America Gets Back To Work

Last night President Obama outlined his plan to get America back to work with various infrastructure projects, tax breaks for businesses that hire and other incentives to get businesses back to hiring.  That’s great news for those of us looking for a job or a career change!  I think it is important that the President not only wants to get people working again, but also ensuring those who are working are getting a fair wage.  The economy won’t improve until we all have money in our pockets that we can spend on things other than reducing our debt or buying necessities.  We can only hope that the jobs bill is approved and implemented quickly because as the President indicated – we don’t have 14 months to wait for things to improve.

NightOwlStaffing is standing by to match workers of all shifts with employers who need those workers.  We encourage businesses of all types to post their free job ads on NightOwlStaffing.com.  Your membership is totally free and so are your job postings – including links, logos and media.

Comments: Leave a Comment

When Is a Picture Not Worth a Thousand Words

I wondered if a person should include a picture on their resume so I did a quick Google search and I found my answer very quickly.  The short answer is “no”.  In fact including your picture could disqualify you immediately because of the potential of lawsuits that could arise if it can be proven that one candidate was chosen simply on their appearance.  However it may be relevant to include a picture with your resume if you are applying for a job that requires a certain type of person – like a modeling  job or entertainer.

This got me thinking about whether it is appropriate to include your picture on an online job board such as NightOwlStaffing.com.  In fact we provide the ability to load your personal picture and many candidates choose to do so.  I can only speak on my personal opinion, but in most cases I think it would be OK.  An online job site is a little different than submitting your resume for a particular job.  With Job boards such as ours, if you apply for the job online – the resume goes to the employer but the picture stays on the site.  Only those employers who are on our site looking at employee profiles will see those pictures and I believe they intend to do so.  Anything you can include in your online profile that might help you get the interview should be there.  But, you should realize that including a picture is a 50/50 deal.  Your picture might sell you or sell you out.  If the employer likes what they see you have an added advantage.  If not you may be unduly disqualified despite your accomplishments.

My advice is that if you choose to include a picture in your on-line profile, make sure it is a good one.  You should be appropriately dressed in business attire (appropriate for the job you are seeking) and appear as if you are ready for your interview.  Your profile should indicate that you are ready for the job – not the beach, a ball game, or a night on the town.  There is a saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  With that in mind, make sure your picture is recent and that the person that shows up for the interview isn’t someone 20 years older and 20 lbs heavier.  That might be interpreted as a misrepresentation or dishonesty.

Let me just reiterate that these are my personal opinions.  A professional job counselor may have a different opinion on the topic .  Do your own research and use your best judgment.  Don’t forget to smile!

Comments: Leave a Comment

The Real VIP

Every organization has a very important person that you should find favor with – can you guess who it is?  Some might say the CEO, others might think the HR Director.  Another good guess is your immediate supervisor or department head.  Those are all good answers and of course it is important that you impress all of them with your talents and style.  In my opinion, however, the most important person you should have on your side is the Executive Assistant – sometimes referred to as the Executive Secretary.

You will find that Executive Assistants are typically over worked, over stressed and under paid.  They can sometimes be grumpy and short.  Still it is important to treat them with the utmost respect.  If you are like me – this isn’t a terribly difficult task.  I try to treat everyone from the CEO to the cleaning crew with the same level of respect and dignity.  It’s not an act for me because I truly believe that every organization is a team of people who without each other would not be successful.  If you view the workplace in this way it is easy to gain the respect of everyone  from the cleaning crew to the CEO – including the all important Executive Assistant.

If you work 2nd or 3rd shift, your mission to find favor with this VIP is not only more difficult but also more important.  The difficult part comes from not having the time every day to foster a good relationship with the Executive staff.  But if you play your cards right you can turn your disadvantage into an advantage.  As a 2nd or 3rd shift employee, you will see these people at the very beginning or very end of their workday.  A smile and pleasant exchange of conversation during those prime times can go a long way.  Plus, your limited exposure reduces your chances of getting too personal or saying something inappropriate.  Just be sure that every encounter is a good one and when they see your smiling face at 4pm they will unconsciously associate you with the fact they they are about to go home!

The reason your shift makes this connection more important is because you will have limited times when you will be able to speak with an executive if needed.  You will only have perhaps an hour at the beginning or the end of the day to have a meeting.  That’s when it’s important that the person with the schedule will gladly move some appointments to get your meeting set at those critical times.  Executives are typically very busy with tight schedules.  If you fall on the bad side of an E.A. – you can bet you will have a more difficult time scheduling that meeting.

So always remember – those people sitting just outside the big office might be more important than those sitting inside the office.  Be genuine, be nice, and be scheduled.

Comments: Leave a Comment

Office Politics

I still have a headache from the recent election and now it’s full steam ahead to 2012.  If you work in a corporate environment , you not only have to worry about political office – but also office politics.  In every work environment you will find a constant struggle with those trying to get noticed, those that are lazy who somehow still get noticed and those that are just total kiss-ups.  Office politics are real – so what is the best way to deal with it?

