Tuesday

The Power of the Workplace Apology

It only takes but a minute to say, "I apologize."  However, ego prevents some from saying those two little words.

I remember those apologies that I had to say when I knowingly did something wrong, but then there are those apologies that have nothing to do with you, but you say them anyway just to quiet the person with the complaint.  Then you follow them up with, "What would you like for me to do for you?"  The person tells you what he or she wants, and you try to reach a compromise--end of story, right?  Not for some people.

The worker and client become irritated because neither one feels like their being heard. The customer doesn't feel like his or her needs are being addressed.  The worker doesn't want to be held accountable.  He or she may avoid apologizing while the client looks for some peace of mind.  The more the two talk, the more they don't get anywhere.  Everyone involved becomes increasingly angry.

We all can avoid a lot of unnecessary arguing if we just simply acknowledge that there was a misunderstanding, say we're sorry, and try to make wrongs right.  What's the use in taking on a defensive stance?  In the end, you just may lose more than your temper.

Nicholl McGuire

New Kid on the Block?

They will look at you with a peculiar look, whisper something about you when you aren't looking, and try to befriend you if they can get something out of you, those old employees who know your job better than you.

You are the new kid on the block and chances are they had plenty of time to meet with one another on what changes they want to see happen in the workplace since the old person left.  "Sir, have you considered changing our department's work-flow to include A, B and C?  Have you noticed our break-room, we could sure use a new...?  Did anyone tell you about our admin, she is  useless?"

Show off your skills too soon and you just might have some people taking advantage of you, take too long to address an issue and someone might be looking to get rid of you.  Finding middle ground is often a challenge, but you can do it!  The advantage of being the new kid per-se is that you can bring a fresh perspective to an old way of doing things.  If your ideas help the team meet goals, you come out ahead.  However, if your thoughts are nothing more than repackaged goods from yesteryear, you won't win those that "have been there and done that." 

How might you make a lasting first impression?  Start off getting a few loyal followers by doing the following: "really" listening to them and address each concern, help them with those small requests (like a personal day off), offer a lunch date with the staff, create an incentive program to make some work days a little more interesting, and acknowledge a few personal announcements like that upcoming birthday or recent birth of a grandchild that an employee shares with you.  They will think, "You remembered--wow!"

Being the new kid doesn't have to be a difficult transition, but you can make it be if you do some of the following things.  For instance, if you don't bother to make a to-do list everyday, nothing you really want to get done will be accomplished.  You will find yourself frequently forgetting to do things and apologizing more times than you can imagine for not staying up on tasks,  not only that, you won't turn your bosses' heads (at least positively.)  They will think, "Now why am I paying her the big bucks?"  Forget to meet with key staff and you will be left out the loop.  Miss too many important phone calls and/or arrive late for work often, and someone will think you are slacking off.  As long as you look like you are in control, you just might win the respect of your team.  Before long, you won't be that new kid that your employees think they can manipulate.

Nicholl McGuire

How to Know You Are Being Discriminated Against

You may have noticed someone acting unfairly toward you whether blatantly or inadvertently and dismissed it in the past, but it keeps happening and you want to know whether they are discriminating against you. The following signs will help you discover whether a person doesn’t like you, but you will need more than one happening on a consistent basis to be able to determine whether a person is discriminating against you. So what are some specific signs you might be overlooking?

One. When conversing with this person, he or she makes stereotypical remarks, jokes or false assumptions about your age, race, gender or religion. You find yourself having to defend who you are and what you believe.

Two. When controversy erupts regarding your particular age group, race, religion, or gender, a racist person will make statements like, “Your people, you women, you young people…” You feel angry and often feel the need to explain why you or your group is different.

Three. When asking a boss or supervisor about additional opportunities to better yourself, share ideas, and service others, you are met with a negative attitude and are told, “Thank you, but I can handle it. You should stick with what you are doing.” Sometimes people will act as if they are superior by saying, “I didn’t know you knew that…I thought your people weren’t interested in that sort of thing.”

Four. When you share your personal experience, the person will belittle it, debate as if they were there, talk about their “friend” who is the same race or religion as you and do other things to make them look like the authority on the issue.

Five. When you try to be friendly or make friends, you are greeted half-heartedly or not at all. The person doesn’t include you in on any activities, meetings or events. When asked about them, he or she always has an excuse to why they hadn’t included you such as, “I misplaced your phone number. I thought I emailed you. I told Bill to tell you…I thought you knew already.”

Six. When you come around people act as if they don’t trust you without reason. They may even deliberately set traps to catch you lying or stealing so that they can replace you with someone else.

Seven. You overhear someone talking about your race and when you come around they quickly change the subject and act as if they like you. When you tell them what you have heard they try to set you apart from the rest.

When you feel discriminated against you must not act on feeling alone, you must have solid information that proves that a person was acting unfairly toward you because of your race. A quick indicator that most people who have been victims of prejudicial behavior is when you see that other people of a different race are being afforded better opportunities than you and when you question it the company always has an excuse despite all the efforts you made to fulfill company requirements.

