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Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down

Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down

Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Things are changing quickly every day, and most of us have seen our typical routines turned upside down. More and more workplaces are allowing or requiring remote work, while school and daycare closings and “social distancing” restrictions mean that whole families are suddenly spending a whole lot more time at home together.

That means many working parents are facing an unprecedented situation: working from home with kids and without access to the camps, babysitters, playdates, and even Grandma-dates that you might normally rely on to get through a school break or a snow day.

It won’t be smooth or perfect, but there are a few strategies you can use to make your new situation a little easier. We have real-world tips from remote workers who’ve balanced career and children in close proximity to help you through this difficult moment.

1. Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule. “Our entire family was housebound for 15 days last winter when there was a polar vortex in Wisconsin,” says Melanie McKay, a scheduling manager for Kaplan Test Prep. “At the time our kids were two, six, seven, and nine. My husband and I both had to work from home and school was canceled. At the beginning of each day, we decided who would be the ‘on point’ parent. That person would work at the dining room table, feed the kids, and suggest activities for ‘bored’ children while the other parent worked in a different room.”

Of course, it may not be possible to get all your work done during regular business hours if you’re also on duty with the kids. “One way we maximized work time was by working odd hours,” McKay says. “I worked before the children were awake. My husband and I staggered work times during the day, and one of us worked in the evening when the children were in bed.” You’ll also need to take meetings and deadlines into consideration. Which ones can be shifted around, and which are cast in stone?

Whichever time slots you end up working, there will be an adjustment period as you retrain your mind to focus during your new “business” hours. You may enjoy mornings, but getting up at 4 or 5 AM to work is different from getting up early to exercise. So set yourself up for success. Pick out tasks in advance and then gather all of the tools and information you’ll need to complete them. Your tired brain will thank you later.

2. Be Up Front With Your Boss

You might need to make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children. Before you do, talk to your boss or HR.

Begin the discussion by contextualizing the news. Remember that this isn’t your personal situation, it’s a community issue. Convey this point tactfully by stating the facts in a straightforward way. It’s also always good to come into this kind of conversation proactively with a clear action plan, says career coach Melody Godfred.

So for example, Godfred suggests you might say:

“As I transition to working from home, I wanted to share that I am also responsible for my three kids, who I will be homeschooling for the time being due to school closures. I am creating a schedule that I will share with you so that you’re aware of when I will be available or unavailable for calls or collaboration. I am absolutely committed to maintaining the level of excellence you expect and will remain in close communication with you so you’re clear on how I’m meeting our goals. I appreciate your support and look forward to navigating this together.”

3. Stick to a Routine

Maintaining a daily routine will help everyone stay occupied and manage some of the anxiety caused by this big change. Go ahead and write out a schedule (including which parent is on primary kid duty if you’re trading off) and pin it to the wall or the refrigerator so kids can refer to it throughout the day.

“The kids had a list of things to do each morning (dress, brush teeth, empty the dishwasher, read for 15 minutes), and we steered them toward different activities each day such as puzzles or fort building,” McKay says.

With some schools closing for a month or more, you’ll want to build in “school” time every day, too. (Bonus: School time can equal pockets of work time for you.) If your kids’ schools have set up remote learning, follow the plan and use the resources provided by their teachers.

Just resist the temptation to have a screen time free-for-all: “Rationing screen time was an important part of my child engagement strategy,” McKay says. “They knew that those were the only two hours that they would get to watch screens all day, so they focused on the show and let me focus on work.”

Juggling work and childcare is an intense but survivable experience. Many remote workers successfully navigate this reality every day. While your situation is different from families who regularly work at home while taking care of children, you can build a temporary structure for your temporary circumstances. With a little bit of planning, lots of discussions, and an adaptable attitude, you’ll be able to better weather your COVID-19 stint at home with the kids.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about how to working at home with your kids. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coaches and Los Angeles career coaches, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Tips for Using Social Media to Help Your Career, Not Hurt It

Tips for Using Social Media to Help Your Career, Not Hurt It

Tips for Using Social Media to Help Your Career, Not Hurt It. Social media can also be a powerful tool for your professional life. You can use it to build your personal brand, grow your network, establish yourself as an expert in your field, or give prospective employers a glimpse into your personality.

