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Five blunders to steer clear of during job interviews



It goes without saying that showing up late or being inappropriately dressed for a job interview hurts your chances of getting hired. However, there are also a number of less obvious blunders job seekers should guard against. Here are five of them:

1. Being ill prepared. If you fail to take the time to study the job posting or research the company, this will likely show indifference and the employer could interpret it as a lack of seriousness on your part. It’s important that you have a good understanding going into the interview of what the position entails.

2. Showing disrespect. Your credentials aren’t all that count. Employers are also looking for someone with a respectful and positive attitude. Don’t, for example, check your phone — even for a second — during an interview. This will inevitably create a bad impression.

3. Stretching the truth. Experienced employers are quick to detect fibs and exaggerations. Always be truthful. Selling yourself is one thing; false advertising is another.

4. Being negative. Avoid speaking about former employers or co-workers in negative terms. If you have to talk about an unpleasant job experience, do so with tact and reserve.

5. Saying too much. Don’t be a chatterbox. Being overly gabby can come off as unprofessional. As a rule, respond to the questions you’re asked without rambling and avoid talking about your personal life.

Avoid the above missteps and you’ll improve your chances of landing the position you’re after. Best of luck in your job search!

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Keep your workspace organized and boost your productivity



A clean desk doesn’t just feel nice — it communicates professionalism, reduces stress, helps you keep track of your important tasks, and saves you the time you would have spent hunting for lost files and sticky notes. Try out these strategies to transform your workspace and your work life:

  • Use a bulletin board to keep assorted papers from piling up on your desk. If it’s important enough to keep, pin it to the board, but if not, chuck it into the wastebasket.
  • Try a hanging closet organizer with clear plastic pockets for shoes or other small items to store extra office supplies. Hang it on the wall or the back of your door, or if you work from home, just stick it in the closet.
  • Utilize the space under your desk. A small cabinet or shelf under your desk could be a storage lifesaver.
  • Use wall space. You can mount shelving, hooks for cables and headphones, or whiteboards for making notes. You can even buy wall-mounted organizers to stash your supplies or planters to brighten your space.
  • Speaking of plants or other decorative items, try to minimize them on your desk. A nice plant stand or stylish wall-mounted shelves will give your office some color without sacrificing desk space.
  • Create extra desk space with risers for laptops and monitors.
  • Stash a few cleaning supplies within easy reach so you can quickly wipe away dust or clean up coffee rings.
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6 blunders that can demotivate your employees



Engaged employees are more productive and creative and less likely to quit. However, demotivating management practices can make employees inefficient and start looking elsewhere for work. Here are six managerial mistakes to avoid.

1. Making too many rules. Organizations need rules, but unnecessary rules can make employees feel cramped and uncreative.

2. Overlooking accomplishments. When managers don’t recognize employee successes, workers become less motivated to exceed expectations.

3. Hiring and promoting the wrong people. Great employees want to work alongside other great workers. Hiring or promoting friends or underqualified employees demotivates those who work with them.

4. Treating everyone equally. Treating all employees equally shows top performers that they’ll be treated the same as underperformers, no matter how hard they work.

5. Breaking promises. Keeping your promise of awards, time off, or raises engenders trust. Reneging on commitments makes you look disrespectful and uncaring, creating an environment where accountability isn’t valued.

6. Tolerating poor performance. No one likes conflict, but when you fail to call out an employee for poor performance, you show the entire team that their underperformance has no consequences.

Engaging your employees and recognizing their worth is key to maximizing your organization’s performance.

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Quiet hiring versus quiet firing



In a tight labor market, not only is it hard to find employees, but it’s also difficult to keep them engaged. Gallup has found that at least half of employees are emotionally disconnected from their jobs. Many of these folks do the bare minimum amount of work, and at least 18 percent of workers are actively disengaged, meaning they’re proactively undermining their company.

Disengaged employees can be a major drag on companies and their bottom line. That’s why some companies are pursuing quiet firing. This means the company makes the work environment a bit unpleasant in an effort to encourage disengaged workers to quit. Don’t like it here? Then find a new employer — or so the thinking goes.

Getting employees to quit, instead of flat-out firing them, may reduce costs. Severance packages, for example, can be rather expensive. Further, many companies aren’t exactly sure who the underperformers or disengaged folks are. Quiet firing could spur under-performers to self-identify.

Now, companies are upping the ante with quiet hiring. Instead of just encouraging some folks to quit, businesses are proactively identifying certain employees and then showering them with favoritism. Selecting and rewarding high performers is a business mainstay. However, with quiet hiring, favoritism is also part of an effort to push low-performing employees out. Often, these favored employees are shifted from position to position, working to address an organization’s most acute needs.

Companies aren’t the only stakeholders using “quiet” methods either. Many employees have also been quiet quitting. Essentially, they stop doing their job, perhaps expecting to get fired in the future, but instead of quitting, they continue cashing checks. Gallup believes that disengagement, in general, could be costing the global economy more than $8 trillion.

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Tech layoffs explained: Is a once-hot sector on thin ice?



