Ask Marie 2020-07-21T11:16:34-04:00

Ask Marie

Guiding People Like You

Dear Marie,
I hate my job. I have been there for 4 ½ years and I just can’t stand my supervisor any longer, and I am starting to get disgusted with the company culture. HR is useless and I do not see any way to change this environment. I have started applying for other jobs, but it is difficult to get my resume noticed because I haven’t gotten any calls. How can I get my resume noticed? I need to get out of this company as soon as possible.
– Natalia

Dear Natalia,

Your deep disdain for your current situation rings loud in just this short letter. I can guarantee that your supervisor and colleagues are fully aware of your perspective as well. That is not a positive situation for you, even if it is your desire to leave. You do not want to leave with the stigma of cynicism and pessimism as your legacy. I recommend you find a way to communicate constructively while you are still there. You most likely will need a referral and besides, it is not a good idea to burn bridges. Now on to answer your question on how to get your resume noticed. First, start with ensuring your resume is meticulous. I mean, every word has been spell-checked, your formatting is spot on, your punctuation, grammar, and word-tense is consistent. As an example, I reviewed a resume the other day and the candidate stated he was currently employed at his most recent position but used past tense to describe his duties. These little things matter a great deal! Second, do a resume search for other candidates seeking a similar position. What you find will give you a great glimpse of your competition. Are they framing similar job responsibilities and experiences differently than you? For example, you may be processing payroll for 400 employees, but it can be framed more impressively by saying, “audit and administer payroll for 400 employees and actively implement improvements in the transfer of data and information.” Keep looking at resumes until you find someone whose skills and accomplishments you admire. That exercise will also highlight any additional training, certifications, and experience you should strive to add to your own resume.

Stay positive!
Marie

Dear Marie,
I have been leading a very busy finance department for several years and approximately 2 months ago I hired a senior person to join my team. I envisioned the role to be a mentor to the others and also have constructive interactions with our clients. The person I hired is very bright but has some unfavorable personality traits that make it difficult for others in the department to work with him. I am concerned with these “red flags” and the possible limitations his personality may create. I don’t want to make a hasty decision, especially since some help is better than no help. What should I do?
– Robert T.

Dear Robert,

HR and hiring managers would do so much better if we could find a way to spend more time with the candidates we are contemplating before we make the hire. Often that is difficult to do, but it is possible. In the future consider having lunch with your top candidate before you commit to a decision. You can learn a bit more about people in a social setting. That being said, it will not help you now. Candid honesty with your new leader is essential. You must sit with him and have a direct and objective conversation about what you are observing. Bring HR into the conversation. They also may be able to provide you resources. There are several personality assessment tools available to help identify strengths and weaknesses related to communication style, interacting with others, team effectiveness and other important leadership characteristics. However, influencing one’s personality is not an easy task, so they should simultaneously start up a new search for his replacement. Lastly, assuming your organization has one, I would also move up the 90-day evaluation to do it as soon as possible. If you don’t, I can provide one.) This evaluation must have specific steps and rules of engagement. Your new leader needs to know that he continued employment is in question and you need his full cooperation and honest self-evaluation to reach the potential you envisioned for his role.

Best,
Marie

Dear Marie,
I was let go from my last job because I had trouble meeting my deadlines. I felt that it was unfair because I was the hardest working person in my department and had an unreasonable workload. I have been searching for a new job for almost 6 months now and I am starting to feel hopeless. I think part of the problem may be because I do not want to list my last supervisor as a reference, and I have to explain the reason for leaving my last job. What can I do to help improve my chances of getting a new job?
– Samantha D.

Dear Samantha,

It may make you feel better knowing that your dilemma is not uncommon. Many people end employment involuntarily. How they recover is what influences their future success. To begin, I recommend that you reach out to your previous supervisor to discuss how they would handle a call regarding a reference check. When a reference check occurs, many employers do not note any negative or derogatory comments to avoid the risk of litigation. They most often will indicate that the termination was involuntary and denote if the former employee is eligible for rehire. My hunch is that your previous supervisor would not be seeking to ruin your chances for future employment. He may also be willing to share some of your positive work traits, even if he may be inclined to state your relationship has ended due to a performance issue. I strongly suggest that you respectfully reach out to him and initiate this conversation. Once that conversation occurs, you will feel much better about how you present yourself to prospective employers. On a parallel path, I recommend you take an inventory of your skills and experience as well as assess your work habits. When you do this with honest self-reflection, you will have a list of those attributes that employers will value and a list of the areas you need support to improve. When I interview candidates, I always ask them to share the areas they need to develop. An answer that demonstrates honest self-awareness is much more impressive than a candidate solely touting their accomplishments. Approach your interviews with the inner confidence to clearly articulate your value, the lessons you learned, and the strengths you seek to build. ProTilly has a tool called Insights Discovery that can help you with this process. When you are ready, I can share what this report includes and how it can become your roadmap for growth.

Best of luck in your search,
Marie

Dear Marie,
I have been with my current company for 7 years, and in my current job for the past 2 years. I love the people I work with and most of the work I do. When the company promoted me to supervisor 2 years ago, I was extremely happy at work. My manager had been very engaging with me and I felt like my work was challenging and rewarding, and most of all – I felt appreciated. Now I am not being challenged, my manager hardly interacts with me, and when I do solve a problem or present a creative idea I feel very unappreciated. I don’t want to quit, but I am tired of feeling uninspired and overlooked. What should I do?
Stephanie S.

