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    Want a Career that Matters? Discover Tata Consultancy Services and its Corporate Social Responsibility Leadership

    Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that has been partnering with many of the world’s largest businesses for the past 50 years. TCS believes innovation and collective knowledge can transform the future with greater purpose.

    TCS employs over 600,000 of the world’s best-trained consultants from 150+ nationalities with operations in 50+ countries. Diversity is a value of TCS as evidenced by the fact that it’s one of the world’s largest employers of women in the IT industry.

    Notably, in North America, TCS was recently recognized as:

    The #1 Top Employer in the U.S. by the Top Employers Institute

    One of the 50 most community-minded companies in the U.S. by Points of Light

    One of Fortune Magazine World’s Most Admired CompaniesTM list, a global barometer of corporate reputation, for the second straight year

    Working for the Greater Good

    TCS believes in building greater futures by making its communities its priority and by connecting people to opportunities in the digital economy. In line with the values of its parent company, The Tata Group, TCS’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) efforts are driven toward initiatives that contribute to the creation of a fairer and more equitable world for all.

    With its proactive stance on climate change and award-winning work with communities across the world, TCS has earned it a place in leading sustainability indices such as the MSCI Global Sustainability Index and the FTSE4Good Emerging Index.

    Globally, efforts include helping marginalized individuals and communities with literacy, education, employment and mentoring for entrepreneurial endeavors. In North America, these CSR efforts are specifically designed to help advance education equity, close the STEM skills gap, and prepare students for the future global workforce.

    Two programs that engage with youth and support potential leaders in the IT space are the career readiness program (goIT) and the professional development program (Ignite My Future).

    Digital Innovation and Career Readiness (goIT)

    TCS’ flagship, no-cost digital innovation and career readiness program, Go Innovate Together (goIT), equips K-12 students all over the world with the skills, confidence and mindset to pursue careers in STEM. 

    goIT provides resources and training programs for teachers but primarily focuses on opportunities for students to learn about problem solving and design thinking while developing their sense of global citizenship. The program inspires participants to use their new skills to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges because all goIT challenges and program culminations are tied to the U.N.’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. 

    WayUp spoke with Kevin Lee, a previous co-op student turned full-time software engineer. Kevin found TCS to be an exciting and innovative environment, especially in the Internet of Things (IoT) field. He heard about goIT through a mentor during his internship and was excited to volunteer to teach elementary, middle, and high school students during a goIT Summer Camp. The three-day camp was integrated with TCS’ Bringing Life to Things IoT lab for the second consecutive year, and students learned where and how IoT can be used to generate positive changes in their communities.

    By volunteering with the program, Kevin most enjoyed seeing students increase their understanding of technology’s potential and explore new interests in tech through the program’s culminating projects and presentations. These programs are valuable for students to learn new skills and evaluate different aspects of technology as they explore career possibilities for their future.

    The summer camp experience is special to all TCS employee volunteers, but it is especially meaningful to those, like Kevin, who work in the Milford office outside of Cincinnati where the goIT program was born. It began as an innovative idea for a one-time summer camp in 2009 and has since grown into a year-round global program, operating in 42 countries. Over the last year alone, goIT touched the lives of more than 1 million students and 20K educators. Student innovations addressed issues as diverse as water quality, hunger, education, equality, poverty and climate change.

    Teacher Professional Development (Ignite My Future)

    Launched in 2017, TCS’ Ignite My Future is TCS’ pioneering effort to empower educators around the world though a unique approach that integrates computational thinking into core subjects like math, science, literacy, social studies, and the arts. Computational thinking is a future-ready skill that prepares students to tackle problems by building their confidence to work with big, complex issues.

    Ignite My Future’s program content is developed and managed by a team of former educators, so it is a teachers-helping-teachers initiative that adds meaning to K-12 classrooms all over the world. As a teacher professional development program that provides training and resources to teachers looking to expand their capacity for bringing computational thinking into their classrooms, the program provides teachers and their classes with formal training sessions, exciting lesson plans, virtual field trips and Family STEM Night implementations. 

    Recently, the program launched “Tech Trends for Teachers” which tackles tech knowledge and awareness from a different perspective. Like many of its in-classroom initiatives, Tech Trends for Teachers is driven by TCS employee volunteers.

    WayUp spoke with Software Engineer John Trimble about his experience at TCS. In addition to his role helping lead the IoT and digital engineering lab in Cincinnati, he is also a frequent volunteer for various CSR initiatives. Recently, he contributed both to the experience of students attending the goIT summer camp and to teachers who turn to TCS for their own professional development through Ignite My Future.

    Tech Trends for Teachers engages TCS employees in providing K-12 teachers with the opportunity to learn about — and share — tech innovations that will change the way the next generation will live and work. John also mentioned how this type of volunteerism gives a chance to highlight their own leadership, which is fulfilling.

    “It’s Part of Our Ethos:” Purpose Matters

    The fact that TCS’ culture of purpose is deeply embedded across all geographies, departments and customer service units is clear in conversations with TCSers who can describe the company’s legacy of community purpose in detail. In conversations with TCS employees, they happily declare that contributing to social and environmental good is part of the company’s ethos.

    In 2023 alone, TCS employees volunteered across the globe and generously gave more than 5 million hours of service or, as “TCSers” refer to it, of HOPE. In North America, employee activities included supporting programs like goIT and Ignite My Future, as well as sorting, packaging, and delivering sustenance to people facing food insecurity through food banks. Additionally, employees plant trees, mentor refugees, give blood and volunteer for disaster response and recovery activities.

