Putting Workplace Failures in Better Perspective

Putting Workplace Failures in Better Perspective
You are a final candidate for a job you really want. This is your third interview. You know you have done well in the previous interviews and are feeling comfortable and confident. Then the interviewer asks, “Tell me about your most recent personal failure.” You had been prepared to answer any question about failure with an example of a team project that missed a deadline a year or so ago, but that isn’t what she’s asking. Your mind whirls, trying to find a personal ... Read more
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I Hate Small Talk. How Important is it in the Workplace?

I Hate Small Talk. How Important is it in the Workplace?
A colleague recently mentioned that not only does he not like making small talk, he doesn’t even like hearing it. We all engage in it every day. How important is it in the workplace? Think about the person who comes into the office in the morning and greets everyone by name and asks how the weekend was. Do you consider that a nuisance or simple friendliness? Contrast that to the woman who walks in with her head down, not acknowledging anyone. Do people assume she is shy, unfriendly, ... Read more
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Your New Job May Have Policies That Surprise You

Your New Job May Have Policies That Surprise You
You’ve been searching for a new job for some time, so when that job offer finally comes through, you are quick to accept. The salary is satisfactory, and you have been told the basic benefits—health insurance, 401 K, three weeks vacation. What you may not be aware of are the organizational policies. You assume you can learn them once you actually start the job. How big a deal can policies be? Many new employees are surprised by vacation-related policies. For example, you may have ... Read more
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When it Comes to Goals, Your Past is Prologue

When it Comes to Goals, Your Past is Prologue
As one year ends and another begins, many of us turn our attention to goal setting, and to trying to create a framework for success in the next 12 months. Sometimes we are determined that the coming year really will be the one where needed and desired change takes place—new job, better budgeting, healthier lifestyle. The list could go on and on. There are many possible strategies for goal setting. For example, some experts suggest breaking big goals down into manageable pieces. Some suggest ... Read more
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Is Being the Office Fixer a Good Thing?

Is Being the Office Fixer a Good Thing?
Recently, I was in a conversation with a colleague. We were discussing a problem that we really didn’t own. We both came to that realization at the same time and laughed. How often do we choose to intervene when it isn’t our place or when it isn’t actually necessary. What does that mean? Isn’t being “a fixer” a good thing? In the workplace, I would answer that it depends. The following are some of the pros and cons of being the “workplace fixer.” ... Read more
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Avoid Speaking in Absolutes

Avoid Speaking in Absolutes
“Nobody likes me, everybody hates me. I think I’ll go eat worms.” Years ago, the old nursery rhyme above was sometimes used as a teaching moment for a child who was over-reacting to a personal situation. An argument with a best friend or not being selected for a team caused them to generalize or to make the situation seem worse than it was. Using an example that most children found humorous, the rhyme highlighted the exaggeration, and helped the child put things in better ... Read more
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Your Career Will Span Decades—There is Always Time for Change

Your Career Will Span Decades—There is Always Time for Change
We live in a country of choice. As a result, we are told from an early age that we can do great things—almost anything we want—and many of us do get to choose our professional paths. This may begin with an idea or focus in high school that leads to an area of study in college. There may be professors and other mentors who help you follow a chosen path. They may also help you find that first professional job. If you are lucky, your passion, your direction, your career choice, and your job ... Read more
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We are Always Judging and Being Judged

We are Always Judging and Being Judged
We judge people every time we meet them, every moment we are with them. And you are judged in return.  Sometimes our judgments are faulty. Think of a recent example when you misjudged someone. How did it happen. Did you make a quick appraisal—based on your first impression—that they were arrogant, frivolous, not very smart, unsophisticated, inexperienced, or lacking in understanding about a situation? Or did you rely on the previous opinions or labels from others, on what you had heard ... Read more
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Avoiding Professional Groupthink

Avoiding Professional Groupthink
Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that happens when someone or an in-group proposes a belief, action, or decision with great certainty, and others go along for the sake of harmony or to avoid conflict. As a result, dissenting viewpoints are suppressed, and independent thinking is strongly discouraged. While groupthink is generally thought to occur at the community or national level (for example, consider our political parties today), it also can be found within an agency or ... Read more
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The Importance of Workplace Confidentiality

The Importance of Workplace Confidentiality
Years ago, I was making a presentation to an audience of health care professionals. To illustrate a point, I included a case example of an older deceased woman who had experienced a variety of issues. I had changed the name and some of the relevant identifying information to protect the women’s privacy, but my changes weren’t thorough enough. After my presentation, a young woman, who appeared upset, approached me. She loudly accused me of using her grandmother as my case ... Read more
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