I don’t need to say it, but times are tough. The changes we have experienced are enough to make anyone run for the hills. And maybe that’s actually not such a bad idea right now, TBH. But as much as you may want to abandon your life and go live full-time on a beach somewhere, there is such a thing called reality. I know, buzzkill. Since these you-know-what times aren’t going back to any semblance of normal soon, it’s time to be practical, consider your options, and make things work.
The good news is, there isn’t only one way to get ahead now. Consider these five creative approaches from the utterly practical (Nike’s “just do it”) to the spiritual (calling on your higher powers) to support your future plans. Your best approach to life and work depends on your current circumstances and needs, skill set, and risk tolerance.
1. Embrace Your Skills—Become A Technical Specialist
Which new technologies can you master right now to become the “go-to” expert in a specific area or tool that is in high demand? Are you a digital marketer or data analyst to the stars (using the term “stars” aspirationally here)? This can be your time to shine! Consider all your current skills to see which ones can fill the demands that companies have right now. For instance, helping companies get online successfully as they move their businesses away from brick-and-mortar stores can be a game-changer. Are there other specialized tools or specific software programs used in your current role, business, or industry that may be critical to ongoing business operations? Identify the sweet spot that you can capitalize on, then let people know how you can help them.
LinkedIn’s list of the ten most in-demand hard skills for 2020 ranges from blockchain to cloud computing to UX design. But if you don’t have these skills now, don’t sweat it. There are a ton of online training courses available, and many are free on YouTube. Additional resources like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Skillshare, UDemy, Harvard classes from EdX (what, like it’s hard?) are great online tools with so many classes to offer. And according to Forbes, the soft skills you’ll need to succeed in a post-COVID world might not require classes—adaptability, flexibility, critical thinking, and creativity are all things you can practice on your own. Remember, your goal is to become both valued and immediately applicable to potential customer needs.
Power Tip: Don’t forget to brand and capitalize on your expertise by seeding relevant “key words” about your new focus throughout your LinkedIn profile and social media so the AI searches and algorithms identify you as the best potential fit for those seeking your skill set.
2. Follow The Money
Let’s get real: why not be an opportunist? Dig deeper into where the needs for talent are right now. If you’re flexible enough to go where the opportunities are, you can find project-based work. “Have a valid passport, willing to travel”—I see you, Carmen Sandiego. You get the picture—you could get hired to work on important, time-sensitive initiatives that often pay well. Depending on your personality, you also follow your desire to serve. There is likely to be a huge demand for teachers, healthcare workers, and others who know how to deal with trauma and personal service right now as others are hesitant to return to work.
Look at your flexibility and tolerance for risk. Obviously, moving can create opportunities, but is not without higher risks from changing conditions. If you’re amenable, check out other cities and countries, or switch industries. (Might not be such a bad idea to get an international visa… just saying…)
3. From WTF To WFH: Shift To Remote Work Altogether
It’s no surprise that most work is moving online in some ongoing capacity. You probably already know how to work Zoom, but are you comfortable working virtually? There are even more opportunities beyond the “gig economy” as the need for global services increases if you can be time-zone agnostic. There are also multiple platforms like Fiverr, Upwork, and other on-demand freelance websites that connect customers with service providers. Consider working remotely for a company directly, or maybe it’s time to work for yourself. If you’re creative and don’t mind the hours you work or prefer working from home, remote work lets you work wherever you are, and in some cases, whenever you want. That means never having to change out of your PJs.
Many digital skills transfer seamlessly across industries. More jobs are conducted with tele-support, no longer requiring face time or presence in a physical work space. According to U.S. News, careers in software and web development, IT management, and accounting are especially good choices for those working remotely because they can be done virtually anywhere with computer access. But currently, some of the most popular remote positions are accountant, customer service representative, project manager, nurse, and writer—which means that there’s a pretty wide range of industries well-suited to this kind of work. So if you don’t mind having technology become your life line (as if it’s not already), consider ongoing WFH to give you more flexibility. What a time saver to create more time, reduce your commute and still add value.
4. Become A Minimalist
…and not just because Marie Kondo says it will spark joy. A smaller footprint is not only good for the environment, but it will also minimize the space you need, which can save you money in the long run. How? Less weight and obligations lower your cost base, which translates into needing less income. Smaller spaces equate to lower rent.
Power Tip: What do you value about your lifestyle? Is it time to focus more on “being” than “doing”? Which begs the question, what is the meaning and significance of work in your life? Looking at the type of work you want to be doing in the world will open up a whole new set of possibilities for how you might live.
5. Start Living Within Your Means
No, really. Why not question everything? When you look at what you need to live and survive (financially, spiritually), maybe there are ways you can cut back. When the economy was on an upswing, money was easy and more was more. That was then; this is now. Perhaps it’s time to consider that less is more.
Power Tip: Bring your spending in line with your income. Where can you reduce your outlays to become more thoughtful? Maybe cheap is the new smart. The more you put into your savings and the lower your costs, the easier it will be to weather a storm. With few people having enough savings to last a month, now is an important time to pad (or start) that emergency fund to provide an extra cushion to extend your ability to get through a period of financial hardship that may be longer than expected.
Only you will know what is the best way for you to adapt to change right now. This truly is an opportunity to focus on what makes sense for you. By knowing what you care about and value, you can make choices that position you for the future. Taking steps that are both practical and personal will equip you to become more resilient to face future challenges.
Image: Magnet.me / Unsplash
When it comes to workplace sexual harassment, no one should seek to be a harasshole. But there is something harassholes often do that betches should make a practice—that is, documenting all workplace sexual harassment and how your employer handles it.
Harassholes keep score on who gets passes for inappropriate behavior because the information may give them leverage when an employer tries to hold them accountable for sexual harassment while allowing other harassholes to run amuck.
Case in point: the audacious lawsuit hockey analyst Jeremy Roenick filed in New York on Friday against his former employer, NBC.
Here’s the gist: Way back in December 2019, before COVID terrorized us all, Roenick went on a “cheeky” Barstool Sports podcast as a guest. While on the podcast, the 50-year-old offered off-color commentary on his NBC co-host’s “ass and boobs” before explaining how he led strangers to believe he was having a threesome with his wife and co-host. Real professional, right?