It can also be full of pitfalls. More employers and recruiters now regularly check candidates’ social media profiles before hiring them, and screenshots of status updates and tweets mean your electronic words can live forever, even if you delete them later.

And it’s not just your own posts—your activity, including those stealth “likes,” can come back to haunt you, too. “One thing people are often surprised to learn is that an employer can not only see their LinkedIn profile but also see every post they’ve liked, commented on, or shared, in addition to any posts they’re sharing to their feed,” says Michelle Merritt, executive partner at Merrfeld Career Management. “We remind clients to be cautious in what they react to.”

These crucial dos and don’ts will help you navigate the social media maze.

1. Do Be Respectful

Avoid attacking others, and use your best judgment about your own posts. Could they be viewed in a negative manner? Would you shout what you’ve just typed into a crowd? Think before you post, and of course, steer clear of profanity. “Once you’re an adult, that’s not cool,” says Jason Patel, founder of Transizion, a college- and career prep company. “It means you can’t control yourself.”

2. Don’t Post About Politics or Religion

Unless you work in politics, it’s best not to take any sort of controversial stance on public social media, especially if you’re applying for a job in a sensitive position where you need to protect data, protect client information, or be someone that others go to for advice. “If someone’s trying to hire you for a job, don’t let them think all your advice is going to be biased from the get-go,” Patel says.

3. Do Have a Presence on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an important tool for networking and professional brand building, so you should have a complete profile there—with a professional headshot. (Please, no selfies.) “It’s really your electronic resume now, and a lot of the same rules apply,” says Susan Hosage, senior consultant and executive coach with OneSource HR Solutions. “Make sure the content is grammatically correct and spelled correctly, and that all the jobs and titles and dates are accurate.”

4. Don’t Overshare Personal Information

You don’t need to post everything that happens to you. “I have a friend who posts every time she’s in the ER,” Hosage says. “You don’t want to say that discrimination exists out there, but discrimination exists. If somebody does a search and they see something that isn’t appealing to them, it could affect a hiring decision.” Before you share, consider: What would a potential employer think if they read this?

5. Do Learn to Love Your Privacy Settings

We know what you’re thinking: How are you supposed to have any fun online if you can’t be yourself? It’s fine to be a little looser on Facebook or Instagram—if you keep those profiles private. Either lock down your privacy settings (you can also change your profile name to a nickname or first-plus-middle for extra anonymity) or keep your posts aboveboard.

6. Don’t Trash Talk Your Employer

“We’ve seen this occur on multiple occasions where an offer letter is rescinded due to a candidate’s bad-mouthing of a current or former employer on social media,” says Robert Moses, founder of The Corporate Con/noisseur. Doing so makes you look unprofessional and negative—qualities most hiring managers aren’t eager to add to their teams.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about using social media to boost your personal brand. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Quitting Your Job ASAP? 5 Things to do Now.

Quitting your job ASAP? 5 things to do now

Quitting Your Job ASAP, 5 Things to do Now. Are you about to leave your current job for an incredible new one? Let’s get you prepared to make that transition graceful and smooth, shall we? Here are four things our Ignite Your Potential career coaches say you should do before you quit:

1. Ask Current Co-Workers to Write You a LinkedIn Recommendation

If you can think of colleagues, people in leadership, or even those who report to you, that have a good vantage point on the work that you’ve done, this is a great time to ask if they would be willing to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Even if you already have a job lined up, most of us are unlikely to go back later and do this type of “housekeeping.” Why not take care of it now as another way to archive the work you’ve done.

2. Make Those Last Doctor and Coaching Appointments

Do you have unused medical privileges that you’ll be walking away from? Or, are your old benefits more robust than your new ones will probably be? If so, consider booking your last checkups and appointments while still covered on your current employer’s plan. Do you have a stipend for professional development? The San Francisco career coaches and Los Angeles career coaches at Ignite accept these types of payment and then you can use our career coaching as you onboard to your new company.

3. Give Your Laptop and Phone some TLC

You know how you’ve kind of adopted your company-provided equipment as “yours?” Right. Now is the time to digest the fact that you aren’t, in fact, the owner of said equipment. More than likely, your employer is going to review all of the files on that computer and contacts on the phone, scrub them, and hand them out to someone else. Given this, it’s critical that you copy all of the personal files that you need and delete the ones you don’t. 

4. Make Things Easy on Your Successor

Even if you’ve been working in a House of Misery, it’s just plain jerkish to leave a bunch of loose ends or tangled messes. In your last weeks on the job, make every effort to get things organized and prepared for whoever is going to pick up where you left off. Take good meeting notes, save your files in an easy-to-understand manner, and generally approach your work with the mindset that someone else is going to have to do it very soon. Also, if possible, offer to help select and train your successor.

5. Figure Out How to Move Money

Financial planning can be confusing under the best of circumstances. Don’t let this critical matter fall through the cracks as you make a job transition. If you have a 401(k) or other money coming back to you as you part ways, understand how the payout or transition needs to work before you goof up anything vital. And then manage the money transition right along with yours.

The beginning of a new year is the most inspiring time to make big moves to improve your career or life. If you’re going to be among those who make great leaps in 2020, make sure they’re pirouettes, not belly flops.

Looking for more tips on how to successfully leave a job? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 San Francisco career coaches and Los Angeles career coaches, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Not in the Mood

Career Motivation

Career motivation can be elusive. Some days you feel it and other days you can’t grab a measly corner of it no matter how hard you try. You stare at the computer screen, willing yourself to type, create, develop, and instead you find yourself simply going through the motions, barely caring about the work you’re producing. Needless to say, you’re totally uninspired, and you don’t know how to make yourself feel otherwise.

Quora users have been there, and they have real and practical solutions for digging up that lost motivation and getting a job not just done—but completed with a sense of passion. Read on for tips and tricks that’ll get you motivated in no time.

Don’t Think About it as Hard Work

“There is only one way for me to motivate myself to work hard: I don’t think about it as hard work. I think about it as part of making myself into who I want to be. Once I’ve made the choice to do something, I try not to think so much about how difficult or frustrating or impossible that might be; I just think about how good it must feel to be that, or how proud I might be to have done that. Make hard look easy.” – Marie Stein

Think about it: If the project you’re faced with isn’t viewed as drudgery, but rather as a piece of the puzzle that’s helping you along your career path, then perhaps the energy required to do it will be easier to come by.

Create Small, Bite-Sized Goals

“There’s a reason donut holes are so lovable. They’re easy to eat. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a dozen of them. This is how goals should be too. Of course, you should have a really big, audacious goal. But make sure you break down that goal into bite-sized, consumable goals. This way you’ll feel like you’re making progress in your journey and you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the smaller goals. A feeling of progress and achievement is a beautiful combination.” – Nelson Wang

You’ve no doubt heard this advice before, but have you applied it to motivation? Rather than focusing on a large, scary goal, take one thing at a time and break the big goal into ideas you can digest one at a time.

Stop Caring About the Things That Don’t Matter

“Doing things that don’t mean anything costs [us] a ton of mental energy. Look at your aggregated to-do list, find things you know that you don’t care about, and get rid of as many of these activities as possible. You will stay more consistently motivated if you’re working on activities that are inherently meaningful or are part of a larger mission.” – Nick Miller

It’s not always best to finish what you started if, down the line, you can’t even remember the reason you started something in the first place.

Just Do It

“To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick for me is to just do it (sounds trite, but it works.) As soon as you think something needs to be done, jump into it, doing it immediately (of course, provided the conditions are feasible.) You must not think about anything else, suppressing all other thoughts, keeping your mind blank, acting like a robot. Yes, it sounds weird, but it does work! Otherwise, you will debate whether you should do it now or there were too many issues with doing it, or there are other more pleasurable and exciting things to do over this boring task.” – Bob Win

Instead of waiting around, willing yourself to feel motivated, what if you just went ahead and started doing the work you know you need to do? Dive into the project and trust that the focus will be what you need.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you come up with other motivation tips that work for you. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Books That Help You Get What You Want in Your Career

Are you an assistant? An associate? A VP with unlimited vacation? It doesn’t matter. Because no matter where you are at in your career, you will always have goals that keep you learning. 

The Ignite Your Potential coaches have rounded up 8 books that will advance your career. Each one focuses on a different set of skills, beliefs, or values that are important to the growth-oriented person—at work and in your life. They will motivate you, inspire you, and help you shake up a stale work routine.

So, give the fiction a (short) break, and dive into these titles that will give your career a boost based on what you want right now!

