How to deal with Illegal Interview Questions

How to deal with Illegal Interview Questions. There’s no doubt that in today’s competitive job market, applicants are under a lot of pressure. Acing the interview is undoubtedly one of the most challenging parts of the process, and illegal interview questions can throw off even the most experienced job seeker. Whether or not the unlawful questions seem intentional, you shouldn’t feel obligated to answer them. However, you probably don’t want the interview to go completely downhill, especially if you still want a shot at the job.

Thankfully, anyone can tackle awkward, intimidating, or illegal interview questions with the right mindset and preparation. Interviews are an opportunity to prove yourself, but they’re not supposed to give interviewers the chance to potentially discriminate against you. Remember: anything related to race, religion, gender, age, family life, and your living situation is off the table. If you’re living in the US, be sure to research what is and isn’t legal to ask in your specific state. For example, it’s illegal for employers to ask about your previous salary in California. 

Learn how to answer questions under these categories, so you can leave the interview feeling good regardless of the outcome. Keep in mind that if there are too many red flags during the interview, you should probably reconsider if the company/position is the right fit for you. Since navigating how to deal with illegal interview questions is tough, the team at LiveCareer created the graphic below to help.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you learn more about illegal interview questions. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coach and Los Angeles career coach, let us show you how we earned that praise.

 

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Ways Companies Are Giving Back During the COVID-19 Crisis

Ways Companies Are Giving Back During the COVID-19 Crisis

Ways Companies Are Giving Back During the COVID-19 Crisis. People everywhere are grappling with the way COVID-19 has affected daily life. Millions are suddenly unemployed, schools and some businesses are closed indefinitely, even certain essential items are in short supply.

But as fear and anxiety have spread, so have good deeds. Companies around the globe are finding ways to give back to their communities, lending support to those who need it most during this unprecedented moment in time.

From feeding the hungry to making proprietary tech and resources available for scientists to develop a vaccine, here are few ways that companies are trying to make a difference in the fight against coronavirus.

  1. Keeping Our Hands Clean

When the COVID-19 outbreak began, one of the first items to disappear from grocery and pharmacy shelves was hand sanitizer, and manufacturers haven’t been able to keep up with the frenzied demand these days. So companies in other industries are stepping up to fill the gap.

Anheuser-Busch is brewing more than beer during the pandemic—the company is now producing hand sanitizer out of several of their flagship and partner breweries across the U.S. to support the American Red Cross and critical relief efforts. The initial production runs from their Baldwinsville, NY, brewery—totaling nearly 175,000 eight-ounce bottles of hand sanitizer—were sent to support communities in California, Illinois, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, and Texas.

But they aren’t alone, in fact, many distilleries, small and large, have shifted their production into hand sanitizer. Here’s a list of all distilleries around the country, state by state. See if your local distillery is on the list and give them your business.

  1. Making Gear for Healthcare Workers

While Gap Inc. stores are temporarily closed to stem the spread of the coronavirus, the company has shifted its resources to make Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) (masks, gowns, and goggles) for healthcare workers on the front lines of the epidemic in the U.S.

The company has tapped into their expansive supply chain and long-standing relationships to connect their vendors directly with hospitals in need to immediately source personal protective equipment, including millions of masks and gowns. Their team is actively working with California hospital networks, including Kaiser, and is in talks to expand into other regions, including New York.

But again, Gap Inc. is not alone, many small businesses are doing their part to produce PPE. Here’s a list of all the small businesses that have come together to make a difference during this time of crisis.

 

  1. Keeping Kids’ Minds Engaged

While school buildings are closed, Audible is offering hundreds of free audiobooks for kids and teens through its Stories streaming service at stories.audible.com.

Audible Stories features a wide range of content, from Winnie-the-Pooh for the “littlest listeners,” to literary classics such as Pride and Prejudice, to the ever-popular Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (yes, the U.K. version!) The platform includes audiobooks in eight languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, Italian, and Japanese. All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet.