After suspending Roenick for a few months, NBC fired him in February 2020. Now the hockey star is suing the network, claiming NBC discriminated against him as a heterosexual man.
According to Roenick, NBC didn’t punish a gay figure-skating analyst who made sexualized—albeit scripted—comments about his co-host while the two were acting together in a parody promotional video. Roenick says, when he brought the matter to an NBC exec, he was told that the analyst “is gay and can say whatever.”
Yes, there’s a lot to unpack there, but don’t get distracted. Roenick’s basically saying NBC should have given him a pass on his filthy remarks about his co-host because the network gave another man a pass.
When you’re done rolling your eyes at Roenick’s audacity, let’s discuss the ever-so important takeaway from his case: when it comes to workplace sexual harassment, betches need to document, document, document.
Documenting sexual harassment you and your colleagues experience, and your employer’s response to the harassment, is among the most effective ways you can maintain the upper hand should things go south and you need to fight your employer for failing to enforce the rules.
Let me explain.
Employers say they’re anti-discrimination, claiming they consistently enforce the rules by punishing harassholes, their popularity or your unpopularity notwithstanding. In reality, employers also give passes to people they like, creating a host of problems for everyone. The unfairness of it all gives rise to discrimination lawsuits—that is, if there’s documentation showing the employer is not enforcing its rules.
By “documentation” I mean “What is written down, printed, recorded, photocopied, saved? What do you have to support your account about your experiences?”
Sure, you may remember details well and never lose your car keys. But when it comes to workplace sexual harassment, it’s still best to have documentation because memories fade and documents are harder to manipulate. Also, while your word may be good enough for your mom, the patriarchy makes a woman’s word a hard sell more than half the time.
That’s why you document your version of the events with notes about encounters, dated-diary entries about conversations, text message chains and photos saved to the clou,; PDF copies of emails, papers, and websites, and so on. You hold onto anything that provides enough detail to refresh your recollection of the events should things go off the rails down the line and you need to back up your word should it be put to the test.
Harassholes and shady employers unapologetically lie and suddenly lose documents. You must be prepared.
…much like Roenick, whose ten-year tenure at NBC is over, to his complete and utter surprise. That’s right—the former hockey gawd never saw it coming, as he insists his firing is one of the “biggest raw deals of all time.” (Who knew you could lose your job for gratuitously sexualizing your co-worker’s anatomy on a popular podcast and bragging about misleading others into thinking you’re intimately throupled with her and your spouse?)
Despite the supposed blindsiding, Roenick had the wherewithal to document how his employer treated him and others who acted up, giving him fodder for a lawsuit that may or may not end with Roenick taking home a settlement check.
You, too, should be boldly protecting your professional interests should your employer act up or let harassholes run amok, as documentation can make or break your future.
Adrienne Lawrence is an on-air legal analyst and the author of Staying in the Game: The Playbook for Beating Workplace Sexual Harassment (TarcherPerigee, 2020). Lawrence has contributed her insight on workplace sexual harassment for outlets such as the Harvard Business Review and NPR. Follow her on Twitter @AdrienneLaw and IG @AdrienneLawrence.
Images: Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
The past few months have been big for change. Companies have been called out for systemic racism. The Supreme Court gave LGBTQ workers federal civil rights. Sexual predators are having a renewed #MeToo moment. Powers-that-be are being held to account. That’s phenomenal for social progress. It’s also horrible for workplace sexual harassment.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news (amidst an already heinous 2020), but you’ll want to beware of increased sexual harassment when you’re on the job, as harassholes hate this new world.
Here’s the skinny: Workplace sexual harassment is a power play. Basically, harassers are insecure people who want to make you feel small because they find you threatening and/or seek a power boost.
Don’t get it twisted, though: Sexual harassment doesn’t have to be sexual. What matters is that you’re being targeted because of your gender or sexual identity.
Harassholes may try to “put you in your place” by using typical sexualized come-ons, like ogling your goodies in the office, jumping in your DMs to ask you out for the umpteenth time, or promising you a promotion in exchange for a Netflix and chill. Or, harassholes may leverage hostile put-downs that humiliate you, like calling you crude names on conference calls, cutting you out of morning meetings, berating you for not dressing the way a woman “should” dress. The displays of disrespect are limitless.
Now that our new world is pushing for greater respect for marginalized persons, women included, harassholes see our world as a less hospitable place for their antics. They’re frustrated about not being able to mistreat you and others with impunity, and they’ll try to reclaim their sense of power by stepping up their harassment game. Protect your purse and your mental health by being prepared.
Here are three quick tips to help you beat workplace sexual harassment:
Identify The Harassholes
You may be a butterfly, but harassholes aren’t very unique. They tend to have shared traits, among them being gender. Men make up some 90% of harassholes. In addition to that, they’re more likely to embrace these characteristics:
⭐︎ Support traditional gender roles
⭐︎ Maintain a strong male identity
⭐︎ Think men are superior to women
⭐︎ Believe men and women should be segregated
⭐︎ Sexualize women, girls, and LGBTQ people
⭐︎ Trivialize victimization or engage in victim-blaming
⭐︎ Lack egalitarian attitudes toward gender and/or race
You can spot these traits by listening to what a harasshole says about gender and sexual identity. For instance, harassholes often think men are better suited for traditionally male jobs and leadership positions whereas women should be in “pink careers,” stay-at-home moms, or in supporting roles. Harassholes use activities and terms typically associated with women to demean other men, such as calling a man a “pussy” or promising to wear a dress in public as part of a bet. These are the dudes who use stereotypes about women as punch lines.
The thing is, there’s nothing funny about harassholes. Keep an eye out for them and remember—just because someone isn’t a harasshole to you, doesn’t mean they’re not harassing another colleague. Harassholes are shady shapeshifters.
Document, Document, Document
Your records of what happened are essential to beating workplace sexual harassment. Why? Memories fade. Plus, there’s a 99% chance that the harasshole (and your employer) will lie. Avoid the he said, she said situation by documenting what went down. On your personal computer or encrypted email, maintain a log of the who, what, when, where, and how of the experience like you’re writing a bland yet detailed screenplay. Also, attach supporting documents such as text messages, emails, DMs, and notes.
You’ll want to have it all, especially if you ever need to speak out or if you suffer retaliation. Documentation can make the difference between getting the heave-ho with nothing and getting out of a company on your own terms with solid references and a strong severance.
Always Trust Your Instincts
Pay attention to that still small voice that echoes within when you’re uncomfortable. Never try to override your instincts with rationalization. You know what you’re sensing, what you experienced, and what you need not tolerate. Don’t ignore it.
Do ignore gaslighting and shade-throwing coworkers. As much as I hate to say it, research shows that some coworkers will try to discourage you from speaking out about sexual harassment and many will distance themselves from you for fear of being mistreated by your employer too. That’s a bummer. But it doesn’t mean you should “take one for the team” by keeping quiet. Real friends won’t insist you be disrespected and won’t try to deny your reality.
Stick close to your instincts, demand to be treated with respect, and do you. You may not be The Boss, but you are a boss and you deserve to work in a harassment-free workplace.
Adrienne Lawrence is an on-air legal analyst and the author of Staying in the Game: The Playbook for Beating Workplace Sexual Harassment (TarcherPerigee, 2020). Lawrence has contributed her insight on workplace sexual harassment for outlets such as the Harvard Business Review and NPR. Follow her on Twitter @AdrienneLaw and IG @AdrienneLawrence
Images: Song_about_summer/ Shutterstock.com
In Kristen Bell’s immortal words: “this is the bad place.” Yeah, we all know about the total sh*t storm happening outside of our homes while we are practicing appropriate and responsible social distancing.
Because of the *ahem* unpredictability of the situation surrounding COVID-19, we all have a lot of questions, like how long will our government continue to ground the entire country? Widespread uncertainty as to how long this crisis will continue is sending everyone into a little bit of a downward spiral that involves eating all of our quarantine snacks, texting our exes, and panicking about summer plans.
Due to coronavirus, not only have college students been sent packing and back home for the semester, but many of us are getting notified that summer internships may be canceled, moving to a remote structure, or transitioning to an unpaid internship. And, as a result, students everywhere are losing their sh*t about how they won’t be able to take full advantage of a
Rent the Runway membership and ability to post cute pics on rooftops all summer really incredible learning experience.
In the interest of public service, and because I love of all of my fans so much and don’t want anyone to freak out, I have done a little bit of research to help you all feel a little better about your summer plans.
If You Haven’t Heard Anything…
The only thing worse than getting ghosted by a frat douche during quarantine (direct attack on myself) is getting ghosted by the company you have been waiting to hear back from about your application status. I know I may seem really badass and confrontational in my articles (let me have this), but, disclaimer: I’m not. So, I totally get not wanting to seem annoying or aggressive by emailing someone a thousand times to check if your internship is still happening.
The good news is, you only need to send one or two emails, and you definitely should not be bombarding your potential future employer with 1,000 questions. We are all in the same boat, and odds are, that interns are not a high priority for them at the moment, and they also have no idea what the f*ck is going on.
If they sent out a blanket email to all of the intern applicants telling them that they are working on a solution and they will be in touch, it sucks, but you kind of need to hang in there. However, if you’ve been getting radio silence for the last few weeks, sending one email is helpful and shows you are still interested and willing to take initiative.
An example email might look something like this.
Dear (hiring manager),
I hope all is well and that you and your family are staying safe, given the circumstances.
My name is _____ _____ and I applied for the _____ internship this summer. While I am excited about the potential of joining your team, I am aware that circumstances may have changed due to the uncertainty surrounding COVID-19.
I am sure that you have been very busy working to adjust to the new circumstances and understand that internships are not a high priority at the moment. However, I was wondering if there were any updates regarding plans for summer internships that I may have missed or can expect to hear about in the future.
I am really looking forward to the possibility of working with you in whatever capacity is possible this summer and can’t wait to hear from you soon.
If you are sending this email, you better be sure you didn’t miss any updates they sent you, or you will look like an idiot. Oftentimes large companies provide you with an application number, it never hurts to include this information in the email.
If You Got Rejected…
That sucks, and I’m really sorry. The good news is unless you have been flat-out told that you, personally, were not hired, you can assume that it has nothing to do with your qualifications and the situation at hand is to blame. (Is that a healthy coping mechanism?)
The first thing you should do, even if the company is not accepting interns this summer, is send a thank you note to whoever interviewed you, or the contact you have at the company. This is just basic professionalism and, in any situation, can help you in the future should you choose to apply for an internship or job there in the future.
If Your Internship Straight-Up Got Canceled…
It’s thank-you note season, bitches! I know it sucks, but you need to be gracious for the opportunity. No matter how many times you roll your eyes while writing the email, the person who receives it will probably really appreciate it and be like, “wow, what a mature, polite college student. I’ll definitely consider them in the future!”
Obvi I am not an employer, I am a 21-year-old college student whose professional experience is just one rung above Alexis Rose’s, but my parents told me to always send a thank you note, so I’m passing that along.
If You’re Thinking: “Okay, That’s Great Advice But I Really F*cking Need Something To Do This Summer”…
Take a deep breath, you have nowhere else to go, and I’m getting there!
So, the thing with internships is that you’re not just supposed to be getting coffee or doing random busywork. Internships are there for us to learn, grow in our fields, and make connections. Whether you’re getting paid, getting class credit, or are interning at your mom’s company for neither of those things, internships are a facility for mentorship. They are intended to help you solidify your future plans. Internships can also serve as a significant form of income for some students. And, unfortch, they are super important for things like getting into graduate schools or getting entry-level jobs.
The first thing I will say is don’t totally lose your sh*t just yet. Yeah, if your dream internship gets canceled, that really sucks and I’m sorry you’re really going through it right now. I have searched far and wide for tips and advice to find ways to make up for not having an internship this summer.
If internships are ruled out entirely for whatever reason, summer classes are a great option. A lot of schools have summer programs, allowing you to get some type of certification in a field that you may be interested in. It’s like, we’re all going to want to party a ton when we eventually get back to campus, why not knock out some of the harder classes you were going to take next semester anyway?
