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5 smart ways to protect your job from the coming robot invasion

Career-Line - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 09:46

Robots taking over the world might sound like the plot of a sci-fi movie, but it’s actually much closer to reality than you realize.

In fact, brilliant billionaire Elon Musk said this week that artificial intelligence poses an “existential threat” to human civilization over the next few years. (Musk already believes we are living in a version of history that’s a computer simulation run by scientists.)

With each passing year, more and more people are being pushed out of their jobs by smart machines and software programs. One of the most popular robots around is the Knightscope K5, which replaces police officers in patrolling buildings. Bankers and lawyers will be routinely fired and replaced by algorithms. In fact, by 2030, over 38 percent of jobs in the United States could be automated. The future is now, people, and it doesn’t look like it needs many humans to thrive.

Just consider the fast food industry. One robot created by Momentum Machines can multitask so well it can make a perfect McDonalds burger in just 10 seconds—thereby replacing the need for a whole meal-building crew. Knowing that, it’s not totally outlandish to assume a robot will be taking your order and serving your food when you go out to a restaurant in 15 years.

Woody Allen was definitely onto something in ‘Sleeper.’ 

The jobs imminently in danger of being replaced by machines are in service, data input, and manufacturing fields, because they’re the most mechanical, and thus easiest to teach a robot or a software program. Jobs that require more creative thinking are less likely to be replaced anytime soon, but that definitely doesn’t mean they’ll be safe forever.

If all this has totally freaked you out, don’t start manically applying to jobs just yet. There are several precautionary steps you can take right now to better protect yourself and your job from the robot invasion.

Know where your job stands on the list of turning robotic

It may be scary, but the best thing you can do first is find out just how much your current job is at risk of being automated. Thankfully there’s this handy online tool aptly named “Will Robots Take My Job” that can calculated the risk percentage for you (there go those robots being smarter than us again). So for example, if you’re a cashier, you’ll learn that there’s a 97 percent chance a robot will replace you. But if you’re an environmental scientist, you only have a 3.3 percent chance of being replaced.

Make yourself invaluable

If you can work on strengthening your job skills and going above and beyond in every task handed to you, it’ll be much harder for upper management to justify replacing you. You may even want to take a few classes to strengthen your various skillsets. Showing you have a vested interest in being the best you can possibly be at your job will no doubt give you a leg up on employees that are content just doing satisfactory work.

Taking classes may also expose you to innovations in your field, which could in turn help you expand the aspects of your job so it’s less susceptible to robot takeover.

Look into related careers that require humans

Say you’re a reporter who mainly does sports game recaps. You have a high risk of being replaced by a variety of news-writing bots. But what if you slightly pivoted your writing career so that you’re a sports reviewer or commentator rather than just an information regurgitator? If you build off of the skills you already have, and utilize them to move across your field into a position that requires more creative thinking, you’ll be less replaceable.

Position yourself well to serve our robot overlords

If the robots are coming for your job no matter what, get one step ahead of them by learning how they’ll fit into your business, then become the liaison who streamlines that process. Having a robotic presence in the workplace can be jarring, so you could be the human translator who helps other employees and clients work effectively with it.

Learn to be okay with the fact that robots may be doing part of your job in the future

Some jobs may never be entirely automated. For example, people working in HR departments do a lot of data entry, but there’s also a huge amount of human interaction that’s involved, which requires emotional intelligence. That’s something robots simply don’t possess (yet). Beyond that, if robots are doing all the application reading and filing, it leaves a lot more time for HR managers to bolster new relationships with burgeoning businesses and prospective employees.

Robots may take over a lot of what humans have been employed to do thusfar, but perhaps that doesn’t have to be the worst thing. It will ultimately change the way businesses are run, and likely create new and different jobs that require sentient beings to carry them out. And until the robots of Westworld become realized, those jobs can only go to humans.

This article 5 smart ways to protect your job from the coming robot invasion appeared first on Ladders.

New discovery: finding your purpose in life improves both your sleep and your salary

Career-Line - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 09:32

If you’re having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, it’s evidence that you need something to live for.

A new Northwestern University study found that one simple thing can improve the quality of your sleep: having a purpose in life.

Sleep is particularly a problem for older individuals. 40% of older adults have a sleep disorder. What the Northwestern researchers found is that having meaning in your life can make all the difference for this group. The researchers recruited 823 participants, whose average age was 79, to answer questionnaires on their satisfaction with their life and the quality of their sleep.

“Purpose in life” was determined through a 10-question psychological wellbeing test. Participants would rate how they felt to statements like “I feel good when I think of what I’ve done in the past and what I hope to do in the future” and “some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.”

People with meaning in their life sleep better at night

Participants who had more meaning and purpose in their lives were 63% less likely to have sleep apnea and 52% less likely to have restless leg syndrome.

“Helping people cultivate a purpose in life could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for a population that is facing more insomnia,” senior study author Jason Ong said in a university statement.

Well, yes we’d prefer to have a purpose in life rather than taking an Ambien, but who has that kind of time?

This finding makes sense. Previous studies have found that people who have purpose in their lives are more likely to engage in healthy behavior like exercise and mindfulness.

In fact, researchers said that as a result of this study, they would be looking into using mindfulness-based therapies on older adults with sleep disorders. Mindfulness helps you put your life on perspective and focus on the task at hand. Here are mindfulness techniques you can incorporate into your routine.

Beyond emotional and psychological benefits, sleep has also been linked to higher productivity and wages. Yes, that’s right. Getting more shut-eye literally pays off in the long-run. A 2016 study found that people who increased their sleep by just an hour had their wages increase by 5%.

So finding meaning in your life leads to better sleep, which leads to happier and productive workers and more money. This is an equation we can all get behind.

It may seem small to take breathers at work and make sure to get that extra hour of sleep, but as these studies show, the math adds up.

This article New discovery: finding your purpose in life improves both your sleep and your salary appeared first on Ladders.

The newest life-changing tip on getting rid of clutter comes from psychologists

Career-Line - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:13

Psychologists have found an amazing answer to the problem of clutter that has baffled many Americans at work and at home, and fueled an industry of multi-sized baskets, closet organizers, and of course, the advice of Marie Kondo.

Here is the answer: If you want to get rid of your clutter, take a picture of it. Then throw out the object, and keep the picture.

That’s it.

That’s what a new study in the Journal of Marketing finds. Consumer psychologists Karen Winterich, Julie Irwin and Rebecca Walker Reczek wanted to figure out how to help retailers that rely on clothing donations. Retailers were encountering one consistent roadblock to the supply chain: people get too sentimentally attached to their stuff to let it go. Papers we don’t need on our desk or clothing that we’ve outgrown transform from stuff to treasured, hoarded stuff.

We need to be better at letting things go. Maintaining clutter on your desk and in your home life has financial and emotional consequences. The average U.S. household has 50 unused items worth $3100 that they’re letting go to waste. Beyond saving us money, learning how to get rid of clutter can also decrease your stress levels.

To increase donation behavior, researchers conducted a series of studies to test out ways that would preserve the memories we attach to our items. Researchers recruited 151 participants to describe a beloved but unused item and asked them how they would preserve the memory of the item.

To donate your stuff, take a photo of it

Photography was the most popular choice with almost two out of three participants choosing this method. “I would definitely take a few photos and tuck them away into a memories file. I would also send the picture to my parents so they could remember my baby crib that I spent time in and that my son spent time in,” one participant wrote. Writing about their beloved item was the next best option with 22% of participants choosing to do this.

After they had photographed or journaled about it, participants reported that they would be more likely to donate the item than the control group. In a separate field study at a thrift store, researchers would take photos of donated goods with “meaning” for donors to keep. That Polaroid photo made a difference. After the donation, all of the participants were asked if they had lost of piece of themselves. The participants who got photos reported less identity loss than the ones who didn’t.

However, there are limitations to how much we’re willing to part with.

We’d rather donate than sell, for instance. When participants were asked to attach monetary value to an item, they became more reluctant to give it away even if they took a photo of it. Researchers believe that this is because memory preservation tactics don’t overcome the emotional taboo of attaching monetary value to personal sentiments. No one likes putting a price on a memory; alternatively, no one likes to throw away money.

The next challenge, of course, is organizing your photos. Both Google Photos and iCloud for Macs offer ways to create photo folders. Remember to back up often.

This study shows that we can clear our minds and desks through simple memory preservation techniques. Next time you’re reluctant to part with an item collecting dust on your desk, take a photo it. The memory will last longer than the object will.

This article The newest life-changing tip on getting rid of clutter comes from psychologists appeared first on Ladders.

6 ways to get feedback you can actually use

Career-Line - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:35

How many times have you received the same response when you have asked for feedback?

You ask someone whom you think will tell you the truth, “How did I do?” and you hear “Good,” “Nice Job” or “That was great!” These responses are not feedback. Instead, this person is telling you what they think you want to hear rather than the truth.

In some instances, this person may be lying to you because they lack the confidence to tell you that you take too long to get to the point or it is difficult to follow your message.

Avoid falling into the trap of fake feedback. This type of feedback is a waste of time and gets you nowhere. You might be walking through life thinking, “I’m good because everyone says I’m good.” But is it true?

Honest feedback is tough to come by for two reasons. First, the higher you are in an organization, the less likely people are to give you truthful feedback about any topic, let alone your communication skills and level of influence.

When you reach a certain point on the ladder, no one wants to tell the emperor he or she has no clothes on.  If you are a senior leader, who is going to tell you that you “uh” and “um” your way through a conversation? Who is willing to give you feedback that you fidget with your pen when you talk?

The second reason fake feedback is so pervasive is that giving and receiving authentic feedback can be uncomfortable for both parties. As challenging as it can be to hear constructive feedback, it can be equally difficult to give it.

In order to grow your influence, you need honest feedback, and that requires trust. Trust is a two-way street. You must trust that the person giving feedback genuinely has your best interests at heart. This allows you to be receptive to the information. The provider of feedback must also trust that it is safe to be completely open and honest with you.

