Monthly Archive for November, 2008

Career Advice: Arrive Early, Stay Late

“Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

I think Woody Allen was eighty percent right when he coined that truism. I’d give him a 100 if he had said, “Eighty percent of success is showing up earlier and staying later than your cohorts at work, especially your boss.”

I’m not advocating workaholic hours. Nor am I suggesting sucking up to the boss. Here’s my career tip: A few minutes on either end of the workday will produce real, measurable results along your career path.

This career strategy delivers several advantages.

1. Your boss will be impressed with your energy and commitment to your job.

2. You’ll have time without distractions (phones ringing, colleagues interrupting) to organize your tasks for the day when you come earlier and wrap them up when you stay later. Your productivity will increase.

3. You can get a few minutes one-on-one with your boss because chances are others won’t be there. This is the opportunity for coaching; learning how he thinks; what are his on-the-job problems; and how you can help him reach his goals.

4. You’ll have more time to take on added responsibilities, thus increasing your value to your employer.

5. You won’t be tagged as a “clock watcher.”

And while you are at it, cut down on the time you are taking for coffee breaks and lunches.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Coach
Common Sense At Work

Career Advice: Bosses Are Human,Too, In Tough Times

Bosses, by their very nature, are not always warm and cozy figures. Turbulent economic times don’t make them any easier to get along with.

Recognizing that bosses are the gatekeepers on their career paths, wise careerists will cut them a little slack and work harder to make their boss relationships mutually rewarding.

Career Tip: As hard as it may be a times, it is productive to realize that bosses are human, too.

They are under more pressure than ever before for increased productivity and greater profits from fewer resources. Deadlines, once set in weeks are now often same-day. Accountability, measured by demanding metrics, is exercised to an exhausting degree. The pressure is growing for quarter-to-quarter increases in profits.

Many of the perks that made life more pleasant have disappeared. Easy days, time to kick back and enjoy the trip, have gone away.

Bosses are expected to learn new skills and different ways of doing things. Trained in a culture of building staffs, they are often forced to dismantle and reconfigure in endless accordion motions. They have to drop the axe on good employees as well as goof-offs.

Managers are suffering from what has been described as “survivor sickness.”

With all of this turmoil going on, is it any wonder that bosses are harder to trust and get along with than ever before?

Workers’ Confidence On Downhill Slide

Meanwhile, studies of employee attitudes show repeatedly that workers’ confidence in their employers is on a downhill slide.

“The day when management could say, ‘Trust us, this is for your own good’ are over,” according to a report from Opinion Research Corporation. “Employees have seen that if the company steams off in some new strategic tack and it doesn’t work, employees lose their jobs, not management.”

In this sort of environment it is not surprising that many bosses act like endangered species, frightened and insecure. Feeling threatened, are driven to protect their turf. They chop away at any signs of independence.

“They (bosses) become hostile toward those around them or toward themselves…or they try to impose strict controls on everything within their jurisdiction,” declares Dr. Gerald Kraines, a Harvard psychiatrist.

“As job security declines, anxiety increases, trust goes by the wayside, and people at all levels…start behaving in bizarre and unpredictable ways,” declares Industry Week magazine. “Just because someone has the word ‘manager’ printed on their business card doesn’t mean that person is immune to the external pressures all of us feel. You boss may appear to be an unfeeling, insensitive automaton. More likely, he or she is reacting to the same workplace changes you are.”

It’s worth repeating every day: bosses are human, too. Give your boss the benefit of the doubt. The wise careerists double their efforts to take pressure off their bosses and make them look good in the eyes of the organization.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood

FREE CAREER ADVICE IMMEDIATELY AVAILABLE

The path to career success is going through a rough patch in a troubled economy environment. The need for common sense career coaching has not been greater in recent memory.

Turbulent times not withstanding, I can help you to translate your ambitions into the rewards you deserve: promotions, money and personal satisfaction. No charge, no obligation.

