5 Questions You Should Never Ask Your Gay Co-Worker

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SHOW DATE: FEBRUARY 12, 2014

NFL prospect Michael Sam may be the first football player to come into the league openly gay. This ties in nicely with our theme these week: coming out of the closet at work.

Why is it so important to come out at work?

Who you are is integrated into who you love and who you spend time with outside of work. So many people say it’s not relevant whether you’re gay or not at work, but the truth is, keeping your status under the radar impedes your workflow.

It’s a constant distraction, the whole tiptoeing around the issue, the avoidance of the subject. “Is he or isn’t he” and “is she or isn’t she” and “can I talk about my same sex partner or not.”

Distraction on both ends only decreases productivity and keeps everyone from doing their best. Meaning, less chances at a promotion and poorer overall company performance.

The worry with Michael Sam is that any team that takes him will suffer the consequence of a media shitstorm. The supposed conversation is going to go something like: “Congrats, [star quarterback], how does it feel to win? Oh, and by the way, how does it feel to have a gay teammate?”

It’s going to dominate conversations, and any team that takes him on will take on his load of baggage.

At least, that’s one side of the argument. But who doesn’t bring baggage to the workplace? Who among us doesn’t have something that’s twisting us up inside?

Donte Stallworth, a retired NFL receiver, said some wise words on the subject: if, as a coach or player, you’re distracted by the fact that there is someone gay on the team, it’s over for you. The fact that you’re not good enough on the field as to be sidetracked by media scrutiny says something about your skill as a player.

It’s the same on the job. When the new gay employee comes into work and you start obsessing over the fact that they’re gay, you’ve already lost. You’re stuck in the last century, and your workflow suffers.

You want to be the amazing leader pulling people into the 21st century.

If you’re gay and afraid of coming out of the closet, a good majority of the time (we’re going to say 90%), you’re exaggerating the reactions you’re going to get. In fact, telling your boss before you’re even officially hired is ideal, rather than waiting to “prove yourself” in a straight light before coming out.

The sooner you can breathe easier, the sooner you can start working more productively.

And for those in the presence of a gay co-worker for the first time, here are five things you should never say to them after they come out (thanks to DiversityInc for the ideas):

1)  Oh, I knew you were gay!

2)  We’re not close enough for you to share that information with me.

3)  Are you the guy or the girl in bed?

4)  Has life has been difficult?

5)  Which bathroom do you use?

THE BIG LIE AROUND RAISING THE MINIMUM WAGE

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SHOW DATE: FEBRUARY 5, 2014

Executives loathe raising the minimum wage. They are going to try and scare you by saying that higher wages mean fewer jobs, and your job might be on the line if you go out there and vote for your representative in congress who wants to raise the minimum wage.

This is lie. In fact, there are statistics to back this up.

States with the lowest minimum wage are the poorest in the country. Yet, states with the highest minimum wage are having some of the strongest economies around right now.

Don’t buy into the argument that being in favor of raising the minimum wage is threatening your job—stats prove otherwise.

The receptionist at your company, the cashier at McDonalds—they work hard too, and they need to put food on their table as well. Their kids eat well, they feel great, do well in school, get great jobs and boost the economy.

 

BEING HIRED BY AUDITION IS ACTUALLY A GOOD THING

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Uncle David has gotten every job he has ever gone for, so when he gives job-hunting advice, you better listen up. Join us every week for Uncle David’s 100% Successful Job Hunting Tip. 

SHOW DATE: FEBRUARY 5, 2014

Don’t be afraid of companies that practice hiring by audition.

An audition is a sort of probation period, where some firms try you out for around 30-60 days before they give you a solid position.

They give you work to do, it might be at home or at the office, and then depending how you deliver the goods you might get a full time offer or not.

This is a great way for you to get to know the inner-workings of the company and see if it’s the right fit.

Some people loathe this system. The possibility of an ephemeral and unstable employment incites fear and causes many employees to avoid jobs with auditions.

But you must incorporate auditions into your reality and job search. Don’t be offended by such a request; it’s a new working world out there, and many successful companies are testing waters experimenting with new hiring techniques.

In fact, we do this at our company, Forster-Thomas. We call it a casting, and we’ve done it for years. We usually hire an extra person because we know something might happen in the first 30 days. In other companies, if something happens the company and the employee are stuck with each other.

This is counterproductive: companies who hire by audition actually have higher employee retention rates.

It’s all about testing the waters. Once you’ve dipped your toes in the pond and the company has sampled your work, and both sides find something valuable, a recipe for longevity on the job seems to emerge.

 

GAY MALE BOSSES GET MORE EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION

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SHOW DATE: JANUARY 22, 2014

The facts are in: gay male bosses produce 35 to 60 percent higher levels of employee engagement, satisfaction, and morale than straight bosses.

In his book The G Quotient: Why Gay Executives Are Excelling as Leaders . . . and What Every Manager Needs to Know, USC business-school professor Kirk Snyder argues that gay bosses employ a style of personalized attention that allows high-maintenance gen Xers and Yers to maximize their performance.

