This is part of the Intrepid Eagle Finance Guide to Fall 2020. Click here for more on how to get your family ready.
Prepare Your Work for Fall 2020
Work takes on a different meaning for all of us. For some, a job is a job. It's a way to provide for your family. For others, it's a passion your pour yourself into. Whichever form your vocation takes, this fall might be different. Your work may be different this season than it has been before.
What will you do if your employer directs you to work from home for an extended period of time? What will you do if your company experiences some turmoil and job doesn't feel as secure as it had been in the past?
You'll still have to buy shoes for your children, but I want you to take some reasonable to thrive in your job if some turmoil happens with your job. Keep reading for some ways to prepare for that possibility.
What can you do in your home to prepare for the possibility that children might be schooling at home and Mom or Dad might be working from home? Keep reading for how to get ready for that possibility.
“Do the hard jobs first. The easy jobs will take care of themselves.” Dale Carnegie
Why your work?
Fall, for your work, has the potential to be a time when your job is very different than it has been in the past. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but preparing will put you in a better spot for some possible rough spots.
Prepare Your Work 💼
Learn the Rules 📋
Stability in your job ⚖️
Explore outside job Opportunities 🔎
"Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yes, establish the work of our hands!" Psalm 90:17 ESV
1. Learn the Rules
In any job or company, there's rules and norms you have to follow. Read on for some tips to be on the right side of your employer's guidelines.
Get a handle on the plan
You might be in a position where the decision was made for you by your employer that you will be working from home this fall. You might also make this decision yourself and take advantage of the option if your employer offers it. You could also be faced with a combination of all these paths and choices. In any event, find out the plan your employer has laid out and keep on top of any updates.
Read the Policy
If you work for a company that has written policies or rules about remote work, read the rules. This is still uncharted territory for many companies. Some are more comfortable than others with remote work. There’s unfortunate cases where an otherwise excellent employee damages themselves by unknowingly violating a policy. Don’t be that person.
Find out what your employer will or will not reimburse regarding expenses incurred for your job. Generally, if an expense is required, you should be reimbursed. Ask up front and you’ll be in a better position on this. Also, feel confident enough to communicate what you need to do your job. If you are being hampered in some way and suffering in silence, you’ll pay the price in the long run.
If you transition to a remote work arrangement, communication is critical. This is one of the biggest differentiatiors for how successful folks are in work from home arrangements. Here’s a few tips to make life better for everyone:
Communicate with your boss
Your manager needs to feel your presence. That goes whether you are in the same building or not. Make time to specifically speak with your boss about what is expected while working from home or remote. Ask how often they want to hear from you and what method (email, phone, etc.) is best to keep them informed about your work. If this seems like overkill, trust me, it’s not. You won’t have the luxury of running into your manager in the hallway to keep top of mind about the great work you do. Make it a point for your boss to feel they are well informed about what you’re up to whenever you work remotely. If you have a child doing home at school while you are working, be up front and inform your boss of this.
Communicate with colleagues
Communication with colleagues and teammates is crucial to success. Make it a point to communicate any additional challenges you have at home. They’re probably in the same boat too. In any event, reach out proactively and let your co-workers know they might hear a child’s voice on a call from time to time. If you think you might have to step out of a conference call for a few minutes to help a kid, disclose that up front as well. It will help in the long run.
Know Where to Get Work From Home Tech Support
We live in an age of technological wonders, but things still break. Before something breaks, identify the resources your employer has for tech support. If there’s a number to call, write it down. Don’t assume you’ll be able to look it up if you really get in a bind.
Maintain a schedule
Some people, when they don't have a commute, start to get lax about starting or stopping the workday. Maintain discipline and communicate that expectation to your boss and teammates. It might be easier to "dial in" to a meeting after your usual hours, but don't make it a habit. Set the expectation for all parties that you will adhere to schedule no different than if you were in the office.
3. Stability in your Job
If you're concerned about the sturdiness of your current job footing, take some of these steps to help hedge against turmoil.
Update Your Resume
If you’re concerned about the possibility of turmoil in your company or industry, be proactive about hedging against this prospect. In an age of applying for jobs on company websites, resumes are still important. Take the time to tell your story using strong language to put your best foot forward. It is worth your time to make separate versions of your resume for specific opportunities you might be interested in. Carefully read a job listing for specific skills and make sure this same language is part of your resume. Finally, the resume you submit on company websites should be in Microsoft Word. Even if the company gives other file format options like PDF, always submit in Word. There are a few reasons, but the primary one is that the software robots that do the first pass on a resume work best with Word. Submitting in a format besides Word runs the risk your resume might not make it to a live person.
Know benefits and severance policy
Most mid-size to large employers have a clearly defined handbook or policy guide where you can find this information. First, find their policy on layoffs and if any severance is a possibility. This may depend on your job level or years of service with the company. A key part of this is notice. Look for guidance on what notice may be provided when a layoff is announced. This will give you an idea of how much time you have to work with. Next, look for how benefits like health insurance are treated in the event your employment ends. Finding this out ahead of time will let you know what to expect if a layoff happens. Finally, look for any other benefit impacts like payment for accrued vacation time.
Research internal opportunities
If you work in a company that carries that offers promotion or lateral move opportunities, stay on top of those options. Even if you don't plan to apply for something right now, stay informed about what would be an option if you had to to for some reason. If the relationship you have with your superiors allows, express this to them as well. If a change in your job happens, you want to be ahead of the game on this work.
4. Explore outside job opportunities
You may decide that looking outside of your current employer is the best move. Use these steps to execute on your search.
Update your profile on LinkedIn to be as complete as you can. LinkedIn is the primary way many companies find new job candidates. Take time to update your profile with the same rigor you would a resume. Connect with some old colleagues to remind them you’re still around. Finally, LinkedIn will let you set alerts for jobs you might want and can easily apply for right in the app. Carefully review privacy settings to ensure your current employer does not pick up on this.
Reach out to former colleagues and contacts
Connections with former colleagues can be important if you need a reference at some point. This can also be a valuable source of information on new opportunities. A study found that 30% of hires came from referrals. Set yourself up for success here by keeping top of mind for people that know the great work you have done in the past and will do in the future. It can be awkward, but sometimes just coming out and saying to a friend; “I need a new job”, is the best way to go.
If you're rusty on interview skills, make time to brush up. Very few of us enjoy job interviews, but you need to showcase your value to a potential employer. Practice with your spouse or a friend to help polish this critical skill.
Keep the right Mindset
Finally, remember you control much more than you might think. It’s easy to be pulled into a state of mind where you believe events are beyond your influence. It is true that some things are beyond us all, but focus on what is in your domain.
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