Tracy's blog

I’m Tracy Au and I have graduated from the Professional Writing program from university. I am an aspiring screenwriter, so this blog is used to promote my writing and attract people who will hire me to write for your TV show or movie. I write a lot about writing, TV, movies, jokes, and my daily life and opinions. I have another blog promoting my TV project at www.thevertexfighter.blogspot.com.

Monday, July 13, 2015

"Six habits of highly ineffective people"/ "make your job hunt personal"

May 6 "Six habits of highly ineffective people": I cut out this article by Harvey Schachter in the Globe and Mail on Aug. 29, 2011.  It's a fast and easy read:

American leadership specialist and author Stephen R. Covey gave us seven habits of highly effective people in his best-selling book of the same name.

Now, in his Positivity newsletter, Swedish blogger Henrik Edberg offers us an equally valuable list of six habits of highly ineffective people:

Not showing up

Woody Allen said that "80 per cent of success is just showing up."

And Mr. Edberg concurs, saying that one of the biggest - and simplest - things you can do to ensure more success in life is to show up more.

If you spend more time at an endeavour, you will become more proficient.

Procrastinating half the day

If you're wasting time, you might as well have not shown up. To avoid procrastinating, Mr. Edberg insists that you tackle the most important task at the outset of the day, giving you momentum.

Also, split up tasks into small actionable steps so they don't seem so overwhelming.

Focusing on the unimportant

Another dangerous habit is to keep yourself busy with unimportant tasks.

He recommends following the Pareto principle, which postulates that 80 per cent of your results flow from only 20 per cent of your tasks and activities.

Find out what those productive tasks are, and write down three to tackle at the start of each day.

Thinking too much

Avoid paralysis by analysis - that is, spending all your time thinking and not much time doing.

"You don't have to examine everything from every angle before you try it. And you can't wait for the perfect time to do something. That time never comes," Mr. Edberg notes.

"And if you keep thinking you'll just dig yourself down deeper and deeper and taking action will become more and more difficult."

Always seeing the downside

If you instinctively view every opportunity through a negative lens, you will wreck your own motivation.

Don't find faults everywhere, and problems where there are none. You can always uncover many reasons not to take a certain path. Instead, ask what might be good about a situation or how you can learn from it.

If you always focus on the downside, there'll never be an upside. You'll never get anywhere.

Constantly being on information overload

If you let too much stimuli float into your mind, you won't be able to focus.

Shut out distractions, and be more selective in what you let into your mind.

"It is strange how much you can get done when you aren't interrupted every fifth minute or have the opportunity to procrastinate by checking your inbox or Facebook," he notes.

 

"Take a page from the past: make your job hunt personal": I cut out this article by Joe Light in the Globe and Mail on Aug. 29, 2011.  It talks about people working during the 1930s depression and the importance of networking:

In 1938, Lillian Brownstein Chodash had already spent 15 months looking for work. One morning she rode the elevator to the top of an office building in her Jersey City, N.J., neighborhood and started knocking on doors. She worked her way down nine stories, fielding rejection after rejection.

Finally, on the second floor, Ms. Chodash found a father-and-son real-estate and insurance business. The duo had just fired their secretary that day. After a shorthand and typing test, they hired her on the spot.

"I was in heaven," says the 91-year-old Ms. Chodash, who now lives Boynton Beach, Fla.

How Ms. Chodash and her contemporaries found work during the Great Depression seems a far cry from the job hunters of 2011. Back then, the search was done in public and could be physically demanding. Some of the most poignant images from the 1930s are of throngs lined up to apply for jobs.

Outside of occasional job fairs, today's unemployed are virtually invisible. That's because job seekers are already in isolation, surfing the Internet and online job sites for work.

Interviews with historians and Depression-era job seekers suggest that the formula for finding work hasn't changed much. Then, as now, those who relentlessly work at making personal connections have better luck landing jobs.

A growing body of research is showing how today's job seekers are often getting it wrong. Able to communicate with prospective employers around the globe, they are firing off resumes by the hundreds, trying to make far-flung electronic connections before focusing on their closest, physical-world relationships.

The unemployment rate peaked at 24.9% in 1933, according to the U.S. Labor Department, while unemployment stood at 9.1% in July. Still, the jobless rate has stubbornly hovered above 8.5% for more than two years, and economists worry it could stay high for some time.

While surveys show that personal connections are a primary source of hires, today's job seekers devote little time to their networks: Only 9% of their job search is spent contacting friends and relatives to find work, while 51% is devoted to finding ads and sending out applications, according to a paper presented at the Brookings Institution this March by Princeton economist Alan Krueger and Columbia Business School's Andreas Mueller.

Over time, job seekers tend to get more discouraged and actually spend less time searching, said Mr. Mueller. "We found that the job search was a very depressing activity. They're sad when they start out, but the longer they are unemployed, the more depressing the episode of job search is," he said.

Meanwhile, about 27.5% of external hires come through a referral, more than any other source, according to staffing consultant CareerXroads.

During the Depression in Philadelphia, almost 55% of manufacturing workers found jobs through personal connections and another 35% simply by personal initiative such as knocking on doors, says University of Pennsylvania history professor Walter Licht, who analyzed interviews of 1930s-era job seekers. "Personal and family connections were critical," he says.
Brunette Crawford Nelms found a job in 1931 as a fourth-grade teacher in Hickory Flat, Miss., after a cousin spoke to the hiring committee on her behalf, says Ms. Nelms, who is now 101 years old.

Personal connections are also what worked for modern-day job seeker Nancy Preyor-Johnson, who lost her job in June as a communications coordinator. That same day, she broadcast her need for work on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, resulting in a deluge of potential openings and offers to help her make connections, the 31-year-old says.

On Monday, she plans to start work at a San Antonio nonprofit, a job she found through an acquaintance who saw her tweet. "If you don't get the word out that you're looking, people won't know and can't help," she says.

If a job hunter didn't leave the home during the Depression, they were hard pressed to find work. For today's job seekers, the hunt often takes place in isolation.

Ken Peltonen used to rebuild airplane engines in Washington State and has been out of work for eight months. The 61-year-old says he rarely sees friends or interacts with the outside world other than through his computer.

Mr. Peltonen tried visiting offices directly to drop off his résumé, but thought it was a "waste of gas," he says. Now, he sends out several applications a week to online openings. So far, his personal network hasn't yielded any fruit: "They're all trying to hold onto their own jobs," he says.

In 1932, Bert Bernheim would walk into the small town of Lexington, Miss., every day asking every neighbor or passerby along the way if they had any work, says the 97-year-old. Mostly, the jobs amounted to minor chores, like pulling up tree stumps, that paid less than $1 per day.
"I tried to get a regular job, but that was impossible," says Mr. Bernheim, who now lives at Town Village Audubon Park, a senior center in Memphis.

While Mr. Bernheim says he was willing to take any work he could find, today's job seekers seem more picky. According to an analysis of surveys of 6,000 job seekers, the minimum wages that the unemployed are willing to accept are very close to their previous salary and drop little over time, says Mr. Mueller. That could help explain in part why they have so much trouble finding work, he says.

After Helen Hart, now 101 years old, and her husband lost their jobs in 1932, they moved to her father's farm near Enid, Okla. He agreed to give them room and board as long as they worked at his hog farm, she says. From there, the couple found a job working at an uncle's farm. "People complain today. They don't know what work is," Ms. Hart says.



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