The Walls Have Ears

The Walls Have Ears
Today, thanks to cell phones, we are constantly surrounded by conversations. People talk while they are walking, shopping, and eating. It seems like there are no longer filters on language used or content discussed. If nearby, you can listen to the intricacies of a legal matter or the intimacies of a personal relationship. This same behavior can be observed in the office. Though a conversation you’re having may seem harmless, it can have damaging effects. For example, perhaps you use ... Read more
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Beware the Lemmings

Beware the Lemmings
The lemming is a small rodent that mostly lives in the Arctic. Folklore has it that lemmings follow each other even when it results in their jumping off cliffs in what some describe as mass suicides. The lemming analogy is a cautionary tale for a “group think” mentality and can be applied to several situations in the workplace. New employees are more susceptible to becoming lemmings than others who are better informed. Frequently, an established worker volunteers to help the new person get ... Read more
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Words Left Unsaid

Words Left Unsaid
When I got married, Betsy (co-founder of Start Smart Career Center) gave me a piece of advice that I cherish because it has proven to be invaluable. She told me that the words I choose not to say to my husband are just as important as the words I do say to him. I could not have possibly appreciated the gravity of that statement at the time, but over five years later it is a motto I’ve come to live by in every aspect of my life. This concept may be easiest to understand in regards to ... Read more
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Don’t Settle for the Cheap Seats

Don’t Settle for the Cheap Seats
There is going to be a meeting with the boss that will be held in the conference room. Unfortunately, the conference table isn’t large enough for all the managers to sit at the table. There are chairs placed around the perimeter of the room for overflow. The men wander in and take a seat at the table without giving it a second thought.  They may try to decide where the boss will sit so they can choose their chair strategically. Some of the women seem uncertain about where to sit and ... Read more
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The Devil Doesn’t Need Advocates

The Devil Doesn’t Need Advocates
We’ve all been there. The meeting has dragged on and on. It looks like the team has finally arrived at an action plan. Things are winding down, tasks are being assigned, and you are ready to pack up and get back to your real work. At that very moment, someone says, “Let me play devil’s advocate” and launches into a rehash of the previous discussion. Colleagues groan inwardly, everyone hoping the boss will dismiss this unnecessary showmanship. The concept of ... Read more
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Feeling Inadequate? Maybe It’s Time for an Inner Strength Inventory

Feeling Inadequate? Maybe It’s Time for an Inner Strength Inventory
Inner strengths are similar to talents. The difference is we may not fully recognize or acknowledge our inner strengths, so they remain hidden, even from ourselves. Understanding and owning your inner strengths can be an asset to your self-confidence and to your job performance. As an exercise, ask your closest friends or family members if they could describe one or two strengths that they think you possess. You might be surprised at what is mentioned, terms like self-discipline, optimism, ... Read more
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Embrace the Unk Unks

Embrace the Unk Unks
It’s easy to say no. It takes up far less time and energy to take the easy way out. It may even be human nature to try to avoid the difficult, time consuming, challenging choices. However, very little is truly impossible. More importantly, you will never meet your potential or create something important by immediately refusing to take on big tasks and daunting projects. Think about it—what are your big picture goals or your personal moonshot? You won’t get there by being the person who ... Read more
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Job Hopping Your Way to Success?

Job Hopping Your Way to Success?
The 2014 Employee Viewpoint Survey conducted by the government’s Office of Personnel Management found that millennials who accept a position with a government agency stay slightly less than four years. If you are in your 20s or early 30s, four years might seem like a long time to you. You may fear getting locked into a job or missing new opportunities. You may have been told that the only way to get ahead is by changing jobs so that you continue to grow both your salary and your ... Read more
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How Not to Introduce Yourself

How Not to Introduce Yourself
By the time you snag your first professional job, you’ve heard the advice about introducing yourself a million time. Stand up, have a firm handshake, make eye contact, speak clearly, use titles like Ms. or Dr. until you are invited to do otherwise. You know the routine and you’ve mastered it. What you may not be as prepared for is how to introduce yourself at a meeting. Your introduction, of course, varies with the meeting. If the facilitator requests that each participant give ... Read more
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How to Survive That First Mediocre Job

How to Survive That First Mediocre Job
Most of us are always looking for direction in our lives, especially our work lives. This search starts in high school when parents, school counselors, friends, and others begin asking what you plan to major in when you go to college.  Few high school students can answer this question with clarity. You finally select a college, but it may take a year or two to nail down a major. The sheer number of choices can be overwhelming. Even within a major, there are choices to be made about ... Read more
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