By Nicholl McGuire

Monday

How to Deliver Bad News in Five Steps

You have been chosen to deliver the bad news to an unsuspecting person. You really don’t want to do it, but you know that if you don’t this person will most likely hear it in a way that might be insensitive, bitter or blatantly rude. Here’s what you need to do if put in that situation:

One. Pay close attention to your facial expression.
Look at your self in the mirror if one is available. Notice how you look as you think about the news you will be sharing with this person. Keep in mind how you would want someone to approach you with bad news.

Two. Think about your tone of voice.

You don’t want to ever sound angry, because this only makes the person anxious and irritated. You also don’t want to rush through the news either, because this will only put you in the position to have to repeat the news all over again.

Three. You will want to ponder on what you are going to say before you say it.

So the old adage goes, “It isn’t what you say it’s how you say it.” If you have to tell this person that someone is ill, dying, losing their job, they are a victim of theft, or their mate was seen cheating, then you will want to save the long speech and get to the point.
Four. When you begin to share the news in your calm, controlled voice, start with something they already know before you tell them something they don’t know, because it prepares their ears to hear what you have to say.

For instance, let’s say this person is going to lose his or her job you may say something like, “You know our boss has been talking about letting some people go…” Then you will provide details, “Well I was informed that on January 1 the company will be letting several employees go.” By this point he or she may interrupt with, “Does this mean I will be leaving the company too?” then you can confirm the details. If they don’t catch on to what you are saying, then state what the company will be doing by making your point clear, “So I have been told you are one of the employees. However, I found out that XYZ is hiring.” You will do the same if you should deliver other bad news. State what you know, provide details, and if you are able to assist them in any way with their problem offer to do so.

Five. Give them some space, if need be excuse yourself.

Most people who receive bad news need time to think. They may have many questions or none at all. Some may be in shock and may not be thinking clearly. Give the person a chance to collect his or her thoughts before you give them anymore information. Whatever you do, never give them false hope by telling them something you are not certain. You may not know the answers to all their questions and if so, direct them to someone who could help them.

Giving someone bad news is never easy to do, but if you take your time, stick to the facts, and keep your composure at least you know you have done your part to the best of your ability.

By Nicholl McGuire

Sunday

A Great First Impression is a Lasting One

He is the one everyone seems to like and she seems to be the one that is always being praised. How do they do it? What must you do to stay one step ahead at work, in social environments, and other places you are trying to make a lasting impression? Here are seven things you need to do within the next seven days to boost your reputation with others.

1. Think of everything that is wrong with a situation and try to make it better.

There is always something that could be improved, changed, rearranged, or done away with. Look around for opportunities to solve problems while making life better for those around you. Then get these people who you are trying to impress involved with your ideas.

2. Make room in your schedule for a time to sit and talk with the one you are trying to impress.

Contrary to popular belief, especially in a down economy, you don't want to scare anyone with an over the top invitation that includes fine wine, expensive dinner, and other things that may look like wasteful spending in the eyes of those who are budget conscious. The goal with a one-on -one meeting is to get this person to see you. This would be a perfect time to share your knowledge with this person and tell them how you can be of assistance to him or her. Don't just reserve a meeting like this for someone at your workplace, try this with a person you wouldn't mind having a relationship. Who says you have to have a traditional date to get to know someone?

3. Utilize any and all communication devices to make a connection.

Whenever you can call, email, text, or chat online with someone, do it. But don't use all devices on the same day; you might scare him or her away! You can easily start a conversation with someone by asking them a question, sharing some knowledge about something they may be interested in, or praising them for something they did for you or someone else. These are great ways to take them up on their request to call them some time.

4. Don't pass on opportunities to meet with people in significant positions.

Even if you don't golf, could care less about bowling, or absolutely hate going to church picnics, if you know that the people you are trying to impress will be there, you need to be there too! What better way to see these men and women in leadership in a different atmosphere? Who knows, he or she might have heard some wonderful things about you and would like to know more. Don't be a stranger when you don't have to be.

5. Avoid socializing with people who have had a major disagreement with those you are trying to impress. Sometimes a person will falsely assume that you are a negative person just by the company you keep. Disassociate yourself from people who are not interested in building a positive reputation, impacting those in management, or helping others.

6. Be dressed to impress.

This seems to be a problem with people who are so focused on what they are planning to say when they are around that group they want to impress, that they forget about basic things like appearance and body odor. What a person sees is just as important, if not more, as what they hear.

7. Be honest.

People can tell the difference between someone who is genuine and someone who is being fake. Be secure in who you are by doing things to help you love and appreciate yourself. When you are equipped with knowledge of who you are and where you want to go in this life, you won't find yourself scripting phone calls or acting around certain people, you will just do it naturally. Those who may have much education, miss out on great opportunities in life because they don't know how to separate the person who has book knowledge from the average Joe who has common sense. Figure out how to balance the two.