To begin growing your influence today, apply these six steps to meaningful feedback:

1. Look for everyday opportunities

Feedback is easier to seek and apply in low-risk, daily interactions than in high-stakes situations.

Instead of waiting for the “big gig,” seek feedback on a regular basis. Soliciting feedback involves just a few minutes before and after a conversation, meeting, presentation or even an email.

2. Prepare for feedback

Prior to an interaction (such as a meeting, presentation, face-to-face, or virtual conversation), ask someone you trust to observe you and give you feedback. This may be a co-worker, mentor, friend, or family member.

Ask this person to watch for specific, ineffective verbal and nonverbal behaviors you would like to change. For example, “I’m trying to avoid beginning my sentences with the word ‘so.’ Please let me know what you hear.” Or, “I’m working on making my emails clear and concise. Please let me know if my writing is unclear or confusing.”

3. Make it simple

Focus on one behavior at a time.

4. Dig deeper

After the interaction, avoid asking the generic question, “How did I do?” Instead, ask the person to describe precisely what you said or did. For example, “What behavior did I display that conveyed confidence (or whichever area you are seeking feedback about)?”

If the person responds with generalities such as, “You did well,” ask follow-up questions: “What specifically did I do that was good?” “What specifically could I do to sound and look more confident?” “What could I have said to make you take immediate action on my email?”

5. Clarify

Summarize to ensure you correctly heard the feedback you received.

6. Assess the experience

After receiving feedback, consider: how did the feedback differ from your perception of how you communicated? What will you change as a result of the feedback? How did you feel receiving this feedback?

When the feedback you receive shifts from fake to meaningful, you will know that your efforts are starting to pay off. Comments such as “Nice job” or “You did well” will begin to fade. Instead, you will hear feedback that sounds like, “You have the ability to connect with and engage your listeners.”

When you receive positive feedback, celebrate that success. It is an indication that your influence is expanding.

Stacey Hanke is the founder and communication expert of Stacey Hanke Inc. and the author of Influence Redefined: Be the Leader You Were Meant to Be, Monday to Monday and Yes You Can! Everything You Need From A to Z to Influence Others to Take Action.

This article 6 ways to get feedback you can actually use appeared first on Ladders.

12 lessons you learn or regret forever

Career-Line - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:30

Sticking your neck out and taking charge of your career is no trivial matter. Whether that’s switching careers, going back to school, or walking away from a j-o-b to start your own business, it takes a lot of guts.

But guts will only get you so far. Once you build up the nerve and make the leap, you’re no more than 5% of the way there. You still have to succeed in your new endeavor, and trying to succeed is when your worst fears (the ones that made you hesitate in the first place) will come true.

I’m going to assume you’re like me and don’t have a brilliant mentor, a rich uncle, or some other person who is going to show you the ropes and explain each step you need to take to take charge of your career.

You see, it’s been almost 20 years since I last had a boss. I went from working in a surf shop to striking out on my own, eventually starting TalentSmart (with a partner) before I’d finished grad school.

When I set out on my own, I had all the gumption and appetite for risk that I needed to take charge of my career. At the time I thought that was all I needed to succeed.

It wasn’t. I also needed guidance. Without it, I learned some difficult (and often painful) lessons along the way.

I’d like to share some of my biggest lessons learned with you so that they can help you as you take charge of your career (in whatever form that takes). As I look back on these lessons, I realize that they’re really great reminders for us all.

1. Confidence must come first

Successful people often exude confidence — it’s obvious that they believe in themselves and what they’re doing. It isn’t their success that makes them confident, however. The confidence was there first.

Think about it:

  • Doubt breeds doubt.Why would anyone believe in you, your ideas, or your abilities if you didn’t believe in them yourself?
  • It takes confidence to reach for new challenges. People who are fearful or insecure tend to stay within their comfort zones. But comfort zones rarely expand on their own. That’s why people who lack confidence get stuck in dead-end jobs and let valuable opportunities pass them by.
  • Unconfident people often feel at the mercy of external circumstances.Successful people aren’t deterred by obstacles, which is how they rise up in the first place.

Confidence is a crucial building block in a successful career, and embracing it fully will take you places you never thought possible. No one is stopping you from what you want to accomplish but yourself. It’s time to remove any barriers created by self-doubt.

2. You’re living the life that you’ve created

You are not a victim of circumstance. No one can force you to make decisions and take actions that run contrary to your values and aspirations. The circumstances you’re living in today are your own — you created them.

Likewise, your future is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably because you’re afraid to take the risks necessary to achieve your goals and live your dreams.

When it’s time to take action, remember that it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than at the top of one you don’t.

3. Being busy does not equal being productive

Look at everyone around you. They all seem so busy — running from meeting to meeting and firing off emails. Yet how many of them are really producing, really succeeding at a high level?

Success doesn’t come from movement and activity. It comes from focus — from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively. You get the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. Use yours wisely. After all, you’re the product of your output, not your effort. Make certain your efforts are dedicated to tasks that get results.

4. You’re only as good as those you associate with

You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you want to be better. And you probably do. But what about the people who drag you down? Why do you allow them to be a part of your life?

Anyone who makes you feel worthless, anxious, or uninspired is wasting your time and, quite possibly, making you more like them. Life is too short to associate with people like this. Cut them loose.

5. Squash your negative self-talk

When you’re taking charge of your career, you won’t always have a cheerleader in your corner. This magnifies the effects of self-doubt. The more you ruminate on negative thoughts, the more power you give them. Most of our negative thoughts are just that — thoughts, not facts.

When you find yourself believing the negative and pessimistic things your inner voice says, it’s time to stop and write them down. Literally stop what you’re doing and write down what you’re thinking.

Once you’ve taken a moment to slow down the negative momentum of your thoughts, you will be more rational and clear-headed in evaluating their veracity.

6. Avoid asking “What if?”

“What if?” statements throw fuel on the fire of stress and worry, which are detrimental to reaching your goals. Things can go in a million different directions, and the more time you spend worrying about the possibilities, the less time you’ll spend taking action and staying productive. Asking “what if?” will only take you to a place you don’t want — or need — to go. Of course, scenario planning is a necessary and effective planning technique. The key distinction here is to recognize the difference between worry and strategic thinking about your future.

7. Schedule exercise and sleep

I can’t say enough about the importance of quality sleep. When you sleep your brain removes toxic proteins from its neurons that are by-products of neural activity when you’re awake. Unfortunately, your brain can remove them adequately only while you’re asleep.

So when you don’t get enough sleep, the toxic proteins remain in your brain cells, wreaking havoc by impairing your ability to think — something no amount of caffeine can fix.

Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough — or the right kind — of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present, which are a major productivity killer.

Ambition often makes you feel as if you must sacrifice sleep to stay productive, but sleep deprivation diminishes your productivity so much throughout the day that you’re better off sleeping.

A study conducted at the Eastern Ontario Research Institute found that people who exercised twice a week for 10 weeks felt more competent socially, academically, and athletically. They also rated their body image and self-esteem higher.

Best of all, rather than the physical changes in their bodies being responsible for the uptick in confidence, it was the immediate, endorphin-fueled positivity from exercise that made all the difference. Schedule your exercise to make certain it happens, or the days will just slip away.

8. Seek out small victories

Small victories can seem unimportant when you’re really after something big, but small victories build new androgen receptors in the areas of the brain responsible for reward and motivation.

This increase in androgen receptors increases the influence of testosterone, which further increases your confidence and your eagerness to tackle future challenges. When you have a series of small victories, the boost in your confidence can last for months.

9. Don’t say “yes” unless you really want to

Research conducted at the University of California in Berkeley shows that the more difficulty that you have saying no, the more likely you are to experience stress, burnout, and even depression, all of which make it difficult to take charge of your career.

Saying no is indeed a major challenge for many people. “No” is a powerful word that you should not be afraid to wield.

When it’s time to say no, avoid phrases like “I don’t think I can” or “I’m not certain.” Saying no to a new commitment honors your existing commitments and gives you the opportunity to successfully fulfill them.

10. Don’t seek perfection

Don’t set perfection as your target. It doesn’t exist. Human beings, by our very nature, are fallible.

When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure that makes you want to give up or reduce your effort. You end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently instead of moving forward excited about what you’ve achieved and what you will accomplish in the future.

11. Focus on solutions

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems that you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions which hinder your ability to reach your goals.

When you focus on the actions you’ll take to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and improves performance.

12. Forgive yourself

When you slip up, it is critical that you forgive yourself and move on. Don’t ignore how the mistake makes you feel; just don’t wallow in it. Instead, shift your attention to what you’re going to do to improve yourself in the future.

Failure can erode your self-confidence and make it hard to believe you’ll achieve a better outcome in the future. Most of the time, failure results from taking risks and trying to achieve something that isn’t easy.

Success lies in your ability to rise in the face of failure, and you can’t do this when you’re living in the past. Anything worth achieving is going to require you to take some risks, and you can’t allow failure to stop you from believing in your ability to succeed.

When you live in the past, that is exactly what happens, and your past becomes your present, preventing you from moving forward.

Bringing it all together

I hope these lessons are as useful to you as they have been to me over the years. As I write them, I’m reminded of their power and my desire to use them every day.

Travis Bradberry is the coauthor of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 and the cofounder of TalentSmart.

This article originally appeared on LinkedIn.

This article 12 lessons you learn or regret forever appeared first on Ladders.

This is the best way to talk about being fired in a job interview

Career-Line - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 11:16

Why did you leave your last job?

It’s a question that’s already hard enough to answer, but is especially uncomfortable and stressful for people who have been fired. Explaining to an interviewer that you were fired from your last job — or even the one before that —is definitely a challenge. Still, it’s not an insurmountable one.

Here’s how to do it right, so that you can be honest about your past without letting it hold you back:

Reckon with yourself

This is step one: coming to a place of acceptance. Getting fired is one of the most emotional, traumatic events that can happen in your career. You can’t answer an interviewer’s questions about it until you know how to answer to yourself. Was there anything you could have done differently? Are you mad at your employer? Are you mad at yourself?

