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Showing posts from February, 2016

How To Work With Someone Who Only Wants To Argue

Your co-worker asks to borrow your smartphone, and then questions why you would buy this type of phone in the first place. Let's talk about the co-worker who always wants to argue!


You walk into work, and there is your co-worker waiting to bash your choice of coffee, your favorite bagel, your work outfit, or whatever else captures the attention.

Don't worry, you'll get around to discussing the work -- right after the conflict-creating co-worker finishes pouring a dash of doom and gloom into your choice of morning coffee. It's expensive, it tastes bad, and anyone with good taste wouldn't go anywhere near it.

If you've ever worked alongside someone who is always looking to generate conflict, then you know how draining it can be. Everything is open to debate, everyone is open to review, and both the personal and professional seem to fall within this co-worker's purview. No matter how trivial the argument seems in hindsight. It goes beyond having a strong opin…

Zenefits: When Cool Workplace Culture Runs Amok

Another day, another glowing article about how the Millennial generation is changing the workplace for the better.

Then San Francisco HR software company Zenefits makes the news cycle with its friends with Zenefits situation only to remind us that not all change is good.

Zenefits new CEO is reportedly trying to clean up the company's rambunctious, Millennial workplace culture, which appears to have run more like a Friday night frat house party than a professional work organization.

I'll let you read the story, but you would think an HR-focused firm (!) would know better. Do these things really need to be explained to employees? Apparently so.

Before you think I'm just another Gen Xer foisting my uncool, quaint notions of professionalism on to the next generation, let me say that there are many smart, talented, professional 20-somethings who are doing amazing things every day. There are also workplace procedures and policies that really should cross that bridge to the 21s…

How To Handle Co-workers Who Ask For Advice (But Never Take It)

There you were, trying to get some work done when a co-worker started hemming and hawing and generally appeared unable to decide between two worthy options.

This co-worker asked for your opinion, which seems to have gone over like a lead balloon. Oops. Here are five tips for dealing with co-workers who always ask for your advice but never take it!


For sake of ease, let's make your co-worker's question easy, breezy, and non-work related. I can't decide between a vacation in the mountains or renting a beach house on the coast this summer. What would you do? muses your seemingly indecisive co-worker from the comforts of an adjacent work area.

You take the bait and offer your opinion. You would definitely go to the mountains, hands down! You proceed to explain why.

You soon get cut off with a terse "I know!" or a huffy "That wouldn't work" as your co-worker immediately books a week at the beach.

Hey, you were asked for your opinion, and you very kindl…

Distracted At Work? Then Work Inside the Bubble

Is the noisy open office environment getting you down lately? Maybe it's time to make a statement on modern office culture by putting a Darth Vader-like dome over your head!

Sure, there are other things I could blog about this morning. The (now former) Yelp employee who complained about her minimum wage predicament. Donald Trump's Las Vegas hotel-casino employees hoping to engage Mr. Trump in contract talks while he rallies in Nevada. The demise of the liberal arts degree.

They're all great options, but I'm going to stay inside the bubble like the establishment GOP. It's easy, and I'm tired -- but not as tired as you are watching a co-worker chew with his mouth open every day! If only you could find an easy way to block out the random visuals and noise around the office, right?

Well, Finland-based company Mottowasabi has come up with an innovative solution to all your workplace peripheral woes!

It's called the Tomoko. Basically, the Tomoko is a sleek, umbr…

5 Ways To Tap Into the Adult Coloring Book Trend At Work

Today's "to-do" list at work includes four meetings, two conference calls, and 30 minutes immersed in an adult coloring book during your lunch break.

Um, coloring book?

Well, yes. Grown-ups are all about coloring books these days, and how! In December, eight of the top 20 selling books on Amazon were coloring books for grown ups. No wonder it's become impossible to find a decent gel pen set on clearance anymore!