These seven tips you can do as soon as you’re done reading this. Create a plan that will keep you on the mind of the individual or group you are trying to impress, but whatever you choose to do, don't do the following: make a nuisance of yourself, talk about others negatively, share a lot about your personal life, offend by making jokes or comments about people, places, and things you don't know much about or know too much about, or break rules. It’s better to do more listening and less talking. When you are ready to make that lasting impression, do it with style! Also, remember to offer your assistance -- people always want to know what you will do for them before they will ask you, “What can I do for you?”

By Nicholl McGuire

How to Manage Your Temper with a Crazy Boss

He is often anger, she is hyper active, and you feel like you are in over your head! How do you deal with an over the top personality at work? Here are some basic solutions to help you keep your cool while on your job.

You may remember the wise Proverb from the Christian’s Bible that says, “A soft answer turns away wrath,” how true this statement is! If someone speaks loudly to you, rants about everything that is going on around them, and you respond with a low, controlled voice having very little if anything to say, usually they won’t want to be in your presence for long. They may also calm down when they realize they are looking like a fool in front of you or become so angry that they quickly dismiss you from their presence.

If what they say is shocking and offensive, rather than immediately react, try walking away while saying, “I need to take a bathroom break. Do you want anything from the vending machine? I need to take care of another issue, I will come back later.” Many hot tempered people resort to name-calling, threats to physically beat up someone, and other things that can cost them their job and/or their freedom. As much as you would like to say or do something to get even, remember anything you do has not only a negative effect on the one you are doing it to, but you and those who know you will be impacted as well.

The first thing you will want to think about when dealing with a person you know it’s not completely a master at self-control is to find ways to keep yourself busy. When you make time for a person like this, he or she will always look for you to listen to them whenever they are having some kind of crisis or meltdown. Always have something going on and never encourage their negativity by giving him or her lots of eye contact, nodding your head or acting interested. Laughing or teasing can easily be misunderstood by someone who is in a rage. If you joke around at the wrong time, your crazy boss who was once upset at someone else will most likely become upset with you which will ultimately trigger a negative reaction within you toward your boss.

Another thing you will want to consider when dealing with a hypersensitive personality type is how he or she interacts with others and how others respond to them. When you find you don’t know what to say or do around this person, watch how others react. Find a way to react to him or her that you are most comfortable. In this way, you are in control of how you feel and not the other way around.

Next, if your boss seems to be happy one minute and cursing like sailor the next, avoid approaching him or her with a concern if you can find someone else who can assist you. This mentally unstable person may direct their negative attitude on you, just because you brought them yet another problem they feel obligated to solve.

Third, think of ways you can always look good in his or her sight. This angry person may be your secret weapon one day in case you need someone to help you fight a battle in the board room, court room or wherever you need support in the workplace. Find out what his or her favorite music is when he or she is mellow, listen to the conversations they are having with others, and take the time to study their mannerisms and wardrobe. You may learn a thing or two about your boss that no one else has noticed and this small detail may win you brownie points with him or her.

Lastly, avoid wasting a hot tempered boss’ time by complaining. Remember you want to be a part of the solution not a part of the problem. Whenever you approach your boss, get to the point, find a way to communicate a 10 minute discussion into a five minute one. Ask questions when you don’t understand something and never assume you know-it-all when you don’t. When the time comes to meet with your boss about a concern, provide him or her with appealing visuals if you know this person likes them and also to help you illustrate your point, but if you don’t know whether your boss likes pie charts over statistics and you aren’t quite clear on the subject matter you are attempting to present then you are setting yourself up to be the next victim.

Hot tempered bosses could care less about what others think. They aren’t usually the likeable type, they usually don’t have many friends, and they don’t really like people but tolerate them because they need a paycheck. Don’t expect an angry boss to hand hold, micro manage, or spend a lot of time repeating his or her instructions, difficult bosses prefer fast learners who make them look good, and are readily available when they call – simply put a good slave!

Nicholl McGuire

Thursday

Tricks Employees Will Use With Managers

Ever wanted to know whether an employee was lying to you about needing some time off for personal reasons, but they were really looking for time off to interview? Have you ever questioned what happened to some missing office supplies and had a feeling that your favorite employee really took them? The following tips will help you determine what kind of employee you really hired and what you need to do to get them to fly right or get out! Each employee has been categorized based on the concerns you may have had with him or her.

Mr. Time Off

He just came back from vacation and will be taking off again. He seems to spend more time away from work then at work. Then when he is at work he isn’t getting much done. You will need to find out if he has any hidden agendas. Too much time off in a span of thirty days spells trouble, particularly if he doesn’t have the accumulated time to take off. Think about whether he had shared any information with you about his personal life leading up to this need for time off. When is his wife expecting? Would his grandma need special treatment? Does his child need surgery? Also, consider how he reacted to any recent evaluations or warnings you may have given him. When you are ready to speak with him, don’t make any assumptions. Let him do the talking. If you can accommodate his schedule, provide him with more money, or work with him in other ways. Be prepared to do it, if you plan to keep him.

