Practicing Self-Care at Work

by Tiffany Waddell Tate

If you’re like me, you may often wonder: are we living the values we encourage our students and colleagues to live?  When we are in career coaching sessions, workshops, and meetings charging others to show up with intention, work hard, and also integrate strategies into daily practice to promote wellness… are we living examples of what that looks like?  Part of my role in the career center includes managing an awesome group of student staff who assist with the front-of-house office operations and client engagement strategy.  For some, this is their first job, and they are constantly juggling academic and co-curricular expectations alongside it.  It’s important to me that they each show up with intention each day—but also have a safe space to explore what it means to develop professional competencies and balance multiple expectations even when their days are full, knowing that it will not always work out perfectly, but the goal is to learn and grow along the way.

When one of them asked me recently if I ever “unplug,” I was taken aback by the question.  As a recovering “workaholic” or someone who takes a great deal of ownership and responsibility in seeing projects through (whether for pay, volunteer, or fun!) while being a quality teammate—the concept of self-care seemed a selfish one earlier in my career.  Over time, I learned that not actively addressing it could impact professional outcomes and have negative health implications as well.  Particularly in a profession where interpersonal engagement is a large part of the work, taking care of self ensures your ability to adequately and healthily support others.  As a relatively new mom, I have also been forced to recalibrate how I use literally every hour of the day to ensure that I am fully engaged both professionally and personally.  I have thought a lot about what balance could or should look like in the next phase of my career as I continue to take on more leadership. It’s imperative to take time to consider these things, or burnout is inevitable. For many, that may be easier said that done if you have always been successful juggling many different priorities without a tiny human, partner, or aging parent depending on you at the same time.  As I seek to continue to lead and inspire, how I show up and live my values is critical to how I create space for others to do the same.

Practicing self-care at work is crucial to maximizing productivity, focus, and promoting a culture of overall wellness. Here are a few strategies that I employ in my day to day to actively practice self-care at work:

Water, Water, Everywhere.  I love water. I have found, though, that if i’m not careful—I could go hours or even a whole day without drinking enough of it! When my calendar is stacked with back-to-back meetings and no built-in breaks, I have even been known to forget to eat. Terrible, right? One trick I’ve found is to find a large water bottle or cup (24-36 oz.) and fill it up at the beginning of the day. That way, even if I have limited transition time between coaching sessions or other meetings, my water is handy to sip throughout the day and i’m less likely to dehydrate. I especially love bottles with visible measurements so I can track my overall intake, too.

Take a Lap. What professional hasn’t seen articles on how awful sitting down for hours is for your body? A quick Internet search can provide you with a wealth of knowledge on the health implications of not getting enough movement throughout the day. I have some colleagues who take advantage of walking meetings (meetings on foot while walking around campus), but I have been known to take a quick lap around the main floor of the student union where I work in between meetings as time permits.  It provides a quick energy boost, a change of scenery, and a chance to see more friendly faces that I could go days or even weeks without seeing!

Peaceful Tunes. Prior to sharing an office space with another colleague, I regularly used an Internet radio platform like Pandora or Spotify to play “focus music.” Upbeat, but generally instrumental playlists were great for certain projects or work tasks when I wanted to focus in but still have ambient noise.  Now I pop out into flexible spaces if I need to focus in on a project or e-mail management with music sans headphones, and typically have a white noise machine blowing at all times to eliminate background noise or interruptions.

Phone a Friend. Lunch time is a great time to connect with friends or mentors you don’t have a chance to talk with during peak times in your life when time is simply limited. Scheduling phone or Skype time during lunch break is one way I try to be intentional about staying connected to those close to me, but also hold myself accountable for actually taking a lunch break away from my desk or work. This doesn’t happen often, but it’s always something to look forward to when planned ahead of time.

One and Done. Prioritizing tasks is vital when you want to accomplish a lot with limited time.  Typically, I am very good at this—especially when I have the opportunity to manage my workflow and time as needed. I am also aware that if i’m not careful, e-mail management could quickly become an all day thing!  Rather than multitasking on 500 different individual things, I create action lists and prioritize by what’s most important that day, week, or month.  If a project or meeting requires full attention, I have learned to shut my e-mail down until I’m done working so that I’m not tempted by new message notifications! I find that this increases efficiency and presence in the moment with individuals and projects at hand.