    In response to employees’ interest in receiving corporate support for volunteering on their own or in more coordinated efforts, TCS created an app for finding curated opportunities based on employee location. The app, called myPurpose, is one of the ways TCS supports employees looking to live their purpose both at work and after work.

    When asked about the company’s culture of purpose, John emphasized the fact that giving back is important to all TCS employees.

    Kevin was initially exposed to CSR initiatives during his internship, and his engagement continued after joining the company full-time. In highlighting the variety of opportunities available, he said, “I really appreciate all the creative programs that allow people to make a difference even virtually. It helps us expand our impact and removes a lot of boundaries.”

    Opportunities for a Career with Impact

    John and Kevin both graduated from the University of Cincinnati (UC), each earning a Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering. They were both first drawn to TCS because of UC’s co-op program, which involved several semesters of full-time work. After interning with TCS, they decided to join the company full-time after graduation.

    Kevin shared how the internship experience helped make his transition into TCS as a full-time employee more seamless. Upon graduating facing a challenging job market affected by the impacts of Covid-19, he appreciated how TCS was able to hire him and give him opportunities to contribute to others in his community at the time. Even more, he valued the career opportunities he would gain by joining the company.

    John was specifically drawn to the company’s IoT lab and the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology, which made him excited to join one of the biggest tech companies in the world.

    The internship program at TCS provides students with real-world experience and meaningful projects, equipping them with the skills to launch their careers in technology, IoT, engineering, and more. Additionally, interns can gain insight into the company culture, the team dynamics and projects, and the day-to-day work itself.

    Whether through the internship or as full-time employees, TCS creates opportunities to engage with work that makes an impact. From specific CSR initiatives and programs to an overall culture of philanthropy, TCS provides an educational and purposeful environment to start or build your career.

    For more information about career opportunities within TCS, check out their page on WayUp here. More

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    How ‘Early Careers’ at Tata Consultancy Services Prepares You for a Career with Impact

    Taking a leap and joining an internship can come with many unknowns – Will I meet people and make friends? What is the company culture like? What type of projects will I work on?

    At Tata Consultancy Services, a leader in IT services, consulting, and business solutions, the campus recruitment team understands these pre-joining nerves and have created a thoughtful engaging program to ease the transition from school into a professional work environment.

    To develop emerging young leaders within the IT industry, TCS created a robust internship program that offers students meaningful work experience in a real-world setting. The ‘TCS Early Careers’ program allows interns the opportunity to contribute to real technology projects handled by industry professionals within various TCS business units and gain hands-on experience through problem solving, and critical thinking skills. Spanning across 10-12 weeks, the program is ideal for students currently enrolled in a computer science and/or other TCS relevant STEM academic program

    About ‘TCS Early Careers’ Program

    TCS values the student’s experience and learning. The program is structured into 5 distinct phases intended to guide the students seamlessly through the experience and gain the exposure that is intended. With the guidance of the TCS campus team at every step of the process, each student has access to a business mentor and a buddy who are integrally involved in the internship process and interact regularly with the students.

    Phase 1The initial phase, prior to joining, has connect sessions planned at regular intervals with the campus team and the mentors to ensure readiness to get started with TCS. To alleviate some of the nerves before starting the internship, the TCS team hosts virtual sessions to go through any questions upcoming interns might have on onboarding and what to expect on the internship. The week before the internship starts, interns receive a welcome kit full of TCS swag and instructions on what to expect on Day 1!

    Phase 2 and 3To help ease the transition into the corporate world, the second and third phase focuses on ‘getting a fast start’ for the interns. The interns are welcomed with an orientation on their first day where they attend workshops, featuring sessions about TCS and its business, information on how to access their equipment tools, connect with their mentors/buddies and other insightful talks from senior leadership. During the weeklong orientation, TCS interns will also hear from Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) leaders and are encouraged to join these groups to start networking and seamlessly assimilate into the TCS culture.

    Phase 4The fourth phase is about delivering clarity on the role and helping the interns succeed in the project. Interns meet with their assigned teams and start working on projects and some of the interns have the opportunity to directly work with TCS customers. While working on projects, interns are mentored by subject matter experts to gain applicable leadership and technology skills to help jumpstart their careers. All of this happens organically through the collaborative company culture and meaningful project experience.

    Phase 5The last phase is all about ‘Celebrating the success’ of completing the internships. With a formal graduation ceremony, the interns have the opportunity to showcase their experience to the TCS Leadership team and share/hear about success stories from other interns.

    Life as an Intern

    To gain an insight into the TCS intern experience, WayUp spoke with previous interns Karan Sathiayan and Hrithik Reddy. Karan, a data scientist intern and current full-time employee, shared that as an intern he was given a lot of responsibility which made him feel valued as a part of the team. Karan shared that the highlight of the internship was when he presented a demo in front of a large group of TCS employees at an internal seminar that his manager organized.

    To gain another perspective, WayUp spoke with Hrithik Reddy who interned at TCS but his role was quite different from a typical technology internship. He focused on projects supporting the Global Sports Sponsorship team and helped the team with sponsorship research and how to boost TCS marketability through sports. Hrithik supported the team’s efforts working towards TCS sponsorships for the TCS NYC Marathon (title sponsor), Boston Marathon, Chicago Marathon, TCS Jaguar Racing, and other events.