Mr. Closet Thief

Someone is in the supply closet again. It seems that Mr. Closet Thief has been in the supplies more often since the recent shipment arrived. Every month he has a request for what seems to be the same supplies, but you have noticed that they are nowhere in his office after he receives them. Could those CDs he requests really be used to burn music? Is any of his tasks requiring him to use DVDs? What about those expensive pens, is he really going to a lot of business events that he needs that many? Where are all the ink cartridges going if he doesn’t send mass mailings out, print memos, etc.? The paper goes fast too, he is frequently in the copy room an employee tells you. The extra gifts from the last company event where are they being stored and does he have the only key? Need I say more?

Ms. Know-It-All

She doesn’t allow you to get to your desk before she tells you about everything that has went wrong today. For every solution you have to her concerns, she has several reasons as to why that just won’t work. She is an eloquent speaker, hard worker and too smart for her own good, but she just doesn’t know how to shut up long enough to consider what you are saying. Here’s what you need to do. Let her know before she comes into the office bothering you, what you need to do first before you can sit down and chat with her. Tell her when you are available to discuss her concerns, if she hasn’t written them in a memo, tell her to write them down with possible solutions and submit them to you for review. Once you have reviewed her concerns, respond in writing to each one. Call a meeting with her to discuss, but let her know in advance how long the meeting will be and remind her about your other obligations. Any concerns that she can complete without you let her know what she needs to do to get those tasks completed. She will most likely come up with more concerns during the meeting; however, don’t bother with the new concerns at that time. Make notes and reassure her that when she has done what you ask, those other issues will be addressed. If you find that she is not completing what you request, missing deadlines, making up excuses, etc. provide her with a verbal and written warning. This will humble her if she really needs the job. However, if she has given you any indication that she doesn’t really need the job, be prepared to get a replacement.

Mr. Lazy

You have asked him over and over again to submit his monthly report and for some reason he just never seems to give it you when you need it or he simply doesn’t do it at all. He will make up a million reasons as to why he just can’t seem to get it done. Mr. Lazy also has a problem with getting to work on time and he has many reasons for his tardiness too. He will need a serious wake up call. The scenario between you and he will play out like this: Find out what he will need to put aside to get the work done. He may need someone to take over one of his responsibilities (but then again don’t jump to this conclusion without interviewing some of his co-workers, remember he is lazy and could be making up excuses.) Use every disciplinary action available to you, following company protocol. Ask him how important is his job to him? Give him an option he can either begin to give you what you need by deadline, come to work on time, etc. or face possible termination (put your plan of action in writing.) He will have X amount of time to do it, if for some reason, he still can’t seem to follow through, then dismiss him. No second, third, fourth or more chances. You will lose respect not only with him, but everyone else on your team. Then you will find that people who weren’t usually late or submitted work on time will become nonchalant. They will always remember how you gave Mr. Lazy so many chances.

Ms. Busybody

You have noticed that every new person you have hired Ms. Busybody is ready to welcome them with all the latest company gossip. You know what her personality is like because she has brought quite a bit of news to you. However, she isn’t to be trusted so here’s what you can do to “shake her up.” Be forward with Ms. Busybody. She knows what she is doing and she will feel very embarrassed and fearful that she may lose her job when confronted on stories she is spreading. Remind her that people have been fired over gossip. Tell her that you don’t approve of certain conversations. Make it clear to your new employees what you will not tolerate, without naming her, and ask them to see you about any matter they have in question. 

Ms. Cover-up

She makes mistakes and she knows it. However, she doesn’t want anyone else to know it. You confront her tell her about an error you found and she is ready to blame it on someone else. Ms. Cover-up usually has an extensive history on this type of behavior. It most likely started when she was a child blaming her siblings for everything she has done to avoid discipline. Now she is an adult and continues to do the same thing. She may say things like, “I didn’t do that, the customer was irate. I didn’t follow up because I thought it was already taken care of.” You can fix this by making her accountable. When it comes to a situation where she is ready to blame someone, have evidence available that shuts down her accusations. Make it present before everyone, since she doesn’t mind bringing people’s names up behind their backs. Expose her repeatedly on her blame and she will eventually learn to take responsibility for her actions.