Walk into Barnes and Noble, Michael's, or any other big box retailer, and you'll find adult coloring books on display front and center. At the rate this trend is going, I wouldn't be surprised to find coloring books on display at Jiffy Lube soon. Something to do while we wait for our oil change.

It's no secret that many employees immerse themselves in coloring books to escape the pressures of the daily workplace. It's an easy way to get away from work and clear their minds for a few minutes. It's mandala meditation for the smartphone-e…

Here's How To Swear At Work the Right Way

Donald Trump might become the next U.S. president, it's time to do your taxes, and the boss just asked you to stay late again.

There's a lot to swear about, isn't there? Here's how to employ your potty mouth at work without sending your career down the toilet!

It's debatable whether swearing at work is professional, but sometimes swear words can, and do, make their way into workplace conversations. "Stuff" happens, as they say. But where does the law fall on swearing at work in an at-will economy?

For best workplace results, try to limit your swearing to conversations about working conditions, wages and hours!

An article on food and restaurant website Eater.com entitled "Restaurant Workers Right To Swear Might Be Protected By Law" serves up this topic and hey, I'd probably swear too if I just burned my hand on a searing stove while a server was explaining a picky customer's complaint about the food being lukewarm.

The story references…

Research Lists the Top Work-Related Autocompletes

You type "my job is" into Google and, before you can type another word, Google Autocompletes the phrase for you. Now a workplace researcher Down Under has compiled a list of the top work-related Autocompletes!

In October 2014, an adjunct research fellow at Australia's Swinburne University of Technology began Googling workplace-related phrases such as "my workplace is," "my job is," "going to work is," "work is," "my boss," and "my workmates" to see how Google would automatically complete each phrase. He ran the same word searches every month for the next year.

So, what did Google Autocomplete reveal about our global workplace? Without further ado, here are the top Autocomplete search results for each phrase:

1. My workplace is...unsafe. Yes, "unsafe" was the top Autocomplete result, followed by "making me sick" and "toxic." Cough.

2. My workmates...don't like me. Feeling on the …

Here's How To Keep Unethical Co-workers At Bay

Are you worried you'll be asked to do something unethical at work? Well, it might be time to update your email signature!

A new study from Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School concludes that a little bit of quiet moral branding can keep our co-workers from asking us to participate in unethical behavior at work.

In one experiment, the researchers asked a group of study participants to read two emails from fictitious senders. One email included an ethical tagline in the signature at the bottom, while the other did not include one.

Then the study participants were asked to send an ethically-challenged, somewhat deceptive response to both parties with the promise of a monetary reward for doing so. So, what happened?

The study participants were much less likely to deceive the fictitious emailer who included the ethical tagline in their email! They decided to take the high road, too. As The …

Looking For Love At Work? Then Don't Work Here

Are you looking for love in all the wrong workplaces?

Well, career intelligence firm Vault.com has released an office romance survey just in time for Valentine's Day that tells us which industries love themselves a little bit of office romance -- and which ones do not.

Let's face it: looking for love in all the wrong faces is more likely to happen if you pick the wrong industry for a living. So, where is the love these days?

Vault concludes that you're most likely to serve up a helping of love and romance in the hospitality and tourism industries. Verging on two-thirds (61%) of hospitality and tourism employees surveyed said that they've engaged in an office romance.

As a Gen Xer for whom The Love Boat was once popcorn-popping appointment television, this finding somehow isn't all that surprising. Besides, if two employees can get through ship-bound Norovirus together, then they can get through anything. Awww!


Where else can you find love with a little bit of adva…

When Arguing Co-workers Ask You To Take Sides

Two co-workers are engaged in a heated debate both have a vested interest in winning, and they're waiting for you to decide which side you're on. Ugh. Let's meet halfway to discuss how to handle this sticky situation!

We've all been there. Why are two of your work peers trying to draw you into choosing sides, anyway?

Well, your co-workers want your endorsement, of course! Your support will add strength to their case. Talk about a delicate balance as you walk the workplace tightrope between one colleague's eventual endorsement and the other work colleague's impending disappointment.

