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Three Questions to Ask About Your Work

Three Questions to Ask About Your Work


    If you work for an employer then try asking yourself these three short questions:

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    1. What are you paid to do?

    In other words, what is it that you were taken on to accomplish? What is it that you are supposed to be doing? Most people answer this question with some form of their job description or objectives.

    2. What is it that you actually do?

    When I ask this second question in my workshops people often say that they spend most of their time on low-value tasks like reading and answering emails, completing reports, attending poorly run meetings, etc. To what extent does what you actually do meet the description of what you are paid to do?

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    3. What is it that you would love to do?

    There are several ways that you might answer this question. You might mention an entirely different employer or line of work. You might suggest a different role in the same organization. Or you might list some things you would love to do in your current job but you do not have the time or freedom to undertake.

    The third question is the one that should start you thinking. If there are things that desperately need doing in the company then why not take them on? Free some of your time from the dull stuff under question 2 and take the initiative.   Most people are too constrained to do this. They know that there all sorts of real issues and problems that need to be fixed but they coast along doing what they have always done. They wait for instructions. They are frightened that by breaking the rules, taking responsibility and doing something daring and unusual they will risk losing their job.

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    Well, here is the thing. To be noticed and to succeed in an organization you sometimes have to lose your fear of losing your job. Very often if you do something remarkable and unexpected people will be thrilled and will applaud you.  Occasionally you will be reprimanded — and in extreme cases you might be fired. But you know what? If your employer does not appreciate you showing some initiative then you are better off out of there.

    Hewlett-Packard has an award called the Medal of Defiance which is given to an employee who broke the rules in order to achieve something remarkable. They might have cut across all sorts of procedures in order to solve a problem for a customer or to get a project back on track. The Medal of Defiance is a signal that people are empowered to take responsibility and make decisions.

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    You might say, “Our company is not like that; we have to do everything by the book.” But I am prepared to bet that if I asked your CEO whether he or she would like to see employees take more initiatives, decisions and even calculated risks in order to achieve the corporate goals then they would answer with a resounding yes.

    You know that somebody needs to sort things out. Take the initiative. Stand out from the crowd. Lose your fear of losing your job.

    (Photo credit: Question via Shutterstock)

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    Paul Sloane

    Professional Keynote Speaker, Author, Innovation Expert

    How to Win an Argument – Dos, Don’ts and Sneaky Tactics How to Get Rich: 11 Bold Moves That Guarantee Wealth How to be a Brilliant Conversationalist Think Laterally Write A Killer Resume In Seven Easy Steps

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    Last Updated on June 26, 2019

    10 Things You Should Do If You’re Unemployed

    10 Things You Should Do If You’re Unemployed

    Regardless of your background, times today are tough. Uneven economies around the world have made it incredibly difficult for many people to find work.

    Regardless of age and qualification, stretches of unemployment have affected us all in recent years. While we might not be able to control being unemployed, we can control how we react to it.

    Despite difficult conditions, there are many ways to grow and stay hopeful. Whether you’re looking for work, or just taking a breather between assignments, these 10 endeavors will keep you busy and productive. Plus, some may even help push your resume to the top of the next pile.

    Here’re 10 things you should do when you’re unemployed:

    1. Keep a Schedule

    It’s fine to take a few days after you’re finished at work to relax, but try not to get too comfortable.

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    As welcoming as permanently moving into your sweatpants may seem, keeping a schedule is one way to stay productive and focused. While unemployed, if you continue to start your day early, you are more likely to get more done. Also, keeping up with day to day tasks makes you less likely to grow depressed or inactive.

    2. Join a Temp Agency

    One of the easiest ways to bridge the gap between jobs is to find temporary work, or work with a temp agency. While many unemployed people job hunt religiously, rememberer to include temp agencies in the search.

    While not a permanent solution, you will be in a better position financially while you search for something permanent.

    3. Work Online

    Another great option if you’re unemployed is online work. Many different sites offer a variety of ways to make money online, but make sure the site you’re working for is reputable.

    Micro job sites such as fiverr, as well as sites that pay for you to take surveys, are all quick, legitimate options. While these sites sometimes offer lower pay, it’s always better to move forward slowly than not at all.

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    4. Get Organized

    Unemployment is an excellent opportunity to get organized. Embark on some spring cleaning, go through old boxes, and get rid of the things you don’t need. Streamlining your life will help you dive head first into the next chapter, plus it helps you feel like your unemployed time is spent productively.

    5. Exercise

    Much like organizing your life, another good way to keep yourself enthusiastic and healthy is to exercise. It doesn’t take much to get slightly more active, and exercise can help you stay positive. Even a walk around the block a few times a week can do a lot for keeping you motivated and determined. If you take care of yourself, you can make the most of this extra time.

    6. Volunteer

    Volunteering is an excellent way to use extra time when you’re unemployed. Additionally, if you volunteer in an area related to your job qualifications, you can often include the experience on your resume.

    Not only that, doing good is a true mood booster and is sure to help you stay optimistic while looking for your next job.

    7. Increase Your Skills

    Looking for ways to increase your job skills while unemployed is a good way to move forward as well. Look for certifications or training you could take, especially those offered for free.

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    You can qualify more for even entry level positions with extra training in your line of work, and many cities or states offer job skills training. Refreshing your resume, and interview and job skills may make your job hunt easier.

    8. Treat Yourself

    Unemployment can be trying and tiring, so don’t forget to treat yourself occasionally. Take a reasonable amount of time off from your weekly job hunt to recharge and rest up. Letting yourself rest will maximize your productivity during the hours you job search.

    Even if you don’t have extra money for entertainment, a walk or visit to the park can do wonders to help you go back and attack your job hunt.

    9. See What You Can Sell

    Another good way to bridge the gap between jobs is to sell unused possessions. eBay and Amazon are both secure sites, but traditional garage sales are a fine option too. Sell off a few video games, or some electronics, for some quick and easy cash while you figure out a permanent solution.

    10. Take a Course

    Much like training and certifications, taking a class can be a good way to keep yourself sharp while unemployed. Especially when you’re between jobs, it can be easy to forget this option, as most courses cost money. Don’t forget the mass of free educational tools online.

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    Keeping your brain sharp can help you stay focused and may even help you learn some new, relevant job skills.

    The Bottom Line

    While unemployment numbers are still high, there are many things you can do to better yourself and move forward. While new skills to aid your job hung might seem out of reach, there are plenty of free ways to get ahead, online and off.

    Additionally, don’t forget that taking time for yourself can do wonders for keeping you productive in your job hunt. While it is a challenge, don’t give up–being unemployed can offer you extra time to better yourself, and possibly grow more qualified to find work.

    Featured photo credit: Resume – Glasses/Flazingo Photos via flickr.com

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