Friday, 31 July 2015
Stress is a fickle entity. Without it, we wouldn’t feel the push to move forward in life. Too much of it, and we hit a brick wall. It’s important that we notice the warning signs telling us we’ve become much too stressed out, and take steps to alleviate the pressure building up inside of us.
Sometimes, you just need to let off some steam. If you choose this outlet, it’s best to find a trustworthy individual who can give you some actionable advice. Of course, you might not even need advice, and just want to share some horror story from work so a friend can commiserate with you. That’s perfectly fine once in a while, but make sure you don’t become “that friend” who constantly dumps his own burden on everyone else. Telling the story of your awful day for comedic relief is one thing, but being a complainer is a whole different story.
After a stressful day, it’s tempting to come home, turn on the TV, and veg out for the night. The problem with this is watching television is a passive action. You’ll most likely end up stewing about your awful day for the rest of the evening anyway. Picking up a book will allow you to relax your body, while keeping your mind actively engaged in something completely unrelated to the terrible day you just had. Depending on what book you chose, you might gain some perspective throughout your reading session. You never know, you might realize your day wasn’t all that bad in the first place.
Growing up, I never realized how helpful and therapeutic writing could be. Since I started writing for Lifehack a few months ago, I’ve realized that I completely wasted a large amount of my life stressing out about things and thinking in circles, when I could have been writing my ideas and feelings out on paper (or a computer screen, at least) to make sense of them. Writing a bunch of self-help articles for others to learn from has (ironically) taught me a ton about how I can help myself. Truthfully, I’ve never felt as active as I currently feel. I really do believe it comes from the enormous amount of writing I’ve undertaken in the past year.
Again, I know after a tough day at the office you just want to get home to your comfort zone. However, hitting the gym for a quick bike session can do wonders for your emotional and physical health. It’s pretty obvious that working out has physical benefits, but it’s incredibly surprising how much better you’ll feel mentally after taking an hour after work to push yourself even farther. Then, when you’re back at home, you’ll most likely find you’re too exhausted to be upset anymore!
Try to remember the last time you were somewhere that was completely removed from all other stimuli. You probably can’t — and that’s okay. Honestly, today’s world is so busy that it’s almost impossible to find time to simply exist without a phone ringing, or a car alarm going off, or something to interrupt your moment of relaxation. Because of this, we must actively find time to remove ourselves from the world, sit quietly, and spend time in deep thought. Doing so will help clear our minds and find solutions to the problems we’ve been facing, so we can start the next day without carrying baggage over from the day before.
This goes along with meditation. The days of working 9-5 are all but finished, as our phones and computers keep us constantly plugged into our careers. Our phone beeps with an email from the boss at 7:00 PM, and that keeps us from enjoying our family dinner. A colleague texts you at 9:00 at night to tell you he’s calling in the next day, so you spend the rest of the night stressing out about all the slack you’ll have to pick up tomorrow. Try this: turn off your phone. Don’t check your email. If you’re not contractually obligated to do work outside of your normal hours — don’t. You’ll find you have much more time on your hands than you thought you did to do the things you enjoy.
Ditch the typical comfort foods, such as ice cream and cookies, and begin eating foods that will benefit you in the long run. The vitamins found in fruits and vegetables, and the protein found in other wholesome foods will make you feel better physically, which in turn will improve your mental state as well. You don’t have to suffer, either. There are plenty of ways to make healthy foods taste amazing. Put in the effort to find alternatives to the usual junk food full of sugars and fats that would otherwise be your go-to snacks. Your body will thank you.
Be kind to yourself, and give yourself a treat every once in a while. Everything is okay in moderation. So once in a while, throw all this other advice out the window. Binge watch your favorite show on Netflix. Lose track of time playing video-games like you used to as a kid. Go eat a banana split… No, eat two! You’re a hard-working adult, and you deserve to indulge yourself in some less-than-healthy activities every once in a while. Like I said, be careful to not overindulge, or you risk getting caught in a vicious cycle which will only serve to exacerbate your stress level.
Featured photo credit: Flickr via farm7.staticflickr.com
Job interviews aren’t just about selling yourself and proving you’re the right person for the job, they’re also an important opportunity to get to know the company deeply and think very carefully whether the role suits you or not.
Asking smart questions at your interview gives you the information you need to assess if you agree with the company’s core values, what opportunities you’ll get for personal development, and whether the culture will allow you to perform at your best.
Here’s a list of the most important questions you should ask in every job interview.
