As the New Year gets underway, this is an appropriate question we should ask ourselves. Can we expect a strong, vibrant economy with plenty of new jobs, prosperity or the frightening opposite, a weak, unstable economy and widespread unemployment?
The above questions are important for all career-builders, decision makers, managers and rank-and-file workers determined to climb the career ladder. Julie Benezet, author of “The Journey of Not Knowing,” offers the following seven tips that can help us deal with changing expectations, an unpredictable economy and looming unknowns:
1. Don’t get stuck in the present. Benezet advises creating new opportunities in every aspect of our organizational lives. Look for new ways to improve your career prospects. If you’re a manager, supervisor or project manager, find out what your stakeholders need, and then come up with effective ways to meet those needs.
2. Embrace your fear of the unknown. “Strive to be a champion and not be faint of heart,” Benezet said. While the world is full of ambiguities, it is also full of opportunities. Be willing to solve tough problems and embrace risk because uncertain outcomes come with new ideas, she added. And be ready for the unexpected, and adapt and leverage every new situation as they often “play out differently from what was anticipated. “Celebrate with others when a new idea leads to something better for the organization,” said Benezet.
3. The road to better outcomes can be uncomfortable. “Be open and ready to try new ideas knowing and accepting that you will not be able to know what might happen,” said Benezet. “Allow yourself to be guided by a strong sense of purpose, a sense of humor and a healthy dose of humility.” Embrace ideals that give you and your people deep personal meaning. Turn these into the energy and power needed to face challenges that make dreams happen.
4. Accept failure on the way to success. Learn from every difficult lesson along the way. Be ready to test new ideas, technologies, approaches and systems to find out whether they will be successful. Learn from our failures, especially when they are risky but laden with great potential, said Benezet. “Look at bumps along the road as learning opportunities rather than reasons to slash headcount, slow down or abandon the quest. Use them to revise, improve and drive the organization forward.”
5. Learn to work with the difficulties coworkers experience and help them overcome the challenges they face. Realizing that everyone is unique, there is no manual that can guide us in all circumstances. “Rise to every challenge and find the courage to connect with others,” Benezet added. “Humble yourself in a way that allows you to experience and understand them on their terms.”
6. Be open to learning. “And be critical of your self-knowledge, knowing that the right information can be hard to attain,” said Benezet. Most important, connect with new ideas and the people who can make them happen. And, “let go of the past so you can identify and act on what is relevant to the future.”
7. Know when to move forward, even when you realize there is more to know. Make peace with the fact that you can never know everything there is to know. Be open and ready to accept change. “People change, facts change, situations change and opportunities come and go,” Benezet said. “Some decisions must be made so that people and the organization can move forward.”
Regardless of your politics or where you live or work, or your race or religion, 2017 is likely to be an unusual year for Americans, according to Donna Stoneham, author of recently published “The Thriver’s Edge.”
“America has never been more divided, and many people are feeling alienated and anxious,” Stoneham said. This is reason enough, she said, to be strong, resilient and to work hard to get past this critical historic turning point.
“In times of great uncertainty, we must learn to navigate a parallel path that enables us to have wings in the air and feet on the ground,” said Stoneham. “It means having the spiritual vision that enables us to see the beauty and compassion that’s unfolding around us so we don’t lose hope.”
To navigate this parallel path, Stoneham said that Americans must develop strength in the following five areas:
2. Strong spirit. Stoneham said that a strong and resilient spirit gives us a higher perspective that’s not bound by time or circumstances. “It allows us to experience a connection to something greater than ourselves and to have faith we’re not alone,” she said. It also helps us see that “even though we may not agree with another person’s perspective, that we are all still part of one human family.” This enables us to see beauty in the midst of chaos or despair. And by building a strong spirit, we can “radiate compassion, not just for others, but also for ourselves.” In short, we attain greater understanding, which helps us stay grounded.
3. Strong Mind. “The mind is a powerful instrument and we have far more control over what we think than we credit ourselves with having,” said Stoneham. “It’s important that we constantly choose, whether consciously or unconsciously, how we build meaning into our lives. “In this ‘post-truth’ age we’re living in, we must be vigilant about what we choose to consume,” she added. “The old saying, ‘garbage in, garbage out’ couldn’t be truer.”
4. Strong community. Quoting the iconic spiritual leader Martin Luther King, Stoneham said that “we all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.”