Listeners aren’t asked to create an account or log in to listen, and they’ll never be asked for any personal information as part of the listening experience.

“Stories will be here so kids everywhere and of all ages can stream incredible content to keep their minds engaged while daily routines are disrupted in these unprecedented circumstances,” the company says.


Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you make the most of this time during COVID19. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coach and Los Angeles career coach, let us show you how we earned that praise.People everywhere are grappling with the way COVID-19 has affected daily life. Millions are suddenly unemployed, schools and some businesses are closed indefinitely, even certain essential items are in short supply.

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A Work-From-Home Schedule That’ll Help You Get the Most Out of Your Day

A Work-From-Home Schedule That’ll Help You Get the Most Out of Your Day

A Work-From-Home Schedule 

The good news: Working from home has no hard and fast rules.

The bad news: Working from home has no hard and fast rules.

So make a plan and keep it simple. Having a general guide for what you’re supposed to tackle at what time will help you structure your day and get things done. A productivity plan, as we like to call it, keeps you on track so you don’t just look at your watch at 4:13 PM and think, “Where did today go?”

At a time when so many people are working from home for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic, you might be finding yourself in need of a productivity plan of your own. Here’s a helpful, loose daily structure with some tips to help you adapt it for your own needs. With a few adjustments—according to when you wake up, when you’re expected to be reachable, what time of day you focus best, and, of course, whether you have kids or other caregiving responsibilities—you can make it work for you.

So pick and choose the blocks that make sense in your life, shuffle them around in the order that feels right, and give your plan a try.

7:30 AM

Wake up!

7:45 AM

Kick-off that morning routine: Take a shower, drink coffee, meditate, stretch, check your most important apps (Gmail, Slack, whatever they are for you) to see if there’s anything you need to address first thing.

Don’t skip the routine, however short. The first hour of the day sets the tone for the rest of it, so news plus Instagram probably isn’t your best bet—don’t let yourself get lost in a social media scroll hole before you’ve had a chance to do anything else.

8:15 AM

Handle anything urgent and give any updates to your boss and teammates. Getting this done first thing will give you peace of mind to dive into your work and focus without the nagging feeling that you’ve forgotten something or that someone’s waiting on you.

8:45 AM

Do your most important and creative work first. 

Use that golden morning brain to focus on something bigger than busywork. If you spend the first 90 minutes or so of your day chipping away at an important task or project, then no matter what—even if the rest of your day gets thrown off by something urgent (work crisis, partner problems, roommate issues, kid interruptions)—you’ll feel satisfied that you accomplished something meaningful.

10:00 AM

Take a break! After 75 minutes or so of focus, you’ve earned it. 

10:15 AM

Back to that important and creative work—hopefully, a little refreshed. It helps to set aside solid chunks of time on your calendar to focus on priority projects. 

12:30 PM

It’s lunchtime! Leave your workspace if you can for a change of scenery and so that you can actually enjoy your food. You don’t want to suddenly look down to see an empty plate and realize you didn’t even taste your sandwich because you were still typing. Move your body a little if possible, too, and try to get outside for a bit if you can. (These things can help you recharge and deal with anxiety you might be experiencing during this pandemic.)

1:30 PM

Now’s the time to reply to all nonurgent emails and messages. Remember, not every note requires your immediate attention. Most emails can be answered respectfully within 24 hours.

2:30 PM

If you can swing scheduling it this way, early afternoon is a superb time for virtual meetings. Extroverts, you’ll get a good boost from seeing your colleagues, and introverts, you’ll already have had most of the workday to yourself so you’ll probably be feeling nice and recharged from yesterday’s meetings and chatter.

4:30 PM

Back to emails and other correspondence one more time before the end of the day—it never ends, we know!

5:00 PM

Wrap up and plan for the next day. Before you completely sign off, jot down your top three priorities for the following morning. This will keep you centered on what matters most (and help you know how to kick off the next day with your best brain). 

