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Pimp Your Work

December 28th, 2007

Pimping Bookmarks: Dealing with the boss

Your boss could be like your best friend or your worst enemy.  Here are some articles that will help you survive any relationship turmoils with your boss:

A 6 Step Guide on How to Earn the Love of Your Boss

Top 7 Ways to Make Your Boss Hate You

How to Suck Up without Looking Like You’re Sucking Up

20 Ways to Impress Your Boss

5 Ways to Disarm a Grumpy Boss

How to get the boss to like you

How to befriend a boss

OMG - My Boss Wants to Befriend me via my Online Profile

By Celine -- 2 comments

December 27th, 2007

Cartoon Thursdays: Reducing stress


From Carol Simpson Productions’ workplace cartoons.

By Celine -- 0 comments

December 20th, 2007

Cartoon Thursdays: Improving morale

From Dilbert by Scott Adams.

By Celine -- 0 comments

December 14th, 2007

Productivity gifts for the holiday season (under $50)

Ah, the holiday season is near. If you’re a true productivity genius, you probably bought all your gifts and planned your holiday budget way back in June. But for those who are new to the productivity game, here is a quick list of great productivity gifts you can get for the following people:

  • Geeks and gadget freaks
  • People who are already productive
  • People who really need some productivity in their lives.

Gifts under $10

The Staple Free Stapler lets you staple all your corporate paperwork without the danger of getting an unruly staple in your eye. Comes in 3 colors, but can only clip at most 5 sheets together. Price: $5.99

Have a smelly coworker who’s always asleep on the job? Give him the Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap. He can lather up and get a caffeine dose at the same time! And no, you can’t eat it. Price: $6.99 Another alternative is the peppermint-flavored Costic’s Caffeianted Soap. Price: $5.97

Dilbert is the ultimate corporate slave. If you identify with him, you’ll love this Dilbert Stress Toy. An excellent stocking stuffer for those who experience stress in their workdays and want to release it, either by squeezing hard or turning this into a voodoo doll. Price: $3.99

Is desktop sanitation an issue in your office? If so, you might just need this USB Mini Vacuum Cleaner. It sucks out the disgusting stuff stuck in your keyboard and the other nooks and crannies on your desk. Price: $8.95

Under $25

Is it hot in your office?  That’s probably because the company’s cutting down on the electric bill.  If that’s the case, your colleagues would love a desktop personal air conditioner.   Price: $22.99

If you notice that your office is wasting tons of paper each year printing monthly calendars, a magnetic monthly planner might do the trick.  It’s magnetic, a dry-erase board, and you can put sticky notes on it, too. Price: $19.99

Under $50

Have trouble getting up in the morning? The Sonic Bomb Alarm Clock will shake your bed and your ears. There’s no way you’re snoozing this. The only way you’ll stay asleep through the alarm is if you’re completely deaf and paralyzed. Or dead. Price: $39.99

If your coworker keeps asking you “Where is that pen?” throughout your workday, then you’re both losing precious minutes of your time.  Here’s a Revolving Desk Organizer to help your disorganized friend keep office tools within reach. Price: $29.99

Does your spouse come home with leg cramps after a long day at the office, sitting in her workstation?  If that’s the case, a pedal exerciser under her desk might do the trick.  Price: $39.95

Finally, this sleek monitor stand drawers let you get some extra storage space from under your monitor.  It comes in a sleek black color.  Price: $49.00 

By Celine -- 2 comments

December 14th, 2007

3 Reasons why 2008 will be the year of the web worker

Before 2007 ends, Web Worker Daily asks us to finish this sentence: “2008 will be the Year of the Web Worker because…” While I may be writing this post as an attempt to join the contest to win a Microsoft Ergonomic Desktop 7000, it’s a writing challenge that interests me, because I mainly talk about life in the corporate cubicle.  However, there are just some things about cubicle life that make people want to migrate to working via the web.

So, without further ado, 2008 will be the Year of the Web Worker because…

Sitting in a cubicle all day while getting repetitive strain injury feels less attractive when we see people like John Chow making tens of thousands of dollars via his blog.  Making money online is really attractive when you see other people doing it for real, whether it’s through selling ad space on their website or providing freelance services.  If you’re not happy with cubicle life, watching the success of these people just makes you want to work from home entirely or augment your income with some online earnings.

Working on the web may have online office politics, but at least your computer has an “off” switch.  Office politics does have its online versions.  You could be patronized by a smart alecky client.  Or, your online colleagues are instant messaging behind your back about how you aren’t pulling your own weight for a project.  It’s a lot easier to avoid all the politics online because you can easily amuse yourself with the “Stumble!” button, go look at another job via LinkedIn, or turn off the computer altogether.  On the other hand, gossip near the water cooler is hard to avoid, especially since you’re forced to see annoying colleagues every day of the workweek.

