The Slowdown: How to Maximize Your Downtime at Work

In my work as a clinical assistant, there are times during my twelve hour shift where I cannot sit down due to the amount of work to be done, bustling from patient to patient in an effort to ensure everything gets done well and in a timely manner. But when patients are discharged and the unit activity slows to a crawl, the temptation to take out my phone and browse the Internet to kill time is strong, especially when other colleagues are also taking advantage of downtime to catch up on holiday shopping. But these slow times at work provide co-op students with several unique opportunities and should not be wasted. Here are my top tips to make downtime work to your advantage!

1.       Ask Questions!

In a field like nursing, knowledge is passed down in a generational way, with older nurses often eager to tell younger nurses about their experiences. I’ve found that waiting to ask questions about particular patient diagnoses until the unit is quiet allows for the nurse to give a more in-depth answer. This signals to them that you are interested in their opinions and are receptive to teaching, which could lead to greater opportunities for learning later. For example, a patient was admitted recently with a complicated diagnosis. The unit was bustling, so instead of asking the nurse about the situation while she was busy, I waited until a slower period. She eagerly explained the disease itself and also its treatment. Then, later on, she remembered my interest and asked if I wanted to watch a procedure being done on that patient. Now, she often invites me into the room to watch her work and will explain various aspects of her care to me. I have learned so much that I never would have known if I hadn’t used my downtime to ask questions.

2.       Offer Help!

There is nothing worse than seeing a colleague who has finished his or her work for the day sitting idly at the nurses’ station as you rush by, trying to keep your head above water. If everyone else is busy and you are not, offer your help! Even simple tasks like gathering supplies for a procedure or assisting with a complicated patient can ease the workload of your coworkers- and believe me, they’ll remember it! Helping your colleagues might seem like a no-brainer, but I have seen so many students answer calls for help with “But that’s not what I do” or simply sighing theatrically before giving aid. Don’t let your coworkers get to the point where they are interrupting your Facebook session to ask for your help- just offer it, no strings attached. They’ll be grateful and remember you as a dependable, motivated colleague.

3.       Do Something Extra!

When I first started my current job, I never thought I would end up being my pediatric unit’s resident arts and crafts provider. But early in the fall, my charge nurse asked if anyone wanted to decorate the unit for back to school season. None of the nurses enjoyed decorating and dreaded the task. Since I wasn’t busy, I volunteered for the task, and now I am responsible for adding cute holiday touches to our various decorations. There are owls dressed as elves next to colorful stockings and mittens with names of all our nurses on them. I’ll admit it, I might have gone overboard with the crafting! But now everyone on my unit knows me as the “cute crafts” girl, and visitors are always commenting on the new touches that are added every few weeks. Going above and beyond will always get you noticed, not to mention help you build relationships!

4.       Research, Research, Research!

One of my necessary items at work is paper and a pen for writing down illnesses, procedures, or equipment that I’ve never encountered. Then, during slow periods, I can search each one on Google, jotting down interesting facts or why a certain procedure might be done versus another. I also subscribe to several nursing and medical newsletters, and use the time to catch up on reading them. The information you gather from researching your field will serve you well in the workplace, making you informed and a valued team member. But it will also help you in classes by reinforcing what you are learning, and even adding context to the concepts outlined in class.

Overall, your downtime is a learning experience that should be valued. It is easy to look like a team player when everything is busy, but when things are slow it becomes painfully obvious when someone isn’t contributing their fair share. Raise your own personal bar, and you’ll find that you will get much more satisfaction out of your work! 

Julia Thompson is a second year Nursing major in the Bouve College of Health Sciences. She works as a nursing assistant at South Shore Hospital and is currently on her first co-op at Boston Children’s Hospital. She is the secretary of the Northeastern University Student Nurses’ Association and is also involved with Bouve Fellows. Feel free to contact her at thompson.jul@husky.neu.edu with any questions. You can follow her on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/juliavthompson) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/juliavthompson).

Beyond the Green Line: Washington D.C.

 

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BEYOND THE GREEN LINE is a blog series featured on the Northeastern University Career Development Blog, ‘The Works’.  Each post highlights a major city and gives you an inside look at the local food, culture, music scene, the industries that are thriving there, and some current job openings in the area.

This post written by guest author third year Northeastern student Molly Osmulski.

