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Did I get your attention?

I am not talking about taking a nap during working hours but talking about taking a nap during your lunch break.

Now napping is not for everyone, and most can’t relax enough to do it, but I feel like in the last two years, I have mastered how to take a quick 15-minute powernap at least 2-3 times a week. I am no scientist, but I have searched through the internet for the benefits, and I can feel the benefits.

The reasons I nap and scientific reasons according to sleepfoundation.org:

  • I enjoy it
  • Reduces sleepiness in the afternoon
  • Improves my learning and understanding
  • Aiding memory formation
  • Regulating Emotions

Napping is not for everyone. For some, it can be counterproductive; it can even result in sleeping issues at night. I would suggest not taking a nap anytime after 1:00 pm during work hours. Napping will only work if you are working remotely or have access to a sleeping lounge at work that is private or a car with comfortable seats.

Five Tips on how to take a nap during the day:

1. Plan Ahead

The reason plan ahead is first on my list, is if you don’t plan your naps, you have no business taking extra time during work hours to nap. If you only have 30 minutes for lunch, your nap time needs to be like clockwork. My husband and I once a month, do meal prep for a month of lunches. If you want to nap at lunchtime, you can’t be wasting time thinking about what to cook. I take my lunch out of the freezer in the morning and heat it up in the microwave so that I have enough time to relax.

If interested in the future, comment below and I would be happy to walk you through how we accomplish this meal prep every month.

2. Communicate to your Customers

Whatever industry you work in, you need to communicate your hours of operations to your customers, this includes all your internal customers. If you manage a team, have someone to report to, you need to communicate from 12:00-12:30 you are unavailable and who is covering you. This took months for me to communicate to my team and organization unless something is on fire to not call during lunch. It is important to take this time to rest and relax and step away from work. After months of reinforcing and officially booking it off in my calendar have I have managed to rarely be contacted during this time.

3. Find a sleep-friendly environment

To fall asleep quickly, you need to have a space that should be conducive to napping. Depending on where you are, you might not always have a luxury mattress and pillow. Ensure where ever you are it is dark, cool and quiet. After years of practice of napping, I can even fall asleep in the busiest rooms, however if you are a junior sleeper, you might want to go in a room with the door closed with zero disturbances.

4. Practice Meditation and set aside your worries

Thinking about work stresses will not help you fall asleep faster, if there is anything urgent or pressing you will not be able to nap. These stresses will keep you awake thinking of solutions, if the problem can’t be solved prior to lunch and it can’t be solved that day, you shouldn’t worry about things that can’t be fixed within the hours. These problems will always be around. Try practicing some relaxation exercises, there are so many apps with assisted breathing or yoga techniques. I typically, take the most basic practice of breathing with my apple watch or focusing on every part of my body starting with my toes and allowing them to relax.

**Disclaimer** I practice personal development on a weekly basis and set aside time to focus on the things I control and letting go of the things that I can’t. This includes therapy, church, writing and communicating with my partner. It can be hard to set aside your worries.

5. Set an Alarm

Most of my close peers say it is impossible for them to just nap 10-20 minutes, they need two hours. I believe everyone can use an extra two hours to nap but from my experience, it is when we don’t sleep well at night. When you are napping on your lunch break you absolutely need to set an alarm. When you nap for a short time it will provide a restorative sleep without drowsiness. If you want to feel alert and productive after your nap, don’t sleep past 20 minutes.

“How to tell your employer you’re pregnant,” doing some research, I realized this topic is not super popular on the web, unless you go to specific “mommy” websites or pregnancy forums.

Being a woman in technology, I have heard all the phrases from “Better not get pregnant yet” to “when are you starting a family, don’t take too long.” These are all really great opinions but to be honest, these phrases women hear in the workplace are just not needed. It makes it even harder to communicate you are pregnant when so many people have an opinion on when you should have children.

The most alarming statement I have read thus far from Catalyst (article here) and the reason it gives me anxiety is below.

