Monday, November 25, 2013
The holidays are right around and the corner, year-end reports are due, co-workers are asking you to cover for them on vacation and the boss wants everything done yesterday.
It's no wonder you may be feeling a bit stressed.
But could the stress be generated not from outside forces but your own actions?
At a recent Families and Work Institute conference, President Ellen Galinsky says that many employers are noticing a growing problem of employees being always "on." They answer e-mails at night and on weekends and work outside of regular hours when they're supposed to be off.
Employers are worried about worker burnout, she says.
One of the biggest problems for many workers today is that they can't say "no," says says Preston Ni, a professor of communications studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, Calif.; a career coach; and trainer.
"There's always the concern in the workplace of social rejection or career consequences for saying no," Ni says. "Maybe you don't want to hurt someone's feelings by saying no, or doing so makes you feel guilty."
The problem is that by not learning to say "no," you then become a victim and risk burnout, he says.
The most successful people learn how to manage their own time effectively and aren't buffeted with demands from various sources, Ni says. They are still busy, just not overwhelmed.
With all the year-end activities and deadlines many of us are facing, Ni has advice to let you say "no," take control of your life, and be happier and more successful:
• Set boundaries. If a colleague approaches you about covering for her while she's taking some time off, you can say "no" diplomatically by saying something like, "Unfortunately, I have a lot on my plate as well."
Or "it is important to me that I finish this project, so I need to focus on these tasks." Another option: Say you're "uncomfortable" taking on the other tasks at this time.
• Learn to engage and disengage. Instead of turning down a colleague's request for help, you can offer to take a specific piece of the task, and then (read more here)
Wednesday, November 20, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
The next time you're feeling a bit down on yourself, you can regain your confidence — and make a good impression on others — if you take time to write down your aspirations and ambitions, a new study reveals.
Writing about two paragraphs outlining your goals will help you feel more confident and energetic, Gavin Kilduff, an assistant professor of management and organization at New York University, says his research shows. That can be especially critical before entering a new group.
Individuals who used such an exercise to pump themselves up showed greater initiative during initial group discussions and appeared more competent to teammates, experiments with Adam Galinsky, a psychologist and professor at Columbia Business School, showed. In addition, that competence gave them a higher rank within the group.
Once you project confidence to the group and its members perceive you well, the effect can be lasting, they found.
Specifically, individuals who initially acted more confidently with the group set up patterns of assertive communications that continued and became self-reinforcing, they say.
"We thought the effect would be more fleeting," Kilduff says. "I was a bit surprised that it worked consistently."
Piera Palazzolo, senior vice president of Dale Carnegie Training, says that the experiment demonstrates how critical it is to show confidence when communicating if you want to be successful in your career.
"No one wants to admit that they're not confident," she says. "But you can improve it by mentally talking to yourself."
If you don't have time to write down your ambitions before going before a group, then mentally review your achievements and goals. That should help to boost your confidence level and help you not appear timid, she says.
Palazzolo has other tips to show off your confidence:
• Be prepared. "Confidence comes from knowing you've done your homework. You have to come into a group like you own it," she says.
That means whether you're networking for a new job or entering a weekly meeting, make sure you have done research so you're up on the latest news and prepared to discuss the issues thoroughly.
• Look the part. Keep your back straight, make eye contact and dress appropriately so others see you're confident before you say your first "hello."
• Show interest. "People love to talk about themselves, so ask questions," she says.
You can use the office break room as a chance to interact (read more here)
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
Friday, November 8, 2013
Joe Kearney retired from the Army in May after 23 years and has two words of advice for fellow veterans who will be looking for a job in the private sector: "Start early."
Kearney, who now works as a project manager for Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson in Plano, Texas, says jobs are out there for veterans, but finding them takes a lot of planning and hard work.
Sitting by a scenic lake near his Ericsson office, Kearney recalls a brief stint as a government contractor after leaving the military and uses the lake as an analogy for his job-hunting strategy.