First – the best way is to work 2nd or 3rd shift!  Office politics still exist on those shifts but it is much diminished.  You deal with fewer people and typically the “Big Guys” are not working those hours.  But you will still have to deal with your co-workers so my best word of advice – and I’ve said it before – is to always do the best job you can do!  Here are some other tips I recommend.

  • Always take the high road.  Politics can be nasty depending on who you are dealing with.  But I have always found that when you risk your character against someone who is ruthless, you will lose twice.   If you step on someone on the way up, they won’t try to catch you on the way down.  Further, they may get promoted to another position in the future where working with them would be very uncomfortable
  • Stand by your commitment, confidence, and achievements and you will likely get farther in the long run.
  • The above 2 suggestions are not meant to imply that you should sit back and let someone step on you on their way up.  Always be conscious of what your co-workers are up to.  If you have a ruthless person working with you – you may need to be pro-active to prevent them from taking advantage of you.
  • Always be aware that a ruthless person may be posing as a friend.  They may get close to you and talk in confidence to get information on your plans.  It’s OK to have friends in the office, but be careful what you share with them.  If you plan to talk to the boss about a big idea you have, you might consider keeping that information private.
  • If you do get that big assignment or promotion, It is OK to be happy about it but try not to gloat – especially with someone who may have been competing with you.  Be sincere and let people know that you hope they do well the next time.  Remember, you may be working with them on another project in the future.

So the short version is watch out for the bad guy – and don’t be the bad guy.  If you keep that attitude you should be able to handle most office politics situations while still looking like a great employee.

Comments: Leave a Comment

Meet the creator of NightOwlStaffing.com

Here is a short video introducing NightOwlStaffing.com where you will meet Dennis – aka 2ndShifter!

Comments: Leave a Comment

Stay Where You Belong

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about the corporate world is that everyone needs to claw their way to the top of the executive ladder. After all, corporate structures are shaped like a pyramid with very few people at the top. Rather the goal should be to find the spot where you are most effective and then try not to be promoted  into an area over your head. There are some cautions to this approach because you don’t want to appear to be unmotivated and there are ways to work around this obstacle.

If you are one of the many people that find you operate at your peak performance after normal working hours, you have an extra hurdle to get over. Even though many business operate 24 hours a day, management often holds the mistaken mindset that the “real employees” work during the day and those people working on the night shifts are just keeping the business going until the “real employees” can get back to work at 9am.  So what do you do when you find yourself in an after hours job that you truly enjoy, where you feel most effective and productive? You stay there.  But in order to do so you will need to prove your worth to the management team – constantly.

Personally, I hate marketing and try to avoid it in my daily life. But when it comes to your career – you need to be able to sell yourself – especially to those who are not there to see your work. Your work performance will be judged by what they know about you – and since they don’t see you much you need to “sell yourself” to management. Here are some tips to that end.

  • First and foremost – be the best you can be! That is good advice no matter who you are or what you do.
  • If possible, try to schedule your shift so there is some overlap with the day shift. It is much better to start at 4pm than 6pm. However, some shifts are not negotiable.
  • Keep track of your daily accomplishments and email your supervisor (and the next level up if appropriate) at least weekly.  They will appreciate this effort because they need to justify your presence too.
  • Innovate!  Nothing makes you stand out more than a great idea.  Prove you are not just good on the night shift, but BETTER on the night shift.  Just make sure you are given proper credit for the idea.  It might be a good idea to copy the next level up on any communications – even if it might seem inappropriate.  Just be careful not to annoy them.
  • Attend corporate functions.  This may be difficult at times and will require you to come into the workplace at odd times, but it is important for people to get to see you and know who you are.  Make the most of the visit by engaging in conversations with the management team.  Subtly sell yourself without being arrogant.  Holiday parties or luncheons are a great venue for this.  Didn’t get invited?  Make sure your Supervisor knows you should have been.
  • Suggest that staff meeting be held at 4:00pm rather than 11:00am so the evening shift can also attend.  You’ll be recognized for your effort to be included and you will also have input into decisions being made.
  • Announce your arrival.  Get to work a few minutes early and say Hi to the people who are just ending their day.  But don’t be surprised if you don’t get a “Hi” back.  Most people will look at their watch and say “is it 4:00 already?!”  If you are working 3rd shift – make sure you stay and greet the day shift as they arrive.

Only you know where you best fit in your organization.  Only you know what time of the day you are at your peak.  When you find your perfect spot don’t feel guilty for wanting to stay there.  Your company needs you in that spot – you just need to let them realize it.

Comments: 3 Comments

The Graveyard

Yes, Halloween is in the air – but we are here to talk about jobs!  I found out recently that working the graveyard shift isn’t as spooky as it sounds.  In fact – it wasn’t terrible at all and lots of folks actually enjoy working during 3rd shift.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I voluntarily quit my 2nd shift job of 13 years to pursue my dream of a cross country bicycle ride.  It was awesome and I’m glad I did it.  But when I returned from my trip the company I worked for – who fully supported my adventure – no longer had a job available for me.  The economy was the worst it has been in my lifetime and I was doing all sorts of odd jobs until I was finally offered a 3rd shift position at my old job.  The horror!  But I had little choice at the time so I decided to do it.  I worked the shift for three months and even though it was a challenge, it wasn’t really that bad.

