Planning to get Unstuck

Hello Fuzzbutts!

One thing that has stuck out to me in some of the conversations with people I’ve met is how many of them seem to fall into a mindset that they are just stuck. They hate where they are but they can’t move from there because one of reason or another (usually it’s a job situation and they can’t move out of it because they need the job for money). Other times, it’s a weird relationship issue where they want to leave but they stay for whatever reason is most difficult for anyone else to understand.

While I can’t help so much on the relationship front, the job situation and the feeling of being stuck is something that can be dealt with. We feel helpless to the moment and the way we’ve led our lives that we’ve made mistakes along the way and don’t see any way out. We’re so busy we don’t think to take a breath and assess the situation. Yet, that’s exactly what we have to do. Take a step back and start reviewing where you are and where you want to be.

Have a lousy job and want to take on a job in a field you’re more interested in? Find what skills you’re lacking and start learning. I don’t get paid by Udemy but I love recommending their online courses. Computer skills, singing, drawing, whatever. You’ll learn more about the subject and learn if it’s something you actually want to do vs whatever you think it is. A computer job might sound lucrative and cozy but are you prepared to stare at hundreds, if not thousands of lines of code trying to fix whatever is broken with a deadline quickly approaching? Dip your toes into the water. If it’s fine, then start gaining the skills you need and make that transition. I know a couple of people who dropped out of college, got entry-level biotech jobs, and are doing great without a degree because they were determined to get their feet in the door and then picked up the skills they needed.

What if you’re stuck because you hate your job and don’t even know what to do? Well your problem is you don’t even know what you want to do. Start writing up a journal! Brainstorm like crazy on a sheet of paper about the possibilities. You don’t have to figure it out in one sitting. Every time you sit down and start popping off ideas, you might not know what you want to do but you’ll learn what you DON’T want to do. When you do figure out what you want to do, start assessing all the aspects of it and then weigh the pros and cons.

Say you want to make fursuits. Do you have the skills to make them to begin with? Can you afford all the materials to just get started? Do you have customer service skills appropriate for dealing with furries? Can you take criticism in case you get a bad review? Can you set up the boundaries necessary so you can do your job without being micromanaged by your customer while also make sure you can hold up your end of the deal? How much should you price your fursuits and accessories to be able to compete with better-known brands? How will you maintain your schedule and social media presence? Can you figure out a tracking system that won’t become a huge mess when you have a dozen orders or a long queue?

How about a non-furry related job? You want to work in electronics? What kind? Sound systems, displays, robotics, etc? Are you making things or repairing them? What companies would be interested in those skills? Are there any do-it-yourself projects you can do at home as examples to show off when you interview? Are there certifications you can acquire that would help you land work?

How about just stuck in your position at your current job? What does it take for a promotion? Is there a different career track at your company that they might even enable you to take? Are there other companies nearby that do the same sort of work but would give you new experience (and probably an increased income? Sometimes they will even if you end up with the same title)? Is it time to update the resume?

None of what I said matters until you can sit down and take the time to think about these things. You don’t need a lot of time. Take 10 minutes in the evenings or even during your break at work (just don’t show anyone at work you’re working on changing careers!). The point is you’re not stuck. You just need to settle your mind, take a breath and a step back, and review everything going on. You can come up with a plan and come up with a direction for your life. You’ll gain a sense of control almost right away as you shift gears and you’ll realize you can handle this.

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Book Recommendation- 24 Hours to the Perfect Interview

Hi fuzzbutts!

Working hard at the new jobbo! It’s been fun so far and the training process is intense. Even then, they’re suggesting people don’t typically “get comfortable” until 3 months after they start. I intend on doing it within 2 months. Aaaaanyway, once I had the interview scheduled for the job, I had received a book recommendation from my pal Tabykat to study before the interview.

It’s a short book called 24 Hours to the Perfect Interview. It’s almost 200 pages. Before you panic and say you can’t read that many pages so fast, I’m just saying you should get it the moment you know you’re looking for a job or a promotion and review the stuff. Plus a lot of the pages are a decent skim or show tables, etc, so it’s not as onerous as it sounds.  It covers a lot of things an experienced professional things should already know but it also gives fascinating details and things to try.

Since I was feeling so desperate for this particular job (the lab was beautiful, it’s an industry I want to work in, I heard nothing but good things from people there), I did the extra work. Good news is that it worked! So what especially seemed to help? I’ll just go over what I wouldn’t usually do but I did it after reading and I feel like it helped.

Research the status of the company- how are the financials. Any good news from the company? Any new deals or partnerships? I had a chance to talk about this to the director who interviewed me and they were impressed with the level of detail I knew (even though it was about 10 minutes worth of googling). I also seemed to blow somebody’s mind when I mentioned how I liked the company’s recent growth spike.

