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Cure for Office Burnout: Mini Sabbaticals

WSJ Careers - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 06:04
Employee leaves of at least a week can start as early as six months into a job.

Kill The Messenger…

Lisa Kaye - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 09:28

Finding yourself in a political dilemma at work? Are you feeling like you don’t know who to trust let alone open up to? If you find yourself sitting on some news you need to share with a co-worker or boss but you don’t know how or where to start remember, you are always playing a game of “Kill The Messenger.” Taking risks at work are never easy but knowing how to deliver the news regardless of how grime really is an art form if you are to survive in the corporate world.

You are either in a position where you have access to information or are in the flow of communication but knowing which end your on is important when you are considering sharing the news. If you are lucky enough to be the keeper of the cloak, then knowing where the bodies are buried is an unenviable position because in essence you know too much. There is an inherent threat in being that well versed in the comings and goings of an organization and knowing how to manage and leverage that knowledge and information takes tact and guts. If you are in a position close enough to the power source but not directly in the flow of knowledge, it’s best to keep your “He said/She said” conversations to yourself. There is no way to win at that game no matter how high up in the organization you are.

The expression, “Where there is knowledge there is power” is never more true when you are in a position at work and in the flow of information. No matter what level you are at, you will inevitably hear, be part of or know about circumstances involving the company and individuals that can impact the way you operate. Understanding how to use this information carefully will make or break you in your survival at work.

Being able to relay information in a non-threatening way often requires a certain level of diplomacy not taught in school. When you find yourself in a position to deliver any news where you directly involved, it’s best to start from the beginning Using phrases, like, “I have some feedback to share, are you open to the information?” or, “I have some information and I’m not sure the best way to share it?” signals that you are asking permission to involve the other person in the knowledge you possess.

If the information is particularly challenging to deliver, it’s always best to receive permission first before offering up the advice or feedback and not appear that you are gossiping or looking to share the information to be hurtful. Offering any information in a respectful and considerate way will help lessen the blow no matter how hard the news is to hear. It’s never easy being in a position where you need to share information for the purpose of solving a dilemma. Knowing how to manage that properly and in the context of being helpful not hurtful will make the delivery much easy as well as gain you a few points on diplomacy.



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All Employees NOT Created Equal…

Lisa Kaye - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 09:23

Many successful companies today are getting away from creating a hierarchy based on position, title and reporting structure. You may think this innovative approach at organizational redesign is a creative way at leveling the employee population and maintaining the focus on the work and not on individual contributions. As much as this seems like a noble response to making sure all employees are created equal, what it may actually do is create an environment where people are not sure what they are doing, what the goal is and how to get there?

Yes money and title are important factors but ask any creative or entrepreneurial person and they’ll tell you the work is sometimes even more important. Whatever side of the fence you are on it’s important to know the culture, environment and expectation of the job for which you are applying. Not every work environment is right for everyone. It’s like any long-term committed relationship you have to know what you are walking into before you sign on the dotted line. It’s not like you are signing your life away, but you are making a commitment to change the way you behave and the expectations of what you receive from your job the same way you would a relationship.

So how do you address title, compensation and reporting ambiguity in an otherwise exciting and dynamic company? The leaders of your organization may not be ready or equipped with handling any recommendations if it means altering the delicate balance of the eco-system they have created. You can inquire as to how the organization will work if there is uncertainty about where and whom a team should report but pushing your agenda if you are not comfortable with the structure will likely alienate you rather than ingratiate you with the powers that be.

Organizations who thrive on a “leveled” organization attempt to blur the lines of what is historically an accepted way of doing business, title, reporting, etc. in an attempt to redefine the culture based on the work and not on the individual. It may seem very socialist in theory but what companies in this space are attempting to do is to redefine the emphasis of work on strategy and planning to charge to the finish line. I have seen this culture work in many start up organizations, technology companies and creative environments. You have to be a very adept leader to pull this off and to keep the staff and employees motivated and enthused.