    Hrithik spoke highly of the team environment and company culture, especially in his contributions as an intern. He described the engaging atmosphere and how his input was considered by the team, which helped him feel valuable and like he had already been working for the company for years.

    Mentorship and Professional Development Opportunities

    As a part of the Internship program, interns are assigned a mentor and a buddy to meet with weekly throughout the entire duration of the internship. Interns are also introduced to an internal communication tool to communicate with their peers and receive real-time feedback from their buddies, mentors, and senior leadership. This intentional approach to provide relational support at the company helps to equip interns with networking, interpersonal, and teambuilding skills – all of which are vital to their long-term success.

    Karan Sathiayan, a data scientist who very recently joined TCS full-time, praised the company culture and their value of mentorship and continued education. TCS not only offers outside training through Linkedin Learning, but also has their own internal platform called iEvolve where employees can gain training on anything from technical skills to leadership and soft skills.

    Karan also elaborated how these TCS trainings are vital to standing out during the interview process.

    TCS Micro Internships

    In collaboration with The Forage, Tata Consultancy Services and Tata Group have created three virtual Micro Internships which are open to all students and professionals who are looking to grow their skills. TCS and Tata Group have created three Micro Internships which simulates real world projects and allows you to get experience in areas such as Data Visualization, Cybersecurity, and Sustainability. These Micro Internships are self-paced typically taking 3-5 hours to complete and can be conducted fully virtually. These Micro Internships are free and are open to everyone. You can navigate to the three Tata Micro Internships by clicking on the following link here.

    An internship with TCS is a valuable experience that can guide you on your career path and prepare you with hands-on experience for a full-time career after graduation. If you’re interested in IT or software engineering, be sure to check out their internship programs and other career opportunities within the company.

    For more information about the company, check out TCS’s page on WayUp here. For more specific information about the internship program, view here.

    About TCS

    Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organization that has been partnering with many of the world’s largest businesses for the past 50 years. TCS believes innovation and collective knowledge can transform the future with greater purpose.

    TCS has over 601,000 of the world’s best trained consultants from 150+ nationalities with operations in 55 countries. Diversity is a value of TCS as evidenced by how the company is one of the world’s largest employers of women – over 160,000 women employees – making up over 36% of the global workforce. Notably, TCS was recently awarded the #1 Top Employer in the U.S. award by Top Employers Institute and was also awarded Top 100 internship program by WayUp in 2022 and 2023. More

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    From interns to analysts with Capital One’s Analyst Internship Program

    Capital One’s Analyst Internship Program (AIP) is the launchpad for a satisfying career in business or data analytics. 

    During the 10-week program, students can expect to complete meaningful work like building data visualization tools in AWS, performing campaign analysis on marketing plans and optimizing machine learning products. They’ll level up their business, problem solving and coding skills and, along the way, build relationships they can turn to for support beyond the internship.

    Three AIP alumni, now working full-time at Capital One, share how their internship helped them launch their analyst careers successfully. 

    How Campbell completed real work that advanced financial inclusion

    Campbell experienced a diverse mix of analyst responsibilities while completing her two Capital One internships. 

    In her first summer, she worked on a marketing campaign identifying which Capital One Auto Finance tools would best help customers increase their savings. In her second internship, Campbell worked with the Digital Customer Experience Innovation Team to analyze customer feedback and address how Capital One could optimize Auto Navigator, a tool customers use to pre-qualify for auto loans, explore financing options and search for vehicles in their preferred price range. 

    During her internships, Campbell analyzed the effectiveness of email marketing, used coding and worked on data within the cloud. She identified customer motivations, built customer personas and presented her insights to senior leaders. 

    “I came away with firm examples of how I drove a project forward as an intern,” Campbell said. “I can point to decisions that I brought to the table. It was pretty incredible to have those contributions. I knew I wanted to come back.” 

    Campbell was excited when she realized how much her internship prepared her for a full-time position through the Analyst Development Program (ADP), an 18-month experience where recent grads cycle through two positions with two teams. Currently, she’s a business analyst with the Financial Services Strategy team. 

    “Yes, you’re learning how to be an analyst, but in the eyes of your coworkers, you already are because you’re doing the work,” Campbell said. “That gives you so much confidence at the start of your career.”

     How Solomon developed tech and financial skills to launch his career

    Solomon was looking for an internship where he could merge a new experience working in tech with his studies in management and entrepreneurship. He found that perfect blend through the AIP.

    As a business analyst intern, Solomon worked on a machine learning team where he built a dashboard for small business clients. While Solomon researched how to create the dashboard, he took the opportunity to expand some of his tech and business acumen. It was then that he learned the programming languages Python and SQL, explored how to use data visualization tools and learned to effectively pitch ideas. 

    “Tech is the future for the financial industry, and Capital One knows that,” Solomon said. “So I appreciated learning these programming and product manager skills to make me a better analyst.” 

    Now, Solomon uses the tech knowledge he developed as an intern for his full-time role with the ADP. As a business analyst on the Credit Card Innovation team, he assesses data, customer feedback and the latest technology to determine how to better protect Capital One’s card portfolios. 

    “If you’re interested in the intersection of technology and finance, Capital One is the place to be,” Solomon said. “With the internship, you get to work on real problems and learn new skills in an exciting and supporting environment.” 

     How Fozi built a supportive network to help him grow

    As a data analyst intern with Capital One’s Servicing Data Strategy team, Fozi worked on predictive modeling to determine the likelihood a customer would close their Capital One card account. 