If You Want to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career, from the 99U series and Jocelyn Glei, some of today’s leading minds offer their advice to take your career to the next level. A detailed how-to book, you’ll learn how to create new opportunities, build relationships in the workplace, and unleash your creative potential.

If You Want to Fall in Love with Your Job

Let’s face it: Work is more fun when you enjoy what you do, right? Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness is a guide written by Kerry Hannon to help you transform your boring job into something meaningful. For people struggling to get through the day, Hannon’s tips will help you change your habits and your attitude, so you’ll love your job again in no time at all.

If You Want Work-Life Balance

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington reminds us that there is more to life than earning a ton of money. The constant pursuit of more (and more) has been a one-way ticket to burnout for too many. Huffington encourages people to incorporate self-care into their daily lives. Throughout the book, she also shares personal anecdotes about her struggles with time management and prioritizing her career and family life.

If You Want to Change Your Money Mindset

Have you ever wondered how Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and many of the other successful businesspeople of the 1900s earned their fortunes? Well, my friend, the secret is within Think and Grow Rich, the 1937 classic from Napoleon Hill. Not only will you learn what they believed was the key to their riches, but you’ll also get Hill’s 13-step program that will put you on the track to achieve wealth and success.

If You Want to Recover From a Career Failure

The truth is, we all face failure in life, whether it’s in our careers or personal lives. What matters is how we handle it. But how can you become one of those people who turns his failures into learning experiences? Business blogger Megan McArdle explains just that in her book, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. You’ll read stories from people in all different career paths (medicine, education, finance—to name a few,) and their examples will help you see your missteps in a different light.

If You’re Feeling Stuck in Your Career

In Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life, Joe Sweeney provides a detailed system for people who feel stuck and want a plan to make a change. It’s a perfect read for those who crave actionable advice. Bonus: These lessons can be applied to personal aspirations as well.

If You’re Ready to Pivot into a Different Career

Laura Berman Fortgang shares exactly how she has helped her clients successfully make big changes in their lives. If you’re looking for a new job or questioning what you’re meant to do with your life, Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction will help you find the answers in just three months!

If You Want to Start Your Own Company

If you haven’t read #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso yet, what are you waiting for? The founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal, Amoruso opens up about her troublesome past and how she turned her life around to become an insanely successful CEO. Even if you’re not passionate about the fashion industry, you can benefit from this inspirational story.
Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you get what you want in your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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4 Phrases Your Boss Wants to Hear

things your boss like to hear

Fact: At some point, every one of us has (or had) a boss. You may have even wondered, what are things your boss wants to hear.

We wish they had all the answers. It would be ideal if on every rung in the ladder, we could look to our bosses to actually lead us, guide us, and be our mentors.

But managers don’t know everything, and more often than not, they need our help, too. Unfortunately, only the best leaders actually ask for it.

But why wait to be asked? Here are four things that your boss wants to hear, and that’ll help you manage up and make both you and your manager shine.

1. “I’ve Got This”

Maybe your manager has a few bosses of her own who have just joined on. These new players are demanding, and she may not know how to manage them and their requests. Projects she used to oversee—like the ones you work on—may not be her top priority right now, nor might she be the best person to guide you. So, what do you do? Easy. You tell her “I’ve got this.”

Why it Matters

A great boss knows that to succeed, she has to set priorities—which means she has to hand them off to someone else. Letting her know you will own this might give her the confidence she needs to let you run with it. And then you have an opportunity to flash your best work.

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How to Know if You’re Making the Wrong Career Move

Imagine you are facing a major career decision. A new opportunity arose that would increase your engagement and give you more autonomy. Taking it however means leaving a job that you’ve enjoyed, focusing on a different type of work, and facing a substantial learning curve. Uncertain, you almost miss the window to apply… What do you do?

One of the biggest doubts that gnaws at a decision maker’s peace of mind, is worrying about making the wrong move. What if I take this new job and regret it? What if I’m not prepared enough to move up? What if I strike out on my own and fail? Just how, exactly, can you tell if you’re about to make a wrong move? Like many things in your professional life, there’s no black and white when it comes to making a bold career-changing pivot. But the following three questions may help you work through your concerns. (Of course, if your circumstances are complex, it’s time to schedule with one of our career coaches.)