I’m a “solar powered” person so I decided I had to sleep in two parts so that I could enjoy some sunshine during the middle part of the day.  I don’t recommend that approach for other third shift workers though because you never really get a good full day’s sleep and I was tired all the time.  If you find yourself working the graveyard shift, you will need to decide if you want to sleep before work or after work.  If you are going to work this schedule permanently, I would recommend you train yourself to set a bedtime in the afternoon so you can enjoy some sunshine in the morning.  Just leave enough time for a solid 7 – 8 hours of sleep before your shift starts.    It will take a while for your body to adjust but you will get used to it. If that schedule doesn’t work for you, then you might want to sleep directly after your shift and get up sometime in the afternoon staying awake until you go to work again.  Also, I’m a firm believer in naps so you can fit one of those in with any sleep schedule.

Just keep in mind that you need to be alert and awake for your entire shift.  Sleeping on the job is a good way to get fired and with today’s video monitoring you won’t likely get away with a nap at work.  Listen to your body and decide what sleep schedule works best for you keeping in mind that we all need a solid, uninterrupted 7 to 8 hour sleep cycle.

Do you have a suggestion for third shift schedule?  Have you encountered any unusual situations working the graveyard shift?  Please share your comments below.

Comments: Leave a Comment

Who Works the Night Shift?

Who works the night shift?  It’s a good question and the answer is lots of people do!  On any given night look towards your city skyline and notice all the lights from the cars, buildings, boats, and airplanes.  Those lights are either from people who are working the night shift or people who are being entertained, fed, healed, protected or educated by those who work the night shift.  That’s a lot of folks working after hours!

Another question we might ask is why do people work the night shift.  There are a few good answers to this question.  Some folks are doing it as a second job – to help meet their ever increasing bills.  Some do it because they go to school in the daytime and the evening or night shift is the only time they can work.  Still others work the night shift because they are not morning people and find it difficult to get up at 6am and stay alert all day.  Others, like me, may suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) where lack of sunlight may cause depression – especially in the winter.

I spent many winters depressed and unhappy until I moved to a warm climate and started working at night.  Now I spend my daytime hours outside riding my bicycle, kayaking, or doing yard work.  I work when I would normally be “vegging” on the couch for 4 – 6 hours watching TV.  I haven’t been depressed since and I’ve also never been in better shape!  SAD can’t get ahold of me now because my days are all the same.  I wake up when it’s light (9:30 – 10am),  I go to work when it’s light (3:30pm) and I come home when it’s dark (midnight).  It’s the same every day – all year long.  The only time I notice the time change or shorter days is on weekends.  That really works great for me.

NightOwlStaffing hopes to educate employers that their night shift jobs are not unusual and there are many employees willing and able to work those jobs.  We provide a specific centralized place where all your after hours jobs can be posted and viewed for free.

Comments: Leave a Comment

NightOwlStaffing.com – What’s it all about?

Welcome to the NightOwlStaffing.com Blog!  This blog will keep you updated on what’s going on in the job market – after 5pm.  You might be asking yourself with all the job sites out there right now – why NightOwlStaffing.com?  The following recent PR article explains how the idea of an after-hours job site came to be and how it can work for you.

The following is reprinted:

A new job site has hit the web – and it’s not your ordinary monster.  This one is for the night owls!  Dennis Becker of Fort Lauderdale has just launched a niche job website at http://www.nightowlstaffing.com.  The idea was conceived after Mr. Becker decided to leave his 2nd shift job of 13 years in a very difficult economy to pursue his dream of a cross country bicycle ride from Fort Lauderdale, FL to Seattle Washington. “I’ve never been a morning person” recalls Dennis “and I feared it might be difficult to secure another 2nd shift job in the IT profession.  The problem is that most job sites cater to the 9 – 5 work schedule and so a person interested in working after hours uses their key search terms to find their desired shift and not their desired job.  That can limit productive search results”.

Dennis imagined a site where jobs were listed specifically for evening and nighttime shifts – virtually eliminating that part of the search.  Now you can focus on the type of job you want which results in a much more productive search.  NightOwlStaffing.com is exactly that site – and it is totally free for both employers and job seekers.

Commerce doesn’t stop at 5pm and there are a lot of job opportunities available in many fields including Manufacturing, Airports, Hospitals, Call Centers, Service Industry Security, IT and many more.  Working non-standard shifts has many benefits as explained by Mr. Becker.  “I call it – not living with the masses.  I go to the grocery store, gym, bank, etc. when everyone else isn’t.  Plus, most companies will pay more for people willing to work after hour schedules.”

Dennis was lucky and did find another 2nd shift job in the IT field.  Now he hopes NightOwlStaffing.com will help other people secure their after hours jobs as well.  Businesses are encouraged to post their later shift jobs on NightOwlStaffing.com  (including logos and links).  Job seekers should post their resumes now to get a head start.  Signing up is easy, fast and best of all – totally free.

Comments: 1 Comment