As the New Year gets underway, pundits and futurists are working overtime trying to predict what the job and business environment will be like in 2017. Once again, career-portal CareerCast (CC) identified the top high and low stress jobs for the New Year. First CareerCast‘s 10 most stressful jobs and their median salaries, following by its 10 least stressful jobs and their median salaries.
Most stressful jobs
Least stressful jobs
There are many other high- and low stress jobs that are not included on CareerCast‘s lists. The career portal’s job lists are based upon 11 stress factors in 200 professions. The stress factors include travel required; growth potential; deadlines; working in the public eye; competition in the field; physical demands; environmental conditions; hazards encountered on a regular basis; own life at risk; other lives are at risk; and meeting or interacting with the public.
Beyond the obvious affects, human beings’ tolerance for stress varies dramatically. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) said stress affects both the young and the old, rich and poor. It defines it as “a process “in which “environmental demands strain an organism’s adaptive capacity resulting in both psychological demands as well as biological changes.”
The NCBI goes on to explain that stress is a fact of life that we must deal with. It comes in all shapes and sizes; even our thoughts can create stress and make us more susceptible to illness.
CareerCast’s researchers pointed out that job stress can come from a variety of factors. Its origins include: a hazardous work environment where workers must deal with stressors such as difficult-to-meet deadlines; heavy physical demands; and imminent danger. The annual CareerCast.com 2017 Report on the most stressful jobs provides a detailed picture of jobs which face the most stress. Jobs such as firefighter, military and police officer need little explanation. CareerCast said, “These are careers with high risk of physical harm to oneself or another, for whom the professional is directly responsible.”
CC’s writers added. “As a society, we celebrate the bravery necessary to face the stresses of working in the Armed Forces, battling fires, or working in law enforcement. Some people derive great job satisfaction from high-stress professions that involve danger or other demands such as facing the intense scrutiny of the public.”
Still others enjoy the calm, peace, and security that come from working at stable, and predictable, routinized 9-5 jobs. Ideally, that makes sense. Shouldn’t everyone work at something they love doing and that provides a comfortable living wage regardless of its stress level?
Saying the job market has changed significantly over the past few decades is an understatement.
In 2016, companies like the American Red Cross, Cisco, CVS Health, and USDA are joining the growing ranks of employers that recognize the benefits of flexible work options for their employees and their business models. Flexjobs reports that 80 percent of U.S. companies offer flexible work arrangements, which accounts for the 74 percent increase in companies featured in its database since 2013.
Fell said that the highest number of new employers came from the consulting, computer/IT, education, finance, marketing, medical and health, and nonprofit industries. Additionally, a wide range of other career categories are also represented, such as arts & entertainment, environmental, government, HR, insurance, fashion, travel, legal, pharmaceutical, retail, research, and sports and fitness.
Equally exciting, the job titles falling under the flexjobs umbrella range from low to senior level positions. For example, job titles include corporate development director, field marketing manager, network security engineer, senior business analyst, technical lead, project director, customer service advisor and mortgage loan officer.
Opportunities created by the flexjobs concept also offer career builders unsure of what they want to ultimately do with their lives the opportunity to shop the market and sample different jobs and industries, and gain real world experience in the bargain.
to help provide education and awareness about the viability and benefits of remote working and work flexibility. Fell is also the creator of the TRad Works Forum (https://trad.works/), which is dedicated to helping companies leverage the benefits of telecommuting, remote and distributed teams.
Here is a sampling of industries that are hiring flexible workers, according to Flexjobs:
For more information, as well as examples of recent job listings from companies that joined Flexjobs in 2016, visit: https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/ post/hundreds-of-new- companies-hiring-for-flexible- jobs/.
Work-related stress is reaching epidemic rates, according to Ora Nadrich, a certified life coach and author of “Says Who? How One Simple Question Can Change The Way You Think Forever.”
Often, we are filled with negative thoughts about our work that can take a toll on our ability to concentrate and perform, Nadrich said.
When negative talk (said to ourselves or by others) begins to percolate and wreak havoc with our emotions, it’s time to separate from them. A practical way to de-stress ourselves is to use Nadrich’s “Says Who? Method,” which she defines as “a straightforward, powerful way of questioning and challenging those thoughts, and stopping them right in their tracks. And by confronting a negative thought with a question, we find out if it’s true — or if we can just let it go.”
Anyone can use this approach to overcome negative thoughts, Nadrich said. The author said that we can get rid of negative thoughts about our jobs by following these four simple steps: