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In Pursuit of Profession: The top five work resolutions, part 2

Fadden
Fadden

Last week we looked at two of the top five work resolutions for 2017 and discussed ways to make them stick. This week, we look at the remaining three resolutions and, just like we did last week, talk to local experts to help us keep those resolutions in 2017 and beyond.

Before we delve into the deep end of the resolution pool, let’s recap the top five resolutions for 2017. Harris Poll, on behalf of CareerBuilder, the global leader in human capital solutions, conducted a national online survey from November 16, 2016 to December 6, 2016, that included a representative sample of 3,411 workers across industries. They found that, aside from finding a new job, (35 percent of workers are actively searching for a new job at any given time) the top five work resolutions are as follows:

1. Save more of my pay: 49 percent (vs. 38 percent last year)

2. Be less stressed: 38 percent (vs. 28 percent last year)

3. Get a raise or promotion: 30 percent (vs. 26 percent last year)

4. Eat healthier at work: 28 percent (vs. 19 percent last year)

5. Learn something new (take more courses, training, seminars): 26 percent (vs. 17 percent last year)

Eat, Learn, Grow

Last week, we talked about how to save more and be less stressed at work. This week, we learn more about learning more, eating better and getting a raise or promotion. And because your brain can’t work right if your body isn’t fueled properly, then let’s start with eating healthier at work.

Many of us think that eating better at work is impossible. Not so, said Healthy Life Coach/Speaker Cindy Carbone. On her website, www.cindycarbone.com, she hosts a do-it-yourself learning/coaching program called the Mind/Body Reset Academy, which is part of her Healthy Life Club, that anyone can do from the comfort of their home. Here, she describes four simple tips to help us better fuel ourselves at work. “First of all drink water all day long - half your weight in ounces. Water will give you energy, dull hunger pains, improve your mood, as well as increase you clarity and focus. Two, bring easy snacks. Raw whole nuts like almonds and walnuts will keep you satiated. Apples, bananas, carrot sticks with hummus. Kind Bars are good choices and very easy to throw in a briefcase. And don't be afraid to just eat those things for lunch. We have been conditioned to think lunch has to be a sandwich or a salad. It is fine to have a piece of fruit and some nuts when on the go,” said Carbone. Her third tip was to use your head when you go out to lunch by avoiding fast food and choosing restaurants with lots of plant-based options.

Carbone’s final tip was a bit of a shock to me and might be to you as well. “Don't eat. Fast. Especially if you want to lose weight,” said Carbone. “Eat a good healthy breakfast, drink lots of water all day, and go home and eat a healthy dinner. It’s a myth that we are supposed to eat six times a day to keep our metabolism burning. The body requires eight hours to digest food, and after that we will source fat for fuel. The benefits of fasting are great, and when really busy during the day, having a healthy breakfast and a healthy dinner not only will help you lose weight, it will also simplify your choices and your life.”

Once our bodies are fueled up properly, then our brains are ready to learn new things. And to get his take on the importance of learning new things, especially when it comes to bolstering our careers, I asked our go-to HR guru Steve Peglar. He is Senior Vice President at WhitneySmith Company, a full-service human resources consulting firm based in Fort Worth. “Any opportunity to learn something new should be pursued,” Peglar said. “At the most basic level, I always suggest that – wherever you work – try to become educated on how your organization makes money (unless you’re a non-profit, that is!), and seek to gain a full understanding of what it is that you sell, or what service it is that you provide.”

In a recent column – “The road to the C-suite” – we talked about how getting experience in various aspects of the business was vital. Peglar agreed with that strategy, but that it only works in the right environment. “If you work for a smaller organization, then pursuing a more “generalist” path – learning about other aspects of running the business (i.e., an engineer learning accounting) - will likely always pay off, especially since management will likely want to promote more well-rounded employees who have an understanding of multiple aspects of the business.

“If you’re working at a larger organization, you might be best served to learn more about your particular field of expertise. It’s generally advised to “play to your strengths” when it comes to your career, and focusing on what you do best. Learning even more with regard to whatever that may be could be your best bet,” Peglar said.

Finally, the last resolution of the top five, getting a raise or a promotion, may be the hardest one to keep since it’s the one we have the least control over. But for Peglar, it’s all about how we market ourselves at work. “Just as you had to market your skills, abilities, and accomplishments when you were first hunting for your job, you also have to practice a variation of this AFTER you land the job. I’m not suggesting here that employees become shameless “self-promoters”, however, if you do want to increase your odds of being recognized by your supervisor, especially as part of the performance evaluation process within your organization, you need to be able to both qualify and quantify what it is that you bring to the table,” said Peglar. And perhaps the best way to do that is to show your value as a problem solver. “Regardless of the organization we work for, we were all hired initially to solve a problem,” Peglar said. “When you were first offered your job, it meant that the organization believed that YOU were the best person at the time to solve whatever problem it was that they thought needed to be solved. Once employed, we need to keep asking ourselves - are we still effectively solving the problem? Have we even made ourselves MORE valuable to our employer and solved additional or bigger problems than we were first hired to solve? If so, then HOW did you do that? Be prepared to explain exactly how you have “added value” to the organization. Have you increased sales? If so, by how much (percentage, dollars, additional customers, etc.)? Have you saved money somewhere for the organization? How much did you save, and how did you do it? As long as you understand the ways that you have been able to be more valuable to the organization, and can easily and truthfully explain this to whoever needs to know (typically a supervisor), then your odds for being recognized, and maybe rewarded for it, will increase!”

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