Stephanie K's Peer Connect Blogs
Leaving a Lasting Impression on Employers
Monday March 14th - Stephanie K
There comes a time when you must depart from an occupational or volunteer position, whether it’s because your contract has run its course, you’ve secured a position elsewhere, etc. This departure is inevitable, however, it essential to leave a lasting impression with your employer. After all, you may want a reference/recommendation letter from them or even seek employment at that same organization in the future. Here are some tips that will help you leave a lasting impression on your employer!
1. Seek Feedback
Prior to leaving, set a meeting up with your direct supervisor(s) asking for a professional evaluation of your performance. Doing so may feel daunting, but it shows the employer that you are diligent and open to constructive criticism. Most importantly, it demonstrates that you genuinely care about the work that you completed. It’s an excellent way to start a conversation about your strengths and areas for improvement, which is beneficial for your personal and professional development.
2. Stay Connected via Social Media
Follow the company or organization on social media if you are not doing so already. It shows your employers that you value the work done by the organization, and that you are engaged with their endeavours even after leaving. Never hesitate to add co-workers and supervisors on LinkedIn, as it allows you to stay connected with what the company and your network is doing. In addition, it will help you keep up-to-date on information that is relevant to the industry and remain informed about job openings and opportunities.
3. Say Thank You
Thank your employer for all of the opportunities they provided you with and the skills they helped you to develop. However, don’t just limit your gratitude to your supervisor or manager; show your appreciation to everyone you’ve worked with. A personalized thank you note can go a long way! During previous co-op terms, I have always given my direct supervisors a small, thoughtful gift and baked something for the office for my last day (in addition to sending thank you notes). This helped me foster long-lasting relationships and develop rich networks after leaving, and will do the same for you.
4. Stay in Touch
One final tip to leaving a lasting impression on your employers is to check in with them occasionally. Ask them about how they’re doing, and tell them about how you are doing. They’ll love to hear about where you are now and how your experiences with them enabled you to grow. They will also appreciate you remaining in their professional network, as either person could be the connection the other needs in a future job search.
Following these tips will allow you to leave a positive, and lasting impression on your employers.
All the best,
- Stephanie K
Self Care Strategies for Work
Monday February 29th - Stephanie K
Regardless of your occupational field, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed at work. Whether you’re at a marketing firm with fast-approaching deadlines, at a group home where stress has reached it’s peak, or in the lab for long hours waiting for that one reaction to work, at some point you may feel your job begin to take a toll on you. Throughout my co-op career, I have worked in environments that promoted self-care and wellness, which enabled me to identify thoughts and behaviours that made me feel better, and come up with self-care strategies.
1. Ask if Your Workplace has a Fitness Centre
During one of my work terms, I had free and unlimited access to the fitness facility in the building. This meant that I could spend my lunch hour working out and blowing off any steam from the day. My employer even held Boot Camp classes by professional trainers three times a week, and I had the opportunity to meet many people working within the building and to learn about their roles. Not only was this a great networking opportunity, but it also enabled me to take a moment and focus on myself throughout the day. Exercising does wonders for your mental and physical health because it helps you decrease stress, and become more alert and productive while you are working.
Alternatively, if your place of employment does not have a fitness facility, try going for a walk outside or within your building. Even 10 minutes can help you clear your mind and decrease feelings of stress.
2. Personalize Your Office Space
One of the biggest regrets throughout my co-op career was not personalizing my office space until my final work term. I hadn’t realized how much of an impact this would have on my stress levels and productivity. For example, when deadlines were soon approaching and my to-do list felt endless, I often found myself looking at photos I had of my family or friends and this helped calm me. At one point, I wrote a motivational quote on a Post-It note and stuck it on my monitor. Just remember not to clutter your workspace with all of your accessories, as too much might be distracting.
3. Eat Well
Your diet affects your response to stress and your overall mood. The key here is to find a balance; limit fast food and junk food as they are full of processed sugars and simple carbohydrates that only temporarily leave you feeling more energetic and full. Try packing snacks comprised of complex carbohydrates, such as fruits, veggies, and healthy grains that will cause fewer energy and mood spikes. However, the balance is key. If you feel like you need a chocolate bar, then go ahead and have that chocolate bar if it’s going to make you feel better.
4. Bring a Hobby to Work
Spend your breaks or lunch periods engaging in one of your favourite hobbies (so long as it’s portable), as it can quickly relieve your mind and body of stress and help to refocus your attention on the task at hand. Some examples include: drawing/sketching, knitting, colouring, reading a book, etc.
If there’s one thing you take away from this post, it should be this. 4-7-8 truly is a special number, especially for the immediate relief of stress or anxiety. It has helped me tremendously both within and outside of the workplace. 4-7-8 is a breathing exercise that takes almost no time, and can be done anywhere. All you need to do it is your body! It is comprised of 4 simple steps:
- Close your mouth and inhale through your nose for 4 seconds
- Keep your breath held for 7 seconds
- Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of 8 seconds
- Repeat 3 more times
In total, you will be taking 4 deep breaths. 4-7-8.
This list is in no way exhaustive, as there is no “right” way to engage in self-care. Everyone’s experiences are different– find out what works for you and never hesitate to do what you need to do to take care of your physical and mental health in the moment. You will find yourself prepared to re-engage with your work and maintain motivation while simultaneously managing stress.
- Stephanie K