Holiday Wishes

NightOwlStaffing.com  wishes everyone a Happy Holiday Season!

All the best in 2011 – including the best new job!

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Hiring During Holiday Season

There is a perception in the job market that companies typically don’t hire during the Holiday season.  So should you wait until the new year to continue your job search?  Absolutely not – and here is why:

  • Not all companies stop hiring during this end of year season – many others actually do.  I was hired for my current tech job in mid November of last year.
  • Many companies hire temporary workers for the busy shopping season.  Not only will a temporary job provide needed  income or some extra spending money – if you prove yourself as an exceptional employee, you might be kept on after the season and possibly land a permanent job.
  • There are fewer people applying for jobs during this busy time – that means you have a better chance of getting noticed!
  • After the first of the year you will be competing with all the other people who waited to start their job search.  Now is the time to get a head start.
  • Executives have a hard time being idle.  Visiting with family might be a tad boring for them – so they just might sift through a few resumes to entertain themselves.
  • Now is a great time to do something a little extra that will get you noticed in a big way.  When you go in to apply for a job – bring a small gift with you to give to the HR person.  Some candy (not homemade) or just a card will be accepted as a thoughtful gift and not a bribe.  Even just a cheerful “Happy Holidays!” will show you in a positive light.

So while you are out and about shopping – drop off a resume on your way.  Spend some extra time on-line applying for that perfect job.  Tis the season!

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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.

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Here come the jobs!

The election is over and both sides are claiming they can provide more jobs.  Let’s hope they are right!  We welcome employers to post all those new jobs for free right here on NightOwlStaffing.com!

If you are not tired of voting yet – be sure to vote on the new poll in the sidebar and let our new politicians know what you think.  We also welcome any comments on how this election will affect the job market.

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Meet the creator of NightOwlStaffing.com

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

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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.

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Don’t Take It Personally

You left the job interview certain that you had landed the position.  They like you, you liked them, there was an agreement on pay range, and you are totally qualified for the position.   So why haven’t they called?  Let’s assume for this article that you did everything right – including a thank you note (at least by email) and a follow up call several days later stating your continued interest in the job.  You did do those – right?  Right.  So what’s the problem?

One of the biggest hurdles we deal with in the job market is the Human Factor.  That’s right folks, we are humans dealing with other humans and as such there is a myriad of factors that can contribute to the decision made by the employer.  Maybe there was someone equally qualified and thorough in their interview and the employer had a tough decision to make.  Many times there are more than one perfect candidate for the job.  One will get the job – and unfortunately the rest won’t.  It’s not that you did anything wrong – you just didn’t get picked – this time.   Maybe the employer just didn’t get a good vibe from you even though everything went well.  Human interactions are complicated and based on much more than just what you wore, how you presented yourself or even if you had a common interest.  Just like personal relationships, professional relationships are somewhat chemical in nature and even though you did everything right – you just were not what they were looking for.  The point is – its not personal – it’s just business.

On the other hand if you have had several great interviews – especially a great 2nd or 3rd interview and you haven’t been offered any jobs, you might want to take a closer look at your approach.  It might help to talk to a friend in detail about what happens in your interviews and what topics you discussed and how you answered those questions.  A good friend will need to be necessarily judgmental in order to be effective so again, don’t take it personally but learn from their comments.  Talk to more than one friend if you can and see if you notice a common response.

There is one thing you definitely should take personally.  If you have sent out many resumes but haven’t received even one call – there may be a problem with how you present your information.  We live in an electronic society and most resumes don’t reach a human eye until they first get singled out by a computer.  Your resume should be targeted specifically for the job you are applying for and be formatted in such a way that it will get singled out in an electronic scan against hundreds of other resumes.  It might be time for you to get some professional advice on your resume.  There are many resources available to help you – from personal consultants to electronic programs to help you build your resume.  I’m including a link to such a program in this post but there are many to choose from varying in price range and features.  Do a careful search and get the help you need to have your resume get noticed.

Resume Companion

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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.

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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.

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Employers Take Note!

Employers – did you know that it’s difficult for job seekers to find your second and third shift jobs on other job sites?  That’s because job seekers want to look for jobs based on the position they are looking for and not the shift.  Typical job sites are for the 9 – 5 crowd and so the relevant shift is not even listed on most sites.  In order for us to find your after hours jobs we need to search on the exact words you listed in the job description.  Did you use 2nd, second, evening or some other variation?  If it doesn’t match what we searched for your job goes unnoticed.

That’s the whole concept behind NightOwlStaffing.com.  Our job listings are already sorted by shift and as we grow our search process will be refined so that people who are looking for a particular shift will find the jobs they seek.  Putting your free ad on our site practically guarantees it will be seen by the job seekers who are willing to work your late shift jobs.

Don’t let your valuable job posts go unnoticed – post them for free now on the NightOwl!

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