1. How do you see this position evolving in the next 3 years?
This interview question is a favourite of Jared Brown (co-founder ofHubstaff) because it politely and subtly shows the candidate is looking for a role where they can blossom long term. It’s an important question to ask since it can help you gauge whether or not the role will help you achieve your long term career objectives. For example, if you’re looking to move up to a more senior position, this question can help you identify whether the vacancy will see you take on new responsibilities, and broaden your appeal among other employers, or get promoted internally.
It can also help to identify whether the role may be unsuitable for your own goals. For example, if the interviewer cannot give you a clear answer, you might consider it as a dead-end job. Alternatively, the role may evolve in a different direction to your own career goals, such as leading you down a very specialized path that could actually make you less employable outside of that specific business or industry sector.
2. How will the work I’ll be doing contribute to the organization’s mission?
This is a great question recommended by Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likable Local. This is not a question meant to simply give you an ego boost, but it will help you understand whether you’ll be considered a vital part of the operation or not. The fact is if the role you’re applying for is not of significant importance to the oganization’s mission, the management may give you and your department less resources for completing projects, and smaller budgets for pay rises and bonuses. Worse still, it’s these non-essential departments that often are the first to see redundancies and cuts should there be a downturn in business. It could be simply because the business doesn’t see them as important to their survival.
As a result, this question helps give you some clues as to whether or not you’ll be provided everything you need to be successful and contribute to the company’s growth, or if you’ll end up struggling for internal resources and receive less job security in a less important part of the business.
3. How would you define success in this position?
This is one of the most important questions you can ask, as the answer cangive you “insider information” about the role that isn’t readily available elsewhere. When answering this question, the hiring manager will give you some clues as to how your career goals align with the role. For example, you’ll discover more about the specific skills that you’ll require, the true priorities of the role, the workplace culture, and (most significantly) an insider’s perspective of what it takes to secure the role.
This will help you piece together a benchmark for the standards the company will expect you to work towards, as well as an understanding of whether you have the right skills.
4. What’s the company culture like?
Since you’ll be spending much of the day at work, it’s important to ensure you take a role at a business with a culture you’re comfortable with. A key reason to ask this question is to establish what the work-life balance is like in the role. For example, will you have the opportunity to work at home or get flexible hours, or will you need to stay in the office? Similarly, do workers typically work longer than their contracted hours, or do they often get asked to work weekends? This question is critical to ensure you’re comfortable with the demands of the role, ensuring you don’t get burnout or begin to resent going to work.
5. Do you offer continual training and professional development?
This is an important question to ask, as it will give you key information about how you’ll be able to progress your career. Good businesses invest in their staff, so you’ll want to be sure that you’ll receive training on new skills. This training will help you secure promotions, as well as open up new career prospects elsewhere. This is a great follow up to Question 1, as it helps dig a bit deeper about how the hiring managers see your role moving forwards, and whether you’ll be on a fast track to success or stuck in the same role for years.
6. Why has this position become available?
Finding out why the job is available is a subtle way of finding out about any challenges or opportunities the business may be facing. For example, the role may be brand new, suggesting the company is growing. It could be that the previous holder was promoted, indicating the role is a route towards promotion. Conversely, the vacancy may be as a result of someone leaving; or downsizing with two former roles turning into one. Therefore, this question can help show what development opportunities are available, as well as if the company isn’t doing too well.
7. How does the role relate to the overall structure of the organisation?
This is a great question to find out who you’ll be working with on a day-to-day basis. It also shows you have a preference to teamwork and contributing to the success of the firm. The answer will help reveal who you’ll be reporting to and who will be reporting to you, or conversely whether you’ll be reporting to several people through matrix management. This is a great way to discover whether or not the role will suit your style of working. Look for an answer that matches your preference, like whether you’re more comfortable working in a team, or prefer to take full control over projects.
8. What concerns do you have about me for this position?
While quite direct, this is a good question to wrap up the interview with because it reveals right there and then any reasons why you may not get the job, giving you an opportunity to counter these. For example, the interviewer may suggest you lack the experience of other candidates, which you can counter by discussing your experience in more detail. Similarly, they may have misunderstood a point you had made earlier, allowing you to resolve this before it’s too late.
Many people spend their 20s getting some unhealthy behaviors out of their system — like sleeping until 2 p.m. on Saturdays and spending all their disposable cash on new kicks.
But your 30s are an ideal time to cement the habits that will help you achieve personal and professional fulfillment for the rest of your life.
To give you a head start, we sifted through recent Quora threads on this critical life transition and highlighted the most compelling responses.
