Adopt a Positive Mindset for 2017

Have you taken time to reflect on 2016?

Today you will want to focus on step two of my three piece recipe for resolution success. Have HOPE! Believe that good things are ready to be yours in 2017.

Never lose HOPE!

Adopt a positive mindset as we say goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017!

3 Reasons Why You Need to Make New Year’s Resolutions

Each year 45% of the American population makes New Year’s Resolutions. Yet, only 8% successfully meet or achieve their resolutions. The most popular resolutions fall in self-improvement, weight loss, finance, and relationships categories.

Have you ever stopped to think about why you make resolutions? Is it a family tradition? Because everyone else is doing it? Or because society expects you to make resolutions? Either way, making New Year’s Resolutions is good for you.

Below are my three reasons why you should make New Year’s Resolutions this year.

New Year’s Resolutions Give You:

 Closure

  Hope

   Direction

As you begin to think about what New Year’s Resolutions you will make for 2017, you are forced to reflect on 2016. This will help you identify things you want to end or people you want to eliminate from your life. Reflecting on the past year will also help you see what or who held you back from achieving your personal and professional goals. Saying goodbye to toxic people, unproductive activities, unpleasant situations, and bad habits will provide you space and time for new opportunities and activities. Closure is good. It provides you hope.

Hope is not toxic. Hope gives you peace of mind, drive, and motivation. Can you think of a better feeling to have as you start 2017? When you have hope, you can set a new direction for 2017.

You are in the driver’s seat of your life. Make time to chart your direction for success in 2017. Each new year’s resolution should have its own roadmap to success. I encourage you to take the time to create a vision board showing the resolutions you have already achieved. Then, in a journal or on a white board, write step by step directions on how you will achieve success. I recommend using the SMART acronym when designing the directions for your resolution achievement. We all follow directions every day to achieve results. When you have directions on how to achieve your desired results and you follow them, you will succeed.

Research has shown that when you explicitly make resolutions, you are 10 times more likely successfully complete them than those who don’t explicitly make resolutions. Hang your vision board where others will see it and comment. This will motivate you to keep working towards your goal. Sadly, only 14% of people over the age of 50 reach or achieve success with their resolutions. In the first week, 75% of resolution makers work towards their goals, however the number decreases with each month that passes by. Don’t be the statistic that does not achieve success. In my next article, I will share tips on achieving success in 2017. But for now, make time to reflect on 2016, on what worked and what you will no longer tolerate in 2017.

New Year’s Resolutions provide closure, hope, and direction. These three items work together to help you reduce stress and achieve success in 2017. You can be one of the 8% who achieves resolution success.

Don’t Be on the Naughty List

Know the Rules for Holiday Gift Giving

Tis the season for gift giving. But, know the rules for giving and receiving gifts before you commit an ethics violation.

I remember one young Marine gave our Commanding Officer and Executive Officer a day planner for Christmas. Within minutes, the First Sergeant was discreetly asking someone to search the regulations to see if they could accept the gifts. It is one thing to accept a cookie from the office baker but it another to accept a gift that may be considered by others as “sucking up.”

Below is an easy to read guide to keep you from making a faux pas depending on where you work.

Federal Government – gift giving between federal employees is subject to limitation.                                                              giving-gifts-at-work

Do NOT give gifts to your supervisors.

  1. Do not accept gifts from subordinates or other federal employees who make less than you.
  2. Do not ask employees to contribute toward a gift for an official superior.
  3. Always be mindful of the possibility that others may view your gift giving as favoritism.
  4. Be careful someone does not expect a promotion or special assignment because they gave you a gift.

The Exception to the rules – You may accept refreshments, greeting card, or small gift other than cash valued at less than $10 from an employee or coworker. Likewise, employees make accept a gift – not cash – from the public valued up to $20, if all gifts received do not total more than $50 in a calendar year.

https://oge.gov/Web/OGE.nsf/Resources/A+Holiday+Reminder+about+the+Gift+Rules

Large Corporations – know the rules.
  1. Consult your Human Resource Department and employee handbook for guidance.
  2. If gifts are allowed, find out to whom you can give a gift. Know the rules of your office.
  3. Allow people to opt-out of the Secret Santa or gift exchange. Set a clear spending limit and let people know about it ahead of time.
  4. If you receive a gift from a client know if you can keep it and if there are any stipulations on the value of the gift. If you cannot keep the gift due to company ethics policies consult your Human Resources Department on disposal of the gift. Most Human Resource Departments will provide you a list of non-profit organizations to donate the gift. Be sure to send a thank you note and explain the gift was donated. This will let the person know not to send you something in the future.
  5. Consult your manager or Human Resources Department on whether it is appropriate to send a gift to a client.

Remember to be kind. If you know someone is struggling financially do NOT embarrass the person by singling him or her out and presenting them a gift card, cash, or food box containing a holiday meal in front of everyone.

Small Businesses – often treat their employees like family.
  1. Ask your supervisor what is the proper protocol for gift giving.
  2. Pool your spending power if you are buying a gift for the owners. Suggested contribution is $5-$10.
  3. If it is a small office or workplace if you give to one co-worker you should give to all co-workers. Small businesses thrive on having a cohesive work environment. You do not want to make someone feel unwanted by not giving that person a gift.

Instead of buying gifts for everyone you may choose to bake a tray of cookies or your specialty item for everyone to enjoy at work or take home to share with their families.

