How to Quit Your Job with Class

Quit Your Job with ClassIf you want to quit your job, I certainly wouldn’t recommend an exit like JetBlue’s flight attendant a few years back. Although it rendered a lot of attention and definitely takes the prize for most dramatic exit, there are more appropriate ways to quit your job. No matter how dissatisfied you are with your job, it’s still important to take the high road and quit with class.

So what does it mean to quit your job with class? Here are just a few pointers to consider.

Quit Your Job with Class: Give Notice

Always let your manager know that you are leaving. In other words, give notice. This gives your manager time to come up with a transition plan and start looking for a suitable replacement.

Quit Your Job with Class: Finish What You Started

Finish any outstanding work. If you’re working on any projects, tie up any loose ends prior to your final day. Also let project team members know that you are leaving.

Quit Your Job with Class: Support Your Replacement

Transition your work and support your replacement. Assuming someone is hired to replace you before you leave, transition your work over to this individual and make sure they know how to do everything. Also, create a contact list for your replacement so they know who to go to if they have questions after you are gone.

Quit Your Job with Class: Be Prepared

Pack your personal stuff in advance of your last day. Instead of cramming all your personal belongings into a box on your last day, start taking a few things home with you each day.

Quit Your Job with Class: Be Honest

Be honest in your exit interview. Employers rely on exit interviews to identify opportunities for improvement. If you are leaving for a specific reason, let HR know what could be improved. (Keep in mind that quitting with class does not include bashing your boss or co-workers during an exit interview.)

Quit Your Job with Class: Stay in Touch

Let your manager know how to get in touch with you in case he or she needs to contact you after you are gone.

Have you ever quit your job (with class or otherwise) and have some advice to add to this list? Please leave a comment below and let us know about it!

Image: from Punch, or the London Charivari (via Project Gutenberg)

How Much is Your Time Worth?

One of the greatest bosses I’ve ever had once told me, “You need to create the position you want for yourself. Dress for the job you want, and act on the job you want.” At the time, I didn’t appreciate exactly how valuable this advice was, but I took it to heart.

Like many bloggers out there, I have a full time job that takes care of my bills. By day I produce a radio show, film live internet television, write for a large website, and handle social media. This sounds like a lot, and it would be if I wasn’t passionate about being in the position to do these things.

For ten years before I went out for this job I did customer service. How I jumped from customer service to producing a nationally syndicated radio show was by donating my time to side projects that had me doing what I loved to do, create content.

In high school, I worked in FM radio as a disk jockey following in my mother’s footsteps. When I graduated high school and moved to Austin, I was saddened to discover that three years of work experience mattered little in an environment requiring a college degree to participate. This was upsetting and caused me to have to find work in a field outside of the one I loved. I started to seek work in a variety of areas and found it doing customer service for Sears. Three years later, the opportunity presented itself for me to work for Apple which put me in the area of technology, one of my passions, but still had me doing what I didn’t enjoy. The work was less boring, but still not what I really wanted to do.

That’s when I had to make a choice between doing what I love for free, or giving up the dream and just getting the bills paid. I continued to work in call centers landing a very steady job with the City of Austin for five years. During that time, I hosted radio shows on the internet for online stations like Rant Radio, Radio Akasha, and Gamer Powered Radio. The audiences on the latter two were small, no more than 100 listeners at any given point and the pay amounted to a dollar an hour at best. I also started a gaming blog where I could post reviews of games that I had played in hopes that it would grow to a point where I could turn it in to something full time. It was through these donated projects that I was able to convince the folks at Treet.TV to give me a shot producing machinima and helping their productions. This put me in the area of live streaming video, broadcast production, and machinima. Three things that I absolutely loved to do.

Like the other projects, this one was on the side during my off hours in addition to my full time job listening to people complain about high electric bills and city taxes. I utterly hated my day job though it was balanced with the fun and enjoyment of producing live internet television. Before long, my gaming blog became an internet TV show, and I had found an audience in the thousands. This became an accomplishment worthy of putting on my resume.

After a year of volunteering at Treet, I decided to send my resume out to some producer openings I found on Craigslist hoping that one of them might turn in to something. At the very least, I expected to find out whether or not the years I spent doing free media on the web would amount to any credibility when it came down to applying for a professional position.

To my utter surprise, I was offered a job as producer / director of a nationally syndicated radio show with an audience of about 2 million. This was made possible by nearly eight years of producing free content on the web. I’ve been doing what I love professionally now for over a year and still work on various side projects in order to position myself to move into the broadcast genre that I enjoy the most: technology.

