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Time and time again, Employment First Aid (EFA) Mentors witness firsthand the unrealistic school leavers in their first year out of school, assuming they will obtain employment through a trade. Unfortunately, it is not only school leavers who are seeking this way into the industry. There are many unemployed people who have more than likely […]

5 Tips to Survive Your First Job

Starting your first job is a new and possibly scary experience, so here are five tips on how to get through your first day and thrive in your new work environment.

 

  1. Get Organised

Before starting your first job, be sure you are organised to hit the ground running. This includes showing up a little bit early, being in uniform or dressed appropriately, being aware of any deadlines or events coming up and setting up your workspace so you feel organised and ready to go daily.

  1. Work on Positive Self-Talk

First job nerves are very normal, and it takes a bit of practice to learn how to use these nerves positively. You should practise positive self-praise and give yourself credit where credit is due – this will help you become much more confident which will help eliminate your nerves. Learning how to control your self-doubt and turn it into something constructive and positive will have a big impact on your success. Remember that everyone has been in your starting position, and the more you practise positive self-talk, the easier it gets.

  1. Don’t be Afraid to Ask for Help

Entering the workforce for the first time can be scary and you may feel overwhelmed. People may be afraid to ask for help because they feel like a burden and feel like needing help is a sign of weakness. However, asking for help when you aren’t sure of what to do is a sign of confidence and strength. It also shows you are willing to learn and don’t want to make mistakes.

  1. Make Some Friends

Chances are you’re going to be spending a lot of time with your new co-workers and surviving your first job will be a lot easier (and a lot more fun) if you get on well with your colleagues. While they don’t need to be your best friends, developing a bond with your colleagues is important if you don’t want to feel alone. Go out for the occasional lunch or coffee. Be sure to ask questions about their lives – you never know, but you may have a lot more in common with these people than you originally thought. Working with people you get along with can impact your mood significantly.

  1. Back Yourself

Most importantly, don’t worry! You are going to make mistakes, especially in the first few weeks, but everyone knows that you are new to this and nobody expects you to perform incredible feats straight away. So, before you panic, remember that no one is perfect, everyone must start somewhere, and you’re allowed a few mistakes (just as long as you learn from these mistakes).

 

 

ENDURANCE

What is Endurance? Endurance is the ability to endure an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. It is the power to withstand something challenging; the ability to withstand hardship or adversity; the ability to sustain a prolonged stressful effort or activity. Breaking the word down the noun, endure means to “suffer or undergo”, and the suffix-ance means “the state of.”

Life itself requires endurance. We must constantly navigate challenges in both our personal and work lives.  The utmost important thing to remember is to KEEP TRYING, AND NOT GIVE UP.  With a positive attitude even the most difficult situations can be overcome.

 

Here are some simple tips to assist with endurance when looking for work, keeping your job or if you experience homelessness:

Endurance in Job Searching

  • Don’t rely on one means of job searching as there are many ways to job search: set up profiles on Seek, Indeed, CareerOne and Jora with your current resume uploaded to the site; look on social media sites for your local area and see if anywhere is hiring; register with an Employment Services provider, labour hire and temping agencies; cold canvas businesses for potential opportunities; speak to family and friends regarding possible vacancies at their work; be resourceful and even develop your own ways of getting an employer’s attention.

 

  • Be committed and remain focussed. Finding employment is not an easy or quick process. You need to hang in there through the “no interest from employers”, the “never getting past the interview stage”, and the “your application has been unsuccessful” rejection. Focus on the positive that there is a job out there for you and the outcome once you land that job.

 

  • Request feedback from businesses on your application in an effort to improve your chances in the future. Accept constructive criticism openly and work on areas that have been identified as needing improvement.

 

Endurance in Keeping Employment

  • Be diligent in learning your role. Ask questions if you are unsure on the procedure or what is required of you, and ask for feedback from your supervisor/manager on your performance to gauge progress.
  • Learn about your employer and the business operations. This shows an employer you are interested in the business and that your role is important to you, it’s not just a pay cheque at the end of the week.
  • Be open to training opportunities at work to improve your skill set.
  • Show enthusiasm and commitment. Always turn up on time for work and be happy in your job, and take pride in your work.
  • Contribute when at work. Involve yourself in committees where possible, contribute ideas on ways to improve the procedures/work environment.