Did you know that aside from being home to the President, our nation’s capital is the headquarters for 15 Fortune 500 companies including Capital One, Marriott International and Discovery Communications? Business Insider ranked Washington, D.C. the #1 “Top City for Educated Millennials.” It has seen the largest growth in its millennial population of any major U.S. city since 2008.washington-d-c

D.C. offers culture, diversity and plenty of government, professional and technical jobs. Last year, job growth in D.C. outpaced the country’s average with almost 30,000 new jobs in professional services added last year alone!

In 2016 alone, over 65 Northeastern students have co-oped in D.C. and many alumni are thriving there too – you can connect with them through the well-established D.C. Alumni network.

Wondering what your fellow huskies think about D.C.? Ask Divya Erram, a current Northeastern student and DC co-op connector working at Advoc8, and she’ll tell you:

            “Advoc8 has given me opportunities I never imagined, including attending and working at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland this past summer, participating in event walkthroughs with our team in multiple states, and help[ing] d-c-studentcreate and order merchandise for political campaigns and companies.  I am especially lucky to have a co-op supervisor who is a Northeastern Alum, Ben Adams (‘15), who has really made a name for himself in the District and has become a role model to me. Because of this relationship, I have been able to see firsthand what a Northeastern Husky can accomplish in the real world.

 

I am currently considering options that would allow me to move back to Washington, D.C. once I graduate.  I truly believe that I have found a home here. Almost everyone here is a transplant from d-c-student-at-marketsomewhere else whether a different city, state, country, or continent which makes the city rich with culture, cuisine, and events. There is not a day that goes by without something to do and is a great place for any young professional.”

 

 

 

 

 

Divya Erram enjoying Union Market, an artisanal food market

Some other perks to D.C.? See below…

Food and Drink:

  • Try a Half Smoke at the iconic Ben’s Chili Bowl (even President Obama can’t resist)d-c-food
  • Grab lunch from one of the city’s many gourmet food trucks
  • Enjoy authentic wat and injera at an Ethiopian restaurants

Culture:

  • Welcome spring with the National Cherry Blossom Festival each year
  • Explore the world during Passport D.C. when all the city’s embassies and cultural d-c-cherry-blossom-nations-capitalorganizations hold open houses and special programming
  • Enjoy an opera or ballet at The Kennedy Center
  • Museum hop for days and check out the National Portrait Gallery, the National Air and Space Museum and the all the Smithsonians, among many, many others; if you prefer the less conventional, check out The Fridge, a DC gallery specializing in street art

Activities:

  • Go kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding or even swan boating in the Potomac River
  • See a Redskins, Nationals or Wizards game
  • Pay tribute to our founders d-c-nationals-gameand visit all the city’s many monuments
  • Explore Theodore Roosevelt Island – great for fishing, hiking and wildlife viewing
  • See a free Friday night concert every week from May – September at Yards Park

 

Divya Erram at a Washington Nationals game with fellow NU students RoseMarie Kay, co-oping at the House of Representatives, and Dayo Hall, co-oping at International Law Institute

Feeling convinced? Below are some jobs to consider while you anxiously await our next Beyond the Green Line post on Austin, TX next week!

Job Opportunities – log into NUcareers to apply!

  • Capital One Associate, Commercial Specialty Underwriter, Healthcare Cash Flow
  • Defense Point Security Forensic Analyst
  • PublicRelay Media Analyst
  • National Public Radio Social Media Strategist
  • Advanced Simulation Technology Application Engineer; Embedded Software Engineer
  • Mapbox Mobile Support Developer, IOS; Information Security Engineer
  • American College of Cardiology Foundation Member Strategy Support Specialist; Senior Project Coordinator
  • Micropact Operations Business Analyst
  • National Cooperative Bank Credit Analyst, Commercial Real Estate
  • RAND Corporation Statistical Programmer
  • Social Tables Product Designer; Writer, Content & Editorial
  • RepEquity Account Coordinator; Business Development Associate

We want your feedback!

Leave us a comment if there’s anything we’ve missed or a particular city you’d like us to profile!  If you’d like to have your photos considered for the next post, send over your Austin photos now!

