The presence of a degree is not necessarily a road map to career futures. So, what are job seekers to do when they do not know what field go into? One key thing to remember is that such uncertainty is normal.
Act Confident—Or Remain Confident
It is perfectly normal for folks to not know what kind of job they want. Many people spend a few years after college getting a handle on what they want out of their lives and careers. With that in mind, don’t feel guilty or ashamed that you don’t know what you want to do. Otherwise, you risk starting a job search from the wrong mindset.
Create lists of your strengths and weaknesses. Mix and match as needed; a strength in one field may be a weakness in another. An occasional strength may also be an occasional weakness. Also list your skills, including programs with which you are knowledgeable.
Take personality and career self-assessments. Your college career center has information on these as well as many assessments themselves. Some such as the Holland Code Quiz can be taken online for free. In-depth ones may charge fees, but the U.S. Department of Labor provides some nice self-assessments for free.
Go Forth and Try Various Jobs
You are not stuck with the first job you land. If you feel it is not a good fit, then by all means, search for work you think may be more suitable. One caveat, though: try to find new employment before quitting your current job. Also take any work you do seriously and give it a genuine chance. Finally, it’s especially important when applying for a job in a new field to tailor your resume accordingly, since you can’t rely on past work experience to land you a position.
While you are working, volunteering on the side may help you figure out what you are meant for. You could even work two or three part-time jobs simultaneously instead of a full-time job. Temping is another option to give you a variety of experiences in many types of settings. You may find what you are meant for.
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If your temp is struggling, you should not necessarily assume that it is their fault. Sometimes the blame can be placed on your business’ own internal practices. To determine where the problem lies, ask yourself the following questions.
Are your company’s processes straightforward or are they hard for an outsider to understand?
Solution: Review these processes and make adjustments if necessary. You can ask recent hires and temps how easily they got up to speed, how they would rate these processes and any feedback. Look for jargon in materials and unclear or missing descriptions of job functions. Ensure that the processes include a training component. Your business should have clear and intuitive digital and paper filing systems, and user-friendly software. Your company should also have an efficient labeling system and a workflow that is free of clutter. Temps ideally should have their own work space and their own materials and supplies. A temp should not scrounge every day for tools.
Are you clearly communicating the job expectations and what needs to be done?
Solution: Improve communication. For example, a temp may have been told he or she needed to have five reports done by the end of the day but was given no further guidance on how to do them. So, they wrote them according to their own methodology as opposed to the one your company thought they would use. It is important not to assume. Communicate what job you would like done and how it should be done. Examples of previous or similar work are helpful. Give constructive feedback. If a temp turns in a report that does not meet standards, you risk another bad report if the manager says: “This is unacceptable!” without much elaboration.
Are you giving the temps a reasonable amount of time to learn?
Solution: If you are not, adjust time frames accordingly. In general, temps need four to eight weeks in a new environment to work comfortably and independently. If your processes have been unfriendly, temps may need more time and more training.
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How long it takes your business to know if a temp would make a great full timer varies depending on the temp and on other factors such as your company’s situation and on-boarding practices. In general, however, you should have a good idea within four to eight weeks. Here’s why:
1. How the temp fits with the business and other workers
Four to eight weeks generally is enough time for you to determine how well a temp meshes with the business and with other staffers. It is enough time for the temp to have gotten over most of his jitters and have eased into the position and work independently. You can determine if the temp understands and follows the company culture and how well he performs his job. For example, it is a positive sign if your company values punctuality and the temp is five minutes early or on time every day.
2. The temp’s value
Four to eight weeks is also probably enough for a temp to have provided value or the potential for value. You have seen him work, meet deadlines, attend meetings, complete projects, socialize with other employees and perhaps provide fresh perspective. It is usually enough time for you to analyze if he possesses attributes that are important to you and the business. If your business is severely understaffed and the temp is doing well, that can be tremendous value.
3. Other considerations
If your business’s on-boarding processes were/are shaky, you may need more time to determine if a temp would make a great full timer. A lack of proper training and good workspace likely means a temp took longer to get acclimated. This may be especially true if the temp has (or had) no mentor, no permanent work space and no regular performance review meetings. If your on-boarding processes are satisfactory and the temp is not doing as well as you would like after eight weeks, he may not make a great full timer.
Also, remember that even if you didn’t bring someone in as a temp-to-hire, you should always consider a temp as a potential full time employee.
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Social media and sites such as Glassdoor create greater transparency when it comes to your internal hiring practices. This can really complicate things for your business if it has HR policies that could potentially scare off top talent or are simply outdated. Here are some of these potential policies and ways to counteract them.
1. Excessive travel requirements
Many jobs require travel, and that is usually fine. However, there may come a point where business travel crosses from standard into overload territory. Employees have seen only snatches of their families here and there and they have traveled so much they are unsure which airport they are in at the moment. Extra monetary compensation is not necessarily the answer. Rather, aim for virtual policies where possible. Have video meetings instead of in-person meetings. Set up a standard that a person who has traveled for a certain number of days is not asked to travel again until at least two months or whatever reasonable time frame has passed.
2. Lack of trust
A lack of trust expresses itself via human resources policies that mandate accountability for everything, from an obituary notice for bereavement leave to counting keystrokes to overly strict attendance requirements. These attendance requirements may include tracking employees’ time at work down to a quarter hour or even per hour. A better approach is to trust employees to get their jobs done.
Another notorious example of lack of trust is requiring employees to get higher-up approval for many regular decisions or forcing them to wade into getting five signatures for a simple task. Again, employees should be trusted to make competent decisions. There is also no need for a dress code that goes into detail on skirt lengths and such.
3. Lack of respect for employees’ lives
A business that has a HR policy that work comes first is liable to send potential employees fleeing. A common practice in your business for supervisors to call employees on weekends or for employees to frequently give up weekend and holiday time warrants examination and adjustment. Business processes may need to become more efficient so employees can conserve their weekend time for personal matters.
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