Freaking Out About Work Pre-Vacation? Let Us Soothe Those Nerves

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SHOW DATE: MARCH 26, 2014

Uncle David and Auntie Evan are getting out of town. Way out of town. All the way to China and Japan.

Ni-how, konichiwa and whatnot.

They’ve been planning for ages. Now that they’re almost there, Uncle David is having a freak-out.

He’s starting to get really nervous. While Auntie Evan is getting excited over oriental liquor and staying in communication with the team overseas, Uncle David is getting worried about not having a vacation at all with all the micromanagement he might have to do out of his hotel bed.

We’ve all been there: setting off for a vacation with a head full of impending job tasks and inevitable call-ins. And, of course, our main topic for today: the nail-biting subject of your stand-in.

Here is Job Talk’s counter-argument: can’t there be a balance between checking in and throwing your feet up and sipping the sake?

Auntie Evan says YES.

Are you experiencing guilt over leaving your post? What if something goes wrong? Will the vacation be ruined?

Here’s the thing: you’re afraid somebody—whether it’s your stand-in or those under you—is going to screw up without you. And you’re just afraid to admit it because you don’t want to undermine and disempower your team or freak out your co-workers with your nervousness.

Let’s say you do sales at your company. And you know if you step out and your stand-in screws up, it’s going to cost the company thousands, maybe more.

Here’s something you might not want to hear: this is the perfect time for those left in charge of your position to fail up and learn.

You’re groaning.

But if you know they’re great, yeah they might lose some money, but something more important is going to come out of all this: you’ll be establishing a legacy and molding a future leader. Now, unless you’re a narcissist or the jealous type, this is a great thing. This an opportunity for them to rise up and make the company and your position more than just individual parts.

Somebody once told us: “The mark of a great leader is not how well the company runs when she’s there, but how well the company runs when she’s not.”

We can see that you’re expressing doubts. What if somebody asks your stand-in a question they can’t answer during a sales call?

Okay, for this one, we do in fact have an exact response, courtesy of our stand-in, Cousin Tom:

“Well, that’s one of the things we discuss once you begin working with us. The objective of today is to clue you in a little bit how we work and for us to find out a little bit about you, but it would be premature and quite honestly foolish to sit down and nail some of these things down in concrete before digging a little bit deeper.”

That’s our little bone for today. It’s your job to make sure that sort of response is ingrained before you go on vacation, and it’s your responsibility to leave the office a well-oiled machine that needs as few check-ups as possible.

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THREE LEADERSHIP TABOOS TO AVOID ON YOUR RESUME

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SHOW DATE: MARCH 19, 2014

Yeah, it goes without saying that leadership is the big cheese on your resume. As employers, we want to see that you’re not the average narcissistic employee and that you care about the world around you.

But there are three areas you need to be careful about, and it’s the same three areas considered dinner-table taboo: politics, religion and sexual orientation,

You might want to be careful declaring on your resume that you’re a volunteer for a certain political party, or that you’re involved in a church or a gay rights group.

Generally, these are good things to put down, but you have to be smart when and where to use it. You’re not going to apply to Chick-Fil-A with a section on your resume saying you were a volunteer for the Democratic party, or a fundamentalist church saying that you’re a gay rights leader.

 

 

Job Talk Daily Live – March 19, 2014

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Why Paranoia Will Keep You From Getting Fired

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SHOW DATE: MARCH 19, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has been missing for the past few weeks. Nobody knows where it went. How in 2014 can an airline vanish completely? It boggles our mind and makes us wonder who needs to be fired.

How can something have gone so wrong? The answer is people. And a more specific answer is people not double/triple/quadruple-checking; either their own work or others’ work.

It’s called a healthy dose of paranoia. Remember Murphy’s Law? Everything that can go wrong will go wrong.

(Healthy) paranoia is power.

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The loss of a 777 is an object lesson for employees all around the world.

Assuming things will wrong is not negativity. A healthy dose of paranoia a day keeps ridiculously absurd and unprofessional 777 disappearances away. Simple as that.

Think it slows down your schedule? Try going hands-free and relying on your autopilot systems to run the show and you’re inevitably bound to hit a snag due to human error.

Double-confirming people before a meeting, triple checking if you sent that vital email; all these things people say “uuuuughhh, again?” to—we call it the two-seconds-extra rule—is what ensures you don’t lose that 777; aka your client.

You think repeating back a client’s name and number is a waste of time? Recently our top-notch office manager had that rare fluke where he fell back on “proven” systems, and due to human error, forgot to get a working callback number from a client. Those two extra seconds potentially cost our company thousands.

This happens to everybody. Unless, of course, they have that healthy dose of paranoia.

