Self Labeling Can Be Destructive

Self Labeling Can Be Destructive
Labels are useful. They help us organize our world—for example, college majors, job levels, geographic boundaries, demographic descriptors. Labels are necessary in research and in medical treatment. In research, we fit people and events into categories. In health care, we need diagnostic and disease parameters so appropriate treatment can be provided. In everyday life we use labels to help us make choices. Think about brand names for products such as phones and clothing, or labels on food ... Read more
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Keep Your Work Family in Perspective

Keep Your Work Family in Perspective
You spend 30 to 40 hours per week with colleagues at your workplace. You also may carpool with them, eat at least one meal per day with them, and socialize with them after work and perhaps on weekends.  It’s easy to think of your coworkers as a “work family,” and, similar to your actual family, there are competitions, slights, disagreements, and disappointments, as well as loyalty, support, encouragement, and concern. In addition, there is comfort in the status quo, with ... Read more
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Find a Problem and Be Part of the Solution

Find a Problem and Be Part of the Solution
You are a hard worker in a good-sized office. You have been there for almost a year, but you don’t think you have made much progress yet. You get along fairly well with your manager but are uncertain she fully recognizes your talents. You are rereading a report that you had previously reviewed and that your manager has already signed off on. You weren’t responsible for the project, and you weren’t the staff member who wrote the final report. But during this reading, you ... Read more
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Moving Forward by Looking Back

Moving Forward by Looking Back
You have been in your new job for a few months now. You are starting to settle in and are feeling comfortable. You are eager to make more of an impact and you have some ideas you want to put forward. Before you rush ahead, be certain you do the necessary homework. You researched the organization and its staff before you interviewed for the job. Now that you have some first-hand experience, dig a little deeper. You probably have legitimate access to reports that were not available to you as ... Read more
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Comparison Can Be Risky for Your Career

Comparison Can Be Risky for Your Career
One friend just came back from a business trip to Iceland. Another was accepted for training as an FBI agent. And a third is working at a large PR firm, a job that appears to come with many fun perks. Why isn’t your job more exciting? Is this what you signed up for? Is this all there is? What happened to “chasing your dreams and following your passion?” It’s not unusual to sometimes feel that you aren’t keeping up with your peers, or that your life seems boring ... Read more
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It’s Not About You

It’s Not About You
Recently, at a graduation ceremony, two speeches stood out. It wasn’t because they were funny or contained remarkable advice or insights. Instead, they stood out because they were boring at best, and perhaps even inappropriate. The first speech was from the class valedictorian. She began by describing her childhood and what had impressed her to go in a certain direction later on in life. A statement or two about that topic might have been interesting, but the rest of the speech ... Read more
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Try Surprising Yourself More Often

Try Surprising Yourself More Often
When was the last time you actually surprised yourself—when you did something “out of character?” Maybe you were spontaneous about an event or a trip. Perhaps you made a quick decision or purchase, foregoing your usual time for deliberation. Maybe you spoke up at work when you disagreed with someone. Was the action or outcome positive—perhaps even exhilarating—or were you upset with yourself for “throwing caution to the wind”? Take a few minutes to think about your ... Read more
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Do You Have the Energy for Leadership?

Do You Have the Energy for Leadership?
Being an outstanding leader requires many traits and talents. A quick look at the business literature includes concepts like a need for vision, transparency, honesty, innovation, focus, enthusiasm, optimism, hard work, and hope. What is rarely included in the list is energy. Leadership requires energy. I’m not just talking about physical energy, even though that is imperative. Recently, there was a video of 82-year-old Pope Francis walking down the steps of an airplane ramp. Despite ... Read more
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Does Being Bold Work at Work?

Does Being Bold Work at Work?
She likes bold colors. He has bold handwriting. That was a bold move. “Bold” has its place, but how well does bold fit in your workplace? What does “bold” actually mean anyway? Is it the same as being aggressive or outspoken or simply standing up for yourself and your work? Is it challenging the status quo or your boss? Is it being creative and doing things differently? Synonyms for the word “bold” include “fearless, courageous, brave or ... Read more
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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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