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Showing posts from January, 2017

Is "Trump Fatigue" Leaving You Exhausted? Read This.

I've been trying to write a blog post for the last few days, but I've felt oddly distracted. Alas, not by my own life so much as by our national civic life.

I've been feeling, in a word, exhausted. Mentally exhausted. Like I've been riding an emotional roller coaster or something.

Speaking with others has made me realize that I'm not alone in the newsiverse. "I just feel so...I dunno, exhausted? I'm just tired lately," others will admit. They are alluding to an elusive, amorphous malaise, but eventually they come around to the reason for it. "There's so much going on since inauguration day," they'll say. "It's exhausting."

Bingo. We don't want to tune out the news cycle, but we could sure use a break from the alternative facts to catch our breath. Uncertainty is unnerving, and feeling unnerved leaves us vaguely exhausted. Maybe the chaos that has become our daily news cycle needs a name? For lack of a better name, …

Survey Finds More Employees are Running Late to Work

CareerBuilder is out with a new survey that reveals the most outrageous excuses for running late to work, and employees are throwing out some real whoppers!

But that's the not the best part of the survey, IMHO. No, the best part of the survey asked more than 6,000 U.S. employees and hiring/HR managers how often they arrive late to work, and the results reveal that we're running late more often!

More than one-quarter surveyed (29%) admitted to showing up late at least once a month -- a 4% increase over last year! A full 16% of those surveyed, meanwhile, admit to being late to work at least once a week, which is a 3% increase over last year. (If you work with the chronically-late colleague, then here's the post for you.)

What is going on here? Why are more employees running late work? Well, I have a few working theories, and here they are in no particular order:

1. Employees are always on call. Always being "on" thanks to technology can lead to burn out, which can …

Dealing with Co-workers who Make Up their Own Facts

You're sitting in a meeting listening to a colleague share wildly different numbers related to a project. These numbers are nowhere near reality. Okay, now what?

In a healthy workplace culture, a heated debate will follow regarding the veracity of said numbers. No, that's not right. I have the correct data right here. Take. A. Look.

Perhaps this co-worker compares their data and concedes that they are, in fact, incorrect. Perhaps they simply didn't have the most recent numbers (hey, it happens).

But perhaps this co-workers sticks by their own facts and proceeds to double down on their (incorrect) data. In this co-worker's world, two plus two can equal five!

While we're having a national debate regarding truthiness in politics, it remains to be seen what impact a fact-free political culture could have on the average workplace. After all, if our elected leaders will no longer be held to the general facts, why should anyone else be? We can all make up our own facts i…

It's National Compliment Day, Let's Remember How to Compliment Each Other

It's day two (or day five, depending on how you're keeping track) of the new administration, and apparently the transition hasn't gone too smoothly.

I'm tempted to say something less than complimentary, but I will refrain because today is #NationalComplimentDay!

Maybe we need National Compliment Day this year more than ever before? It's been a very negative time, and it only seems to be getting more divisive (and derisive) by the day lately. It's easy to let sarcasm take over our social media feed, but we can do better -- at least for the next few hours. (Can't we?)

Do you know that National Compliment Day has been a compliment to our annual calendar since 1998? The day was founded by Kathy Chamberlin of Hopkinton, New Hampshire and Debby Hoffman of Concord, New Hampshire, who wanted to hear a kind word. And who doesn't like to hear a kind word? According to, here is how we should ideally celebrate today:

To give a great complim…

Buh-bye! How to Quit a Job with Class and Style

Did you see White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest give the Obama administration's last White House press briefing yesterday?

Earnest took a few minutes to talk about the job, and to thank his co-workers. Then his boss, President Obama, came forward to offer a few kind remarks, as well.

The whole thing got me thinking about how to leave a job with grace, class and style. For many of us, quitting classy can be easier said than done. After all, we're quitting for a good reason, right? Why should we care what our (soon-to-be-ex) co-workers think of us as we kick back and count down the minutes to greener pastures?

Because how we leave a job is just as important as how we start one, if not more so!

We've all had that bad day at work where we would love to be Joanna in Office Space quitting our job loudly with flair, but it's generally not a great idea to stomp our way out of the workplace and leave our co-workers holding our steaming plate of loose ends. For better or …

Big Surprise, Narcissistic Bosses Create Bully Employees

When the boss is a complete narcissist, employees turn into big, bad bullies with big, bad reputations. Or so says a new management study. Let's all do our best Frank Underwood power pose, and discuss!

A new University of Manchester Business School (UK) study queried 1,200 employees across a wide range of industries. The findings reveal that not only are employees with narcissistic bosses more depressed, they're also more likely to engage in "counter-productive" workplace behaviors such as taking credit for other people's work, being overly-critical, taking advantage of colleagues and generally displaying an unattractive aggressiveness on the job. As they become bullies, they develop a poor reputation.

In other words, if the boss is a complete jerk without a clear ethical compass, then employees will begin to become jerks themselves. This study is a good reminder about the importance of functional, top-down leadership. Employees pay close attention to everything …

This New Gadget Lets Employers Dial Down the Noise Level

Open office environments are noisy, and there goes your co-worker taking another loud, long-winded smartphone call!

Perhaps you need to make a call, but your phone calls are neither loud nor long-winded, of course.

Either way, you wish there were a way to create more quiet among the 1' x 2' work spaces assigned through daily festival seating. If only you didn't have to listen to your co-worker talk to her wedding planner anymore!

Well, now there is an emerging gadget that will quiet the co-worker who is on the phone arguing loudly with the cable company. The gadget is called the Hushme, and it made an appearance at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently. A more technical way to describe the Hushme is as a "voice masking device for mobile phones." I like to think of it as noise canceling headphones for our mouth.

Here's how it works: Hushme uses an app to synchronize to your smartphone. It comes with attached (er, "integrated" in tech-…

What If Your Boss Will Only Speak With You In Cyberspace?

Like everyone else, I'm been following the war of words between Meryl Streep and our Twittering president-elect. For the record, I agree with Ms. Streep. We need empathy, and a lot more of it these days.

For my blog, however, this war of words raises a very 21st-Century kind of management question: What if your boss communicates with you solely in cyberspace, and never, ever face-to-face? And what if your boss likes it this way?

The Cyberboss Who Sits 50 Feet Away
To be clear, I'm not talking about teleworkers based 3,000 miles (or more) away from management. That's a whole different matter. No, I'm talking about the boss who works in the same office -- perhaps a mere 50-feet away behind closed doors! This manager inhabits the same office space as employees, but will only communicate via cyberspace. Email. Texting. Facebook. Twitter. Slack. Insert app here. It's gotten far too easy just to send a message.

But what message is management really sending here? This man…

Going Viral: When Colleagues Suddenly Tell You They're Contagious

You're meeting with a fellow professional when they tell you they have the stomach flu. Oops, it's too late now. You've been exposed!

This topic is on my mind this week as everyone in the greater Washington DC area tries to duck and weave around a highly-contagious stomach flu that's making the rounds in a big way.

But what happens when we don't know a colleague has a raging head cold until we're being exposed front and center to it in a one-on-one meeting? Who hasn't been invited to a friend's house to hear them say: "Hi! How are you? We're almost over a stomach bug, we've all taken a turn being sick this week. Would you like a cup of coffee?"

Almost? Oh, no.

I've noticed a more casual parenting approach to common cold and flu viruses over the last few years where tots with deep, croupy coughs are running loose on the playground, but it's even more complicated when it happens between professionals on the job.

A long time ago,…

What If You Still Can't Decide If You Like Social Media?

So I'm getting back into the blogging swing of things and came across an article in The Guardian entitled "I've Left Twitter. It Is Unusable For Anyone But Trolls, Robots and Dictators." Oh, boy. #Discuss.

As Guardian writer Lindy West elaborates in 140 characters (and more):

I deactivated my Twitter account today. It was more of a spontaneous impulse than a New Year resolution, although it does feel like a juice cleanse, a moulting, a polar-bear plunge, a clean slate (except the opposite – like throwing your slate into a volcano and running). One moment I was brains-deep in the usual way, half-heartedly arguing with strangers about whether or not it’s “OK” to suggest to Steve Martin that calling Carrie Fisher a “beautiful creature” who “turned out” to be “witty and bright as well” veered just a hair beyond Fisher’s stated boundaries regarding objectification (if you have opinions on this, don’t tweet me – oh, wait, you can’t); and the next moment the US president-ele…

Here are 10 Workplace Resolutions You Can Actually Keep

Yay, 2016 is finally history! What a long, strange trip it was, too. Take it away, John Oliver.

To be honest, there have been worse years (the Great Depression years weren't exactly a bowl of strawberries, for starters) and we have to stay positive. Let's move on. It's 2017 and time for new beginnings!

Have You Made Your New Year's Resolution Yet?
It's time for new year's resolutions at work, and the list of evergreen resolutions is long. We're going to eschew the office cake culture. We're going to hit the gym after work every day. We're going to take the stairs instead of the elevator. We're going to get a new job. We're going to get that promotion.

We're going to create a better work-life balance. We're going to arrive five minutes early for everything. We're going to use social media less and interact in person more. We're going to land a big client. We're going to be more present in our own lives. We're going to …