    While the work required a heavy amount of data analysis, Fozi knew he could do a better job if he incorporated machine learning. After discussing with his manager, they introduced Fozi to several data analysts and machine learning engineers who had experience and could help. Fozi’s new connections helped him infuse a machine learning model into the project so it would need less manual data entry to succeed long-term. 

    “Doing the work is one thing, but knowing how to build relationships and ask your network for help and guidance was a valuable skill I learned,” Fozi said. 

    In his current full-time role as a data analyst through the ADP, Fozi supports various Card teams by designing and maintaining data structures for campaigns. Rarely does a week go by where he doesn’t reach out to someone he met during his internship—whether a former manager, colleague or another intern—for everything from advice on building a strategy plan to getting other data analysts’ best practices. 

    “Capital One’s culture makes it so easy to build connections,” Fozi said. “I’ve realized that community building is how I’ve found success. That network I started building as an intern still provides me guidance and support.”

    Head over to Capital One’s profile to learn more about the company and browse open roles, upcoming events, and more. More

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    Manage Work & Stress: 5 Ways to Build Work-Life Balance

    Unless you’re a robot, it’s all but impossible to avoid having work stress. But it’s not impossible to avoid taking those feelings home with you at the end of the day and really lean into work-life balance. 

    True leisure time, in which anxiety and frustration over work can be set aside until you’re next at the office, is essential to staying mentally in check and avoiding burnout. Here are seven ways to keep work stress, rage, and anxiety where they belong.

    1. Make today’s work stress your Future Self’s problem

    “Don’t worry!” has never been particularly helpful advice. But what may be helpful is saying to yourself, “I know you’re worried about that call tomorrow, but that’s Future Me’s problem.” It’s less about the elimination of worry and more about placing the worry in someone else’s capable hands for a while.

    2. Buddy up

    If you live with a partner or a roommate, don’t make them the designated person to whom you complain about your job or process frustrating work situations. Choose a different friend or family member to vent to (and make sure they don’t mind if you do). 

    That way, you won’t be constantly tempted to dissect work stresses because your processing partner is always available to you at home. This reduces your roommate or partner’s stress levels, too!

    3. Set your boundaries

    As part of the conversation with your team, it’s a good idea to propose new boundaries that you believe will be most impactful. 

    If you’re hoping to exercise over lunch, for example, ask your team to avoid scheduling meetings during that hour when possible. Perhaps you’d like to be more engaged with your family in the evenings: Let them know that you won’t respond to emails after a certain hour (but that you can be reached by phone if something is truly urgent). 

    Remember to maintain a degree of flexibility: If one of your new boundaries is negatively impacting your work or your team’s ability to deliver, it’s your responsibility to recognize this and adjust accordingly. 

    Make (some) personal time non-negotiable

    Sometimes, our impulse is to jump at every important meeting or phone call. Don’t let it eat into the time carved out for enjoyment and happiness. By establishing at least one block of time per week as non-negotiable personal time, you’re upholding a contract to yourself.

    Make your work commute more enjoyable 

    For those who commute, here are a few ways to make the most of that time:

    Don’t rush it

    Ensuring your journey to the office is leisurely can have a big impact on your mood throughout the day. Starting the workday with the stress of running to catch a train, being stuck in traffic, or arriving late to a meeting can throw off your attitude. It’s often easily avoidable with appropriate planning. 

    Do what you can to adjust your travel plans to better fit your schedule. For example, if you have an early call, ask if you can take the call from home and come into the office after rather than rushing in at the crack of dawn. 

    Disconnect

    While some people may relish commute time as a chance to catch up on emails or news, it’s just as valid to use it as a time to unplug. You shouldn’t feel guilty for not being more “productive” on your commute. 

    The unconscious mind can sometimes solve problems, particularly complex ones, more effectively than conscious thought. This means you might come up with some of your brightest ideas while zoning out on the way into or out of the office. 

    Reconnect

    On the other hand, your commute can be a good time to chat with family, friends, or even strangers. If you drive to work, consider using the time to make phone calls you won’t be able to make once in the office. Trust us, your mom will appreciate it! 

    4. Make small changes for improved work-life balance

    Are you unhappy with your daily routine? Feel like you’re having a mental block? Switch things up in a big way by changing some small details.

    Nora Herting and Heather Willems, authors and co-founders of graphic recording agency, ImageThink, have great advice for slightly shifting your perspective: “Try arriving to work 30 minutes early or taking a different route. How do you process information differently when you write with a brightly colored pen versus typing?

    Simply moving things around on your desk could help you see and think about your project differently.” These small changes can cause cracks in your routine, say the pair, breaking down the brick wall a mental block causes. You can also try working in a new space, like a quiet coffee shop or a nearby co-working space, suggests Nisha Garigarn, founder of Croissant (an app that gives users access to co-working hotspots). “Stimulate your creativity and make work more of an experience.”  

    5. Work smarter

    If your job affords you flexibility, establish a schedule that works for you. This doesn’t necessarily mean sitting at a desk from 9 to 5.

    For Tiffany Kumar, former Global Head of Songwriter Relations at Spotify, it means working in the morning and later in the day and breaking for an afternoon hike. “This step back allows me to see a straight line to the company’s big picture goals,” she says. I have come up with some of my best ideas during a mid-day hike on Runyon Canyon.”

    These schedule changes can be difficult at first, particularly if you (and coworkers) are used to constant availability. But working smarter enables you to work better, says Kumar. “I no longer have shame, because I know my contribution and what I need to be at my best. I just wish I knew more hardworking people that realized this.

