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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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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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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Baby Micro-Aggressions

Baby Micro-Aggressions
Dear Colleagues: In the last week at work, I have been told no less than three times that I should hurry to have kids. Two of those comments came from male coworkers, and one came from my female boss who has several children. What is wrong with people that they feel this is an appropriate work topic, much less any of their business? I understand that sometimes people make these comments from a “good” place or with “good” intent. For example, they waited too long and had ... 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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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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Assessing Workplace Conflict

Assessing Workplace Conflict
There can be many types of conflict in the workplace. Work groups, teams, or departments may disagree about the best way to proceed. Employees may disagree about decisions management or their supervisors have made. There can also be conflict between two employees about a project or option. Sometimes conflicts occur because there is a lack of information or data. Other times, conflict results from a lack of resources, and the conflict becomes a zero-sum game. If one side wins, the other side ... Read more
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