Six Steps to Achieve Work-Life Balance

June 26th, 2020

We all know that in order to live our best lives, we need to find a sweet spot between the demands of our jobs and the demands of…everything else. These days, we have a name for this sweet spot: Work-life balance. But coining a phrase hasn’t helped most of us reach this sought-after place of contentment. And we don’t all agree on what the term means, or what perfect work-life balance actually looks like. Most of us just assume we’ll recognize it when we get there.

Here are a few ways to stop pining for balance and move closer to actually achieving it.

Decide what balance looks like to YOU.

What do you want your day to look like? Realistically? (Many of us would like to lie on the beach all afternoon, but that doesn’t pay the bills). What do you need most that you don’t currently have? An additional hour to yourself each day? Three more hours? Higher pay? More sleep? More time for your children or parents? More bandwidth for side projects? More status at work? List what you want in order of most urgent to least. Work-life balance does not look the same for everyone.

Get mad.

It’s okay to stand your ground. When you find an unmet need on the list above, you don’t have to internalize the problem or decide that you should just be a better worker, a better parent, etc, etc. It’s okay to look outward as you seek the source of the problem, so you can solve it. For example, maybe you leave work each day at a time that pleases nobody; your boss resents you for leaving at 5:01 (too early!) and the daycare center resents you for picking up your child at 4:59 (too late!). Get mad. Turn your problem-solving energy outward and claim the time that’s rightfully yours, not theirs. Leave at 5:00. Don’t apologize.

Shift responsibility to your spouse.

Make sure your husband or wife does their share at home, and be fair but consistent. The other spouse is an adult who should know how—and when—to brush a child’s teeth, fix a meal, service the car, mow the lawn, wash a pot, schedule an appointment or plan a birthday. These are small tasks, and they should not fall disproportionately to you. Communicate your definition of “balance” so the other person knows what you’re seeking. Listen when they share their definition as well. You may be surprised to find that your visions align perfectly, harmonize, or don’t align at all.

Put your plan in action.

Move toward your version of balance, and don’t be derailed by early stumbles. Just keep going. Change what doesn’t work. Stay in motion. Otherwise, your poorly balanced status quo will simply be your life.

Enjoy your success.

Perfect balance on Tuesday can fall to pieces on Wednesday and fall back into order by Friday. Celebrate Tuesday and Friday. You had a perfect work-life balance! For two days! That’s a big deal. And the more healthy, happy days you have, the more you’re likely to have as time goes by. Each balanced day is a victory, and they only happen one at a time. Respect and appreciate them—and yourself—as they pass. For more on how to advance your career AND your life, turn to the workplace pros at PSU.

2020 Goal Check-In: What If I’m Not on Track?

June 12th, 2020

It’s July, and as you look back at the written goals you established for yourself in early January, you aren’t encouraged by what you see. Half of the year has moved into the past, and on the road to your chosen milestones, you’ve gotten nowhere. Or at least, you’re not where you thought you would be by now.

So what’s next? Should you give up and toss out the list? Should you revise it slightly in order to meet reality halfway? Or should you buckle down and keep on going as planned? Here’s how to find your answer.

First, reexamine your finish line.

Take a look at the end of your list, at the lofty, epic finish lines you broke down into subgoals and then into baby steps. Your big items might include things like “promotion to senior management” or “land Broadway role” or “write a novel” or “open new business”. Take a hard look at your big goal (or goals) and ask yourself: “Do I still want this?” Your circumstances have changed. If you’re a growing, evolving person, your personality may have changed as well. A lot can change in three months. If you still want that big whopper, move to the next tip. If not, toss your list and start again.

Revise your road map.

You still have your eyes on the same prize that attracted you in January. The road in front of you has twisted, as roads do, and you’ve encountered some distractions and obstacles, but you haven’t been deterred. So now it’s time to look at the map from above and redraw it. Mark out a new route, or a new list of subgoals and baby steps, that can get you to the same destination in six months instead of 12.

Chart a course around your obstacles.