    Too many of my peers get burnt out after years of being absent from their home life. As a result, they quit a job they once loved. It doesn’t have to be that way. Balance is key.”

    Originally written by Lauren Hoffmann in December 2016. Updated by Hired Content Team in March 2024. More

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    Emotions at Work: 5 Ways to Deal and Still Get Work Done

    The average person will reportedly spend more than 90,000 hours of life at work — more than any other activity outside of sleeping. You will encounter days and even extended periods when the actual act of doing your work is hard to reconcile with the other things occupying your brain. Put simply: Sometimes work is not the most important thing.

    Regardless of the magnitude of your emotional storm — whether you’re going through a breakup, reeling from recent world events, or grieving the loss of a loved one — below are a few things to help you be a whole and (mostly) functional person at work, even during incredibly trying times. Some of them are obvious, but worth repeating.

    1. Be ruthlessly kind to yourself

    Take a moment to pause and reflect on how you’re feeling. Are you experiencing stress or frustration? By identifying your emotions, you can better understand their impact on your behavior and decision-making processes. Don’t suppress or ignore your feelings; instead, acknowledge them as valid responses to your environment.

    Self-care is one of the first things that flies out the window in times of severe stress. Correct this immediately, because no one else will do it for you. Unsure of where to start, or even what the term ‘self-care’ really means? Here’s a handy playlist of TED talks about the importance of self-care. 

    If you do just one thing every day, repeat this mantra: “I am doing my best. I am enough.” Because you are, on both counts.

    2. Reach out for support

    Everyone in your inner circle wants to be helpful. This is an important part of friendship. While many are inclined to endure hardships alone in a feat of martyrdom, don’t do that. In whatever way you are most comfortable, reach out to your closest friends and give them a heads-up that you need them. Don’t underestimate the power of being vulnerable.

    Whether it’s venting to a friend, seeking advice from a mentor, or attending therapy sessions, reaching out for support can help you navigate difficult emotions and build resilience in the workplace.

    3. Communicate with your manager

    Also at the very least: Be upfront with the person who manages you about the many things you are navigating emotionally. Put some time on their calendar or send them an email briefly filling them in on the situation, and asking for a time to talk further. 

    Be honest and transparent about how you’re feeling and express your needs clearly. Constructive dialogue can help resolve conflicts, build trust, and foster a supportive work environment where emotions are openly acknowledged and addressed.

    Tell them what you are carrying and ask for their help distributing the load. Even if your manager can’t take things off your plate, they can help you prioritize and manage expectations.

    What do you do when you need to soothe yourself? What do you do to de-stress? Make a list of everything that has ever made you feel better, including the wild and crazy things. Then move the immediately accessible ones to the top. Pick three to implement this week. 

    Consider practicing emotional regulation techniques to prevent emotions from negatively affecting your work. Deep breathing exercises, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation are effective techniques for calming the mind and reducing stress levels. Additionally, reframing negative thoughts and focusing on positive aspects of the situation can help shift your perspective and improve your emotional well-being.

    5. Take action (however small or big) every day

    Taking action is a key part of moving through grief or turmoil. Stasis will only amplify your frustration and magnify your sadness. Plus, per a Harvard Business School study, “rituals” have been shown to instill emotional resilience in times of grieving. 

    The study discovered an interesting behavior: “Rituals appear to be defined by purposeful behaviors designed to achieve some desired outcome and that the specific behaviors that constitute those rituals are less important than performing some form of ritualistic behavior.” TL;DR: It doesn’t matter what you do, so long as you do something you believe will make you feel better.

    Manage emotions at work

    Emotions are an inherent aspect of the human experience, and they inevitably influence our professional lives. By implementing these strategies, you can effectively manage emotions in the workplace while maintaining productivity and well-being. By integrating these practices into your daily routine, you can cultivate a healthier and more fulfilling work environment for yourself and those around you.

    Originally written by Whitney Ricketts in November 2016. Updated by Hired Content Team in March 2024. More

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    6 Ways to Find the Perfect Mentor to Advance Your Career (+ What to Look for in a Great Mentor)

    One of the most undervalued but beneficial resources any professional can have during their career is a mentor. In an increasingly competitive world of work, a combination of emotional intelligence, a refined skill set, and a great network will drive your career’s growth trajectory.

    If you speak with any accomplished (senior) professional, the last piece of that puzzle is having a mentor. In your path to success, it’s important to have guidance and positive encouragement from someone who has been there and done that.

    Harvard Business School’s Thomas DeLong wrote, “Everyone we spoke with over age 40 could name a mentor in his or her professional life, but younger people often could not.” Before you can reap the benefits of a trusted advisor, you have to find one. To kick off your search, here are six strategies for finding a career-defining mentor:

    1. Unearth hidden gems in your current network

    Start with your closest friends at work who have an understanding of you professionally and personally. The motto “If you don’t ask, you shall never receive” could not be more true. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. Ask your colleagues to recommend former coworkers or friends who may be a great fit for you (as a mentor).

    Additionally, reaching out to your friends who work in a similar industry can prove to be fruitful on multiple fronts. Let them know where you are mentally and what you are looking to gain from a mentor in your corner. Once they suggest a few names, research them through their LinkedIn profiles to get a better sense of their career trajectory before you reach out.

    2. Remember your (professional) heritage

    You may not be at your previous employer for a variety of reasons. But there may be an opportunity you’re missing out on by overlooking this option. Think back to some of the managers you enjoyed conversing with and have shared values.