 

Endurance During Homelessness

  • Don’t be afraid to reach out for help during times of hardship. There is always someone who can offer support and assist you to get back on your feet.
  • Know who to call for support in your state:
    • 24Hr Homeless Hotline: 1800 474 753
    • 24Hr Kids Helpline: 1800 551 800
    • 24Hr Lifeline Crisis Support: 13 11 14
    • Queensland Dept of Housing: 1800 451 139
    • Salvation Army: 13 72 58
    • St Vincent De Paul: 1800 846 643
  • Remain positive, don’t give up on life or yourself. Keep going, persevere in achieving small steps at a time as they lead to big steps and the end goal of achieving safe, secure and affordable accommodation.
  • Set goals for yourself and reward yourself when you achieve each goal.

 

Endurance is related to stamina, resilience and fortitude. Remember – never give up, keep trying no matter how hard the challenges appear, stay positive and you can achieve anything.

Quote: “Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance” – Rodney A. Winters.

 

Mindset Matters: Staying Motivated and Keeping Your Self-Esteem in Check

There’s no denying that being in the right mindset is one of the most important things when you are new to the workforce. Employers have a tendency to hire people that they believe have the motivation and positive attitude that will benefit the business by working hard and reaching targets. If you have a negative attitude, low self-esteem and little motivation, you will find yourself struggling in the workplace with the internal barriers and limitations you have set against yourself.

Here, we outline how staying motivated and keeping your self-esteem in check will help you on your career path and in life.

Set Your SMART Goals

Once you’ve taken the time to set (and write down) your SMART goals, it’s time to turn those plans into action. But how do you get and stay motivated to achieve those goals in your new job?

Arming yourself with some good old-fashioned optimism and a positive attitude will do wonders to keep you motivated and in the right mindset.

People who are optimistic tend to have a good attitude and people with good attitudes generally:

  • L – look for opportunities
  • A – always look after themselves
  • U – use their skills to continue developing, learning and improving
  • G – go the extra mile/put in extra effort
  • H – hold themselves responsible for their successes and failures
  • S – Set goals giving themselves a sense of direction and purpose

The more you LAUGH, the more good habits you form.

By remaining optimistic and remembering to apply the LAUGHS attributes to all that you do, you’ll keep on track with your motivation. The best thing is that the more you apply the LAUGHS attributes, the easier and more natural they become in your daily life.

Attitude is Everything

It’s important to remember that employers look for an employee with the right attitude. The more you keep optimistic and LAUGH-ing in your daily activities, your positive attitude will shine through – something that your team members and employers will embrace and appreciate.

The esteem in which we hold ourselves is the single most important factor in determining our success and happiness. Simply put, you get what you think you deserve. If you know that you deserve success, that is precisely how you will think and act.

Here are some methods you can use – beginning today – to help you raise your self-esteem:

  • Say to yourself each day that you, and only you, determine your self-worth. Don’t ever judge yourself based on the opinions of others. Learn to welcome failure. High self-esteem comes from the belief that all obstacles are lessons rather than proof of your incompetence as a person. Remember, you are not a failure as a person simply because you failed at something: failing and learning is the key aspect to growing as a person and an employee.
  • Stop the negative self-talk. No more telling yourself “I’ll probably look stupid” and “I can’t do it”. Correct yourself mid-sentence if you catch yourself saying negative statements.
  • Take small risks each day and praise yourself for doing so, regardless of the outcome. Simply remind yourself how terrific you are for taking the risk.
  • Be more assertive and stop asking permission. As an adult asking permission means giving responsibility and control to someone else over you. It’s difficult to hold yourself in high esteem when there is no self-esteem.
  • Reduce your emphasis on material things as a measure of success. If your self-esteem is based on what you have, then you will always suffer from the disease called “more”. Your esteem as a person is a matter of attitudes, not accumulations and until you really understand this, you will always lack self-esteem.
  • Keep in mind each and every day, there are no ordinary moments. Every experience of your life should be enjoyed. When you learn to think in this way, you will never doubt your own worth because you will see fully that you yourself are extraordinary, this will allow you to be a valued team member and employee.

Being a Boss vs Being a Leader

Communicating with youth in the workplace appears to be one of the biggest challenges faced by an employer: a huge key factor being whether to act as a leader or a boss type of figure.