Women aged 25-34 experienced a 48% drop in wages in the first year of having a child in 2016.36

I still haven’t found how to prevent this, but I’m not too fond of 50/50 odds. Now let’s jump into it; if it still makes you uneasy about announcing your pregnancy, here are some steps you can take!

How to tell your Manager you are pregnant?

Now, I wish I had a quick recommendation on the exact words to say to your manager, but I don’t. I know from experience that you can have loads of emotions about when is the right time, overthink how your boss will react, and have the right words. Some people will recommend you to wait until at least 3-4 months, where other people are just too excited to announce the news. By law, when you start your maternity leave in Canada, you need to give a minimum of two weeks’ notice. I highly recommend in Canada that you don’t give your employer only two weeks.

Below I have broken it down in four tips on how to tell your employer:

  1. Set aside the time: Don’t tell your boss in a morning scrum session, where they will be caught off guard. Schedule an appointment to meet so there is no additional business talk or distractions. If you are working remotely and the time is not scheduled for this specific topic, it is very easy not to have a moment to talk about this.
  2. Accentuate the positive: If you are super excited about this news, please don’t start with an apology when you tell your boss. For a lot of you, this is the best news in your life, be happy about your pregnancy and confident in your ability to work and raise a family. Everyone is doing it!
  3. Be Flexible: Now, you might already have a plan in your mind, what you want maternity leave to look like, when you come back, etc. Most likely, your manager will be more than happy to brainstorm with you what options are available. There is not much compromise on this topic in Canada, from an employer’s standpoint, as there are laws set in place for parents to utilize. My recommendation would be to communicate as much as possible how you are feeling about when you want to come back to work.
  4. Get it in Writing: Once you have told your manager that you are pregnant, I would highly recommend sending a summary email just as a reminder/time step that this was discussed for your records and theirs. This will prevent any if any future confusion.
Helpful links when living in Canada for Maternity Leave Details:

Canada Maternity and Parental Benefits

Alberta Residents

British Columbia Residents

Manitoba Residents

New Brunswick Residents

Newfoundland and Labrador Residents

Northwest Territories Residents

Nova Scotia Residents

Nunavut Residents

Ontario Residents

Prince Edward Island Residents

Quebec Residents

Saskatchewan Residents

Yukon Residents

I have been working remotely now for over 2.5 years, with one day commuting to the office. I feel like I had a great set up before the pandemic, but I feel like now I have stepped my work from home game up! In a virtual world, these have certainly made my work life a lot better.

Keep in mind I am not sponsored or no company has paid me to recommend these products. Know that I work at Dell Technologies and some of the things I have were purchased directly from the online store.


Standing Desk:

Prior to the pandemic I purchased the Ergotron standing desk which presented a rather nice experience, I absolutely loved the keyboard spot and the quality of the product.

I used this for just over two years and the great thing about it, you can put it on any type of surface. Knowing this you can’t really move it around from the kitchen table or office. Once it’s there, it should only move if you are changing furniture…because it is insanely heavy! Another thing to add is they have significantly dropped in price since I purchased it!

Purchased Here: Ergotron Standing Desk

Now, just in the last two months, I have upgraded my office and now working with a different type of standing desk which, I just purchased the rising legs from Prime Cables Ergo. The great thing about this product is that you can put it on any type of table top. You just need to replace the legs. I absolutely love it. I have set up 3 different settings and the cable management is out of this world!

Purchased Here: Prime Cables Ergo Standing Desk

Speaker Phone:

I absolutely love my Plantronics headset; the sound quality is out of this world. I have used this for ages, and the battery life is incredible, but I don’t know about you. Now that I am taking all my meetings from home, I really love not having to wear my headset for 8 hours a day.

Last Black Friday, I was trying to decide if I would buy the Dell Mobile Adapter Speakerphone or something else. The deciding factor was that I don’t have a monitor, or I didn’t have a docking station at the time with a type-c port.

I decided on the ANKER Powerconf S3 Bluetooth speaker, and my biggest regret was not purchasing it sooner.

