The Rewards of a Job in Manufacturing

September 15th, 2021

Should you explore a career in manufacturing? How about just a job, one that pays well, offers opportunities for growth, and provides benefits you might not expect?

Here are a few reasons to add manufacturing companies to your list of potential employers.

This isn’t your grandparent’s industry.

Our culture associates manufacturing jobs with old-fashioned images of conveyor belts and smelting pots and dank, loud, dangerous workplaces with lifelong employees toiling at repetitive jobs until they retire. Maybe they take a break each day to eat lunch from a tin pail. But in recent decades, manufacturing workplaces have seen regulations that make them safer, cleaner, innovative, respectful, and often places where new employees don’t stay for life, but instead launch fulfilling careers into a wide variety of other fields. Take a closer look; what you see on the manufacturing floor may not be what you expect.

Manufacturing jobs are offering better pay.

Along with safety, cleanliness and advanced technology, manufacturers all over the country are beginning to increase salaries to ensure that they can compete for labor against other industries. Minimum or non-livable wages won’t cut it anymore, and a growing number of employers are not just grudgingly offering the new minimum. They want the best workers they can find, so they’re willing to pay the true cost of your commitment, energy, and time.

…And if you want to stay, they want you to stay.

Smart employers recognize that ambitious workers won’t stay on board forever. They’ll come in the door, give everything they have, learn, grow, and then leave to begin the next chapter of their lives. Smart employers don’t resent this—they encourage it. They want to be your stepping stone to “better” things. But they also want to create career paths within the company, so they can retain the talents and productivity of their most ambitious workers. If you want growth, you can find it in manufacturing. If you want stability, you can find that too.

The doors are wide open.

As it happens, the current balance between employers and employees in this sector is tipped in favor of workers. Workers willing to step onto the factory floor are in very high demand right now and fairly short supply. If you’re willing to consider a job in this field, employers are ready to roll out a red carpet for you…or at the very least, they’re eager to take a look at your resume. In fact, many employers have far more open positions than they’re able to staff, so the cards are in your favor at the negotiating table. Have a seat! If you listen to what these employers have to offer, you may find yourself in a great new job—one with a bright future, benefits, competitive wages, a respectful environment, and the opportunity to learn new skills that you can apply wherever your lifelong career may take you. For more information, contact the job search experts at PSU.

Answering Questions During Your Manufacturing Interview

August 15th, 2021

You’re about to step into your first interview for a manufacturing job, and you’re ready to start strong and make a great impression! You have a clean and appropriate outfit ready to go, you’re going to show up on time, and you’re going to make eye contact and project a can-do attitude. While you prepare to give yourself every advantage, add another to the list by anticipating the kinds of questions you’ll be asked and having some answers in mind.

Here are a few questions you’re likely to face. Be ready!

Tell me about yourself.

When you hear this question, answer by telling your life story, but with some very large edits. Turn the entire story into three sentences, and take out every detail except the parts that brought you here to this interview on this day. Explain that you were born, then something happened, and because of that event, you decided to interview for this job. Skip the rest.

Why do you want a manufacturing job like this one?

Answer this question with an honest explanation of what you hope to get out of this role over the long term. Do you have a personal connection the product made here? Do you have a background or any experience with this specific type of production? If you chose this job simply because you respect the company and it’s close to where you live, it’s okay to just say that.

Why do you want a job that involves hard work?

Physically demanding or mentally taxing jobs that come with odd hours, discomfort, and a higher level of sacrifice are not for everyone. Your interviewer will likely ask why you think this type of environment will work for you, and how you plan to deal with these demands. Again, be honest. If you don’t mind spending long hours on your feet, or you truly enjoy the stimulation of working with your hands and staying in motion, say so.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

There are two answers that employers want to hear when they ask this question: They want to hear that the interviewee plans to stay right here with this company, OR they want to hear from a generally

bright, focused, ambitious person with long term goals outside of this place, goals that will require her to work hard here and make a great impression before moving on. Let your interviewer know that in five years, you plan to be right here within these walls. OR let them know that you’re using this job to get somewhere else. You’re putting yourself through school, you’d like to work your way into a supervisor role, or you’d like hands on experience with the company’s technology so you can leverage those skills later on. Just don’t shrug and act as though your future doesn’t concern you.

For more on how to impress your interviewer and land the job you’re looking for, talk to the staffing pros at PSU.

