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Pimp Your Work

January 4th, 2008

Pimping bookmarks: Quitting Your Job

Sometimes, you need a fresh start.  Whether you’re seeking greener pastures or you feel suffocated in the workplace, you’re bound to consider leaving your current job at least once in your career.  Here are some tips on what to think about and how to quit gracefully:

Dealing with professional burnout without quitting your job at The Simple Dollar

Think of quitting your job? Try getting fired instead by Steve Tobak at CNet

How to quit a job: 5 steps and 2 warnings at The Brazen Careerist

7 Reasons to quit your job at The Digerati Life

Quiz: Is it time to quit your job? at BusinessWeek

I quit! How to Resign at About.com

By Celine -- 0 comments

January 3rd, 2008

15 Signs that You’ll be Fired

  1. You see your position being advertised on JobStreet.com or the newspaper classifieds.
  2. Your coworkers keep asking you “If, theoretically, you’ll resign or be fired for whatever reason, may I have your cubicle/chair/lamp/pencil holder?”
  3. The IRS or the FBI come to your company building looking for you.
  4. For some reason, your coworkers have stopped inviting you to staff meetings.
  5. The person you’re dating, who happens to be the boss’ son or daughter, breaks up with you unexpectedly.
  6. Your direct subordinate is running around your office with measuring tape and wallpaper samples.
  7. The budget list for the following month has an increase for “office supplies” equal to your salary.
  8. You receive an office memo with the subject “Re: Merger”
  9. Your secretary is given more work than you.
  10. All your friends in the workplace have already been fired.
  11. The boss insists that you take an “indefinite” amount of time off as a “vacation”.
  12. Your performance review, instead of verbal or written, comes in the form of a guy in a black cloak with a sickle.
  13. Instead of your position, the text under your name on the office door reads “Dead Man Walking”.
  14. The font color of your department profits is red.
  15. Your new boss is 15 years younger than you.  And you’re only 35.

By Celine -- 2 comments

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 -- 3 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 20th, 2007

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

You’re standing in the boardroom, giving a presentation and you think you’re doing well.  You used great graphics, your ideas are brilliant, etc.  But all your boss could manage is an indecipherable poker face or a smirk.  Maybe she doesn’t like your ideas.  Maybe she was bored.  Or maybe she didn’t get it.

Or maybe she doesn’t love you.

I’m not talking about touchy-feely love.  I mean the type of love that makes your boss want to recommend you to her bosses. Makes her think of your name when someone asks her “Who’s the most valuable member of your team?”.  More importantly, it’s the love that can be converted into a big fat raise.

How do you get this love?

1.  Preparation.  Before you start with your presentation, you have prepared answers for each of their questions.  In fact, an entire section of your presentation is based on answering these questions so that questions are minimized at the end - saving everyone a great deal of time.  When meeting with a client, you’ve done all your research about them.  Including details about their company history, what has worked for them before, and even the name of the owner’s pet dog.  Also, you’re not the type of employee who’ll be asking “Can I borrow a pen?” Ever.  You always have a pen, paper, business card, etc.  If not, you know exactly where to get it.

2.  You get things done (and get them done on time, if not earlier).  If your boss needs a report, you finish it before the deadline.  If you’re asked to lead the decorations committee for the company New Year party, you’ve got design ideas listed and have a budget plan within the day.  How do you manage this?  With effective time management.  There are several time management tips on this blog that you have no excuse to miss deadlines anymore (except probably death and dismemberment).

3.  You don’t point fingers when you make a mistake.  It’s one thing to say “According to the meeting minutes last week, Greg was supposed to accomplish that report, not me.” However, you should never say “I thought he was going to do it because he kept giving me suggestions on what should be done.”  If something was your responsibility, you should claim it, even if you make mistakes.  Pointing fingers will lead to disagreements, and you’ll be perceived as having no leadership skills whatsoever.  If you’re accountable for something that went wrong, let your boss know, apologize, and give a concrete plan on how you’ll do better in the future.

4.  You know when to stick to your guns.  Never show fear or weakness when someone else is “bullying” you at work.  This happens when people who think they know more than you start telling you what a crappy job you’ve done.  Take a breath and calmly explain why your existing ideas are much better for the company, and why their ideas won’t work.  This will earn the respect of your boss and your coworkers, if done right.

5.  You remember everything your boss says or writes, and you quote excerpts appropriately.  Doing this gets tricky, since you’ll appear like you’re brown nosing.   Only do this when it’s relevant.  For example, in the middle of a presentation, you say “In a meeting the other week, our supervisor said ‘I don’t want you to work hard, I want you to work smart.’  Here are some ideas that will help us do exactly that.”  It’s relevant, short, and doesn’t sound like you’re sucking up.

6. Save the day.  Did your boss’ computer crash because of malware?  Fix it right away, if you know how.  Is a colleague left speechless and shaking in front of a client presentation?  Get in there and continue his presentation.  If there’s a crisis and you’re the first one to solve it, you’ll get your boss to love you in no time.

Basically, the bottom line is that you should make your boss and the company look good. You do this by being a productive asset, having confidence in yourself, and by being constantly prepared.   Have you done anything lately to make you work loving?

By Celine -- 4 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 13th, 2007

If you don’t take down meeting minutes you’ll hate yourself

I attended a pretty significant boardroom meeting today and was appalled when I realized that no one was taking down the minutes!  So I  immediately took initiative to write things down.

