Monthly Archive for June, 2006

What Bugs You At Work?

What Bugs You At Work?

You’d be unique among all of the people I’ve met in the world of work if you don’t have a list of things that classify as your “pet peeves” on the job. Left alone, these peeves create stress which in turn gnaws away at your self-confidence, your happiness, your health.

It’s always help me to reminds myself that there is no “peeve free” zone in life. People, things and situations that annoy me will be there wherever I go. I know I have to understand and deal with this truth. Otherwise, I’ll crash into a wall of frustration.

Therefore, I was glad to see the results of a recent survey about what ranks as the biggest peeves careerists have about their life at work. I found that my list is not very different from most others.

The Survey Says

How does your experience compare with these findings in a poll conducted by Harris Interactive, Inc.?

The way that people are managed/supervised includes three of the biggest peeves. At the head of the list in this category is “being spoken to in condescending tones” (44 percent). That’s followed by public reprimands (37 percent) and micromanaging (34 percent).

Things coworkers do that interfere with work performance are near the top of the list of the “bug” list.

About one out of three workers said loud talkers and cell phones ringing bugged them.

Here are some other such annoyances:

Speaker phones in public areas (22 percent);
Personal conversations in the workplace (11 percent);
Profanity (91 percent);
No lunch break (38 percent);
Overtime without additional pay (33 percent).

I invite you to let off some steam by sharing your list of pet peeves with other readers of Re: Your Career. It will be especially helpful if you share your tactics for coping with those things that annoy you.

Just writing this blog makes me feel better.

I wish you success.

Ramon Greenwood, Senior Career Counselor
Common Sense At Work

9 Steps To New Job Success

Every year hundreds of thousands of careerists start new jobs. Survival, to say nothing of career success, is far from guaranteed.

One-fourth of those in their first career jobs don’t survive the first year, according to a study by The Employment Foundation. Nearly half are out the door in 18 months, reports Leadership IQ, a training firm.

The career counseling is clear: recognize the extreme importance of getting off on the right foot from day one on a new job. Performance in the early days will often provide strong and lasting indicators for both employee and employer as to how a new hire will perform. Fair or unfair, first impressions have a lasting effect on success.

Nine Basic Career Tips

Here are nine basic job tips that can be helpful in making the most of the first job.

1. Work, work, work and then work some more. No substitute, no short cut will replace work. This means more than working diligently from eight to five. Take work home for nights and on weekends. Near total immersion in the job is recommended.

2. Arrive early on the job and stay late. Get to work at least 30 minutes before the specified starting time at lease for the first several months. This is a good time, before the interruptions of the day start, to take care of routine chores and get a head start on the day.

Often, the boss is also in early. (That may have something to do with his being boss.) It’s a great time to get better acquainted with him. Demonstrate interest in the job. Ask for extra information and guidance.

Stay a while after the regular hours. Clean up the personal work place. Collect the files and reading materials to take home for review that night. Make a list of actions to be taken the next day.

3. Don’t expect to conquer the world in six months. But realize the scoreboard is operating from day one.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek help when needed. To do so is a sign of strength not an admission of weakness, as is often assumed. Seeking assistance, intelligently, shows confidence and desire to do the job. Acquire a mentor as soon as possible. Find someone who has been around the track to provide coaching and share experiences. This will not be difficult to do; most people like to be asked for advice.

5. Observe how things “really get done.” Learn how the machinery of the organization works. (This is likely to be quite different from what’s spelled out in the policy and training manuals.) Absorb the folklore.

6. Don’t join cliques or deal in office politics. Leave the gossip to others.

7. Respect the hierarchy. The organization is bigger and stronger than any one person. The new boy in the neighborhood can’t change it in the beginning. Recognize and respect there’s a chain of command; everybody has a boss. Rebels rarely survive for the long haul.

8. Know the business of the business…the mission of the organization, what it does and what values it represents. Learn how the job fits into the overall picture.

9. Adapt to the environment. Observe the style of dress – casual or more buttoned down? – and be guided by it. Is business done in an informal manner or strictly by the rules? By memos and formal meetings or by face-to-face discussions and chance meetings in the hallway?

It just makes common sense to recognize that those who go contrary to these guidelines make life difficult for themselves and raise the odds against their career success. Who needs that?

Stress, Stress, Stress

Stress is par for the course in the world of work. One half of those who took part in a survey by CareerBuilders.Com say they feel they are under a “great deal of stress.” Three out of four report they are feeling the stress effects of job burnout.

Who’s to blame?

Sixteen percent put the blame on their colleagues. Other causes listed: unrealistic workload, tight deadlines, last-minute projects and bosses who meddle.

“High pressure work environments are taking their toll on workers’ morale,” said Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilders’ v.p. for human resources. “This can be detrimental to both workers, whose health and career progress may suffer, and employers, who pick up the tab in higher insurance costs and lost productivity.”

In our more rational moments we know no situation, in and of itself, causes stress; stress grows out of how we react to that situation. Of course, that is correct. But it’s a hard matter to put this law of common sense to work when the stress causers go into play.

Each of us has his trigger points where stress kicks in. What’s stress for me may be a walk in the park for you. Each of us develops his own mechanics for dealing with stress.

One thing is common for all of us. It helps to have someone with whom we can discuss our stress problems. I invite you to share your thoughts via Re: Your Career. You can do this anonymously if you prefer.

What causes you the greatest stress on the job?

How do you cope with that stress?

Share your thoughts; help yourself; help others.


Frustrated In Denver

Greetings, Frustrated in Denver

It was good to hear from you. Your message really hit the spot on a problem that is widespread, almost universal.

As head of corporate worldwide communications–internal and external–for several corporations and a Cabinet officer in the Federal government I fought an uphill battle to keep open the lines of two-way communications. Very few people deny that good communications are essential to success for individuals and organizations, but when it comes to follow through it is like pulling hens’ teeth.

The only answer I know is to keep pushing for information. Start by getting your boss to agree on goals you are to work toward and ways your progress will be measured and rewarded. Preach the gospel of open communications at every opportunity.

But when you’ve had your say and the doors still don’t open you have to fall back and try again another day.

If after repeated efforts you don’t make significant progress you should take action to find a better place where a healthier communications environment does exist.

You have to remember that only mushrooms grow in dark places covered with BS.

Let’s hear more on this subject from other subscribers.