What’s my payoff? I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a successful and rewarding career. Now, I want to share what I have learned with you and others who are working diligently to achieve career success. My reward will be in knowing that I have helped you to succeed to the best of your abilities.

The career advice I provide is based on my experience in major corporations, including American Express. My qualifications also include experience as an entrepreneur, professional director, consultant on career and business strategies and author.

I deliver my coaching via my free semi-monthly newsletter, The Career Accelerator (c); my blog and one-on-one career counseling.

You can subscribe to The Career Accelerator by going to the sign-up form to the right. As a bonus, I will also send you a copy of my e-book, HOW TO GET A RAISE.

You’ve already found Your Blog For Career Advice (c). Here’s your opportunity to comment on my newsletter, post your opinions on career-related issues and engage others in discussions. Plus, you can get one-on-one career advice.

You’ll find recommendations for books, articles and other newsletters that will help you accelerate your career.

You’ll also be able to access the archives of The Career Accelerator going back to January, 2004.

For more information please visit my website: www.commonsenseatwork.com>

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You have everything to gain and absolutely nothing to lose except the roadblocks on your path to career success by subscribing to The Career Accelerator and participating in Your Blog For Career Advice.

I wish you success!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

EIGHT STEPS TO AVOID E-MAIL OVERLOAD

There was a time, not long ago, when e-mail was hailed as great step forward in improving our efficiency on the job. Now, most of us are struggling to avoid being overloaded with messages.

“We’re like frazzled lab rats, being poked and prodded and beeped and pinged,” declares Maggie Jackson, author of “Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and The Coming Dark Age.”

You can buy a copy of Distracted from Amazon.com, just click here.

The average worker receives 200 e-mails a day.

Productivity gurus recommend a number of steps to manage the overflow. Here are the eight steps that make the most sense to me.

1. Don’t check e-mail first thing in the morning. Go there no more than twice a day. Make the last stop a short time before you wrap up the day to be sure you not missing an urgency.

2. Propose solutions/answers rather than ask questions.

3. Unsubscribe to newsletters and other lists that you never read.

4. Send fewer e-mails, only the essential ones. Make them shorter. Avoid computer-speak; abide by the rules of good grammar, punctuation and spelling.

5. Separate business from personal messages. Deal with business matters during the day; personal during off hours.

6. Don’t share your e-mail address with any and everyone.

7. Send “carbon copies” only to those who need to know.

8. Be sure you are utilizing “white lists” and other barriers to spam.

I wish you career success!!!

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

CAREER ADVICE: OPPORTUNITIES BASED ON MERITS IN TURBULENT TIMES

Employers don’t plan to make major changes in their salary budgets for 2009, anticipating merit raises by an average of 3.6 percent which is virtually the same as in 2008, according to a survey by Mercer LLC, a New York consulting firm.

But at the same time, nearly one-third of employers have already made cuts in their work force, while 37 percent are considering staff reductions. Bonuses will likely be reduced. Many employers are cutting back on recruiting. Some have put a freeze on hiring. Perks are being axed.

There is good news in all of this upheaval for those who are working hard and earning a return on the investment their employers are making in them.

The key word is here “merit.”

A SWEETENED POT FOR PRODUCERS

Many companies say they are sweetening the pay pot for their top talent…28 percent have or are planning to add variable performance-based pay programs or revising existing ones. Employers are also looking at ways to reward high performers with benefits such as restricted stock grants, spot cash payments and flexible-scheduling options, says Mercer.

“…incentives are critical for retaining top star performers in an economic slump,” says Ken Abosch, compensation expert at Hewitt Associates, Inc. “Now may be a time where (employers) have to disadvantage the masses in order to take care of (the) best talent,” he adds. “If you don’t somebody else will.”

I hope you will be one of those who survives and prospers in these difficult times in the coming months.

Ramon Greenwood, Head Career Coach
Common Sense At Work

P.S. If you are interested in knowing more about advancing you career in these turbulent times, I invite you
to subscribe to my free Internet semi-monthly newsletter, The Career Accelerator, See the subscription form to the right.