There are certain traits that apply to a boss that can hinder communication, prove crucial to the relationship, and establish trust issues with employees. A boss tends to talk more, is often self-absorbed and can have a “me, me, me” attitude. A boss can also be intimidating, judgemental, and tends to dictate their employees. These are not great managerial skills to have if you want to lead a productive team.

A leader, however, tends to listen more. They lead by example, are a team player, and are genuinely concerned about their employees. A leader empowers and inspires their employees by supporting them, thinking how this may affect the team as a whole. Striving to be a leader to youth in the workplace is essential to build the trust, belief and resilience that youth are often lacking going into employment.

Once you change from a “boss” to a “leader” mindset, you may find a difference in your workplace. Your employees will be more open in communicating with you, they will complete tasks efficiently once they feel supported and inspired, and will be generally happier on a whole.

Homelessness in Australia

Homelessness is about more than not having a home; a home means a sense of security, stability, privacy, safety, and the ability to control living space (Mallet, 2004).  Despite steady economic growth in Australia, homelessness increased by 14% between the 2011 and 2016 censuses. There are now said to be 116,427 people without a permanent home in Australia. This means that for every 10,000 Australians, 50 are homeless. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), which released the data, estimates that more than 43,500 homeless people are under the age of 25.

Contrary to popular belief, the majority of people who experience homelessness aren’t rough sleepers (living on the streets). In fact, rough sleeping only makes up around 7% of homelessness while the remainder is ‘hidden homelessness’, that is, people sleeping in cars, rooming houses, couch surfing, or staying in other temporary types of accommodation.

It is for this reason that the ABS defines someone as homeless if their current living arrangement:

  • is in a dwelling that is inadequate; or
  • has no tenure, or if their initial tenure is short and not extendable; or
  • does not allow them to have control of or, access to space for social relations

What happens if I find myself homeless – who can I call to get help?

  • Homeless hotline phone: 1800 474 753

Homeless Hotline is a phone information and referral service for people who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness.

There are many other helpful service providers that can assist which include:

  • Kids Help Line phone: 1800 551 800
  • The Salvation Army (Salvos) phone: 13 72 58
  • St Vincent de Paul Society (Vinnies) phone: 07 3010 1096
  • Ozcare phone: 1800 692 273
  • Lifeline phone: 13 11 14

If you would like to help someone who is homeless, you can always volunteer at a homeless shelter or donate items that you are no longer using to a charity organisation or someone in need. A little bit can go a long way and anything is better than nothing when it comes to helping others in need.

 

 

Working Respectfully

There can be times in the workplace when we find ourselves forgetting our etiquette or manners. It can happen within ourselves, with colleagues or with customers. Each generation has been taught to be respectful regarding others and has ideally learnt what level of respect to expect from to others.  There are times, however, when the intensity of work demands increase and stressful environments arise, causing people to lose their temper. As added work stress conflicts with the view of the individual, they tend to lose their head, potentially at the wrong person.

This is the reality of the workplace: you are employed to perform a service, with the expectation of that service being done politely and respectfully. This ensures the customer returns and you stay employed.

If a situation arises where you feel disrespected, it’s important not to take it personally. You will eventually come across customers or co-workers that get empowered by demeaning others. In one perspective, feel sorry for that person as the level of empowerment comes from a negative place. Some people do not feel the full empathy and respect that we take for granted, causing them to lash out on the unexpected victim and gain a minimal empowerment that makes them feel better about themselves.

In another perspective, we don’t know what the beginning of their mood stemmed from: it may be the worst possible scenario imaginable. Small moments of etiquette or manners can make or break a business and hopefully change the view of the world. It’s also important to become resilient to abrupt people with a gentle smile or a kind gesture as it may assist customers and co-workers in realising the error of their ways.  No matter how rude someone is towards you in the workplace, you must remain calm and professional as you have more to lose from reacting to their bad behaviour. Talk to a manager or someone about what’s going on and always remain respectful towards others.

High Staff Turnover – How It Affects You & Your Business

It’s important that diversity is welcomed and embraced in the workplace: diversity of gender, race, age, background, among other things. What people sometimes forget, however, is diversity of workplace experience and staff longevity within a company.  High staff turnover refers to the number of staff being employed within a company and the length of time they stay employed there. A company with high staff turnover employs many people, while also dismissing a large number. While this approach can have its benefits, it can also affect the company in negative ways.

