Archive for Career Work Environment

Vacation PolicyA friend of mine recently applied for a job with a company with no vacation policy. Meaning, you have unlimited vacation days as long as you performed in your job.

I heard about this trend again on the Today Show last week. I think it is still a new concept and I will be curious to see how it catches on. I think the factors to consider are – it sounds great, and I think for many people it would work well. But for others who need structure it’s not a good policy. So it depends on the employee. Some are empowered by this kind of freedom, some would be lost without it.

My client, Jason in Arizona, recently said he needs structure, at least some element of it. This policy probably wouldn’t work for him. But I like the idea and I am curious what you think. Please weigh in by commenting below.

Here’s a good article from CNN.com for more on this topic.

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

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Co-workersI was honored to be a guest on Gretchen Carlson’s Fox News Show Real Talk, live from New York last week. How do you handle when your boss interrupts you, much less a chatty co-worker? Go here to find out more :)

Hallie Crawford
Career Coach

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Co-WorkersYour talkative co-worker wants to talk to you all the time about conversations totally unrelated to work.  You have work to do and the quicker you do it, the quicker you can go home instead of working overtime.  What do you do?

Co-workers can interfere with your time if you let them.  Your goal is not to let them.  How?

Here are some effective ways to handle those oh-so-talkative co-workers:

  • Say, “I’m sorry, I can’t talk right now, but would you like to have lunch with me today and we can talk then?”
  • Put a note on your cubicle or office that simply says, “Not available until 2:00 p.m.”
  • When your co-workers walk to your desk, stand up to encourage them not to sit down.  Say, “I’m working on something now, but I can meet you to talk at break this afternoon at 3:00.”
  • Put books or papers in your empty chair so your co-worker will have to stand up.
  • Walk to the door of your cubicle or office so that your co-worker will follow.  Explain you are unavailable due to deadlines but would like to talk later.

The key to the effectiveness of all these strategies is following through in actually meeting your co-worker at break or lunch to chit-chat.  In doing so, you demonstrate that you want them as friends and you are modeling effective time management skills for them.   You may not be able to break their talkative habits, but you can control when you allow them to interrupt you while you’re working.   And, the more you can control when they interrupt, the sooner you can go home at night.  Isn’t time management a wonderful thing?

Hallie Crawford and Terry L. Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.

Co-WorkersGetting along with co-workers can be difficult. Perhaps they play their radio too loudly near your cubicle, or they talk excessively with friends on personal phone calls then leave all the “team work” to everyone else on the team. Regardless of their faults, how important is getting along with them? Very important! Often, your boss rates you on your review based on your ability to get along with co-workers.

To resolve any conflict with co-workers, you have some options, each of which has pros and cons:

  • You can consider talking to the other co-worker about the actions that affect you. This approach could have drawbacks as well since the co-worker could say that you are not the boss. On the other hand, you may easily find a resolution to the problems.
  • You can consider asking other employees if they are affected by the co-worker. This approach could backfire if any other employees tell the co-worker about your conversation without your permission.  Optionally, you may find out other employees are experiencing even worse offenses from your co-worker than you. If others are having problems too, you can jointly decide what if the best approach to handling the issues.
  • You can consider talking to your boss about the issues with the co-worker, but, if your boss isn’t yet aware of the co-worker’s shortcomings, the person who looks bad could be you.  Another possible outcome, however, is that the boss could resolve the issue for you.

In any of these options, the outcome depends on your tactfulness, the receptiveness of the person with whom you are talking, and your company’s culture.  In choosing your option, just remember to protect your own reputation as being someone who is tolerant, gets along with others, and is a team player.  As long as you are careful to protect your own reputation, trust yourself to choose the best method for resolving conflict in the most effective way.

Hallie Crawford and Terry Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

Office PartyWhat do you get your boss this year for the holidays? How do you handle gift giving but also the donations so to speak your office requests for gifts etc, now and throughout the year. Here’s how you can handle what your office asks for during the holiday season, with grace and greater comfort… Thank you to Terry Wynne, one of our associate certified career coaches, for this article!

‘Tis the season for holiday time at the office and the office wants you to contribute more money than ever. For the office party, gifts for the boss, gifts for co-workers,  gift wrap sold by co-workers’ children, the homeless, the needy, the less fortunate,  and the monthly birthday club. You want to be a team player but if you have more bills than you can afford already to pay, what do you do?

First of all, decide which requests you think might be “noticeable” or “trackable.” For example, the Human Resource department contacted one young bank officer saying his monthly pledge to their company-wide “combined giving” charity was less than any other officer. Of course, he was humiliated. Hopefully, you won’t be humiliated if you give something, however small, to any “noticeable” or “trackable” requests so you will  be considered a “team player.”

