When Work is Life

When Work is Life
How important is your job? Or, conversely, how important are you to your job? Oftentimes, both of these statements are oversold. When we are committed to our jobs, we assume others see and appreciate our dedication. They often do, and you may find yourself rewarded for your excellent work during an annual evaluation. That doesn’t, however, mean you are indispensable. If you find yourself thinking the place would collapse without you, it’s time to get real. Few places are solely ... Read more
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Listen to Yourself

Listen to Yourself
  Recently I attended a dinner function with a dozen colleagues. The venue was lovely, the company was engaging, and the food was delicious. Our server was attentive and efficient. She had only one fault. Every time someone ordered an item or asked her something, her response was “absolutely.” By the end of the three hours, her “absolutely” became absolutely annoying. The word “absolutely” also has caught on with tv and online reporters who now use it (in place ... Read more
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Self-Care Can’t be Retroactive

Self-Care Can’t be Retroactive
Recently, a very busy colleague told me that she knew she needed to do better with her self-care so she was scheduling two daily sessions of yoga for the next week to make up for it. That made us both laugh. While you do need to make time for self -care, and perhaps deliberately include it in your daily schedule, a week of self-care activities won’t make up for weeks or months of self abuse or sporadic focus. Nor can self-care be retroactive. It is like lost sleep—you can get enough ... Read more
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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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Think Carefully Before Dropping Association Membership

Think Carefully Before Dropping Association Membership
It’s that time of year when invoices for professional association membership dues begin arriving. If you are like many others, you may vacillate about continuing paying your dues. How do you decide? Is it worth it? Do you really need to be a member? Before you decide, take an inventory of what services and perks your membership actually offers. Many people have never done this and are surprised at what they find. Some of the services may include: •Establishing and maintaining ... 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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The Downside of Falling Into Leadership

The Downside of Falling Into Leadership
Your supervisor or manager is leaving. Perhaps she has been promoted, or she decided to retire, or she has found a position elsewhere. Regardless, you were surprised when management called you in and asked you to temporarily fill in for her until a replacement can be hired. It seemed politically inadvisable to decline the request, and, in truth, you were quite flattered and excited. You want to be a team player, and you think you are a good fit for the permanent position. You readily agreed ... Read more
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