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Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps

Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps
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When you think about how much time you spend at work, it can be staggering: 45-plus years, at least 11,250 work days, and over 90,000 hours make up an average career. It’s absolutely vital that you love what you do. Have a fun and amazing career by following these 9 easy steps.

1. Do what you love.

Easier said than done, but the best way to have a fun and amazing career is to do what you love. While playing video games or surfing Facebook might not pay the bills, you can focus on a career that offers you the opportunity to do things you love everyday. Finding that spark, that something special that gets you to jump out of bed and happily go to work is the difference between a boring job and an exciting career.

You’ll never love everything about your job. But if you base your career on things you love, you can make any job a fun, exciting career.

2. Love what you do.

Every child picks a career that he or she thinks is the most fun, interesting, or intriguing. The reasons vary significantly. Why a fireman? Because they drive a big truck. Why a police officer? Because they wear a badge. Why a princess? Because the dress is so pretty.

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As we grow up, these reasons seem, well, childish. But there’s something important to learn from your four-year-old self. There’s something special, interesting, and unique about your chosen career. Find it. Or maybe remember what drew you to it. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and find the great aspects of what we do and remember why we did it in the first place.

Whether you spent four years of college honing your skills for a particular career or simply responded to a want ad from the newspaper, remember the reasons you chose what you do and do more of those things. And if that’s impossible? Find a place where you can flourish. When you find and focus on the things you love, you’ll have a much more fun and amazing career.

3. Laugh. Find the positives in the chaos.

In nearly every workplace there are people who love and hate what they are doing. It’s the same job, same people, same space, but drastically different levels of happiness. The difference? Often times it’s the ability to laugh and find the humor in your daily duties. Find reasons to laugh at work. When things undoubtably go wrong, find the positives. A happy, healthy culture can be established by how you deal with problems. Take them seriously. Learn from them. But take the time to laugh.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remember those 90,000 hours from before? When you spend that much time doing anything there’s going to be problems. How you react to those problems will be a huge factor in loving your career and having fun at work. Find the positives and learn to let the small things go.

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Just like tiny cracks in a dam, the small things can add up to disaster. Fix the problems that can be fixed and forget the problems that don’t matter. An amazing career needs a great foundation and relies on everyone to do their part.

5. Love your co-workers… or at least find common ground.

The idea is simple. The people you spend time with matter. If you have the power, hire great people. If you don’t, make a conscious effort to get along with the people who work along side you. You may have different styles, beliefs, and values. Find the common ground and focus on those things. Come together through the work. Stay positive and stay out of the mud-slinging that creeps into the workplace.

Bad relationships with your co-workers can quickly derail any career. By focusing on creating and maintaining real, honest relationships with your co-workers and finding where you have common ground, you can limit stress and have an amazing career.

6. Take chances.

Complacency is the enemy of innovation. Never be afraid to go against the grain and take a chance, but don’t make change for change sake. Prepare, research, and understand your decision. Spend the time to ensure you’ve looked at each angle and come to a decision that you will not regret. And then boldly, confidently take the chance. When your decisions are rooted in self-awareness, you can be bold, take chances, and not regret your decisions. Serve the world in a big way and you will reap the benefits as well.

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7. Think big. No, bigger. Now develop a plan to get there.

You have, within you, the ability to do great things. Find ways to un-tap your potential by thinking big. Develop your goals for your career and shoot high. Make goals that seem out of your reach. And then develop a plan to make them happen. Big dreams are accomplished every day. The key is breaking down this big, hairy, audacious goal into bite-sized chunks that you can accomplish.

When you have a road-map to your end-goal, it makes the daily grind to get there much more fun. Instead of slogging through another day at the office, you are building towards your end goal. If you stay on the path, and regularly redefine your goals to keep things fresh, you can truly have an amazing career.

8. Choose your battles wisely.

Be strong in your opinions. But be humble and wise when delivering them. Think about what you believe, understand your views, and develop keen understanding of what you find important and what you are willing to compromise. By planning ahead and challenging your own views, you can choose which battles to fight, and which to concede. Compromise is a vital ability to a successful, amazing career, but so too is standing your ground. By planning ahead, you can make the right decision and understand your positions.

9. Be the best.

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest. Be the best. When you’re the best at what you do, a rewarding career will follow. Take time to hone your craft. Be diligent. Seek the help you need to be the best. Doors will open when you’re the best at your craft and an amazing, fun career will follow.

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You’re career will be a long, winding road, with numerous peaks and valleys. You have the ability to have a fun and amazing career. Go out and make it happen.

Featured photo credit: paul bica via flickr.com

More by this author

Kyle Robbins

Kyle is the founder of Branding Beard. He writes about communication tips on Lifehack.

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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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