If you can’t find an online class to take this summer or don’t want to fork over a ton of money for distance learning, many websites offer cheap or free certification programs for specific skills. Last summer, I was super bored and got certified in Content Marketing through HubSpot. Adobe Creative Suite, Masterclass, and other websites can give you training on things like writing, graphic design, and video making. Putting something like this on your resume or LinkedIn is a perfect way to show that even despite a crisis, you’re committed to learning and ~bettering yourself~.
Look For Companies With Expanded Remote Internship Programs
While remote internships may have initially not been your first choice, especially if you and your friends had big plans of living together in a fun city, it’s not time to be picky anymore. If you ruled out remote internships right off the bat, I highly suggest reconsidering that decision.
Companies with the capability to have interns work remotely also may be expanding their remote internship programs this summer. Cloudflare, a tech company that focuses on internet security and infrastructure, has pledged to double its internship program this summer. Truly, they are out here doing the lord’s work.
The Democratic National Committee is another organization that has pledged to move forward with internships, whether they are in person or remote. Like Cloudflare, the DNC hires students with a wide variety of backgrounds to multiple positions.
You May Need To Lower Your Standards
Okay, I shouldn’t need to say this, but this applies to jobs, not the frat boy you’ve been Snapchatting. However, if you initially ruled out an internship because it was too “low level” or unpaid, chances are it’s time to reconsider.
Trust me, I am a seasoned pro when it comes to thinking I am better than certain things, and it may hurt to swallow your pride. But, when your Big Four accounting internship gets canceled, I’m sure the smaller firm in your hometown will start to look like a better option. And I know unpaid internships aren’t ideal, but they’re still great experience.
Think Outside the Box
TBH, it doesn’t really matter if companies that are doing remote internships or expanding their remote programs aren’t really in your discipline. Even tech companies need communication people, accountants, and graphic designers. The chances are that these companies have more opportunities that are specific to your interests than you originally thought. It’s def worth looking into, especially if you’ve always been interested in something outside of your major.
It’s totally different, but last year I interned at a data-driven economy-based non-profit. If you know anything about me, I have very little knowledge or interest in, like, science or math. However, my internship was focused on communication and community engagement. While I did some things related to data, most of my time was spent learning how to build communication plans and work with charitable organizations.
Who knows? Maybe you’ll find something you love doing or are shockingly good at.
Talk to Your Professors
If you have a professor whom you really respect or have a positive relationship with, now is your time to shine. (If you’re the type of student who has literally never once been to office hours and shows up to class like twice a semester, IDK how to help you, man.) Most professors aren’t just there to teach a lecture hall full of hungover students three times a week, they also have to, like, research and publish articles.
Chances are, this situation has been really hard on your professors as well, and not just because they had to learn how to use Zoom. Your professor may be looking for a research assistant or can point you in the direction of someone who is. It may not be paid, but it looks really f*cking good on a resume, and you’ll learn a lot.
If you’re an overachiever, your professor may encourage you to conduct your own research and submit an essay to a journal within your field. And, like, talk about sh*t that looks good on a resume!
I know that this summer is really stressful, and no one has any clue of what the f*ck to expect. Trust me, I have had no less than eight nervous breakdowns in the three weeks I have been home. However, as my genius friend said in an attempt to comfort me: “we are all in the same boat, it just happens to be the Titanic.” We truly are all in the same boat, and maybe it’s uncharacteristically optimistic of me to say, but I have a feeling that our future employers and grad programs are going to remember the WORLD-WIDE PANDEMIC that took over summer 2020.
In the meantime, crack a White Claw, take a deep breath, and enjoy competing with high schoolers for views on Tik Tok. I have a feeling we will all make it out the other side of this.
In addition to dealing with a global pandemic and basically having to buy toilet paper and Clorox wipes off the black market, millions of people are currently filing for unemployment. As much as I’m thrilled that non-essential employees are staying home and know it’s beyond necessary right now, it means mass layoffs and furloughs. Depressing, right? And I thought the saddest thing I was going to see this week was Peter Weber’s TikToks.
If you are out of a job due to the pandemic—for one, I’m SO sorry. But, you’ve come to the right place. As much as I want everyone’s quarantine “job” to be watching Netflix and eating Ben & Jerry’s, rent and bills are, unfortunately, still a thing. And if you live in San Francisco like me, rent is a very big thing even though you would never guess from the size of my apartment.
I am the first one to acknowledge that what’s going on in the world right now is freaking hard. I mean, it’s a literal pandemic. And as much as I’m hoping I make you laugh with my (attempt at) jokes while giving sound career advice throughout this post, I know that if you lost your job, that must be super hard. I can’t imagine the stress and anxiety that this situation is causing millions. That being said, I don’t want a situation that we cannot control to stop anyone from getting their next career opportunity, if that’s where your head is at.
Just because we’re all pulling a full-on Rapunzel and locking ourselves away in our houses for the foreseeable future, does not mean that you cannot make moves to work towards getting a job. And lucky for you, your biggest decision today would have probably been whether to watch TV in the bedroom or the living room—so you’ve got some time on your hands. Here’s what you can do right now if you were just laid off.
Update Your Resume
You’ll hear any career experts say it time and time again: update your resume! I know it seems like a chore to write down your accomplishments, but you never know how soon you’ll get your next job interview. (And, again, what else are you doing?) So take off the quarantine goggles that are telling you to simply drink wine and watch Real Housewives all day and get to work.
You might be thinking, “I was never laid off before, how do I frame that in my resume?!” Well, look—I’m sure there are a ton of correct answers to how you could put this in your resume, but I think you could handle this in two different ways. I’m of the belief that when applying for a job, it’s actually a positive when a company realizes you are unemployed for a reason out of your control. That indicates that your performance is still great.
So I don’t think it hurts to put a small italic note at the bottom of your most current experience that says *Laid off due to COVID-19 or however you want to phrase it, and then secondly, when you do apply (yes, surprise, I’m recommending still applying for jobs), you can follow up in your cover letter reiterating this.