Having even a rough outline like this to guide you will help you enjoy working from home more, help you get way more done, and make this social distancing situation more tenable. 

It may be a temporary situation but that doesn’t mean you have to write off regular, helpful routines—just that you need to find one that works for this moment. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you make the most of working-from-home. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coach and Los Angeles career coach, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Job Search Tips

Job Search Tips When Starting a Career During the Coronavirus

Job Search Tips When Starting a Career During the Coronavirus. Graduating from college or otherwise applying for your first professional job is stressful in any circumstance. But it feels especially daunting when the economy, the job market, and the world, in general, seem to be turned upside down.

But career experts say it’s critical to continue to look for work and stay connected during the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. “Don’t go into a place of fear and stagnancy,” warns Muse career coach Chelsea C. Williams, founder of College Code, a Manhattan-based talent development firm.

Here are a few ways to build relationships, find work, and move forward in your career.

1. Check-in on Your Job Offer

You might’ve already had a job lined up, perhaps through a previous co-op or internship or via on-campus recruiting, and are likely wondering if that offer still stands. If your college career office was involved in helping you land that offer, that should be your first stop, says Susan Weil, co-CEO of Weil and Wein, a Manhattan-based career coaching firm.

If they don’t know anything about the status of your offer or weren’t involved, you can reach out to whoever extended the offer to you, whether that’s a recruiter, the company’s campus recruiting coordinator, or your future manager.

2. Be Flexible

“Many first-time job seekers have a vision of what they thought their first job would look like,” Williams says. That vision might still be valid but you might need to take some turns and twists to get to that end goal.

For instance, while you might have had your heart set on a full-time job with full benefits, it might be time to consider a six-month internship or fellowship or to look for contract work to tide you over until companies start hiring for more full-time roles again. Maybe you can’t get a full-time job at a public relations firm right now. In the meantime, you might be able to get an internship assisting the firm as it helps clients with crisis communications during the pandemic. That would be an impressive addition to your resume and could even transform into a job offer.

3. Continue to Network

Reach out to people you already know relatively well to ask them to keep an eye out for relevant opportunities for you. Make a list of people in your network you feel comfortable approaching—such as favorite professors, internship supervisors you got along with, family members, and friends—and let them know you’re looking for a job.

Just be mindful of the current situation in your communications, Williams says. For instance, you can say, “I realize the current situation is challenging but if you do hear of anything, let me know. I have a skill set in digital communications and I’m open to contract work or volunteer work.”

No one knows how long the pandemic, social distancing, and the resulting financial crisis will last. So focus on what you can control—responding to job postings and reaching out to contacts as well as being mindful of your overall attitude and how you react to the situation.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coach and Los Angeles career coach, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down

Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down

Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Things are changing quickly every day, and most of us have seen our typical routines turned upside down. More and more workplaces are allowing or requiring remote work, while school and daycare closings and “social distancing” restrictions mean that whole families are suddenly spending a whole lot more time at home together.

That means many working parents are facing an unprecedented situation: working from home with kids and without access to the camps, babysitters, playdates, and even Grandma-dates that you might normally rely on to get through a school break or a snow day.

It won’t be smooth or perfect, but there are a few strategies you can use to make your new situation a little easier. We have real-world tips from remote workers who’ve balanced career and children in close proximity to help you through this difficult moment.

1. Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule. “Our entire family was housebound for 15 days last winter when there was a polar vortex in Wisconsin,” says Melanie McKay, a scheduling manager for Kaplan Test Prep. “At the time our kids were two, six, seven, and nine. My husband and I both had to work from home and school was canceled. At the beginning of each day, we decided who would be the ‘on point’ parent. That person would work at the dining room table, feed the kids, and suggest activities for ‘bored’ children while the other parent worked in a different room.”

Of course, it may not be possible to get all your work done during regular business hours if you’re also on duty with the kids. “One way we maximized work time was by working odd hours,” McKay says. “I worked before the children were awake. My husband and I staggered work times during the day, and one of us worked in the evening when the children were in bed.” You’ll also need to take meetings and deadlines into consideration. Which ones can be shifted around, and which are cast in stone?

