The Stress Struggle is Real: Stress Management for Adult Students — Graduate Program in Training and Development @ Roosevelt University -The Imperfect Org

 

The Stress Struggle is Real: Stress Management for Adult Students — Graduate Program in Training and Development @ Roosevelt University

This is a great article by a guest/student writer on The Roosevelt University WordPress site that mentions the role of stress for adult students, which can conflict with performance in the workplace.

By Guest Author: Niké Basurto Last month I saw my dentist and learned that I was clenching my jaw so tightly at night that I was damaging my teeth. The real culprit? Stress. After some soul searching and a bite guard, I took measures to de-stress. Here are a few lessons that I’ve learned so […]

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Help! I’m not qualified for any job!! -The Imperfect Org

 

Help! I’m not qualified for any job!!

Recently, I was reading an article regarding a job seeker who after being let go from his job, decided to take 5 months off (he had been working consistently for over 20 years with only two weeks’ vacation), only to begin his job search with daunting results.
This person gained my empathy, because once he did begin his job search, he could only find jobs with job descriptions that were highly concentrated with various complex tasks that left the job seeker feeling as if he was not qualified for anything,
In Liz Ryan’s response “Based On These Job Ads, I’m Not Qualified For Anything” she encouraged the job seeker to apply stating that many managers over exaggerate qualifications and add in everything including the kitchen sink when writing job descriptions for online job sites (Ryan, 2016).
I understand this person’s plight, and as a result, I would like to render a reminder for job seekers and organizations alike, to make sure the expectations are realistic. For job seekers, it is good to know how their current skills, work experience, and education align with the job descriptions.   It is very possible that the job that you may have held prior, has tasks that are very similar to that in which the job description is asking for, even though the title may be different.  If you feel like you are qualified, what do you have to lose?  Apply, you may be pleasantly surprised.
From the organization’s standpoint, it would help if you were to provide realistic job descriptions and ads.  This can include:
  • Speaking with management in that particular department to determine what the details of that job consists of;
  • Speaking with individuals who actually perform the job, to learn what their duties really are on a day to day basis;
  • Looking to other organizations to determine what the job role description should consist of (as well as the pay scale);
  • Reviewing sites like the “U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics” to search the “Occupational Outlook Handbook” to help identify “duties, education, and training, pay, and outlook for hundreds of occupations” (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016);
  • Reviewing other job sites like Indeed or CareerBuilder to determine how they advertise for a particular job;
  • Speaking with job seekers who actually obtained a particular job that had extreme details and qualifications, to determine how realistic the job description they applied for actually were.
In some cases, this may mean an organization’s HR department or hiring managers may need to undergo some type of basic HR training in these areas, where the manager can gain the necessary training and understanding on how to correlate and interpret into practical job descriptions.
This is recommended, to avoid writing the description for a certain position and shooting for the moon.
If this is too farfetched or the HR department is not very large, how about having someone that works in the position assist the person who is writing the job listing, to ensure it is realistic.
Although, wishes are fishes these are just a few way’s organizations can alleviate such issues for HR, hiring managers, and job applicants. The problem appears to be that most organizations do not want to take the time and resources to apply these lessons to lessen the clutter of “out-of-this-world” type job descriptions. In fact, the longer a job position is not filled the more it can have adverse effects upon the organization, simple Organization Development adaptation would lessen the anxiety of all stakeholders involved and eliminate the number of “Franks” who face this problem in the future.
References:
Job Opportunity (2016). Retrieved from https://salesdrive.info
Ryan, L. (2016, August 21). “Based On These Job Ads, I’m Not Qualified For Anything”. Retrieved from Forbes, Inc. http://www.forbes.com/sites/lizryan/2016/08/21/based-on-these-job-ads-im-not-qualified-for-anything/#13fcc8b632f5
The United States Department of Labor. (2016, August 25). Retrieved from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/

The “Walt Disney Circle” -The Imperfect Org

The “Walt Disney Circle”

