Working From Home

We have decided to tackle one of the business world’s greatest debates: Working from home- Awesome or Awful?? Personally, some of the hardest working people we know do business from the comfort of their own home – ourselves occasionally included. But is it beneficial to the company or just one huge distraction?

For those who spend 8-10 hours a day under fluorescent lights in a tiny cubicle, we understand your bitterness. But we want to settle a few rumors. Thanks to programs like Skype and WebEx, meetings can be held virtually, so onesie pajamas don’t exactly fit that dress code. And while music can be played at maximum volume, screencasting makes it impossible to surf YouTube or BuzzFeed all day long.

But there are some true benefits, especially for those who spend an extra 2 hours a day sitting in the parking lot that is I-95. The ability to go for a run or hit the grocery store mid-day is wonderful, as is full access to the kitchen. Those who are given an hour lunch break in the office tend to take the full 59 minutes and 59 seconds. When working from home, it is more common to grab something from the pantry and snack while working. We are finding that those working from home are more productive and also lead healthier lives because of that extra time not spent commuting or waiting in line at the fast food joint next door to the office. So if you have the option to work from home, we suggest it but not without a little guidance:

-Be knowledgeable of social media and networking tools.

Because you no longer have cubicle neighbors, you need to make time to stay connected with coworkers and clients. Start conversations, spark each other’s creativity, and keep people motivated. It is a good outlet for you to prevent from going stir-crazy.

-Set a where and when.

While you do have the entire house/café as your office, that doesn’t mean you should stretch out your work all day to the point that you are fitting in meetings after dinner and between soccer games. Set a time frame and work during those hours so you have time to run errands and be with family. This means when your allotted work hours are over, be able to shut down, step away from emails and focus on life outside of work.

-Get out of the house!

Instead of creating an office space on the couch and trying to work while watching Real Housewives (we know which will get more attention), sit at the kitchen table, or better yet get out of the house a few days a week! Research shows that light background chatter increases productivity, so head to your favorite café and set up camp. Another brand new idea- Work Bar. We have seen a few popping up in Boston and find them to be GENIUS. Pay a monthly fee and get access to a kitchen, office supplies, a full bar and other entrepreneurs looking to strike conversations.

-Don’t become invisible

One of the greatest fears of becoming a virtual worker is that you become invisible to the company and to your superiors. That doesn’t have to be the case. Chime in, speak up and don’t be afraid to show your face at meetings or company events. Be the extrovert we know you can be!

-R. Mersiowsky

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In 1492…

Thanks to Columbus sailing the ocean blue, we have one last warm (-ish) long weekend ahead of us. What do you have planned? Well, if you find some down time in between running the kids to their various sports, cooking up a storm, and bringing down the winter clothes from the attic, we have a few ideas in mind.

Job hunting is certainly exhausting and can be frustrating, especially when you find that employers never get back to you to say that they simply aren’t interested. So, take a step back and let’s look at things from their angle, maybe there is a reason you aren’t hearing back? In this day and age, over 89% of job seekers use social media AND about 65% of employers use social media to gauge their prospective employees.

Keeping that in mind, we suggest spending a few hours this weekend screening your social media pages as an employer might. Are your pictures appropriate? Are you constantly posting whiny tweets with multiple curse words and typos? Are you making an effort to network and start engaging conversations? These are all things that can sway an employer one way or the other. Social media pages can show your personality that otherwise wouldn’t be shown to employers from your resume or cover letter.

• Facebook: Make sure all of your pictures are appropriate. If you are confused, think “would Grandma like this?” before posting. We also strongly encourage the highest level of privacy. You don’t really need likes from strangers, do you? Another note- if you tell your boss you have come down with the flu, but then update a status about how CRAZY Vegas is…. What does that say about you?

• Twitter: If you choose to go with a public account, then you have lost your right to use Twitter as a diary. ANYONE can see it, including the boss you mentioned as an incompetent idiot in that last tweet. Use twitter as a source, a place to keep up with your favorite celebrities, news hubs and hot, new companies.

• Instagram: Yes, the filters can make a landscape gorgeous or make you look slightly less pale. But they do not make a party photo any more appropriate or the constant PDA pics with your boyfriend any cuter.

• LinkedIn: This is the ultimate job networking site and the LAST place to gossip with friends. Keep your photo and job title current. Almost everyone has a LinkedIn account, so if you post your job description, make sure it is insanely accurate. You can’t get away with saying you “played an integral role project managing with 3 supervisors” if you actually were taking Starbucks orders.

While you’re cleaning out your social media, keep in mind that staffing firms like Black Oak Staffing often post the positions they are looking to fill. Or they post clever, adorable and super helpful blog posts (wink, wink). Use social media to your advantage and not just as an outlet to brag about the latest party or post the 879th picture of your pet (although my pet is really, really cute!!!!).

Have a wonderful long weekend, make time for family and enjoy the weather!!