Dear Stephanie,

What you are experiencing is a common problem. When someone is promoted from within and starts off strong, many managers feel they don’t need to give that employee as much of their attention as other employees and responsibilities they must tend to. It is the Pareto principle, 80% of the effects (i.e. a leader’s time) goes to 20% of the causes (i.e. their problem employees). You are not in that 20%. You present your dilemma as though you only have two solutions – quit and leave the colleagues you have grown close to, or stay and be miserable. You have a third choice – act empowered. Simply put, if you want to be challenged again and you desire to stretch your role and grow, you need to create a plan. Find time to sit with your manager to learn how you can help her. I bet she would gladly want to get some tasks off her plate. Discuss your plan for growth and the skills you seek to learn. Ask your manager for her commitment to meet with you weekly to discuss your contributions and gradually take on more responsibility.

Stephanie, remember, if you need help, I offer a 30-minute free consultation to get you started. Good luck!

– Marie

Dear Marie,
I have been working for my company for 3 ½ years and was transferred to the marketing department 3 months ago. My ability to strategically problem solve, while making quick decisions, as well as my commitment to the company were recognized, resulting in my dream opportunity as a marketing manager. I am having trouble connecting with my new direct report as well as one of my department colleagues. I am frustrated, since I did not have problems establishing rapport or communicating with the co-workers in my other department. At the risk of sounding paranoid, I almost feel like they are conspiring to see me fail. As an example, during our department meeting last week I asked for input on a new idea. As customary, both individuals had little to contribute. Yet, I saw them together discussing their ideas in private the following day. How do you suggest I handle this?
– Peter D.

Dear Peter,

Congratulations on your promotion. It is certainly a reflection of your strong business skills. Many times, a promotion may also reflect strong interpersonal skills as well. While I cannot assess the effectiveness of your interpersonal skills with limited information, I can assert that unlike business skills, effective interpersonal style must be mutable and adjusted to adapt to those whom you are trying to establish a connection. Your ability to make quick decisions suggests that you are comfortable leading with extroversion. There is no judgment here, rather I am pointing out that others may lead with a different style. From the sound of it, your new colleagues may need time to process your ideas. Perhaps their silence in meetings is not a sign of their lack of support, but rather an inclination to reflect on and analyze before stating an opinion. I recommend you prepare a meeting agenda and, if possible, distribute it the day before the meeting. Additionally, take a week to just observe their styles as they interact with others. Attempt to adapt your style to match theirs. For example, if they have longer and more detailed emails, while yours are short and to the point, they work best with having more details. Give them the information, space and time and I bet you see a difference.

Good luck. Remember, I offer a complimentary 30-minute consultation to all new clients, and those who write in get a full hour. I am looking forward to hearing from you!

Best,
Marie

Dear Marie,
I feel like I have hit a plateau in my life. I know I am very blessed. I am in a great marriage. I have been with my current company for 7 years, and I am in great health. I worked hard to get where I am in life. However, the past six months I have been feeling stagnant, and even more so the past three months during this quarantine. I don’t have the drive I once had, and I am finding it difficult to get the motivation for self-care. I have been working from home these past few months and actually have the time since I am not commuting, but I can’t seem to make it a priority. I can start to see small changes in my body, and I am concerned that I may start to lose the benefits of what I gained during my previously structured and disciplined ways.
– Sue .S

Dear Sue,

What you are experiencing is a common problem. A sudden shift in our previously regimented life can be a well-deserved break at first, but then we struggle with holding ourselves accountable to take action on the tasks that we don’t have to do but know we should. I recommend that you start by ensuring you have a structure in your work routine. Set parameters on your work hours and avoid answering noncritical emails outside those time frames. Strive to go to bed a little earlier, even if you don’t seem tired. Adequate rest is vital to your mental and physical health.

As the body becomes accustomed to a more docile lifestyle, you start to perpetuate that submissiveness. Your fascia becomes tighter (creating fascial adhesions). The fluids in your body do not move as freely, and it has an overall impact on your neuroreceptors (specifically your proprioceptors and interoceptors) which can make you feel out of touch with your emotions and also inhibit your effectiveness when your react to your outer and inner experiences. Start to ease back into a routine of dedicated movement. Commit the first 30 minutes (at minimum) of your morning to your physical self. You do not necessarily have to go out and run 3 miles, just simple stretching and deep breathing is a great way to start your day. Releasing fascial adhesions is like clearing out the cobwebs between the muscles, allowing them to slide and glide more efficiently, increasing hydration and eliminating toxins. Fascia health has a direct impact on our emotional state. One of the many reasons why yoga is so effective is because it gently stretches your fascia.

I also recommend that you spend time each day addressing your emotional wellness. End your day with reflection. How would you relive today if you had a chance? What do you want to accomplish tomorrow? What are you grateful for? It is helpful to keep a journal. When we write these thoughts, we externalize them and increase the likelihood that we will manifest the desired outcome. As you reflect, pay attention to your breath. Full, slow, deep breaths trigger our nervous system into parasympathetic state, the “rest & digest” function of our central nervous system – as opposed to the “fight & flight” sympathetic function.

You have created a great life and cannot only sustain it but also achieve new goals. Reflect on the choices and habits that supported your past achievements. Start to employ at least one of those prior habits to reignite your motivation to set and work toward new milestones.

Best,
Marie