Maybe there are some large boulders in the road, and you can’t easily scramble over them. Serious obstructions need to be respected; ignoring them won’t make them disappear. Maybe you’ve lost your job. Maybe you live in the wrong city. Maybe you’ve been injured. Maybe you’ve parted ways with a friend, mentor, or loved one. Maybe you didn’t have the tools and resources that you thought you had. Get out a pencil and calculator and engage your problem-solving skills.

Lighten your load.

The heaviest thing in your bag might be your expectations— for your circumstances and for yourself. If you’re carrying a perfect, flawless vision of success and you don’t want to settle for anything else, your perfectionism may be holding you back. Toss it out. While you’re rifling around in there, toss out the expectations of others (useless weight) and all the fear and drama that come from focusing on the past and future. Focus on the present, since it’s all you can control.

When your bag is repacked, hit the road and start again! For help, contact the career management experts at PSU.

Why You Should Use a Staffing Firm to Fill Positions

May 29th, 2020

You have a set of positions that need to be filled (or just one), and each day that passes as these roles stand empty, you lose money. In fact, you don’t just lose money; you lose the rhythm of your production process, which doesn’t function as well without this critical link. You also lose the goodwill of your customers, who have to wait longer for order fulfillment. You lose the cohesion of your teams as frustrations and bottlenecks build. And you also lose a bit of the confidence of your bosses, lenders, backers and shareholders. You need these roles filled and quick. And you need them filled with the right candidates. Here’s why it’s time to turn to a staffing agency.

A staffing agency worries so you don’t have to.

An excellent, long-established staffing agency like PSU can give you great results while removing heavy burdens from your shoulders. Worried you might accidentally hire a candidate with a questionable past? We’ve got you covered with reliable background checks. Worried you may be asking the wrong questions while assessing qualifications? Again, we’ve got you. Our process is proven and tested. Worried your best candidates may slip away? We maintain relationships, highlight the benefits of your position, and do everything we can to secure the interest of top contenders.

We take on the risks you can’t afford.

If you ever wished you could hire a candidate on a probationary or trial basis just to make sure the relationship is a match, wish no more. The new hire is ours, not yours, so we handle paperwork, tax withholdings, and all the responsibilities of an employer. But if the match works out, you can hire the candidate as soon as the trial period ends.

Our screening methods are unmatched.

We’ve streamlined our screening process so only the most appropriate matches pass through the initial phone contact and in-person interviews that follow. We make sure the candidate can handle commuting, testing, and other potential deal-breakers before we send them to you. And our experience covers both high-skill and minimal-training positions, plus everything in between

We’re great listeners.

When you explain what you’re looking for, we listen carefully, ask the right questions, and make a note of every detail. We pay attention to your must-haves, and we respect your red flags. We take everything you say to heart, and we apply it to every detail of your candidate search. Need to know more? Contact our office at PSU today and find out how we can help you staff you positions and keep your business in motion.

Spring Clean Your Resume with These Tips

May 15th, 2020

Spring is here, and it’s time to step outside and feel the sun! It’s also time to clear out the clutter and dust in our homes AND our careers. If you’ve been putting up with too much for too long from a suffocating boss or a dead-end job, now is the time to break free. And if you’re out of work and looking for something new, now is the time to shake some of the dust and outdated dead weight from your resume.

Here are a few tips that can help you tighten and streamline your document for the season that lies ahead.

First, read your resume over and have someone else do the same.

Read your resume with the eyes of a hiring manager, and as you do so, hand it off to a trusted friend or family member who can help you with your overhaul. If anything stands out in a negative or confusing way, mark that section or phrase and come back to it later.

Get rid of outdated claims.

Any job you held more than ten years ago should probably drop off your resume at this point, with just a few exceptions: If your outdated job is unusually relevant to the one you’re seeking or unusually beneficial (for example, if you and your target hiring manager worked together for an old employer and she may not remember), it can stay. Otherwise, jobs over ten years old just take up space you could be using for fresher and more relevant information.

Tighten your education section.

If you graduated more than 15 years ago, take your graduation dates off your resume. At this point, those dates don’t help you much and they may subject you to age discrimination. If you graduated more than three years ago, remove your GPA. If you’ve graduated from college, remove your high school name and credentials altogether.

Elevate your goals and tighten your credentials to help you reach them.