“How many of you out there have marvelous ideas, with some sort of idea how to accomplish them? With that said, are you afraid you could possibly be unrealistic about the idea or are not sure if you have captured all of the pitfalls up front that can go wrong?
One possible solution that I love to use when my anxiety ridden mind is racing off to the land of nowhere … is the “the Walt Disney Circle – Refining Personal and Corporate Goals” adapted by R. Dilts.
This particular change management tool can be used on an individual level or on a corporate level.
This concept developed by R. Dilts allows for an individual (or group) to use “Walt Disney’s” way of thinking by brainstorming creative ideas to determine how realistic they are, and if they will prove to be a sustainable concept.
Dreamer
In the dreamer stage, we are allowed to let our imaginations and thoughts run wild as we work to “dream” up colorful ideas that in a perfect world will last.  No thought is a wrong thought.  There are no stupid ideas. So yes, let your mind run rampant!
Realist
Next up for creating a sustainable place for the world of your dreams, is the realist stage. During the realist stage, those dreams that you have dreamt up without any inhibitions, are examined more carefully to determine just how realistic these dreams are.  This is gauged by how effectively the dream can be planned out in practical steps or stages.  In the realist stage, the objective is to determine, “how can it be done”.
 Critic 

Although in everyday life, the critic can annoy us or as some say “shatter our dreams”, in reality, they are a very integral part of the process.  Without the critic, we stay in the “world of make believe” and never successfully embark on living out our dream’s.

With that said, the critic’s role is to see what can go wrong in our plan or dream.  Yes, their critical thoughts are welcomed as they seek to discover all of the pitfalls in the plan and makes suggestions to better the plan or dream.
The goal of these stages is to ultimately move from the “dreamer” stage, to actually realizing your dreams.  This will only be done once the critic can state that you are good to go.
The helpful part of the process is you have the ability to go through these stages, over and over again until you accomplish your objective.
What’s your thoughts on this brainstorming process?  Have you ever used this tool to bring your idea, to a functional concept?
To learn more on how to field your dreams, please visit http://dev.change-management-toolbook.com/mod/book/view.php?id=74&chapterid=25

When you hate it! What to do when you really want to leave your job. -The Imperfect Org

 

 

Don’t dwell on what you hate. Think of it as your thoughts being the match that ignites the flame.
Dwelling on the aspects that you dislike, annoy, irritate, and infuriate you does nothing but continually add fuel to the fire.  There are many things in life that will torture us if we keep our minds circling around those prevailing thoughts. So why torture yourself in overthinking and dwelling on something you hate.  It will do nothing but add to your stress, and increase anxiety prone illnesses.  So do yourself a favor, STOP THINKING!”
Find ways to distract yourself
In tough situations, our minds want nothing more than to be free from that which invokes any sort of discomfort. In the case where you cannot stop your mind from dwelling on those “unpleasant thoughts”. Find ways to safely disengage them, while you work.
Music (safely played through ear buds) or short breaks outside, may help to break up your day and your mind from those bombarding thoughts.  Motivational quotes have the power to center you and provide that extra strength and support, to get you through a workday.
Remember there are just some things that are out of your (and management’s) control. 
In life, much like the “serenity prayer”, there will be those situations that no matter how much you brew over them, nothing will change. So the best thing you can do for your mental state establishes the difference.  Know what is in your control, and what is not.
How do you do this you ask? Do your job to the best of your ability.  If something is preventing that, alert management, but here is the key part, once you have done that, distance yourself from the issue at hand.
If you have alerted the people who are in charge of fixing the issue, the ball is now in their court.  Just as you would do with passing a football or basketball in a game, let your teammate or manager take it from there and allow them the time to do their part. It is important to “know when to focus your attention on something, and when to ignore”.
If all else fails, or if you have a “lazy” manager, seek the assistance of upper management or HR. Whatever you do, deliver the issue over to them and then drop it.  You were not meant to save the world.
It is all about survival mode.  You are there for the paycheck.
Nothing seems to motivate us more than money.  It is really unavoidable.  We need money to survive! Since this is the case, if nothing else distracts, distract those pesky thoughts by thinking of the money that you will lose if you were to loss or leave your job.  The contract or job is for you to do the work, and for your company to pay you for it.  Remember this is your number one reason for doing the job you were hired to do.  So do your job, earn your paycheck, and leave the rest of your worry in the workplace when you leave.
Don’t focus on the problems.  Think of solutions, while being the best ‘you’ you can be.
Thinking this way will help you focus on productivity and not those things that rob you from it.  It can also keep you from becoming bitter.
Being another possible and welcomed distraction while you are becoming solution minded can make you a more valuable employee while passing the time until something else substantial comes along.
Know when it’s time to leave. Remember this is not your last stop!
Nothing resides more to your consciousness than having that knowing, that gut feeling that tells you, “It is time to leave”!  When you feel it, do not ignore it.  Timing is everything within the job market.  If you have made it to this side of the coin, it means that you can no longer distract yourself, and money is no longer a motivator.  So follow your instinct, prepare your resume, prepare your business attire, and get the heck out!