Purchased Here : Anker PowerConf

Laptop Riser:

I am not sure which year or generation I have. When our offices shut down, we were able to take some things from our desk home and I love the ergonomics of this one. It is at the right height. I would most likely take one that you can either rise or adjust but I lucked out and got a really good one for me. Thanks Dell!

Treadmill:

Alright this is not an essential but now that I have it, I feel like it is, if it is within your budget.

I am soooo tired after work and in the winter months, I really don’t feel like being active or going outside when its dark. I purchased this early 2020 to walk and work at the same time! Especially if you are on long conference calls, forecasting or QBRs this is a great way to keep moving well sitting on those long calls. I probably walk about 2 hours a day and sometimes more if I am really feeling energized.

At the end of my workday I feel so productive that I got in my steps and helped all the customers we needed to at the same time! Highly recommend it!

Purchased Here: TR1200-DT3

Wacom Tablet

I purchased this tablet within the first few weeks of the pandemic. I am the person when I visit an office or I do a training, I absolutely love writing on a whiteboard, to get my point across. Especially in IT, customers love when we can draw out their data center and how the software integrates with it.

The awesome thing about this little tablet is the size and how it connects right away to work with zoom. I made a video HERE, to show you how I use it.

Purchased Here: Wacom Intuos USB Bluetooth

External Webcam

I purchased this about two years ago while working from home. I was tired of my customers viewing just the side of my head all the time. Buying an external camera not only helps your viewers see you on the right angle but typically if you have an older laptop or PC , the webcam quality is a lot better.

When it comes to brand there are loads of different webcam providers but hands down I am a massive fan of Logitech. Would actually be a dream to be sponsored by the company! Huge fan of all their products.

Purchased Here: Logitech Pro Webcam

Dell Docking station

Where are my cable management people at? I love a nicely organized desk and the Dell Docking station makes it super easy. I actually attach it to the bottom of my desk but I think it looks really nice sitting on the desk! It has multiple ports that are good for all types of monitors.

I especially love that the new one has a type C port that compliments some audio speakerphones and mobile devices.


Alright, at this point, I imagine you are bored with the happy hours, the lunch breaks and the coffee breaks? To be honest, me too. I love getting together in a huddle with the team to talk about the week, but I feel I am really missing the team connection and bonding.

After participating in a few of these activities, I have come up with a list of things you can do with your team!

*WARNING*

only some of these have been tested

Number 1: Brand Stories

Now, this is something that my current director has come up with. He first started by presenting his brand story and explained his journey from the beginning of his career to where he is now. Not only do you learn a lot about business, but you learn about your co-workers and what makes them unique. Everyone has a story and a different path. The point is to learn something that you can use in the future.

I recently shared my story with the team, and I thought this would be an easy task. It was hard talking in front of my peers about my career journey. It was nice to reflect on where I have been and where I want to go. Now I believe when we get in our team huddles, we will have even more to talk about because we are learning unique stories about each other.

Number 2: Show in Tell

Does anyone remember doing this activity in kindergarten?

I know what you are thinking; no one cares what you have sitting at home collecting dust. But…hear me out. When we have our team huddles, or work free conversation coffee breaks, sometimes it is just dead air or no, it’s the same topics every week, or it is that one person that talks every week.

If you put a theme that every huddle or coffee break, someone will share something special to them, whether a collection; could be your cool record collection, something you bought on a trip, a musical instrument, etc. This way, you take turns speaking during a video conference and getting the conversation going in that coffee break.

Number 3: Trivia Time!

This one is my absolute favourite! Every month, we set up an hour at the end of the day and play trivia with the team. Since it’s after work hours, we suggest everyone grab a snack or drink and get comfortable!

I have done this in the past by utilizing JackBox app either on IOS, Android, or PC via steam app. I believe you can also purchase the app on all gaming consoles.