-R.Mersiowsky

Columbus

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FALLing into a new season

Ah, October. For some of us, this means breaking out the boots, scarves and sweaters, standing in long lines for pumpkin spiced ANYTHING and penciling in time for apple picking and pumpkin patches. But for others, like employers, it means that the dust is finally settling on summer hires. While the autumn season seems discouraging, with the kids going back to school and everyone getting back into their routine, it actually is the beginning of a wonderful transition time.

As companies finish training their new employees, they assess how satisfied they are and if they have room to add more. Current employees assess their own personal satisfaction and debate if they want to try something new. In both situations, new openings are created in companies, making room for YOU.

Speaking of making room in companies, we just wanted to give you an update from our last blog post. Marina Shifrin had created a viral video quitting her job with Next Idea Animation, earning her interviews on the Today Show with Matt Lauer and on The Queen Latifah Show. Her creativity, boldness and ability to stand out caught the Queen’s attention. She CREATED a position for Marina, offering her a digital content producer job right there on the spot.  In other news, Next Idea Animation shot back with their own video to announce that they are, in fact, not heinous to work for and are actually hiring. Both are perfect examples of great timing and finding creative ways to stand out.

When Mother Nature greets us with a new season, we always find that people tend to be friendlier and more excitable as we wake up to dew on the grass and a crisp breeze. Talk to your neighbor while raking the leaves, strike up a conversation at the pumpkin patch or in line for your PSL at Starbucks. You never know who might know of a position or an awesome staffing firm like Black Oak Staffing who can help you find that dream job.

-R.Mersiowsky

October

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Throwing in the Towel

Viral Videos: great distractions from work, ice breakers to an awkward conversation and now… a potential way to quit your job? The viral video of the month highlights Marina Shifrin, an unhappy writer for Next Media Animation, a company who strives to generate views on videos. 9.4 million views later, her video, showcasing her dance moves and creative take on the “I QUIT” conversation, is their biggest hit yet. Her work environment was not a pleasant one, as she was given few lunch breaks and had varying schedules and responsibilities.

Now, we have to give her credit. Not only did she stand up for herself, but the video is incredibly creative and generated so much more attention than she could ever have thought. But was the attention good or bad? And, if you are THAT unhappy at your job, do you take it this far? Quitting a job, in a foreign country, without a fallback, is an insanely risky move. Had we had the opportunity to speak to Marina prior to the video’s debut, or any other unhappy employee who is thinking of quitting, what advice would we give you?

First of all, a full time job is obviously consuming and we tend to get wrapped up in our own little worlds. So we first recommend taking a step back and really thinking about your unhappiness. As a MAJOR fan of lists, we like to write out my emotions into neatly organized, bulleted columns, maybe even color coded. What else is going on outside of work? Think of your living situation, your social life, relationships. Make sure none of that is contributing to your unhappiness.

No? Okay, next step, next list. What do you dislike about your job? If you could change things to benefit your happiness, what would they be? Take a look at what you’ve written down and see if any of these are viable options. Talk to your boss or HR confidentially, as one of their main responsibilities is to make sure employees are happy and address any questions or concerns you may have. Be reasonable, be calm.

Still can’t come up with enough bullet points on the “why to stay at my job” list? It happens. But before drafting that resignation letter, we suggest getting a headstart on job hunting. It’s tough out there, and the perfect job doesn’t always just land in your lap. It could take months to find a good fit for you. Keep in mind that by quitting, you are forfeiting and THEY win.

Let’s make things relative. Think of quitting in terms of filing for divorce. Once you are separated, you have to learn to be on your own again, which is not always easy. You don’t fall in love again right away. It takes time. You have to think about what your “ex” will say about you (i.e. in future reference checks), so make things as amicable, honest and pain-free as possible.

Best advice, post breakup? Try a staffing firm….like maybe Black Oak Staffing. We’ve been there, we get it. And we would love to help you fall in love with the perfect job and have you happy to wake up and go to work every morning!

-R.Mersiowsky

 

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VOTE: Here’s why.

The Preliminary Election Day is Today, Tuesday, September 24th The polls are open from 7:00 AM until 8:00 PM. If you are in line before 8:00 PM, you will be able to cast your ballot.

Where do I vote?

Find your polling location at the City of Boston’s Election Department website, at www.cityofboston.gov/elections/voter/.

What if I need a ride to the polls?

If you need a ride to your polling location, John Barros’ campaign team is providing the service.

Stars & Stripes forever…"Born In The U.S.A" ~ Bruce Springsteen

Why it’s important to vote?

Voters in Boston are taking a major step toward ushering in a new political era for the city.  Twelve candidates are running in today’s preliminary election for mayor. The top two will move on to the Nov. 5 election and compete to succeed Mayor Menino, who is retiring after more than 20 years in office. One third of the city’s 365 ,000  registered voters are expected to cast ballots. Boston mayors do not face term limits and are rarely defeated in re-election campaigns.