So now I pose the question to you: what is your time worth?

Why Do So Many People In IT Experience Burnout?

There should be an image here!Burnout is definitely a term common within the IT world. There is plenty of research to back up the notion that IT is a breeding ground for burnout. This begs the question of why? Why do so many IT professionals experience burnout?

There is no single cause but rather multiple contributors that when compounded, can result in burnout. One such contributor is long hours. It’s well known that IT folks put in extremely long hours, much more than the typical 8 hours. This is partly due to the way IT folks work as well as the nature of the work.

Another contributor to burnout is a lack of recognition. This is not specific to IT but it is a well known fact that IT can be a thankless job. Sales, marketing, finance — these are the departments that tend to get the recognition. I know many companies that publically celebrate the successes of their Sales departments. IT is generally behind the scenes and therefore, does not get the recognition that other departments do.

Respect, or should I say a lack thereof, also contributes to burnout. Imagine going to work each day to a thankless job. Take for example, the help desk staff or server administrators who go relatively unnoticed until there is a problem. And when a problem does occur, these folks are on the receiving end of everyone’s frustration. There is little respect for the work that IT folks do on a daily basis to keep everything running smoothly.

As one offs, these contributors may not seem like much. When you experience all three on a regular basis, one can start to see how it can lead to burnout. A good manager should be on the lookout for symptoms of burnout, but I’ll save this discussion for another time.

[Photo above by Dimitri N / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Overcoming Job Burnout]

Can Perfectionism Negatively Impact Your Career?

There should be an image here!The answer is yes. Striving for perfection can definitely have a negative impact on your career.

Don’t get me wrong, is some cases, every detail needs to be perfect. However, the problem with always trying to strive for perfection is that it takes much longer to perform tasks. In my experience, perfectionists have a hard time differentiating between when perfection is required and when the task just needs to get done. With the latter, what ends up happening is the perfectionist becomes a bottleneck. When it comes to meeting deadlines, no one wants a constant bottleneck on their team.

Think you might be a perfectionist? Here is a short quiz from Discovery Health called Perfectionism Test to help identify if you have perfectionist tendencies: http://discoveryhealth.queendom.com/perfectionism_abridged_access.html

Furthermore, if you are a perfectionist, here are 5 Ways to Stop Trying to be Perfect.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Can Perfectionism Negatively Impact Your Career?

There should be an image here!The answer is yes. Striving for perfection can definitely have a negative impact on your career.

Don’t get me wrong, is some cases, every detail needs to be perfect. However, the problem with always trying to strive for perfection is that it takes much longer to perform tasks. In my experience, perfectionists have a hard time differentiating between when perfection is required and when the task just needs to get done. With the latter, what ends up happening is the perfectionist becomes a bottleneck. When it comes to meeting deadlines, no one wants a constant bottleneck on their team.

Think you might be a perfectionist? Here is a short quiz from Discovery Health called Perfectionism Test to help identify if you have perfectionist tendencies.

Furthermore, if you are a perfectionist, here are 5 Ways to Stop Trying to be Perfect.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Overcoming Perfectionism]

Mad At Your Boss? Here’s What Not To Do

There should be an image here!Getting mad at your boss is one thing (and bound to happen). How you react when you’re angry is another thing. You likely want an opportunity to share your opinions or concerns but blowing a gasket and publicly displaying your anger is definitely not the way to do it.

If you find yourself at odds with your boss (or other management), consider the following list before you react.

  • If you’re the type of person to react in anger, it’s best to distance yourself from the situation and come back when you have calmed down.
  • When you do get the opportunity to speak, don’t attack your boss personally, rather attack the problem.
  • Look at the situation from your boss’s point of view so you can understand where he or she is coming from. If you’re not clear, ask the question. It will make for some productive discussion.
  • It’s difficult not to speak up during the heat of the moment. However, remember that there is a time and a place for certain things to be said and discussions to occur. Sometimes it’s better to hold your tongue and save the conversation for a more appropriate setting.
  • If you choose to attack the problem in public, be prepared for the possibility of having to apologize for your actions in public.
  • Sometimes you need to agree to disagree and leave it at that. You were hired for a specific purpose and it likely wasn’t to fight battles.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

How To Look For A New Job While You’re Still Employed

There should be an image here!Many people are employed but still looking for other opportunities. The challenge is if your current boss gets wind of it, he or she may prematurely start looking for your replacement or worse yet, make your life miserable. So what do you do if you’re looking for a new job but don’t want your current boss to find out? Here are a few things you can do to keep your job search under the radar.