Renting: The “Business and Game” of orchestrating and securing your dream home -The Imperfect Org

Orchestrating and securing your dream home, is almost like a game.  The more “in the know” you are about the process, the better you will fair in achieving your objective.  Therefore, be smart, and use these following tips to help reduce the stress during your season of apartment hunting.

 

Step 1. Take inventory of your current resident and what you dislike about it.    

For example, if your current place of residence does not have a balcony, make sure your apartment search for your new place, includes a balcony. Various websites like “Trulia”, will allow you to list the specifics of what you would like your new place to encompass.  There are options such as “property types”, “unit amenities”, “commute time”, and even what the “landlord pays”. So, don’t waste time scrolling through websites, when you may be able to specifically list this information in your apartment search and locate exactly what you are looking for.

 

Step 2. Take the time to complete any “renter’s profile” sections.

Taking five minutes to tell potential landlord’s “what you are working with” can do wonders for increasing your likeability.  Sort of like on dating sites, these landlords are looking to enter a potential relationship (contract) with you, and there is a large pool of fish for them to choose from.  Therefore, complete the profile as concisely and efficiently as possible.  It can do wonders to boost you as a candidate.

Renter’s profiles generally ask you to submit information about your credit scores, income, your “ideal home”, and any reasons as to why you would like to relocate.  Be honest and thorough (remember they will soon find out later if you are lying). The moment I completed my profile, the faster landlord, and property managers responses began to flood in.  Prior to that, it was sort of like crickets.  So do yourself a favor, and share what you have to offer, in a profile.

 

Step 3. Begin your most extensive search within 30 days of your lease expiration date.

My early searches were about two to three months in advance.  As a result, I rarely found what I was looking for.  Searching earlier (which made total sense to me), did nothing but increase the boat load of stress I was already carrying.  During that time, only about two or three landlords were planning in advance.   Everyone else was quick to say, “Well, it is kind of early” and that more listings would materialize within 30 days of the expected move in date.  The ending result was securing a place within two weeks before it was time for us to move!  All that earlier time could have been spent on more enjoyable things, instead of stress.

Step 4. Follow your intuition.

Due to searching early, our credit was run twice before we settled on a place (on the third try). The problem was not our credit or our profile. Our senses told us that something just was not right.  Having had an arduous situation at the previous location I rented from because of an annoying neighbor, the last thing my husband and I wanted was more of the same.  After our gut feelings and alarms started blaring louder and louder, we decided against the first two places, although we were approved for them. So know for sure what you want, and don’t jump at the first places you see if your senses tell you otherwise.

 

Step 5. Be prepared to deal with those who do not keep their promise.

There were landlords and property managers who said just about anything to interest us as renters.  When we responded we were not interested, they buttered us up by stating, “Tell us what you are looking for, perhaps we can help you”.  Well after hearing that about three times, with no, follow through, it began to become more apparent that just like anything in life, you always have those people who are competitive and out for self.  So be smart, stick to your guns, and look out for you! If you do not, no one else will.