I would love to know what you do to actively practice self-care!  Please share in the comments below.

Tiffany Waddell TateTiffany Waddell Tate, Associate Director for Career Development, Davidson College
Personal blog:
http://www.tiffanywaddell.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tiffanywaddelltate Twitter: @tiffanyiwaddell

Programming and Resources for LGBT Students and Allies

by Kathryn Douglas

I was fortunate to attend the NACE presentation by colleagues from the Northeastern Career Development office on Reach (OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, a collaborative program with career services, institutional diversity and inclusion, and LGBTQ resources that received a 2016 National Association of Colleges and Employers “Excellence in Diversity” AwardReach (OUT), in its third year this academic year, focuses on “the perspectives and concerns of queer, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender non-conforming, non-binary, intersex, and asexual students in preparation for co-op, internships, and professional life beyond campus,” and features an evening presentation, one-on-one informational meetings, and a half day of workshops.

I was inspired by the presentation at NACE and the program, and came back to New Haven determined to partner with colleagues on campus to create a two-hour LGBT Career Program open to all students at Yale University.

One of the take-aways from the Northeastern team was to collaborate broadly.  This is important advice for idea generation, locating resources, developing an audience and in effect, uniting student groups, offices, and programs at a de-centralized university.

My goal was to create a dynamic program to provide students with tangible tools to take with them as they enter or re-enter the workforce, and to encourage allies to broaden their understanding of how to be allies as well as the opportunities and challenges LGBT peers encounter in the workplace.  Given the limited time students I work with have, I tried to create a program that was short but impactful, presenting resources that apply broadly to students going into a variety of sectors nationally and internationally, and providing the opportunity for meaningful conversations and networking.

This month, our office was able to successfully collaborate with other career offices, the university office of diversity and inclusion, the LGBTQ staff affinity group, the university LGBT resource office, local community members, and student groups across campus for a two-hour LGBT career program.  Thank you to Northeastern for providing an excellent model!

The LGBT Career Program at Yale this month included:

  • A 20-minute primer on workplace laws and the LGBT Community (national and international laws and protections, or lack of protections) with David Salazar-Austin, attorney, Jackson Lewis PC—a specialist in employment law
  • A 20-minute primer on LGBT workplace affinity groups (what they are, why they are important, how to create one, resources online if working on a small team), presented by the co-chair of the university staff LGBTQ affinity group
  • A moderated leadership panel of alumni and friends covering a range of experience levels, sectors, and identities (developed talking points for panelists that provided structure for talking about individual journeys and helped panelists prepare remarks for common workplace questions and topics)
  • A networking reception with refreshments provided by a local LGBT-owned caterer

Suggested Resources:

KKathryn Douglasathy Douglas, Senior Associate Director Career Development Office, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/douglaskathy
Twitter: @fescdo
Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/Yale-FES-Career-Development-Office/134339426609741
Website: environment.yale.edu/cdo

Five Reasons to Apply to the Leadership Advancement Program

by Michelle Bata

The Leadership Advancement Program (LAP) provides opportunities for current NACE members to learn more about NACE, develop leadership skills, and think about how to become more connected to the profession. Below are some reasons to consider applying to be a part of the next cohort:

  1. Connect. Through the LAP, you are connected with other program participants as well as LAP committee members. Contact information is distributed. There is an online platform through which information is shared, and regular conference calls and virtual meetings take place throughout the year. Since my participation in the LAP, I’ve been able to go back and query some of the participants in my cohort about matters large and small which I’ve found helpful to my ongoing work.
  2. Contribute. When I was in the LAP, we were expected to work in small groups with other LAP participants to develop a project that could benefit NACE. The group project was a great opportunity to look at NACE through the lens of our membership and critically think about aspects of NACE that could be enhanced. At the end of the process, the small groups in my cohort presented their projects, which gave all of us a chance to learn more broadly about NACE through the topics that the projects focused on.
  3. Mentor. Each LAP participant is assigned a mentor with whom they are expected to connect several times over the program term. For me, the mentor relationship was easily the highlight of the program. I was able to use those conversations as spaces to learn more about issues that are strategic to my institution, and leverage the information shared to procure additional resources at my institution.
  4. Learn. The LAP is a great mechanism through which you can learn more about NACE or an area in the profession. Having the opportunity to hear from other experts in the field through the regular group calls and presentations was helpful because it gave us the opportunity to learn about issues they felt were important, which ultimately gave us a sense of where the association and discipline are heading.
  5. Focus. It’s not often that we as professionals get to think about our own professional development for a sustained amount of time. What the LAP allowed me to do was to have regular points throughout the year to focus on learning more about the issues I care deeply about, think about my contributions to NACE, and connect with like-minded colleagues.