When it comes to researching the type of environment that is best suited for you, consider that leaving a more structured hierarchical environment for a all out free for all may not be in your best interest if you are use to a more structured work style. I’m not advocating one environment works over another but it really does come down to an individual choice and what will work for you and for your family. When you go out to search for your next job, remember all employees are NOT created equal and in order to find your place it’s a good idea to ask questions about the corporate culture and work environment before you say yes to the offer.



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How to Define Success for Yourself

WSJ Careers - Mon, 10/27/2014 - 06:02
Employees dissatisfied with their careers may not be entirely to blame for the choices they’ve made. Many ideas about success are often not our own, experts say.

P&G Narrows Field For CEO Succession

WSJ Careers - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:44
Procter & Gamble shook up its senior management ranks, naming new leaders for key businesses and narrowing the field of potential successors to CEO A.G. Lafley.

Luxottica Names P&G Veteran as Co-CEO

WSJ Careers - Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:10
Luxottica named a P&G veteran as a co-CEO on Wednesday, seeking to put an end to a month of turmoil caused by the return of founder Leonardo Del Vecchio to active management of the world’s largest eyewear group.

Bosses Seek 'Critical Thinking,' but What Is That?

WSJ Careers - Wed, 10/22/2014 - 06:48
Critical thinking is a critical skill for young workers these days, but what bosses mean by that and how to measure it is less clear.

The Case for Quitting Your Job

WSJ Careers - Fri, 10/17/2014 - 18:01
Millions of older Americans are holding fast to their jobs, even though they could afford to retire. But walking away just might be the best thing for their health and happiness.

State, City Jobless Rates Both Fall

WSJ Careers - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 23:46
Unemployment rates for both New York state and New York City both dropped in September, according to the state Department of Labor

Conflict Over the Conference Room

WSJ Careers - Thu, 10/16/2014 - 11:25
Amid dueling meetings and scarce space, companies try new ways to ease competition for space.

When Ebola Is a Workplace Issue

WSJ Careers - Wed, 10/15/2014 - 15:45
Only a few hospitals in the U.S. are currently treating Ebola patients, but health-care workers around the country are on edge. Issues around communication, training and even pay are cropping up.

Office Gossip Is Fun, Unless It Is About You

WSJ Careers - Tue, 10/14/2014 - 18:46
Evaluate the sources of gossip, the nature of rumors and their potential damage when you are the subject of the rumor mill at work. Experts offer techniques for silencing the whispers.

A Bit of College Can Be Worse Than None

WSJ Careers - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 13:06
The payoff from college is in finishing. There is little or no difference in wages among 20- to 24-year-olds who graduated high school and those who completed some college but aren’t enrolled anymore.

Inside Job…

Lisa Kaye - Mon, 10/13/2014 - 12:23

Your job search may feel like a hired hit, when you’ve got your target in sight but you wind up being the victim in your own game of kill or be killed. It’s not like you are the star in a Scorsese flick, but it sure feels like you will need more than a little help from the likes of Nucky Thompson when it comes to protecting your career. When your job search is starting to feel like an “inside job” you have to quickly figure out who your friends are and eliminate your enemies if you ever stand a chance at winning your next job offer.

Finding a job is as much work as keeping a job. You need to not only comb the Internet and use every opportunity available to you but you may even have to make friends with your enemies in order to get ahead. What does that mean exactly? It means you have to put down your pride, occasionally kiss butt and take prisoners if you are going to be more than just assertive in your job pursuit.

Your single most important asset when looking for your next job are the friends you keep along the way. Even if that means you don’t have many friends, it’s time you start collecting them and shore up your defenses in times of crises. Knowing the right people, no matter in what industry you are seeking work, is your biggest asset when trying to get a foot in anywhere. Yes a great resume helps, the right wardrobe can work wonders, but if you are not connecting with the best people that can help you attain your goals, than you are not doing all that it takes to get your next job.

Creating your own band of brothers’ means you are leveraging not only the network you may already have, but any new recruits you can muster up along the road as well. You may be able to get ahead with your looks or your smarts but as the song says, “You get by with a little help from my friends” never rang so true. People can make or break your chances at moving ahead. When you think you’ve got what it takes to make it, if you are not connected and aligned with the right people who are moving up, your chances of finding and securing your next job fall off considerably.

