to belittle the pain and anxiety you feel when you lose your job. Trust me. I know how it feels. But in my experience, you can’t let the loss overcome you. You have to focus on the positive things or you’ll make this experience even harder than it has to be.

These are some of reasons I have found that losing your job can be a good thing:

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1. You finally have the chance to go back to school.

For many people, school is something they either didn’t get to do or haven’t finished yet. In my case I didn’t have the chance to finish my bachelor’s degree. I realized when I lost my job that I didn’t want to go back to work, I wanted to finish school. Finishing school will open more doors for me in the future than working would.

This choice is exciting and scary all at the same time. I haven’t gone to school in almost 10 years.

You need to make the decision whether continuing your education would benefit you or not and if it would be worth it.

2. You can spend some much needed time with the people who matter most.

You could spend these next days sleeping in and then sit on the couch all day and veg or you could wake up in the morning, get ready for the day and spend time with your friends and family. They are your support, they are the ones who will help you make it through this rough patch.

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Take advantage of this time and spend it with your friends and family. You could even ask for their help to spread the word that you are looking for work.

3. You get to choose whether or not to go into the same line of work.

Many people find that the field they have been working in isn’t for them but hesitate moving into a new field because the unknown can be scary. If you lose your job, you’re pushed into the unknown whether you want it or not. This is your chance to change your career path.

Take a minute and think about what interests you. I once heard someone say that whatever you do in your free time is what you should be doing for a living. Look into all of your options don’t just fall back on what you’re comfortable with.

4. This gives you the chance to reevaluate your priorities.

During this time some people realize that their priorities have been too focused on the wrong things. Maybe they were working too hard or not enough. Maybe their family was being pushed down the list. Some people find that they were living a little too far out of their budget. Use this time to sit down and evaluate your life. Find areas where you could cut back and areas that need a little more.

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It’s times like this that allow you to have a new start. You can decide now to make the changes that you’ve wanted to or needed to but couldn’t find a way.

5. You can take this time to travel.

Even though money might be tight, you can find ways to travel without breaking the budget. Whether you drive out of state to visit family or go camping for a week, there are always things to go do that get pushed off because of work.

Make sure that you set a budget for yourself and stick to it. When you don’t have paycheck coming in, you have be wary about how and where you’re spending money.

6. Find a better company.

A lot of people find that they get stuck working in a position for a company that they don’t like. As I stated before, quitting is scary because you’re choosing to step into the unknown. But, by losing your job, you’re being forced to step out. This is your chance to look and see what other companies are offering. Another company might provide better hours, more benefits, even a friendlier work environment. You should look for a company that provides whatever you felt your previous employer lacked.

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On the flip-side, there are a lot of people who loved the company they worked for. But you just have to remember that you can find that again. A new company will be different, but that doesn’t make it a bad thing. Stay open to new experiences.

Losing your job is hard, trust me, I know. But by focusing on the positive side of things, you are able to see things in a different light. You’ll find that when something like this happens, you can keep moving forward. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not even the end of your career. You can find new opportunities, meet new people and get started on a new path.

Featured photo credit: David Shankbone via flickr.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

Reference

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