For all other requests, ask co-workers the amount they plan to give and to which requests. You’ll probably find you’re not the only one who does not plan to contribute to everything or who needs to make small contributions.

Lastly, ask yourself how you can cut back in order to afford the contributions you do need to make. For example, could you bring your lunch to save money from eating out, not buy the new clothes you wanted, or take the bus instead of driving to work?

Under the best of circumstances, budgeting can be difficult, but your goal is try to be a team player, be discrete, choose when to say “no” to multiple requests, and if necessary, volunteer your time instead of money. For example, offer to help plan the company office party if you can’t contribute to it. After all, giving of your time counts just as much as money – and in some cases, even more so!

Hallie Crawford and Terry L. Wynne
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Be sure to check out our LinkedIn Consulting Program where you can learn how to effectively leverage your LinkedIn account for your job search and ongoing professional development.

Check out my latest video as I discuss being thrown into the deep end in a new job with little training, support or mentoring. How can you best handle it? Find out the two steps you can take in order to get your head above water in your new job.

Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach

WorkAccording to a recent Gallup Poll 70% of the country’s full time workers hate their jobs, GallupSurvey and need some positive ways to make a change. If you’re one of the 70%, here’s what you can do to take action on your situation…

1. First don’t be too dramatic. We’ve all seen YouTube videos of people quitting their jobs by jumping out of a plane, or dancing on the desks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcv82ntxJO8. The very first thing you need to do before you take dramatic action (especially in case it’s not needed!) is to take some time to assess how bad it is. Is this a phase or is it a long term sense of dis-satisfaction? Get a sense of which scenario it is before you do something drastic. We’re not discounting drastic action, sometimes quitting your job can be the best thing you can do! But other times a course correction is needed as opposed to a complete career make-over. So figure out which one’s needed for you.

2. Be rational. We get emotionally worked up when we’re unhappy at work – understandably. I was there, I was crying in the bathroom every day and tried shopping to help me feel better (it didn’t work.) The second thing to do is to break it down. What is wrong with your job? Make a list. Then make a list of what’s right – there actually may be a couple of things, not many perhaps but some. See if you can come up with a list of both. Do you just have a bad boss but everything else is great? Or do you like your industry but the culture at your organization is the wrong fit? You may be in the right career, but at the wrong company. Write down what makes you unhappy so you can see it in black and white and analyze it – how many things are on the list? Review it rationally – Is it 10 things or just two things?

3. Have coffee with a friend and make a plan. Depending on your answers to the above, make a plan. Is a big change needed or a small one? Do you need to define your career direction or do you know what you want to do instead? Create the plan then think about what you can do right now to feel better at your job, even if it’s small changes. The sooner you focus on your future and are able to be happier where you are now, the more energy you’ll have towards moving forward.

4. Be practical and passionate. Identify your career values, and what would be rewarding for you in a career. This is the passionate or heart piece of the equation. But also look at the practical side, the talents/skills you want to use, the work experience you currently have so you’re qualified for the next position you’re considering. People tend to err on the side of one or the other too much. They take a job just for the money. Or they follow heart and end up burned. Take it step by step and balance the two.

Hallie Crawford
Job Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

Company PicnicIt’s time for some company team building or bonding. As summer draws to an end, in order to ramp up enthusiasm for the fall again, companies like to host a beach outing, picnic, or some other outdoor event before the weather turns cold. We all know how some of us really feel about them. If you Are one of the lucky ones who truly enjoys them, that’s awesome! There are plenty of people out there who don’t though, and they approach them as a chore sometimes with a feeling of dread. I was honored to be featured in this recent Wall Street Journal career article about how to survive that company picnic and even have a good time!

Read article here

Here are two things that I wanted to add to this career advice:

1. Have a strategy – Decide who you would like to most connect with during this time. Is there someone you don’t get to talk to often at work but would like to get to know and possibly network with. Identify who those people are and make an effort to reach out.

2. Decide on and communicate a time frame – You don’t have to stick to it to the letter, but if you can only stay for a certain period of time, make that known in advance so people don’t think you are just ducking out. Or if you are not looking forward to it, decide on the amount of time that is reasonable for you to make an appearance and be cordial and warm then have a good reason for leaving. If you decide to stay, that’s fine. But at least it’s not an awkward goodbye when it’s time to go.

Handling professional events with ease is a critical piece to your professional development and, they should be handled with care. As a career coach, I always advise my clients to be mindful of their professional image, at all times. You just never know who is watching and what your behavior might communicate. So – be thoughtful about it!

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. Is your clock ticking towards retirement? Check out our Encore Career Coaching services to help you define your life – on your terms.

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Our team of career coaches help people of all ages nurture their career, identify their ideal career path, and navigate their career transition. We offer group and individual coaching as well as self-directed learning products. Schedule a free phone consultation with Create Your Career Path today.