Don’t let the holiday gift giving fever catch you unprepared. You do not want to get coal in your stocking. Know the ethical guidelines for gift giving for your place of employment.

Jaynine JJ Howard & Associates
Jaynine
JJ Howard & Associates

 

 

 

Contact Cards, Networking, & the Holidays

The Army Navy Game, alumni football games and the winter holidays are upon us. Many job seekers are traveling home to visit classmates, family, and friends over the next few months. If you are job hunting, these people are a source of referrals for job leads. You will want to have a contact card ready to share. This is not the time to write your information down on a scrap of paper or grocery receipt and hope the recipient saves it. Also, do you really want your information given to a hiring manager or your future employer on a grocery receipt?

A contact card is very similar to a business card. It demonstrates you display a high degree of professionalism and are serious about presenting yourself in a favorable manner. Listed below are the key elements you will want to be sure are on your card and some things to keep in mind when designing your contact card.

Key Elements of Your Contact Card

 Name – Use your full name to include your middle initial or the name you use on LinkedIn. Hiring managers will search online for you by name. Ensure you are consistent with how you use your name online and keep it professional. Research has shown when you use a middle initial you are seen in a more positive competent manner and ultimately receive a higher salary.

Degree(s) conferred – Right after your name list your degrees conferred, such as MD, JD, Ph.D., BS, AA etc. You only list the highest degree conferred. The exception to this rule is if the job you are seeking uses a lower level degree that is a different discipline than the higher degree. If you do not have your degree but have an anticipated graduation date – put Anticipated Graduation Date followed by month and year on the line beneath your name.

LinkedIn URL – This will let people know they can find out more about you and your skills online. Place your LinkedIn URL on the line below your name. LinkedIn is no longer an option. It is a key tool for job hunting. Make sure you have customized your LinkedIn URL.

Phone Number – Do not use a work phone number. You want your card to be relevant after you leave the military or your present place of employment. I recommend you use your cell phone and not a home phone number. Your cell phone is always with you. Do NOT forget to put your area code on your contact card.

Physical Address – Placing your physical address is optional. If you are willing to relocate I do not recommend using a physical address.

Email Address & Email Service Provider– You MUST have a professional email address. Do not use a work email or a school email. You want an address that you will have access to when you are no longer employed or attending college. Keep your email address sounding professional and don’t use addresses like “hotchickatyahoo.com” or “wildman226@gmail.com.  If you are a Veteran due not use your military occupational specialty in your address. Also, do not use the year you were born in your email address. You do not want to have someone discriminate against you based on what you did in the military or age. Use a grown-up email provider. Do not use Yahoo, Hotmail, or AOL. Upgrade your email to Gmail or use a personalized email that you can get when you purchase a domain name for a website or blog.

Things to Consider

Back of the Card – Leave the back of your contact card blank – Do not list your job title or your skills. You do not want to limit your marketability by having a limited list of skills or job titles. There is not room to list everything or every version of what you can do for an employer. Also, when you leave the back blank the recipient can use it to jot themselves a note or reminder about you.

Military Affiliation – Military affiliation is an optional item. I recommend having one card that shows you are a Veteran and another that does not. If you are networking with military-friendly companies, then you would use the card that shows your military affiliation. Do NOT put your rank on your business card. This can cause someone to stereotype or discriminate against you based on rank and not look at your current education or skill sets.

Card Stock – Ensure your contact card is made from a quality card stock. Do not attempt to print them off on your home computer. I always recommend upgrading to a premium card stock. It will be heavier weight than a budget card. Rounded corners will also make your card stand out.

Font – Use a font that is professional and large enough to be read. Now is not the time to be cute or overly creative. A contact card is not that big. When you proof your card online you may be able to read the font. But, when you get it in your hand you may not. As I have gotten older reading cards has gotten harder.

Color – I recommend a simple yet timeless, elegant and classy white card with black lettering. However, know your industry. If you choose to go with a colored card and colored font make sure it is readable. Again, I have cards on my desk where I cannot read the font due to the color.

Picture – I do not recommend putting a picture on your card. Again, you do not want to be discriminated against because you are not the ideal weight, or have a hair color, hair style, body art etc. that does not resonate with the hiring manager.

When you are attending alumni football homecomings, holiday parties, and work functions don’t force your card upon anyone. It is polite to ask for their card. Typically, when you ask if they have a card they will, in turn, ask for your card. Then when the person asks if you have a card, you will be ready. Also, when people ask what you are up to you can say you are job hunting and ask them to let anyone they know that may be hiring that you are looking. After you leave the event you can follow up with that person by sending a hand-written note and include one or two contact cards.

Holidays are a great time to send cards in the mail. Yes, people still enjoy receiving a card in the mail. You have Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years Day to name just a few of the observed holidays. Send quality holiday cards to your Aunts, Uncles, cousins, previous co-workers, and high school friends. If you belong to industry specific organizations and an alumni organization I recommend sending cards to those you know too. Don’t forget your mail carrier and other service providers you interact with on a daily or periodic basis. Include two contact cards in your holiday greeting card. One card for the recipient to keep and one for the recipient to share.

Your contact card is just one tool you should have in your job-hunting toolbox. It only takes a person a few seconds to see you and your contact card and form an opinion of you. Ensure your contact card represents you in a positive manner.