File For Unemployment
If you are out of work due to the pandemic, don’t forget to try and file for unemployment. I’ve seen on the news lately that it is extremely difficult to get through to unemployment offices right now, so even though the millions of Americans who are out of work should get this benefit, it doesn’t sound as easy as it should be.
In doing a few quick Google searches about how to file for unemployment, I learned that the benefit is provided by the state. So, when you Google to find out more, make sure you’re checking directions for your state specifically. It looks like each state has their own website, where you can see how you can file (ie phone, online, fax—but who has a fax anymore?!).
When you do decide to file, make sure you have the appropriate documentation and information ready. I’ve heard it’s hard to get through (either with the website crashing, or not getting through to the phone lines), so I don’t want you to miss your chance when you finally do get someone on the phone.
Good luck on this one. It sounds like a super difficult (and potentially frustrating) process, but despite that, it absolutely doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try. You might even want to come up with a strategy to try to get through faster, like setting alarms and logging onto websites at off hours. The outcome is some income, and it is definitely worth the wait for that (and some states, like New York, will pay out retroactively to account for how difficult it is to get through to the unemployment office).
Learn A New Skill
From Zoom happy hours to trying to figure out how to actually cook myself meals, I know quarantine can seem busy. But wouldn’t it be cool if you came out of it with a new skill you could market to employers? Lots of colleges and other places are offering free online classes, and it’s the perfect time to get that certification you’ve had your eye on for years. When else will so many digital things be free? Probably never, that’s when.
This might not only pass the time—it could also beef up your resume. Especially if there’s some sort of skill or course you need for the new type of job you want—this could be a good time. Maybe you’ll even discover a new passion and turn into one of those people you see in commercials who started a tiny business out of their kitchen and is now a millionaire. Don’t forget about me when you’re famous, ok!?
Regardless of the pandemic, I’ll always vouch for networking. You never know when someone will refer you directly to their company, which is a whole lot more powerful than applying online.
As we said before, it seems like, over everything, many people (not all, but many) have time right now! Also, I imagine a lot of people would be open to talking about something other than the world falling apart right now. You could probably find a lot of people who are open to a phone conversation nowadays. I’m always a big fan of reaching out via LinkedIn, or even guessing someone’s email address at a company. Who knows, maybe they’ll be a great contact.
When you are networking, remember, this layoff is not about you or your performance, so don’t let it seep into your confidence.
One tip: Be mindful of how you network. Maybe do a quick Google search of the company before you reach out to make sure there weren’t mass layoffs there too. The last thing you want to do is come off tone-deaf, but I think if you phrase it in a respectful way, you’ll be gucci.
Apply For Jobs
When I’ve seen people online talk about getting laid off during this time, it’s usually paired with something like, “and I can’t apply for new jobs right now”. It probably is an extremely competitive time to try and find a new job, since so many people became unemployed all at the same time and many companies are not hiring.
The notion I want to clear up, though, is there are still some companies that are hiring. Not all, but some. Some industries are absolutely struggling right now, that’s no secret, but there’s a whole slew that aren’t.
I’m going to tell you a little secret. There’s a website (it’s all user-generated, so take it with a grain of salt): Candor.co/hiring-freezes/ that has listed over four thousand companies’ hiring statuses. You can use this site as a starting point for those who still have job open to whittle some down.
Most importantly, I don’t think it hurts to apply and try to interview—because what’s the risk at that point? You’ll watch one less episode of Gossip Girl today? Worst-case scenario, you practice interviewing for when this is all over. Best-case? You’re employed.
That’s all folks, thanks for coming to my TedTalk. If anything, I hope this post inspires you to take your career into your own hands and start taking action before the pandemic is over, because honestly, I’m not good for much else right now.
Images: Emma Matthews Digital Content Production / Unsplash
Thanks to The Virus That Must Not Be Named, waiters, bartenders, performers, caterers, and planners (just to name a few) are currently scrambling to make ends meet after vast and devastating layoffs. To put it bluntly: This is a scary f*cking time, especially if your normal source of income is either no longer as lucrative as it used to be or completely nonexistent.
Still, all hope is not lost. Not only is this a great time to work on rewatching all of your favorite shows and mastering the art of drinking alone, but you can also still make money while doing both of those things. With extra time being spent at home, this is the perfect time to work on that side hustle or even find a new career. But like, how, right?
Turns out, there are plenty of ways to make extra money from the safety of your home, even now, when the entire world is one giant dumpster fire. From tutoring to selling sh*t, crafting to copywriting, there’s something for anyone who is in need of some extra cash.
1. Tutor A Subject
If there’s anyone who needs help right now (and is willing to pay), it’s parents who are trying to teach/help their kids from home now that most schools are closed. From business to accounting, kindergarten to college level, tutors are iin high demand for pretty much every level and subject out there, and a noticeable surge in virtual learning tools and tutors has been seen. Whether you post an ad on Facebook, Instagram, or Craigslist and find students that way, or you sign up and work with a company (such as Tutor.com, AimForA Tutoring, or FlexJobs), education work during this crisis is proving to be a successful way to make ends meet.
2. Teach English
Don’t feel fully skilled enough to teach a subject, but have a great grasp on the English language (and a college degree)? Consider teaching English to children virtually. The demand for English teachers has seen significant growth since quarantine started, and with websites like VIPKid, you can make up to $22 an hour. Plus, the lesson plans are already created, you don’t need to spend hours prepping or grading, and the built-in training is simple and comprehensive. Teachers have noted with the extra time at home, more and more parents are booking their children for extra classes, so if you’re in need of some income, this could be a solid solution.
3. Teach A Skill
Maybe you don’t lean so much on your academics but you have tons of other skills you excel at. Whether it’s building a brand on social media, perfecting the art of contouring, editing photos in Facetune, cooking easy and healthy dishes, or even the advanced skill of sending a flirty text, there’s probably someone out there who would love to learn from you. Join a site like Skillshare (which is free to use and create classes on) to earn money from home by doing what you’re good at.
