Take a Break!

takeabreakSummer’s a great time to think about a little vacation. But on this episode of Working, we’re not talking about that kind of break. Rather, we’re considering the mental health day — a day off to decompress, re-gather your wits, and just breathe for a minute. It’s a hard thing to do. But Workplace Therapist Brandon Smith says it could be one of the most important things you can do for your career.

Evolution of the Employee

evolutionofemployeeLife at work is changing faster than most of us can keep up, aided in no small measure by the Great Recession and its aftermath. Consider: many people don’t have to work in a traditional office anymore, they don’t just work between 9 and 5, and their career path is much more murky than used to be the case. On this episode of the Woking podcast, Workplace Therapist Brandon Smith explains how employee life is evolving — and what it means for many of us.

The Pendulum Swing – Labor Shortages Coming Soon?

Brandon on GPB – The Pendulum Swing – Labor Shortages Coming Soon?

Help_Wanted_photologue_np_Flickr_oEconomists have long been talking about the day when the bulk of the baby boomer generation finally retires.

The recession has put off that day as older workers stay in their jobs longer. But economists at the Conference Board now say those retirements are imminent, and they’re going to contribute to a labor shortage in the United States in the next 10 to 15 years.

That spells opportunity for younger workers.

“If you’re in [Generation X], you might feel squeezed right now, but you’re going to have a heckuva lot of opportunity in about the next 10 years,” said Brandon Smith, a workplace and career consultant who also teaches business students at Emory and Georgia State universities. “[There will be] way more openings than there are people. Immigration may be filling some of that void, but you’re going to see a huge demand.”

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Forget Your Resume – Where’s Your Website?

Brandon on GPB – Forget Your Resume – Where’s Your Website?

Some career advisers say a personal website chronicling your work is better—and more dynamic—than a resume nowadays. (See here, here and here for a few examples.)

The argument is that having a unique website dedicated to a job-seeker’s career accomplishments and work examples helps build a tightly focused, controlled brand.

Brandon Smith, GPB’s regular commentator on work and career issues, said the personal website has a place—just not for everyone.

“A marketing job, an advertising job, a social media job—great for having a personal website,” said Smith, an independent workplace adviser and career consultant who also teaches business students at Emory and Georgia State universities. “[Any] job where you can show what you did versus tell about what you did, because essentially, it’s an online portfolio.”

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Why Young College Grads Can’t Find Work

Brandon on GPB – Why Young College Grads Can’t Find Work

If you have a “5” in front of your age, our Working guy says you’re in trouble when it comes time to find a job.

An avalanche of data is starting to show that having a “1” or a “2” in front of your age might not be so great either.

Nearly 21 percent of young people aged 16 to 24 are unemployed in Georgia, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nationally, the rate is just over 14 percent.

Part of the problem is that employers aren’t creating many new jobs, said Brandon Smith, a career coach and business professor at Emory and Georgia State universities. Plus, their current workers aren’t leaving to go to other companies. And the jobs employers do have open attract a large number of more-experienced candidates than these teens and early 20-somethings.

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Making Weekends Work Doesn’t Mean Working On The Weekends

Brandon on GPB – Making Weekends Work Doesn’t Mean Working On The Weekends

What makes successful people, well, successful?

Certainly it’s a combination of lots of different habits, skills and approaches. But authors and career coaches have found in talking to high-achievers that the way they handle their weekends is one element.

Most aren’t using those days to cram in more work. Instead, they’re using them for what is, ostensibly, their intended purpose: recharging, resetting and relaxing.

“[Successful people] know that they need that day or two to reset and to nurture the other components in their life,” said Brandon Smith, a career consultant and executive coach who also teaches business students at Emory and Georgia State universities. “What these people realize is that life is like a report card: it’s not about doing well in one class, it’s about doing well in all aspects of life.

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New Goals for a New Year

Brandon on GPB – New Goals For A New Year

i-dont-like-youA new year has dawned and many people are thinking about goals for 2014.