Whichever time slots you end up working, there will be an adjustment period as you retrain your mind to focus during your new “business” hours. You may enjoy mornings, but getting up at 4 or 5 AM to work is different from getting up early to exercise. So set yourself up for success. Pick out tasks in advance and then gather all of the tools and information you’ll need to complete them. Your tired brain will thank you later.

2. Be Up Front With Your Boss

You might need to make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children. Before you do, talk to your boss or HR.

Begin the discussion by contextualizing the news. Remember that this isn’t your personal situation, it’s a community issue. Convey this point tactfully by stating the facts in a straightforward way. It’s also always good to come into this kind of conversation proactively with a clear action plan, says career coach Melody Godfred.

So for example, Godfred suggests you might say:

“As I transition to working from home, I wanted to share that I am also responsible for my three kids, who I will be homeschooling for the time being due to school closures. I am creating a schedule that I will share with you so that you’re aware of when I will be available or unavailable for calls or collaboration. I am absolutely committed to maintaining the level of excellence you expect and will remain in close communication with you so you’re clear on how I’m meeting our goals. I appreciate your support and look forward to navigating this together.”

3. Stick to a Routine

Maintaining a daily routine will help everyone stay occupied and manage some of the anxiety caused by this big change. Go ahead and write out a schedule (including which parent is on primary kid duty if you’re trading off) and pin it to the wall or the refrigerator so kids can refer to it throughout the day.

“The kids had a list of things to do each morning (dress, brush teeth, empty the dishwasher, read for 15 minutes), and we steered them toward different activities each day such as puzzles or fort building,” McKay says.

With some schools closing for a month or more, you’ll want to build in “school” time every day, too. (Bonus: School time can equal pockets of work time for you.) If your kids’ schools have set up remote learning, follow the plan and use the resources provided by their teachers.

Just resist the temptation to have a screen time free-for-all: “Rationing screen time was an important part of my child engagement strategy,” McKay says. “They knew that those were the only two hours that they would get to watch screens all day, so they focused on the show and let me focus on work.”

Juggling work and childcare is an intense but survivable experience. Many remote workers successfully navigate this reality every day. While your situation is different from families who regularly work at home while taking care of children, you can build a temporary structure for your temporary circumstances. With a little bit of planning, lots of discussions, and an adaptable attitude, you’ll be able to better weather your COVID-19 stint at home with the kids.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about how to working at home with your kids. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coaches and Los Angeles career coaches, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Not in the Mood

Career Motivation

Career motivation can be elusive. Some days you feel it and other days you can’t grab a measly corner of it no matter how hard you try. You stare at the computer screen, willing yourself to type, create, develop, and instead you find yourself simply going through the motions, barely caring about the work you’re producing. Needless to say, you’re totally uninspired, and you don’t know how to make yourself feel otherwise.

Quora users have been there, and they have real and practical solutions for digging up that lost motivation and getting a job not just done—but completed with a sense of passion. Read on for tips and tricks that’ll get you motivated in no time.

Don’t Think About it as Hard Work

“There is only one way for me to motivate myself to work hard: I don’t think about it as hard work. I think about it as part of making myself into who I want to be. Once I’ve made the choice to do something, I try not to think so much about how difficult or frustrating or impossible that might be; I just think about how good it must feel to be that, or how proud I might be to have done that. Make hard look easy.” – Marie Stein

Think about it: If the project you’re faced with isn’t viewed as drudgery, but rather as a piece of the puzzle that’s helping you along your career path, then perhaps the energy required to do it will be easier to come by.

Create Small, Bite-Sized Goals

“There’s a reason donut holes are so lovable. They’re easy to eat. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a dozen of them. This is how goals should be too. Of course, you should have a really big, audacious goal. But make sure you break down that goal into bite-sized, consumable goals. This way you’ll feel like you’re making progress in your journey and you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the smaller goals. A feeling of progress and achievement is a beautiful combination.” – Nelson Wang

You’ve no doubt heard this advice before, but have you applied it to motivation? Rather than focusing on a large, scary goal, take one thing at a time and break the big goal into ideas you can digest one at a time.

