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Dealing With Common Stressors of the Business World

Dealing With Common Stressors of the Business World

According to the American Psychological Association, work is the most common source of stress for 61% of Americans. And it comes as no surprise, given that work is deeply tied to people's’ livelihoods, survival, and wellbeing.

Recent research also shows that women are significantly more stressed at work than men are. On top of universal stressors that affect everyone at work, women face additional hurdles in the workplace because of their gender. Here’s a look at some of the most common things that stress women out at work, and a few ways to cope with them.

Common Workplace Stressors

Everyone gets stressed out at or because of work. There will always be days with a hefty workload or coworkers who are difficult to work with, regardless of gender. Unfortunately, women have to deal with additional sources of workplace stress, including:

  • Not making enough money: It’s no secret that women don’t make as much money as men. The wage gap is affected by dozens of factors, from an employer’s personal gender bias to many women’s difficulty with successfully negotiating a pay raise. Women may struggle to properly support themselves or their families because they are not making enough money — especially if they feel as if their labor is worth more than their current compensation.
  • Household or family responsibilities: Women are still more likely to shoulder the brunt of the housework, childcare, and other family obligations than their male peers. After a full day of work, many women come home and continue working for several hours, such as cooking dinner and cleaning up, and are not left with much time to themselves to recharge. Not only is it exhausting, the burnout makes it difficult for women to perform at work to the best of their abilities.
  • Discrimination at work: Women may still encounter gender discrimination in the workplace. From seemingly harmless comments from coworkers to being unable to break the glass ceiling, women may feel dissatisfied with or unwelcome in their work environment. An uncertain, or even hostile, work environment may hold women back from success and can cause feelings of stress that last well after the day is done.

Tips for Coping with Workplace Stress

While some workplace stress is inevitable, long-term stress is detrimental to physical, mental, and emotional health. Everyone has their own ways to manage and minimize stress, and some are healthier than others. Indulging in unhealthy habits can provide temporary relief, but it creates more problems in the future. For example, having a drink (or several) at the end of a bad day at work can be a momentary distraction, but will have a lasting, negative impact on long-term health. That’s why it’s imperative for working women to have healthy ways to handle stress:

  • Find some alone time: Spend some time completely alone, away from the pressures of work, family, and other obligations. Find or create a space where no one else is allowed in to de-stress and relax. Many women are turning to a she-shed, the female equivalent of a man-cave, as a private place to unwind from the stresses of daily life.

 

  • Prioritize work/life balance: Create healthy boundaries and habits to ensure that work stays at work and time at home can be enjoyed. A healthy lifestyle with a nutritious diet, regular exercise, and consistent sleep can make dealing with stressors at work much easier.
  • Be more social: Humans are social beings who thrive on connection. Spend time with friends and loved ones or take up a hobby that fosters connection with others. After the end of a long day, it can be difficult to feel up to spending limited free time with others, but the lasting positive impact is worth the effort.

Stress, especially in the workplace, is inevitable. But it doesn’t have to dominate the lives of women around the world. Identifying different stressors can help women in the business world find healthy ways to cope with and manage the stress in their lives.

 Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.

5 Tips When Looking For a New Job Over the Age of 40

5 Tips When Looking For a New Job Over the Age of 40
by Holly Caplan

 
When I look in the mirror, for the first 5 seconds I still see a twenty- year -old. Then the visible wrinkles around my eyes and jowls provide a friendly reminder that I’m not twenty anymore. At that moment in the mirror, I challenge myself physically as I don’t feel like I’m over forty, and the face I’m looking at cannot be accurate, but according to my birth certificate, it is. I mean, hell, I still feel young, so how can I look so different?  Simply put, I’m just a twenty-year-old that now has twenty-five years of work experience, a family, and has journeyed through the ups and downs of life. Even though this is what I believe, I now know others don’t feel the same, especially when it comes to the workplace. Here is my recent reality check. Last year I left my corporate job of 14 years. I was in a space where I had the opportunity to find a new job with a new company. I felt fresh, excited and limitless. Although it had been a while since I last interviewed, I thought, “No problem. I’ve got this. I used  to any get any job I wanted, so finding a new one should pretty be easy.” After a few interviews, good interviews I thought, I wasn’t getting hired. Frustration set in because I could not figure out what was so different this time around. After all, my resume was stronger and more accomplished than in my younger years.
 
But something had changed. I aged.
 
Call me naive, but I did not think that my age would be an obstacle in the workplace. I had heard this from other women over the years, but I chose not to believe them because certainly, it would never happen to me.
 