All of these emotions need to be processed before you can talk to a future employer about it. To deal with these emotions, career expert J.T. O’Donnell suggests writing out what happened in a journal and then taking out any subjective details in your retelling. That way, you train yourself to tell your story with facts, not opinions.

This is all so you can walk into an interview with a clear head and speak about your experience clearly, not with lingering bitterness and resentment.

Keep it honest but keep it brief

You need to disclose but not overshare. You don’t want to lie about your termination, because with a reference check or some deeper digging, your lie can easily be found out and it will diminish you in the eyes of your new employer.

But you also don’t need to put yourself at a disadvantage and go deep into unflattering details about what happened. A job interview is not a court of law, and you could talk yourself into a hole very easily when you think you’re vindicating yourself.

You’ll need to tailor your response to your specific circumstance, but your answer should explain what you learned from the experience and how it’s made you a better employee. By doing this, you’re reframing the narrative of a negative experience into a positive one.

Explaining what you learned and how you’ve improved shows that you can take personal responsibility for your actions and it can even showcase new skills that you’ve learned since your firing.

Don’t badmouth your employer

This is the most important rule of all. It may be tempting to clear your name by burning bridges and airing an employer’s dirty laundry, but this approach will backfire.

Let’s repeat that: Talking badly about your previous employer will backfire on you. Every. Single. Time.

Justification will sound like an excuse. Take the example of John Thain who could not stop himself from getting into a he said/he said war with Bank of America after he was fired from his position as CEO of Merrill Lynch. The story became about his firing, not his accomplishments and tenure at the bank. Getting fired is a hit to your ego, but if you rail against your former employer, you will lose the industry respect needed to get a new job.

By badmouthing your past employer, you are sending a message to your potential employer that you could one day speak ill of them too. Don’t do this.

Move on

Our pasts don’t have to determine our futures. Next time, you’re asked the dreaded “were you fired?” questions, come in prepared with what you’re going to say. Carry yourself with dignity. Don’t talk smack about your past employer’s misdeeds in the belief that it will make you look better. The truth is, every employer knows that how you talk about your past employers is how you will talk about them.

Be honest and brief about how your previous role ended, so that you can move on to the most important thing in an interview: persuading your interviewer that you’re the best candidate for the job.

This article This is the best way to talk about being fired in a job interview appeared first on Ladders.

8 fascinating facts about job interviews in China

Career-Line - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 08:30

After reading about the 9 Steps to the Confident “Hire Me” handshake, a Ladders reader wrote in for help with an upcoming interview business trip to China. As more companies explore doing business in China— and Mandarin becomes popular for sophisticated professionals — understanding the business customs of the growing nation can be a big boost. 

As a first-time visitor to China, our reader wondered how to greet the person interviewing him, his hiring manager and others on the team. More than that, he wondered if the etiquette is the same as in the U.S., Canada and Europe.

We asked Stefan Verstappen, author of Chinese Business Etiquette, for some quick tips on the topic.

Don’t worry

Since Chinese culture in general can be incredibly nuanced and complicated, Verstappen suggested not worrying about every detail since even most modern Chinese businesspeople don’t know or adhere to every small detail. China’s business culture is a growing one and etiquette is still being smoothed out. 

Wait to shake

When meeting people for the first time, your safest bet is to wait until the person in authority offers to shake hands– and then follow their lead. Verstappen explains that the “Chinese didn’t use to touch each other at all when meeting, and instead used to bow with the right fist inside the left hand.”  In fact, “Close physical contact wasn’t part of their tradition but was adopted during the turn of the century, and even more so the more Westernized they become.” As things evolved, Verstappen says “It used to be you would only shake hands with men, not with women” since it wasn’t considered appropriate to touch women at all. “As China becomes more modernized, women continue to demand to become active in business culture.” So, what does all this evolving etiquette mean for you? “Your best bet is to wait until they offer to shake hands, and if not, don’t.”

Follow the leader

You don’t have to worry about being perceived as being rude or ignorant. Verstappen explains “in China, all social obligations are on the host. It’s not your job to try to make connections. You’re there as a guest, so it’s up to them to make connections with you.” Which is a huge relief if you’re already nervous about making a great impression.

Bow down

Meanwhile, if someone bows to you, you don’t necessarily have to follow suit, surprisingly. It really depends on the situation. Verstappen says that bowing back is fine, especially since a majority of the time it won’t be a formal bow, but rather more of a nod.

“If they do a big bow, it’s probably because it’s a formal occasion like a state dinner, so you can bow in return.” As for that small bow that’s more of a nod? Verstappen says “The head nod is sometimes a nervous thing” and you can almost ignore it if you’re unsure how to react.   

Speak up and observe hierarchy

And don’t worry about speaking if in fact you’re there to give the presentation. When you do though, start by addressing the most senior person in the room.

As Verstappen puts it “seniority has seniority,” so they’ll probably be the first ones to do the talking, “unless they delegate it to one of the secretaries.”

He also refers to the differences in deferential attitude paid to those with age and experience in China vs. Western countries: “If you’re addressing a group of people, you should always address the oldest person first, even if the oldest person isn’t the boss.” Verstappen continues, “Here in the West, the older you are, the more useless you become. In China, the older you become the wiser you are, the more deference you receive. Talk first to the oldest person, even if it’s a few words, and then talk to the boss.”

Drink the same amount as your host does 

To be on the safe side, you should always limit what you drink. Verstappen says “Typically, they will have a toast to you.” At that point “The senior person at the table, or the boss will raise a glass to you. They’ll hold it in their right hand and will use the fingers of their left hand to touch the bottom of the glass. Two hands must touch the glass, they’ll raise it up to you and say something.” And in case you’re wondering how much drinking is okay, you should take your cue from your host and “Drink as much as the host does. If he downs it, you down it; if he takes a sip, then you take a sip.”

You won’t screw up

Relax. No matter how badly you think you goofed, you probably didn’t. Verstappen assures us that in China, “they understand that you don’t get their culture and because you’re not Chinese you’re exempt from the protocols.”

That said, you will get brownie points for making an effort: “Knowing some protocols and etiquette and how to interact with your Chinese hosts goes a long way toward advancing your reputation.” So, while you’re okay no matter what you do, if you actually take the time to learn some Chinese business customs, “their opinion of you will be vastly improved.”

Keep luck on your side

Verstappen explains that the Chinese can be very superstitious, so whatever you do, “Don’t do anything unlucky. You can screw up on the protocols or the etiquette, but if you do something unlucky that’s taken as a sign.”

As cultures evolve, Verstappen says that even Chinese people in engineering and tech hold onto some superstitions. They figure it’s better to be safe.”

To that end:

  • Don’t wrap a gift in white paper: If you’re bringing a gift for your host, or send a thank you follow up, don’t wrap it in white paper since “white paper is for funerals” according to Verstappen. A better bet is to use red giftwrap since red is considered a lucky color.
  • Avoid fours in any form: In Chinese, the word for four is nearly identical to the word for death, so try not to bring four of anything to a meeting or appointment. In fact, you may notice that there’s no 14th floor in some Chinese building. Guess JAY-Z’s management team didn’t take that into account when naming his latest release.
  • Don’t close deals during Ghost Month: Unlike Shark Week, Ghost Month lives beyond the confines of popular culture. While it’s not necessarily part of everyday belief, Verstappen explains that Ghost Month is a time in the late summer or early fall when hell releases all the ghosts, and they want to eat from the living. So, you might see fully set tables with elaborate meals set up in front of people’s homes, enticing potentially malevolent wandering spirits to dine outside and avoid making mischief for the locals. While it’s an older tradition that’s starting to fade, many people are still skittish about closing deals during Ghost Month, since all business deals during that time are considered unlucky.

*Incidentally, 8 is considered a good luck number in China and the symbol for eternity. Use it often. 

This article 8 fascinating facts about job interviews in China appeared first on Ladders.

Look at this downtrodden robot and rejoice at your human superiority (for now)

Career-Line - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 17:59

Robots will take our jobs, sure—if they live that long.

This we know: There are many dystopian predictions of how our future robot overlords will take our jobs. Two-thirds of Americans believe that robots will be doing the jobs of humans in 50 years.


But thanks to one widely shared photo on Monday, we know that at least we’re still superior in one area: swimming.

Twitter user Bilal Farooqi shared a photo of a robot that wandered into a watering hole at the Georgetown Waterfront where he works.

Our D.C. office building got a security robot. It drowned itself.

We were promised flying cars, instead we got suicidal robots.

— Bilal Farooqui (@bilalfarooqui) July 17, 2017

The photo alone has already become a symbol of human-robot relations on social media. An image of two humans appearing to help a fallen security robot is delicious to those of clinging to our species’ last shreds of dignity.

That the security robot appears to be the 300-pound Knightscope K5 model makes it even better.

Looking like a clunky R2D2 from Star Wars, the Knightscope K5 was built to be a crime-fighting robot that could rove our streets and monitor for suspicious activity. It has been used in some offices and malls across America.

There have been hiccups, however. One Knightscope got defeated by a drunk man who knocked it down. Another ran over a toddler’s foot.

16 mo old has injuries to leg, foot after @StanfordShop security robot knocks him down and runs him over. #paloalto

— Lilian Kim (@liliankim7) July 12, 2016

And now, one Knightscope has fallen into a watery grave.

We don’t know where our jobs will be in 50 years, but we can take comfort in knowing we have the upper hand so far. Gauging by how people have reacted to the photo on Twitter, we’re projecting our hopes and anxieties about our robotic futures onto this K5’s 300-pound frame.

Blew past the Turing test, through full self-awareness to depression and then… It's happened. @elonmusk was right.

— Tim Walsh (@TimBWalsh) July 17, 2017

It's the future Douglas Adams promised us

— Liam Stack (@liamstack) July 17, 2017

are we sure it is not just swimming

— darth:™ (@darth) July 17, 2017

This article Look at this downtrodden robot and rejoice at your human superiority (for now) appeared first on Ladders.

New study says there’s one surefire way to make people like you

Career-Line - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 14:14

How do we make a favorable first impression in a conversation? Sometimes, we think getting noticed at a networking event means getting the last word or talking up our accomplishments.