If you are utilizing zoom here are the steps on how you would set this up:

Step 1: Download the app on your tablet or computer.
Step 2: Open up the Game
Step 3: Open up the zoom invite on your computer and tablet and join the conference as an additional attendee.
Step 4: Click the share screen within the zoom and share the app with audio.
Step 5: Once you are sharing your screen, all attendees will join and follow the game’s instructions!
Step 6: Have fun! We typically play the Murder Trivia game, good for up to 8 people!

Number 4: Virtual Book Club

Now this one is self-explanatory. You get together with your team and select a book. If you are lucky enough to have the company you work for expense, that’s a bonus!

Get together every two weeks to discuss how you feel about the book. This book doesn’t need to be related to how to help customers or personal development. Pick a fun book that is not work-related!

Number 5: Typing Speed Race Competition!

Alright, I know typing isn’t fun for everyone, but I used to love that Mavis Beacon typing game on the computer decades ago!

Typing speed races are a free online team-building activity that you can do at any time. I am not sure if your team will like it but to Begin, head over to typingtest.com. You can post your results on your company teams, slack or instant message platform to get the competition going.

Even with certain applications, you can host a large challenge, including a speed test relay! Where you can build squads within your team!

Number 6: Virtual Dance Party (Highly Recommended)

One of the quickest ways to wake up my team is to host a virtual DJ dance party over zoom. Usually, one person is selected to be the DJ for the month, and they will host a quick 15 minute Dance party!

It is a great time to stand up at your desk and bust a move. Usually, there is a lot of laughing and trust me, and you don’t need to be any type of professional dancer; just move to the beat! It could be a nod of the head or full out. There are no awkward silences because the music is so loud. Keep it high energy, and don’t take yourself so seriously.

Now, this goes for Marketing or Business administration for college as well. It doesn’t matter what type of education level you want to go into; I just wanted to discuss this topic generally if you are in high school or a mature student looking to go back to school, here is my take on what I would do to land a great job in sales.

Choosing a degree for your future is not easy, and sometimes you overthink your choice because it is 3-5 years of your life, and you don’t want to feel like it was wasted years.

When you enroll in any business degree or diploma in Canada, the first 1-2 years will generally be very similar regardless of your major. You will have a mix of marketing, business law, operations, finance, etc. At this point, you can get an idea of what courses you enjoy and decide on what you want to major in.

In my YouTube video, I will discuss the differences from a sales perspective as well as salaries.

Noted in my Video:

Now, let’s discuss income. The average income per year in Canada for a Marketing Role is $49,981 found at www.payscale.com. When I researched the average for a sales executive, it showed $78,000. Of course, you don’t want to decide on a job based solely on income, but it does help!

Are you looking to go overseas for work? Well, I did, and it was one of the best experiences I have ever had. Highly recommended if you are brave enough to make the jump, do it!

First off, the program is listed here on the government website with instructions on how to go about applying. You will see here what the requirements are to be eligible to apply.

Switzerland EDA Government Website:

https://www.eda.admin.ch/countries/canada/en/home/switzerland-and/youth-mobility-program.html

Canada Government Website:

https://www.canada.ca/en/immigration-refugees-citizenship/services/canadians/international-experience-canada/work-travel-switzerland.html

My Experience:

I had a desire to move to Europe for work experience and personal reasons. At a younger age, when you have nothing holding you back, it’s a lot easier to make the move.

What I did prior to applying for a job in Switzerland is, I did a lot of research on what you need in your application process. What the country expects is listed below:

  • CV to include the following details:
    • Photo
    • Birthdate, Phone number, Address, Email, languages
    • When you are available to start working
  • Proof of employment from all employers on your CV
  • All Education Certificates

I also researched what companies hire English primarily. I have located a shortlist HERE!

If you speak German, French or Italian, you will have a way easier time to find work as Switzerland has four main languages. Keep in mind though if you don’t speak french from Switzerland, you will still have a different dialect.

I also learned that LinkedIn is not highly known or adapted in the workforce in Switzerland, but a company called XING is. I created a profile on this platform to help with networking.