 

Step. 6 Remember, you don’t owe anyone a thing.  It’s okay to say that you are not interested.

Real estate is a competitive market, and just about everyone is looking out for their own best interest. Therefore, remember, this is not the time to be a people pleaser.  It’s time to practice assertiveness and say that you are not interested if you are truly not interested.  This can be done in a nice and professional way.  You can even do like I’ve done, and wish them “success in their future endeavors” (with renters). Why should you apply for and live somewhere you really don’t like to appease others? Please yourself!

I’m sure there are countless other tips that can make someone secure their dream home.  What tips would you like to share?

Working off the clock -The Imperfect Org

I recently stumbled across this article called “Why You Shouldn’t Work off the Clock” and my first impression was “who the heck does that nowadays?” and then my second thought was “Hey I use to be that person!” In the sense of Organization Development (OD) someone who works off the clock is a nightmare. Usually, the employee has the best intentions in mind however as the article states it throws off the implementation of a new program, process, or procedure to the point the project manager may need to scrap the entire thing and go back to square one.

The reason for the article was due to the new regulation coming “December 1,” 2016 stating that organizations who have employees who earn less than “$47,476 per year” and work over 40 hours a week will need to pay them overtime; time and a half(Green, 2016).
This no doubt will present a new challenge for organizations and OD professionals to overcome when constructing the basis of their projects. However, that is another blog to write for the future.
The article has three points, regarding those employees industrious enough to work off the clock and really good points related to what encompasses the field of OD.
The first point was that “it is illegal” for employees to work off the clock. Many managers will not mention this point especially if they are behind in regards to production or a major deadline, (as they are more than happy to receive all the help they can).
These managers would rather you finish than bring up this point. However for the sake of insurance purposes, if anything happens to that employee while completing tasks outside of their scheduled work hours, there can be a legal problem that the organization may not want to deal with.
Keeping managers aware of such rules and regulations is imperative to the organization running as smoothly as possible and without any distractions (or legal issues) that may occur as a result of skipping a few “things” (i.e.: rules).
The second point is that working off the clock can be that unannounced outlier that will throw off a project’s metrics, thereby rendering the majority of the data useless. As the article states it will give your manager or anyone else who is trying to determine how productive you are, a false “reading” and as a result, you might walk in the next day with a ton of work and unacceptable deadlines that you will never reach.
What generally happens to people who cannot meet the deadlines set by their managers? They are usually fired. Unfortunately, the manager will not be at fault here, it would actually be the employee for not speaking up or working their actual scheduled hours to give the project manager the factual data needed to accurately assess and assign one’s workflow. As the article states you are deterring the organization from hiring someone new (if this is a more viable solution), thereby giving yourself more stress and cheating someone else out of a job (Green, 2016).
Greens’ (2016) third point, being “bad for your co-workers” is a sensible tie in with the second point from an OD standpoint working off the clock not only ruins the metrics but ruins the morale of the team working on a specific project. If one person is doing more in an undisclosed time, then the expectation is that everyone should be able to compete with those stats.
No matter if the undisclosed number of hours for one employee is 10 hours for example and everyone else on the team is working just their scheduled 8, the same amount of work completed is expected. It can become the “team vs one”, and from an OD perspective that is a hard thing to overcome.
The fourth point, getting paid!!! Yes, why are you working off the clock? You should be getting paid for what you do and in fact, from an Organizational Development standpoint trying to compensate employees as best as we can and putting up the good fight to get workers, their due is what OD is all about. As the article states, in the past, unions have gotten through very bloody (literally) battles to gain workplace protections such as a 40-hour work week, and to get paid a decent wage. By working off the clock you are demeaning their sacrifices, your true worth to the organization, and the worth of your coworkers as well.
As I stated before I was one of these people. When I worked at a printing shop (long ago), I would work off the clock for a manger who was also a friend of mine. I did not mind helping her out as she was a nice person and in her 50’s. Meaning I had a soft spot to help this manager lift huge 30lb boxes of paper around to copier to copier to complete the various jobs we had during the day. I usually made up the difference in profit sharing, so at that time it did not bother me.
With profit sharing we as employees received a percentage of the pie after the company took out its piece of the profits; so there was an incentive to do well and work hard. However, when you figure that there was only about three or four of us (out of 15 employees) that were doing this we were being cheated out of our money. Because none of the other employees worked OVER their scheduled time, it meant that their pay on average with profit sharing included, (divided by the hours they worked) was 1.5 times more when compared to mine!
Trust me, this is that time in my life professional life that I stopped working off the clock, in fact, the other employees were then at the point that they EXPECTED me to work extra hours, not only work the extra hours but work off the clock to help get their work done! When I decided not to, I became the bad guy, and my fellow coworkers wondered “why not?” (Yes they were that cocky about it). It just created a fractured team that no one in the field in OD would want to deal with, or try to repair.
The article touches upon this as well in a different light but the main thing here is getting paid for the work you do. Organization Development is a field that tries to help compensate the employee in many ways for the work that they do, in fact, it is probably thanks to workers (the past me) who worked off the clock that helps create this field.
There will always be someone who does not think they are getting paid the right amount for the job they do, for their loyalty to the organization when they are scheduled to work. By working off the clock, you increase the probability to include yourself in that number and the only one at fault will be you.
Green, A. (2016, July 11). “Why You Shouldn’t Work off the Clock”. US Today Inc. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/outside-voices-careers/articles/2016-07-11/why-you-shouldnt-work-off-the-clock