  • Don’t suddenly change your appearance in preparation for an interview. If you wear casual clothes to work each day, showing up in business attire, such as a suit, is a sure way to look conspicuous. Instead, pack a change of clothes for your interview and make arrangements to change once you leave your current workplace.
  • Avoid talking to potential employers at your desk. Instead, use your personal cell phone. Furthermore, avoid using your current work computer to 1) search for potential jobs and 2) communicate with potential employers.
  • Don’t use resources within your current work environment to prepare for an interview. This includes printers and photo copiers. You never know who may beat you to the printer or inadvertently pick up your resume at the copier.
  • If possible, schedule any interviews first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. The less work disruption, the less likely anyone is to question your whereabouts.
  • Be particularly careful if you are interviewing with an employer who is also a client of your current employer. You never know who you may run into.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

Managing People Distractions

There should be an image here!Last year, my co-workers and I moved to a new office. We went from working in our own private cubicles to working in pods. There are now three of us in one pod, where there is absolutely no privacy. When I look back to the first few weeks of pod life, I can definitely say that the most challenging aspect of moving into a pod was trying to work amidst the people distractions.

The first few weeks of pod life were not my most productive but I eventually found ways of dealing with the people distractions. Here are a few of the things that seemed to work for me:

  • Attitude is key — accept that people distractions are part of the job.
  • Have a pair of ear plugs or headphones on hand to block out the noise.
  • Stay organized with a task list. Reward yourself if you are able to accomplish all your tasks without getting distracted.
  • Have a conversation with your co-workers to set some ground rules for the pod. This might include dedicated quiet time, taking lengthy phone calls in dedicated meeting rooms, etc.
  • Be considerate of your pod mates. Recognize that they too are likely trying to get accustomed to the new arrangement.
  • Put up dividers between the desks within a pod to give some level of privacy. You can purchase portable dividers for minimal costs.

If you’re trying to adjust to pod life, rest assured, within a few weeks, you’ll get used to it and will become oblivious to many of the people distractions going on around you.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Pamela Slim]

Get Ready For The 2020 Workplace

There should be an image here!What are the forces at play that will dramatically change the workplace as we know it by the year 2020? How will technology, social media, changing demographics, the incoming generations, and the aging workforce all factor in to create a new dynamic at work? Learn the answers to these questions along with practical advice from companies using best practices now to prepare for the future.

In this free Web seminar, Jeanne Meister, consultant, author and lecturer, explores how the best companies are reaching across generations, adapting their leadership and management approaches, and using social media, to attract, engage and develop talent now. The Web seminar will cover topics featured in the new book The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop, and Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today. The book is based on surveys of more than 250 companies and 2,200 individuals from around the world, along with interviews with more than 50 companies.

Recorded On Wednesday, July 14, 2010.

Mad At Your Boss? Here’s What Not To Do

There should be an image here!Getting mad at your boss is one thing (and bound to happen). How you react when you’re angry is another thing. You likely want an opportunity to share your opinions or concerns but blowing a gasket and publicly displaying your anger is definitely not the way to do it.

If you find yourself at odds with your boss (or other management), consider the following list before you react.

  • If you’re the type of person to react in anger, it’s best to distance yourself from the situation and come back when you have calmed down.
  • When you do get the opportunity to speak, don’t attack your boss personally, rather attack the problem.
  • Look at the situation from your boss’s point of view so you can understand where he or she is coming from. If you’re not clear, ask the question. It will make for some productive discussion.
  • It’s difficult not to speak up during the heat of the moment. However, remember that there is a time and a place for certain things to be said and discussions to occur. Sometimes it’s better to hold your tongue and save the conversation for a more appropriate setting.
  • If you choose to attack the problem in public, be prepared for the possibility of having to apologize for your actions in public.
  • Sometimes you need to agree to disagree and leave it at that. You were hired for a specific purpose and it likely wasn’t to fight battles.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Nicholas Lore]

Adoption Of Social Networks Through Use Cases

Many large organizations are deploying internal social networks to enhance communicate and foster a greater sense of community. However, the saying “build it and they will come” does not hold true. Getting staff to use internal social networks takes a lot of work. The problem is getting staff to see the value of social networks within their day to day work. This is where a strong adoption strategy comes into play.