You can work in your pajamas.  In fact, you can even work without any pajamas at all - just don’t tell anyone.  The point is, the superficial corporate attire won’t be a factor in how you’re perceived in the online workplace.  This means that employees no longer have to spend on office clothing, and instead of being judged via their physical appearance, they will be judged based on how professional they appear to be on the internet.

How about you?  Do you have any ideas to add on why 2008 will be the year of the web worker?

By Celine -- 0 comments

December 7th, 2007

Saying “Thank You” in the Workplace

Home Biz Notes recently posted an article about how to master the “Art of Thank You” in a home business. Sadly, the art of thanks is something that seems to be slipping from the culture of most corporate hellmouths environments. Here are some of the things from that post which can be applied to the workplace:

*Remember your employees with thank you’s.

*Carry postcards with you so you can write notes while you wait or find someone needs a bit of cheer. These may be special ones or simply those purchased at the post office with a happy face sticker on them.

*Smile! Even those little smiling faces on your e-mail notes add a bit of cheer with thank you’s. Seeing your smiling face often brings an answering smile and cheers the person you encounter.

Click here to read the rest of that article.

As for the corporate slave employee, here are some additional tips that will help you spread a little bit of thankful cheer around the office:

If a coworker’s efforts have affected you positively, let them know. For example, a coworker created a wonderful presentation last month.  It was the presentation to end all presentations.  If this inspired you to create better presentations and your improvement is noticed, let the inspiring coworker know that you couldn’t have done it without her work as your basis.

Compliment your boss.  If you think you shouldn’t do this because everyone else is doing it, think again.  Odds are, all the thanks your boss is getting are from insincere suck-ups.  Here’s a previous post on some tips on how you can avoid looking like a suck-up yourself.

Leave something in the office fridge.  Does your secretary bring in your coffee just the way you like it? Did your project partner clock in extra hours with you?  If so, leave a small bag of cookies, a small container of assorted fruits, and other yummy treats in the office fridge for them to find.  Label it with their name and insert a small “Thank You” card inside.  Don’t forget to sign the card - they might think that their enemies are trying to poison them.

Give a personalized token.  It makes people feel special if they know you went out of your way to do something for them.  It’s one of the best ways to show you’re grateful.  Instead of a simple store-bought item, make something unique for them.  Specialized printing shops like Cafepress or Zazzle can do this for you (or you can find a cheap offline alternative).  As for what to put on the token, you can use an inside joke, a catchy phrase, or something from the recipient’s long list of hobbies or interests.  For example, if you’re thanking your officemate Jodi and you know she has a baby, you can print a bib that says “Jodi is a kickass mom!” (or something more wholesome).  Or if Bob didn’t sleep one night to help you troubleshoot your computer, you can print a pillow that says “Bob deserves his sleep!”.  Be creative.

How do you show thanks in the workplace?  Do you use any of the ideas mentioned above, or do you have your own unique way?  Share your own “thank you” ideas with the readers via the comments.

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By Celine -- 6 comments

December 5th, 2007

Are you successful? Find out now! (Part 2)

In a previous post, we talked about the different ways for you to measure success. Now, we’ll try to measure success as accurately as we can. Here’s how:

1. Grab any writing tool you like, whether it’s pen and paper, Notepad, or a mind mapping tool. For this example, I’m using Mindomo.

2. Write your name in the center of your writing space.

3. Around your name, write down your main ideas of what success is.
They don’t have to be detailed, we can add detail later. It’ll look something like this:

Read More

By Celine -- 0 comments

November 30th, 2007

Thinking like management

Brian over at TheJobBored has an interesting post entitled “How to think like management (and how doing so can help your career)”.  I thought I’d share it with you, since it raises some very interesting points:

  1. Know management’s pressure points.
  2. Anticipate and offer solutions.
  3. Understand the interpersonal.
  4. Talk to your boss.
  5. Make your boss look bad.
  6. Make your boss look  good.
  7. Anticipate the good decisions management might make, and share the credit.
  8. Anticipate the bad decisions management might make, and get out of the way!
  9. Think like the CEO.

To get the more detailed (and I really mean detailed) version, head on over to Brian’s post.   I’ve said similar things in the posts A 6 Step Guide on How to Earn the Love of your Boss and Top 7 Ways to Make Your Boss Hate You.  Use the above tips with the previous posts I linked to, and you’ll be well on your way to office domination.  Which could be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective.

By Celine -- 0 comments

November 30th, 2007

Are you successful? Find out now! (Part 1)

*Cartoon by Andy Singer

Success. It means many things to different people.