Snyder says, “Gay executives tend to look at how each individual brings unique abilities, and they see their job as figuring out how best to take advantage of those skills.”

Why? It stems from their maturation period: key leadership skills like emotional intelligence and flexibility are learned early on by navigating tough social situations like high school and family circles.

RAISE THE MINIMUM WAGE–IT WILL ACTUALLY HELP THE ECONOMY

Empty-Pockets

Executives loathe raising the minimum wage.

Don’t listen to their insubstantial arguments claiming that higher wages will equal fewer jobs and more work for you.

This is a lie.

States with the lowest minimum wage just happen to be the poorest states in the country.

How about a veritable fact? California has led the country’s economy for the past 20 years while having one of the highest minimum wages.

We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves.

WAITING TABLES ON YOUR PATH TO SUCCESS

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SHOW DATE: JANUARY 29, 2014

The president discussed raising the minimum wage last week, and we’re all for that.

But do you know who makes even less than the minimum wage? Yup, waiters.

Waiters are exempt from the minimum wage law.

Here’s the flip side though. According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, waiters at high-end restaurants are pulling in six figures.

Ivy league graduates are starting their careers serving drinks and food orders at really hip places around the country. Columbia and Harvard graduates are working in places like Per Se in New York.

Our point? Everything you need to learn about professional success you can learn as a waiter.

You want to be successful, you have to wait tables at least once, because you learn the following four vital skills:

1) Multitasking

2) Establishing trust

3) Dealing with demanding people

4) Working on a deadline

When you’re a waiter, you need establish trust. You have to be the person who knows how to take care of someone, and makes the customer feel taken care of.

It’s dealing with demanding people, it’s working on a deadline.

Sound much like an office?

waiter-tray_fullMore accurately, sound much like the path to a successful career?

HIRE OF WEEK: FLEETWOOD MAC VOCALIST CHRISTINE MCVIE

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SHOW DATE: JANUARY 15, 2014

We are excited that Fleetwood Mac is getting back together. But that’s not why vocalist Christine McVie is our hire of the week.

McVie retired in 1998, and she’s been holding on to her retirement. But she decided to let go of her ego and get back with Fleetwood Mac without worrying if it will make her look like she’s going backwards.

She was passionate, and we should all take a cue. If you have too much pride to take up a certain job—say one you resigned from a while ago—drop the ego and focus on the passion.

THE ALWAYS ON WORK ENVIRONMENT

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SHOW DATE: JANUARY 8, 2014

According to a USNews.com article written by Robin Madell, one of the biggest trends of 2014 is the “always on” work environment. An example of always on is when your boss calls you at 10pm on a Friday night to ask you to do something over the weekend.

With smart phones, Twitter, Facebook etc., you’re always connected. There is no excuse not to be connected. Most likely your phone has email on it and your tablet can access wifi pretty much anywhere. If your boss sends you an email at 10pm, answer it. Don’t hold yourself to the “it’s not work hours” mantra.

Three points we want to make clear, however:

1) You can negotiate with your boss if this is starting to be a problem. Create a rule like, “after 10pm, it’s not going to happen.”

2) Don’t start breaking the rules you make: if you set them, keep them…

3) … unless something really urgent does comes up, say after 10pm. If you don’t break the rules here, you’re breaking your promotion.

NEARLY 90% OF AMERICANS COME TO WORK SICK

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SHOW DATE: JANUARY 8, 2014

We were shocked when we read this statistic: nearly 90% of Americans come to work when they’re sick.

Why do so many Americans do this? They’ve used up all their sick days.

That’s not a punchline, that’s a veritable reason. And it’s not because they’re sick all the time: 75% of Americans have admitted to taking a sick day off in order to do something personal. For example, the brand new Xbox1 game you’ve been fervently waiting for is released on Wednesday at midnight and you take Thursday off to play all day. Or Bloomingdale’s is having a last call sale. Or Whatever.

Sick days are not personal days. When you call in sick for some extraneous event, you’re putting that event over your job. If you need to take a personal day, be honest with your boss about it and ask for one.

SHOULD YOU GIVE YOUR BOSS A GIFT?

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SHOW DATE: NOVEMBER 27, 2013

Lately we’ve been discussing working on the holidays and when your boss wants you to do things like go to a party after you’ve worked 14 hours straight, or come into work on a national holiday.

On that note, let’s talk about giving your boss a gift during the holiday season.

The answer is really simple: it’s not appropriate. We know you’re doing gift-giving this season, but it’s absolutely not appropriate to give your boss a gift. It’s doubly not appropriate to take up a collection.

There are three reasons for this:

1) Some people that you work with (and you really have to start becoming aware of the people you work with) may not feel the same way about the boss as you do.

2) Some of your co-workers simply can’t afford it. Even if you know they make more money than you, you don’t know what’s in their bank accounts or what their financial obligations are.

3) Finally, it’s really uncomfortable to put your co-workers in the position of having to say no. #ackward.

The bottom line is, it doesn’t help you score points with anyone, so don’t do it.