“Chick-fil-A” … Farewell to the Spicy Chicken biscuit sandwich -The Imperfect Org

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The Imperfect Organization: “Chick-fil-A” … Farewell to the Spicy Chicken biscuit sandwich

There are many reasons businesses lose customers besides bad service, especially for restaurants or restaurant chains, one such example is Chick-Fil-A. The most popular reason why Chick-Fil-A lost the majority of their customers is due to the chairman’s religious beliefs more specifically his anti-LGBT stance. A stance many organizational heads are afraid to make known as such a stigma nowadays is bad for business. Weathering protests and boycotts by many pro-LGBT and civil rights groups Chick-Fil-A have kept a loyal following due to its menu and its delicious offerings.
Chick Fil A sauces
However just recently Chick-Fil-A has made changes to its menu, they have changed their classic BBQ sauce to a smokehouse bbq sauce, and added other sauces as well. But the biggest change was to their breakfast menu, where Chick-Fil-A has taken its Spicy Biscuit Chicken Sandwich off the menu and replaced it with an Egg White Sandwich. The Sandwich that is to those who have posted on the company’s Facebook, is similar to McDonald’s Breakfast sandwich, Egg McMuffin.
Many customers have voiced their opinion on the company’s Facebook page to no avail, many are very upset and have decided this is the last straw when it comes to patronizing the company. The company has stated these changes were to provide a healthier menu to its customers and referred any customers asking about the spicy biscuit sandwich to try the new Egg Sandwich.  The company states its Spicy Biscuit Chicken Sandwich only makes up .5% of its breakfast business.
This belief that replacing the Spicy Biscuit Sandwich will only have a .5% downturn is ridiculous. Chick-Fil-A is a family restaurant meaning that if one person in that family goes only to Chick Fil-A for the Spicy sandwich but no longer has that option there is a high possibility they will not order anything from Chick-Fil-A. Plus this also means there is a high possibility that the rest of the family will follow, and Chick-Fil-A could lose the business of the entire family.
It seems that Chick-Fil-A is standing behind this decision with their menu as it did with LGBT stance and refuses to change. Will this be the one stance that hurts Chick-Fil-A? Are you a faithful Chick-Fil-A customer besides their LGBT stance? Will this menu change deter you from going back to Chick-Fil-A? From an Organization Development standpoint, how do they get their customers back, besides the obvious of changing back their menu?