The next time you are thinking of making a career move, evaluate who you have as your hit team and create your job search the way you would an inside job, by hitting up one member of your gang after another. Knowing whom your friends are is an important part of the job search process. Don’t fall victim to thinking blind resumes and your LinkedIn network is all you need. Reach out and touch EVERYONE who is able to help you secure your next job and don’t let up until you’ve made the final score.

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Wellness Programs Get a Health Check

WSJ Careers - Thu, 10/09/2014 - 15:53
Employer wellness programs have proliferated in recent years. But employers are treading carefully when it comes to toughened wellness programs, lawyers and benefits executives say.

The Accelerators: One Founder, Or More?

WSJ Careers - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 19:19
One of the most important early decisions for a company founder is whether to form a founding team.

For Wine Lovers, Better Bragging Rights

WSJ Careers - Wed, 10/08/2014 - 05:54
Amateur enthusiasts are taking rigorous wine-certification courses from the industry’s prestigious Court of Master Sommeliers.

Two Women Rise to Top at Big Law Firms

WSJ Careers - Mon, 10/06/2014 - 11:27
Litigator Jami Wintz McKeon officially became the first female chair at law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, and white-collar litigator Therese Pritchard became the first at Bryan Cave.

What NOT To Wear To Your Interview….

Lisa Kaye - Fri, 10/03/2014 - 09:04

Dressing for success may be an overused term these days but knowing how to physically show up for an interview is as important as what is on your resume. Having the ability to know the corporate culture and environment of a workplace also helps you figure out what to wear when you are called for an in person interview. Over dressing can be as deadly as under dressing when it comes to making a good first impression. How do you know what to choose that will work for you and not make you look like you are going to the opening of an Art Gallery or the Royal Ballet?

Understanding a corporate culture is as much about what the work environment is like as well as what is and is not appropriate to wear to work. In a day wear “flip flops” are the norm in some work places, knowing how to dress for your very first interview will either make or break your chances for the job.

When in doubt follow these few simple rules when it comes to dressing up:

  1. Tie or No Tie? For men, this can be a real challenge. Even in the most casual of work environments, wearing a tie can immediately signal that you are not the right type to work at a company. If you are looking to work in technology, a creative environment or production, wearing a tie may seem too formal or that you are over-dressed for the occasion. Make sure you bring a tie with you and check out the scene in the lobby. If it looks like there are a few folks wearing ties, then by all means, slip into the men’s room and put one on. If not, best to keep it in your back pocket for another interview.
  2. Hose or no panty hose? For woman, some people are blessed with great, tan legs others need a little help. Panty hose even in the hottest days signals that you are put together and dressed. These days woman are rarely expected to wear panty hose with any outfit. Whether you choose to wear a skirt, dress or pants to an interview, having a pair of hose handy might help if you notice the environment is more formal than you expected. If not, make sure the length of your skirt is fashionable and appropriate so it does not matter whether you are wearing hose or not.
  3. No Brainers: No matter what the situation here are a few items that are NEVER appropriate in any interview situation even if the work environment is casual, these include: Flip flops, barefoot, shorts, capris, cut offs, swim trunks, graphic tee shirts, wall art, short shorts, no bra, tank top, belly risers, body piercings, overly inked forearms, good luck talismans, overly accessorized, etc. You get the picture.

When in doubt if it makes noise, does not cover your body parts and is something you would not wear in front of your grandmother or church, best to switch it for something a bit mainstream. I’m not suggesting you change your look in order to get the job offer, but toning it down particularly if you have a “fashion flair” might be more suitable. You can whip out your wears AFTER you get the job offer!

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Business Education Q&A: Booth School Isn't Just About Finance

WSJ Careers - Thu, 10/02/2014 - 11:34
In an interview, Sunil Kumar, dean of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, emphasizes the school's flexible curriculum and says it is committed to equipping students for a wide array of careers.