By Barbara Poole
OK, you’ve been out of work for a while now. Maybe you are part of the underemployed statistics. You had a job for 15 years and all of a sudden you are out on your butt after being nothing but a good worker, keeping your head down, and staying out of trouble. Now all you’re hearing is about being entrepreneurial. Start a business, grow a business, and all that jazz. But is it as easy as it sounds? Throw together a web site and your doors are open? Are you getting weak in the knees thinking about this?
Well dear Reader, you are not alone. It’s not you. Where were your teachers and school systems when it came time to teach how to land on your feet? Where was your employer when you tried to suggest new things and were led back to your cube like an errant schoolboy (or girl)? No, it’s not about you. The fact is that for years and years, you as an employee have been rewarded for being rather mediocre. Don’t make waves, grow the business, punch the clock, collect direct deposit and go home to the relative security of your home (which carries a big mortgage and is losing value every day.)
Back up just one minute. It’s not about being an entrepreneur. It is about being resilient. That has to be the foundation of any endeavor, whether it be as an employee, business owner, parent, and child. Learn about how to stand on your feet (or land on them) when it hits the fan, and you are one step closer to survival my friend. But as I said, it’s not your fault. Learn to be resilient first. Then think about what’s next. For every day advice on swimming, not sinking at your profession, visit our main site by clicking your back button.
By Barbara Poole
What kind of working world exposes workers to so much stress that a new term was coined to describe it? Who else has suffered down in the trenches of a “high stress, low control job”? Well folks, welcome to the American workplace.
According to an article from NursingCenter.com , “Women experiencing “high stress, low control” situations anywhere in their lives, whether in their family, social life, or work, have a much greater risk of developing disease and having poorer outcomes.” By default, the same is true for their male counterparts.
“High stress, low control” was a term coined to describe blue collar workers’ experiences in repetitive jobs, like production lines and other manufacturing environments. As corporate America moves to more high tech/low touch ways of doing business – from mechanized operations and warehousing environments to delivering sales and service from a call center the size of a football field in a building reminiscent of Fort Knox, it is clear that “high stress, low control” jobs are alive and not so well in many American corporations today.
By Barbara Poole
“”How’s that working for ya?”" asks Dr. Phil McGraw on a regular basis.
He asks this of someone who repeats the same behavior over and over with the expectation that the outcome will somehow be different. Of course, it never is.
If you’re someone who wants to be able to handle disagreements with your boss, Dr. Phil would most likely tell you to stop whining and just do it. Yes, it takes courage. Yes, you may be nervous and feel you are putting your job on the line.
However, if you expect to get ahead in work or life in general, you will need to be able to step up and promote your ideas and opinions with confidence and persuasion.
This doesn’t mean you need to be disrespectful or step on the toes of others. It does mean you should be clear about your objectives and reasons for disagreement.
So the next time you disagree with your boss on his method or plan, consider these steps:
Step 1. Avoid pointing out that he is wrong. You’ll only put him on the defensive. Everyone is entitled to an opinion, especially the boss. The whole idea is to initiate a conversation so that you can explore other options and suggest alternatives.
Step 2. Ask to meet. Face to face is the only way to handle a disagreement with your boss. Arrange a time and place to sit down and talk. Don’t blindside him or her with an unexpected confrontation. Explain your intent is to fully understand what is being requested or suggested.
Step 3. Seek clarification in order to truly be able to discuss anything you need to ensure your full understanding. Find out what your boss wants to achieve – what is his ultimate goal – and the reason behind this particular goal. Ask open-ended questions and summarize your understanding. Listen carefully and address any of his concerns.
Sep 4. Don’t seek to prove the boss wrong. Don’t assume you have all the answers or that your way is automatically better than your boss’s. The goal should be to ensure his needs and expectations are met. Talk bottom line and positive outcomes, not implementation. The goal is to make your boss shine. Show him how that can be achieved even if it is via a different method than the one he has suggested.
Step 5. Be willing to compromise. Come to an agreement about the best way to proceed. And if ultimately that means he tells you he wants it done his way, understand that is his prerogative. Don’t become emotional, just follow his instructions to the best of your ability.
Part of your career growth is being able to be straightforward and professionally deal with conflict with others. Your boss included. Knowing how to handle disagreements about projects, processes, and methods helps you grow as an employee – and might keep you in that job until you decide – not your boss – that it’s time to move on.
By Barbara Poole
Wondering why you don’t hear back from the people who have posted openings on job boards? It could be because you asked for more information about the job without providing any information about yourself. If you are a member of Gen Y, odds are you have asked this question more than once. And odds are, you don’t hear back. What are the odds? Maybe 600 to 1 that you will get an interview on a good day. Don’t blow your chances by wasting your time. Is the whole job board thing frustrating? Yes. Do you feel like you are sending a reply into outer space, never to hear back? Probably. Did you know that many times your application is never read by a human being? That’s right. Your first screen is by a computer. When have you heard of a computer getting conversational? The computer is programmed to look for certain key words that match the job that you are interested in. How can you increase the odds that you will make it past the computer? Use words that relate to the job you’re applying for. The computer will light up like a Christmas tree, and pass you on to a real live person. You have a lot more influence than you may think. It’s all about knowing how to play the hiring game.
By Barbara Poole
These days, people are exposed to more news and media outlets than ever before. No wonder it is hard to make some noise in this hugely crowded world of information. If there ever was a reason for blowing your own horn, the time is now. Whether you are an employee in a gigantic corporation, a business owner launching a new product…/service, reaching the eyes and ears of people who should know about you and what you do is critical. This is all well and good. Nothing wrong with a little self-promotion right? But when does it become a little icky? When someone crosses the line, and becomes too much of a walking billboard of news that frankly, becomes annoying. There is a fine line between self-promotion being effective vs. annoying. For more information on making self-promotion successful, read my interview in the Philadelphia Inquirer, posted today. And for more information on handling work and life situations with success, check out www.employaid.com.