Stop Caring About the Things That Don’t Matter

“Doing things that don’t mean anything costs [us] a ton of mental energy. Look at your aggregated to-do list, find things you know that you don’t care about, and get rid of as many of these activities as possible. You will stay more consistently motivated if you’re working on activities that are inherently meaningful or are part of a larger mission.” – Nick Miller

It’s not always best to finish what you started if, down the line, you can’t even remember the reason you started something in the first place.

Just Do It

“To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick for me is to just do it (sounds trite, but it works.) As soon as you think something needs to be done, jump into it, doing it immediately (of course, provided the conditions are feasible.) You must not think about anything else, suppressing all other thoughts, keeping your mind blank, acting like a robot. Yes, it sounds weird, but it does work! Otherwise, you will debate whether you should do it now or there were too many issues with doing it, or there are other more pleasurable and exciting things to do over this boring task.” – Bob Win

Instead of waiting around, willing yourself to feel motivated, what if you just went ahead and started doing the work you know you need to do? Dive into the project and trust that the focus will be what you need.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you come up with other motivation tips that work for you. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Books That Help You Get What You Want in Your Career

Are you an assistant? An associate? A VP with unlimited vacation? It doesn’t matter. Because no matter where you are at in your career, you will always have goals that keep you learning. 

The Ignite Your Potential coaches have rounded up 8 books that will advance your career. Each one focuses on a different set of skills, beliefs, or values that are important to the growth-oriented person—at work and in your life. They will motivate you, inspire you, and help you shake up a stale work routine.

So, give the fiction a (short) break, and dive into these titles that will give your career a boost based on what you want right now!

If You Want to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career, from the 99U series and Jocelyn Glei, some of today’s leading minds offer their advice to take your career to the next level. A detailed how-to book, you’ll learn how to create new opportunities, build relationships in the workplace, and unleash your creative potential.

If You Want to Fall in Love with Your Job

Let’s face it: Work is more fun when you enjoy what you do, right? Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness is a guide written by Kerry Hannon to help you transform your boring job into something meaningful. For people struggling to get through the day, Hannon’s tips will help you change your habits and your attitude, so you’ll love your job again in no time at all.

If You Want Work-Life Balance

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington reminds us that there is more to life than earning a ton of money. The constant pursuit of more (and more) has been a one-way ticket to burnout for too many. Huffington encourages people to incorporate self-care into their daily lives. Throughout the book, she also shares personal anecdotes about her struggles with time management and prioritizing her career and family life.

If You Want to Change Your Money Mindset

Have you ever wondered how Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and many of the other successful businesspeople of the 1900s earned their fortunes? Well, my friend, the secret is within Think and Grow Rich, the 1937 classic from Napoleon Hill. Not only will you learn what they believed was the key to their riches, but you’ll also get Hill’s 13-step program that will put you on the track to achieve wealth and success.

If You Want to Recover From a Career Failure

The truth is, we all face failure in life, whether it’s in our careers or personal lives. What matters is how we handle it. But how can you become one of those people who turns his failures into learning experiences? Business blogger Megan McArdle explains just that in her book, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. You’ll read stories from people in all different career paths (medicine, education, finance—to name a few,) and their examples will help you see your missteps in a different light.

If You’re Feeling Stuck in Your Career

In Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life, Joe Sweeney provides a detailed system for people who feel stuck and want a plan to make a change. It’s a perfect read for those who crave actionable advice. Bonus: These lessons can be applied to personal aspirations as well.

If You’re Ready to Pivot into a Different Career

Laura Berman Fortgang shares exactly how she has helped her clients successfully make big changes in their lives. If you’re looking for a new job or questioning what you’re meant to do with your life, Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction will help you find the answers in just three months!

