Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the December 18, 2006 issue of QuintZine.
As the new year draws near, the familiar adage, “Nothing ventured, nothing gained” may be truer than ever — especially on the job. A recent survey by Accountemps reveals that, while a small percentage of workers (12 percent) made career-related resolutions at the beginning of 2006, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of those who did were successful in achieving their goals. When it comes to career objectives for 2007, 24 percent of respondents named skills enhancement as their No. 1 priority for the new year. Earning a raise or promotion was a close second.
For those considering career-related New Year’s resolutions, Accountemps offers the following tips:
- Set realistic objectives. Allow yourself stretch goals, but make sure they are attainable. Establish a timeline for accomplishing them.
- Develop a specific plan. Break big goals into smaller action items to ensure you stay on track. If your aim is to receive a promotion, for example, chances are there are several things you will need to do to reach this objective.
- Reward yourself. Acknowledge your successes — doing so will increase your drive to keep achieving.
- Maintain balance. You may be dedicated to your career, but don’t lose sight of personal interests. Recognize when you’re overloaded and prioritize accordingly.
Following are three common types of challenging supervisors and tips for working with them:
- The box of chocolates – As with selecting a bonbon from an assortment, you never know what you’re going to get with this boss. The manager may pal around with you one day and turn a cold shoulder the next. There seems to be little rhyme or reason to his or her moods.
Your coping strategy: Understand that your supervisor’s disposition has little to do with you, so try not to take things personally. Remain calm and composed when interacting with this type of boss; you’ll be the steady presence he or she may need. When this manager is on edge, try to limit communication to e-mail unless a matter is urgent. Do everything in your power to ease this person’s stress level, which is likely the driving factor behind his or her mood swings.
- The bully – This boss has a consistent disposition: overbearing. The manager wants to do things his or her way, or no way at all, tends to be gruff with others, and is easily frustrated.
Your coping strategy: Deal with this person the same way you would a schoolyard bully: Stand up for yourself. When an idea is dismissed, calmly explain your rationale. If accused of a mistake you didn’t make, keep your composure and describe what happened. Often, this type of boss will relent when presented with a voice of reason. In fact, this person may do a complete turnaround once he or she is convinced you’re up to the challenge of working together. If your relationship doesn’t improve and your manager continues to bully you, however, it may be time to look for a new job.
- The micro-manager – This person wants to know every detail of every project — and be involved in all decisions. He or she also has trouble delegating and may not give you very challenging assignments.
Your coping strategy: The first step is to look inward. Have you done something to undermine your manager’s confidence? When supervisors behave this way, it’s often because they don’t believe employees will do the job accurately. Because trust is usually the issue, try to do everything in your power to build it, including being detail-oriented and keeping your manager apprised of all the steps you’ve taken to ensure quality work. The more confident your manager is in your abilities, the less controlling that person is likely to be.
Challenger provided the following list of holiday party guidelines for workers to keep in mind when they attend this year’s functions (and be sure to see holiday office party tips from our own resident expert, Dr. Randall S. Hansen.)
GUIDELINES FOR OFFICE HOLIDAY PARTYGOERS
- Arrive early: This might be your best opportunity to talk with senior executives while things are still relatively quiet.
- Work the room: It is easy to simply socialize with the members of your department, with whom you work
- Do not over indulge: Free alcohol can quickly lead to excessive drinking. Stay in control. You do not want to do anything embarrassing to you or your employer. Even if your alcohol-induced actions do not get you fired, they could hurt your chances for advancement.
- Be friendly, but not too friendly: The company party is not the place to try out your latest pick-up lines. The risk of such behavior being seen as sexual harassment is high.
- Avoid talking business: This is not the time to approach your boss with a new business idea. Save that for Monday morning. Instead, find out about his or her interests outside of the office. Find a connection on a personal level that will help you on Monday when you bring up the new idea, and it could help when it comes time for salary reviews.
- Attend other companies’ parties: Only 21 percent of company parties are employees-only. If a friend invites you to his or her company party, you should go. It is an opportunity to expand your professional network, which is critical in this era of downsizing and job-switching.
with day in and day out. However, you gain if you use this occasion to meet people in other departments. You never know who can help your career.
Review all our Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips.