On Careers

August 2009


9 Rules to Avoid Making Enemies at Work

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Ed read Maria’s report and concluded that his approach was better. At the strategy meeting, rather than simply noting the advantages of his proposals, he described Maria’s recommendations as “juvenile and defensive.”

Ellen questions motives. Her opponents are never simply wrong. They are working ...

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Look for the Job No One Else Wants

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My family loves to ride on "rodelbahns," which are mountain slides that serve as the summer equivalent to winter's bob sledding. Two weekends ago, we found one about two hours from our house. It was a beautiful day in the Alps in southern Switzerland. There were only a couple of other families at ...

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Your Weakness Could Be Something Else Entirely

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  • Question: When is a weakness not a weakness?
    • Answer: When it’s a “misaligned strength.”
    • Huh? Clear as mud, right? Let me explain. Some weaknesses—a tendency to procrastinate, for example—are pretty clearly weaknesses in any context. But others are situational in nature. Something that is a weakness ...

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      Try Using Twitter to Find a Job

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      If you’re looking for a job, the bigger your network, the better. That’s why Twitter, originally a micro-blogging “toy,” has become the newest hottest job search tool. Twitter is like an enormous, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week networking party. Join the party, strike up some conversations, and ...

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      10 Essential, if Timeworn, Business Sayings

      Some well-worn phrases you just have to know. People talk in shorthand all the time, in almost every career field. Here are a few you have heard:

      1. Under-promise and over-deliver. Far too often, most of us make just the opposite: We say we can do something faster and better than what we actually ...

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      How to Deal With Job Rejection

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      If you're a job seeker in this economy, in addition to knowing how to write a good cover letter, talk winningly about your accomplishments, and follow up without being too stalkerish, you'll probably need another skill too: dealing with rejection after applying for a job, maybe even one you really ...

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      To Do Well at Work, Avoid Fights

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      If I were to select key bits of advice to give someone who is just launching a career, one of those would be “Avoid fights.”

      Supervisors don’t like to get dragged into “he started it” versus “she started it” scenarios. They resist being forced to choose sides. Now, this may seem incredibly wimpy on ...

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      How to Get Time Sheets Filled Out

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      We have a long running problem of employees not logging in their online time sheets. We've gone so far as to put reminders on their outlook calendars but they still forget. I'm looking for ideas of how to motivate them to do this, and explain why it is important as well as a part of their job.

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      How to Tell If You've Got 'Snap'

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      A friend and I were talking the other day about how easy it is for us to tell if someone has “it.” Perhaps you have this ability too—you can tell almost instantly if someone is the sort of person you would introduce to your trusted network.

      I call this ineffable quality "snap," (as opposed to "it").

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      10 Observations on Time Usage

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      Ten observations on the use of time:

      1. We don’t manage or organize time as much as we invest it.

      2. You can do some things in two to five minutes but important tasks generally require more time. That’s why saving two minutes here or there might not mean that much unless your job is in emergency ...

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      Laid Off and Pregnant: Is There Any Recourse?

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      I found out that my job was considered "redundant" and that I would be terminated at the end of August. I started this job months ago, which involved me paying for my own relocation. I am the only woman in my group and the newest hired. I just found out that I am pregnant. I have ...

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      The 2 Questions to Ask as You Pursue Your Dream

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      Pursuing your dreams may sound grandiose, but in reality, a dream unfolds day by day, and step by step. To make sure you’re taking those steps and not getting in your own way, here are two questions to ask yourself on a regular basis:

      What do I need to do that I’m not doing?

      So often we get blocked ...

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      7 Reasons You're Not Getting a Job

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      1. Your network isn’t big enough. Set yourself a goal—like making three new contacts every day. Your network cannot be too big. Think former bosses/colleagues, neighbors, friends of friends, relatives of friends, relatives of friends of neighbors’ bosses. Use your spouse’s network, too.

      2. You’re ...

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      Are You Tough Enough for This Economy?

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      You don’t hear about this much.

      You hear more about your branding, and your business model, your marketing effectiveness, and your “positioning.”

      But what we need to talk about is how you just have to be tough enough during tough times to handle more rejection than ever.

      If you are someone who can ...

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      Why the Promotion Didn't Happen

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      Several years ago, in an organization that has since become worse, the director of a department announced his plans to retire. He’d done very well in his job, partly because of the outstanding work of his deputy director. It was widely assumed within the organization that the deputy would be ...

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      Take a 360-Degree View of Success

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      What does success look like? If asked to describe a successful person, most people would probably point to someone who has achieved great heights in their career. That's not surprising, since, as a culture, we tend to be fairly work-centric.

      There’s nothing wrong with focusing on being successful in ...

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      How to Beat Typecasting in Your Job Search

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      I just graduated with my bachelor's in business/HR management and want to work in HR. The basic problem is that I have very little experience in this field.

      I keep getting typecast in accounting (most of what I've done in the past four years) but have no desire to go into accounting ...

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      20 Job-Hunting Tips for the 'Older' Worker

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      Let’s face it, when 50-something workers get laid off, it is harder for them to find new jobs. If this is you, it may be time to consider these tips:

      1. Expand to new industries and fields. Think: transferable skills.

      2. Get on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and any social media pertinent to your ...

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      Why Not Cash for Other Clunkers?

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      I think the Cash for Clunkers idea is a good one (although I can’t wait to see the unintended consequences: “We're just parking these clunkers here for a little while, Mr. Mayor”). Having said that, I think we should extend the program into other areas.

      How about Cash for:

      Old servers. Many ...

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      5 Ways Companies Mistreat Job Seekers

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      When it comes to hiring, some employers act like they hold all the cards--and they can treat job seekers as poorly as they want, without consequence. They're wrong: Smart employers know that good candidates have options (to say nothing of the ethical implications of being rude just because you ...

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