Here is a true story:
 
A sales recruiter was helping a sales manager fill an open position. The recruiter sent her a resume of a female candidate with a college graduation date of 1998. The sales manager abruptly turned down the resume. In addition, she let the recruiter know that she didn’t want to see any resumes with college graduation dates prior to 2003. This was the sales manager’s criterion for what she deemed to be a viable candidate. Not experience, not achievements, not abilities. Simply age.
 
This true story was painful for me to hear. Here was a woman selling out other women and contributing to the stigma that we fight every day and sadly her perspective is a harsh reality. However, let this statistic give you another reality check and perspective. In 2024, women over 65 will make up roughly the same percentage of the female workforce as older men do of the male workforce. Additionally, twice as many women over 55 will be in the labor force as women ages 16-24.
 
Knowing the stigma, knowing the numbers, and the reality, what is the best way to approach finding a new job later in life? Here are 5 tips when looking for a new job over the age of 40:
 
1.    Use your Network
Sending our resumes to career websites will do nothing for us.  We get pushed aside as we are categorized.  The tip here is to use our network of colleagues, former business associates and friends to find companies who are hiring and will have a genuine interest in what we can do for their organizations. This method does work. Finding like-minded individuals with the same goals of working smart and getting stuff done will provide the best platform for finding a new working environment.
 
2.    Show off your skills
At this point in our careers, we have a proven list of accomplishments and skillsets.  We have navigated some of our toughest times and have already been through the learning. Because of this we require less training and possess the right skills, because yeah, we know how to do it.  We need to show off our confidence and accolades to a potential employer. They need to know that our leadership skills and experience will fit in flawlessly with their company.
 
3.    Be bold
We can ask harder questions in the interview process and as an employee. Perhaps questions that challenge company methods or goals.  If anything as women, unfortunately, we have been taught to be compliant and agreeable to get through the stepping -stones of our careers. We don’t have to do that anymore. We have arrived. Work experience has taught us to think quickly, make decisions and share opinions. We have a lot to teach, and hiring companies need to appreciate this.  
 
4.    Seek a mentor, be a mentor
In recent weeks I have had great women mentor me. Women of a certain age. Women who are drama free, make sh*t happen and don’t sweat the small stuff. I appreciate them, have learned from them and have committed to do the same for others. This is important as this will help us change the tide and break the stigma.
 
Holly Caplan pic
5.    We are already tech-savvy

Much to the disbelief of others, age doesn’t stifle our tech knowledge. It’s who we are as a society.  Most of us already use work-related apps like Zoom, Slack, Dropbox and others. The point is, our tech knowledge isn’t lacking, so that is no excuse for hiring companies or managers. We are already there. This is not a hindrance.

 
The battle continues. In my earlier years as a woman in the corporate world, I fought to make a mark. Now, I’m fighting the same female battle in addition to 20+ years of life and work experience. This should get easier, shouldn’t it? It doesn’t, so it is up to us to change it. We have to change the mindset by challenging the current stigma. Because we have arrived and we are not going anywhere.
 
Holly Caplan is a workplace issues expert, career coach and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl's Guide to Surviving the Male-Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit, www.hollycaplan.com and connect with her on Twitter, @hollymcaplan.

How Women Can Examine Their Language for a Leg Up at Work

Source: Pexels

How Women Can Examine Their Language for a Leg Up at Work

In a patriarchal world, women are constantly adjusting to men’s expectations to fit into the workplace. This can stem anywhere from dressing a certain way, to using specific language when sharing their ideas or speaking in meetings. Although women have been conditioned to not step on toes in an office environment, we should examine our language to be more assertive in the office in order to climb up the corporate ladder.  

Women in the Workplace

Not too long ago, gender roles dominated work atmospheres and prevented women from securing financial stability and pursuing high-paying careers. We’ve come a long way in women’s rights and although workplaces and executive positions are still often male-dominated, women are slowly but surely beginning to occupy more C-suite and executive-level positions.

This is done through very tactful and mindful language and usually requires women to be more qualified than any male applicants. Growing up, women learn to speak tentatively in order to avoid being perceived as dominant or bossy; these would be seen as leadership qualities in men, but are considered negative traits for a woman to have. This often makes it difficult to excel in executive positions, as women are accustomed to using filters and qualifiers before sharing their ideas, which can make them seem unconfident.

