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Pimp Your Work

December 21st, 2007

Pimping Bookmarks: The job hunt

Whether you’re fresh out of college or you’re looking to switch jobs, here are some handy articles that will help you get through the job hunt as painlessly as possible.

How to budget for a job hunt This is something that only a few people do, thinking they can easily get a job after they graduate.  I don’t care if you went to the Harvard Business School, you need to work on this budget before you even graduate.

The job hunt - a shotgun vs. laser approach.  An interesting look on two different approaches of looking for a  job.

The 10 rules of job hunting.  Excellent tips collected over at Free Money Finance.

How to construct a killer resume from start to finish Look over your resume with these tips in mind before you print out a gazillion copies.

Master the interview process.  Over at Interview Chatter, Darlene McDaniel has such a vast inventory of interview related articles.  Here are the ones job hunters can benefit from:

By Celine -- 2 comments

November 16th, 2007

Top 7 ways to make your boss hate you

1. Be obvious that you’re after her job. The best way to do this is to go to work very early in the morning and sit in the boss’ chair. When she arrives, she’ll be surprised to find you there. Tell her you’re merely “practicing” for when you get her job. Then, have an evil chuckle while walking all the way to your cubicle.

2. Make excuses. Lame excuses. For any complaint from your boss, you need to make the most unbelievable excuses possible. This is because if you’re excuse is believable, she might think “This is too believable to be true!” Instead, say the following things:

“The 10 pages of ‘All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy’ in my report wasn’t from me… it was from Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’.”

“My gigapet ate my PowerPoint presentation.”

3. Believe that deadlines are merely suggestions. If you haven’t finished a report on time, it’s best to tell your boss “You didn’t really mean November 18, did you? Because from your tone of voice, I was under the impression that you meant ’somewhere near or maybe after’ November 18.”

4. Know that your boss is there to be the butt of jokes. Everyone loves humor in the office. That’s why The Office is such a big hit. If your boss announces that he’s got a “shiny new award” at a seminar, ask if the award is his “shiny bald head”. Or, if she announces she’ll give everyone a raise, you can joke about how you get your own personal “raise” whenever she passes by. Female bosses love that! It’s a compliment!

5. Free yourself from the dictatorship of your alarm clock. Waking up to get to work when your alarm clock rings is a sign of slavery. From now on, stop becoming a slave of this infernal machine! Wake up whenever you feel like it. Go to work whenever you feel like it, if you feel like it at all.

6. Evade all responsibility. That’s what colleagues are for. If they’re around to take initiative, why should you? In fact, if you’re assigned to something, it helps to tell your boss about a colleague who is really good at that kind of task. “You want me to present? But we all know that Holly is the expert presenter around here!”

7. Take home all the staplers, paper clips, and post-its that can fit in your briefcase. If you want more, simply bring 5 briefcases to work.

By Celine -- 1 comment

November 9th, 2007

Put on a pimpin’ show

There’s a task - a presentation, a report, it doesn’t matter - and no one wants to do it because it looks tough. You were stuck with the job. Surprisingly, because of your unique badass skills, you managed to finish the job in an hour without breaking a sweat. Do you:

a) Tell your boss about it so you’ll be rewarded for your exceptional skills, and maybe even promoted.
b) Boast to your colleagues about how quickly you finished the job, so as to lower their self esteem.
c) Sleep.
d) All of the above.

Whatever you do, don’t do (a), (b), or (d).

Because if you overperform at work, odds are your boss will always dump the toughest jobs on you. Plus, you’ll be expected to do them really fast. Before you know it, you’re doing stuff that your colleagues are supposed to be doing.

You’ll be raising their expectations of you, which will force you to outdo yourself every time.

I’m not saying don’t overachieve at work. What I’m saying is, if you did something really well and did it in a short amount of time, don’t make it look easy. Appear as if you worked really hard to get it done. Because you did work hard. You probably invested several hours years ago learning the skill that helped you complete your project. You probably read a lot about it, or did a lot of research that just happened to be useful right now.

Instead of “It only took me an hour!” say, “I put a lot of research and analysis into this.”

Instead of “It was super easy! I can’t believe the others thought it would be astronomically hard!” say “I can understand why most people would shirk at this kind of project, but I found the challenge interesting and motivating.”

That way, you still get the credit you deserve and the respect of your supervisors. But they won’t be dumping unusual amounts of work on you. You’ll also be motivated to perform equally well, or even better, next time.

Of course, this does not apply to something that even monkeys can do, such as stapling files.

By Celine -- 0 comments

March 8th, 2007

Five Strategies to Pimp Your Work

We have a lot of different ideas on how to Pimp Your Work. And we present them, sometimes relentlessly, as multitudes of ideas hit us. I thought I’d take a little higher view of pimping your work and move all of this to strategy.

Here are five strategies to Pimp Your Work:

Be Financially Secure. Have enough saved in the bank to live on for a year. Why? So you won’t be desperate to take a job that isn’t right for you.

Know Yourself. Know what work excites you and what work bores you to death. Know the level of office politics you can tolerate.

Understand Corporate Speak. When a company says that they will be looking for ways to improve efficiency in your department, you should know whether that means laying people off or increasing productivity as you continue to work.

Improve Your Skills. There is a need to balance the “next new thing” with practical increases in your skill set. Improvement, however, is necessary to maintain your position in the marketplace regardless of where you work today.

Performance Counts. Always work towards top performance. If you perform well, the chances of being laid off are less. If you are laid off, your performance will be the criteria on which you will be hired again at a different company. People want to work with people who perform.

Yes, there are tools and tips. But they all fall into these strategies to Pimp Your Work.