Why the Third Shift May be Right for You

July 25th, 2021

The “third shift” is a term that applies to almost any hours worked during the night, but most often, it means a shift that begins soon after midnight and ends at about eight in the morning. The third shift, or the graveyard shift, isn’t an evening; it’s a whole workday put in during the very dead of the night. Taking on this responsibility usually means reversing your circadian cycle so you’re sound asleep while everyone else is bustling through the day, and rising for breakfast at 10 or 11 pm. Not for you? That’s not a surprise. Most people are put off by the physical stress this lifestyle places on the body, not to mention the extreme inconvenience. (It’s hard to schedule personal appointments, talk to friends and family, or run errands when you’re only awake at night.)

But keep in mind, most employers recognize the unpopularity of the night shift, and they really need team members who can do this valuable work. Without night shift workers, some companies would quickly go out of business. Before you give this awkward schedule a hard pass, consider the benefits.

Night shifts come with higher pay per hour.

This can be called a shift bonus, a shift differential, or simply higher pay for doing the same work as the day-shifters, but doing it at night. Paying more for the night shift is standard business practice for 24-hour employers. (Don’t be bamboozled into thinking it’s a “perk” or a benefit. It’s expected. If a potential employer doesn’t provide this differential, walk away.) Over weeks, months or years, a few extra dollars per hour can really add up.

Night shifts are typically less stressful.

In almost every company, through no specific design, night shifts tend to be quieter. Even on a factory floor where the line moves at the same essential pace, the vibe is calmer, voices are quieter, and the overall level of demand tends to change. And most factory or warehouse environments do actually slow down lines and production speeds, for practical reasons; people tend to move slower at night and they often make more mistakes, so slowing down demand is good for business.

Some people don’t respond biologically the same way others do.

Most people experience a level of biological stress while working on a reverse circadian schedule. But just as some of us require eight hours of sleep and some require six or fewer, some suffer from the night shift and others don’t. For reasons that can’t really be explained, some people just aren’t negatively affected by working as night owls. You may be one of them. You’d have to try it for a while to find out.

If a quiet, calm atmosphere, a little darkness, and an introverted lifestyle seem like a match for you, and you don’t mind making more cheddar for doing the same job–just on an unpopular schedule—give the third shift a try. Employers usually scramble to staff these positions, and you might find out you’re the exact employee they’re looking for. Reach out to the team at PSU to learn more.

Stay Safe While Operating Machinery

June 15th, 2021

We all know that sawmills and meat processing facilities are dangerous places to work. Giant spinning blades, boiling vats, and mechanized lifters and crushers are hard not to notice, and anyone with an instinct for self-preservation will increase their level of vigilance in an environment where injuries are common and obvious. But far too often, quiet and seemingly harmless machinery can lull workers into a false sense of safety and oblivion. Don’t let this happen in your workplace. Here are a few tips that keep everyone in a healthy and appropriate state of heightened awareness.

Post signs when needed, take them down when not.

Too many safety and warning signs can be more dangerous than none at all. Take a tour of your facility and review each warning sign for its level of effectiveness. Is the sign clear? Is it visible and readable? Does it make proper use of text and graphics? Tiny font, faded letting, unclear drawings, and excessive intensity can all make safety warnings useless. Fix what isn’t working, and if a machine is actually safer than the sign suggests, take the sign down. Otherwise, more important warnings will be ignored as well.

Don’t drive distracted.

Most workplace operators of forklifts, reach trucks, crushers, and conveyors are not intoxicated while on the job. But distraction and sleep deprivation are just as dangerous and are far harder to detect and prevent. Encourage your employees to use their common sense and trust their instincts if they aren’t in a safe state of mind. If an employee is ill or working on no sleep and they tell you this to protect themselves and others, thank them for their honesty and keep them away from the machine until they’re ready.

Horseplay is never okay.

Horseplay on or around dangerous machinery should never be tolerated in the workplace. Impose and follow through on strict penalties for dangerous clowning, and don’t let good cheer and friendly bonding interfere with a culture of responsibility, maturity, professionalism, and safety.

Walk the walk.

Make sure your managers and senior staff take safety rules as seriously as employees are expected to take them. There’s no excuse for walking in a hard hat zone without a hard hat, no matter how busy or important the non-wearer may consider him or herself to be.

For more on how to keep your workplace safe and your employees compliant with the rules that protect them, talk to the management experts at PSU.

