The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

When it’s time to stay or when it’s time to go: how to know when it’s the right time to move on from your job — July 20, 2015

When it’s time to stay or when it’s time to go: how to know when it’s the right time to move on from your job

A job is a huge part of your identity and security, along with where you spend most of your waking time. For passionate employees, it can also serve as a foundation for future hopes and dreams. With such focus on work, it’s no wonder that finding the right company and role or considering leaving a current one is a major life decision.

Are you stuck in a professional limbo like this right now? If so, you might be losing sleep or feeling as if the weight of the world is on your shoulders. Hopefully, these considerations can help you make the best decision as to what to do moving forward:

You feel stressed out

According to the American Institute of Stress, 76% of people surveyed say that work and money are a leading causes of stress, listing job pressure as the number one reason they feel stressed out. 48% of respondents went on to share that stress has a negative impact on their personal and professional life, with 30% claiming that they’re “always” or “often” under stress at work.

Stress is a very real and present force in the workplace, causing a multitude of employees to suffer daily. In fact, the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that stress costs $26 billion in medical and disability payments in addition to $95 billion in lost productivity per year. If you’re in a stressful situation (either mentally or physically) that negatively affects your quality of life, you have sound reason to consider searching for a different company or job.

You’ve lost your passion

“Find joy in everything you choose to do. Every job, relationship, home…it’s your responsibility to love it, or change it,” wisely said writer Chuck Palahniuk. A loss of passion related to personal growth and shifting interests can happen, particularly after spending a long period of time in a specific role or industry.

Do you dread going to work every morning? Are you bored out of your mind when you think about your to-do list? Are you disappointed that your talents aren’t being tapped? If any of these ring true, make it a point to speak with your manager first. In this case, your boss may be able to reassign you to a different project or position that’s better suited for your skill set and passions. No luck after catching up? You may want to consider alternative work options.

Things have changed with the company

Change at work is inevitable, but it can be a very real reason for feelings of discontent. Adjustments could include a boss you don’t jive with, out of scope work or a change in direction, lackluster projects, or new duties that deserve (and don’t receive) higher compensation. Feeling unheard or undervalued can increase feelings of bitterness, and the best thing to do in any of these instances is to directly discuss your feelings with a manager. If improvements aren’t made following a conversation, be honest with yourself and move on.

The office is a toxic environment

Do colleagues make sexist comments? Are teammates bullied or ridiculed? Do you feel as if you’re discriminated against for any reason? If so, be sure to create a strong paper trail. To do so properly, file a company complaint with a direct supervisor or the human resources department. Next, file a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) within 180 days of the incident. For further legal advice, contact a lawyer to guide you through necessary actions. While it’s understandable to want to move on as quickly and quietly as possible, protecting your rights and those of teammates who may have also been violated should always be carefully considered.

You’ve reached an ethical crossroads

Joining a new company is great, but sometimes the inner workings and true nature aren’t revealed until you’ve been at it for a while. Do you find that the mission, culture or values at your workplace make you cringe? Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and author, suggests that you should consider jumping ship if, “you feel that there are ethical or moral differences in how the company and you believe the firm should operate; cultural differences; work ethic clashes, and so on.”

You’re being transitioned out

Much like in a romantic relationship, there are often evident signs that hint the end could be near. Staff management expert Alison Green warns that, “If your boss used to give you feedback in person and now she’s putting criticism in emails, she may be creating a paper trail to build a case for firing you. Many companies require written documentation of problems and warnings before an employee is let go.”

Other signs of an impending transition may be a slower flow of projects or a lack of thoughtful feedback when you share concerns.

While deciding to leave a job is never easy, taking thoughtful steps can ease your stress and ensure that you’re making the best choice possible. Be sure to research all of your options before throwing in the towel, and remember that every job has benefits and setbacks. Should you decide to make a leap and try something new, asking trusted friends for opinions, saving a portion of your income, and keeping your resume/portfolio updated for a job hunt will all help make the transition process easier.

About our writer // Christina Morales is a freelance writer specializing in creating online marketing content. Her dream is to one day rule the world with just an iPad, a case of Cherry Coke, Twizzlers, and a glue gun.

How to connect with top players in your industry while working from home — July 7, 2015

How to connect with top players in your industry while working from home

Working from home comes with a plethora of benefits including low to no overhead, the convenience of creating your own schedule, and working in a space where you can best focus on a project. However, there are also some relatively large drawbacks when you work in isolation, including a lack of effective networking opportunities. Having a hard time creating relationships with thought leaders and influencers in your industry? Here are some fool-proof ways that you can connect with important people in your field while managing your workload remotely:

1) Find relevant online groups

One of the greatest benefits of the Internet is its capacity to bring like-minded people together. The hard part isn’t necessarily finding a group; it’s deciding which ones to follow! On Linkedin, search in the “Interests” category to determine which group best suits what you’re looking for. If you can’t find one that fits, you might consider starting your own. Another good resource for finding relevant groups and influencers is Twitter. Click on a category of interest and follow leading players. From there, comment on their tweets or start a chat of your own. You may also consider following some blogs written by successful people in your field. Many times, they’ll share great tips and advice to follow. Leave a comment at the end of their blog and it’s likely they’ll respond. The possibilities are endless when it comes to the online communities that are available.