    Consider reaching out to them to connect further (be flexible: coffee, lunch, or a quick Zoom call) and catch up. In some cases, managers who worked in a cross-functional team could be ideal too. Your mentor doesn’t have to be in your direct line of work for the relationship to be mutually beneficial.

    Building a relationship with someone whose opinion you trust is rooted more deeply in them understanding your ambitions and having a strong sense of leadership. This can help guide your decision-making at crucial points of your career.

    3. Network strategically

    This mentor acquisition strategy, although effective, may take longer to materialize. That’s because you have to build the initial relationship before you establish a “formal” mentor relationship.

    Also, not all industry events attract high-caliber professionals you’ll want to connect with. So be strategic about which ones you attend. If you choose to invest time into an event, make sure you are stepping out of your comfort zone. Connect with new faces and ask insightful questions to spark great conversation and help you learn about their experiences. You may find your mentor in the most unexpected place, so don’t discount anyone before learning more about them.

    Related: Job Searching? Online Networking Strategies to Get you Started

    4. Don’t overlook your peers

    Depending on where you are in your career, it’s valuable to consider colleagues as mentors. We all have different experiences and learnings based on how we got to where we are, so there may be learning opportunities for both of you.

    5. Aspire to learn from differences

    Intuitively, we are attracted to what we are most familiar with. When you’re looking for a mentor, be open to connecting with someone who may not have the same personality or approach as you.

    The differences between the both of you can lead to you learning so much more about yourself and vice versa. There isn’t just one path to success and it’s important to gain wisdom from various sources.

    Although differences can add more to the mentor relationship, honesty, integrity, and great listening skills are must-haves.

    6. Know your value as a mentee

    One of the biggest misconceptions around mentorship is that you are just seeking someone to help you achieve your goals. A mentorship is a dynamic relationship that involves both sides providing value and feedback to each other.

    Of course, more experienced individuals can contribute in a different capacity but your perceived lack of experience does not exclude you. You’d be surprised by how your mentor can learn from your experiences!

    Top traits of a great mentor

    So when you use those tips to go about looking for your mentor, which specific traits should you seek in them? Guest contributor Ted Jaffe shares his recommendations.

    1. Give honest and constructive feedback

    Great mentors will always tell you when you’re doing something well – and when and how you need to improve. Constructive feedback is the key to an impactful mentorship. It’s what truly helps you learn and grow. You’ll learn more from your failures than your accomplishments.

    It’s important to identify a mentor who conveys feedback in a way that’s constructive for you. You need a consistent, trustworthy source to tell you where you can improve – and more importantly how to improve for next time.

    Even as a senior product manager, I get a lot of constructive feedback from my mentors at work. This includes how I communicate a rollout plan, use data to make important product decisions, or how a presentation I delivered to the executive team could have gone better. I know my best mentors are the ones who are:

    Taking notes on my work

    Thinking carefully about how I performed

    Telling me how I did and what areas I should focus on improving

    2. Motivate you to do your best work possible

    Mentors are people you look up to. They motivate you to work harder and put time and attention into your work, which will ultimately make you successful.

    If it weren’t for mentors encouraging me to grow and develop my skills, I would not be able to accomplish what I have thus far in my career. For example, when I was building a plan to revamp our app onboarding process, I faced many obstacles and differing opinions across stakeholders. This made progress extremely difficult. I had to keep the scope reasonable and stick to a predetermined deadline.

    My mentors helped me frame my presentation and proposal in a way that helped me move forward and set scope boundaries. They also ensured we delivered a product all stakeholders could fully support. While it may sound manageable, in practice it was extremely difficult. Many times I wanted to give up. My mentors kept me motivated throughout the process and ultimately helped me deliver a great result for the company and product.

    3. Highly skilled in their area of expertise

    Your mentors should have a track record of success. You can look at their LinkedIn profile and draw inspiration from their career trajectory and growth. You should expect a great mentor to share their learnings and stories with you when you ask them about it.

    At the beginning of my career, I developed relationships with senior directors at both Symantec and RingCentral. Over time, as I delivered value for them by doing great work and helping them accomplish their goals, they rewarded me with mentorship. They talked me through their own career stories and how they developed themselves through skill and experience.  

    These stories ultimately gave me a North Star that I used to inform my own career path.

    4. Want to see you succeed in your career goals

    Your mentors should be your biggest fans. They should cheer you on from the sidelines as you focus and execute your career goals.  

    They should have a genuine interest in helping you succeed beyond what’s in it for themselves. You will be able to sense this as you share your progress in your career journey.  

    Throughout my early career, I established a regular 1:1 meeting cadence with my mentors so I could brief them on how I was doing. If I was doing well, we would discuss why. If I was struggling, we would discuss how I should turn it around and get back on track. These conversations may be rare, but when they occur they’re extremely valuable.    

    Originally published January 2017. Updated February 2024. More

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    Is Your Workplace Toxic? How to Know — And What To Do Next

    Do you dread going to work in the morning? You might not dislike your actual job, but the culture or environment of your workplace itself. Unfortunately, a toxic workplace is all too common and can be difficult to handle.

    You’ve got an inbox full of real work to do. Yet, you spend much of your time at work worrying about a negative boss or a colleague who always blames others. A toxic workplace can leave you feeling drained, demoralized, and disengaged. But how do you know if your workplace is toxic? And more importantly, what steps can you take to navigate or escape that environment?