Maybe the last time you examined your resume, you were searching for a junior-level position that could help you get a foot in the door. But now six years have passed and you’re not targeting the junior level anymore. Claims that once helped you stand out have become par for the course (like “served customers daily”). And accomplishments that made you proud six years ago can leave you aiming too low if you keep them in your resume. Toss them out. Replace them with more recent accomplishments that can help you grasp a higher rung of the career ladder. For more tips and resume-freshening moves, turn to the up-to-date job search experts at PSU.

How Much Does a Bad Hire Cost Your Company?

April 24th, 2020

When you post an open position and start interviewing candidates, you hope for the best. But are you prepared for the worst? Have you calculated the actual cost of a hiring mistake? If you haven’t done this yet, this simple move can show you the stakes before you gather data that can help you make your decision.

If the stakes are low, that means the position is low-responsibility, or low-salary, or very short term, or all three. But most positions don’t fit into even one of these categories. Here are costs to factor into your hiring plan.

A bad hire leaves before ramping up.

If you hire someone who can’t handle the role or isn’t happy in the job, they’ll probably be gone (voluntarily or otherwise) before they’ve had time to fully complete their training and start making meaningful contributions to the company. This typically happens within about one year, so a hire who leaves before one year hasn’t fully made up the cost of the hiring process. Not only do they not provide a return on their expensive training or make up for their potentially expensive rookie mistakes, but they take the value of that training and those mistakes to their next employer, who may be a competitor.

A bad hire can disrupt the social fabric.

When a new employee arrives on the scene, the person gets to know his or her teammates, earns trust, and makes friends. But then…she leaves. When she goes, she pulls threads from the fabric of social continuity, leaves uncertainty about who might arrive to fill her place, and forces everyone on the team to start again from scratch with someone else. If the new hire alienates others and undermines trust before leaving, that’s even worse. In the best-case scenario, you hire someone who gets along and builds rapport with the team, then stays long enough to become a valued member of the workplace “family.” In the worst case, he arrives, departs, and leaves a trail of expensive social chaos in his wake.

How to Ask Your Boss for More Responsibility

April 10th, 2020

When you’re ready for a promotion, how do you know? Does someone magically show up at your desk with a stamped certificate? Do you get a phone call from the mayor? Does the CEO of the company send you an email telling you it’s time for the next level? Maybe these types of things happen in movies, but in real life, there’s only one person who truly knows if you’re ready to take on more responsibility, and that’s you. Not your boss; she isn’t watching you as closely as you might think. Just you.

So when you’re ready, how can you let her know? How can you convince her to make your forward transition official? Here are a few tips that can help.

First, gather the evidence.

You might not even need it, but make sure you have it anyway. Create a list or summary of all you’ve learned and all you’ve accomplished since you started working in your current role. Make sure to include projects you’ve completed, ideas you’ve suggested, teams you led, teams you were on, problems you solved, new business you drew to the company, and any process that you learned how to make more efficient. If you did something extra special, like volunteer your time or go the extra mile during a crisis, keep that at the top of the list.

Get her full attention.

It never works out well to follow your boss down a hallway, blurting information in her ear while she scrolls through a tablet. Instead, say only one thing: request an appointment. Make your meeting as formal as your workplace culture indicates. You can either get verbal agreement from her to meet Monday at 2:00, or you can send her an email invitation, or both. But get the meeting first. Then make your case.

Focus on the company first, and start with the positive.

You may need a raise or promotion simply because you want one and you’ve earned it. But your boss will be more interested in her own needs and benefits than yours. Make sure you highlight the value you

bring to the company before you put forth what you want. But don’t take too long to make your point. Get from A to B in just a few minutes.

Anticipate objections and counter them.

Your boss may tell you that the company can’t afford your request, that you aren’t ready, or even that this meeting is the wrong time and place to discuss it. But those things are likely not true, so you’ll need to stand your ground. This can take a little nerve. Don’t be deterred or brushed off.

Don’t whine; just move forward.

If your boss asks for more information, return with it as quickly as possible. If she asks you to wait for a while, get a clear timeline in writing. If she asks you to meet certain milestones, get to work and start meeting them. If she insists on denying your request altogether, start looking for another job. Turn to the experts at PSU to find a position where you’ll be respected and compensated.