Why? Because minutes are good for the following things:

As a legal document.  For the IRS and other government agencies, meeting minutes can be considered as legal documents.  This can come in handy whenever you want to sue someone or save your asses from being sued.  Actually, this should be reason enough.

To keep records.  Trust me, you’ll need to know who said what.  Whether it’s to trace the source of brilliant ideas or to point fingers (hopefully not the latter), there will come a time where you’ll need to refer to the meeting minutes.  Also, you can’t expect a human brain (especially mine) to remember everything.  It’s also common that people don’t really listen to what everyone says 100%, so they’ll need a different way to access such transitory information.

For accountability purposes. Whenever there’s a meeting, you’re likely to hear about new assignments due for the next meeting.  How are you going to know if people did their assigned tasks if you didn’t write them down?  True, they should take the initiative and remember their own jobs, but not everyone is going to do that.

Back in the old days (well, last August), Tris wrote an excellent post about how to mind map your meeting minutesHere are some additional tips:

Record the audio, if you can.  Because whether you type on your laptop or scribble with your pen, you’re bound to miss out on some key facts - especially if people are talking fast or if many people are talking at the same time.  You need to take down notes so that audio transcription won’t become a chore, but the audio recording is important in case you don’t get everything down the first time.

Get the minutes done as soon as possible.  Because the sooner you get them done, the more accurate they are. Also, some people might immediately need the info from the minutes to proceed with certain projects, especially if they weren’t present.

Get a supervisor to approve the final version of the minutes.  Why? Because in case someone contests something written in the minutes, you can always go “Aha! But Ms. Supervisor approved it!”  Or, paraphrased more tactfully, getting the supervisor’s approval secures the finality of those minutes.

Once you’ve finalized the minutes, send it to all attendees and relevant personnel.  Because keeping this record isn’t just for you, it’s for everyone.  They need written details of the meeting so they’ll have a clear understanding on what was discussed.

So please, for your own sanity and for the sake of your company, remember to take down minutes.  If you don’t take down minutes, your meetings will be but fleeting, falling leaves from a dying tree - and we all know that only haiku writers benefit from such transitory things.

By Celine -- 0 comments

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

October 31st, 2007

How to make your team fall apart

Bob Turek of Project Management 411 made an excellent post about working together.  Naturally, this inspired me to write my own post about how NOT to work together.

 Keep everything to yourself.  You want to know why?  Because everyone will steal your super genius ideas.  Dont’ share anything.  If you’re making a group presentation, just tell your teammates that your part will be a surprise.

 Don’t bother asking your teammates about their own tasks.  After all, they’ll be doing the exact same thing you’re doing - keeping their entire contribution a secret.  Besides, why ask?  It’s not like you need some kind of continuity or organization.

If a team member notifies you that he or she needs a certain resource, don’t take their request seriously.  If they really needed access to some equipment or paperwork, they should just get it themselves.  They’re not the boss of you (even if they could be your supervisors).

Make sure there are no rewards.  Incentives, gifts, prizes, and free lunches turn everyone into a wussie.

Don’t take any action.  There’s a chance that some of your teammates are the ones doing the really important stuff, so you can just slack off and prepare a speech filled with nonsensical jargon.  You’re too busy “synergizing concepts” and “conceptualizing synergies”.

By Celine -- 3 comments

October 30th, 2007

How to suck up without looking like you’re sucking up

Everyone needs to suck up at least once in their lives, whether you’re trying to sell the big idea or attempting to get away with murder (I hope not literally though).  However, sucking up isn’t for the uninitiated - you have to know the right way to do it or else you’ll, well, look like a suck up.  And everyone will hate you.

Since you don’t want to incur the wrath or irritation of your colleagues, here are some tips you should follow to ensure that flattery will make you go places (but hopefully not to Hell).

Don’t do it all the time.  If you flatter someone (or people in general) quite often, you’re going to come off insincere and no one will believe you.

Mean it.  Whatever praises you give, make sure you mean it.  If you don’t mean it, you need to fake it really well. Unless you have the acting prowess of an Oscar winner, I suggest you avoid pulling that off.  Trust me, most people can tell the difference.
Suck up to the little people too.  No, I don’t mean kids or mini-me.  I’m talking about the guy who brings you your coffee or your mail.  They probably get a lot of crap from some of your colleagues, so try to be nice to them.  It can do wonders for their mood and the quality of service you get.

Don’t just praise people all willy-nilly.  Do it at the right time, at the right moment, when they’ve done something good and they’re just waiting for someone to notice. Praising someone for their good work/skills/insight in the middle of a conversation about football may be considered weird in some circles.

Ask questions.  Don’t just say “That presentation was nice!”, instead say “Wow, that was really impressive.  How did you do that animation thing at the end?” This invites people to talk about their work.  You’ll notice that they’ll have some kind of proud glow when they do that.

 Invite others to flatter the person as well.  Not with formal invitations, of course.  If your boss just gave a wonderful speech, you can tell him “I thought that speech was very inspiring, Sir. “  Then, turn to a colleague and say “What did you think about it?”.  This only works if you do have a colleague nearby.  If it’s just you and your boss in the room, he’s going to think you’re talking to yourself.

 Don’t read or discuss this article in front of your boss or colleagues.  Because odds are, they’re not stupid.  They can figure out what you’re trying to do, and even if you were planning on being sincere, you’re going to come off insincere anyway.

By Celine -- 2 comments