Mr. Con man

He is always looking for an opportunity to move up in the company, make more money, land a date or any thing else that will make him feel and look good. Watch out for his requests to work overtime. Then when you deny him, he will find an opportunity to stay late anyway so you have to pay him. “I had to stay late because XYZ needed fix.” He will make a situation look worst then it seems. He may also be interested in an available position that he may or may not be qualified for, he will have many reasons as to why he is more qualified while talking negatively about each one of his co-workers. Mr. Con man also enjoys conversing with the opposite sex. He will use any lag time in his workday to socialize with them. Don’t ignore those complaints women (or men) make about him “always coming around.” Keep a journal of dates and times when people have complained. In time he will usually do something dumb enough to get his self fired.
Once you have determined which kind of problem employee you may have, you will have to be sure that you not only meet with them, but follow up with whatever you have decided to circumvent their negative behavior. If you meet with your employee and do not provide a deadline for them to meet any of the goals you may have set for them to accomplish, and provided no consequences for their actions, then expect them to continue to act irresponsibly until you have no choice but to fire them. Hopefully, the other employees who have noticed how you have handled the situation with the problem employee will not resort to the same tactics. If so, it’s because they have learned that you do not handle matters immediately nor effectively and you may have to make some examples of a few more employees to correct your ineffective practices from the past.

By Nicholl McGuire

Wednesday

How to Know You’re Being Watched at Work


We are in an economic crisis as we all know and companies are doing what they can to save money including eliminating employees. When there are many good and talented people working it can be difficult for a manager to choose which will stay and which will be let go regardless of tenure. So how do they conduct a process to eliminate employees while saving the company thousands, they become petty! In the past they may not have cared that you showed up for work a few minutes late, they may not have bothered to review your expense reports carefully for wasteful spending, and it may not have mattered too much that you showed up a half an hour late from having lunch. But nowadays, what use to be considered, “Don’t worry about it, its okay!” Now has become “Worry about it. We don’t really need you.”

So how do you know you are being watched at work? Here are enough tips to help you make the necessary adjustments and hopefully get you off the company radar.

Your immediate supervisors and co-workers are contacted about your performance behind your back.
Those people you love to have lunch with may also be responsible for putting you on the radar to get the managers off their back. Sometimes those we work around know more than what they are telling us, so when they feel like they are backed into a corner with nowhere to go, out comes your name. You may have forgot about something that needs to be done, was slow about turning a document into your boss, or did something else that hasn’t gone over too well. When your co-worker doesn’t want any blame to fall on him or her, they will bring up someone or something else to distract the boss.
Your co-workers or supervisors seem to come around your workspace more.

This is their way of checking in on you. Don’t take those “Good mornings” lightly. They are also watching the clock too. What time did you come in to work is all they really want to know and then they may record it somewhere in their files. Did you leave for lunch early and come back late? He or she didn’t have that last minute request for nothing. Once you turn your timesheet in, they will check it for accuracy. If they catch you in a lie or two or maybe you just have a slow clock and they have a fast one, you just may be reprimanded which will set the paperwork in motion to eventually dismiss you. You may also notice they are showing up at your workspace nearing time for you to go home too. For some managers, they do this to see if you are leaving the office earlier that you should.
Someone checks the websites you have visited when you aren’t around.

If you haven’t learned how to clear history by now you should, but some people are just savvy enough to find other ways to see what you have visited like installing spy software. It is best to visit those social networking, gaming, video, music and personal email accounts away from the office.
Tasks may be created to see if you would volunteer for them.

You may have been able to get away with only doing the things that fit into your job description for years, well at some point someone will challenge you to do more and if you decline too many times, your boss may look toward the young and ambitious that work alongside of you to do what he or she requests. Try to be more flexible and find that spark you love about your job again.
Email time stamps and confirmation receipts are checked.

Bosses who are extremely detail oriented are checking the time stamp on when you sent an email and when you opened it. Don’t feel tempted to lie when you know you should have opened his or her email a little sooner. He or she will know because they have the time at which you responded and the time when they sent it. Lying will also put you on the radar for a future dismissal.

Fake problems are created to see how you would resolve them.

There are real problems at a company, but then there are the phony ones that some managers will create to test you. How you resolve to handle the mystery shopper’s issue that comes through the door or calls you over the phone may also determine whether you or your bubbly co-worker is a keeper.

Your company joins a network for live chat, and requires that you sign in everyday, so that they can see when you are online.

When your boss is in another town, city or state, he or she is not always able to just pop in on you, so to be sure that you are at least in the office; there are those companies who register for these types of programs. This way they can see whether you are offline still sleeping in or online ready to get your day started.

Certain co-workers may appear very friendly and visible because they may be responsible for “keeping an eye on you.”

Be wary of those people who smile in your face as the old song goes. They have hidden agendas whether they are looking to take your position, obtain some knowledge from you to elevate their status, or hope to get rid of you. If you do everything you can to at least keep your job on your end, then at least when the time comes to lay people off, you will be missed.

Traps are set such as money being left out in the open or a cabinet, door or drawer that is typically locked is suddenly left unlocked.

Sometimes there are accidents and sometimes there are those things that people do on purpose. Too many accidents only mean one thing someone is trying to set you up to fail. Always double check everything you are responsible for locking up and if you can get someone to witness your actions by all means do it!