The Best Shoes for Machine Operators

March 27th, 2020

If your machines and table tools require operators to stand on their feet for long periods of time, you may or may not be obligated to provide them with proper footwear. Sometimes a cushioned mat can be enough to protect feet, ankles, and hip and knee joints under pressure. But sometimes a cushioned mat won’t do the trick, because employees spend the day moving from place to place. And sometimes you can’t just require employees to choose and purchase their own footwear as they see fit.

If you need to take responsibility for footwear and incorporate shoes or boots into a mandated uniform, keep these considerations in mind as you make your choice.

Injury protection should be top of mind.

There are two types of health threats faced by feet in the workplace: short term or acute danger from accidents and falling objects, and long-term stress injuries cause by inappropriate support or an improper fit. Focus on the first category first. In a high impact workplace such as a construction site, shoes must absolutely include ankle support and reinforced toes. They should also be breathable, warm, and waterproof if the environment is damp or cold. Soles should provide adequate traction and should be puncture-proof.

Chronic stress should be the second area of focus.

If employees wear slightly ill-fitting shoes for a few hours, that’s not really a problem. But when an hour of standing or walking becomes eight hours a day, five days a week, under high-wear and high-stress conditions, a small problem can mean serious pain, injury, and compensation that can damage your bottom line. Cushioning isn’t just important; it’s essential. And cushioning doesn’t just mean comfort. It means the difference between a safe and unsafe workplace. Cushioned shoes bring better focus and more energy that employees can dedicate to their work, and appropriate shoes can also decrease fatigue and back pain.

Moisture management.

The right shoes for a labor environment handle moisture that moves in both directions: in and out. Waterproof shoes are essential for wet, muggy, indoor/outdoor environments, but choose the right ones; make sure the shoes wick away or release moisture that becomes trapped inside. Feet should not get wet, but if they do, they need to dry out quickly.

Don’t ever let your employees’ feet become uncomfortable, constricted, or subjected to repetitive stress. But most important, protect them from crushing, puncture and impact. The right shoes can do all of these and more. For additional information and tips on workplace safety, contact the team at PSU.

 

Soft Skills to Look for In Any Labor Candidate

March 13th, 2020

When you hire a machine operator, CNC expert, warehouse worker, or any hands-on employee for your factory, shop floor, or kitchen, you know that specific skill sets are crucial. Testable and measurable areas of expertise, sometimes called “hard skills,” are often easy to identify, at least on the surface. Can the applicant operate a sensor-balanced narrow-aisle forklift? Ask them. Can they find their way around an industrial bake oven? Put them in front of one and see. Hard skills can be checked and proven during initial screening and interview.  

But what about “soft” skills, the kind that can’t always be measured, but are vital to success? Here are a few traits to look for in your applicants that are worth more than gold in a labor-intensive environment.  

Flexibility.  

Does your candidate listen and absorb new information quickly? Or does he believe he knows it all? Can she adapt her approach when the circumstances around her change? Can he adjust his words and actions based on the needs of the moment and the people in the room? Can she change her schedule and plans at a moment’s notice without being given a clear explanation?  If you can answer yes to these questions, this person may be a great hire.  

Attention.  

Is your candidate alert and dialed in? Candidates that pay attention to the world around them can also be relied on to care about small details that can make or break the success of their work. They’re safer to have in the workplace since they’re alert to what’s happening in the environment. And by showing up and tuning in, they contribute immeasurably to the success of your business.  

Teamwork.  

Teamwork means knowing when to step up and lead, and when to shift gears and follow, and it means switching back and forth easily when the need arises without letting a weak ego or a fragile sense of self get in the way. Team players take care of themselves, but they also recognize that the needs of the team sometimes come first. They can put aside their own needs and fears and personal ambitions to help the team reach its goals.  

Social awareness.  

Can your candidate read a room? Can he or she tell if someone is annoyed, relieved, embarrassed, or concerned? Does he know how to respond appropriately to these feelings in others? Can he recognize the feelings of others as separate from himself? If not, your candidate may not thrive in a workplace that requires team interactions and team trust. But if so, he’ll bring out the best in others as well as himself. 

Find Labor Candidates Today

For more on how to spot the best candidates for your workplace, contact the staffing experts at PSU.  