2) Attend events

It’s nice to chat online and join in discussions, but let’s face it: nothing makes as big an impression as face-to-face meetings. Websites like The Fetch gather important events in major cities around the world so that you can meet with others in your industry. If you don’t live near one of these metropolises, don’t worry. You still can attend chamber mixers, conferences, or special interest clubs in your own demographic through meetups that highlight events within a certain radius of your specific city.

3) Connect with friends (and their friends)

Whether you realize it or not, every friend you have on Facebook and every person you chat with at a party is part of your networking strategy. Think of it like this: if you have 300 friends on Facebook and each of those friends has 300 friends, you are just two steps away from thousands of people who could potentially impact your career. So make your dreams and what you do for a living known! Who knows if your high school buddy has a friend at Lucas Films or a cousin at Amazon that would be willing to give you a few pointers as to how to enter their companies.

4) Leave an online trail

Another way to meet professionals in your field is to leave a strong paper trail on the Internet. Publish your works on Articlebase, Tumblr, Google+, or LinkedIn. Create a blog to shares your professional tips and insights, and share your posts on Twitter or Facebook. Get your name out there and let others in your field find you while they’re scanning through search engine results. (Another benefit to this: you will establish credibility in your field by the knowledge you share.)

It can be difficult to connect with others in your industry when working from home, but reaching your professional potential and creating success are both tied to the business relationships that you create. Keeping up to date in your field and finding future job opportunities will depend on the people that you know or reach out to. It may take a little extra time, but the benefits will far outweigh the sacrifice.

About our writer // Christina Morales is a freelance writer specializing in creating online marketing content. Her dream is to one day rule the world with just an iPad, a case of Cherry Coke, Twizzlers, and a glue gun.

Personal brand it up: mastering the art of self branding when freelancing — June 25, 2015

Personal brand it up: mastering the art of self branding when freelancing

This is a guest post by Christina Morales from the CloudPeeps blog.

Businesses spend billions of dollars on marketing to build their brand. It’s brand recognition and a unique identity that sets them apart, bringing customers through their doors and keeping them coming back. But large companies with big budgets aren’t the only ones who need customers coming through the door.

How are you branding yourself as a freelancer?

Okay, so we don’t usually tend to have logos, slogans, or even a brick and mortar building for customers to visit, but the image and knowledge that we convey will show our credibility, which in turn builds trust and leads to loyal clients.

While we are not actually selling a tangible product in most cases, we are selling our talent and our potential to become an important asset to a would-be client. Here are three tips to brand yourself better as an asset that your client customers need.

1) Get specific when communicating your expertise

You may be an incredible writer, but just providing a blanket statement like “I’m a writer” won’t get you very far. Are you a technical writer, creator of marketing content, or grant writer?

Let’s get more specific: are you a technical writer for the usage of smart phones and mobile devices? Do you create online marketing content across social media channels? Do you specialize in writing grants pertaining to education?

The more detailed you get, the more likely you’ll be to find those clients who are searching for a writer with your expertise. Better yet, you can join communities and discussions with like-minded professionals or follow industry leaders (like on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc.) and stay up-to-date on important information and get your name out there to those who may be hiring.

Starting out and not sure how to title your expertise? Check out job sites like CloudPeeps, Upwork, or Guru to see how employers are advertising for the jobs that you are qualified for.

2) Customize your portfolio for the clients you want

You’re only as good as your resume, work examples, and references, so make them all standout. Career expert Alison Doyle writes on about.com that you should, “Focus on accomplishments rather than duties or responsibilities. A list of what you did isn’t going to help you get interviews. What you achieved will.”

What part of your resume makes you stand out from the crowd? Consider customizing your application to appeal to each potential job opportunity. Directly address the qualities they desire on the posting and explain why you’re the best person for it.

Freelancers Union has a great article on “How to Write a Killer Freelance Resume” that you may want to look into for step-by-step details on constructing a great resume. They have a ton of do’s and don’ts that are really helpful if you’re just starting out or if you find that you’re not getting as many callbacks as you’d like.

3) Formulate your voice to appeal to the clients you want

It seems like every profession or field has its own personality. For example, computer programmers tend to be quirky with a unique sense of humor, startup employees are often more laid back workaholics, and non-profit workers are more personable and outgoing.

Depending on your expertise, you’ll need to formulate your own voice that appeals to the clients you want to attract and the audience that they are trying to appeal to. Confused? Lindsay Shoemake who works in the social media and digital marketing space for a luxury brand and also runs the popular blog That Working Girl has great advice for branding yourself. She says:

“When strategizing for That Working Girl, I knew that I wanted the blog to become the go-to resource for smart, savvy women in the PR, marketing and advertising industries. I wasn’t for posting in a Valley Girl voice at all, but I didn’t want the blog’s verbiage to come across as too uptight either. After a few weeks of posting I fell into my groove and haven’t looked back.”

Wrapping it up: you are your brand

Finally, you are your brand and your first order of business is to think of yourself as a product. Since I knew most of my jobs and networking would come from online resources when I first started freelancing, I polished my resume, got professional headshots, and continually posted my latest work on various social media sites (like Facebook, Tumblr, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.).

I’m also careful when it comes to blurring my online personal and professional life since my brand covers both (you may find pictures of me with my kids at the park, but you won’t find political commentaries or anything that I would be embarrassed to show my mom).

Social media specialist Simon Mainwaring has said, The keys to brand success are self-definition, transparency, authenticity and accountability. If you pass the test on these four points, then you’re well on your way to taking the freelancing world by storm.

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