    If you’re stuck in a bad situation, use this blog as a guide to handle it. We’ll delve into the telltale signs of toxicity in the workplace and provide actionable strategies to reclaim your well-being and career satisfaction.

    Signs of a toxic workplace

    1. Poor leadership

    Toxic workplaces are often characterized by ineffective or abusive leadership. This can manifest in various forms, including micromanagement, favoritism, lack of transparency, and a disregard for employee well-being.

    2. Negative culture

    If negativity pervades the office atmosphere, it could be a sign of toxicity. Gossip, backstabbing, and a general sense of distrust among colleagues indicate underlying issues that need to be addressed.

    3. Lack of support

    In healthy work environments, employees feel supported and valued by their superiors and peers. However, in toxic workplaces, you may find yourself constantly undermined, belittled, or ignored, with little to no avenues for assistance or guidance.

    4. High turnover rates

    Pay attention to the rate at which employees come and go. A consistently high turnover rate may indicate systemic problems within the organization, such as poor management, unrealistic expectations, or a toxic culture.

    5. Stress and burnout

    Chronic stress and burnout are common symptoms of a toxic work environment. Perhaps, you find yourself constantly on edge, experiencing physical symptoms like headaches or insomnia, or feeling emotionally drained. It’s likely your workplace is taking a toll on your well-being.

    What to do next

    Realize you’re not alone

    “Everybody has a terrible workplace story. May it be micro-managers or owners that are temperamental, the examples of poor business leaders are endless,” says Steve Farber, president of Extreme Leadership, Inc.

    While it may not be in your best interest to discuss the environment with colleagues while you are physically in the office, it can be helpful to talk to others who are experiencing similar situations. Find out how your friends and mentors use healthy coping strategies in their workplaces. Evaluate which strategies work for your personality and situation.

    When it comes to talking to your own colleagues about employers and bosses, remember it’s best to do it over coffee or a drink. Leave the conversations outside the workplace. You don’t want to add fuel to the fire.

    Document your effort

    When you work in a toxic environment, your work may be called into question, you may feel like you are blindsided by sudden deadlines or expectations, or you may simply receive nasty or unprofessional emails.

    To combat this, rely on written communications to back you up. If your boss says they want reports on their desk by 5 p.m. Friday, follow up with an email confirming when you’ll have the completed reports. This way, when Wednesday rolls around and suddenly the reports are “late,” you’ll have an email chain (as opposed to an offhand remark) to back you up.

    Further, you can jot down notes about toxic situations as they unfold. Farber encourages employees to “document what is happening, and try to meet in-person with their boss or HR to go over any concerns, or continue on their path to professional growth and search for a healthier work environment elsewhere.”

    Interview the workplace

    When you’re interviewing for a job, remember that it’s not just about you. It’s about them too! It’s important to create a non-negotiable list of what’s most important for you in a new job. Keep this list in mind to evaluate before, after, and during your interview.

    Emily Merrell, founder of Six Degrees Society, says, “How badly do you want to work from home on Fridays? Is this a culture where they offer training or are you thrown right in? I would also grab a coffee and talk to previous employees of the company and ask them about their experience there and why they left.” Former employees will be free to speak more candidly about their experiences, giving you a good indication of what the culture is like.

    Assess your health and happiness

    “A toxic workplace can bring teamwork to a grinding halt, jeopardizing goals, affecting employee retention, and potentially becoming an enormous liability,” says Farber. “Some clear signs include not listening to their employees, constantly blaming others when things go wrong, focusing on the negative, and not setting goals or providing enough instruction to their team.”

    If these things drive you crazy, it may be time to move on, especially if your health is at stake. A toxic environment can hurt your morale and your health. If you’ve noticed you’re grinding your teeth, clenching your jaw, or getting stress headaches at work, it’s probably not worth staying. Move on to a company or organization that values your contributions and treats you fairly.

    Related: How to Identify Value-Driven Employers in the Job Search

    Move on from a toxic workplace

    Trust yourself, advocate for your needs, and pursue opportunities that align with your values and aspirations. If you’re ready to be in a better role and workplace, check out how Hired helps jobseekers find dream jobs. We work with companies hiring around the world for remote, hybrid, and in-office positions.

    Originally published October 2016. Updated February 2024. More

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    6 Best Apps to Increase Your Attention Span Now

    In season 1 of Apple TV+’s Ted Lasso, Ted helps his star defender Sam focus his attention span on the future and ‘forget’ past mistakes saying, simply, “Be a goldfish.” His wisdom is a great reminder to increase your concentration and focus on the right things. Whether it’s to avoid dwelling on a missed goal or progress on a project at work, how do you train your brain for better focus? How do you improve your attention span? 

    Since the year 2000, about the time the mobile revolution began, the average attention span has dropped from 12 seconds to 8 seconds. Even goldfish consistently hold higher attention spans at 9 seconds! (Maybe we should be like them?) 

    The Internet is fun and full of distractions: indeed, your work efficiency can suffer from liking too many cat videos on YouTube or researching way too much Fantasy Football. Maybe people in your open office setting rehashing inane reality shows compounds your issues. 

    Luckily, there are ways to use technology to maximize your focus and increase productivity. Here are six apps to increase your attention span.

    Why attention span is important

    Whether you’re studying, working, or simply trying to enjoy a moment of peace, a longer attention span enables deeper focus and engagement. Without it, tasks take longer to complete, mistakes increase, and overall productivity suffers.