But new research has found that to be remembered as likable in a conversation, you need to make the conversation engaging.

And that means not making it all about you. In fact, not at all.

A recent Harvard study found that people who asked questions were seen as more likable than people who spent time hogging the conversation and holding forth in a monologue.

“Whereas prior data demonstrate that people tend to talk about themselves, our results suggest this may not be an optimal strategy,” researchers in the study wrote. “We identify follow-up questions as an important behavioral indicator of responsiveness, and we find that asking a higher rate of follow-up questions reliably predicts partner liking.”

We like people who ask questions

Our self-defeating instincts tell us to keep talking about our opinions, but the research found that the people who stopped to listen and follow-up were the real winners of the conversation.

In one of the studies, the Harvard researchers got 430 participants to talk to each other one-on-one in instant messaging conversations. In each of the pairs, one of the participants was instructed to ask  “at least nine questions” or “at most four questions” under the guise of getting to know one another. At the end of the 15-minute conversation, the question-responders rated the people who asked more questions as more responsive, and therefore, more likable than the conversation partners who asker fewer questions.

Asking more questions works because it forces us to pay attention to our conversation partners and remain present. It shows that we’re curious, empathetic, and interested in the lives of others. “Follow-up questions are particularly likely to increase liking because they require responsiveness from the question-asker, and signal responsiveness to the question-asker’s partner,” researchers wrote.

Interestingly, though, these findings change when you add an observer. In a separate study, researchers got participants to read the transcripts of 169 one-on-one conversations, and these third-party observers rated the people who asked fewer questions higher than the people who asked more questions. Researchers suggested that this is because follow-up questions matter more to the person in the conversation than to someone reading a transcript. In other words, you had to be there.

“Because a third-party observer is not present in the conversation by definition, none of the questions being asked can follow up on anything they have said,” researchers said. “These results provide converging evidence that people like question-askers because they perceive question-askers as more responsive (to them personally).”

Too many of us have tunnel vision and don’t realize that a conversation’s a two-way street. The Harvard study was drawing upon prior research that found that we like doctors who ask follow-up questions about their patients’ experience more than ones who don’t. And in our personal lives, research has found that we are drawn to people who ask us questions about ourselves on our dates more than people who monologue about their accomplishments and success.

“Although most people do not anticipate the benefits of question-asking and do not ask enough questions, people would do well to learn that it doesn’t hurt to ask,” researchers concluded. Next time you’re in a conversation, don’t just talk—ask.

This article New study says there’s one surefire way to make people like you appeared first on Ladders.

Six huge reasons you’re not getting what you want

Career-Line - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 13:05

Setting goals and failing to achieve them can be demoralizing and make us feel like failures. The same goes for constantly wondering why we’re not doing better in life.

That can change. Researchers say there are ways to set goals more effectively and achieve what we want. Here’s how to change your approach to heighten your chances of success.

You don’t believe you can actually get there

Believe in where you’re going.

Founder of Giant Steps Coaching Bradley Foster writes about what he thinks the first step is when you come up with a goal for yourself in a HuffPost article.

“The first step to goal setting is to have absolute belief and faith in the process. If you don’t believe you can absolutely transform your life and get what you want, then you might as well forget about goal setting and do something else. If you are in doubt, look around you. Everything you can see began as a thought. Make your thoughts turn into reality,” Foster writes.

There’s no relationship between your work goals and the company’s goals

In a work setting, having a link between the two could help you feel more connected to the company you work for.

Amy Gallo features advice from a Linda Hill, the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School and co-author of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives for Becoming a Great Leader, in a Harvard Business Review article about what managers can do to help their employees perform well.

“For goals to be meaningful and effective in motivating employees, they must be tied to larger organizational ambitions. Employees who don’t understand the roles they play in company success are more likely to become disengaged. ‘Achieving goals is often about making tradeoffs when things don’t go as planned. [Employees] need to understand the bigger picture to make those tradeoffs when things go wrong,’ says Hill. No matter what level the employee is at, he should be able to articulate exactly how his efforts feed into the broader company strategy,” Gallo writes.

You’re not setting the right goals

In a summary of 35 years of empirical research, researchers Edward A. Locke and Gary P. Latham write about findings on goal-setting theory.

But first, for some context— they define a performance goal as “the score one attains on the task (e.g., how many anagrams solved in three minutes or the proficiency level one attains in practice landings).”

They wrote specifically about where people can go wrong when faced with a challenging goal, and provide a solution, citing specific research.

“When people are confronted with a task that is complex for them, urging them to do their best sometimes leads to better strategies…than setting a specific difficult performance goal. This is because a performance goal can make people so anxious to succeed that they scramble to discover strategies in an unsystematic way and fail to learn what is effective.This can create evaluative pressure and performance anxiety. The antidote is to set specific challenging learning goals, such as to discover a certain number of different strategies to master the task…” the authors write.

You don’t ask for feedback

How else will you know where you’re going?

Locke and Latham also write about why this is necessary in the research summary.

“For goals to be effective, people need summary feedback that reveals progress in relation to their goals. If they do not know how they are doing, it is difficult or impossible for them to adjust the level or direction of their effort or to adjust their performance strategies to match what the goal requires,” they write.

Fine-tuning how you approach getting what you want is definitely a goal within reach— which could ultimately lead to more success.

You’re afraid of success

Yes, this one sounds strange — we all want success, so why would we be afraid of it? Surprisingly, there are subconscious reasons we may fight our own success without realizing it. Being successful may hurt or destabilize our relationships, for instance: a close colleague could resent us for getting that promotion, or a spouse may dislike the fact that we are making more money or spending less time at home. We could become afraid of the additional responsibility that success would bring, and wonder if we’re up to it.

One psychologist even suggests that the physical excitement of success is so strong that it can bring up other strong feelings we’d rather not confront, including anger, fear, pain or trauma.

There are several ways to overcome this fear, and they’re easy though they take practice. One is to visualize what success looks like to you — how you would structure your days and what you would wear — to get comfortable with it. Another is to create a “success library” of inspirational quotes, sayings, and good things that have happened in your own career and revisit it often. The success library has a dual purpose: to show you how to motivate yourself and to remind you that you have already experienced success, so that it’s not scary or intimidating.

You don’t prioritize success

Sure, everyone wants to be a millionaire and a CEO, but that level of achievement takes work. If you really want to rise, you have to put it on your schedule: whether it’s finishing projects early and under budget, or picking up new skills, or making contacts with smart people who know your industry, succeeding takes research and time. It may mean skipping some lunch breaks, staying late, or signing up for classes that take up money and time. It’s necessary, however, because even raw talent doesn’t succeed without effort. Every successful person talks about how hard they worked to get there, and it’s no exaggeration.

One caveat: don’t just clock hours hoping they will magically lead to promotions. Every additional effort you take, or every event you attend, should bring you one step closer to your goal.

This article Six huge reasons you’re not getting what you want appeared first on Ladders.

Why you feel like a fraud and what to do about it

Career-Line - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 11:15

You don’t belong here.

You’re not good enough.

You got lucky.

They’re going to realize you aren’t that smart.

Ever heard this voice in your head? You’re far from alone. It’s called “impostor syndrome.”

More than 70% of successful people have felt it at one point.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

In a study of successful people by psychologist Gail Matthews, a whopping 70 percent reported experiencing impostor feelings at some point in their life.

Are you one them? Ask yourself these questions.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

  • Do you chalk your success up to luck, timing or computer error?
  • Do you believe “if I can do it, anybody can”?
  • Do you agonize over the smallest flaws in your work?
  • Are your crushed by even constructive criticism, seeing it as evidence of your ineptness?
  • When you do succeed, do you secretly feel like you fooled them again?
  • Do you worry that it’s a matter of time before you’re “found out”?

And even if you haven’t heard that voice in your head, someone you care about almost certainly has. It plagues successful women; Sheryl Sandberg wrote about it in her bestseller, Lean In.

I’ve posted a lot about how to be more successful. But the interesting thing about impostor syndrome is that you already are successful. You just have trouble accepting it.

People with impostor syndrome have trouble “internalizing competency.” You can see the achievements on your resume but you’re emotionally disconnected from them. The story the resume tells and the story you tell yourself don’t line up for you.

Let’s learn why this happens and what you can do to fix it…

What is Impostor Syndrome?

Why do so many know-it-alls really know nothing while so many smart people are unsure of themselves? It’s a serious question. Bertrand Russell once said:

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

Psychologists found an answer: it’s called the “Dunning-Kruger effect.” Basically, inept people don’t have enough experience to properly evaluate how little experience they have, so they think they’re brilliant when they’re not. (Think about the people at the beginning of every season on “American Idol.” Yup. Bingo.)

On the other hand, experienced people realize how often they’ve been wrong in the past and will sometimes second-guess themselves — even when they’re right.

And tons of very successful people you’re familiar with have voiced these feelings.

Albert Einstein:

…the exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.

Maya Angelou:

I have written eleven books, but each time I think, “Uh-oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they’re going to find me out.”

Mike Myers:

At any time I still expect that the no-talent police will come and arrest me.

What’s even more ironic is that not only do very talented people often have impostor syndrome, but they are actually less likely to really be dishonest. People with impostor syndrome turn out to be more honest than average.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

In fact, people who identify with the impostor syndrome have proven to be less likely than non-impostors to engage in academic dishonesty such as plagiarism or cheating.

Some studies show it’s equally common in males and females but others have found it’s much more prevalent among women. The term “impostor syndrome” was coined in a study of high-achieving women by Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes.

Sheryl Sandberg summed up a number of the studies showing women consistently underestimated themselves at work and school.

Via Lean In:

Multiple studies in multiple industries show that women often judge their own performance as worse than it actually is, while men judge their own performance as better than it actually is. Assessments of students in a surgery rotation found that when asked to evaluate themselves, the female students gave themselves lower scores than the male students despite faculty evaluations that showed the women outperformed the men. A survey of several thousand potential political candidates revealed that despite having comparable credentials, the men were about 60 percent more likely to think that they were “very qualified” to run for political office. A study of close to one thousand Harvard law students found that in almost every category of skills relevant to practicing law, women gave themselves lower scores than men. Even worse, when women evaluate themselves in front of other people, or in stereotypically male domains, their underestimations can become even more pronounced.

Why might impostor syndrome be such an issue for women?

Because it’s extremely common among anyone who feels like an outsider, like they don’t belong.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

…a whopping 85.7 percent of foreign-trained medical residents in Canada tested high for impostor feelings.

And when you’re not an outsider, these effects often go away.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

As researchers at Massachusetts Institute for Technology discovered, once the percentage of female students in a department rose above 15, women’s academic performance improved. Girls who attend single-sex schools have higher career aspirations than both boys and girls at coed schools. Studies repeatedly show that if you attended a women’s college, you are likely to have higher self-esteem and more intellectual self-confidence than your counterparts at coed institutions. The same is true for African Americans who attend historically black colleges.

And reality can follow feelings; when you feel powerless you actually perform worse on cognitive measures. Feeling marginalized actually (temporarily) makes you dumber.

And if you’re in a situation where stereotypes say you shouldn’t do well, you perform worse. Are girls worse at math than boys? They definitely are if you remind them that they’re girls.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

The simple inclusion of a check box for gender on a math test causes women to perform worse than men.

And this goes for men too.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

Men who were told that a test measured “social sensitivity,” on which “men do worse than women,” performed more poorly than those who were told the test measured “complex information processing.” In the same scenario, women’s performance did not differ.

(To learn how to be happier and more successful, click here.)

So when you’re feeling like an outsider or are dealing with negative stereotypes about your abilities it can lead to impostor syndrome. But if you actually are performing well, why can’t you accept it and break free? There’s a reason…

The vicious circle

Studies show impostor syndrome is related to anxiety and intense fear of failure. So you race to keep up the facade… but when you work hard to make sure you’re not found out, it only reinforces the impostor belief.

You fooled them again. But next time you might not be so lucky.

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

The fact that researchers have found a strong link between fear of failure and the impostor syndrome is hardly surprising. In one way or another you’ve spent your entire adult life trying to avoid stumbling. In the impostor world there is no such thing as constructive criticism — there is only condemnation. To not make the grade in some way only serves as more proof that you’re a fraud. And to receive less-than-positive feedback from someone else — well, that just makes it official.

You keep working harder but never feel better. As Jim Carrey once said about his own impostor syndrome and subsequent hard work:

If I remain worthless in my own mind, I will be the king of show business.

But now not only are you feeling bad and overworking but you’re also alone. You can’t tell anyone your “secret.” You feel like you can’t ask for help because you’ll look incompetent.

In the end, it’s exhausting. Working hard, afraid of being “found out” and not being able to turn to anyone is enormously stressful. Eventually you may see self-sabotage as the only way out.

(To learn how to stop worrying, click here.)

But there are ways to get over impostor syndrome. Here’s how…

1. Focus on learning

Drawing on the research of Carol Dweck, one study recommends focusing on learning instead of performance.

People with impostor syndrome often think they’re not smart enough. And they don’t think they can get smarter. So they focus on performance goals like, “How can I get that perfect score?” instead of learning goals like, “How can I improve?

Focusing on improvement means you know you’re not perfect but you know you can get better. With that attitude, you can. And if you fail, hey, you learned something.

But focusing exclusively on performance goals means anything less than perfect is death. That’s incredibly stressful and pushes you to do things that are extreme, unhealthy and maybe unethical.

(To learn the neuroscience behind 4 rituals that can make you happy, click here.)

So if you’re focused on learning, what should your goals be?

2. Aim for “good enough”

Microsoft software has bugs. And they know it. And that’s okay. Valerie Young quotes James Bach as saying:

Microsoft begins every project with the certain knowledge that they will choose to ship [a software product] with known bugs.

If they tried to make it perfect, it would never be finished. Ever. So they focus on “good enough.”

Via The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer from the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive in Spite of It:

Just stop expecting yourself to remain in a constant state of extreme brilliance. Instead strive to feel comfortable with being fabulously adequate. The reality is, even the brightest and most talented among us spend the majority of their waking hours smack in the middle of the competency scale.

Swarthmore professor Barry Schwartz says “good enough” is the secret to happiness and neuroscience studies agree.

Instead of doing everything to keep up this illusion that you’re perfect, accept that you’re not. Don’t build self-confidence, build self-compassion. Forgive yourself when you screw up.

Research shows increasing self-compassion has all the benefits of self-esteem — but without the downsides.

(For more on how to build self-compassion, click here.)

Learning goals and “good enough” can help but they’re not the silver bullet. This is . . .

3. Take off the mask

At its essence, curing impostor syndrome is simple: take off the mask. Don’t be an impostor. John Churton Collins said:

If we knew each other’s secrets, what comforts we should find.

The pressure, the pain, the discomfort all come from the secrecy. But, as we established, 70% of successful people have felt like this at one point and a substantial number are feeling it right now. So…

You are the majority. But the pain is caused by not talking to all the others who are just like you.

No, you don’t have to email everyone at your company or school, subject line: I’M A FRAUD. No self-flagellation with a cat-o’-nine-tails is necessary. You just need to tell someone how you’re feeling.

You suffer in silence because you’re silent.

Via The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention:

A group therapy setting or an inter-actional group in which there are some other high achieving women experiencing the impostor phenomenon is highly recommended. If one woman is willing to share her secret, others are able to share theirs… A group setting is also valuable because one woman can see the dynamics in another woman and recognize the lack of reality involved. Mary cannot believe that Jane thinks she is stupid. After all, Jane has a PhD from an outstanding university, is a respected professor, and is obviously bright. In a group setting, the ways in which an individual negates positive feedback and maintains her belief system emerge in clear relief and can be brought to the attention of the client.

It doesn’t have to be a therapy session. It can just be a chat:

A particularly effective tactic is talking to other people. “We can’t peer into the minds of others and see that, ‘Wait a minute, everyone else is also just as mystified!’ ” says Kruger, so people need to make the effort to discuss their performance with their peers. When you discover that the people you admire (or fear) sometimes worry about their own achievements, it can give you perspective on your own anxieties.”

Talk to someone you suspect may be dealing with or may have dealt with impostor syndrome. Someone that can relate. When you share your feelings, three things happen:

  • You’re not an impostor anymore. You’re not faking it. You took off the mask.
  • You’ll hear that someone else has felt this way too. You’re not alone. And it doesn’t need to be hidden.

And most importantly:

  • They get to look you in the eye and tell you just how insane you sound. Now if it stopped there, you might be able to dismiss it: they’re just being nice. But the best part of it is this person that you respect is going to tell you how they’ve felt like a fraud and then you’re going to tell them how insane they sound. And then you’re going to realize: Hey, uh, do I sound as crazy as they do when I say I’m a fraud?  Yes. Yes, you do.

And that’s how the spell is broken.

(To learn the lazy way to be awesome at life, click here.)

It may not happen immediately, but sharing with someone else and realizing how common this is is a huge first step.

Still think you’re alone?  210,000 people get my weekly newsletter. That’s a lot of people. You don’t think I’ve said to myself: I’m writing this in my underwear while drinking cold coffee… why in the world would anyone take me seriously?

So, no, you’re not alone.  

13 reasons your bosses don’t find you likable

Career-Line - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 10:01

While you might wish those days where a popularity contest mattered are over, the hard, cold truth is that being liked by those above you may make or break your career. As New York career coach, Carlota Zimmerman explains, likability can determine your life.  

“From shopping to dating, whether it’s getting a good deal on your dream home, or student loans, getting upgraded on a plane, to receiving faster care at the ER, likable people tend to move to the front of the line,” she says. “You want your boss to like you, since she’s the one determining who will get the opportunities necessary to achieve their career potential, and goals. You want your boss to like you, so that when she’s planning to attend that huge industry conference in Shanghai, she picks you to join her in first class. You want your boss to like you, so that when sh*t gets real–as the young people say–she can go to bat for you.”

To make sure you’re putting your friendliest foot forward, avoid these blunders that might make your boss wish someone else was doing your job.

You give your boss a lot to manage

Unless you’re at the top of the totem pole or standing atop that glass ceiling at your own company, part of your role will always mean making your manager’s life easier. And while asking questions is part of learning and advancing your career, the more time your boss has to spend holding your hand, the more frustrated he or she might become.

“Your boss has a lot on their plate, and they don’t have time to constantly babysit you. Micromanaging is not fun for anyone, and though most employees say they don’t like being micro-managed, if you’re a lot of work, your boss probably feels like they have to use this method to get work done,” explains career coach Colene Elridge.

Instead of constantly asking for reassurance, smart employees figure it out, or come to the boss with a succinct description of the problem and potential solutions. If you find it tough to resist the urge to ping your boss several times a day, Elridge suggest finding a coach or a mentor outside of your office to build your confidence.

“Gain the skills you need to more effectively do your job. Then find a mentor that can help guide you through your career. Mentors are great at helping you grow and develop,” Elridge says.

You fake it and don’t produce results

Congrats! You earned an awesome promotion or finally got the lead spot for a project you wanted to spear.

But now, the pressure is on: dropping the ball after a career growth moment can quickly make your boss doubt his or her decision. Though faking-it-until-you-make-it can work in certain cases, if you’re throwing around fancy terms and answers, without actually understanding your responsibilities, you might make a big mess for your boss to clean up.

“I can’t tell you the number of organizations I’ve worked with who have employees who don’t do their jobs. Meaning, they do everything but produce results. Some blame falls squarely on the organization for not properly engaging their employees, but some falls on the individual. When you make the choice to not do your job, you make your boss have to work harder, and that’s a key way to make them not like you. You were hired to do a job. Whatever the job is, there are expected results, and when you don’t produce those results, there’s a problem,” Elridge says.

Many people can stagnate for years at this level of middle management because they never learn how to stop bossing people and start leading people.

How do you start to grow as professional, in a meaningful, impactful way? Elridge says it’s a slippery slope that might require some soul-searching to figure out why you’re working where you’re working, and what might be keeping you from being less than motivated. From there, baby steps are key.

“If you don’t like the work, consider a career change. If you’re just in a bit of a slump, pull yourself together and set a deadline. Momentum changes things. When you see yourself complete a project or task, you build more momentum to do better work,” she adds.

You’re not straightforward about things that don’t work

No matter if it’s your dream job or just a starter gig to get you to the company you truly want to work for, there are going to be issues that arrive in every workplace. Though ultimately, it’s your manager’s responsibility to address workflows, teams or programs that simply aren’t working, it’s also part of your role to flag miscommunication or difficulties you’re having. Why? When something goes wrong, productivity is the first to suffer.

“Any good workplace knows how to handle conflict. A workplace without conflict resolution skills is a recipe for chaos. It is not uncommon that people lack conflict resolution skills. Avoidance is not a tactic. Conflict will happen, and though it can be uncomfortable, it’s not always a bad thing. If you’re the type of person who avoids conflict or stirs up conflict in your office, my guess is your boss may not like you,” Elridge says.

Here’s where it’s essential to put your creative thinking hat on by figuring out what’s causing the trouble and how you might suggest fixing the issue to your boss. Approach your manager with a solution – not just a complaint – and let them take the reins from there.

You don’t impress him

Usually the boss’s least favorite people are the ones who punch in the clock and contribute no more than they have to. Or they ask for more responsibility, but when asked to see a project through to the end, make excuses as to why they can’t.

The bottom line: Promotable employees go above and beyond. So if you’re not taking ownership for your own career path, why would you expect your boss to guide you along a highlighted, trackable path?

Worst of all, if your boss has stopped coming to you because he knows he can’t count on you, you’re definitely not going anywhere in the company.

“There’s only so many hours in the work day, and if your boss starts rolling her eyes, since she’s just done with your ‘discussions about why a project isn’t’ finished’…you’re in trouble. You want your boss to identify you as someone who solves problems, whom she can count on, not as someone who makes her life harder,” Zimmerman says. “Working in an office, making deadlines, keeping a business on track is difficult enough. When you consider that people have their own lives, with partners, children, mortgages, parents, Netflix queues, you begin to realize that very few good managers want any unnecessary stress in the office.”

Instead of doing the bare minimum and offloading the rest to your boss, consider why you’re feeling disconnected. “Your issues may be legitimate, but if they are making it difficult to get work done, if they’re contributing to a tense corporate environment, you and your issues may need to look for a new job,” Zimmerman suggests.

You make it all about you

Bosses have to oversee teams, and the employee who is always trying to focus attention on themselves is a distraction to cooperation. Derailing team discussions to talk about your own goals, dominating planning, and refusing to see the bigger picture of team progress rather than your own are all manifestations of this attitude.

While this type of self-first behavior might make you feel like a powerful executive at first, it doesn’t do much to build a relationship with your co-workers, or more importantly, your boss.

This applies on a personal level too: when other people are talking, listen. You might not be interested in hearing about their random trip to the Finger Lakes, but it’s in your best interest to listen, anyway, as a way to show respect for their experiences.

Consider this: people you work with have to spend a minimum of eight hours a day with you. Wouldn’t they prefer someone who is pleasant to spend that time with?

“People want to work with people that they like, not just people who are competent.  Make an effort to develop a good working relationship with your boss. This does not necessarily mean that you always have to go out to lunch together.  But it does mean that you should try to create a spirit of camaraderie between you,” Zimmerman adds.

You refuse to do simple tasks

Making copies? Creating a spreadsheet? Sending notes post-budget-planning meeting? Under no circumstances should you break any ethical standards for a boss, but for routine requests, the answer should always be — as far as you can swing it — ‘yes.’

You might not find all of his or her tasks to be necessary, but your role is helping your higher-ups to meet deadlines and goals, so it’s worth your effort. If you don’t do it – or do it poorly – you not only make yourself look bad, but the team, too.

“Years ago, I had a client who, on the first day of her new job, was given a detail-oriented project. She didn’t do it. Not only did she not do the project, she spent time that could have been used to make her deadline, writing out a long letter of excuses and apologies. Needless to say, her management was furious…and within two months, that new job was only an old memory,” Zimmerman says. “You may not understand the reason for the deadline, you may disagree with it, but if you’re really trying to climb the ladder, make the deadline.”

If you’re actually strapped for time and can’t do a deep-dive into data before 6 p.m.?

Don’t just cross your arms and refuse to do something. Show you can think strategically. Instead of saying, ‘I can’t do that,’ and expect the boss to fix it, instead point to facts and numbers and make a case for another way: ‘Because our budget can’t cover this right now, it’s a challenge to get this project done. Have we considered hiring an intern or distributing the workload among other teams? Here’s how that would work.’

You refuse to understand the struggle of bureaucracy

In very few cases does management responsibility mean snapping your fingers and getting what you want. Managing takes maneuvering. Being a boss is very often a matter of managing bureaucracy to get things done. Some bosses are good at it, and some are terrible. But what’s never helpful is an employee who’s constantly talking down the company or asking why something hasn’t already happened by now, exactly the way that employee wants it. 

“You can create major headaches for your boss and everyone else on the job if you don’t understand bureaucracy. As frustrating as dealing with bureaucracy can be, there is a certain protocol that is expected, and if you try to bypass the workings of bureaucracy in order to get things done, you will ruffle feathers along the way,” explains career coach Cheryl Palmer. “Your boss will probably take the heat because of your bad decisions.  This in turn will affect how the boss perceives you. The best thing to do is to learn how the bureaucracy works and work within the system.”

Not everyone is cut out for corporate world though, Palmer notes. If you can’t see yourself conforming to the bureaucracy, she suggests looking for a job in a small company where there isn’t as much bureaucracy to deal with – or working for yourself. 

You make your boss look bad

Just like you, bosses like to look good in front of their bosses. If you do a good job, they look good. But if you undermine your boss by badmouthing them unreasonably to teammates or their own bosses, they usually find out, and they see you as a problem.

“A few years ago, a friend of mine was going through a rough patch in her life. She confided in a friend of hers, an attorney who owned a successful small practice, and he hired her, on a part-time basis, to help him out in the office. Sounds great, right? It was, except my friend simply couldn’t stop herself from biting the hand that fed her. Whatever the boss said, she had to correct him, or one-up him, or simply make it clear to him that he might be a well-to-do lawyer, but she had a Master’s degree, and he owed her respect,” Zimmerman shared. “After two weeks, all his compassion had drained away, and the next time she corrected him, he came down came the ax.”

There might be times when you don’t agree with your employer or you think you could do a better job than him or her, but as Zimmerman says: your boss is the boss and he or she is charge.

If you can’t bite your tongue, you might want to consider seeking another job, where you can be at the top, or a manager you vibe better with.

This article 13 reasons your bosses don’t find you likable appeared first on Ladders.

Giving credit to colleagues makes you look successful

Career-Line - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 09:50

We all want our work to be recognized. It’s how we measure our success.

But how do you get your colleagues to acknowledge your hard work and toil? Here’s one good tip: by modeling good credit behavior.

In other words: If you want people to toot your horn, you need to toot theirs. That way you create a workplace culture where hard work is always acknowledged.

Sachin H. Jain, the CEO of the CareMore Health System, said that he learned this from one of his bosses. “I took a few moments to send e-mails to thank individuals who had helped make a project of mine successful and copied my boss. My boss, in turn, scheduled time with me to thank me for taking the time to recognize others,” he wrote in Harvard Business Review.

By recognizing the work of others, Jain got his work recognized too. Bosses like Jain’s know that being a team player is a valued trait that should get praise. Good credit behavior also means doing this in private settings where your boss doesn’t see you. Besides spreading good karma, it shows your colleagues that they work in a place where their ideas matter. That increases team trust and will increase employee morale and retention in the long-run.

No one likes working in a job where compliments seem to be conditional on your status, not your accomplishments. Take time to acknowledge your quiet employee’s work. It will make a difference.

The New York Times offers similar advice to people who want to share credit: “Create a paper trail. Send out e-mail messages with pertinent sales figures. Circulate memos that recap your team’s stellar performance. Forward select customer accolades to your boss.”

Bottom line: people won’t know you and your team did hard work unless you tell them. By forwarding your appreciation of others, you help create a positive feedback loop where your good deeds get acknowledged and theirs do too.

This article Giving credit to colleagues makes you look successful appeared first on Ladders.

I hope you will be treated unfairly

Career-Line - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 06:00

Chief Justice John Roberts gave a remarkable commencement speech last month:

Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why.

From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice.

I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.

Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted.

I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.

And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship.

I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.

Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen.

And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.

Biblical for its repetition, emotional in its cadence, striking for its message, Chief Justice Roberts’ surprising address has the weighty timelessness of an in instant classic that will be repeated, quoted, cherished for many years ahead.

Incredibly wise, incredibly inspiring.

I’m rooting for you!

This article I hope you will be treated unfairly appeared first on Ladders.

5 ways you can make a new city feel like home

Career-Line - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 11:18

You land your dream job, but there’s one big catch— it’s all the way across the country.

Don’t say no just because a move is such a hassle. Here’s how to get used to things once you get there, whether you’re moving alone or relocating your family.

Join clubs and affinity groups

Whether it’s through your job or outside of work entirely (i.e., an college alumni network), find a place to bond with people who speak your language professionally through clubs and affinity groups. Chances are, there will also be ample networking opportunities to help you advance professionally and get the support you need.

Joining a non-work-related club can give you a healthy outlet to feed your hobbies. In doing so, you’ll probably make new friends who enjoy some of the same things you do.

Get to know other parents

Lyss Stern, founder of Divalysscious Moms, a networking event company for New York City moms, told Parents about how moms can meet other moms through their kids.

“A baby in a stroller is the perfect conversation starter…You’ll be amazed at how many people will stop to look at and comment on your adorable little baby — and though it might seem annoying at first, don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage. People love to connect people. You never know who will have a daughter or a friend with a baby the same age.”

This may also spark relationships between your kids, which could help them adjust.

Let your kids enjoy familiar things

A HuffPost article explains how to “engage in familiar routines” as part of helping kids cope with relocation.

