On Careers

May 2009


Don't Let Them Underestimate You

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One of the saddest sights in a workplace is the highly skilled person whose accomplishments are discounted or ignored because he or she made the job look easy.

This happens more often than you would imagine. The person tackles responsibilities that would sink a lesser talent, creates a systematic ...

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When a Colleague Leaves Under a Cloud

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I received the following e-mail: 'X' has been suspended, with pay, pending the results of an investigation. Please don't make quick judgments regarding this situation. We want to allow this to play out fairly. During this time, 'Y' will assume the duties of "acting director." Programs and ...

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The Thing You Must Give Up

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I have some bad news and some good news. The bad news is, you can’t have it all. The good news is, when you give up an insistence on having it all, you’re way more likely to get what you really want.

We live in an age of, “I want it all, and I want it easy,” yet when we pursue those twin objectives,

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The Secure Job is Back in Style

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Time was, people chose careers based on potential employability. Anxious mothers urged their sons and daughters to become doctors, engineers, accountants, and teachers “because there’ll always be a need for that kind of work.”

In the go-go nineties and until recently, people worried less about need.

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What To Do After You Get Advice

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This is for recent college graduates, networkers, and friends of friends.

You may have already discovered the one universal truth about relationship building, career advancement, and mentoring: People love giving advice. Asking “would you help me?” and “may I get some career advice from you?” nearly ...

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The Ideal Colleague

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If he made a commitment, he kept it. It might take some wrangling – always polite, of course – to get that promise, but once granted, you never had to check your back.

He was invariably polite and gave others the benefit of the doubt. “You don’t know what people are going through” was one of his ...

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Find Your Positive Inner Pragmatist

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Many of the obstacles to creating a career that lights you up can look completely reasonable on the surface. One is pragmatism.

Not just any kind of pragmatism, mind you. I’m talking about the needlessly negative variety. For so many people, “I’m just being pragmatic” really boils down to, “I have ...

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How to Rebuild Your Community After a Layoff

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When you lose your job, you lose more than a paycheck. You lose your community.

Many workplaces are like families. Companies encourage this because an emotional attachment to your coworkers and a desire to support them is often what’s behind your “choice” to work nights and weekends for no extra ...

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Shiny Pennies in the Workplace

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We are all easily entranced by new products, services, ideas, applications and…..people. It is hard to resist the temptation of the “new.” Even the answer to the question, “Do you want the La-Z-Boy you see here, or what is behind door no. 2?” almost always gets answered “Door no. 2, Drew!”

Most new ...

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When Gen Y Just Doesn't Fit In

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What do government agencies, nonprofits, and unionized entities have in common?

Dinosaurs. (And I mean that affectionately.)

While many career blogs and job-related social networks would have you believe otherwise, there are still many baby boomers in our workforce. Don't let their weaker ...

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Are You Making These Job Reference Mistakes?

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It turns out that it's possible for your references to diminish your chances of getting the job without even saying a word. Here's a recent experience I had when checking the references of two candidates I was torn between.

Candidate no. 1 gave me the phone numbers of three former managers. I ...

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10 Ways to Handle a Crisis

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At some point, you may have to deal with a workplace crisis. Here are some actions your team should consider:

1. Prevent it. This is a pre-crisis step, of course, and it requires the ability to visualize how things could go wrong. Although seemingly a basic skill, those who fall in love with a ...

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When The Boss's Wife is The HR Department

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I worked for a small, husband and wife- owned company. The husband was my boss and also the President of the company. His wife? The entire HR Department. Isn't this, oh, I don't know, a conflict of interest? There were several instances where I had a problem with the way my boss treated my ...

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Put Away The Magic Wand And Work

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If the article titles on magazine covers are to be believed, we’re all just a hair’s breadth away from whatever our hearts desire. “Three easy steps to ______,” they shout. “Achieve _____ in only 20 minutes a day!” And we eat it up. We can’t get enough of those quick fixes that promise maximum ...

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Ignore The Numbers. Get a Job.

By |

You can’t pick up a paper, thumb through a magazine, listen to the radio, watch TV, or log on these days without being pummeled by the relentless news: Unemployment is up. The economy is down. The sky is falling and it's aimed right for your head.

As if looking for a job wasn’t hard enough.

You’re ...

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Should Extra Duties Equal More Pay?

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A reader writes:

I am currently a secretary, with a degree in computer engineering. My employer now wants me to be the back-up I.T. person in the office, which is not a part of a support staff position. Is it unprofessional to expect or to ask to be compensated for this addition of extra ...

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How to Make Enemies

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There are at least 30 ways to make enemies in the workplace:

  1. Always correct others when they are wrong.
  2. Avoid “win-win” outcomes and instead rub in an opponent’s loss.
  3. Surprise people with bad news.
  4. Overpromise.
  5. Underperform.
  6. Let others rely upon your word, and then renege on your commitment.
  7. Use sarcasm.
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    The Dream-Killing "No" is Often Illogical

    By |

    Want a simple tip to increase the likelihood that you will find a career that lights you up? One that is easy to implement and involves no risk whatsoever?

    Resist the urge to say “No” prematurely.

    Easy, huh? But too often I hear the glimmer of a dream start to show up, only to be followed immediately ...

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    How to Look Smarter Than You Are

    By |

    Times are tough and everybody’s looking for an edge. So here’s an easy, and ethical, tip for looking smarter than you really are at work:

    Talk more.

    Yup, that’s it. Research shows that people who speak up more often in groups are viewed as more competent and more instrumental to a group’s overall ...

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    Yippee! We've Hit Rock Bottom

    By |

    Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today that the economy seems to be bottoming. Evidently, there are several  "tentative signs" of hope. No question, this is good news after months of bad.

    But I am reminded of the New Yorker cartoon that shows a little boy just home from his T-ball game,

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    What It's Like to Make a Job Offer

    By |

    I love making job offers. It's a great feeling to call someone up and offer them a job that you know they really want.

    There are several different types of reactions when you make someone a job offer:

    1. The excited freak-out. I love this one. This is when you call and offer someone a job and they do ...

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    Don't Depend on a Miracle

    By |

    Miracles do happen. The young woman with a dream of acting is preparing milkshakes and bantering with customers in a Hollywood drugstore when a film director walks in and … you know the rest. The hidden genius with a briefcase full of ideas catches a key executive at just the right moment.

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