1. Do You Have a Sense of Foreboding?

Do you feel a tiny lingering sense of dread when you think about the new opportunity? Maybe your potential boss minimized some of your accomplishments in the interview, making you wonder if your work won’t be valued in the new space. Or maybe you met the team, and while they were polite, they also seemed a bit tightly-wound, making you wonder how they handle a tough deadline or if this is the culture of the department.

Think you would just walk away if you encountered red flags like these? Don’t kid yourself—there are plenty of reasons we ignore warning bells, like a bigger paycheck, higher status, or the opportunity to live in a great location. But, if you see these signs, you shouldn’t overlook them simply because you want to make more money. A nagging unease or feeling of discomfort could be your big brain’s way of letting you know that you’re not ready or that it’s not the best option.

Look, it’s inevitable that a career change is going to create some anxiety. (If it doesn’t, check your pulse!) You don’t need to automatically turn down a great offer if you’re feeling nervous, but you should try to determine if it’s more than just butterflies. Ask yourself, “Am I uncomfortable about something that’s happened in this process, or am I just nervous at the thought of change?”

2. Are You Feeling Desperate?

If you’re in a crummy situation and you hate your job, and you get a chance to make a change, there’s a chance you might make the jump just to escape your current situation. Make sure you’re approaching the decision with a clear head so you can determine if the new opportunity actually offers something better or if it just seems that way. Remember that you need to vet this new opportunity. You need to assess if this new company, culture, team, management, product, is an actual fit for you and sets you up for success.

If you can’t find that clear headspace on your own, talk to someone. When you feel panicky, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain perspective. Someone on the outside, someone who doesn’t have your emotional attachment to the situation, can often be of enormous help. A trusted friend, mentor, or career coach can help you recognize and sort through your options.

3. Are You Trying to Spite Someone?

You’re not the only one who’s dreamed of getting an incredible opportunity to rub in that colleague’s smug face. But, c’mon now, that’s obviously a terrible reason to actually make a career move. If you let them drive your decision, you’re giving them control, and it’s unlikely that the decision is truly what’s best for you and your professional trajectory.

If you can remain secure and productive in your role, you’ll ultimately have more control, and eventually, new doors will open for you, giving you the chance to evaluate your options objectively.

Here’s a final nugget to bear in mind when wrestling with a major career decision: If you truly know what is a fit for you, if you know what you need in a career to thrive, and you have vetted the company, your potential co-workers and boss, the culture, then you are likely to make a good, solid decision. Still wondering “Am I making the fight decision?” Ask our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers who all offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Questions to Win Over Your New Boss

questions to ask your boss at new job

Starting a new job is all about making a good first impression. You have this amazing opportunity to start over—to build strong relationships and set your new career in the right direction—so don’t just enter your new office without a game plan or the same old routine you did before. This means asking a lot of questions as soon as you get started. You may worry about being annoying, but you should ask your boss questions at a new job to understand the inner workings of your new company and also get on your boss’s’ good side. While there are no bad questions, there are some that will boost your reputation better than others. For example, here are four questions to ask your boss in the first few days and weeks if you want to get ahead.

1. “How Are You Doing?”

First off, this shouldn’t be a one-time question. In fact, you should be asking this regularly of your new boss, if not daily. (And hopefully they’re asking the same of you.)

Why? Your boss is probably very busy, very stressed, or in some instances feels ignored or underappreciated, so making them feel noticed is an instant plus for you. And, it gives them a chance to open up. This could lead to more transparency, even more opportunity for you to get involved, and it’s the number one strategy for managing up.

Not every boss is going to take this kind of question and become your new best friend. But at the very least it’s a nice thing to ask and that will help you build rapport.

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Out-of-Office Email Templates for the Holidays That You Can Copy and Paste Now

 

You’ve been busy planning out your tasks, tying up loose ends, and working ahead to ensure you can actually disconnect, recharge, and relax over your holiday break. When you’ve finally powered your way through that seemingly endless to-do list and are ready to check out of work mode once and for all, there’s one final thing you need to take care of: setting your out-of-office response. What’s the easiest way to do that? Email templates.

But, what exactly should you say in that automated message of yours?

Businessman sending an email after copy and pasting email templates for quick and easy out of office messaging

Whether you’re looking for something strait-laced and formal or over-the-top festive, here are six different holiday out of office messages you can use that are perfectly suited to you and your company.