After expanding staff sizes for years, many tech companies have announced dramatic layoffs in recent months. What’s driving the downsizing? Certainly, the risk of an economic contraction fueled fears, but the cutbacks are more complex.

First, the COVID-19 pandemic reshaped the structure and makeup of the tech industry. As COVID closed borders and social distancing became the norm, reliance on digital services surged. Amazon, for example, saw sales spike and responded by expanding services like same-day delivery. Staffing was bolstered to develop and expand digital services and otherwise meet demand.

With the pandemic over, growth has moderated. Amazon saw revenues surge nearly 40 percent YOY in 2020, but growth stalled in 2022. Now, underperforming projects are on the chopping block. In November, Amazon laid off roughly 10,000 tech and corporate employees, according to cePro. In particular, the teams working on Alexa voice-activated devices saw steep cuts. Why? While many customers enjoy the services rendered, monetizing those services hasn’t been as profitable as hoped, with Amazon reportedly losing $10 billion on the devices, according to Macro Trends.

Further, with the Federal Reserve steadily raising interest rates in recent months, borrowing has become more expensive. Many large companies relied on cheap loans and easy access to funds to expand staff. With borrowing costs rising, underperforming projects and bloated tech staffs are much more expensive to maintain.

Employees are sometimes shifted to new roles within companies while underperforming services are cut. But with the labor market remaining tight through the end of 2022, many employers still want to hold onto talent. Further, Revelio Labs found that roughly 75 percent of laid-off tech workers found new jobs within three months.

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Are successful people just lucky?



You hear it always: That person was ‘lucky’ in business. Or those people are ‘more fortunate’ than others.

But what role does ‘luck’ really play in success? Psychologists at Stanford University say certain attitudes seem to lead to ‘good luck’ and success in life.

  • An open mind. Think of life as a garden of possibilities. Be curious.
  • Persistence. Everyone has ups and downs in work and life. You will do well if you persistently follow your goal and deal with disappointment.
  • Flexibility. Though you have a specific goal, be open to variations and new ideas.
  • Positive thinking. Look at a painful experience and, instead of focusing on what you lost, calculate what you gained.
  • Risk-taking, whether it’s in your personal life or at work. It will make you more resilient.

Meanwhile, certain values also play a role in a person’s ‘luck.’

A recent survey by Robert Half staffing shows that honesty may be the most valuable asset in creating opportunity.

Employers told interviewers that honesty was the top requirement for new hires. The same is true for those seeking a better job within an organization. Of the employers interviewed, 58 percent said honesty and integrity are the qualities that impress them most, aside from ability and willingness to do the job. That is an increase of 26 percent compared to five years ago.

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No crystal ball needed: Close calls predict the (dangerous) future



“Sweat the details” sounds like something an engineer or an accountant would do. But sweating the details is paramount when it comes to safe working conditions.

Little things can add up to something big. A small hazard will be multiplied by the number of people exposed to it and multiplied again by how long it remains before being corrected.

In fact, even straightforward injury numbers don’t necessarily mean that working conditions are safe.

Suppose a company has zero injuries — is it safe? Safety expert Don Groover wrote in Safety and Health Magazine that a lack of injuries could be more about luck than safety. Exposure and initiative are the keys to a safe workplace. Suppose an observer stands on the ground, watching a worker on a high platform. The worker is using a hammer, and, by chance, the hammer falls. But it misses the observer on the ground. Were there zero injuries that day? Yes. Was the worksite safe? No. You could say the observer was safety-conscious because he might have moved to avoid the hammer. Or you might say that it was luck that the hammer fell at the wrong angle. But over time, if nothing changes, the exposures create problems.

A new hazard can appear anytime, anywhere, and affect almost any job. That’s the time to get it reported and documented. All safety is protected by investigating everyday incidents and correcting minor hazards that could occur on any given day.

Sometimes, people think that a potentially hazardous condition is just normal and expected on the job. Instead, they should be particular about their area. They shouldn’t put up with things like grease on the floor or a wobbly step.

Be watchful. Find the leaking hydraulic hose, missing screws on stairs and railings, missing equipment guards, and empty fire extinguishers.

Watch for missing lights that make it hard to see and damaged signs that are hard to read. Ensure that chemicals are stored correctly and that eye wash units work.

When you discover that something isn’t right, report it right away. For every condition that is made safe, an injury is less likely to occur, says the National Safety Council.