4. Sell On Poshmark
With extra hours spent at home, now is the perfect time to purge your closet and sell all your clothes that no longer spark joy. While we’re not physically running around spending money, we’ve all upped our online shopping game immensely. Clear some space in your wardrobe for all of the new sh*t you’re buying and make some money while you’re at it. The key to selling on sites like Poshmark, Facebook Marketplace, or Craigslist is a mixture of good photography and cross-marketing. Utilize your Insta skills and take both flat lays and styled shots (in natural lighting and with clean backgrounds, of course), and post your shop to your social accounts, utilizing hashtags such as#poshmarkcloset or#reseller to get the most clicks and purchases.
5. Put Those Calligraphy Skills To Use
The second I got engaged, about four different people sent me calligraphy books and kits because I INSISTED I was going to do all of my own lettering for my wedding. I didn’t, obviously, because I’m lazy. But, I do still have all of the supplies. Even if your closet isn’t full of how-to books, there are plenty of free online resources that will teach you how to write beautifully. Practice, create an Instagram, then start selling custom goods to anyone looking for place cards for their future receptions or signs for their homes.
6. Become A Virtual Assistant
Despite some industries floundering in this pandemic, others (such as tech, e-commerce, and entertainment) are booming and are in need of help more than over. Virtual assistances (VAs) do everything from checking emails and handling internet research to making/canceling travel plans and posting to social on behalf of the individual/company. In addition to the perk of working from home, high earners can make anywhere from $50-$100 an hour from sites like Zirtual and Upwork.
7. Start Freelance Writing
Always dreamt of having a byline or finally want to put your communications major to use? Freelance writing is a great way to earn some extra cash (or even a full-time wage). Between blogging and copywriting, plenty of companies and publications seek contributions on a rotating or continuous basis. Reach out to your fave publications, search Twitter for “contributor” or “freelancer” posts and hashtags, or utilize sites like Upwork or Freelancer to find work.
8. Technical Freelancing
It’s not only writers who can cash in on freelancing. If you’re a pro (or even somewhat competent, tbh) at things like graphics, programming, marketing, design, or editing, there’s someone out there who can probably use your skills. Just like with freelance writing, technical freelance involves a decent amount of negotiating and organization, but once you get it down, you can make bank. Upwork, PeoplePerHour, Demand Media, and Freelancer are all great options, well as well posting to your social accounts saying you’re available for any family and friends who are looking for the services you can provide.
9. Utilize Google Adsense
Have a blog? Sure you do! You’re a millennial! In all seriousness, now’s the perfect time to get to posting regularly, if you’re not already. If you do have a blog, it’s time to start making money off of it. Google AdSense is easy to use and even easier to make money with. A simple string of code puts the ad on your site, easy peasy. The ads are easily optimized for both desktop and mobile, which means you don’t really have to do sh*t other than sell out and have ads on your website. WHICH IS SOMETHING WE ALL SUPPORT!
10. Craft Some Sh*t And Open That Etsy Shop
Whether it’s tees for the bachelorette parties that will hopefully be in full swing in a few months, signs made from your Cricut, or even simple greeting cards made on your computer, if your love of crafting didn’t leave you after your sorority days, then you might just be able to cash in. Tons of brides (and just random people looking to spend money) are shopping and looking for personalized items. Pull out your art supplies or your wine glass vinyl mockups, rewatch The Office, and get to crafting.
11. Maintain Fan Pages And Social Accounts
You’re already scrolling through Instagram all day anyway, you might as well get paid for it. Companies (especially e-commerce ones) always need social media marketing to stand out. With a website like Fiverr, you can post your services for free and coordinate with buyers safely and easily. Whether you build someone’s social presence, utilize their current one to grow their following, or just make a plan for general upkeep, businesses and influencers need help posting and keeping up with customers, and they’ll pay good money for someone to take that off their plates.
12. Become An Amazon Associate
The entire freaking world was already shopping on Amazon. According to my very stressed-out brother who works at HQ, however, “it’s like Black Friday meets Christmas and it’s miserable” right now. Cash in on the fact we’re all sitting at home and compulsively giving into our online shopping addictions. If you have any sort of social following, you can make money by advertising for Amazon. Basically, you just post on Instagram or Pinterest about dresses or home goods or whatever it is you find in an Amazon hole and BAM! You make money. Mind you, it’s not a ton of money if you do the bare minimum like I do (I average about $50 a month and I put in maybe an hour of work every 30 days), but if you utilize your resources, you could be pretty set.
Basically, it works on commission. According to the site, you “get up to 10% in advertising fees and earn advertising fees from Qualifying Purchases, not just the products you advertised.” Here’s a breakdown of the full return on the different categories. You have to apply to become an associate, but the results come in quick and you can immediately start earning upon approval. At the moment, no notice of halting the program in light of coronavirus has been released, despite Amazon taking longer than normal to ship non-essentials.
13. Sell Your Stock Photos
Considering we all take a million and one photos any time we go anywhere, odds are you have some sunsets, mountains, and snowy landscape shots sitting in your storage. Turns out, selling your stock photos can make you some good money (and then you’re like, a real photographer). Submit your photos to a place like Shutterstock to earn money each time the picture is downloaded. Even simple pictures of everyday objects like pencils and hangers do well, which means there’s an endless supply of sh*t for you to photograph and cash in on.
So, put down that smashed bag of Southwest Airlines pretzels you found at the bottom of your purse and get to earning. Turns out you might actually still be able to afford some real food when this pandemic is over.
Images: Mimi Thian / Unsplash; Giphy(4)
With the amount of time we spend at work each day, it’s no wonder that a boss can make or break the experience. It’s been said that people leave bosses rather than jobs, and the statistics back this up. According to a recent study, 60% of employees surveyed left or were considering leaving a job because of their direct supervisor. While it’s rare to have a perfectly ideal manager, there are certain characteristics that may indicate you are dealing with a truly toxic boss . As someone who has had experience with more than one veritable nightmare of a human being challenging boss, I can personally attest to how all-consuming such a negative experience can be. Because I’m such a selfless person, I’ve come up with a list of common toxic boss traits as well as strategies to survive these monsters while deciding on next steps.
