Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Song of the day

One of the overrated joys of adulthood

Are nervous habits derailing your job interview?
Conscious or unconscious, repeated behaviour like batting your eyes, twisting your ring or touching your hair, may influence the recruiter on the other side of the table more than you think. As Isabel Schuermann, an image consultant and etiquette trainer based near Frankfurt, says, “Your body cannot not communicate.”
I tend to go into job interviews - the face-to-face ones, especially - with an interested but relaxed and neutral attitude. I talk myself down from the ledge (which isn't that hard to do anymore) and go in with the belief that nothing will come of it, so why make it a big deal? I consider it practice, more than anything.

And if I happen to get a job offer out of it, then so much the better.

I'm very conscious of how others see me, so I'll be relaxed but not really move much at all once I'm seated. I also make a point of looking people in the eye and having a firm handshake, too. I might even crack a wry joke, if the interviewer is more casual and less formal.

A lot of that comes from being able to read people like books, and most of that is due to body language. People give away their emotional state in a hundred different ways without having to say a single word. So in recognizing that in others, I'm able to recognize that in myself as well.

Watching athletes being interviewed is a similar sort of deal, although many have been coached in how to do that in a socially accepted way as according to their sport's culture. Football players are more emotional than most, baseball players are the most goofy, and hockey players are the most reserved. I can keep on going down the line, but you get the idea.

The funny part about this is that most people, generally speaking, aren't good with reading body language. They think they are, but they're usually not. So a hiring manager can think someone is great in any interview, but in reality, they're the worst fit for their group of people.

The Plans Division where I work is like that. They've hired a few people in the past year that have had me scratching my head. People that are downright annoying, in fact, and that no one likes at all. They are not good coworkers, and they do not help foster a team environment, but are instead really demanding and arrogant. It really makes me wonder how they even got hired in the first place, actually.

Granted, and interview only gives you a glimpse of a person who is on their best behavior, but still. If they had any insight into human nature, they might've had a better clue. But instead, they hired them because...? Yeah, I don't know. I can't figure it out, either, unless they were totally desperate to fill the position and took whatever they could get at the time. Which is always possible, I suppose.

My job searching issues usually come down to experience rather than interview skills. Although, I have been known to botch an interview every now and then. And I usually recognize that almost immediately after it's over, and then sort of shrug and move on. Can't fix it after the fact; all you can hope for is that you still did better than the next person.

You do the best that you can with what you have to work with at the time, though. That's just life. Live and learn, right?

Phone interviews are a lot easier, since all you have to do is keep your voice steady and no one knows anything different. They're much easier to fake interest in, frankly. Most of the time, I'm pretty bored with interviews - they all ask the same questions that have no "right" answers that we all know and hate.

The two best are, of course, "why do you want to work here" and "where do you see yourself in five years". I swear that they ask those questions just to see how well you lie. Especially since no one has great answers for those questions like ever.

One, unless it's some premier place to work within your field, people just want to work somewhere to make money to live. At best, it's hopefully a place you'll be happy at, but that's about it. I mean, really, what kind of question is that?

And then, unless you're a serious Type A personality who has your life all mapped out - and if you are, I feel very sorry for you - no one has any clue about where they want to be in five years. Still working, hopefully, and getting raises along the way, if they're lucky. But after that...?

I'm really hoping that if I am able to get a doctoral degree, that I can transition that right into a job at the university or university system I'm graduating from so I won't have to look for a job. Because job hunting seriously sucks. Which is one of the reasons why I chose Buffalo - maybe I can work at a state university there in New York State somewhere, since there are quite a number of them.

Quote of the day

"Try to be a rainbow in someone's cloud." -Maya Angelou

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Song of the day

Start now, and it'll be better sooner rather than later

Anxiety Symptoms: 5 Signs You Have an Anxiety Disorder
From job search stress to first date jitters, anxiety is a normal part of life. But when does anxiety become less of an occasional feeling, and more of a cause for concern? If anxiety is a constant in your life, and is negatively impacting your mental health and well-being, it’s time you had a chat with your doctor.
There is more than one type of anxiety disorder, which is why they say "a" disorder and not "the" disorder. Some might have it in more ways than one, in fact. And other mental health disorders tend to come in groups, so things like OCD tend to affect people with anxiety as well.