For the Person Who Works in a Traditional Office

Hello,

Thank you for your email, I’m currently out of the office until [date].

I’ll reply to your message promptly when I return. But, if you require immediate assistance, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email] in my absence.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season,

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Wants to Keep it Friendly, But Professional

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I’m currently out of the office until [date] to celebrate the holiday with my loved ones—without my phone in front of my face.

I’ll be sure to reply to your message when I wade through my inbox upon my return. If your message is time-sensitive, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email].

Sending wishes for a happy holiday season,

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Keeps Things Festive

Season’s greetings!

It’s my favorite time of year, which means I’m currently out of the office chugging mugs of cocoa, stuffing my face with cookies, and attempting to fulfill my life-long goal of memorizing every single line of [your favorite holiday movie.]

I’ll be back in front of my computer on [date] and will respond to your message at that time. If you need immediate assistance, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email] so that the other elves in this workshop can help you out.

Happy ho-ho-holidays!

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Will Be Checking Emails

Hello,

I’m out of the office until [date].

However, I will be taking periodic breaks from binge-watching everything I’ve missed to check my email [once per day/every evening/occasionally] while I’m away.

If this matter isn’t time-sensitive, rest assured that I’ll respond when I’m back in the office. But, if this is an urgent request, please resend any messages that require my immediate attention with a subject line of “URGENT: [Original Subject]”.

All the best,

[Your Name]

Whether you prefer to stick with something simple or have a little fun with your holiday out-of-office message, it’s important that you always make sure to at least include the basics in your email templates: your return date and an alternative contact people can reach out to for urgent matters. Then, all that’s left to do is turn it on before you abandon your desk.


Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about potential out-of-office emails or big career changes. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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What to Ask Yourself if You’re Questioning Your Career Path

You’re not completely sold that you’re on the right career path, but the idea of making a change is daunting. There are so many unknowns and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Plus, if you do decide to change course, will you have to take a step back to develop the necessary skills? Many people start questioning their career path as they re-evaluate their future.

Wondering if you have the time and energy required to transition into the right career path may be a valid concern, but it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a path you love. Before you make a switch, here are a few career path questions to ask yourself.

1. Are You Developing a Competitive Advantage?

In The Start-up of You, authors Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha teach that we’re all entrepreneurs of our own careers. They argue that to become competitive in today’s global market, it’s critical to understand your assets (what you’re good at,) your aspirations (what you want to do,) and the market realities (what people will pay you for.)

Having only one or two isn’t enough. You need all three to develop a true competitive advantage. Know your assets and aspirations in light of the market realities—then pursue a path that maximizes all three.

2. How Often Do You Think About Work Outside of Work?

The importance of this question is best illustrated through a story. Henry Eyring, a former business professor at Stanford University, tells how he ended up choosing his path. His father, who was a renowned scientist and professor, hoped his son would follow in his footsteps. In Eyring’s words: “My father was [teaching physics] at a blackboard we kept in the basement…Suddenly he stopped. ‘Hal,’ he said, ‘we were working the same kind of problem a week ago. You don’t seem to understand it any better now than you did then. Haven’t you been working on it?’”

Eyring admitted he had not. His father then said: “When you walk down the street, when you’re in the shower, when you don’t have to be thinking about anything else, isn’t this what you think about?”

“When I told him no,” Eyring concludes, “my father paused…then said, ‘Hal, I think you’d better get out of physics. You ought to find something that you love so much that when you don’t have to think about anything, that’s what you think about.’”

To be successful you don’t need to obsess about your job 24/7, but if you’re only thinking about your job during the hours of 9 to 5, it may be a sign you’re on the wrong path. 

3. What Does Your Career Path Look Like 10 Years Down the Road?

Think of those in your company or industry who are more senior than you. Do you eventually want to be doing the type of work they’re doing?

This question about your career path helps challenges not only the position you  have currently, but also if the workplace can support your expected future goals.

If you don’t know what your current path looks like, schedule an informational interview with someone more experienced. These informal meetings are a great way to find out what you can expect in the future. Consider asking people what they like most about their job, the types of projects they work on, and what advice they’d give to someone in your shoes.

Questioning your career path is what many people do as they take work and take a step back and think about their path. Your answers to these questions will help you understand whether you should double your efforts in your current job or start figuring out your next move.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you with your career path! We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and the #1 career coaches in Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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