If only we could ask U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren for her advice on being stuck in the middle, right?


So what should we do when one co-worker tries to drag us into his or her battle with another co-worker? Here are five tips for dealing with colleagues who are waiting for you to take their side:

1. Separate the personal from the professional. Is the argument work-related, or perso…

Is Arizona's Restrictive Workplace Potluck Law Toast?

Do you know that it's illegal in Arizona to host a workplace potluck outside the workplace? Wow, and I thought that having to eat hamburger tater tot casserole would be punishment enough!

It's true: If you work in Arizona and host a workplace potluck outside the workplace aaaaand a co-worker just happens to complain to the proper authorities between bites of slow-cooked sloppy joes, then your workplace could face fines, and possibly even arrests.

Not to worry, though! An Arizona legislator is working to overturn this legislative oversight so Arizona employees can tentatively nosh on their co-worker's overcooked tilapia in the banquet room of the local Holiday Inn like the rest of us.

The legislator, State Representative Kelly Townsend (R), hopes the governor will sign an updated workplace potluck bill sometime over the summer.

Will Arizona's workforce finally get a taste of total workplace potluck freedom? Will they, at long last, be able to enjoy their co-worker'…

Urgent! Five Quick Ways To Burn Out Employees

Do you know that Bill Gates used to wander the Microsoft parking lot to see who wasn't at work? A fascinating Washington Post article gives us a bit of insight into Mr. Gates' early approach to entrepreneurial management.

Here's what Mr. Gates had to say about encouraging workplace productivity:

In his early years at Microsoft, Gates — once known for pulling all-nighters and crashing on his office floor — was apparently not a big fan of downtime, for himself or anyone else, he told interviewer Kristy Young.

"I worked weekends, I didn't really believe in vacations," Gates said. "I had to be a little careful not to try and apply my standards to how hard [others] worked. I knew everybody's licence plate so I could look out at the parking lot and see, you know, when people come in."
Wow, talk about incentive to ride a bike to work! I feel burned out simply reading this sneak peek into Microsoft's nascent corporate pressure cooker, while a few st…

5 Tips For Making Your Job Feel Exciting Again

It's Groundhog Day, and Punxsutawney Phil didn't see his shadow. Now the question is, what if you feel like you're starring in a workplace version of the movie Groundhog Day?

If you haven't seen the movie, it's the story of a weatherman (Bill Murray) who keeps reliving the same work day over and over again. Over time, he learns how to work the repeating sequence of events to his advantage, and the movie ends well because it's a movie.

Groundhog Day-like sequences are everywhere in real life, too. Just look at the results in Iowa last night. While it looks like Hillary Clinton is narrowly cruising to victory, the whole thing still feels a little bit like deja vu all over again, doesn't it?


But that's national politics. We need to talk about office politics! Namely, what if your work routine has become, shall we say, a little bit too predictable?

You know the routine. At 9:15 a.m., your co-worker will leave to get a cup of coffee. At 9:25 a.m., your othe…

What If Your Employer Fired You By Mistake?

Your employer fires you, along with a few dozen of your co-workers, by mistake. You might think this workplace scenario would be the stuff of fiction, but it may have just happened for real at a major Silicon Valley employer.

Yahoo! reportedly laid off nearly 30 employees by mistake. It turns out these employees weren't supposed to be fired; they had simply been labeled as low performers. As The New York Post reports:
"They put people on firing lists who they didn't mean to — people who were lower on the performance scale but who weren't meant to get fired," an insider explained. "But no one told the managers, and then they had the conversations, and it was like, 'Oops.'"Oops, indeed. That's the rumor, anyway. Yahoo! denies it happened.

The story as reported, however, raises an interesting, if theoretical, workplace question: If your employer let you go by mistake, then would you want your job back?

Hmm. On the one hand, the employer has just…