Here are 10 lifestyle tweaks you can make in your 30s to lay the foundation for lifelong success:
1. Stop smoking.
If you've started smoking, stop immediately, suggests Quora user Cyndi Perlman Fink.
While you can't undo the damage you may have already incurred from smoking, research suggests that those who quit before age 40 have a 90% lower mortality risk than those who continue.
2. Start going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day.
It might be tempting to use the weekends to recoup your sleep debt, but Nan Waldman recommends you hit the hay and wake up around the same time every single day.
If you oversleep for even a few days, experts say you risk resetting your body clock to a different cycle, so you'll start getting tired later in the day. Avoid a lifetime of sleep issues by sticking to bedtime and wakeup routines whenever you can.
3. Start exercising regularly.
"Try to move yourself as much as possible," says Alistair Longman. "It doesn't matter if it's walking, cycling, running, weightlifting, hiking, swimming — as long as it involves some movement."
In the later half of your 30s, you start losing muscle mass, so it's especially important to exercise at this time. But remember to choose physical activities you really love, since you're less likely to continue exercising if you dislike your workouts.
4. Start keeping a journal.
"Journal your life! Your written records will entertain and endear in your future," writes Mark Crawley.
Even if you'd prefer to keep your musings to yourself, putting your thoughts and feelings on paper can help you deal with stressful events.
5. Start saving money.
"Building the habit of saving early means you'll continue it further down the line," says Cliff Gilley.
It might seem like your golden years are a lifetime away, but the earlier you start saving, the more time your money has to accrue interest.
6. Start pursuing a life dream.
"Don't delay pursuing your life goals," writes Bill Karwin. "Want to buy a house? Have kids? Write a book? Pick one of those life goals and get started. What can you do between now and the end of the year to embark on one of them?"
7. Start learning to be happy with what you have.
"If you are content with what you have, you will have a happier life," says Robert Walker.
It's really about gratitude: Research suggests that appreciating what you have can increase happiness and decrease negative feelings. Perhaps that's why Oprah Winfrey kept a daily gratitude journal for years.
8. Stop thinking you need to satisfy everyone.
"After I reached 30, I stopped feeling the need to please everyone. You can choose your friends and contacts more carefully," says Kevin Teo. In particular, Teo realized he wasn't obligated to be nice to people who were unfriendly toward him.
Whether you decide to whittle down your Facebook friends to a mere 500 or simply hang out more with the people who make you happy, it's important to invest your time and energy wisely.
9. Stop comparing yourself to others.
"If you are unable to do some things in life compared to your siblings and friends, then please be at peace with yourself," advises Mahesh Kay. "Don't be harsh on yourself."
As one psychotherapist writes, constantly peering over your shoulder to see what others are doing doesn't help you accomplish your goals. You'd be better off spending time thinking about what you want to achieve and evaluating your progress on those fronts.
10. Start forgiving yourself for your mistakes.
"Forgive yourself your mistakes. We all make plenty of them. Don't dwell on the errors of the past — learn from them, let them go, and move ahead," writes Liz Palmer.
One social psychologist says that self-compassion (the ability to forgive yourself and learn from your mistakes) is the key driver of success. That's likely because people who practice self-compassion see their weaknesses as changeable and try to avoid making the same errors in the future.
Have you ever known someone that was clearly just phoning it in at work and wondered, “Why don’t you just quit?”
The answer may be that they never thought of it.
Sometimes, we can get so caught up in the day to day busywork and minutiae of our jobs that we forget that work isn’t supposed to feel like nails on a chalkboard every moment of every day.
Sure, work should be challenging and you should have to, well, work at it (otherwise they’d call it play), but it doesn’t have to feel like you’re dying a little every day.
Check out these ten tell-tale signs you’re ready to quit your job and see if you recognize any of them:
1. You have a case of the Mondays — all week long.
It’s not a myth: Not everyone dreads going to work every day. If you wake up every weekday with a sense of foreboding about what the day holds, it might be time to examine what’s making you feel that way. Is it a specific task? A particular person? Or are you just bored? Whatever the answer, if there’s not a clear way to fix it within the confines of your current job, it’s time to look for a new one.
2. The company is sinking — fast.
If you have a feeling your company is failing or might be a zombie, the time to get out is now. Layoffs are never pretty, and it’s always better to leave on your own terms rather than theirs.