But don’t go overboard, warns our resident workplace and career expert.

“We screw this up by picking too many goals. Don’t do that,” said Brandon Smith, a career coach and business professor at Emory University and Georgia State University.

Start with perhaps one or two goals, Smith said. And he suggested three keys areas consider (“While there’s a lot of other things—like lose 10 pounds or eat healthier, those are all good—in the realm of work, these three are the biggest.”):

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Don’t Expect To Get Hired ‘Til 2014

Brandon on GPB – Don’t Expect to Get Hired ‘Til 2014

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Work more or less grinds to a halt in most organizations in these final weeks of the year—which means efforts to fill open positions also stop.

That doesn’t mean job-seekers are stuck in neutral for the next few weeks, according to career coach and workplace consultant Brandon Smith. He said the single most-important task for those people is setting up coffee meetings with people at the companies where they want to work.

“They have time to do it,” said Smith, who also teaches workplace culture and leadership at Emory University and Georgia State University. “You’ll never find another opportunity like this during the year.”

Smith pointed to 2011 research that found 56 percent of surveyed hiring managers knew who they wanted to promote before they deliberated on the candidates. Of that group, nearly all—96 percent—promoted that favorite.

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Work’s Done For 2013

Brandon on GPB – Work’s Done for 2013

With about a week and half until Christmas, work has pretty much ground to a halt in companies across Georgia. But workplace guru Brandon Smith says that does not mean productivity has to stop, too.

calendar-future_jstewart_h“There are a lot of professions that are still going to be running—we think about healthcare, retail, restaurants and food services—but if you’re not in a profession where you’ve got customers calling, which is most other professions, take some time off,” said Smith, a workplace consultant and professor at Emory University and Georgia State University. “Your customers are. You should too.”

For some people, Smith said, that time off will be full-on vacation. Maybe even a trip somewhere with the family since the kids will be out of school. But even those people who stay a home can use the time wisely.

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Encore Careers

Brandon on GPB – Encore Careers

We’ve all heard the story of the executive who decides late in life that his real passion is cooking, so he opens a restaurant.

Or how about the lawyer who decides she wants to become an author, so she quits the firm and writes a book.

When-Does-Pillow-Talk-Go-Too-FarThe cultural buzzwords for these situations abound: reinventing yourself, a second act, an encore career.

“It’s always driven by passion,” said Brandon Smith, a career coach and workplace consultant who is a regular commentator on careers for GPB. “It’s a question of what triggers you to unleash that passion.”

For some (like the aforementioned executive and lawyer), the choice is solely one of following a long-held passion and feeling comfortable enough to take the financial risk. But that’s not always the case, Smith said.

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Reveal Your Potential

Brandon on GPB – Reveal Your Potential

i-dont-like-you

Perception is everything, right? Sometimes that works in our favor because someone sees our best qualities and all that we are capable of.

But more often, people – and our managers – see the work we’ve done before and figure that’s what we know. They miss our “potential.”

Brandon Smith says helping others see our potential (and all that we might accomplish) really comes down to marketing.

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Revealing Your Weaknesses

When-Does-Pillow-Talk-Go-Too-Far

Brandon on GPB – Revealing Your Weaknesses

When you sit down for a job interview, you can pretty much expect to be asked about your weaknesses.

Like any question from a potential employer, there are definitely good and bad ways to answer. Some of those are obvious; others maybe are not as clear. Career coach and workplace consultant Brandon Smith is here with some advice on tackling that sticky question.

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Be Happy, Make More

Brandon on GPB – Be Happy, Make More

keep-this-to-yourselfThe old cliché says that money can’t buy you happiness.

Some new research suggests the reverse might be true, though: being happier might mean you make more money.

Basically: people who experienced more positive daily emotions and had a generally more positive outlook while they grew up made more money by age 29.

Workplace expert and career coach Brandon Smith explains why this makes sense (and what you can still do to capitalize on the idea).

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