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Profitable Passions – Part 2

Career Renegade book cover

Today, we continue our conversation with Jonathan Fields, author of the great new book Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love.

Last time, Jonathan discussed why it’s so important, especially in tough times like these, to understand how to operate online because it’s an inexpensive way to swap work for money. Let’s get back to the conversation …

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You Will Enjoy Your Vacation if You Know This

Are you a morning person or a night owl?

You probably have a good grasp of your daily pattern. The bigger challenge is understanding your patterns for refreshing yourself, for getting away and recharging.

With vacation season upon us, we thought it would talk about these patterns. Obviously, your ability to fully control how you take time off depends upon your flexibility at work. 


George said that his dad was always looking for a job with two paid vacations a year … six months each!

3 questions to make time off more rewarding

#1 – Do you need a long break or a series of shorter ones?
Some people are so stressed by the time they take a break that a short one just won’t do. They never get past the stress so they can relax and enjoy their time off. If that describes you, then take a long vacation!

Others get more stressed if they’re away from their normal routine too long. They start worrying about getting further and further behind so they don’t relax. If you’re one of these people, take a series of long weekends.

#2 – Do you need a day or two to get back in the swing of things after a break?
Do you need a vacation to recover from your vacation? If so, plan your vacation so you get an extra day or two to “unwind from unwinding”. If that’s not possible, try to schedule your daily routine a little lighter for your first day or two back in “the real world”.

Others get back from vacation, whether long or short, and are immediately ready to jump into daily life again. If that describes you, you can max out your days at your destination.

#3 – Are there certain times of the year when you really need some time off?
Some of us have extremely busy seasons. A break immediately after the season is often the best medicine! You’ll be able to keep pushing, knowing that some needed time off is on the horizon.

Another example is people who live in areas where the winter months are cold, long and dreary. Time away in the sun is just the prescription to cure their winter blues.

“Vacation is what you take when you can’t
take what you’ve been taking any longer”
Author unknown

Our top 5 signs that you need to take a vacation

#5 – The last time your phone rang at your desk, you picked up your stapler and started talking.

#4 – You’re secretly hoping to get sick so you can take a day off.

#3 – You’ve been at the airport so much, security is greeting you by your first name.

#2 – You had to call your spouse and ask for directions home.

#1 – When you look in the mirror, you realize that you actually look like your passport photo.

 

  

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I May Have to Fire an Employee. Any Suggestions?

Bigg Challenge
Rick has been a manager now for about six months. He has an employee who is under-performing. Rick thinks he may need to fire this employee, but he’s never done that before. He says he would welcome any suggestions we can provide.

Bigg Advice
Do you remember the Cheers episode where Norm Peterson became the executive’s executioner – his job was to fire people. So he took them out for drinks and, by the time it was done, the employee who was being fired felt sorry for Norm. Because as Norm once said,

“It’s a dog eat dog world and I’m wearing Milk Bone underwear.”

So there’s one option, but not one that we necessarily recommend for the real world!

Company procedures
Look to your company’s policy manual for guidance on how to proceed.  Also, discuss this with your boss so you fully understand company protocol and precedents.

No surprises

Except for the most egregious situations, you’ve done something wrong if it’s a surprise. To make sure they’re not surprised, you should follow a process. For example, issue a series of warnings with repercussions for not correcting the performance deficiencies

Round and round we go

Sit down with your employee and explain the problem. Discuss what needs to be done to correct it, tell him or her when you’ll review performance again, and outline the consequences if it’s not corrected (e.g. a 3-day suspension without pay).

At the scheduled time, repeat this process. This time the ramifications have to be greater. (e.g. termination of employment). So if you reach this review and the situation hasn’t improved significantly, the result should be obvious to your employee.

You’re giving them a chance to improve their performance and also covering your liability because you’ll document this entire process and have them sign off each step of the way.

An example

George said that in his early days in business, he was managing his field staff. They worked without direct supervision because they performed work at the customer’s home or office. George had hired a young man who just couldn’t work without ongoing oversight.

George went through the rounds outlined above with little improvement. Finally, he let the employee go. He recommended that this young man get a job in a place where someone could watch over him.

He encouraged the young man come back and reapply for employment once he got used to working in a supervised environment. That never happened because the young man found that he liked working with supervision better.

Firing someone doesn’t have to be negative. Offer any help you can provide. Make suggestions. And realize that sometimes it’s just not a good fit – it doesn’t mean they’re a bad person, or that they couldn’t be helpful to any employer. It just means it’s not working out for both of you here.

Thanks, Rick, for sharing your bigg challenge. We’re sure you’ll handle it just fine.

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(Image by w00kie, CC 2.0)