It May be Time to Update Your Job Descriptions

May 11th, 2021

You hire new employees on a somewhat regular basis (or at least a few times per year), and each time you do so, you create new files and accounts for the employee for HR, IT, and a variety of departments and projects. So why not take a few minutes to update the job description that made that new relationship possible? In fact, why not update all of your job descriptions? This may seem like a non-urgent task, but in the long run, doing so can save you both time and money.

Here’s how to update your job descriptions:

You should have access to updated and accurate job descriptions during the hiring process.

You don’t need to hire for this role anymore. After all, you just brought a promising new star on board. But time flies by quickly, and it’s a good idea to be prepared for the day you’ll need to go through all of this again. It may not be tomorrow or even three years from now, but when it happens, save yourself a headache and simply access the file you’ve already created.

Clear away confusion and disputes before they happen.

Disagreements about an employee’s level of responsibility, the sphere of influence, or control over specific tasks all begin with a clear job description. Disputes may arise during performance evaluations (“I didn’t realize that customer service was essential to this role”) or salary negotiations (“You accomplished a lot, but we never asked you to do this”), or even accountability investigations when something goes wrong. Having a job description in writing can reduce the cost and drama associated with this process.

New employee onboarding will be easier for both parties.

Job descriptions let an employee know exactly who they’ll be reporting to and who they can turn to when they have questions or need resources to do their jobs correctly. Clear job descriptions can also allow both parties to set accurate expectations for success. Far too often, new employees clear every hiring hurdle and step in the door only to find out the job isn’t the one they thought they were applying

for. That kind of disappointment can be frustrating for them and expensive for you. If everyone knows exactly what to expect, employees are more likely to stay with the organization for a long time.

Update and take out the buzzwords and fluff.

When you’re pitching a position to potential star applicants, you’ll likely use exciting, attention-getting language that suits the culture and the time period. But all trendy language goes stale eventually. Modern job applicants look for different keywords now then applicants did ten years ago. As times change, talented candidates want and need different forms of compensation and flexibility. Stay in touch with these changes. For more on how to bring success to your hiring process, contact the experts at PSU.

Why Confidence is Key in Any Job Interview

April 26th, 2021

Despite what our culture might have us believe, shouting affirmations at yourself in the bathroom mirror won’t change a few essential facts: either you know how to do a specific task or you don’t. Either you possess a strong base in a specific area of knowledge, or you don’t. You can’t shout or affirm yourself into being better at something than you are. Cheering yourself on can be a hollow gesture if you don’t truly believe you have all the tools and experience it takes to accomplish a difficult thing.

But here’s the counterpoint: Before you land a job and start working, you don’t actually KNOW if you’re qualified and ready. You have no real idea what the job will require. Nobody does. And in most cases, the employer doesn’t either– That’s why they’re hiring someone.

So with that in mind, confidence is like money left on a negotiating table: It’s yours if you take it. If you don’t take it, it just lies there. You don’t know for sure if you’re ready…so give yourself the benefit of the doubt. You may not have it all, but what you do have is plenty. Here’s why.

Confidence is sometimes all that matters.

Someday you might interview for a job as a juggler, and if you can’t juggle you won’t get the job (it’s for the best). But sometimes, the confidence you radiate IS actually the reason why someone may want to hire you. Sometimes the skill set makes or breaks the deal, but sometimes confidence ITSELF is the capital in which you trade. Your confident demeanor may be the actual item your employer would like to buy…so sell it.

Confidence helps other people relax.

The next time you step into a room, try an experiment. Step across the threshold as if you’re looking for someone. Then cast your glance around the room making brief eye contact with every person present as if that person is the one you’re looking for. Smile as you do this. As you rest your eyes on each person, say in your head “there you are!” See what happens.

Confidence in yourself will make the whole team stronger.

If you believe you can do it (whatever it is) others will believe it too. As they relax and put their trust in you, their own confidence will build, as will their trust in each other.

What you don’t know, you can learn (and you will).

No matter what this job entails, if you don’t have it, you can gain it. Otherwise, you would not have been called in for an interview. You’re in the ballpark, whether you’re an exact match for the role on not. Your interviewer knows this, and you should too.

For more on how to gain confidence and use it to your advantage during your job search, reach out to the staffing experts at PSU.