Certain office desk drawers are set with paper sticking out and other traps to see if you opened them.
You know that you have no business snooping through your manager’s files, but you want to know what he or she has written about you or you may want to know when the company plans to lay people off, if you want to go sooner open that drawer otherwise walk away from temptation. Most likely, he or she has set it so that they can see whether you are trustworthy or looking for an excuse to let you go when the time comes.

Expense reports and company credit card statements are checked for excess or frivolous spending.
You know that you shouldn’t have bought the most expensive pens in the catalog or bought an extra meal to take home, but you did. You may want to attempt to cover up your actions with an excuse. Thanks to President Barack Obama’s speech on accountability, more and more companies are finding ways to make their employees accountable for wasteful spending.

Mileage on the company vehicle is checked closely.

Maybe in the past you didn’t always write down the exact mileage you used when you went from point a to point b in the company vehicle, because you knew you also shopped for groceries and took them home, stopped by a friend’s house, and picked up your dry cleaning – whatever you did, at some point someone will be responsible for checking the records and if you haven’t been honest that will also put you on the company radar.

Someone is used to ask you how you feel about your job.

You thought maybe this person sincerely cares about your honest feelings about your job. They may care, but then again they may not. This “good friend” may really be a “mole” for the boss who is wondering how you really feel about the job, him or her, and operations say the wrong thing and you give them an excuse to put you on radar.

Venting about your job is taken seriously and viewed as you being a trouble maker.

So you converse with the “mole” and now he or she has went back and told your boss about what you said. Depending on what your comments were such as, “I think this company needs to pay its employees more. Management does a poor job about meeting our demands. I am thinking about looking for another job” will determine whether he or she keeps you. Most likely, they will view you as a threat with the potential of rallying up support for your cause and if that is the case they will let you go without notice or reason.

Completion of tasks are timed.

The manager knows approximately how long it takes you to complete each task, so when he or she notices that you are falling behind schedule, this person will start searching. What could be distracting you lately to keep you from performing your duties? Is it the Internet, the personal telephone calls, or your social personality? All of which have been the cause of many talented individuals being dismissed.

Phone records are checked for long distance calls and how long you spent on the phone during work hours.

You may not think it’s a big deal to converse with your mother who lives on the other side of the world for about 15 minutes, but a manager who is looking to get his or her bonus for saving money in the department does think it’s a big deal. Not only that, he or she may reason that you aren’t meeting deadlines because you are too busy taking up company time chatting.

Fraternizing with the staff, clients, contractors, and customers.

Everyone has been guilty of talking or listening to someone longer then they should when they are suppose to be working. The boss who walks by looking at you isn’t admiring your new shirt, he or she is timing when you will wrap up that conversation and get back to work. When he or she has warned you about this behavior and you still continue to do it, at some point it won’t be hard to make a decision whether to keep or dismiss you.

In conclusion, consider all of these points the next time you go back to work and make necessary changes. It is very difficult to find a job these days that will give you the benefits you most likely receive at your current one don’t let a dismissal for petty things upset your way of life. As mentioned before, many companies are looking for ways to save money and if it means that they can eliminate just one more position from their workflow chart they will.

Tuesday

How to get a Clerical or Customer Service Job


They are communicators, have extensive computer experience, trained in data entry, research the Internet, market, business write, and run errands, who are they? Office workers. They answer the phone, greet the visitor, file, organize events, schedule meetings, and take notes. You may not think much of their title when you visit the doctor’s office, meet with the attorney, visit a non-profit organization, or wait for the principal at your child’s school, but there job is significant and usually if it wasn’t for them, you would have never got in the door to see who you wanted to see. You may be seeking an administrative assistant, secretarial, or clerical worker position, but may not know how to put your experience altogether to land the position. Here is what you will need to do.

Get organized.
Very detailed and organized people usually work these types of jobs. They are the ones who maintain order in the office. You will want to be sure that you are great with staying organized. It may make you cringe when someone does the following: not put something back in its rightful place, fail to keep documents organized, ignore answering the phone, forget about deadlines, don’t bother to proof and edit documents, and show up for work late! Have you done the total opposite? Then list your skills on your resume. You may have personally or professionally organized an event as well, mention what kind of event it was and what was its purpose on your resume.

Creativity.
Office workers tend to be creative in their own way. They may have experience with desktop publishing and are responsible for creating fliers, company newsletters, and other documents that showcase the company’s image. They may have also been responsible for decorating the office during holidays and displaying other creative works, add that experience to your resume.

Team-oriented.
Clerical staff may not work individually, but as a group. They may have to handle a variety of tasks collectively which means being able to get along with other workers. From color coding files to rearranging furniture, if there is something that needs to be done in the office, at a meeting, or at a large event, an office worker has something to do with it. Communicating with other staff is crucial and usually he or she has to report to more than one person. Sometimes there is only one secretary or administrative assistant for an entire department!