How to List Temporary Jobs on Your Resume

February 28th, 2020

If you’ve spent a few years taking on temporary jobs for a few months or weeks at a time, documenting your recent job history in list form may result in a pretty long list. In a similar fashion, if you’ve held one full-time nine to five job at a time for the last few years, but you’ve worked side jobs along the way, this can present some challenges as you try to put together a simple, self-explanatory resume.

How can you format your past jobs in a way that’s easy for employers to read and understand? And most important, how can you make this information most useful for them…and for your own career? Here are a few tips.

Use clear titles.

Create a title or subheading for each section of your resume that clearly explains the content below. For example, title your section “Temporary positions held in 2019.” Separate this section from another called “Full-time positions.” Titles can tell a story and alleviate confusion before it happens.

Prioritize.

No matter what you’ve done in the past or how you’ve worked to pay your bills and advance your career, always prioritize the positions and jobs that best reflect what you’re looking to do next. Place the most relevant and most helpful past roles at the top of the page and/or at the top of each subsection. These are the positions that best reflect what your current target employer is looking for, or what you’re looking for in terms of your next role. Put these jobs at the top, no matter how long you held them. Just be sure to include your employment dates clearly next to your job title.

Don’t be burdened by a long list.

If you’re seeking a marketing role and you’ve held five jobs this past year, you don’t have to list them all. List the ones relevant to your marketing goals. Leave the non-relevant jobs out of the equation. If you worked in manufacturing for a few months and don’t anticipate much interest from employers on that point, don’t dedicate page space to it. There are no rules that say you have to do this. If your

interviewers ask what you were doing during that unexplained period, you can tell them. Meanwhile, devote your resume to highlighting and showing off your marketing experience.

Be careful not to mislead.

If you held one highly relevant job during the past five years of temporary gigs, don’t intentionally lead your employers to believe you held this role longer than you did. Placing dates next to each role will help them greatly, and if you help them, they’re more likely to help you. For more help with your resume and job search process, turn to the experts at PSU.

What to Expect from Gen Z Employees

February 14th, 2020

Ready or not, it’s time to welcome the next culturally distinct “generation” of workers into the office, factory, clinic, and classroom. Millennials are now officially aging out of the entry-level and stepping into mid-level and management roles. They’re being replaced by new graduates who show tendencies that are distinct enough from their predecessors to warrant a generational title of their own. So what are these tendencies, and how can employers better understand them in order to build more productive relationships with their young teams?

Generation Z works hard.

All young workers typically set out to prove themselves, but Gen Z employees take a slightly different approach to the process than their predecessors. They work hard and hold themselves to high standards, and they tend to be all business. Younger workers always like to have fun, and new grads in 2020 are no exception, but they take their work and their careers very seriously. This is no surprise given the high pressure placed on them by an uncertain economy, global turmoil, and high levels of student debt.

Gen Z gives respect and expects the same in return.

Gen Z workers face high pressures, but they also face a wide landscape of opportunity. This means that if you treat them well, pay them fairly, and provide them with training and mentoring, they’ll stay. If you don’t, they won’t. End of story. New grads face diverse new forms of employment and ways to make a living that didn’t even exist ten years ago, from gig jobs to startups and opportunities to join new business models. The old stigma associated with “job hopping” no longer prevails, and in fact, career stagnation has become a larger concern. Don’t expect young workers to stay on board for more than two years, and if you want them to stay even that long, you’ll need to make it worth their while.

They know more than previous generations of young workers.

Don’t expect a 22-year-old employee to be starry-eyed or naïve, especially when it comes to important issues like pay standards, discrimination, safety laws, retirement/healthcare benefits, and other

workplace issues. Don’t blow any smoke their way. That means don’t tell them sunny stories while you offer them substandard conditions, a toxic workplace culture, or below-market pay. They’ll see through you, and if they have a poor experience with your company or brand, expect them to share it with others.

Enjoy their energy.

One thing today’s young workers have in common with all generations is still prevalent: they’re innovative, creative, fearless and optimistic. Encourage these traits, and you’ll profit from them every single day. For more on how to attract and retain Gen Z workers, talk to the hiring experts at PSU.

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