Competency Has its Own Punishment

Competency Has its Own Punishment
When I was a young professional just beginning my career, a mentor made a puzzling comment that remained with me. She said, “Keep in mind that competency has its own punishments.” I knew that she thought I was a bit of an “over-achiever” and that I had a tendency toward perfectionism. I assumed she was simply encouraging me to slow down just a bit, not to push myself so hard. Several years of professional experience later, I began to understand her warning. Let me give you ... Read more
Share This

Are Workplace Celebrations Necessary or Enjoyable?

Are Workplace Celebrations Necessary or Enjoyable?
You have a busy schedule this morning and feel a bit out of sorts when an email comes across your desk reminding you about a birthday celebration for a coworker. This is the third one scheduled in a month, and you think it is a waste of time. Do you have to go? How long do you have to stay? Why is this type of activity sanctioned by management? It must cost money in lost work time and productivity. There are reasons why workplace celebrations are allowed, even encouraged. Mainly people ... Read more
Share This

Maintaining Privacy in Your New Job

Maintaining Privacy in Your New Job
You are starting a new job. You always hate the “get to know you” period. You also are a private person, and you are not interested in turning your new coworkers into best friends. How can you make the transition go more smoothly? Recognizing the following three points may be a start: •Coworkers will be curious, especially when someone new enters the fold. By the time you first appear on the job, you can be sure you have been heavily vetted on social media. People may know your ... Read more
Share This

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
Share This

Stress May Be Better Than You Think

Stress May Be Better Than You Think
Stress has gotten a bad reputation. In this age of self-care and burnout, many people long for less stress or to be stress-free. Yet, without some stress we would accomplish little and live boring lives. Is there really such a thing as “good stress?” Years ago, endocrinologist Hans Selye, MD, author of The Stress of Life, coined the term “eustress” to describe beneficial stress, stress that produces excitement, stimulation, and achievement.  Eustress can have a ... Read more
Share This

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
Share This

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
Share This

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
Share This

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
Share This

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
Share This