The more obvious reason to vote? It’s your civic duty as an American! Many fought and still fight for your right to vote today, so show your respect and get out there!

 

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How Do You Like Them Apples?

As Fall rolls around and the sweaters come out of storage,  apple picking just seems like the right thing to do. Do you have a strategy or just go whenever it’s convenient? Do you wait for those Pink Ladies or just jump in the car and drive?

There’s pink lady, red delicious, golden, gala, jazz, granny smith and many others. All in different sizes, colors and flavors. So how do apples tie back into the job search and your life?

As you start applying to jobs you must understand that while you look at particular jobs, the employer sees those applying, bear with me, like apples. They might want granny smith and you might have those granny smith credentials but it also has to be the perfect fit.

If you have a great interview or phone screening and you don’t end up getting the job, don’t sweat it. Consider getting that far in the process as one step closer to actually getting the job you want. Moral of the story: Be Patient. The search is stressful but as long as you stay diligent, the right one is just waiting to pick you.

How do you like them apples?

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September- Beat the Rush

All of a sudden we’re halfway through September. What!?!

Buses are back on the streets, we’re putting beach gear back in the shed, and taking screens doors down while in the back of our minds we’re planning for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, all of which are not that far. What can you do to reduce your stress for the holidays?

We suggest start shopping early. The Owner of B.O.S.S. has made her life easier by planning ahead and purchasing birthday gifts for boys & girls, knowing birthday party invitations will soon be arriving in backpacks.

B.O.S.S. has planned ahead by purchasing gift cards for all those “holiday thank you’s”  approaching.

We suggest taking these measures when you’re looking for a job also. Have your resume ON-DECK! Have a cover letter template ready to go! Network now. Feel like things at work are changing for the worse? Ask for that reference letter now or LinkedIn recommendation before you lose your job.

While we acknowledge that it’s pretty near impossible to be perfectly organized, none of us should wait until Christmas Eve to go shopping,  buy a kid birthday gift 1 hour before the party or scramble to write a great cover letter. This causes unnecessary stress! Be prepared!


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Back to School- How to get back in the Job Search

As we gear up for back to school and swarm the aisles of Target for mechanical pencils, animal print folders and that awesome Ironman backpack, this is a fresh start. Students are all excited to walk in on the first day and make a lasting impression. So what changes? Back to School means back to interviewing. Is your suit ready? Resume Refreshed? Go get your No. 2 pencils sharpened and get to work.

0b72a0f3a8d778a903fefd19618348c0 Here’s a list of what B.O.S.S. believes you should focus on as you send yourself back into the game:

1.  The interview outfit: If you are worried what Business casual means, ask. Email whoever contacted you and find out. If you are still lost, always dress to impress.

2. Start with your Resume. Update it. Send it to 3 people. We recommend sending it to people who are successful in the career you are trying to pursue. If this isn’t possible, contact an HR firm and they can help you reevaluate your resume.

3. Take your Resume updates and apply them to your LinkedIn. If the company reviewing your resume is interested, going to your LinkedIn profile is their next step. Make sure they match up.

4. Nowadays, formal cover letters don’t cut it. Set yourself apart, and tell them why they should hire you. Employers can read your resume, so they don’t need you to include all of that in the cover letter. Give them details on your life that are not listed already.

5. Make sure your social media pages represents you well. They are easily accessible, don’t give them a reason to doubt that you are the perfect candidate.

Thanks for readying, go out there and make that great impression your first day back!

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Labor Day- How it came about; what it means to you today

For many, Labor Day is the end of summer and an extra day off from work.  Millions of people will celebrate with family and friends  by firing up the grill and turning up the summer jams.

But what does having Labor Day off really mean?

Labor Day was created by the Labor Movement in the late 1800s, during one of American labor history’s most dismal chapters. It was the height of the Industrial Revolution, when the average American worked 12-hour days, seven days a week in order to survive. Workers often faced unsafe working conditions, insufficient access to fresh air and no sanitary facilities or breaks. Children as young as 5 earned inadequate wages working in mills, factories and mines across the country.

As manufacturing took over as the dominant source of employment, labor unions grew more prominent.  Officials began to protest poor working conditions, long hours and low pay and overtime, tension mounted and protests turned violent, often leading to riots or ending in massacres.

On Sept. 5, 1882, the Central Labor Union organized 10,000 workers who marched from City Hall to Union Square in New York City. The first Labor Day Parade in U.S. history was intended to exhibit “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community. The parade was followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families.

It wasn’t until June 28, 1894, that President Grover Cleveland signed a law designating the first Monday in September as the national Labor Day holiday.

Labor Day is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

Instead of worry about if white jeans are OK to wear now ask yourself, What can YOU do today to help our American Workers? Reach out and ask how can you help your unemployed neighbor?

Refer B.O.S.S. to help your friend edit their resume? Attend a networking event with a friend? The options are endless, just show support.

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Happy Labor Day!

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Interview PumpUp Playlist

Interview Playlist

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