Michelle Bata was in the 2015-16 LAP class and served on the Honors and Awards Committee in 2015-16.

Apply for the LAP program or refer a colleague who you think could make a valuable contribution to the profession and association.

Michelle Bata

Michelle Bata, Associate Dean and Director of the LEEP Center, Clark University
Twitter: https://twitter.com/michellebata
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michellebata

Career Research Series: Incivility in the Job Search

by Desalina (Alina) Guarise and James W. Kostenblatt

This post is part of a series of interviews that will explore career-related research. As recipients of a NACE Research Grant, we are partnering with nearly 40 institutions to explore the long-term impact unpaid internships have on career success and are looking for more partners to join. Contact us if interested!

Through our research project, we have had the pleasure of working closely with Abdifatah A. Ali, a doctoral candidate in organizational psychology at Michigan State University graduating in May 2017 who has closely studied motivation in the job search.  In an interview, Abdifatah shared details about his research paper, “The long road to employment: Incivility experienced by job seekers,” published in October in the Journal of Applied Psychology.

Tell us a little bit about your professional background. How did you become interested in career-related research?
I graduated with my undergraduate degree from San Diego State studying psychology with a minor in statistics. Here, I started doing research with an industrial-organizational psychology professor who encouraged me to pursue a Ph.D. My research interests early on dealt with motivation—in particular how individuals self-regulate their emotions, behavior, or actions in order to achieve their goals when looking for work. For example, when people are unemployed or college students are looking for work, how do they motivate themselves and what are the factors that influence their level of motivation and persistence so they can get a job?

At Michigan State University, I collaborated with Dr. Ann Marie Ryan to examine how people’s emotional reactions impacted their job search success (defined as whether the candidate received interview call backs, job offers, etc.). We were able to show that BOTH positive and negative emotions that people experience when they are looking for work motivate them. So, for example, if you just get a call back from a company that makes you feel excited or happy, that will motivate you and encourage you to continue to put effort into the job search. On the other hand, if you are experiencing challenges or anxiety, these negative emotions can actually also motivate effort, which is contrary to what we thought.

I’ve more recently made a switch and begun to look at factors that undermine job search efforts, which relates to my current research.

Your current research focuses on incivility experienced by job seekers—how did you come up with this research topic?
Before this paper there was very little research looking at which contextual factors undermine motivation—they were only looking at things that facilitate it. When you talk to individuals that are job searching, they constantly talk about experiencing incivility, which got us wondering what effects these incidents have on the job search process.

How do you define incivility? Can you give some examples?
Incivility is defined as generally rude or discourteous behaviors that are ambiguous in terms of intent. For example, a snide comment or a funny look from a recruiter or interviewer. They are perceived as behaving in a rude way but you don’t necessarily know if they are doing it intentionally.  

Tell us more about the research design and findings.
A majority of the research on incivility has been conducted about incivility experienced by professionals once they actually work at an organization; we were instead focusing on the job search. We began with a qualitative study to understand the nature of incivility during the job search. In the first stage of our research, we interviewed 100 job seekers and asked them whether they had experienced incivility and collected details about the incident. We’d then ask them what they thought the cause of that behavior was. We were interested in how people interpreted the ambiguous nature of these incidents. In one example, the interviewer is abrupt and doesn’t give the candidate a lot of time. Some candidates may view that experience by simply thinking that the interviewer was busy (i.e., externalizing the cause), while others may think that the interviewer was rude to them because of their incompetence (i.e., internalizing the cause).