Timesheets.
Some clerical workers are responsible for entering information into a computer software program that tracks hours worked. Being able to tabulate this information accurately while answering the phone and handling other responsibilities is definitely for those who can multi-task extremely well.
Accounts Payables and Receivables.
This is where the courses you took in accounting will be extremely helpful. Some clerical workers are responsible for making sure bills are paid and checks are deposited in a timely fashion. Experience with creating and maintaining spreadsheets are a must, more on this later. Clerical workers may also have to assist with collection calls, processing letters, and updating or reconciling a customer’s account. Most assistants have basic math, accounting and/or book keeping experience.

Quality Control.
If you ever had to look over someone else’s work, then you know what focus this takes to ensure that there are zero errors. You may be the one responsible for looking over your supervisor or manager’s work before it’s sent out. You may also have to review reports, spreadsheets, and other documents for accurate details and make corrections.

Telephone.
Although this wasn’t listed first, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t significant. If you can’t handle a ringing phone don’t apply for a position that says, “High call volume.” You will most likely have to handle 10 plus phone lines ringing all at once. You will be responsible for directing calls and taking detailed messages either by hand or typed into a computer and routed to the staff.

Duplicating documents, filing, and faxing.
Some clerical jobs are primarily made of stapling documents, filing them, copying them, or sending them electronically all day every day. The work can be redundant and just plain boring. But if you don’t mind a day where you know what to expect and you are careful about what you do, a file clerk, clerical assistant, office assistant and other similar titles should be great for you. You will experience the occasional copier and fax machine jams, have to reload paper often, and will need to be focus on where you place documents alphabetically or numerically while protecting yourself from painful paper cuts.

Data entry.
Some clerical jobs may also have a lot of alphabetical and numerical data entry work. You may spend the majority of an eight hour day seated in front of a computer screen typing. If you are a quick typist with a high accuracy rate then this job shouldn’t be challenging for you, but woe to the person who types below 70 wpm and doesn’t do to well catching errors, this job may be over before you get started.

Spreadsheets, charts, slideshows, and tables.
Whether you have to prepare these documents for your manager’s presentation or just to help with efficiency, it helps to have some experience creating them. You will need to know how to take the information he or she gives you and convert it into a computer software system that will make things easier for the viewer to understand. It also helps to be able to look at the way things are normally done in the office and find a better way to do them, so if you see your manager viewing a complicated spreadsheet maybe you might want to create a pie chart which gives him or her a quick glance at the latest figures. Instead of your manager boring staff yet again with a mouth full of words, you may want to utilize slideshow presentation software complete with clip art and music to help wake up staff attending your manager’s meeting. This is an excellent skill to have and definitely helps with your job security efforts!

Mail
Most office workers are the first to get the mail. They usually have a good idea what their manager likes to keep and what he or she likes to throw away. Being able to sort mail as instructed, call his or her attention to priority mail, and respond when necessary is essential to this position.
You may also be responsible for outgoing mail tasks as well. Your manager may need you to create a mass mailing which includes being able to merge letters, create labels, stuff envelopes, and correctly select postage.

Problem Solve
Your manager will not always be available to answer questions from those calling the office. You will need to know how to handle issues and satisfy the one speaking to you over the phone or in-person. Sometimes you may find yourself in a position to put out fires. Patience, self-control, and wisdom helps!

Marketing
Sometimes you may be told to help with advertising the business that may include maintaining a media clipping file of all the companies press coverage, making arrangements for advertisements, working a table at a conference, or posting fliers in the community. There are many other marketing endeavors he or she may include you in on, so it helps to have some experience with marketing if you intend to go above and beyond your job title. You may be required to maintain the company website and send press releases via the Internet.

Vacuum, dusting, getting coffee, and taking out trash
Are office workers expected to do this too? Sometimes. Not every company is so privileged to have a maintenance crew who will do all of these things. When you see the carpet is looking shabby, your work area is making everyone sneeze, the trash is running over, and visitors could use refreshments, you may be asked to perform such tasks. Of course, you may feel like this isn’t in your job description, but at some point someone will ask, “Would you mind…?” It’s inevitable.

Computer and Software Experience
By now you know that extensive computer experience is a must. There is no way of getting around it unless you plan on working in an environment that being able to type on a computer is not required. With technology becoming more and more advanced, office workers will be expected to do more especially when it comes to the Internet. Understanding how a website is created, learning how to market and research via the Internet, upload and download documents, convert files and other Internet related tasks will be viable skills to a company that is still living in the stone age.

In summary, if you are considering a position in clerical or customer service work and don’t feel confident with your existing experience, try obtaining a job with a temporary agency first and develop your skills more that way. Once you are more skilled at clerical and customer service work, start researching companies that are hiring. Review the details of what might be required of you then tailor your resume to fit their needs.

By Nicholl McGuire

Friday

8 Defenses People Will Use When They Don't Want You to be Right About Something



Some people you just don’t want to talk to anyone who can possibly improve their lives, because they think the following: they know everything and think their important. Others are just too stubborn or lazy to want to change so personal relationships fail, business endeavors sink, and bills fall behind.