How to Stay Motivated at Work Every Day

March 26th, 2021

It’s Monday morning and you feel a familiar sensation coming on. Your eyes keep drifting toward the window, and your thumbs keep scrolling through the internet. You’re daydreaming about parallel lives you could be living, other jobs you might have, other cities you might live in…none of which reflect your actual life. You know you should be focusing on the work your boss has asked you to complete, but it’s hard to channel the full force of your creative energy into this task, because quite honestly, you don’t want to.

You’re not motivated to do your best work, because you ARE motivated to do something else, somewhere else, and the prospect of winning your boss’s approval just isn’t snapping you back into the moment. Here’s something to consider: It’s time to forget about your boss and start working for your OWN approval.

The strongest motivation doesn’t usually come from the desire to please and impress someone else. It comes from the end of a day in which we’ve pleased and impressed ourselves, a day in which we’re truly proud of 1) what we’ve done and 2) what we’ve overcome in order to do it.

To stay motivated every single day at work, keep these simple tips in mind.

Pay attention to how you feel at the END of the day. Before you fall asleep, list the things you’re glad you did. Consider how you’ve spent your precious time. What are you most proud of and why?

When you get up each morning, identify what you’re most excited to experience during the day. Are you excited to give that 2:00 presentation? Are you excited about an opportunity that might come your way today? Are you excited about something you have planned after the workday ends? Clarify what lights you up inside…and what doesn’t.

After a few weeks of this, take a hard look at your job. How much of your excitement, pride and motivation are exclusively linked to this place? How many of these things could you easily find somewhere else? If your answer is “all of them”, it may be time to start looking beyond these walls for your long-term source of fulfillment, ambition, and growth. Contact the team PSU. We can help you apply your self-knowledge, accomplishments, and personal goals to find a job that actually gives you what you need.

Why You Never Seem to Reach Your Career Goals and How to Change That

March 12th, 2021

Every year you wake up on January first with ambitious career plans. In addition to working out, cutting out sugar, and getting more organized, you decide this is the year to truly shake up your career. You start out with the best of intentions.

But somehow, your plans don’t entirely pan out. You end each year with a few small accomplishments under your belt, but no really significant changes to your circumstances. Why does that happen and how can you fix it? Here are a few possibilities to keep in mind.

You may be aiming in the wrong direction.

Say you work as a middle manager for a small accounting firm. So each year, naturally, you decide you’d like a promotion to a senior position doing essentially the same work in the same industry. You aim to climb the same accounting ladder that you happen to be on, for no other reason than the fact that you’re on it. Stop and think. If you don’t care about accounting and would prefer to be a healthcare professional or a mechanic or an administrator, climbing this ladder won’t get you where you really want to go. Some part of you knows that. Listen to your instincts and climb if you choose, but know that you can’t climb your way to a destination that doesn’t exist.

You may be biting off too much at once.

Instead of a shortlist of impossibly small jumps, like “get a promotion”, “get 20 percent raise”, “become CEO of the company”, try breaking your steps down into smaller and smaller substeps. Take each goal and turn it into at least ten small partial goals. Then break each of those partial goals down into an even smaller set, and keep doing that until the step in front of you is so easy you can do it in ten minutes. Take that step, and you’ll be on your way.

Don’t listen to other people.

In life, it seems like every motivational speech and every inspiring poster tells us to listen and to share. But when it comes to setting career goals, it’s often better to keep your ambitions and plans to yourself, at least at first. Nobody knows you better than you know yourself, so no one is actually qualified to tell you what you can or can’t or should or shouldn’t do. They WILL tell you if you let them. So don’t let them. You have a long journey ahead, so pace yourself by keeping your own counsel as long as you can.

Take yourself seriously, but not too seriously.

Plans change. That’s okay. Give your goals an honest effort, but don’t rigidly cling to a plan of action that doesn’t speak to you anymore. Be strong and flexible at the same time. Hold on until it’s time to let go. Then shift in a new direction.

For more on how to make meaningful progress toward your goals this year and every year, turn to the experts at PSU.

Make a New Years Resolution to Finally Quit Your Job

December 18th, 2020

New Year’s resolutions are different for every person and every set of circumstances, and while some people may be setting their sights on stepping into a job this year, it’s time for you to focus on the opposite. It’s time for you to let go of the job you have. This can be much harder than most people imagine.

Our culture teaches us to relentlessly worry about our job status—Do we have a job? Could something terrible happen if we lose our job? What if we can’t find another job? We’re always taught to cling to whatever “job” we have, even if that job makes our lives measurably worse because the alternative—no job—is believed to be a bad trade. But sometimes that’s just not true. If your life is going poorly right now and your job is the cause, it’s time to get out. You’ll need to step into the unknown in order to reset and make a meaningful change.

