SHOW DATE: SEPTEMBER 24, 2014
Every single year, our office manager, Roberto, makes appointments during this time when he should know—just as he’d known for the past five years—that we’re off.
Who makes appointments on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur?
Be aware of your boss’s traditions and holidays. Or else it’s just going to be embarrassing.
In fact, be aware of the holidays of people you work with directly. If a co-worker you interact with on an almost daily basis is celebrating year 5774, send him a Happy New Year email.
It doesn’t matter if you’re Jewish, Muslim or whatever. It’s about being aware of your network’s traditions. So when time comes and the holidays roll out, you not only know not to schedule appointments, meetings or events, but also that this is the time you should be wishing people a happy holiday.
Uncle David and Roberto always celebrate the Night of a Thousand Stevies, “the largest and most beloved Stevie Nicks fan event in the world.” Auntie Evan never forgets that this day is off-limits.
And that’s exactly how you should operate in the office.
Honor other people’s cultures, traditions and holidays. Don’t throw a banquet or anything. Just ask them if they’ll need help around the office that day. Acknowledging that you know is enough.
Let’s say your boss is gay. And you just put a little equality flag on your desk on Gay Pride Day. Or you put the flag up on your Facebook profile pic for a day.
The acknowledgement makes all the difference.
It can get you a lot of respect. It’s how you network and get jobs. Don’t miss the opportunity to show that you are aware of what others find important.
It’s also vital to be aware of what you’re entitled to during your holidays.
Private employers can make employees work on holidays. There’s no state of federal law against that. However—and here’s the catch—there are laws that ban religious discrimination.
So it’s illegal to let your employees off on Christmas but not Hanukah if there are both religions in the office.
What a lot of companies do is give you a set number of personal days you can take off.
If your boss isn’t giving you these but she is giving others a day off for their holiday, you need to tell her to give you the equivalent days off.
(The Civil Rights Act of 1964 requires employers to accommodate employee’s religious holidays.)
Wrapping it up, it makes a huge difference if you reach out and acknowledge your employer’s, co-workers’ and friends’ religions and traditions. It’s enough to warrant you respect, grow your network and even grant you a job opportunity.
Also know your own rights when it comes to taking days off. You’re entitled by law.
Till next time.
SHOW DATE: SEPTEMBER 17, 2014
Building a functional team is one of the hardest leadership skills to master.
All the negotiation, all the management that goes into it is paramount to mastering leadership, getting promoted and skyrocketing your career. Basically what Job Talk is all about.
So let’s dive right in.
In essence, teamwork is a bunch of moving parts that all have to work together.
Susan hates Harry. Harry has a thing for Jeff. Jess doesn’t even listen to you because you’re not the “official” boss (the official boss is having a three-martini lunch). And so on.
What are you supposed to do?
This happens all the time. Team members engage in verbal sparing matches and you’re supposed to magically create a functional, respectful team.
It’s just like the coalition building thing that’s happening now.
The U.S. and its allies are forming a coalition against the ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) terrorist organization.
In a nutshell, President Obama is building a team that will support an airstrike against ISIS.
One problem though: ISIS is in Syria.
This is turning out to be fraught with disaster.
There’s three big players in the game.
One of the players is the Syrian government. They have to allow the bombing to occur in Syria.
The second player is the Syrian rebels, who are amidst a civil war. The rebels are the people in the frontlines, fighting against ISIS. But they’re also fighting against the Syrian government.
And then there is ISIS itself.
Now President Obama is having to walk this tightrope between the Syrian government and the rebels, who hate each other but have the same common enemy.
The first two players share a common goal: stop ISIS. But they also hate each other.
Sort of like how two co-workers who hate each other have to work together on a project for their boss.
This is happening at our very own office at Forster-Thomas.
Our office manager Roberto (who has an enormous ego) and Dan (who also has an enormous ego), one of the mentor leads for our non-profit group, Essay Busters, have been put together on a team project.
Tension runs hot. Roberto, who’s also the Essay Busters coordinator, either loves or hates Dan—there’s no in-between. Basically they have a hard time working together.
At first we were hoping the problem would get resolved on its own.
That rarely happens.
So Auntie Evan stepped in.
He literally took the two of them and dragged them into a room and said, “all right, now we’re going to work it out.”
But that didn’t work. Auntie Evan figured if he just told them the truth, that there’s a common goal here, to just pull it together, all would be fine.
So why doesn’t Auntie Evan just take over the project and do it himself?
This is actually one of the worst things you can possibly do. We’ll explain in a bit.
There’s several things you can do to solve these conflicts.
Uncle David shares his five most solid points on resolving team conflicts:
- Don’t stick your head in the sand.