"Instead of wading in the shallow end and continuing to work as a contractor, I decided I wanted to jump in the deep end and do a cannonball into the corporate world," he says.
Despite Kearney's enthusiasm for a new career, he admits, "I spun a lot of wheels initially" by applying for jobs online.
The move turned out to be a dead end for several reasons. One of them was that Kearney, like thousands of other veterans looking for work, didn't know how to translate his military experience into civilian language that can attract employers.
Hiring managers cite veterans' ability to show how their skills can be used in the private sector as a top negative, according to the Center for a New American Security.
Kearney says he began tapping into sites like Afterburner to help educate himself more about the business world and began using LinkedIn's resources aimed at helping veterans.
Another source he found helpful was RallyPoint, a professional military network launched by former Special Forces Capt. Yinon Weiss and former Army Battalion Logistics Officer Aaron Kletzing, who first met in Baghdad and reunited at Harvard Business School.
"We had this idea that we literally wrote on the back of a napkin," Weiss says. Just completing its first year, RallyPoint is often touted as a LinkedIn for troops.
It asks users to share their permanent change of station dates from their current position, which helps others know when a position might be opening up in the armed services. But the network also allows military members to explore job options with employers such as Amazon, General Electric and Lockheed-Martin.
Employers are vetted carefully to ensure that vets will get the support they need from a designated veteran advocate with the company, Weiss says.
"A lot of companies don't understand the military language, and they may feel intimidated about hiring vets," he says. "Someone with the company that is former military can help advise and guide."
Soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines leaving for private industry also may not realize the value of networking and may think the only thing they need to do is send their resume with their qualifications, Weiss says.
Kearney says he often used networking to get desired positions within the military, so he was convinced of the value of networking and quickly saw the potential of a site like RallyPoint.
"You don't want to call a former member of the military and say, 'Can you get me a job?' But you can call them and say, 'Can you tell me how you made the transition?' " Kearney says. "They can help you understand how not to (read more here)
Friday, November 1, 2013
The job seeker feels pressure to answer questions and make a good impression.
But career experts say interviews need to be two-way streets if job seekers want to make sure they won't hate their new jobs in six months.
Specifically, job candidates must be armed with questions to really learn what an organization is all about. They've got to ferret out information that can help them avoid a boss who channels Attila the Hun or land in an organization that is a poster child for dysfunctional companies.
"People think an interview is when they have to sell themselves," says Alexandra Levit, co-founder of the Career Advisory Board. "But I think it's also a time to ask questions and find out more about the employer."
You should ask to talk to other employees who would be colleagues if a job is offered, Levit says.
"Ask them questions about what sets the organization apart, what they really like about the company and their jobs," she says.
Companies are likely to offer "rah-rah" employees who will say only good things about the employer, but Levit says they still can offer valuable information.
Carol Kinsey Goman, a business coach and expert on non-verbal communication, agrees.
You should look at what employees aren't saying with words but indicating with their body language, she says.
"Probably the biggest mistake people make when trying to read body language is that they take one signal for having a ton of meaning," she says. "But what you want to do is look for a cluster of signals."
A hiring manager looking at her watch doesn't necessarily signal that she wants an interview to conclude because she thinks you're boring. But if she begins tapping her foot, looking at the door and glancing at her watch, you should move on because you could be making her impatient or bored, Goman says.
Engage in small talk during an interview because hiring managers can gauge your "likeability" and see how you might fit into the workplace culture. But this chit-chat is also a chance for interviewees to get a feel for a company's culture and management style.
You'll also have opportunity to spot when an interviewer is being less than honest or masking true feelings about you and what you're saying.
Specifically, to spot a hiring manager who may be hiding something or being evasive, Goman advises you to look down. Most people are savvy enough to cover evasions with smiles or eye contact, but they forget about their feet.
When people try to control their body language, Goman says they focus most with their face, hands and arms, but "gestures below the waist are often left unrehearsed."
Watch for these examples, Goman says:
• If you're speaking with a hiring manager who has (read more here)