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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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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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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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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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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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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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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