Sign #1: The Work Environment Palpably Shifts
Before your new boss, work was a sort of bearable pleasant place to be. But now the environment has changed sharply and suddenly. The way this change takes effect can differ, ranging from more overt behavior like yelling and disparaging employees, to more subtle behavior like an intensity that causes the whole department to feel stressed where they once felt comfortable and at ease. The key is that the environment has changed for the negative.
Sign #2: Micromanaging Becomes The Rule
This one can be infuriating. Despite all of your efforts to date, your boss can’t help but insert themself into tasks that you’re more than capable of completing and feels compelled to tell you how to do them. No matter how glowing your track record, a micromanager won’t be able to rise above their own insecurity and trust you to do your job, because they need to feel like they aren’t an insecure shell of a person important and call the shots.
Sign #3: Admitting They’re Wrong Is An Allergy
A toxic boss is incapable of acknowledging they are a human being who, like the rest of us, makes mistakes. Instead, he or she will gloss over their own errors, despite practically foaming at the mouth when it’s time to point out yours. The rules don’t seem to apply to them and they present themselves as almighty and infallible. In other words, they’re really fun at parties.
Sign #4: They Only Look Out for Number One
Instead of cultivating a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with those who report to them, toxic bosses are only interested in making themselves look good. You only exist as an extension of them, and they treat you like a minion rather than a colleague. They’re only interested in having you validate their existence rather than help you with your career. Hierarchy is very important to this kind of boss and they won’t let you forget it. Some may even go so far as to take credit for your work.
Sign #5: Resistance Is Futile
A good boss can take constructive feedback and internalize it. A toxic boss is incapable of doing this. No matter how articulately you express yourself, any criticism or pushback, however valid, is viewed as an attack and this kind of boss can’t hear it. In fact, when you do try and share a differing view, they may punish you later in an attempt to reassert their power. Reasoning with this type of boss is about as fruitful as reasoning with a toddler. Now, let’s get on to some useful strategies for dealing with these toxic bosses.
Strategy #1: Attempt An Honest Conversation
Admittedly, this might not be possible with certain bosses, especially those who shut down in the face of feedback. But if your boss has a glimmer of humanity, it might be worth trying to suss out the root of the disconnect, if only to bolster your argument later that you tried everything in your power to address the issue professionally and without outside intervention. It may even take several conversations, but if you can get an open dialogue going and your boss is willing to try to improve the relationship, it can pay dividends down the road.
Strategy #2: Mind The Patterns & Play The Game
After enough frustrating interactions, you will likely be able to see patterns in the way your boss likes things done or reacts to certain behaviors. For example, if you’re dealing with a typical narcissist, you can make them feel needed and validated and, therefore, less threatened by you, allowing you more space to do your job. It can be a tough pill to swallow at first, especially if you’re anything like me and hate being superficial with people. But think of it as something you are doing for yourself and your own well-being, rather than for your boss.
Strategy #3. Seek Out A Support Network
Unless you’re dealing with a true psychopath, there’s a good chance you are not the sole target of your boss’ treacherous behavior. Don’t be afraid to confide in coworkers that you trust and rally around your colleagues when things are difficult. The camaraderie reminds you that you are not alone, making you less likely to spiral into a dark place. This can even be an opportunity to bond with coworkers you weren’t as close with before the toxic boss. Nothing unites people more than a common enemy and you may even be able to find some humor in your boss’ fugly haircut the situation as a means of relief.
Strategy #4: Go Outside Of Your Department
If the previous methods aren’t working or are simply impossible, it’s time to look to outside resources for support. In most cases, this will be the company’s HR department. While very few HR departments operate swiftly and effectively, the company should be aware and on notice of what is going on with your boss so it can be dealt with appropriately. It’s also good to have a record in the event you are terminated and believe it was retaliatory. If your company doesn’t have an HR department, confide in a colleague you trust who is at a comparable or higher level than your boss. He or she may have some insight or can serve as an ally later on if needed.
Strategy #5: Start Looking Elsewhere
A toxic boss can wreak havoc on your mental health, and no job is worth paying that price. If the situation is untenable, leaving may be the only option. Of course, most of us are not Kylie Jenner and can’t afford to just up and quit our jobs. Put a plan in place that allows you to work toward leaving as soon as it’s feasible—start looking at other opportunities and networking, set a reasonable deadline, and see what other levers you may be able to pull in the meantime. If the situation is really dire and you have to get out, assess your finances to see if you can rely on savings for a while and/or talk to your parents, partner, or other loved ones to see if some interim financial support is possible while you look for a new job.
If you’re currently saddled with a toxic boss, you’re far from alone. Know your value, never waver from it and don’t allow an insecure and likely deeply unhappy person to make you feel less than capable. At the very least, navigating this situation will teach you some valuable lessons about how to be a leader and show you what you should not do when you are a manager. Because evil comes in many forms, I know I didn’t touch on every toxic trait and coping strategy. Share your horror stories and solutions in the comments!
Images: Shutterstock; Giphy (5); whenshappyhr (3) / Instagram
It’s 2019, and almost everyone you know is on social media, from my mom who just made an Instagram to my boss whose Facebook friend request has been sitting untouched for the past three years. Even whole companies have large social media presences (hi), and many have made a name for themselves by being the opposite of what’s seen as “professional”, i.e. being snarky to consumers, using explicit language, etc. Lookin’ at you, Wendy’s! So it came as a shock when Emily Clow got publicly shamed by a company she applied to work at for committing the crime of… showing some underboob in a months-old swimsuit picture on her personal Instagram. She found out on that company’s actual Instagram Story, where they’d posted a screenshot of her offending bathing suit pic and admonished, “do not share your social media with a potential employer if this is the kind of content on it.” For the full story, and an interview with Clow, read here.
To be clear, Kickass Masterminds was 100% completely in the wrong, not necessarily for disqualifying an applicant based on their social media photos, but for publicly shaming her using the company’s social media platform. It’s pretty much the height of irony for them to use the company Instagram to target one applicant for “being unprofessional.” It’s the pot calling the kettle unprofessional. Still, this whole story got me thinking about the role of social media in job applications and what’s still seen as unprofessional online.
