Monday, April 27, 2015
Most of us develop friendships at work, but sometimes these relationships go off the rails.
When that happens, it's often a slippery slope because having a disagreement with a friend at work can cause you professional problems, as well.
Andrea Bonior, a licensed psychologist, offers some potential friendship pitfalls and how to deal with them in her book, "Friendship Fix." Among her tips:
1. Your friend is using something in your personal life against you at work. "Privately convey to your 'friend' that you would appreciate it if she refrained from spreading around your personal business, and if push comes to shove, declare to whoever else is involved that you think the discussion to be inappropriate," Bonior suggests. At the same, be prepared to stand up for yourself and prove the colleague wrong by turning in a top-notch performance every day. "There's a good chance that your coworker might end up looking petty and untrustworthy if their information is irrelevant to your professional image," she adds.
2. Your friend gets fired or laid off, and is now royally ticked at the company. This is certainly tricky because you still have a job and want to keep it, but you also want to be a supportive friend. "Keep in contact with him through lunches or phone calls outside of work, but try not to let his venom give you survivor's guilt: you can feel sorry for him as a friend, but you still need a paycheck," Bonior counsels. "Be patient listening to his woes without letting him force you to berate your company."
3. Your friend is trying to get you to join her crusade against something at work. The breakroom kitchen needs a new microwave! The boss is unfair and should be reported to HR! Whatever the cause, your friend is leading the charge and she wants you to get involved -- but you don't want to do it. Bonior advises you to gently tell your colleague/friend that you're not comfortable signing on, and "I know my unease with it would do more harm than good."
4. Your friend never met a charity she didn't like. It's a fact of life that you're going to get hit up for a charitable cause at work, but it can get to be a problem when it's your friend who is always coming to you for a contribution. Say "no, thank you," with a smile and a "graceful change of subject" as many times as necessary, Bonior says.
Any other colleague/friendship questions you've faced on the job?
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Wednesday, April 22, 2015
A recent survey finds that about half of employees quit their jobs to get away from bad bosses.
Count me as one of them. I've quit two jobs in my career because I believed the bosses were actually hurting my ability to do my job. I don't think these bosses (one was a man, the other a woman) were horrible people -- they were just horrible managers.
In the Gallup survey, the 7,200 people polled wanted more communication from their managers. They wanted regular interactions with their bosses -- they wanted someone who cared about them as people with their own hopes and dreams. That kind of communication led to greater trust and engagement, the study found.
So what are some other things that make employees want to run from managers? Here's a short list -- feel free to chime in with your own suggestions.
1. Play favorites. There is no level playing field with bad managers. They don't have any impartial system in place for handing out promotions, big projects or even parking spaces.
2. Send emails at 2 a.m. Bosses who communicate this way make employees feel they're never away from the job and compel others to be just as obnoxious. Vacations? Sick? No matter. You're going to get emails so that you always feel like you're being monitored.
3.Focus on weaknesses. Your performance review makes you feel angry or depressed. Your every flaw seems to be documented by the NSA, while the good things you've done barely rate a passing mention. A performance evaluation should be well-balanced and any feedback throughout the year should also point out what you're doing right.
4. Are secretive. Bosses who hide behind their desks and don't share industry news, company changes or the business strategy are being petty and selfish. While they certainly can't share some information, employees who feel they're working in the dark will soon seek the light -- and find another job.
5. Are inflexible. Employees are asked to work erratic hours to keep up with international demands or scheduling changes, yet these bosses balk any time a worker needs to work from home or leave early to take care of a family issue. Bosses who won't deal with workers and their needs individually are using a double standard that is unfair and short-sighted.
Monday, April 6, 2015
The March unemployment report wasn't as rosy as was expected as employers only added 126,000 jobs.
But no one appears to be panicking, as the unemployment rate remains at 5.5%, and some economists dismiss the lackluster hiring as simply a result of bad winter weather.
Still, this is no time to get overconfident. Actually, you should never be overconfident where your job is concerned, If the last several years have taught us nothing else, it should be that we must manage our careers daily -- not just when the economy tanks and we fear a layoff.
Here's a list of things you should be doing:
1. Instead of just posting a story link or a picture of a dancing elephant on your social network, engage in conversations. Interact with key industry people via Twitter or Facebook, commenting on their links or asking their opinion. Having 12,000 Twitter follower does you little good if they don't see you as a real human being. When you need help finding a job, it's those personal connections that matter the most.
2. Add to your network with a phone call. Don't just rely on LinkedIn to add to your connections. Schedule a time to chat with an existing contact, or follow up with a phone call to someone you recently met at a conference or meeting. Keep the conversation short but memorable. For example, maybe you can pass on some information that the other person will find helpful or introduce them to another contact.
3. Continue to increase your knowledge by listening to podcasts, attending webinars or carving out time to read a new leadership book. Put money aside every month so that you can attend an industry conference, or approach your boss about getting some cross-training.
4. Look at your present position and plot where you would like to be in three to five years. Who now occupies that job? What do you lack in education or experience that could hold you back from that position? Think about how and when you can increase your skills and knowledge to be ready for that job in several years.
5. Take a hard look at your company and your industry. Will they survive the next five to 10 years? Are there enough doubts or warning signs that you need to go back to school immediately? Can you get some training in other jobs that are more likely to be around in a decade? Do you know the right people to help you if your job is eliminated for some reason?
While you may think you're too busy to take on any or all of these tasks, think of the alternative. Ask anyone who was out of a job in the last several years and they will tell you they wish they had taken the time to make more connections, build their skills or be aware their industry was headed for trouble.