Here's the thing. You'd go see a doctor if you're stomach was acting up and preventing you from living life normally, right? So why don't people go to doctors when they know their brain is acting up and preventing them from living life normally?

It makes no sense to me. Wouldn't they rather have the peace of mind of knowing what's wrong with them as well as having a way to deal with it? Why keep struggling with something all on your own that you obviously need help with?

I get the independent thing. I really do. It's your problem, so you want to fix it yourself. Don't see any reason to bring anyone else into it, since it's not their problem. You know yourself better than anyone else does, so no one would really understand it, anyways. So on and so forth. Yes, I know that all too well - it's how I tend to be myself.

However, there comes a time when you have to realize that it's too big for you to handle on your own. And there also comes a time when not even friends or family know enough to be helpful. And that's when you have to realize that you need to go seek professional help, because you're just not getting any better and no one else can fix it for you.

My friend Aparna did that. She's been battling with depression for a while now due to work stress, and she started seeing a therapist. Finally. It took her a couple of years, but she realized that she needed a doctor to help her. And she feels a lot better for it, too. They eventually decided that she needed to start taking antidepressants to help, and that's been even better for her.

She still goes to her therapist, even while taking medication. Since, you know, you're supposed to. Drugs don't solve anything; they just mask or suppress the symptoms so that you're able to function better - they don't actually solve the underlying issue, which is why you need to keep seeing a therapist. Thankfully, the first prescription she was given helped her, so they didn't have to try a few different ones to find one that did.

As a peer counselor, I was trained to know when the time came for someone to go see a professional for help. Some mental health problems are transient; it's a situational issue that happens for a relatively short period of time with limited impact and then goes away on its own. Others are just how people are born, and they never entirely go away on their own - but they can be reduced with professional help.

The difference is entirely the person's health history, the cause, and how the issue affects the individual.

For example.... If you lose your job, and you fall into a depression but you're able to still function fairly close to normal - apply for other jobs, do interviews, and whatnot - and don't have a history of depression, then you probably don't need a therapist. You just need someone to talk to and you need to find yourself a new job. A therapist would help, but it may not be necessary if a job is found in a relatively short period of time.

However, if you have a history of depression, and you lose your job and just can't take an interest in the world around you at all - including be bothered to apply for new jobs - then you may need a therapist.

I think most psychologists draw the line at if it impacts your every day life. If your mental health issues prevent you from living a normal life, then you should go see a therapist about them. It's a pretty basic way to figure it out, really.

And if you're scared of what other people will think, then don't tell them. It's not anyone's business what you do - especially if it's coworkers and it's outside of work hours. The therapist isn't allowed to discuss it, and so unless you do, no one should have to know.

I realize that that's a sad statement to make, since mental health should be stigmatized and keeping it quiet isn't productive in that respect, but we all know that it still is to some extent. In most cases, people close to you already know that there's a problem, and they'll be happy for you if they find out you're dealing with it in a productive manner. But, again, it's no one's business unless you make it their business.

And even if it's a bundle of stuff - general anxiety, social anxiety, OCD, depression, panic disorder, and whatever else - there's nothing wrong with that. Find a psychiatrist who specializes in anxiety or maybe PTSD, and then go from there. That's one of those things that gets bundled together with the rest of that list; it's fairly common, in fact. Rarely does a person have just one mental health issue, after all.

And if anyone gives you crap over it, it's because they're scared - scared they might have something themselves, scared that they might catch it (the ignorance of people knows no bounds), scared a family member might have something, and so on - not because they think there's something genuinely wrong with you. Often the reasons people lash out meanly are due to fear, pain, and anger. But it's their fear, pain, and anger, so that's all on them and not on you.

Which doesn't help if you fear being judged, but it's true, all the same.

One last thing to keep in mind. If you do have anxiety or one of its related issues, then going to a therapist for it might help with the sleeping - and that would help with the state of your overall health. Which, in and of itself, would be totally make it worth going to see someone, in my opinion.