    In an interview with CBS, attention researcher Gloria Mark explains three major consequences of a shorter attention span: 

    “People make more errors when they do attention-shifting.”

    “It takes longer to do something because we have to reorient to every new task every time we shift.” (This is known as the switch cost – the additional effort in reorienting ourselves.)

    “Maybe this is the worst of all: stress increases. When people are working on multiple tasks and they have to shift their attention, their blood pressure rises.”

    Can attention span be improved?

    Luckily, attention span is not set in stone. You can improve it with consistent practice and the right techniques. Just as physical exercise strengthens muscles, training your attention can enhance your ability to concentrate for longer periods. 

    Using attention training apps (we’ll get to those soon!) and techniques can help rewire your brain for sustained focus and better cognitive control.

    Are our attention spans getting shorter?

    Over the past few decades, researchers have found that people’s attention spans have shrunk considerably. With the constant bombardment of information and the rise of digital distractions, it’s no wonder this is the case. 

    However, it’s not all doom and gloom. While our environment may be challenging our ability to focus, advancements in technology also provide solutions to combat this trend. By leveraging attention apps and games designed to enhance focus, individuals can counteract the effects of a fast-paced digital world.

    How to increase your attention span

    Increasing your attention span requires a combination of discipline, mindfulness, and targeted practice. Here are a few ideas for non-digital solutions: 

    Practice attentive listening

    Read more – and block distractions while you do it

    Get some exercise 

    Limit distractions and social media use

    Focus on doing one thing at a time – resist multitasking

    Fortunately, there are also numerous apps available that offer effective strategies for attention training. These apps use meditation, cognitive exercises, and habit-building to help users strengthen their focus muscles over time. By incorporating these apps into your daily routine, you can gradually increase your attention span and improve concentration.

    Try these top apps to improve your attention span

    1. Forest

    The Forest app uses gamification to encourage focused work sessions. Users plant virtual trees that grow while they concentrate but wither if they leave the app. It’s a fun and effective way to stay on task and avoid distractions.

    Even better, Forest partners with an organization to plant real trees on Earth. With this app, you have the opportunity to both do good and feel good! Purchase it for your Android or iOS device.

    2. Headspace

    Primarily known for its meditation features, Headspace offers features specifically designed to improve focus and attention. With guided mindfulness sessions and interactive challenges, it’s a comprehensive solution for enhancing cognitive control. 

    In its mission to help you “be kind to your mind,” the app offers workouts, playlists, and sleep sounds, in addition to 500+ meditations. The app offers paid plans for both Android devices and iOS devices. 

    3. Peak 

    As a brain training app, Peak offers a variety of games and challenges to sharpen cognitive skills, including attention and focus. With personalized workouts tailored to your strengths and weaknesses, it’s an engaging way to boost mental performance.

    The games are designed to push users through short, intense workouts. They test focus, memory, mental agility, and more. Try them out on the app. It’s available for free for both iOS and Android devices.

    4. Lumosity

    Lumosity, developed by game designers and scientists, is one of the most popular apps for improving brain functioning. Known as a gym for your brain, Lumosity uses interactive games and training exercises to improve memory, processing speed, attention span, and overall cognitive ability. 

    First, you take a fit test for a baseline score and see how you compare to others in your group. From there you are given a daily workout plan, where you can track your scores and progress, and get insights from that data.

    Currently, there are over 50 games on Lumosity, and the app is available for both iOS and Android devices. Basic membership requires no fee. The monthly membership subscription does cost money, but it enables full access to all of the app’s features.

    5. CogniFit

    With the CogniFit app, you begin with an initial assessment quiz to measure your cognitive abilities and personalize a training program to address cognitive deficiencies. The game also has specialized training programs for concentration, ADHD, mental planning, and other areas where attention is required. Even cooler, you can challenge friends and earn “neurons” (the game’s currency) from the game’s platform when you perform well.

    The game is available for both Android devices and iOS devices. A basic membership is free and allows access to some games. A full membership requires either monthly or annual payment and allows access to all training programs.

    6. Elevate

    Experts in neuroscience have offered their expertise in the creation of Elevate, an app that gives you new challenges each day on over 35 cognitive skills. The app has numerous training exercises to help with attention, including those centered on concentration, processing speed, brevity, precision, visualization, and other areas.

    The free app is on iOS and Android devices. If you want to take advantage of all Elevate has to offer, you’ll need to make in-app purchases.

    Bonus: Calm

    While not an app with games to improve attention spans, Calm has a variety of tools to manage stress and anxiety, get better sleep, and feel more present. It offers soundscapes and music playlists to tune out distractions and increase focus. It also offers meditation and mindful movement sessions to improve well-being.

    Available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, Calm offers a free and a paid version with the difference being access to more content. They also offer Calm Business, as an employee benefit, sharing 21% of Calm users are more engaged at work. 

    While the digital age challenges our ability to pay attention, it also provides tools and solutions to improve our attention spans. By incorporating attention training apps into your daily routine and adopting mindful practices, you can increase your focus, boost productivity, and thrive in an increasingly distracted world. 

    Would you rather focus on a new job?

    If you’re ready to switch your focus to a better role for you, check out how Hired helps jobseekers find dream jobs. We work with companies hiring around the world for remote, hybrid, and in-office positions. Salary transparency is a must, because we respect the time of both parties and want long-term success for employees and employers.

    Originally written by Nicholas Callos in September 2016. Updated by the Hired Content Team in February 2024.  More