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Aders Insurance Agency, Inc (State Farm)

Aire Serv Heating and Air Conditioning

Apple Dumpling Learning Center

Apple House

Auto Care Clinic

Avery-Hess Realty, Marilyn King

Beaver Tree Services

Blake and Co. Hair Spa

Blue Ridge Arts Council

Blue Ridge Education

BNI Shenandoah Valley

C&C's Ice Cream Shop

Card My Yard

CBM Mortgage, Michelle Napier

Christine Binnix - McEnearney Associates

Code Ninjas Front Royal

Cool Techs Heating and Air

Down Home Comfort Bakery

Downtown Market

Dusty's Country Store

Edward Jones-Bret Hrbek

Explore Art & Clay

Family Preservation Services

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Independent Business Alliance

First Baptist Church

Front Royal Women's Resource Center

Front Royal-Warren County Chamber of Commerce

Fussell Florist

G&M Auto Sales Inc

Garcia & Gavino Family Bakery

Gourmet Delights Gifts & Framing

Green to Ground Electrical

Groups Recover Together

Habitat for Humanity

Groups Recover Together

House of Hope

I Want Candy

I'm Just Me Movement

Jen Avery, REALTOR & Jenspiration, LLC

Key Move Properties, LLC

KW Solutions

Legal Services Plans of Northern Shenendoah

Main Street Travel

Makeover Marketing Systems

Marlow Automotive Group

Mary Carnahan Graphic Design

Merchants on Main Street

Mountain Trails

Mountain View Music

National Media Services

Natural Results Chiropractic Clinic

No Doubt Accounting

Northwestern Community Services Board

Ole Timers Antiques

Penny Lane Hair Co.

Philip Vaught Real Estate Management

Phoenix Project

Reaching Out Now

Rotary Club of Warren County

Royal Blends Nutrition

Royal Cinemas

Royal Examiner

Royal Family Bowling Center

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Oak Computers

Royal Oak Bookshop

Royal Spice

Ruby Yoga

Salvation Army

Samuels Public Library

SaVida Health

Skyline Insurance

Shenandoah Shores Management Group

St. Luke Community Clinic

Strites Doughnuts

Studio Verde

The Institute for Association & Nonprofit Research

The Studio-A Place for Learning

The Valley Today - The River 95.3

The Vine and Leaf

Valley Chorale

Warren Charge (Bennett's Chapel, Limeton, Asbury)

Warren Coalition

Warren County Democratic Committee

Warren County Department of Social Services

Warren County DSS Job Development

Warrior Psychotherapy Services, PLLC

WCPS Work-Based Learning

What Matters & Beth Medved Waller, Inc Real Estate

White Picket Fence

Woodward House on Manor Grade

King Cartoons

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Upcoming Events

10:00 am Career & Internship Fair @ Laurel Ridge Community College
Career & Internship Fair @ Laurel Ridge Community College
Mar 21 @ 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Career & Internship Fair @ Laurel Ridge Community College
Join us as we bring to campus more than 80 employers with job openings and internship opportunities for a Career & Internship Fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesday, March 21. Sectors represented[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Mar 22 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
8:00 am Dare to Dream Breakfast @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Dare to Dream Breakfast @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
Mar 23 @ 8:00 am – 9:30 am
Dare to Dream Breakfast @ Shenandoah Valley Golf Club
RSVP by Friday, March 17, 2023
9:00 am FRUMC Book Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
FRUMC Book Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
Mar 25 @ 9:00 am – 2:00 pm
FRUMC Book Sale @ Front Royal United Methodist Church
The Annual Front Royal United Women in Faith Book Sale will be held Saturday, March 25, from 9am to 2pm, in the Fellowship Hall of the Front Royal United Methodist Church. Books for everyone available:[...]
10:00 am Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Mar 25 @ 10:00 am – 11:00 am
Words of the Wild @ Sky Meadows State Park
Sensory Explorers’ Trail. Take into your heart the peace of wild things. Absorb the transformative words of writers who loved the natural world, read aloud by two Shenandoah Chapter Master Naturalists. Walk in silence at[...]
1:00 pm Commemorate National Vietnam Vet... @ Veterans Park
Commemorate National Vietnam Vet... @ Veterans Park
Mar 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Commemorate National Vietnam Veterans Day @ Veterans Park
This event is being held to honor veterans of the Vietnam era for their service to the country during that time period.  There will be a formal color guard ceremony, wreath presentation and a firing[...]
11:00 am National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
Mar 29 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
National Vietnam Veterans Day @ National Cemetery
This event will be held 11:00, National Cemetery, Winchester, Virginia.  It is to honor Vietnam Era Veterans for their service to the country.  It is being conducted by the American Red Cross and the Colonel[...]
6:30 pm Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Mar 29 @ 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm
Front Royal Wednesday Night Bingo @ Front Royal Volunteer Fire Deptartment
Bingo to support the American Cancer Society mission, organized by Relay For Life of Front Royal. Every Wednesday evening Early Bird Bingo at 6:30 p.m. Regular Bingo from 7-9:30 p.m. Food and refreshments available More[...]
5:00 pm No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Mar 31 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
No Foolin' Warren County Rocks @ First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall
Warren Coalition’s No Foolin’ Warren County Rocks includes a team Scavenger Hunt for prizes! Top teams in each category will receive $25 gift cards for each team member, and the overall championship team will receive[...]
9:00 am Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Apr 1 @ 9:00 am – 12:00 pm
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny @ Living Water Christian Church
Living Water Christian Church will once again be hosting our Pancake Breakfast with the Easter Bunny on April 1, 2023, from 9am – 12pm. Come on out and enjoy a great breakfast, pictures with the[...]