 

HOW DOES IT AFFECT YOU?

There are numerous negative effects that high staff turnover can have on a company. The constant hiring and firing procedure can lead to a workplace being populated by a high percentage of novices and newcomers. When highly skilled or long term employees leave, they take their knowledge (and customers) with them, resulting in a loss of business and loss of knowledge. If knowledgeable long term staff leave before new staff are fully trained, you have suddenly lost knowledge, time and money and in return have a business full of half-trained inexperienced staff.

Another way businesses are affected by high staff turnover is the stress on existing employees. It’s important that new employees learn from the best and who better to train new staff than your top performers? But the cost can be damaging. Once your top performers are taken out of circulation and being side-tracked, the company can fall behind in numerous ways. Productivity, customer satisfaction and employee morale all suffer when a team is short of staff.

There can also be decrease in workplace morale. Overworked employees can get frustrated due to short staff/staffing issues. This can result in a decrease in productivity or sub-par quality of work due to stressed employees doing various roles they aren’t qualified for or alternatively,  inexperienced new employees without complete training.

 

OTHER WAYS HIGH STAFF TURNOVER CAN NEGATIVELY AFFECT A COMPANY:

  • Training facilities wasted by staff not lasting the probation period
  • Financial loss on job advertising, time taken out to interview, induction process etc
  • Financial loss on severance pay
  • Existing employees start doubting their jobs – is the grass greener on the other side?

 

HOW CAN YOU FIX IT?

If high staff turnover is something that hits close to home for you, as an employer, then you’re undoubtedly looking for a way to change this. Aside from hiring the right people the first time and for the right reasons, there are ways to you can cut down on the hiring and firing on your team.

Perhaps the most effective way to ensure your staff stay in the company is to “repair, not replace” them. If your staff are under-performing, there might be a reason why. Take the time to find out why and support them through it – you don’t always know what’s going on behind closed doors.

Another way to lower the staff turnover is to offer flexibility. If money is a factor that is making people leave, try and offer something else that could make them stay. Things could include flexible hours, free parking, remote work privileges, onsite fitness facilities/day care, discounts on services or travel and employee assistance programs. That way you can keep your employees satisfied without blowing your budget.

Finally, you can prioritise employee happiness and make sure your staff feel valued, a seemingly an easy task that is often overlooked by employers. By ensuring your staff are happy, you raise the workplace morale and make the environment a better place for them to be. Your staff will want to be there, want to do the right thing by you and therefore produce better results. Once they feel valued, they are more likely to perform to their best ability and stay with the company that values them.

Honesty Is Always The Best Policy

Honesty is a fundamental in every business and in working relationships of staff, management and customers. Honesty creates trust and confidence within a business: if customers trust you, they will return, spending more money and buying more regularly. As this reflects on your character, your employer will come to trust and respect you more and in turn reward you for your honesty.

The feeling goes both ways. If you feel that your employer or colleagues are always honest, you value their word and respect their opinions. You feel comfortable to be around people you find to be honest, as you know they won’t talk negatively about you or disrespect you to others.

Honest employees cannot tolerate lying, fudging data, misrepresenting themselves or their employer, family or friends. Workplace politics between staff can create tension, cause termination and be the catalyst of team disrespect. It is important to always stay honest in the workplace to avoid being caught out and jeopardising your future.

Below are some tips and hints to apply honesty in your life:

  1. Stay True to Your Word

To establish a solid reputation with your employment, you must deliver on your promises. Keep your word without excuses and don’t change your mind at the last minute. This will follow with more shifts, valued respect with your work colleagues and future growth within the company.

  1. Time is of the Essence

Always be mindful of time. If you have an appointment or shift, it is imperative that you are punctual. If you are running late, call ahead to notify your workplace or manager. By being late or failing to show up when you said you would, you instantly tarnish your reputation and display a lack of respect for other people and their time. This can result in a lack of shifts as your employer may find you unreliable and untrustworthy.

  1. Stay Focused on You

It can be tempting to follow others and be distracted with invites, plans and appointments but it’s more important to stay true to your plans and follow things through. Personal issues, drama and stressful situations are a part of life but remember to not show this at your workplace.  This means not being distracted, not being on your phone and distracting others with personal drama – you are there to work and get a job done. Stay focused on your task until your shift is over.