Here are a few moves that can help.

Recognize your anxiety about quitting, and accept that this feeling is normal.

Your employer, your company, and all employers and companies everywhere have something to gain when your fear of the unknown makes cling to a job you don’t like. This fear is not an accident; propagating it keeps salaries down and keeps employees obedient and quiet. If the world beyond these walls felt safe and inviting, employees would leave as soon as their needs weren’t being met, and massive shifts would occur in our culture and labor market. Your fear is real, but it isn’t necessarily warranted. Once you recognize this, it’s easier to see past it and get a realistic view of what your life will look like when you’re no longer coming to this place every day.

You will find another job. It may take a while, but it will happen.

You got this job, and you’ll get another. And another after that, and so on. If you make it happen, it will happen. Decades ago, job “success” may have felt like marriage success—a lifelong commitment to a single employer that began with graduation and ended with retirement. Anything short of a 40-year stint may have been positioned as a “failure”. But that’s not the case anymore, and it hasn’t been for a long time. In fact, job success is now measured in increments of about five years. At five years, you can

and should be scanning the landscape for the next adventure, even if you’re content with your current job. And if you’re NOT content, there’s nothing to be gained by staying beyond this period. It won’t look impressive on a resume, and an excessive tenure can keep you from gaining important skills and experiences.

Pull off the band-aid.

Some employees hesitate to leave a bad job simply because they dread an awkward conversation with the boss. Don’t be held back by this. Speak your mind, explain what you need that the job isn’t offering, and state your intention to leave in exactly two weeks. You don’t owe your boss a detailed description of what you plan to do next. Whether you have another job lined up or not is not your employer’s business. How much that job may or may not pay is also your own concern. Don’t be bullied or frightened into backing down, and DO allow your boss to make an offer (pay raise, promotion, etc) that may entice you to stay. Have the courage to face down a ten-minute conversation that can change your life for the better.

For more on how to stand up and walk away from a job that isn’t giving you what you need, turn to the career management experts at PSU.

Tips on Improving Productivity Every Day

November 20th, 2020

You work hard, and over time, your years of hard work seem to slowly pay off. You do the best you can for your employer and gradually, day by day and year by year, you can see increases in your overall productivity. A task that once took three hours now takes two, and you’re better able to put that saved hour to your advantage than you used to be. That’s great. But what if you could find a way to take these steady, gradual productivity increases and speed them up? What if you could make yourself one percent more productive with each passing day? Where would you be in a year?

Try these tips for one year and see what happens.

First, define productivity.

Your definition may vary from someone else’s, so make sure you know exactly what you’re trying to improve. Do you want to process more client transactions per day? Do you want to manage larger accounts? Do you want to finish your work faster so you can go home and spend more hours with your friends and family? Determine what “productivity” means to you and write it down. Then you can get to work.

Look for weaknesses in your current system.

Maybe you really enjoy sleeping till nine and you have a hard time getting your workday started, and maybe that precious hour between eight and nine offers lots of opportunities to get things done. In that case, focus on that hour. How can you get to bed earlier and fall asleep faster? How can you motivate yourself to be on your feet one hour earlier? What steps can you take to shore up this one specific weakness in your current routine?

Look for obstacles and find ways to skate around them.

Maybe your job requires you to get daily approvals from Steve in accounting before you take any critical step forward. And maybe Steve tends to stand in your way for frustrating reasons. Focus on those reasons and find a way to remove—or at least reduce—this productivity-draining roadblock. If you face several of these problems throughout your day, tackle and solve just one at a time. Keep at it until each separate issue has been addressed.

Look inside yourself.

Is there something else holding you back? Not just one frustrating account manager, but something bigger, an obstacle that lies within your own mind or heart? If so, study this problem fearlessly and face it down. There’s a chance it may be simpler than you think. For example, what if you just don’t like this job and you’d rather be somewhere else? What if you’ve outgrown this entire industry and it’s time for a new start? If you look inside and find that your biggest obstacle to productivity is yourself, be bold. Gather your courage and make the moves you need to make in order to turn your life in the right direction. If it’s time for a new employer, or a new job altogether, the experts at PSU can help. Contact our office today.

©Year Personnel Services Unlimited, Inc.
All Rights Reserved. Site Credits.