10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before My First Job

May 24, 2017

group of graduates  taking picture with cell phoneGraduating from college? Congrats! Now it’s time to find a job and begin your career. If you’re feeling nervous, don’t worry –  starting a new job often strikes fear into the heart of even the strongest person.

As one of my career coaching clients said, “Starting your first job is like the adult version of your first day of school. In most cases, you don’t know anyone, you’re not sure if the other ‘kids’ will play nice or be mean to you, you don’t know the layout of the new workplace or even where to find the bathroom, and you’re not sure if you’ll fit in.”

One way to ensure success in a new job is to learn from others. Soon after my own college graduation, I remember asking a family friend what she wished she’d have known before starting her first job. Read the rest of this entry »

Working For A Micromanager? Here Are The Survival Skills You’ll Need

May 17, 2017

iStock_000026324486Medium_150“Sheila” accepted a new job and then realized her boss had some severe micromanaging behaviors. For example, after he would give an assignment, he would check in with Sheila multiple times a day to find out her progress.

“The worst was the day when he pulled a chair into my cubicle and sat next to me, pointing at my computer screen and asking questions while I was working,” Sheila told me. “It wasn’t helpful and slowed me down. By the end of the day I was so angry with him I felt like I might explode.”

Because she was new to her job, Sheila didn’t want to leave. “I like the company and I enjoy my work. It’s just his management style that I hate. He could be a good manager if he wasn’t such a control freak.” Read the rest of this entry »

Resist Temptation To Dish Dirt During Job Interviews

May 3, 2017

Group Of Businesspeople Interviewing Woman In OfficeYou’re on a job interview, and the hiring manager says: “Tell me what you dislike the most about your current (or previous) manager.” Uh-oh. How should you respond? Do you tell the truth about how much you detest your boss?

Some hiring managers will purposely ask interview candidates about the worst aspects of working for a boss or employer. Heads up: This is a trick question designed to see if you’ll bad mouth your boss. Read the rest of this entry »

Ending Gender Bias Begins With ‘”Office Housework’”

April 26, 2017

startup-593344_150If you’re a female in the workforce, chances are high that, at some point, you’ll be asked to do “office housework” activities, such as taking notes during a meeting, finding office supplies or fetching someone coffee.

While you might wish that gender bias no longer existed, it’s still prevalent in many companies around the world.

A female friend of mine is a computer engineer at a large, global corporation. The real-life story she related, while funny, is typical of what continues to happen to women everywhere. Read the rest of this entry »

Combating Gender Discrimination: 6 Tips For An Inclusive Organizational Culture

April 19, 2017

Portrait of an Indian female office executive standing in an office.At a recent mentoring session, I asked the group of young women and men for their opinions on how they would handle themselves in this situation:

You’re a female at the executive level of a Fortune 500 global corporation. Most of the executives reporting to the CEO are male. You are being left out of important meetings. When you are in meetings and speak out with an idea, the males in the room ignore you, interrupt you, talk over you or claim your idea as their own.

I stared at the shocked looks on the faces around the table. “What do you do?” I asked.

“That’s terrible!” exclaimed one male in his mid-twenties, shaking his head. “Why are the men at that company so afraid of women?” Read the rest of this entry »

Overcome The Pain Of The Old-School Annual Appraisal

April 5, 2017

iStock_000059847428Medium_150At the beginning of this year, you probably spent a lot of time reading your employees’ self-evaluations, writing a 2016 performance appraisal for each person on your team, meeting with each employee to discuss their annual review and then tying the performance outcomes into the company’s financial incentive system.

It most likely took you a lot of time and effort – and then you had to get caught up on all the other projects you had put on hold while you were writing and conducting performance reviews and handling what probably felt like a mountain of electronic paperwork.

While you may be wishing your company would follow the lead of Microsoft, Adobe, Dell, IBM and other technology companies and move away from the old-school, labor-intensive annual review process, senior management at your company isn’t comfortable with the idea (yet).

If your company isn’t quite ready to abandon annual reviews, here’s how you can make this process less painful for the next time. Read the rest of this entry »

How To Create A ‘Rhythm Of Business’ Model In 7 Simple Steps

March 29, 2017

agenda-1928416_150“The first month in my new role felt like I was drinking water from a fire hose,” my career coaching client told me. “But I took your advice about the first six things to do when promoted to manager, and I feel like I have a good understanding of the department and what we need to accomplish.”

“But today, another manager warned me that I should get prepared, because my boss will want to see my rhythm of business model,” she added. “I’m not even sure what that means, and I don’t want to ask her because she might think I don’t know what I’m doing.” Read the rest of this entry »

One Of The Biggest Boss Fails? Not Setting Expectations

March 22, 2017

offer-442903_150I once had a boss tell me, “But you didn’t achieve my number one priority for what I wanted you to accomplish.” The problem? He never told me about this item.

During the time I had worked for him, I had provided a weekly update (hardcopy and electronic) on all my key projects and activities, but my boss had failed to share this additional goal.

As a manager, this is one of the fastest ways to lose respect from your employees: Failing to clearly define your expectations and priorities. Read the rest of this entry »