On Careers

January 2009


How to Fight the Office Shark

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A Washington insider once observed: “In the White House, you’re either fighting Sammy Glick or you are Sammy Glick.”

Some readers might not remember the driven and opportunistic protagonist of Budd Schulberg’s 1941 novel “What Makes Sammy Run?” but most have encountered Sammy. He is the colleague ...

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How to Get Employer Promises in Writing

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I was given a long awaited promotion yesterday, but was advised that I would not be receiving a salary increase due to the economic climate. I am ok with this because no one who made more than $60k received an incremental increase, promotion or not. We were all happy that we even received ...

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5 Tips For Loving a Job You Hate

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Here in Seattle, layoffs at Microsoft, Starbucks, and Boeing (“The Big Three”) have us pretty darn jumpy. After Monday’s mass layoffs elsewhere, you may be feeling the same way.

So, if you still have a job, you’re lucky. You should feel grateful. Right?

But maybe, deep down, you don’t feel grateful.

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Captain "Sully" Sullenberger: Where Are You?

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We need heroes, and I thought maybe the US Airways pilot who so skillfully landed his Airbus A320 in the Hudson River on January 16 would fit the bill.

We've read about his courage/bravery/skill/heroics in saving over 150 lives that afternoon. All of us watched as pictures were released, showing ...

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careers

How to Handle a Boss Who Yells

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A reader writes:

I'm hoping you can help a friend of mine who is stuck in a tough situation. After a long job search, my friend has found his dream job--it's what he wants to do, in the field he wants to do it in, it pays the salary he wants to make, and he feels like he's making a positive ...

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How to Renege on Two Weeks Notice

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I have given my notice verbally, but not in writing to my managing director. My husband and I plan to move, but we just found out the apartment we're in won't let us out of our lease until the end of February (we had planned to leave no later than the 15th). My question is this: If I have ...

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careers

How Effective Journaling Can Minimize Anxiety

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In the work world today, stress and anxiety are on the rise. If they're creeping into your life, you can either grit your teeth and bear it, or you can be proactive about minimizing them. One approach that I have found particularly effective is writing a "positive journal."

Despite how it might ...

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careers

How Seeing the 'Big Picture' Can Help Your Career

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Yesterday we inaugurated a new president who, among other things, is a great career role model. President Obama is not only a self-made man—focused, persistent, dedicated, and hardworking—he also looks at the big picture. It's a trait we would all do well to emulate.

Why? Because big-picture people ...

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careers

Should You Hire a Career Coach?

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I was talking to my son the other day and he admitted that he didn’t understand what career coaches could do for anyone. “They just offer up a bunch of clichés, or stuff you could look up online,” he said.

He might be right. Or wrong. What do you really think?

Even though I am not a career ...

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Why Gen X vs. Gen Y vs. Boomers = BS

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Millenials, the once pejorative term that has morphed into a positive label adopted by so many blogs (many of which I have the utmost respect for), is absolute BS.

Whether you're a "boomer" or a member of Generation X, Y, or Z--we are not each other's competition.  At least no more so than we are ...

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careers

How to Fire Someone

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Firing poor performers is one of the hardest things managers do--and also one of the most important.

Firing is about being committed to having great employees. You can do everything else right--setting clear goals and expectations, delegating effectively, giving feedback, striking the right balance ...

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careers

How Not to Worry About the News

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The holidays are behind us. Back to a steady news diet of layoffs, bankruptcies, defaults, Ponzi schemes, bailouts, the deficit, dwindling property values, and a skyrocketing unemployment rate. Who could blame you for wanting to hide under the bed?

But what we tend to forget when we're being ...

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careers
recession

The 8 Best Ways to Mentor Someone

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There's little at work that is more satisfying than spotting someone who's relatively inexperienced but smart, driven, and generally awesome—and then helping that person develop professionally. I think it's one of the most rewarding things about managing people (second only to having the power to ...

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careers

Career Quiz: Look Around, Are You in Siberia?

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One of the most important things you can do for your career is to look around.

I don't mean gazing at the horizon and fantasizing about that dream job you hope to land some day. I mean the foreground, which is often less pleasant and where you may be find career warning signals.

If you see a team of ...

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careers

When a Work Reward Is Totally Unrewarding

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Few people would turn down money of any amount. And most people want recognition that they've gone above and beyond on some project. Because of this, many companies have "reward" programs where a manager or other employee can grant a cash reward to someone for a job well done. These are usually ...

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careers

HR Gives Your Résumé 20 Seconds

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Twenty seconds. That's how long, on average, your résumé is reviewed.

This is why it is often the form, and not the substance, of your résumé that gets the most attention. So, you'll have to make yours errorproof, clean, and well designed just to get past the first five ...

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careers

When You Can't Give a Positive Reference

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I love to serve as a job reference for most former employees. But I've also occasionally been asked to be a reference for employees I can't honestly recommend. Here are some ways to handle reference requests when you can't recommend the candidate:

1. Whenever possible, warn the employee in advance ...

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careers
employment