I won’t talk about the interview process. If you are interested, comment below and I will make another post regarding this.

Once you have your work contract, you will now need to apply for your work permit.

Please send the application (refer to paragraph 4 in the brochure) with the supporting documents to the competent Consulate General: 

  • Consulate General of Switzerland in Montreal if you are living in the provinces Québec, Ontario, Manitoba, New-Brunswick, Nova-Scotia, Prince-Edward-Island, Newfoundland and Labrador as well as Territory of Nunavut
  • Consulate General of Switzerland in Vancouver if you are living in the provinces and territories of British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and Yukon

The processing time can be long, and it can take up to 8 weeks. Mine took four. If you are not currently in school and have no post-secondary education in Canada, most likely, it will get rejected. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this on your own, you can hire professional help.

I got approved!

After waiting for a long four weeks, I got an approved notification through email, authorizing me to work in Switzerland. That doesn’t mean you can go to the country. You will need to receive an entry visa glued in your passport. (Refer to paragraph 5 in the brochure.) 

Please send the following documents to the Consulate General processing your file:

I was very nervous that this would take a long time, but it only took four business days. Once you get your visa, you should notify the company and book your flight! The visa you get is temporary for 90 days until you land in the country.

Once you are in Switzerland, you will need to go to the “Kontan,” which is like a province you live in and register there to get your official visa card. They will have the full process for you there. It is best to give them your address with the proof that you will live there.

I managed to extend my Visa for an additional six months for a total of 18 months, and then after that, you will need to return home unless your contract is explicitly required in Switzerland.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment below. I am curious to hear about your story.

I have only been working professionally for ten years, so that doesn’t make me an expert on dishing on advice on how to grow your career, but it does make me an expert on what I have been doing with my career in the last 10 years.

I wanted to share with you the top 5 most comfortable things to start doing to enhance your career.

Number 1: Public Speaking

Practice public speaking. Earlier in my career, I remember participating in a sales pitch contest and coming in almost last place. I was shaking and couldn’t look at the audience, just praying that it would be over before it started. What I realized after this is if I wanted a successful career in sales, I would need to know how to speak in front of people confidently.

When I was working for a previous employer, I decided to sign up for Toastmasters. I hated it for about six months because I was a nervous wreck. Once a week, when I knew I had to practice speaking for an hour. What I realized is that we are all people, and I was sitting in a room full of supportive people. It is all about practicing and understanding the feedback to get better.

Now I haven’t been back to toastmasters in awhile, so I practice by making Youtube videos about these topics! Trust me, it’s not easy! If you don’t practice and receive continuous feedback you will never get better.

Number 2: Track your Goals

Use a task manager for your personal development. At the start of a new fiscal year, I create a Trello board of all the things that I would like to work on this year. This way, I can keep tabs on my results and ensure to keep promises to myself. No one in this industry is going to chase you to be accountable. The positive thing about keeping tabs on yourself is that when the time comes for you to ask for a raise from your boss, you will have a full list of your successes over the last year.

Number 3: Audio Books

Subscribe to an Audiobook provider. I can not speak on behalf of other platforms. However, I am an Amazon subscriber; I tend to stick to the same platforms. This subscription is a one-credit once a month, that is good for one audiobook. I tend to pick an audiobook that will cost more than 16 dollars, so I get my money worth. I am not very good at listening to Audiobooks and working at the same time. For constant travellers, this is a great thing to listen to in the car when heading to a customer site or to drive home from work. Due to Covid-19, a lot of us are working from home, in this case, I listen after work.

If you want my list of books, let me know, and I can make another post about it!

Number 4: Be Modest

I remember working with a colleague when I was 23, and he was very good at this job. It seemed almost effortless. He would crush his target quarter after quarter, and the only reason you knew was that the manager would go through the numbers weekly. It was so attractive to look at someone that knew they were only as good as their last deal. Today the people I meet that are the most successful in their careers are because they live with this quote drilled in their brain.