The second and third study were more empirical. We wondered if there was a way we could predict who will externalize or internalize these incidents. We found that, for those who internalize the cause of these incidents, incivility undermines one of the best predictors of job-search motivation which is job-search self-efficacy or self-confidence.  Conversely, job-search motivation was not impacted for those who externalized the cause of these incidents.

What implications do you think this has for career services practitioners and employers?
Our findings support the need for resilience training and other tactics that would help job seekers re-frame the cause of these incidents.  If we can help them by not attributing the cause to themselves we can ensure their job search motivation doesn’t suffer.

I think it also has implications for those who are recruiting, as they are seeking ways to ensure candidates have a great experience and ultimately accept an offer.  Incidents of incivility can have a real influence on the talent pipeline.  

What are you working on now with your research?
A project really relevant to the NACE audience is one I’m working on with Dr. Phil Gardner related to internships. We are examining the role employees have on student interns including both employees who are assigned as formal supervisors and those that act as informal mentors. We are studying how these individuals impact whether or not interns accept full-time offers at the end of their internship experience. Results should be out in the near future.   

Alina GuariseDesalina (Alina) Guarise, Associate Director of Career Advancement Center at Lake Forest College
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/desalina

 

 

 

James W. KostenblattJames W. Kostenblatt, Associate Director, New York University’s Wasserman Center for Career Development
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jameskostenblatt

Auld Lang Syne—Resolutions for 2017

by Marc Goldman

I always enjoy celebrating the holiday season with friends and family. New Year’s Eve has been a tradition in my house since I was a preschooler. Yes, my parents let me stay up late from a very early age, which might explain my night owl tendencies to this day. Once January 1 has come and gone, people discuss their resolutions for the coming year. These goals and commitments might have to do with health and wellness, social lives, hobbies, activism, and even the workplace. And that got me thinking. From a professional standpoint, what are my New Year’s resolutions for 2017?

  1. Follow the data: More and more, our industry is turning to data, big and small, quantitative and qualitative, as a source for strategic planning, decision making, and new ideas. My goal is to use data as a powerful driver for both my office’s programming and employer outreach. In addition, data will help us assess our success in terms of outcomes, resources, attendance, and awareness. And embracing external reports on trends and data will help with messaging and promotion of my team’s mission on and off campus.
  2. No I in TEAM: Half of my staff is new to the career center this academic year, so we have been rebuilding and team building at the same time. This staffing scenario provides great opportunity and enthusiasm, but it presents challenges to the staffers, new and seasoned as well. I need to be more open minded than ever before, while remaining focused on my philosophy and vision of our shared work to ensure that we benefit the students, the reason we are all in it together.
  3. Show me the money: As with many career services offices, funding can be a challenge. Having offices on two campuses only makes that issue more pronounced. I plan to explore fundraising opportunities now that my staffing trials and tribulations have ended (for the present). Whether I develop an employer partner program, fundraising for specific program needs, or both has yet to be decided. But I will be consulting with my advancement colleagues for their input and experience on this one.
  4. Reading is fundamental: While I do spend a good deal of time reading online articles, checking out the occasional blog post, and following many colleagues (and celebs) on Twitter, it is high time I do a bit more of a deep dive into this wonderful world of books. There are a number of titles on my hit list. I just have to start with one. Is there a career services book club out there I can join? Yikes, did I just come up with another idea to implement?
  5. Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!: One of my favorite movies is Rudy, the story of the ultimate sports underdog, whose grit, determination, and positive attitude lead him to some degree of legend status. Rudy’s story reminds me that I need to keep my positive attitude (no laughing, please) regardless of circumstances, challenges, or roadblocks ahead. And in my office and on campus, optimism really can be one of the most powerful motivators and messages to convey.

I will check in with you in January 2018 to let you know how well I end up sticking to my resolutions. What are some of yours? Feel free to let me know on Twitter (@MarcGoldmanNYC). Happy 2017!

Marc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva UniversityMarc Goldman, Executive Director, Career Center, Yeshiva University
Twitter: @MarcGoldmanNYC
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marcjgoldman
Blogs from Marc Goldman