If You Want to Start Your Own Company

If you haven’t read #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso yet, what are you waiting for? The founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal, Amoruso opens up about her troublesome past and how she turned her life around to become an insanely successful CEO. Even if you’re not passionate about the fashion industry, you can benefit from this inspirational story.
Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you get what you want in your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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What to Ask Yourself if You’re Questioning Your Career Path

You’re not completely sold that you’re on the right career path, but the idea of making a change is daunting. There are so many unknowns and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Plus, if you do decide to change course, will you have to take a step back to develop the necessary skills?

Wondering if you have the time and energy required to transition into the right career path may be a valid concern, but it shouldn’t stop you from pursuing a path you love. Before you make a switch, ask yourself the following three questions.

1. Are You Developing a Competitive Advantage?

In The Start-up of You, authors Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha teach that we’re all entrepreneurs of our own careers. They argue that to become competitive in today’s global market, it’s critical to understand your assets (what you’re good at,) your aspirations (what you want to do,) and the market realities (what people will pay you for.)

Having only one or two isn’t enough. You need all three to develop a true competitive advantage. Know your assets and aspirations in light of the market realities—then pursue a path that maximizes all three.

2. How Often Do You Think About Work Outside of Work?

The importance of this question is best illustrated through a story. Henry Eyring, a former business professor at Stanford University, tells how he ended up choosing his path. His father, who was a renowned scientist and professor, hoped his son would follow in his footsteps. In Eyring’s words: “My father was [teaching physics] at a blackboard we kept in the basement…Suddenly he stopped. ‘Hal,’ he said, ‘we were working the same kind of problem a week ago. You don’t seem to understand it any better now than you did then. Haven’t you been working on it?’”

Eyring admitted he had not. His father then said: “When you walk down the street, when you’re in the shower, when you don’t have to be thinking about anything else, isn’t this what you think about?”

“When I told him no,” Eyring concludes, “my father paused…then said, ‘Hal, I think you’d better get out of physics. You ought to find something that you love so much that when you don’t have to think about anything, that’s what you think about.’”

To be successful you don’t need to obsess about your job 24/7, but if you’re only thinking about your job during the hours of 9 to 5, it may be a sign you’re on the wrong path.

3. What Does Your Career Path Look Like 10 Years Down the Road?

Think of those in your company or industry who are more senior than you. Do you eventually want to be doing the type of work they’re doing?

If you don’t know what your current path looks like, schedule an informational interview with someone more experienced. These informal meetings are a great way to find out what you can expect in the future. Consider asking people what they like most about their job, the types of projects they work on, and what advice they’d give to someone in your shoes.

Your answers to these questions will help you understand whether you should double your efforts in your current job or start figuring out your next move.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you are questioning your career path. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Expert Ellen Pao Gives Her Best Tips On: How to Spot a Company That Cares About Diversity

A lot of companies talk about diversity and inclusion, but how do you vet if they walk the talk?

Ellen Pao has experienced this firsthand: When she was considering a role at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, her future boss’s pitch to her included the fact that it “was one of the few VC firms with women, and he wanted to bring even more onboard; diversity was important to him,” she wrote in her memoir, Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change. She took the job. But several years later, she sued the firm for gender discrimination.

These days, Pao is the CEO of Project Include, a nonprofit organization influencing tech startups to include more diversity which leads to improved teams, more innovation, and increased financial returns. These are her tips on finding a company where diversity and inclusion are more than just talk—and where you can thrive.

1. Check Out Who’s in Charge and How the Company Presents Itself

It’s easy to say you’re working on diversity and inclusion, but if those words aren’t backed up with evidence, they don’t mean much. So, look at who’s in charge, Pao says. Are there all kinds of people in leadership and on the board? Or do they all look the same? If the executives and investors are a homogenous group, it “indicates a lack of attention to important areas of inclusion.”