“I am only as good as my last deal, last service, last performance.”

Number 5: Hire a Coach/Therapist

If you are over the age of 50, you most likely are cringing at this comment. When I used to tell people I go to therapy once a week, they thought I was crazy. Well if you have areas in your life that need improving a business coach or therapist could be your answer. I hired one about three years ago and it has completely changed my mental health.

So many of us face different challenges in the workplace; for example, working on projects, having an outside led to an inside relationship in sales or dealing with a difficult manager or a large quota. Most of these difficulties all come down to our emotions. When I talk to my therapist about business challenges, she helps me see it from other perspectives or helps me come up with different solutions.

These are a few things that I started doing for a while now, and I am curious to hear of the things that have helped you grow your career. I wouldn’t suggest starting all these at the same time, try to pick one goal to focus on at a time and master attending or doing the things that can help you get there. Sometimes if you look at the top of the mountain, the first step will look to big. Just take that first step!

– Jessica Pettigrew

Today, our routine look’s anything but ordinary. However, we must have a schedule. I have been working remotely for quite some time. I don’t call it working from home but running an operation from home.

I wanted to share my schedule with you and how I can stick to it. It is crucial to have organizational skills to maintain your working environment. It doesn’t take a few weeks to master, but months and for some of us years. The number reason I have a schedule is to put in boundaries of how many hours I day I work to ensure I don’t burn out. My plan and this blog post is based on my role in sales but is practical for all functions.

First things first, If you are new to operating at home, create a list of all the Pros and Cons of working in an office, here is mine for some inspiration:

ProsCons
– Faster Response time with colleagues
– A Clear start and Finish
– Coffee Breaks
– Have a clean working environment
– Free Internet
– Collaboration
– Building Rapport with colleagues
– Too many distractions throughout the day
– Commuting to Work
– Too much food and drinks to eat
– People stealing my cables




Okay, there are a lot of pros to working in an office, but the list of working remotely is much more detailed. However, at this point, this post is not regarding what’s better; it’s only about building a schedule.

Now that you have the PROs list created, it is crucial to incorporate these into your weekly schedule, remotely.

Tip #1 Pre-Schedule the Things that Matter

How I do this is by scheduling in the below re-occurring meetings weekly. Whether you are using outlook or Gsuite, this can be done through the settings. Here are the things that I pre-schedule. If these things are important to you, you should rarely skip them.

  • Weekly Touchpoints with Manager, & Account Executive
  • Monday Morning Coffee Break with the full team
  • Lunch Break
  • 1:1 Coaching Session with Mentor
  • Manufacture Meeting – Sync up
  • Internal Team Meetings

Tip # 2 Block your non-working hours

“I cannot log off at 5:30 PM, due to my colleagues and my customers sending in requests”

I never did this before COVID-19, but today I am finding it crucial for me. Due to all my colleagues working from home, it seems everyone is working crazy long hours.

When working in Switzerland for three years, I learned it was rude to send emails on the weekend or after 5:30 PM in their culture, unless something was really on fire. Now, I pre-set all my emails to send in the morning if I am working past 5:30 PM. It is a simple courtesy to help your customers and co-workers have a break at the end of the day to disconnect. I have difficulty not to check my emails at night, so this helps everyone.

Here are two excellent links on how to set your working hours in your calendar.

GSuite Working Hours Link Here!

Outlook Working Hours Link Here!

Tip #3 How to Communicate your Schedule

Having a great schedule built out is excellent, but not communicating it to your manager is half of the planning. If your manager doesn’t buy into it or support your schedule, it will end up not working out.

Notify your colleagues and customers of your response times and working hours so that there are no misunderstandings. This process can be done slowly over time, through phone conversations and just training how you respond to people’s requests.

“I can’t stop working at 5:30 PM because the requests just keep coming in”

The worse thing is to leave someone hanging when they need to get a hold of you.

Here are my tips on creating a schedule, feel free to leave a comment below, with some best practices that you are currently doing. I would love to learn from you!

JP