Straight from the horse’s mouth, our office manager gives his ace guidelines on healthy paranoia:

1) Don’t assume that when you train someone, they’re going to do it correctly. For example, if you teach someone how to do filing, don’t take it for granted that they won’t make a mess. This happened with one of our interns, and when we finally checked the cabinet, it took a chunk of our time to rearrange everything.

2) Stop worrying about people not liking you. Being a pain in the ass because you’re making sure people do their jobs should not be a veritable concern when you’re managing a project. There’s a difference between being a nag and being horrible.

3) Check your equipment: monitors, printers, Skype, anything you might use during your meeting or client call.

4) Have a pen-and-paper checklist going to make sure you know what to check back on. If you rely on your memory, you’re going to forget it.

5) Have others remind you of what you need to do. Ask a co-worker to be a partner in paranoia and nag you about tasks in exchange for the same service.

College Students–Don’t Make this Fatal Mistake

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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: MARCH 12, 2014

College students, start developing relationships with your university’s career services office RIGHT NOW.

The fatal mistake many college students make is getting help their senior years.

BIG MISTAKE.

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If we were career service staff at a university, we’d be more likely to help someone we knew for a few years.

Start going in your sophomore or junior year. It’s called nurturing relationships and it’s going to help you get a job.

Fire of the Week: Justin Bieber

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SHOW DATE: MARCH 12, 2014

Bieber’s body guard was recently sued for beating a photographer.

He was called in as a witness, and, of course, his usual disposition garnered some hyena journalism.

This isn’t anything new. The reason why he’s our fire is that his attitude reminds of the countless young employees we’ve seen and worked with over the years.

These are workers in their early-to-late 20s who cross their arms and attempt to make themselves feel better by putting up a cocky front when their actions are being reprimanded.

Young professionals need to grow up (and grow a pair) and take the high road and listen before they get ego-hurt.

Want to get Noticed at Work? Here’s the Easy Way

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SHOW DATE: MARCH 12, 2014

Take care of the little things in the office that nobody ever notices. That extra initiative is going to get you recognized and promoted.

Change the batteries in the smoke detector; change the clocks during daylight savings; do the things no other employee figures is “worthy enough” to get a promotion.

You do this at home and at work, you’re going to get noticed.

Job Talk Daily Live – March 12, 2014

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Ignore Family Calls at Work Without Pissing Them Off

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SHOW DATE: MARCH 12, 2014

Your friends and family are getting in the way of your work day. They keep trying to contact you by text or phone and expect you to talk or come hang out with them at a drop of a hat.

There’s no rational reason or hidden agenda here—they aren’t purposefully disrespecting you. The truth is, they need you. You are someone on your path and they’re looking for stability to latch on to when they themselves are not as emotionally grounded .

Sometimes your friends don’t understand, especially if you have a job that’s not in a traditional 9-5 format.

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It’s time for you to take control back in your life, at work and at home. Here’s what we suggest:

Explain your day: tell them what your day entails, the amount of work that needs to be done.

Come from a place of love: explaining your day to your family is more difficult. Come at them with complete love—they’re not expecting it. If you’re being reactive and passive aggressive, it’s going to mirror back at you. If you’re being understand and empathetic, there’s a much higher chance they will be as well.

Set specific call times: call them before  work and give them specific times when you can talk freely.

Tell them you’re going to get fired: explain to them then when you’re on your phone at work, you get in trouble. You’re afraid of being fired—this is something anyone can understand.

In this age, everyone expects instant communication. Your friends and family might think you’ve been in a car crash (or are just being rude) if you don’t answer your phone a few times. But for the sake of your career you need to set boundaries, and it’s your job to make them to understand those boundaries.

Feeling “Right” In Your Work Attire is More Important than Being Fashionable

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We recently read a fascinating article by Anne Hollander, author of Sex and Suits.

She discussed common subjects such as what you’re supposed to wear if you are in fashion or marketing or whatever. This was not the interesting point.

What caught our eye was when she wrote that people are more at ease and comfortable when they are dressed for a specific context.

Depending on the milieu you’re in, the clothing you wear has to be appropriate in the context you’re in. Well, duhhhh you’re thinking, what’s so interesting about that; after all, if you’re a garbage man you wear a sanitation uniform, if you’re a broker you wear a suit.

But within that realm of appropriateness, you need to find the style you feel most comfortable in.

Let’s say you work at an investment bank. You figure, suit and tie. You still have to wear the appropriate dress code, but you don’t have to don an Italian suit like the other bankers. In fact, if you’re not comfortable with the trend, don’t follow it. Wear a Hugo Boss.

Don’t follow the crowd. You will get promoted and get more money if you are at ease and more comfortable at work. Just stay within the universe of what’s appropriate.