Thursday, July 2, 2015
Monday, June 29, 2015
Being Too Casual Could Cost You at Work
As you work your way up the career ladder, it may be gratifying to know that your hard work has paid off. Your skills and experience are valued, and you feel that your career is on the right track.
Still, don't rest on your laurels. Right when you start to see your future become bright you could lose it all.
You wear yoga pants on casual Friday with the word "sweet" across the butt. You haven't washed your hair for more than a week, nor shaved in the last three days. You go out to lunch with your boss and sit with your feet propped up in your chair. You are always late to business meetings and spend most of the time checking your email or texting.
While some people may argue they work in a more casual environment and their looks and behavior aren't valued more than their skills, that's naive. The truth is that everyone is judged on their ability to conduct themselves in a way that won't offend others.
So, even though you wear leggings and a sweatshirt to work, is the boss assured that you won't do the same when meeting with an important, more conservative client? Or, can you eat like an adult while dining with a key customer or are you going to slump over your food and use your fork like a shovel?
Will others follow you if you show disrespect during a meeting and text during their presentation?
We've become much more casual in the workplace, and in a lot of ways that has led to more innovation and better communication. Still, make sure that your casual attitude doesn't show a side to your boss that will hurt your chances to advance.
What are some things you believe people do or say that hurt their professional image at work?
Wednesday, June 24, 2015
How to Make Anyone More Excited About Their Job
Monday, June 22, 2015
What Incivility at Work Costs All of Us
I'd say there's probably more than a few discussions today around the watercooler and via email about mean bosses after a New York Times opinion piece "No Time to Be Nice at Work."
In the article by Christine Porath, associate professor at Georgetown University, she noted that after studying the cost of incivility for nearly 20 years she finds that "insensitive interactions" hurt a person's health, performance and souls.
I've written before in this blog about a**hole bosses, and know from personal experience the toll they take on a person. It makes you more prone to sickness -- even leading to health issues such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. It undercuts your confidence, it affects personal relationships and it can lead to emotional problems such as depression.
Porath notes that such bosses produce demoralized employees through a string of actions such as "walking away from a conversation because they lose interest; answering calls in the middle of meetings without leaving the room; openly mocking people by pointing out their flaws or personality quirks in front of others; reminding their subordinates of their 'role' in the organization and 'title'; taking credit for wins, but pointing the finger at others when problems arise."
Do these people know they're being mean and belittling others? According to Porath and those I've interviewed over the years, these people often often don't realize how rude they are being. They were treated this way by their boss, so that's the way they act toward others. Once you add in the fact that many of us took on extra duties when the economy tanked, the pressure of the 24/7 do-it-now workplace, and you've got big problems.
I do believe civility is contagious. I've worked for some tough editors, who liked to eat reporters for lunch. But I came across a young editor several years ago who always said, "please" and "thank you." He never failed to say "Good morning!" or "Have a nice weekend!" The surprising thing is that he did this all via instant messaging.
My point is that while it's going to be difficult for the average worker to break the uncivil habits of a senior leader, we can all take a step toward making the workplace better. This young editor certainly affected me. I began to be more aware of saying "please" and "thank you," no matter how brief the interaction.
You know what? It made me feel better about my day. Just being nice to others helped relieve my stress. Maybe my day hadn't been stellar, but I ended it knowing I hadn't been a jerk, either.
Remember, you cannot complain about incivility when you're snarky about a co-worker, gossip with others or treat anyone with disrespect -- no matter his or her title.
Civil behavior starts with each one of us. Our health and our well-being depends on it. It's a work challenge we should all embrace.
Wednesday, June 17, 2015
Monday, June 15, 2015
6 Tips to Help You Get a Pay Raise
It's time to ask for a pay raise.
You know it, and I know it.
You've been busting your butt for years now, telling yourself that the piddly 2% annual raise you've gotten for the last five years is OK. You're lucky to have a job, you tell yourself. You have benefits, you argue. Your boss tells you that he knows you work hard, and didn't he just give you a gift certificate for $20 to the car wash around the corner?
That's enough for now, you contend.
No, it's not. As long as you sit quietly and accept whatever an employer gives you, then you are not going to ensure that your income grows with your skills and experience. You're not going to be able to save for retirement, send your kids to college or keep up with inflation.
As I said, it's time to ask for a pay raise.
You might be nervous about this -- especially if you're a woman. But if you don't ask for one, then you'll never get one. At the very least, you'll put your boss on notice that you believe you deserve a raise, and want one. That should get him or her pondering whether you're unhappy enough with your pay to leave. As the job market heats up, that may spur your boss into giving you a bigger annual raise just to avoid losing you, which can be costly.
In addition, he or she may decide to not only give you a pay raise at your performance review, but may also bump you up before then.
Still think you should sit quietly and take whatever the boss gives you?
No? Then here's how you go about asking for a pay raise and boosting the chances you'll get it:
- Do your homework. Consult sites such as Glassdoor or Salary.com to learn how much others in your industry and position earn, as well as those in your geographic area. You can't ask for something that's way above the industry norm and be taken seriously. You want the boss to know that you've done your homework and are aware of what competitors are paying.
- Know what you contribute. Take the time to think about how you've helped the company's bottom line, enabled your boss to shine or helped solve a problem. Think about times you've really excelled and been noted for it. If you've received written praise from customers or leaders, that can be brought up in your discussions.
- Strike while the iron is hot. If you've just received an award, been personally praised by a senior leader or garnered an industry award, then that's a good time to ask for a pay raise. You've just clearly shown that you're above average, and deserve above-average pay.
- Stay professional. Never ask for a raise "because I need a new car" or "I really want to go to Paris." Any pay discussions should not center on your personal needs, but rather why you believe you deserve more money based on your performance.
- Time it right. Of course, it's not a good time to ask for a pay raise when layoffs have just been announced or you just screwed up a major contract. Use your common sense -- you want to make a move when the boss is in a good mood, not fuming over an a**-chewing from his boss.
- Schedule a meeting. Bosses don't like things being sprung on them, especially when those things involve money. So, set up a time to talk to your boss, practice your pitch and approach it with confidence. You're not a serf asking the king for a favor -- you're a qualified, valued worker who is requesting that a pay raise be considered.
Don't fret if you don't get the raise. The key is that you're standing up for what you deserve and your boss knows it. Simply thank him for his time, ask what you need to do to garner a bigger raise next time and then look for opportunities to do just that. If no pay raise is possible, it may be time that you start looking around in that improving job market.
What tips do you have for getting a pay raise?