  1. Surround Yourself with Honest People

Spend your time with people who are honest and who you can trust. These people will support your decisions, encourage you to do better and be a reliable friend. In return, you must be that person for others by always showing respect and honesty to others and yourself. Remember that you are the company you keep and your friendship group will reflect what kind of person you are.

  1. Take Responsibility for Your Actions

Never be afraid to tell the truth and make each decision with the best intentions. If you offend someone, step out of line, or see yourself in a bad situation, be the first to put your hand up and take responsibility for your actions. Apologise wholeheartedly and show employers, friends and family that you really mean your words. Strive to always be the best and most honest version of yourself.

 

“HONESTY IS always THE BEST POLICY”

Entitlement: What It Means For the Next Generation of Employees

When a person is entitled or behaves in an entitled manner, they believe that he/she deserves certain privileges or special treatment (often in an arrogant way). The term “Culture of Entitlement” suggests that a rising number of youths today have a highly unreasonable expectation about what they are entitled to and deserve in the workplace.

Entitlement is one of the biggest issues and challenges faced by employers and parents of youth that fall into the Generation Y age bracket: They can be unmotivated, unhelpful and self-absorbed. When it comes to work, entitled youth don’t think they should start on low/apprentice wages, they typically don’t want to work with fast food or other undesirable positions, and are often wanting more despite everything they are given.

Does this sound like anyone you know?

In the Employment First Aid (EFA) program, there is a distinct separation of two typical types of clients: Entitled Gen Y youth and extremely disadvantaged youth. The former generally do not know how to keep a job because up until now have had a relatively “easy” home life, education and childhood. After having everything given to them without having to work for it and receiving constant parental reassurance that they are “special” or “above the average”, they typically lack resilience and do not take well to criticism. This causes them to give up easily and outwardly blame other circumstances for their failures. Meanwhile, the disadvantaged youth tend to come from a child safety background, in and out of foster care, with little to no family support, and numerous mental health issues.

The wants and needs of these two types of youth are on two completely different wave lengths. While the disadvantaged youth are happy just to have bare necessities (food, a birth certificate and a roof over their heads), their entitled job competitors are rarely satisfied with the many things they already have. Most of the time, entitled youth have trouble differentiating “want” with “need”, alleging they “need” the latest technology or unnecessary item to feel fulfilled.

Entitled youth are becoming more and more common with our Gen Y youth due to changes in parenting over the years. As having two working parents in the household has increased, there has been a significant change in parenting direction and priorities. When both parents work, they tend to become very busy and “time-poor”, and are buying their child’s love instead of earning it (often out of guilt or to bypass real duties of parenting).

There are nine major areas that have changed in parenting priorities over the years thus leading to youth developing entitlement issues. As a result, this affects youth’s resilience and coping strategies, and can lead to multiple employment issues (falling in and out of employment, unrealistic expectations of pay, etc).

Parents of entitled youth tend to;

  • Reward bad behaviour
  • Empower a bad attitude in youth
  • Rescue their youth (don’t let them learn from their mistakes)
  • Confuse necessities with privileges
  • Don’t set or enforce boundaries
  • Don’t encourage positive change
  • Don’t offer new opportunities
  • Be inconsistent with punishments, attention, time and rewards
  • Have little to no consequences for actions (blame everyone else when something goes wrong)

These problems with entitled youth can make it difficult for them further down the line as entitlement is not accepted in the workforce. Entitled Gen Y youth often have not developed coping strategies and they expect to be rewarded for everything they do in their job.

EFA has implemented the Tuckman’s tool, a team development model that brings awareness of the stages in the workforce; forming, storming, norming, and performing. It is important for youth to be able to identify when a certain stage is happening in their workforce team and build certain strategies to cope with it. Not everything at work is going to be sunshine and rainbows, there are different stages with different situations and personality types.

The team at EFA have also helped youth with identifying the distinct difference in what is a “want” and what is a “need” in life. It brings the youth back down to earth and helps them see that you must work for what you have, it is not given to you. Entitlement in youth is going to be an ongoing battle in society and the workplace but with programs like EFA adding extra support, hopefully the entitled youth will learn to be grateful and that not everything comes easy.