By Scot Herrick -- 1 comment

March 1st, 2007

A Jet Blue Perspective

When I was enjoying myself in sunny Costa Rica on vacation, the United States East Coast enjoyed one of those great consecutive snow blowouts that snarled traffic, cancelled school, and created general havoc for everyone.

Jet Blue got caught in the crosshair as well, stranding passengers on planes out on the runways for hours, canceling a thousand flights, and estimating their cost to the storm of over $30-million dollars. Much has been made of the service, the mea culpa of Jet Blue’s CEO, and some active discussion about passengers having a Bill of Rights.

The future is hard to predict. Three weeks ago, Jet Blue was sailing along and enjoying the business of business. Who could have foretold that their scheduling systems would get caught in a frenzy, that something this big would hit along all of their routes, and that other failures in the airline passenger system would contribute to their misfortune?

Perhaps good disaster recovery people would have come close. But, in my experience, whatever scenarios people come up with will not be the scenario that actually happens.

You see, we don’t know what we don’t know.

The only thing we can prepare for is to build a disaster recovery process and ruthlessly test it against a variety of scenarios to see where the process can be improved. Process preparation will trump scenario preparation.

Jet Blue can take this real life learning experience and test it against their recovery process and see where things could improve.

How’s your recovery process?

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 28th, 2007

Corporate Technology Implementation: Four tips on risk

Yesterday, I provided a great example of a company that helped many workers Pimp their Work through the implementation of technology. While the focus of the post was on how the technology makes a group of individuals more effective and efficient, the whole idea of implementing company-wide technology begs the question of what it would take for a company to do so.

It’s a fair question, because the risk associated with company-wide technology implementations are high.

Here’s four things you can check to see if a company will be willing to implement technology that will help Pimp Your Work:

Dollars to invest. Companies that are working on the edge of profitability often don’t have money to invest in new technology.

Large Corporate Expense benefit. UPS implemented a system to help route their drivers not because it would get the drivers home for dinner, but because they could deliver more packages and still drive 3-million fewer miles per month than without the system.

Improved Customer Experience. The technology will not only save the company money, but will enable the company to offer new products or services to their customers to help increase revenue. Whether it is an add-on feature to an existing service, reduction in cycle time for deliveries, or a brand new service offering, giving customers more at less cost is a great additional component to justifying technology.

Proven Implementation Track Record. If your company can’t deliver existing small projects well, the chances that management will risk a company-wide implementation are small. Failure in these types of projects are very expensive and risk the reputation of the firm.

How willing is your company to invest in technology to Pimp Your Work?

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 27th, 2007

Technology can Pimp Your Work

Sometimes, it is not the individual tip or trick that needs to be done to Pimp Your Work. Sometimes, your company needs to step up and figure it out so that everyone benefits from a productivity increase — including the company.

UPS is one of those companies. Being rolled out over the last two years, UPS now maps out the most efficient route for its drivers to follow to deliver that day’s packages to their customers.

Some of the features are pretty crazy:

Minimizing left turns so as to minimize the amount of time spent at stop lights.

Using GPS, a signal that beeps the driver if they enter the wrong driveway for the package being delivered.

Allowing customers to reroute a package in transit to a different address.

Does it make a driver and the company more efficient? Yup. UPS logged 3-million fewer miles last November alone than the year before. That saves a large amount of fuel, wear and tear on the delivery vehicles, and greenhouse gasses.

And it gets the drivers home in time for dinner, a pimpalicious treat.

By Scot Herrick -- 1 comment

February 26th, 2007

Change Your Perspective to Pimp Your Work

Here’s a great one from Kevin Eikenberry in his post “What Could I Stop Doing?” -

I met with a new friend today. He is the Vice President for Business Development at a bank. He told me he made a decision about six months ago. His decision?

“I decided to stop selling banking solutions.”

He isn’t a slacker - he hasn’t stopped working or drawing a paycheck. But rather than trying to sell a banking solution he has been trying to connect and help people - to build relationships.

His results?

Production was double of the first six months of the year and he topped his annual target by 25%.

Changing your perspective about what you do (internal) to what you do to help your customers (external) can really Pimp Your Work.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 23rd, 2007

Seven reminders that will Pimp Your Work

The following was provided by one of my coworkers with attribution to an unknown company. It is seven reminders that will help you frame your work on a day-to-day basis. Pimpalicious tips on career strategy, if you will.

Here they are:

Have a passion for excellence and hate bureaucracy.

Be unyielding on accountability and commitment.

Have the self-confidence to involve anyone and behave in a boundary-less fashion.

Be open to ideas from anywhere.

Stretch. Set aggressive goals. Reward progress.

Live quality. Drive cost and speed for competitive advantage.

See change as an opportunity, not a threat.

These are very logical — but hard to implement. But, I think, worth the effort to implement to make our work life better.

By Scot Herrick -- 0 comments

February 6th, 2007

Creativity Constrained

When you think of creativity in your work, do you think creativity means being able to come up with anything to solve a problem?

One of the more interesting concepts about creativity is that creativity doesn’t work real well when you can, in fact, come up with anything to solve a problem.

There is a principle of creativity that says creativity is enhanced by constraints. That’s right, shackle down options that include everything. Put conditions around what you are trying to do. Don’t let “anything” rule — instead, make what you come up with work within the rules.

If you are an artist, creating anything is creatively limiting. But creating time pieces only out of carved wood puts exceptional constraints on your work — and frees up your creativity.

Being a photographer and being able to creatively shoot pictures of anything is limiting of your creativity. Instead, shooting only sunsets Pimps your creativity.

In your work, when someone asks you to be creative, ask them for the constraints: what conditions would you want to have around the creativity that would help solve the problem?

Then watch the creative juices flow.

For a real life example of this in action, check out The Midas Noogie over on Carpe Factum.

By Scot Herrick -- 3 comments