“In the midst of change, children need to lean on the things that are the same. Read the stories they love, maintain consistent bedtime rituals, play favorite games and sit down together for family meals — even if you’re surrounded by boxes!” it says.

Be open to experiences that pop up

Annie Ferrer writes about socializing, even when you’re tired, in a Mic article about “settling in and making new friends” after she moved from New York City to Washington, D.C. for a job.

“I typically save socializing for the weekends. But when you’re in the market for mates, you don’t have the luxury of calibrating your social calendar. If your coworkers are happy-houring, go. If your building is throwing a mixer, attend. If your yoga buddy wants to grab dinner despite dripping in sweat, change your shirt and dig in. Small and spontaneous sacrifices that may upset your routine are usually moments that generate the most cherished memories.”

Remember where you came from

A Reader’s Digest article expands on this in an article about getting used to a new city that may not have your heart.

“To keep from getting too homesick, subscribe to your former city magazine or newspaper. Display photos of or souvenirs from your favorite places in your old town. Hang decorations from your former home. Just don’t go overboard—hanging on to too much from your past will keep you from moving forward and really enjoying your new home,” the article says.

This article 5 ways you can make a new city feel like home appeared first on Ladders.

The best inspirational notes celebrities wrote to themselves

Career-Line - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 10:42

Sometimes, you need to see it to believe it. This is a helpful visualizing exercise that everyone, even celebrities, have done to make their success a reality.

Octavia Butler: “So be it! I will find the way to do this. See to it!”

Octavia Butler is remembered as one of the greatest science-fiction writers of the 20th century, becoming the first science fiction writer to win a MacArthur “genius” grant. But in 1988, before the awards and recognition, she wrote an inspirational note to herself in her private journal. In her entry, she described her future success: “This is my life….I will help poor black youngsters go to college. I will get the best of health care for my mother and myself. I will hire a car whenever I want or need to. I will travel whenever and wherever in the world that I choose. My books will be read by millions of people! So be it! See to it!”

This fabulous "note to self" is just a peek into the archive of science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler, whose papers were donated to #TheHuntington in 2008. This year marks the 10th anniversary of her untimely death, and to celebrate her life and work we’ve partnered with @clockshopla to launch “Radio Imagination,” a yearlong series of programs and events in her honor. To read more about her work and the upcoming project, head over to Handwritten notes on inside cover of one of Octavia E. Butler’s commonplace books, 1988. #RadioImagination #OctaviaButler

A post shared by The Huntington (@thehuntingtonlibrary) on Jan 27, 2016 at 12:22pm PST

She visualized her future success with no compromises or qualifications. Failure was not an option. Verbs were in the present tense. “So be it! See to it!” Butler promised herself she would become a best-selling author, and she did become one.

As life coach and vision-board proponent Martha Beck notes, visualizing works because it asks us to shift our mind’s attention towards our goals, so that they begin to feel more like reality. “When you put your attention on something, you experience more of it. Maybe it is created by a magical force of attention. At the very least, you are going to selectively pay attention to these things you like once you selectively start to gear yourself to focus on them more,” Beck said.

Kendrick Lamar’s rules for success

Today, Kendrick Lamar is recognized as one of the greatest rappers of his generation. In 2011, he was still an up-and-coming rapper recording tracks in his garage.

In this garage, photographer David Black noticed that Lamar had an inspirational board of advice to himself and took a photo of it, which was published in California Sunday. In his inspirational note to himself, Lamar identified five keys to hip-hop success: charisma, substance, lyrics, uniqueness, and a strong work ethic. “The top 5 didn’t get there off mere talent. You match talent with drive,” he wrote under the Work Ethics column. “Take away 50’s ability to make great songs and you still have one of the hardest-working human beings I’ve ever encountered.”

Visualizing how he was going to remain disciplined and centered like his idols worked. With his inspiration board guiding him, Lamar earned four Grammy award nominations for the good kidm.A.A.d city album that he incubated in this garage.

Jim Carrey wrote himself a check for $10 million

When you don’t have it in your hands, you can still get power out of holding a physical reminder. That’s what comedian and actor Jim Carrey did.

In 1997, he told Oprah Winfrey in an interview that he would drive his Toyota to Hollywood Hills and imagine a world where he wasn’t broke, but a successful actor directors would love to work with.

He took this visualization one step further and wrote himself a future check for “acting services rendered.” The check gave him a deadline of a few years.

“I put it in my wallet and I kept it there and it deteriorated and deteriorated,” Carrey said. “But then just before Thanksgiving 1995, I found out I was going to make $10 million off of ‘Dumb and Dumber.”

Of course, you can’t just rest on visualization alone. Hard work, discipline and talent are the foundation to making this exercise work. But what these notes show is that learning how to inspire yourself is just as necessary too.

This article The best inspirational notes celebrities wrote to themselves appeared first on Ladders.

America’s best-known billionaires drive Volkswagens and eat at McDonald’s

Career-Line - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 10:04

Billionaires like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett have massive amounts of wealth, but while certain parts of their lives are glamorous, there are frugal practices that have set them apart. In fact, many billionaires decide not to live lavish lives; the CEO of IKEA famously flies economy and drives a 1993 Volvo.

Here are some modest habits of people in the billionaires’ club.

Bill Gates

The billionaire landed the top spot as the richest person on Earth on The World’s Billionaires 2017 list by Forbes with a listed net worth of $86 billion, was chairman of Microsoft up until 2014, and is co-chair and trustee of The Bill and and Melinda Gates Foundation—but there are aspects of his life that aren’t so exclusive.

Gates reportedly said his watch costs $10 at POLITICO’s Lessons From Leaders inaugural event in 2014. He also prefers an unpretentious look in clothing, preferring simple shirts, pants and sweaters, like a Midwestern dad.

Gates also revealed some other down-to-earth habits when Reddit user briannnf asked him about “something you enjoy doing that you think no one would expect from you” during an Ask Me Anything session in 2014.

He wrote, “playing bridge is a pretty old fashioned thing in a way that I really like. I was watching my daughter ride horses this weekend and that is also a bit old fashioned but fun. I do the dishes every night – other people volunteer but I like the way I do it.”

Gates also saves a lot of money on food, with unpretentious tastes: “rooms full of Diet Coke” and bags of McDonald’s burgers for business lunches.

Mark Zuckerberg

Forbes lists Zuckerberg’s “real-time” net worth at $66.2 billion. He still dresses like a college student rushing to class, however.

The Facebook mogul is known for his casual look— specifically, a gray t-shirts and blue jeans (although the New York Times also reported that sometimes, he wears a hoodie, Adidas sandals and Ray-Bans).

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First day back after paternity leave. What should I wear?

Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Monday, January 25, 2016

When asked about why he sticks to the same shirt every day during a Q&A session at Facebook’s Menlo Park Headquarters in California, Zuckerberg reportedly responded, “I’m in this really lucky position where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people,” he said. “I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything, except how to best serve this community.”

The Facebook executive posted this photo back in 2016 after his daughter, Max, was born.

Dan Schawbel, founder of Millennial Branding and author of Me 2.0, told Forbes about the meaning behind Zuckerberg’s clothing choices.

“Famous business people and politicians are known to be consistent with their wardrobe because it’s their brand identity…It’s who they are, how they want to represent themselves and make a statement. It’s not about what you wear, but what you accomplish. [Mark] Zuckerberg, for instance, wears casual clothing because he represents the entire generation of young people who don’t want to wear suits to work,” he told the publication.

Zuckerberg also has a modest car. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2014 that Zuckerberg drove a black, stick-shift Volkswagen GTI. More recently, he seems to have upgraded to an Acura TSX.

Relatively inexpensive cars are, by the way, favored by many of the richest Americans. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt drives a Ford Hybrid Fusion.

Steve Jobs

Like Zuckerberg, the the Apple executive also had a signature look before he passed away in 2011.

Jobs would come to work in black mock turtlenecks, New Balance sneakers and Levi’s jeans, according to the New York Times in 2011.

Steve Chazin, a former Apple marketing executive, told the New York Times in 2011 about the meaning behind the mogul’s clothes.

“He didn’t want any individual to kind of overshadow the brand, and that includes him,” Chazin told the publication.

In 2010, Jobs was #136 on The World’s Billionaires list by Forbes, with a net worth of $5.5 billion.

Warren Buffett

The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway and “Oracle of Omaha” came in second place on The World’s Billionaires 2017 list by Forbes, with a listed net worth of $75.6 billion, but reportedly has lived in the same house in Omaha, Nebraska since 1958.

The Wall Street journal reported in February 2017 that also he listed his California beach house for $11 million.

But if you like fast food, here’s the real kicker— Buffett has earned special privileges at McDonald’s, and eats their breakfast food in the morning.

Buffett showed CNBC’s Becky Quick what he was carrying in his wallet on a plane ride to China in a 2007 interview.

“And, ah, here we have my McDonald’s card which lets me eat free at any McDonald’s in Omaha for the rest of my life. So that’s why the Buffett family has Christmas dinner at McDonald’s. It explains a lot of thing,” he told Quick.

He also showed her a special card from Johnny Rockets, among other items.

Buffett may be relatable in his love for McDonald’s, but make no mistake about his level wealth and business success– he reportedly owns a private jet.

This article America’s best-known billionaires drive Volkswagens and eat at McDonald’s appeared first on Ladders.

These are the top 5 books you must read to be successful

Career-Line - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 08:00

I post about a lot of books. Most people don’t have the time to read them all, so here are a few of my must-reads.

1. Influence

What is it?

Most consider it the single best book on the psychology of persuasion.

What did I learn from it?

There are universal principles that make something influential: scarcity, authority, social proof, liking, reciprocity, and consistency. 

This video is a great introduction to Cialdini’s research:

Check out the book here.

2. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

What is it?

The best, most accessible research-based book on what motivates us.

What did I learn from it?

For jobs that require creativity and problem solving, research shows we’re motivated by a desire for autonomy, mastery and purpose. Money is really only a motivator for work that does not inspire passion or deep thought. The single best motivator is progress, and the best predictor of success is “grit.”

