April 30, 2012

help! my coworkers are having an affair!

Such a tricky topic today! I am lucky to say that I have never been in a situation where colleagues were (secretly) romantically involved, but some of my readers have asked about this. What can (or should) you do when you know what's going on and how it's affecting productivity and team morale?

Here are a few tips from the experts:

There you have it! Lots of reasons not to get involved in an office romance if you can avoid it, and just as many reasons to steer clear of other coworkers' affairs.

I guess the biggest question people have is whether or not they should tell a cheating coworker's partner. Depending on the situation I would say it's a toss-up between minding your own business and making the call. Hopefully you have a very capable HR Manager you can tell when an affair interferes with business as usual!!

Any advice from readers who have been frustrated with colleagues having an affair?

April 23, 2012

studying part-time while working

I recently started with a course in Corporate Coaching. It's my first attempt at doing a part-time online course while juggling work and home and husband and hobbies ☺. I managed to submit my first assignment a few days early - so far so good.

But studying while also working full-time is a huge commitment. It's challenging to get back into that discipline, especially when it's at the expense of your free time. I also started a new job recently, so I need to spend serious time on both my job and this course I'm doing. So unless I am doing this course for a reason, and stay extremely focused, odds are I will drop out or fail.

So here are a few tips and tools I found to help us stick to it!

What really keeps me going is the fact that this course will add significantly to my skill set and career success. So if I need to work late some evenings or give up my Saturday for a few weeks, I'm doing it with purpose.

Any advice from those of you who have successfully mastered study/work/life balance??

April 19, 2012

embracing criticism at work

Oh, how we all know the feeling of receiving criticism. Not my favorite thing, but I have learned that being open to criticism can really give your career a boost. Showing that you are open to the suggestions of others sends the message that you know you aren't perfect, creating the space for honest feedback and sincere conversations.

So here are a few do's and don'ts to help you when receiving criticism at work (especially from your manager):

DON'T get defensive. It's OK to disagree with what is being said about you or your performance, but when you kick into defense mode automatically it will send the message that you are not interested in his opinion and that you are not willing to reflect on your shortcomings. You don't want to come across as immature.

DO thank them for their opinion. "I didn't realise that I was coming across that way, thanks for telling me. My thinking in that situation was (explain your perspective)"

DON'T break down or explode. Big emotional reactions to work-related discussions are never a good idea. Work-related criticism is seldom personal, so try not to react emotionally.

DO listen to the facts and respond accordingly. "I see what you mean. My understanding of the assignment was (explain how you interpreted it), so I must have made the wrong assumptions. It wasn't my intention to (whatever you did wrong), so I will rectify it as soon as possible."

DON'T shrug it off without discussing the details. If your manager has come to you with comments regarding your performance, responding with "Fine!" doesn't show much respect.

DO investigate some of the details and show that you are willing to take action. Discussions like these create ideal opportunities for you and your boss to understand each other better, so try to make use of it

I am due for a performance appraisal myself, so I will definitely be using some of my own tips. I've been at my new job for just over a month, so I am expecting a good dose of constructive criticism. On the flipside, receiving feedback this early in my new position gives met the opportunity to get things right from the start. So despite the nerves, I am actually looking forward to it!

What are your tips for keeping your cool when receiving criticism!?

April 16, 2012

all you need to know about career coaching

Regardless of which stage of your career you are at, there will be times when a little help from an expert can really help you move to a next level. One-to-one sessions with a career coach can help you get back on track, find the motivation you've lost along the way, or address problem areas in you career. Reading a career blog (like this one) can also help you discover tools and tips to apply at work and make a difference in the long run.

I found a bunch of great posts for you on the topic:

I like to think of myself as a career coach, and I learn just as much as the young professionals I advise and guide through their career blunders and insecurities. It's very rewarding to see others succeed, and I am motivated to work on my own career planning every time I write a new article!

I hope the links have been helpful and that you'll have a fantastic week!

April 12, 2012

top 10 tips for being a rock star employee

We talk about this all the time - there are so many things you can do to improve your performance and engagement at work. And regardless of who you work for, the same characteristics are praised and desired by all employers.

So instead of over-complicating things, here are my top 10 tips (and posts I wrote about them) for wannabe AMAZING employees:

Starting with the basics is always the best way to reach the top, so be sure to identify and try out a few at a time. What would your short list look like?

April 9, 2012

how to know if you are the annoying co-worker

Welcome back after a very long weekend! We have a very fun and interesting topic to discuss this Monday. I had a few giggles while writing this one, because odds are that if you are in fact annoying others at work, you will most likely NOT be aware of it and not be interested in reading advice on the topic.

But for those of you who value their personal brands and the relationships you have with colleagues,  here are a few great posts I found to help you ensure you are not a source of frustration in the workplace:

Hoping you also had a smile on your face while reading these, even if you may have noticed a few annoying quirks of your own! Even the most pleasant person can have habits that annoy others, so here's to polishing your professional image and adding to the positive atmosphere at work!

April 4, 2012

career advice to my 5-year younger self

I recently asked my readers what advice they would give their 5-year younger self. I have certainly learned a lot during the past 5 years of professional life, so here is my take on it:

  • Make mistakes. You are young, you will make many of them. Allow yourself some room for error and learn from each one!
  • Be patient. There is no way around it - you need experience in order to really know your stuff. A qualification gets you in the door, but work experience adds weight to your opinions.
  • Be teachable. Allow anyone and everyone to share their experience and tips with you.
  • Be pleasant. One of the most popular post on my blog speaks about the value of good manners in the work place. Even if you have no education and no work experience, good manners and respect for others will open doors for you.
  • Think ahead. Just because you are still a junior and making copies all day, think about what you want to reach in the future and be sure to invest some energy in that area. Reading, attending networking events or connecting with others who have already made it in that industry.

Some of my favorite comments from readers:

From Eleanor Khupe:
  • Bring your personality with you to work. Don’t be a wall flower because you’re new and you don’t know much yet. Get out there, get to know your colleagues, engage with them. The more you interact, the easier work will become.
  • Ask the stupid question. Even if you think it’s stupid. It’s better to ask and get the answer than to never know.

From @mal_kozak: Don't be afraid of a challenge, apply at companies that interest you and do your research! Network, network, network! :

From @Careergeek_blog: Figure out what you want to do. Once you know that, building up on it and finding the best way to get there should be easy!

Thanks for your tips guys! If you missed our discussion on twitter, feel free to leave your comment below.

April 2, 2012

being a leader despite your youth

Good morning everyone!! I hope you had a wonderful weekend! Fall is starting to show it's colours here in SA and I am loving it.

Something I am very passionate about is leadership, and the idea that it doesn't have much to do with age. Being a leader does not mean you need to be an expert or specialist in a certain field, and has much more to do with your attitude and willingness to serve others.

Here are a few great links to inspire you this week:

Many times the biggest obstacle in our leadership journey is our own self-doubt. So remember to give yourself a pep-talk every now and then, and try to avoid the company of negative people who enjoy dampening your enthusiasm.

Are you ready to lead!!??