Letters after the interview- I thought this was kind of a hokey idea. I had a rapid fire interview (different pairs of people for 30 minutes over a few hours). Between pairs, I’d jot down notes regarding each person about something we discussed. After the interview was all over, I wrote thank-you notes and mailed them to the company for each individual person, mentioning said item from the interview. Once I got my foot in the door, almost everyone mentioned it and seemed to appreciate the gesture. Considering all these people were part of the decision to hire me, it felt like a good move.

There’s a ton of other stuff in there that I think most people miss, especially those early in their career development. I just wanted to recommend the book in general because I feel like it helped me. I wasn’t sure when I bought it for my kindle, planning on returning it if I didn’t get enough out of it (since I paid full price when it’s dirt cheap for a physical copy) but I liked it enough that I felt it was worth the sticker price.

Good luck fuzzbutts!

Don’t Burn Your Bridges

Hello fuzzbutts!

Work is rough. Work is tough. You’ve been slaving away at your job and having a difficult time. You’re looking for a way out, sending your info and resume out to find a new job. Finally, you find a new opportunity! You’re all set! Time to leave! Now you can give everyone a piece of your mind, flipping the bird as you make your triumphant exit.

Don’t do that. It’s not classy. Also, depending on your industry, it could easily come back to bite your tail. In Southern California, if you work in science, it’s a small world! There’s a ton of companies but turn-over is high and people scatter around quick. In my current job, I’ve seen technicians show up at our place of business where they all worked with my coworkers in my past. I’ve also heard people talk about giving references for other contacts. Sure, it might feel great to let everything boil over and spew over those jerks now that you’re leaving. Head out the door after unloading all your grievances and you can forget about references. Not only that, though. Those people will eventually move to new jobs for whatever reason and you’ll eventually leave this new job for something else. Imagine you apply for a job, have a decent interview, and then one of those people you unloaded on has a private word with the person considering to hire you. So much for the new new job.

On top of that, sometimes it’s not the job itself but your compensation for it. You’re looking for something new to earn more cash and feel a bit more appreciated. I’ve seen a lot of people where they start to slow down in their work, eventually to the point where multiple people are wondering “What do they even do anymore?” People remember the quality of your work at the end. If you’ve pretty much quit your job while still collecting a pay check, it builds a sour taste in the mouths of those around you. I had a great coworker who got tired of his job. We were friends until the last couple months when he gave up on the job and all his work went to me. Not cool, bruh.

Sometimes you know there’s a job out there where you don’t care about going back to there. I did seasonal work at the now-defunct Toys R Us and went in while sick. I eventually decided it wasn’t worth the effort. I went to the manager and let them know I wouldn’t be in tomorrow and that I was quitting. I didn’t storm in there, talk about how poorly run the place was or the crazy stressful situation of seasonal work at a toy store. I was polite, sick, and straight-forward. Granted it was still during the seasonal period so I knew there wouldn’t be a “next year” if I wanted to come back. That was a possibility I seriously considered and I still made the decision. With my career now, it’s important to keep a good, honest reputation because it turns out my contacts, especially my former director, know a lot of people around the country.

Anyway, the point is to be good to those around you, whether it’s at work or just in your daily life. You never know if you’ll meet up again and you need to weigh the short-term good feelings against the long term.

Good luck, fuzzbutts!

How to get promoted!

Hello fuzzbutts!

We all need to work somehow. Some of us draw, make fursuits, or just have “normal” jobs somewhere. Sometimes we’re doing great but sometimes we feel like we’re spinning our wheels. When we feel like that, we have to work smarter to find a way forward. How do?

To advance in whatever career you are in, you need to develop more skills. If you do fursuit building, you need to make better and unique fursuits. If you draw, you need to improve your speed and poses. If you work somewhere else, you need to develop skills relevant to where you are AND where you’re going to be promoted.

There’s even skills you need that aren’t the core of what you’d think you need. Fursuit building and artistic work requires organizational skills to keep commissions on track. You also need to get better at marketing and your social media presence to attract customers. All the skills in the world won’t help if nobody knows you exist. Learn your weak points in these areas and start working on ways to improve.

If you work at a “regular” job, similar rules apply but you likely don’t have to work on such a wide variety of things. Do you work stocking the shelves? Can you start cleaning or working the registers? What can you do to make yourself more valuable? Not just to your current employer, but to any other places you might like to work at.

I work as a chemist in a biotech. I need to learn way more biology than I ever wanted to so I can better apply myself. I also have to learn about management and operations so I can rise higher.

You won’t get promoted for showing up and metaphorically turning the crank all day, punch your timecard, and go home. You need to work and prove you can handle more responsibility before anyone will consider advancing you forward. It’s not always the case that there’s actually a position for you to move into. In that case, it’s time to advance by finding a new place that gives you more of what you want! It’s not comfortable to switch job but if you become stagnant at the same place for more than a couple years, it’s time to make the most of what you can do!

Good luck out there, Fuzzbutts!