Sometimes you don’t bother to talk to individuals like this simply because you know that if you do, it will end up being a conversation that sounds something like this, “I know that already…I don’t do that…I would never do that…I hear what you are saying, but we aren’t like that…” The “don’ts” and “nevers” are endless and so are the lies too! Basically what they are saying is, “Leave me alone and let me mess up!”

There is nothing wrong with allowing people to wallow in their messes, just so long as they aren’t expecting anyone to bail them out of situations they have caused, right? It’s okay to back off from giving them advice, just so long as they aren’t taking you to hell with them, right? Of course, but the problem with the “I never…” type is they get into trouble and then they try to get others on board to help them in sneaky ways. They may be a little nicer to family and friends or offer to do helpful things while hoping you have mercy on them.
When dealing with the “I can never do wrong” type, be prepared for what they might do if you should advise or question them about their obvious wrongdoings.

One. They will accuse you of acting jealous.
“You are just jealous…” how many times have we heard this one on just about every reality show on TV! A warning to someone about the scandalous way he or she is living is not someone acting jealous about the person’s lifestyle. If anything, it should be a red flag for the person to re-evaluate his or her negative actions. Instead, the fool makes a false accusation of jealousy. When someone is sincerely jealous of another, they usually aren’t interested in helping the person; rather he or she would encourage the person they are jealous of to keep on living foolishly until he or she falls flat on his or her face.

Two. They will act like they don’t care about the advice you are giving them.
“I don’t care…so what…” Well they may not act like they care, but you can almost guarantee that what you said affected them in some way, because why do they feel the need to tell you, “I don’t care?” We will see how much they care when things don’t turn out like they expected.

Three. They will call you a trouble-maker.
“You are just starting trouble!” Maybe in some ways you are if it means getting them out of a potentially disastrous or dangerous situation. However, the problem with the “trouble-maker accusation” is that it is a lie! The person being warned of a pending disaster is convincing his or her self that you are a liar, so he or she doesn’t have to do anything different with his or her actions. Will problems arise as a result of making right choices, maybe, but would this person rather go through the trial to get to peace or stay in the trial?

Four. They will accuse you of not knowing what it is that you are talking about.
“You don’t know what you are talking about! I know someone who has a degree in…and they told me…” None of this matters when this person has got his or her self in a bit of trouble that they have yet to get out of, now does it? If they knew so many professionals, then why didn’t they take their advice? Why is it that it has taken them so long to fix their own problems? No one needs a degree in making mistakes; therefore, learning from them and then advising others. So that argument of “who I know and what you don’t know” is invalid.

Five. They will find faults with you.
“Well what about you? Didn’t you use to do that too?” Bringing up the past is the best that they can do at this point, because they refuse to listen to advice that is so cutting they wish they had never met you. So, out of their mouths comes, hurtful remarks about what they know concerning you; rather than looking inward and making changes. You can always reverse this argument on them and include your personal testimony, “I made my bed, got out of it, now what about you?”

Six. They will go back and tell the person what you said.
This is a good way to rally up support for wrong-doing from the hard-headed. Get others on their team that is in the same mess. Even worse, you might mention a relative or friend, who is also messing up their lives, and the person you are advising will go back and tell that person too. “I told my friend what you said and she told me that you were stupid.” Everyone has a right to their opinion even if what they say is stupid! This is yet another attempt to attack your credibility, because the baby who refuses to become an adult has hurt feelings. Not only that, the people, who he or she is reporting back to are most likely in the group of the blind leading the blind.

Seven. They will call you names including a liar.
One of the quickest ways to shut a person down who means well, is to call him or her a bunch of names and that is what our “I can do no wrong” person will do when he or she refuses to change his or her evil ways. “That’s not true! You are a liar!” When the truth hurts someone who you are trying to help, they will attempt to hurt you with a lie.

Eight. They will warn others about you.
“I told my friend not to come around you because you are crazy.” When someone is upset with you about what they are or aren’t doing to better themselves, then they don’t want you to talk to others. They do this because they fear what you might say to others about them, so they attempt to get to others before you get to them first. This way, other people can already formulate a negative opinion about you before you get a chance to talk to them. They also fear that others will change for the better and leave them behind.

When you are speaking to that hard-headed daughter or son, a stubborn spouse or partner, or a self-righteous sibling or friend, understand that they may use any or all of these tactics whenever you speak truth into their lives. For example, you may be speaking to them about a certain false religion, a bad business opportunity, a destructive habit or a quack doctor, and this person may give you grief about what you are saying using any one of the different points previously discussed. Don’t worry about the person you are trying to help, you said all there is to say, so move on!

Find others both online and offline who will gladly take your words of wisdom and do something with them. Hopefully, if you have tried to talk to this person in a respectful way, he or she may come to you for information in the future; otherwise don’t hold your breath, keep it moving!

By Nicholl McGuire

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