March 31, 2004
March 30, 2004
Who Am I?
Everyone loves to take personality tests, right? But do you think a little bit of self-assessment and navel gazing might help you on the job, too?
I've noticed that the subject of personality testing has become increasingly popular in the workplace. For example, some HR departments now offer seminars on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (a personality test based on Jungian psychology) and color-based personality tests. (I'm Blue, apparently.)
I don't know how useful it is to me to know that I'm a Meyers-Briggs INFJ and my coworker is an ENTP -- I already probably noticed that she is an extrovert where I'm an introvert. But then again, if you found out that your coworker who always misses the details and focuses on the big picture is apparently wired to do this (it's a P/J thing), you might judge him less harshly. If it helps improve the work environment, then why not check it out?
March 29, 2004
There seems to be a coach or counselor for everything these days -- eating, exercising, shopping, organizing your closets, improving your relationships and of course helping you advance in your career. OK, so you think you might benefit from a career coach or counselor. Now what? What should you expect from this person, and how can you make sure you're getting the most of their services? Here are some tips.
March 26, 2004
"Field Guide to Boss Behavior"
This College Journal (Wall Street Journal ) piece talks about how to spot various species of bad bosses, including the "Sharp-Tongued Grouse" and the "Two-Faced Snipe." Watch for the Micro-Tanager; if he were a bird his call would be "I better do it." (Found this link via Bad Bossology.)
March 25, 2004
Walk This Way
Little did I know that next Friday, April 2, is National Walk to Work Day. A lot of us look for ways to stay in shape and work more exercise into our daily routines, but if you're like me and have a 40-minute drive to work, walking to the office isn't an option. But I'm a big believer in walking on one's lunch break. Even if it's rainy (like today) or snowing (okay, snowing *lightly*). Why? Because the time spent away from your computer screen is time you can use to regain a little perspective on your to-do list or to talk with a coworker who can help you rethink the problem that has been stumping you.
Or better yet, you can put away work for that half-hour (or hour, or 45 minutes) and burn a few calories while watching for the daffodils to show up (they should be here any day now). Getting away from one's cubicle for a short time really does help -- if you don't do this already, you should try it. Don't say you don't have the time, because you will be more productive and less stressed if you give yourself a short break. Trust me.
March 24, 2004
Depression at Work
When you hear the phrase "workers with disabilities," if you are not disabled yourself, you may have an image of someone in a wheelchair or a person who has impaired vision and uses special technologies to adapt. But according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 20 million American adults suffer from depression. It might surprise you to learn that emotional and psychological impairments are the second most common cause of workplace disability (back ailments are number one).
What can you do to keep depression from affecting your daily routine and work life? Here are some tips.
- Investigate what your Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (if you have one) offers. They may have information about how to get help or advice about whether you should talk to your boss.
- Make an appointment with your doctor ASAP. Don't be afraid to talk about this; remember, millions of people suffer from depression.
- Talk to your family or trusted friends and colleagues. They've probably noticed that you are not yourself and will be relieved to talk to you about it.
- Take stock of your current situation: What might be causing you to feel depressed (if it is situational depression)? Are you unhappy at work? Are you stressed about finances? What can you do to mitigate the factors that may be contributing to your depression?
March 23, 2004
If people keep walking all over you on their way up the career ladder while you just cling to the rung you're on, maybe you need to rethink this whole promotion thing. First, if you're an employee who tends to keep his nose to the grindstone (thereby not looking up to see what the competition is doing), stop believing in fallacies like:
People (like your boss) know I work hard. Actually, not always. Because everything is going smoothly in your little corner of the world, the boss may forget you're there. He's got crises to deal with and meetings to attend. He might not remember you're working hard unless you occasionally (and tactfully) remind him.
There's no need to get competitive with my coworkers; I'll get the promotion because I deserve it. You may indeed deserve it, but the bad news is, there is at least one coworker in your department who thinks he deserves it more, and you don't know what he is saying to your boss or the rest of the team when you are not around. It's sad, but true: Being idealistic often equals being naive -- you need to watch your back.
My boss knows I want the promotion. He might not, and if he prefers that you stay where you are (because you're doing your job well) he might be reluctant to recognize your interest. Be open with him about it. Point out your accomplishments, but do so with grace and aplomb. Don't be timid, but don't be defensive or confrontational, either.
Read more about how to jockey for that new position.
"What to Do When You're Passed Over for a Promotion" (CareerJournal)
March 22, 2004
Where The Jobs Are
Last week a Wall Street Journal article highlighted some occupations and regions that were experiencing job growth in the past year (subscription required). Some of the main points:
Healthcare: "Physicians' offices hired an additional 45,000 employees, outpatient care centers grew by 9,000 workers, and hospitals added 58,600 people."
Education: "Due in part to the large number of teachers who are now retiring, combined with increasing student enrollments, there are lots of job openings, particularly in areas like math, science and special education -- and especially in urban and rural districts."
The piece also notes places like Loudon County, VA, where numerous defense contractors (a busy group these days to be sure) are based, and Las Vegas, which has been experiencing incredible population growth for years, have been adding jobs at a much faster rate than most regions in the US.
Read more about the jobs of the future.
March 19, 2004
What Company Do I Work for Again?
During one of my past job searches I worked for a company that changed hands while I was still working there. The company that had bought us was Michigan-based, though we had been a UK-owned entity. I wondered how to explain the restructuring on my resume. Given the number of buyouts, mergers and acquisitions over the past few years, a lot of job seekers are facing similar issues with their resumes.
March 18, 2004
Why I Pay Rent
So it snowed here yesterday. And what were some of us doing the day before? Anxiously checking the Weather Channel updates and checking to make sure we knew the emergency number for the office.
Clearly, we were delusional in thinking we would get the day off. That's okay. If you like your job, you don't mind coming in in the morning. You might even look forward to it.
But you do get cranky when you can't come in because your landlord's plow guy (who is apparently ethereal and exists only in your mind) doesn't show up in time for you to get to work. Some of us don't drive 4x4s and therefore need the 8 inches of snow to be cleared from the parking lot so we can extract ourselves from it.
So I ended up working from home. It reminded me that it's not what it's cracked up to be. Yes, I was surprisingly productive, but I also suffered missed meetings and coworker separation anxiety. Thank goodness for instant messaging.