This girl applied for an internship at a company, and they put up this screenshot of her in a bikini on their company Instagram, publicly telling everybody they wouldn’t hire her because of this photo. pic.twitter.com/aRQF7CqfSF
— SheRatesDogs (@SheRatesDogs) October 1, 2019
When I first applied for jobs way back in 2013, I had been hit over the head with the same messaging: don’t post photos of you drinking, doing drugs, or showing cleavage. Put your profile on super-duper private so employers can’t find something that will reflect poorly on you. (That’s actually how I started the Sara F Carter moniker in the first place—I wanted something so dissimilar from my real name that employers would never think to search it. And the rest is history!) It’s not 2013 anymore, though. You can be colloquial on Twitter. You can make a whole career out of posting sexy photos on Instagram. So should we hold the same overcautious standards that we did when social media was in its infancy?
On the one hand, it certainly can’t hurt. Beth Benatti Kennedy, leadership coach, speaker, and author of Career ReCharge: Five Strategies to Boost Resilience and Beat Burnout, still feels it’s better to be safe than sorry. Before posting, she advises there are a few questions to consider: “Does the post or picture represent the brand or reputation you want to have personally and professionally? Why are you posting? Would you be comfortable with a child or teenager viewing it?”
On the other hand, the rules are changing, and not every company expects prospective employees to be totally buttoned-up in their personal life. Lauren Berger, the CEO/Founder of InternQueen.com and CareerQueen.com and author of GET IT TOGETHER, has helped companies hire interns and full-time employees, and she says, “there’s no overarching rule here. Know the company, the company’s culture, and the demands of a specific role.” The best way to do that, she says, is to check out the company’s social media. And, even better, “if you know people who work at the company, chat with them about company culture, dress code, and perspective—and check out their profiles as well.” But if you don’t have a woman on the inside, it’s not a big deal. Berger has a pretty balanced perspective: “If you feel that you should censor your social media a bit, do it. But if there are certain photos that are ‘authentically you’ and display a part of your personality, leave it.”
For the sake of transparency, I’ve had pretty nontraditional jobs, so my opinion on what should or shouldn’t be posted is probably a little more lax than most. I did have one run-in when I applied for a TV internship via Skype interview, and they gently told me afterwards that while they didn’t care, it would be a good idea for me to change my default Skype photo from one where I was smiling and holding up two flasks. Which is pretty chill, considering that, as a 20-year-old, what I was doing was straight-up illegal. If I’d gotten turned down because of that, I would have understood—it was boneheaded and unprofessional (not to mention, against the law). But there’s a big difference between doing something illegal and showing your body on your feed. Without getting too far into the gendered double standards at play, should those things disqualify a candidate equally? Should the latter disqualify you at all?
View this post on Instagram
Becky Bush, who runs the popular website The Typical Twenty Something, which offers career tips and resources, was bewildered by Clow’s story. “Although it’s wild to believe, the reality is that companies are using social media to screen potential employees,” she says. Overall, she urges applicants exercise caution. “Even though you and I think it’s totally acceptable to put party or bikini pictures up on social media, I would be careful when applying to jobs. My main concern during any application process is that I have no idea who is on the other end of the ‘submit’ button.” Such was the case with Clow, who applied to what she thought was a forward-thinking female-run marketing company. Surprise!
But with companies searching out applicants’ social media handles, and sometimes even outright asking for them in the job application (I’ve had this happen numerous times), the line between being forthcoming and shooting yourself in the foot can get blurred. Bush says that there can be situations in which it’s beneficial to share your social handles with a potential employer. “If for some reason Instagram is part of a job or a side hustle you currently have (i.e. you are a blogger, influencer),” she says, “keep it public—you should bring your whole self to work. If the company isn’t into that, they’re not for you!”
Berger echoes, “If the position DOES have to do with social media/marketing, think of your profile as your personal website or an opportunity to show off what creativity you bring to the table and use your own platform to test out different ideas.” But, at the end of the day, “If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your handle, don’t share it. Ideally, you are proud of what you post and put out there to the world (and confident in what you bring to the table—personally and professionally) so in most cases—you’d probably just send it to them.”
That’s because ultimately, you can’t know what an employer is looking or screening for in a social media sweep. According to Berger, there could be a variety of motivations: “they might be looking for a theme or visual story that you’re telling on your own feed. They may assume that if your social is ‘on point,’ you could help them take their platforms to the next level.” Then again, they may be looking to flag “inappropriate photos,” but the problem with that is, “you can’t control other people’s definitions of inappropriate. And sometimes your photos and the executives mindset won’t sync and that’s okay.” (And sometimes, they’ll publicly shame you and you’ll get revenge on them by making them go viral for all the wrong reasons.)
It’s weird how jobs don’t wanna see pictures of you partying on social media. If anything they should be like “wow she blacked out on Sunday and is still at work? Hire her, she’s clearly dedicated”
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) October 4, 2019
Finally, there may not even be a shady reason behind wanting to stalk you on IG. “They also could be genuinely looking at your social to learn more about you, to look at your hobbies and what you enjoy outside of the office. Some executives LOVE seeing personality come through on social.” Finding a candidate who fits in with the company culture can be just as important as finding someone who is qualified.
The difficulty with searching applicants’ social media profiles to glean clues about how they will behave professionally probably seems obvious to millennials. As Bush puts it, “so much of social media is not someone’s ‘whole self’ and really doesn’t give an accurate depiction.” While Bush emphasizes, “I personally don’t think anyone should ever judge you for your socials (or anything you do in your spare time really, that doesn’t affect your work),” that’s just not the world we live in. From an employer’s perspective, they want to get to know a candidate as much as possible for extending an offer. So while employers are probably not going to stop creeping on applicants sometime in the future, you can choose to limit your audience. Or you can just say f*ck it and live your life. Berger says, “Some companies are very conservative, not only regarding social media, but in the office as well. Perhaps, if you are outspoken—visually and otherwise—on social media, that’s not the right company for you to work.” At the end of the day, it shouldn’t be a one-way street: you should be evaluating the company just as they are evaluating you. Who knows, you could, as in Clow’s case, dodge a huge bullet.
Images: sheratesdogs, betchesluvthis / Twitter; whenshappyhr / Instagram