Then look at the company as a whole and its employees across all levels. “Go to the company website and look for diversity on the team,” Pao says. “Are there people on the team or in the photos on the website from different racial backgrounds?… Do they talk about diversity and inclusion anywhere on the website?”

2. Look at Their Track Record

One of the best indicators of what a company and culture are like in the present is what they were like in the past. So do your research on the company’s history. “You can do searches on Google for the company name and ‘harassment,’ the company name and ‘racism,’ the company name and ‘lawsuit,’” Pao says, “and see what kind of controversies they may have been involved in and see if you feel comfortable with how they’ve handled it.”

3. Ask the Right Questions

You can come right out and ask about diversity and inclusion in your interview, Pao says. “Like, ‘How do you think about diversity and inclusion?’ or ‘How is diversity and inclusion part of your company culture?’”

You will want to dig deeper than that once you know they want to hire you. “After you get the offer, ask them to tell you about a hard situation involving diversity and inclusion and how they addressed it,” Pao says. “No matter how well-intentioned and how inclusive their values, there will be some hard conversations and issues that come up. And the biggest thing is not hiding issues but addressing and resolving them in a transparent way.”

In other words, you shouldn’t expect that a company has never encountered any problems. Instead, you’re trying to gauge how your prospective leaders and colleagues react to those problems and talk about them. “That question can show whether the company is committed to having uncomfortable conversations and resolving issues or whether they kick the can down the road and try not to deal with it right away,” Pao says.

No list of questions and clues can capture everything about how a company handles diversity and inclusion. It can be hard to tell whether a company is truly committed in exactly the ways you find meaningful before you start working there. That said, we always encourage you to think of creative questions, such as these, to dig deeper and vet the company before you make a commitment to them. With this attitude and this information, you can learn a lot more than you may have thought.

Need more tips on vetting prospective employers? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Signs You’re Not Cut Out for the 9-to-5 Life

Many of us were raised to a subtle beat (or loud gong) that went something like, “Get good grades. Get into a decent school. Get a solid desk job. Be happy.”

Problem is, for some people this formula doesn’t lead to career fulfillment. In fact, for some, it’s a formula that ultimately makes them want to crawl out of their own skin or run screaming. Could this be you? What are some signs that you may, in fact, not be cut out for a traditional, 9-to-5 job?

Here are a few signs, plus what should you do if this speaks to you.

1. The Office Makes You Feel Like a Caged Animal 

It is not always about resenting authority. For some who aren’t cut out for traditional jobs, it’s the endless sea of desks that makes them want to run screaming.

What to do if you feel trapped?

If your job requires you to sit in one sp and stare at a computer all day (and you actually don’t mind the work), you may consider requesting the option to telecommute a couple times a week. If your role doesn’t really mandate sitting in one place every day, start planning your day (or requesting to do so) in a way that gets you out and about at least a time or two every day.

2. You Don’t Like Working Regimented Hours

Similar to the feeling that a cubicle may give you, being required to punch in and out each day can make some feel like they have no say in their career or life (and having no say make them want out).

What to Do If You Despise Set Hours

If this is your job (and it’s making you nuts), you may want to consider a new position or line of work. If the imposed hours are arbitrary, perhaps you could put together a proposal that shows your boss how you can achieve your goals outside of the current schedule.

3. You Resent Being Told What to Do (by Anyone)

If you feel a bubbling rage when asked to attend a meeting you don’t want to go to or work on a project you don’t think is a priority, this could be a warning sign. If you don’t think you shouldn’t have to arrive at a certain time or put in a request for vacation time at all? The writing’s on the wall.

What to Do If You’re Not Having it with Authority

If you’re feeling super resentful about having to answer to anyone, it may be a clear indicator that you’re meant to be your own boss. This isn’t us saying, “March right in and quit.” In many cases, this could be reckless. But if you truly despise working on someone else’s agenda, consider how you might earn a living as the one who gets to make the agenda.

If you’re simply not cut out for a 9-to-5, find strategic, creative, or brave ways to redefine your current role, or create your own.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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