One strategy to promote the use of social networking is use cases. Assuming you have identified business drivers and clear objectives for an internal social network, you should be able to identify use cases that will showcase to staff, how social networks can improve day-to-day work. For example, if one of your goals for your social network is to enable staff to more easily find expertise across your organization, you can create a use case showing how this can be achieved through the social network.

Bottom line, unless staff sees value in it, they likely won’t adopt it. Use cases allow you to tell/show staff about the value through stories. For example, Bob was looking for expertise within the area of… He was able to use the social network to…

[awsbullet:Surprising Power of Social Networks]

How To Look For A New Job While You’re Still Employed

There should be an image here!Many people are employed but still looking for other opportunities. The challenge is if your current boss gets wind of it, he or she may prematurely start looking for your replacement or worse yet, make your life miserable. So what do you do if you’re looking for a new job but don’t want your current boss to find out? Here are a few things you can do to keep your job search under the radar.

  • Don’t suddenly change your appearance in preparation for an interview. If you wear casual clothes to work each day, showing up in business attire, such as a suit, is a sure way to look conspicuous. Instead, pack a change of clothes for your interview and make arrangements to change once you leave your current workplace.
  • Avoid talking to potential employers at your desk. Instead, use your personal cell phone. Furthermore, avoid using your current work computer to 1) search for potential jobs and 2) communicate with potential employers.
  • Don’t use resources within your current work environment to prepare for an interview. This includes printers and photo copiers. You never know who may beat you to the printer or inadvertently pick up your resume at the copier.
  • If possible, schedule any interviews first thing in the morning or at the end of the day. The less work disruption, the less likely anyone is to question your whereabouts.
  • Be particularly careful if you are interviewing with an employer who is also a client of your current employer. You never know who you may run into.

[Photo above by Joshua Rappeneker / CC BY-ND 2.0]

[awsbullet:Leslie Attwooll]

Remain Positive Through The Negative

In every workplace, you are bound to find negativity. Unfortunately, negativity can be infectious and one negative person can bring down others around them. In such situations, you can counteract the negativity by remaining a positive force with the following tips:

Do not contribute to the negativity

Avoid listening to or participating in negative conversations. You may not realize it, but just listening to conversations that are solely to criticize, complain or denigrate, can make you feel bad. If you want to remain a positive force, you need to avoid the negativity around you.

Set Your Boundaries

When people around you start to complain, gently point this out to them and shift the conversation. Soon enough, people will learn that you do not want to participate in negative conversations and they will stop.

Lead by Example

When you engage others in conversations, make sure they are constructive in nature. Constructive conversations leave people with a feeling of empowerment, thereby creating a more positive atmosphere.

Praise and Recognize the Contributions of Others

Take the time to praise and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of the people around you. A few words of recognition and praise do wonders for a person’s energy, even one with negative energy.

[awsbullet:positive mental attitude]

Social Technology Profile Tool

When you implement social networking within a company, you can expect varying levels of participation from employees. Some will immediately start contributing content through blogs, wikis, and comments. These users are generally referred to as creators or contributors. Others will prefer to just read content created by others. These users become spectators. You will also have those employees who never use social networking at all and are considered inactive.

Forrester has defined six levels of participation that include Creators, Critics, Collectors, Joiners, Spectators and Inactives. Furthermore, Forrester has created a Social Technology Profile Tool. You can use to find out approximately how many people fall into each level of participation, based on the age group, country and gender you specify.

You can find the Social Technology Profile Tool here.

[awsbullet:isaac asimov]

Negative Job Reference

It is possible that one of your references may provide a negative job reference. This may happen because you did not prepare the people on your reference list about the requirements of the position or the reference did not write a letter that outlined your strengths that applied to this job. You need to be very careful in the selection of your references. However, now that you have received a negative reference, the employers or if you are applying to a college for admittance to a program that requires references may contact you for additional information. If the individual presented information that is incorrect you may have a chance to clarify the information or is the information is true you may have the opportunity to present your explanation.

It is important to remember when writing your letter of application and completing your resume that you do exaggerate your skills and experience. Be honest and present your abilities in a positive light. This will help to ensure that you will not be faced with a negative reference and if you are, you will able to clearly and carefully explain the issues. Prospective employers are willing to take a risk if they feel that you are open about the situation.

Try not to say anything negative about your reference in this matter. It will only make a bad situation worse.

[awsbullet:job reference]