- Don’t be the white knight who just swoops in and does it all himself. Yeah, it seems like the only solution. But it solves nothing and only inhibits your leadership abilities and doesn’t get to the root of the problem.
- Understand the conflict has no rational basis—it’s rooted in emotion. It’s about grudges and feelings. You can’t move past a grudge until your address and recognize how the team member feels.
- Create a social event where some relationship building can occur outside the office space. Resolution does not have to happen on the job.
- If you want to be an effective leader, you have to cut to the root of the issue. A simple, “pull it together” will do squat for team building efforts. Yes there’s always a bit of that pep element. But you also have to find out the why behind what their feeling, and then focus your energy on resolving that.
SHOW DATE: SEPTEMBER 10, 2014
For some, this is a glorious day in the world of sports.
In a world where football players seem to be exempt from all of the rules the rest of us have to live by, where they can do anything they want and keep their multi-million dollar jobs, finally we get something more than dismissive behavior.
Baltimore Raven’s running back Ray Rice was recently fired for beating his wife.
We all saw the video of clocking his wife.
And yes, this is horrible.
But on the other hand, should personal life interfere with work? Isn’t it, you get fired for what you did wrong on your job, not outside your job?
There hasn’t even been a trial yet, and already the NFL has Ray Rice lock, stock and barrel condemned.
This may be a slippery slope to a world where you hire or fire somebody based on what goes on behind the privacy of their own homes.
Some may call it a question of morality.
When is it OK for an employer to fire you for what goes on behind closed doors?
Janay Rice understands that because the NFL interfered in her personal life, they basically ruined her life financially.
Who you are in life is who you are on your job. If you’re a person that beats your wife and has flagrant disregard for any morality, then who is to say you won’t be like that on your job?
If our employee Tom got caught and turned out to be an escort, then it would now be known that our company hires prostitutes. Our calls might drop and our reputation may be damaged if Tom continues parading around the offices.
Ray Rice is a public figure. We’re all public figures in our communities.
We can break it down further to morality and legality.
When Ray Rice dragged his wife to the elevator—that was a question of morality.
When he clocked his wife—that was a question of legality. It’s illegal to assault someone.
A company has a vested interested in its brand image. If an employee is stealing or killing people, that company has the right to protect its image.
If you’re doing something outside your company that violates every moral code out there, it’s your life, your choice.
But if you’re getting knee-deep in legal snafus, or your moral blunders are making their way across media channels, your own life is negatively affecting your employer’s image, which is a substantial reason to be fired.
Bottom line, your personal life is a reflection of how you act on the job and vice versa. Keep both in check and you’ll be fine.
SHOW DATE: AUGUST 27, 2014
We just took a week-long cruise to Bermuda (yes, it was awesome, and yes, you should be jealous), and while on deck, kicking up our sandals on the high seas, we noticed something fascinating about the ship’s crew. Especially the entertainers.
Just imagine, you’re basically trapped on this boat with a handful of other 20-somethings all wanting to make it big as actors, dancers, hosts, etc.
Job lore claims that getaways like Disneyland or cruises are hell-on-earth career paths for entertainers.
Not from what I saw and heard.
These guys are doing some serious theater, constantly.
Uncle David brings up a good point though: why the hell would these guys leave the opportunity-laden theatrical grounds of New York for half a year at a time to entertain a bunch of booze-soaked tourists?
My take is a bit different. These guys are building their resume. Their doing Mama Mia on a ship. They have something to take back home in six months’ time.
When opportunities dry up on land, take to the ocean.
We were talking to Desmond while on the ship. This guy makes $3,500. That’s rent-free. The ship probably gives him free meals too… so that’s 40 g’s a year that you’re NOT making sitting at home trying to secure a spot as an extra.
Do you really think it’s career suicide to go on a cruise ship? I think that’s just old-school thinking. It’s so last-century it hurts.
Vegas. Disneyland. Disneyworld. Cruise ships. Performers look down on these jobs. They have this image that working at an amusement park, casino or ship is like the ghetto of the industry.
But what are they doing now? Probably sitting at home and judging, critiquing and laughing at the people actually earning something. While they themselves earn nothing.
Those performers on our cruise are sending out videos over social media daily to their agents. They’re not missing any auditions.
If you’re trying to get your foot in the performing career, it really doesn’t get much better than cruise ships, or amusement parks, or casinos, or any venue of that ilk.
This an all-expenses paid job that give you leeway to build your resume, meet new people and practice. You are literally refining your craft in front of an audience, getting clips, and being provided all basic human necessities FREE.
You call yourself a working performer. So go work.
We also added a link to Backstage.com’s cruise line auditions to our tools page, so get check that out, along with a ton of other helpful job tools.
Till next time.