3. Watercooler chat centers around how bad the company is.
If everyone’s favorite topic of conversation is how bad things have gotten, it’s a good sign it’s time to move on. When everyone is unhappy, it proves that it’s not just a personal problem with you and that the company may have more underlying problems.
4. You’re bored.
If you’re bored with your work — whether it’s repetitive and menial or complex and technical — it’s a good sign it’s time to quit. You’re clearly seeking more mental stimulation and would be happier in a job that required more brain power from you.
5. You’re stuck.
If you want to move up in your career but haven’t been able to with your current company, for whatever reason, it may be time to go elsewhere. You want to be somewhere where your talents are recognized and where you can see a clear path for your career goals.
6. You’re constantly stressed.
Constant stress isn’t healthy for a whole host of reasons. Beyond any psychological implications, chronic stress has additional health repercussions that can range from insomnia and depression all the way to hypertension, heart attack and stroke. If you’d like to keep your health, it may be time to look for a less stressful job.
7. You don’t respect your bosses.
If you don’t respect your bosses or managers (for whatever reason) it’s not a problem that’s likely to go away. Mutual respect is paramount in a good working relationship, and it’s hard to fake. So if you don’t respect your superiors, it’s probably time to move on.
8. Your life is suffering.
Your relationships outside of work, especially with your partner and children, are not worth ruining over a job. If your relationships are suffering, I don’t care what the benefits package looks like: it’s time to go.
9. You don’t fit in with the company culture.
If you feel like a round peg in a square hole, your current company may not be for you in the long term. People like to be around others who are similar to them, in at least some ways. If you don’t fit in with the company culture or no longer believe in the company vision or mission, do yourself a favor and find someplace you feel more at home.
10. You’re being harassed.
Hopefully this should go without saying, but if you’re being abused or harassed at work, or if you’re aware of any kind of illegal behavior going on around you, you should get the heck out of Dodge. That sort of situation is never acceptable.
Any of those sound like you? More than one? Then dust off that resume, take a skills assessment, and start planning your escape. There’s no reason to be that miserable at work.
: KAMARUDEEN OGUNDELE
Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose, has appealed to members of the Road Transport Employers Association of Nigeria against allowing themselves to be used by kidnappers to perpetrate evil.
Speaking on Thursday during the swearing-in of the new State Executive of the union in Ado Ekiti, the governor, who said he was once a ‘danfo driver’ appealed to the drivers to be orderly and not to be desperate.
He said, “Please, I want to commend you for contributing immensely to the development of the state’s economy, but don’t allow yourselves to be used by evil doers. You can see that some kidnappers were paraded recently. Information from them revealed that they have been using some of your members.
“I was once a driver like you. I used the money I got from driving to sponsor myself for HND at Ibadan Polytechnic, but I did not get desperate. All I’m saying is that being a driver you can make it in life. You will become what you want to become in life with hard work. Don’t join evil gang for you to get rich overnight, try and rise through the ladder like we did.”
He cautioned drivers against reckless driving, reminding them of the ‘don’t drink and drive’ rule.
“Though I am part of you, if you breach the law, I won’t save or spare you. You will be arrested and prosecuted by the security agents,” he said.
The governor, who recalled that he united the two unions — RTEAN and National Union of Road and Transport Workers — during his first term, said the occasion was a sign that good things were coming to Ekiti.
“We should emulate this kind of occasion. This is very good. We will always identify with this kind of achievements. You are doing a good job for this country. I don’t want to be the enemies of drivers, I want to be your friend.”
He also thanked the unions for standing by him during the failed impeachment plot against him by the former 19 All Progressives Congress lawmakers.
Fayose, who had earlier spoken at the 2015 Annual Conference of the Institute of Strategic Management, appealed to leaders to focus attention on how to banish poverty that is killing the potential of many Nigerians.
Speaking on the theme, ‘Strategies for Poverty Alleviation’, Fayose said his desperate bid to banish poverty in the land had propelled him to pioneer the stomach infrastructure concept that had become a brand in the country.
“In tackling poverty, the first thing to do is to empower the people. But before empowerment, you must make them look healthy through provision of food. Let them get access to you as a leader, this will give them a sense of belonging and relief.
“Some of the projects being executed by MDGs centred on poverty alleviation. Poverty has become a serious issue in Nigeria. That was why my government made the payment of salaries the first thing, because this will keep the people and the economy going.
“I receive close to 200 to 300 calls and messages daily on stomach infrastructure thing. Though 90 per cent of it is about money, we should not shy away from the fact that the concept has become a way of life in Nigeria as a good weapon to tackle poverty among the common people.”