Some phrases include:

  • I was just thinking that maybe...
  • I might be wrong but…
  • Somebody probably already touched on this but…

These people-pleasing phrases make it easier for people to dismiss women’s ideas and not give them the attention they deserve. Although eliminating these phrases can cause women to be seen as rude or blunt, being more direct in the workplace demands attention to the ideas being suggested and makes it difficult to ignore new propositions from any individual.

However, even as women share their ideas and achieve better positions in the workplace, they are usually paid less than their male counterparts. The wage gap is largely due to the lack of women in executive positions and STEM fields, however, even when women achieve these positions, they are offered lower salaries than men in the same position.

In order to avoid this outcome, women must negotiate compensation for executive positions. Whether for an upper management level job or a STEM field position, women must discuss compensation carefully to receive the wages they deserve. This is done by choosing the right time to talk about compensation (after a job offer has been made), and ensuring your language expresses dedication to the job and does not simply prioritize the salary.

Career Politics

As you consider applying for upper level positions, it’s important to clean up your resume and add any new experience you’ve gained since the last time you applied for a promotion. Having an updated resume prepares you for opportunities that may arise on short notice and helps to foster a mentality that is ready to open doors into new positions. As you renew your resume, make sure to include communication skills on your resume list of skills, or to highlight successful communication achievements in the workplace. This highly sought after trait may seem cliche, but the ability to communicate effectively is extremely important to potential employers.

Women take up very few positions in politics and stand out notably among the sea of male legislators. Careers in politics are especially demanding for women, as they require women to take up space in heavily male-dominated groups. In order to do so, these women must be extremely conscious of their language to avoid any qualifying statements and they must express their ideas firmly and unwaveringly as successful politicians must be strong communicators.

The hard-working and careful analyzation characteristics that women leaders possess make them excellent communicators and strong politicians. Women have a perspective in politics and corporate positions that is desperately needed for a more balanced culture in these environments. Despite the gender discrimination of the 21st century, women excel in the workplace, and adjusting your language to be more assertive can help in achieving career goals more quickly.

 

Spring Cleaning Your Career

Spring Cleaning Your Careeer

Spring Cleaning Your Career

Something about blooming flowers, warmer weather and spring showers makes people want to clean up other aspects of their lives in preparation for the rest of the year. While spring cleaning is generally done at home and occasionally in the workplace, it’s also an important thing to do for more abstract areas of your life, such as your career. Taking time to reflect on your achievements and to consider what else you hope to accomplish in your career is an important part of job and life satisfaction, which is why spring is a great time to clean up your career.

Renew Your Resume

Resumes need cleaning up. Even if you aren’t looking for a new job, it’s a good idea to look at your resume each year and see if it needs updating. You may have received a promotion or received a reward since you last looked at your resume, which means there are new additions to include for your resume to be up to date. Keeping an updated resume will keep you from having to make massive changes if you find yourself looking for a job on short notice, and is also good to have if you receive a new unforeseen opportunity.

Analyze Your Career Goals

It’s easy to get so caught up in our immediate job that we forget what our long-term career goals are. Think about your current job: was it meant to be permanent or a stepping stone into a new career path? Are your daily tasks and responsibilities fulfilling what you are looking to accomplish in your career? If the answer to these questions doesn’t align with your goals, think about what you would rather be doing and how you could get there. Look for positions online and talk to friends you know who are working in those positions — they may have valuable advice.

Organize Your Work Process

There’s nothing like a clean, organized office to make you feel like the powerful business woman you truly are. Organizing your office, as well as your work processes, will lead you to reap the benefits of organizational change. Whether you run your business from home or simply work remotely, make sure you are running at full efficiency by incorporating any new technology that could streamline your work processes. If you have any business goals that are not being met, organizational change could finesse your workflow and create the adjustments needed to make sure your work is at its best.

Reorganize Your Space

While you’re getting rid of the clutter, take time to do some small but dramatic redecorating to maximize your remote working space. Clear windows to allow as much natural light into your office as possible; sunlight creates a bright and energetic atmosphere and awakens any room. Make sure your desk is positioned in a way that centers you in the room and works well with the direction of the light so that it’s comfortable for you. Organize your most precious office belongings in a way that highlights them, allows them to inspire you and serve as a reflection of you, your creativity,  and the work you produce.

Spring is a great time to deep clean the physical aspects of your life that are difficult to keep super tidy throughout the year, but it’s also an excellent time to reassess the direction of your life and what lies ahead of you. We all need to touch base with our lives and career goals, and give thoughtful consideration to what we’re still hoping to accomplish and what we need to do to get there. Dedicate some time this spring to prioritizing what you want out of your career and to take the necessary steps to get there.

 

 

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