In a perfect world, we'd all have the month of December off – or at least, the tail end of it, when the holiday season starts really heating up. Let's face it: not much is getting done during the last half of the month anyway, unless you work in healthcare or event planning. Despite the futility of working at most white-collar jobs in the waning days of the year, the majority of workers will be expected to show up and do a good imitation of someone who's working hard. We all accept that this is so. But, what about when your boss, or your employer, is stingy about actual holidays? Answers to that question, plus advice on how to stop expecting the wrong things from yourself and others, and tips on getting the best job referrals, in this week's roundup.
The words "workplace" and "office" don't conjure up simple imagery quite the way they used to. Some people work for startups that grow and change faster than employees can adjust. Other folks are freelancers or work from home for their companies. Still others are working full-time while also pursuing degrees, and trying to find a way to make it all work. No matter the case, the office life of today is very different than it used to be. And, no matter which work situation you find yourself in, that particular environment has its benefits and its drawbacks. Let's take a closer look at a few of the nontraditional employment situations available to today's workers. There may be more to these arrangements than meets the eye.
Most of the folks who have held a food server job during their lives will tell you that it can be a very stressful line of work. In fact, anyone who's ever worked with the general public, whether it be in a restaurant, a retail store, etc., will likely say the same. It's tough dealing with people, right? Well, yes, that's true. But, waiting tables comes with a lot of stresses that go far beyond just dealing with rude customers.
There are few double-edged swords in American culture like the winter holiday season — which, it would seem, is on track to start in September within the next few years. It's a great time to see family, and an even better time to refine your "avoid political conversation" skills. The holidays are a great distraction from the weather, and a reason to hate snowstorms that keep you from getting to dinner on time. It's a great time to earn some extra cash, and the time of year that everyone wants off work. So how do you find the balance?
Does work-life balance even exist? Ask any working parent how they manage to hold down a job, take care of their family, and carve out time for themselves – at least enough to go to the dentist semi-regularly and maybe eat a vegetable now and then – and you're likely to get an earful. The upshot: balance is hard to achieve, hard enough to make many wonder if the whole thing is a myth.
Even if you absolutely love your job, there's always going to be something about it that you wish you could change. That's the ideal scenario; if you're lucky, you have an issue or two that you'd like to resolve, but nothing that impacts your job satisfaction as a whole. On the other hand, if your problems are beyond minor complaints – if you feel threatened, suffocated, or compromised on your principles, work ethic, or professional and personal well-being – you may be working in a toxic environment.
More and more companies are hopping on the employee perks bandwagon nowadays – and it's not just big-brand names that are dishing out the goods. From small start-ups to international corporations, employee perks are becoming more commonplace, probably because happy employees = healthy profits. Take a look at the companies that are offering some of the best perks around and let us know which one you'd choose as your employer.
Finding the right company is just as important as finding the right job. Far too many professionals take the first job offer thrown their way out of desperation and impulse, without considering whether the company is a good fit, culturally. That's like marrying someone after the first or second date without knowing anything about that person, other than what you gathered online. A little crazy, right? Unfortunately, what ends up happening is that these eager professionals quickly grow unhappy in their jobs after discovering that it wasn't love at first sight – and this, folks, is why there are so many unhappy and disgruntled workers in America.
It's dark, getting colder, and your next day off is still weeks away. If you're getting down at work, try a few minutes break with one of these inspirational TED talks. You just might find some answers without ever leaving your computer.
You dreamed, you planned, you worked hard, and finally you've landed your dream job. Hooray! Except, once you actually starting doing the job, it turns out to be a bit of a nightmare. Maybe you're not as good at it as you'd hoped you'd be, or it doesn't feel like a good fit for your character or personality. Whatever the case, discovering that your dream job isn't making you happy can be a huge drag. Here are a few examples how dream jobs can go bad, and what you can do about it.
If you're a working parent finding it near impossible to balance your career and your life, it may have something to do with where you live. Read on to see which states are the best and the worst for working moms and dads, and where your state falls on the list.