On Careers

July 2009


Slow Down Your Knee-jerk Reaction

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You’re in a meeting, and someone says something that is so stupid you can barely contain yourself.

Slow down.

Your first job, when confronted by an assertion that appears to be way out in left field, is to determine the other person’s view of reality. One psychologist suggests trying to imagine ...

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The Easy Way of the Pessimist

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For many people, looking at others who have successfully created a career that lights them up is an inspiration. It helps them think, “If they can do it, I can too.”

For others, it prompts them to start making excuses. “Sure, they can do it,” they think. “They didn’t have all the obstacles I have.”

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What to Do When a Dream Job Isn't

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I took a new job (along with a pay cut) because I was impressed with the new boss and it gave me an opportunity to branch into management. I am listed as "Exempt - 40+" and my minimum hours are 9 - 7, which, if you actually take a lunch, is a 45 hour work week. But since IT usually works ...

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Can Social Media Get You a Job?

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If you’re job hunting, you may be tired of everyone telling you to network, network, network.

Sorry. But it’s a fact: networking is the no. 1 way to find a job. And now, thanks to a new invention you may have heard of, “the Internet,” you have a bigger and better way to network:

Social media

Social ...

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The Best Workers Can Make Small Jobs Big

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In my town, you can spot young workers along the edges of streets holding signs promoting local store sales. Generally, they're advertising for a waterbed store, or another locally owned retail operation. (On Sunday, however, I did notice a young guy with a Kmart placard. If Kmart is doing it,

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7 Mistakes Bosses Make When Giving Criticism

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Giving critical feedback to employees can be difficult, and it’s one area that managers most often handle badly. Here are the most common mistakes managers make when delivering less-than-positive feedback:

Not doing it. Some managers don't give critical feedback at all. They either let low ...

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What to Do With Negative Energy People

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Jack Welch once wrote about the importance of positive energy. He was describing individuals who bring a buoyant and enthusiastic approach to the job--they may be tackling a tough project, but they are excited and curious and filled with eagerness.

We appreciate these people because we’ve seen their ...

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Should You 'Friend' a Company Contact For a Job?

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I am trying to get hired at a telecommunications company as a collections manager. I've already submitted my resume, but with the tough job market, I'm trying to get an edge and have no contacts for an 'in.' However, I checked jobster.com, glassdoor.com etc. and have found a local contact,

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How to Stay Off the Layoff List

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If you have a job--and, statistically, it's likely you do--chances are you want to hold on to it. The obvious way is to be excellent at your work, to really know what you’re doing. But guess what? That’s not enough.

You also need to:

Be über-reliable. The trick to über-reliability is the ability to ...

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How to Mix Business With Friendship

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Around town they like to joke about the owner of chain of carpet and cabinet stores who makes the rounds at charity events, chatting up people about their carpet needs. And it is not an "oh, by the way" piece of the conversation either--it is “Hi Joe, how’s that old carpet of yours doing??”

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What to Do When You're Frustrated at Work

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I frequently hear from people who are frustrated and unhappy with their jobs and want to know how to change whatever is making them unhappy. Often what they're chafing against is some inherent aspect of their job or their manager or their workplace, but they don't want to accept that--they want to ...

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7 Effective Ways to Sabotage Yourself

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The finish line is near. The goal that you have been working toward for months, perhaps years, is finally  in sight.

And many of you are thinking: “What can I do to keep from winning?”

Well, here are some self-sabotage tactics that have worked well for others:

1. Open the door and let in your doubts.

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The Many Benefits of Helping Others Succeed

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When it comes to pursuing your dreams, it’s easy to get caught up in “me me me!” It’s all about finding your clarity, and taking your steps, and overcoming your obstacles. Perfectly understandable, of course. After all, it is your dream. But if that’s all you do, you’re missing out on a great ...

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20 Ways to Annoy Your Job Interviewer

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At a job interview, it’s not just what you say. It’s what you do, too.

While wowing hiring managers with your knowledge and enthusiasm, keep in mind that they’re watching what you do as well as listening to what you say. So ask yourself: Do you have any annoying mannerisms? Hiring managers assume ...

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Companies Need More of What Used to Be

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It used to be that when times were bad, and no one was hiring, you went down a paygrade or two and didn’t whine or complain about it.

Commission-only sales jobs were plentiful and top notch sales people actually wanted them: higher reward for higher risk.

You spent more time talking to the hiring ...

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Should You Give Away Your Ideas For Free?

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A reader writes:

I interviewed with a nonprofit two years ago and didn't get the job. I also donate a small amount of money every month to the organization--like $25 per month. The group had a phone-a-thon the other day and called me to get my opinion on a variety of their issues. I ...

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17 Rules for Job Seekers

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1. The job that is a sure thing isn’t.

2. Most employers who ask for a college degree are less interested in your coursework than the fact that you got the degree. In other words, there is hope for English majors.

3. On the resume and in the interview, don’t talk about how hard you worked. Stress ...

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How to Respond to a Job Rejection E-mail

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Just about an hour or two ago, I received a rejection E-mail for a job I was very excited about. The entire process lasted a month (maybe a little longer) and I had felt I performed very strongly during my interview, test, and phone screen. I'm very disheartened right now and after a month of ...

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Hey Job Seeker, Do You Feel Lucky?

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If you’re looking for a job and reading books and blogs about “How to Job Hunt,” you undoubtedly know about compelling cover letters, snazzy resumes, knock ‘em dead interviews, and the all-important thank-you note.

If you’ve been looking for a while now, you may be starting to suspect there’s ...

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Why Your Startup Needs a Lead Dog

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I am told that in dog-sled racing circles, a lead dog is a very valuable commodity. A good lead dog spells success or failure.

It is the same in your business, particularly if it is a startup.

In your startup, you will hear all kinds of excuses from your new sales staff. Excuses like, “The prospects ...

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When a Coworker Gets Special Treatment

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A reader writes:

How do I deal with a manager who clearly gives special treatment to a coworker? She is very irresponsible, and yet my manager takes her lateness to work as almost cute behavior on her part. A couple of times, my coworker did not even show up to work but my manager never ...

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Drawing Lines on Doing Favors

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At what point is it ethically proper to use connections and do favors?

This is an easier call when you are the favor seeker. If you are unemployed and have family and friends who can put in a good word for you, why not ask them to do so? Their recommendations may open a door, but in most cases it ...

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Set Goals to Move Your Dream Along

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Dreams of how things could be are wonderful things. They give us something to aim for, and they serve as a blueprint for what our world could become. But for far too many people, those dreams will never see the light of day. Why? Because a vital piece of the equation is missing: action.

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A Job Interview is Just a Conversation

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The tougher the job market, and the longer you’re out of work, the more likely it is that you'll be nervous at job interviews.

This is bad because the key to successful job interviewing is to be relaxed enough to relate, on a human level, to your potential employer. Job hunting is all about selling,

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