This post was authored by Molly Osmulski, a third year Northeastern student. Molly is working toward a degree in Marketing with a minor in International Affairs. She works part time at the Northeastern Career Development office and has previously completed a co-op at Travel + Leisure Magazine in NYC and has studied abroad at the London School of Economics. When she is not studying or searching for her next co-op, she loves travelling, thrift shopping and trying new foods. You can contact her at osmulski.m@husky.neu.edu.

 

How to Ace a Job Interview…Tips from an Interviewer’s Perspective.

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We all know job interviews are terrifying. Just as many people have admitted they would rather die than speaking in front of an audience, same goes for interviewing for a job. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as though I sweat more during a job interview than when I am jogging. The whole process is extremely terrifying, but it is something we all have to do. I am going to alleviate some of this fear and excess sweating, by listing several important tips I have learned as a practice interviewer.

FIRST, PRE-INTERVIEW PREPARATION:

1. Don’t lose sleep

The night before is literally the same feeling as the night before an exam or flight. You toss and turn, your mind is running, you keep thinking about the worst, you panic, you can’t breathe. This is where you have to stop yourself and say, there is nothing you can do about it right now, it is midnight, let your mind sleep. We all know sleep is very important, so make sure to go to bed at a decent time so you have at least 7 hours of sleep.

2. Wake up Confident

After all the chaos your mind and body dealt with before you finally fell asleep, you deserve to feel good about yourself as you begin your morning prior to the interview. Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself of all the good qualities you have. Don’t start panicking and thinking about flaws or convincing yourself you are not good enough because you are only lying to yourself. You wouldn’t want someone to lie to you, so why lie to yourself?

3. Put on your best outfit

Make sure to pick out an outfit you feel confident in. It could either be a really nice shirt, a nice pair of pants or skirt. You can even have a pair of socks which are your lucky socks or something like that. It doesn’t matter as long as you have some extra support and comfort from your closet. Studies show that dressing to impress can definitely elevate confidence levels. Go out there looking like the next James Bond or Audrey Hepburn and get that job.

4. Be on time

Being on time is so important. It is better to be early than late. Be sure to set your alarm on time and have everything ready for the morning so you have less running to do. Being on time is also a very important way to show you are reliable.

NOW, THE INTERVIEW IN QUICK STEPS:

The first moments are crucial. The way you walk in and present yourself makes a big impression on the interviewer, so be sure to do these few things carefully in order to make a good impression:

1. Posture

you want to make sure you are walking into the room with confidence. Having a good posture enhances your confidence and makes you feel powerful. Trust me, it works.

2. Smile

A smile is a huge indication that you are friendly, confident and interested. Smiling is a great way to calm your nerves, because smiling increases dopamine levels, allowing you to feel and present confidence. #Science

3. Shake and introduce

It is important to do these two steps in unison. Reaching out your hand and firmly shaking the interviewer’s hand while introducing yourself loudly and clearly shows you are taking action first. You are showing confidence and allowing yourself to open up the conversation with a kind, professional gesture, instead of holding back and waiting for the interviewer to introduce themselves first.

4. Eye contact is everything

It is very important to make as much eye contact as you can. Having good eye contact shows confidence, attentiveness, and respect. Eye contact also shows trust. They say if someone is looking around and making little eye contact they are not being true to themselves as well as possibly not being honest.

5. Don’t slouch

It is important to sit upright and not slouch. Please don’t have your legs open or have your arms crossed, these are two signs you are not being professional nor are you taking the interview seriously. The more proper you are as ladies and gentlemen, the more professional you will look to the interviewer.

6. Prepare questions

It is extremely important to come to the interview with several written questions. You can Google some “interview questions” in case you are stuck, bring at least one interview question, it counts as interviewers find this preparation piece very authentic. It shows you put time into preparing for your interview.

7. Do your research

It is important that you research the company, position you are applying for and the interviewer. You have plenty of time to do a little research and write down some bullet points to keep as a reference in case you become nervous. It helps to know a little information about the interviewer too because it will allow them to share their experiences as well. As humans, we enjoy talking about ourselves, so spice up your interview a bit by directing attention to the interviewer.

8. Make a proper exit

Make sure once the interview has ended that you properly thank the interviewer, shake their hand firmly, smile and exit with confidence.

A little side note: always be yourself and don’t be superficial. As humans, we can smell out a superficial person. The interviewer will see right through you if you are fake. Just be true to yourself, be honest and take the time to make a good impression. Good luck!