My notes from the book are here. Watch Dan Pink’s TED talk here.

Check out the book here.

3. The Power of Habit

What is it?

An engaging read that explains the science of how habits work — and how we can change them.

What did I learn from it?

About 40% of the actions we perform in a day are habits — so we’re on autopilot almost half our life. Identifying what triggers your habits is key.

Assigning new habits to established triggers is how you change a bad habit into a good one. Friends can be a major part of whether you’re able to change for the better.

Here’s a great interview with author Charles Duhigg about the book.

Check out the book here.

4. The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study

What is it?

They studied over 1000 people for the duration of their lives – from childhood until old age — giving them regular physical and psychological tests and tracking the results.

What they discovered confirmed some things we all believe about what it takes to live a good, long life — and more interestingly they found out where our common beliefs are wrong.

What did I learn from it?

There’s a lot of overlap between what makes us happy and what promotes a long life. Stress isn’t all bad. The good do not die young. Women don’t live longer than men because of biology. Relationships are more important than exercise if you want to live a long life.

The authors discuss the study, the book and the counterintuitive things they learned in this video:

Check out the book here.

5. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work

What is it?

A Harvard researcher’s very practical book on how to be happier and how happiness can improve your life.

What did I learn from it?

Happiness increases productivity and makes you more successful. The 20 second rule can make you a much better person. There are a lot of simple little things that can make you much happier.

Here’s author Shawn Achor’s TEDx talk:

Check out the book here.

Again, they are:

Join 25K+ readers. Get a free weekly update via email here.

Related posts:

What 10 things should you do every day to improve your life?

What do people regret the most before they die?

What five things can make sure you never stop growing and learning?

This article originally appeared at Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

This article These are the top 5 books you must read to be successful appeared first on Ladders.

Experts say these surprising 6 phrases will change your life

Career-Line - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 13:48

Every single one of us has felt the pressure of saying the wrong thing, and the fear that we will do it when it matters most to our careers.

Success in the workplace depends on closing this gap and being a clear communicator. One of the best ways to learn a lot fast: TED talks from experts in communication.

Each expert has different methods on how to accomplish this—from changing your vocabulary to changing how you say your name—but the one thing that all these speakers have in common? They all believe that listening is the answer to being a better speaker. Here are words you can include in your meetings that will transform your professional relationships:

1) “Tell me more”

Dr. Mark Holder believes that his time as a happiness researcher has given him insight into how we nurture our human relationships. In his TEDx talk, Dr. Holder cited interviews with hospital patients where researchers found three simple words that would trigger stronger relationships with patients: tell me more.

“When you’re in a personal relationship talking to somebody and you lean forward and you look them in the eye and you say, ‘tell me more,’ it means not I’m not going on to my own story. I’m not interrupting you, Your story is valid and it means something to me,” Dr. Holder said.

Dr. Holder believes these three words along with “What happens next?” work because they show that we’re listening. We’re not just extracting information out of the interaction, we’re validating our conversation partner’s feelings and emotions. It’s a lesson we can use even if we’re not a science researcher.

2) “Thank you”

Dr. Laura Trice believes that we don’t ask for what we need. The life coach and consultant said that asking for our value to be recognized is stigmatized and it shouldn’t be. “Be honest about the praise that you need to hear,” Dr. Trice advised. Asking for praise makes us vulnerable but it also deepens our connections in our personal and professional lives.

3) “I’m not finished yet”

“I’m not finished yet” is not a phrase that vocal expert Laura Sicola actually recommends saying out loud, but it’s one that she recommends conveying in your tone.

Sicola says that we blunder introducing ourselves when we rush through saying our names, making it harder for our listeners to understand what we’re saying. Instead of blurting out our names, Sicola wants us to practice strategic tonality, so that the weight of our words have intention: “I want to start by letting my voice go up, up like this, on your first name as if to say, ‘I’m not finished yet,'” Sicola said. “And then at the top, we’ll have a little break, that little pause that will allow for a sound break to indicate word boundary, and then at our last name, we want to go down, let the pitch fall, as if to say, ‘And now I’m done.'”

This doesn’t mean adopting some inauthentic business voice, but learning how to adjust your tone depending on who is in the room. “The key is to recognize which parts of your personality need to shine through in a particular moment and how to transmit that through your voice and speech style,” Sicola said.

4) “Be interested in other people”

Radio host Celeste Headlee wants us to approach all of our conversations with this mantra in mind: be interested in other people. For Headlee, that means going with the flow, using open-ended questions, not repeating ourselves, and not equating our experiences with our conversation partner’s. Above all, Headlee recommended keeping our mouth shut with our assumptions and listening to what the other person has to say.

“I kind of grew up assuming everyone has some hidden, amazing thing about them. And honestly, I think it’s what makes me a better host,” she said in her TED talk.I keep my mouth shut as often as I possibly can, I keep my mind open, and I’m always prepared to be amazed,and I’m never disappointed.”

5) “I’m enough”

Through years of trial and error, researcher Brené Brown has found that showing vulnerability, the “courage to be imperfect,” is the key to being a resilient person who can weather anything life throws their way—from layoffs to new responsibilities. In her hundreds of interviews, Brown found that the variable that separated people who constantly struggled to ones who were surer of their place in the world was whether or not they showed vulnerability.

“They didn’t talk about vulnerability being comfortable, nor did they really talk about it being excruciating—as I had heard it earlier in the shame interviewing. They just talked about it being necessary. They talked about the willingness to say, ‘I love you’ first, the willingness to do something where there are no guarantees…They thought this was fundamental,” Brown said. When we numb ourselves to being vulnerable, we may be doing it to protect ourselves, but we also are numbing ourselves to good emotions like gratitude and happiness. Successful people approach their lives as whole-hearted humans who are comfortable with who they are, flaws and all.

“When we work from a place I believe that says, ‘I’m enough,’ then we stop screaming and start listening, we’re kinder and gentler to the people around us, and we’re kinder and gentler to ourselves,” Brown said.

6) “What do you think?”

It’s not in a TED talk, but it will change your life. The simple question “what do you think?” is radically transformative because it forces us to stop and actually find out what other people aren’t telling us. It’s crucial for real conversations that form connections, because it acknowledges the difference and strengths of the person we’re talking to. And it makes us smarter and more likable. Try it and see the effect.

This article Experts say these surprising 6 phrases will change your life appeared first on Ladders.

How to accept constructive criticism without freaking out

Career-Line - Thu, 07/13/2017 - 12:35

Let’s admit it: even if we know constructive criticism is good for us, it can be a challenge to accept it. Hearing that we’re doing something wrong, and then fixing it, is a next-level personality challenge. What we do know, however, is that it’s worth it to listen, because very often other people see our behavior better than we do. Accepting constructive criticism is also the key to getting promoted at work, because feedback is a crucial part of rising within a company.

Here’s how to accept constructive criticism gracefully, and improve your life in the process.

Have an open mind

Our egos are not our friends. Ego is the force that pushes other people away to protect ourselves, and it throws a tantrum any time someone suggests we’re flawed. The first key to accepting constructive criticism is to dock your ego.

It’ll be difficult to accept what your manager is telling you if you don’t hear him or her out. Listen, take it in, and process what’s being said instead of getting defensive.

Your physical body will show signs of panic if you feel threatened, even by advice or criticism. To combat that, keep your breathing steady and try to stop fidgeting.

Constructive criticism could be what you need to move in the right direction— by isolating areas to work on, you can focus on bettering your performance next time around.

Resist the temptation to show your frustration

Getting snotty about criticism, or lashing out, is a death sentence for your career. You’ll be labeled as volatile and oversensitive, and even if you’re talented you’ll have to be twice as talented to make up for the label of having a bad attitude.

Nicole Lindsay writes about this in an article for The Muse.

“At the first sign of criticism, before you do anything—stop. Really. Try not to react at all! You will have at least one second to stop your reaction. While one second seems insignificant in real life, it’s ample time for your brain to process a situation. And in that moment, you can halt a dismissive facial expression or reactive quip and remind yourself to stay calm,” Lindsay writes.

Don’t take it personally

It’s also important to remember this: criticism, constructive or not, is not really a judgment. It’s information. Appreciate it as information and, to fully understand it, separate yourself from your work.

Jacqueline Whitmore writes about how you shouldn’t “take it personally” in an Entrepreneur article.

“Constructive criticism is not an insult or a reflection on who you are as a person. It’s merely someone’s observations about his or her interactions with you in a business context. Whether the person is well-meaning or just being mean-spirited doesn’t really matter. Respond respectfully as though your critic’s intentions are good, and come from a place of gratitude for the information. After all, you’re smart and savvy enough to determine how valid the feedback is and what to do about it,” Whitmore writes.

Assume this posture

Don’t show that you’re closed off, even if you would rather be having any other conversation at work at the moment.

An Inc. article illustrates how you should position yourself.

“When offered constructive criticism, pay special attention to your body language. Assume a ‘neutral’ posture; keep your arms on the table, in your lap, or a combination of both. Maintain eye contact, and be aware of your shifting weight. Avoid crossing your arms, tightening your fists, pursing your lips, or rolling your eyes,” the article says.

Say these words

Here’s a template for the next time you get criticism.

Alison Green writes about being “open/nondefensive” in an article for U.S. News & World Report.

She writes this an example, “I’m glad you’re telling me this. I’ve been letting some deadlines on this project slide because I had thought that projects x and z were higher priorities and was more focused there. But am I looking at this wrong?”

But if you don’t agree with what’s being said, Green provides more advice.

She adds, “If you genuinely disagree with the criticism you’re hearing, and you’re sure it’s not just your ego getting in the way, it’s OK to say that. But it’s all in how you say it and what tone you use. For instance, you might say: ‘I hadn’t realized it was coming across that way, so I’m glad to know. From my perspective, it seems like _____.’ (Fill in the blank with whatever your perspective is.)”

You will survive hearing where you went wrong at work— just use constructive criticism to fuel your forward progress.

This article How to accept constructive criticism without freaking out appeared first on Ladders.