A man lives in a small farmhouse with his wife and two kids. He spends his days on the field, and his nights reading to his kids. Is he successful?

How about a young stockbroker with a six-figure income who doesn’t have savings or an emergency fund, but can buy anything she wants. This includes the latest designer clothes and the most high-tech gadgets. Is she successful?

The thing is, success means whatever your definition of success is. Here are some common ideas:

Career. Some people measure success via the corporate ladder, or how far they’ve gone in their careers. Your ambition greatly depends on your position in the company, or any specific rewards you’ve gotten for your good work. Sometimes, you don’t have to be at the top to feel successful - I know some people who would prefer to be team captains rather than managers, or creative directors rather than CEOs. It all depends on where you want to be career-wise.

Family life. Some people dream of meeting “the one”, settling down, and raising kids. For them, having a stable family life is ideal, where the relationships are harmonious and everyone is healthy. People who define success via family life might often pass up “important” career opportunities just to be near and accessible to their loved ones. An example would be a mother declining a promotion that would require her to be out of town for 4 days in a week, or a spouse who would work at a job he isn’t passionate about if the job could pay for his wife’s hospitalization. Also, they spend most of their free time with their family.

Money.  This type of definition may depend on a few different things: the assets one has, one’s income, or one’s savings.  For some people, the more income you have, the better.  for others, the more they save, the more financially free they feel.  I know of someone who measures his financial success mostly on how much he earns from the stock market. If money is one of the ways in which you measure success, figure out where you want to be financially, and see if you’re taking steps to get there.

Objects and possessions.  Whether it’s a house in the Hamptons or the entire collection of Star Trek commemorative plates, some people measure their success based on the objects within their possession.  For example, a young teenager may have an iPhone, and think that she’s “made it”.

Free time.  Timothy Ferriss of The 4 Hour Work Week comes to mind with this one.  Some people measure success based on the free time they have to do the things they love.  This means that they are in full control of their time, often without having to sacrifice so much time on something they’re not passionate about just to earn a bit of money. 

Monumental discoveries or achievements.  If you dream of winning the Nobel Prize or writing a bestselling novel, then you probably measure success based on achievement.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that the achievement is quantifiable.  For example, an artist may simply want one of her paintings exhibited at the Met.  Or a playwright might want to have his work staged on Broadway.

Physical and mental health.  It’s hard to be completely healthy in this world of processed foods and psychological disorders.  If you’ve never been hospitalized and are considered to be of sound mental faculties, then you might consider yourself a success.  My grandfather is 81 and he can still play tennis in winter.  According to him, he feels very successful, compared to his wife who has to walk with a cane and takes tens of pills everyday.

The common good or society at large.  It’s hard to find people who devote their lives to the greater good, but they do exist.  They go where they’re needed, whether it’s on a medical mission, building homes for impoverished families, or teaching in a third world country.  Of course, “good” is still relative, but as long as they feel they’re making a positive contribution to the planet and society, then they can consider themselves successful.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this post, where you’ll learn how to measure success more accurately.

As for you, how do you define success? Share it with us in the comments.

By Celine -- 2 comments

November 25th, 2007

What to do when your team loses

Face it - at least once in your life, you’ll lose.  The Pros team lost last week’s b5 media Apprentice Challenge. While this contest is done in the spirit of fun, real life losses are much harder to cope with, whether it’s a loss of an important client, an unapproved project, or a boss’ disappointment with your efforts.

What’s worse than losing by yourself, is to lose with a team.  Especially if you’re the team captain.  Instead of sulking in a corner, there are more mature ways to deal with losing:

Keep your spirits up.  The second that you hear a negative remark from the little voice in your head, put it out of your mind.  In fact, don’t entertain negative thoughts at all. Letting these thoughts in will bring down your morale, as well as the team’s.

Find out what you could’ve done better.  With each loss is a lesson. Find out what gave the other team an edge over you.  Losing doesn’t necessarily mean that you did a bad job, but that you could’ve done some things better.  Figure out those things and apply them to your next project.

Show appreciation for everyone’s efforts.  Regardless of the end result, your team probably worked hard on the project.  Congratulate and reward them for their diligence - they deserve it.  Go out for dinner as a team, give them an early night off, etc.  Show them that their good work did not go unnoticed.

Focus on how well the team worked.  Apart from asking yourselves what you could’ve done better, congratulate yourselves on what aspects of the project worked really well.  This emphasizes the ‘winning’ aspects of your work.

Look forward to the next challenge.  Get the team excited about the next project, if there is one.  Don’t make any false promises of winning.  Instead, make a concrete action plan that earns the confidence of your teammates.

By Celine -- 5 comments

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