Worst Way to Quit? Do’s and Don’ts

Diplomacy is defined as “tact and skill in dealing with people.” While it’s always a good idea to be diplomatic in your personal and business dealings, it’s especially important when you are leaving a job.

The world is much smaller than we sometimes think. You never know when or how paths will cross again, especially considering the fluidity of today’s job market. When you’re leaving a job, it’s not the time to burn bridges. Years down the road, you never know who will be interviewing
you for that job you’re dying for or who will be hired to sit in the cube next to you.

Here are some do’s and don’ts to consider before your last day,whether you are leaving by choice or not.

Do use professionalism and courtesy in announcing your intention to leave the company. Advise your direct supervisor first. Then tell colleagues and department staff.

Don’t do it at the last minute. Give your employer advance notice so there is enough time to arrange for your successor. Generally, acceptable notice is two to four weeks. Work with your current and future employers to set a time frame that works for both them and you.

Do write a professional letter of resignation. No need for lengthy explanations, you can simply state that you are resigning from your position to pursue other interests or opportunities. Whether you loved or hated your job or your supervisor, the outcome should be the same: a brief, respectful letter stating your intention to leave.

Don’t badmouth the company. Once others know you are leaving, naysayers may seek you out to share their feelings of discontent. If you want to leave on good terms, don’t be associated with disgruntled or unhappy employees.

Do finish the job. Don’t leave projects half-completed. Provide a list of projects and review what can or needs to be completed before you depart. Don’t disappear. Avoid short-timer’s attitude. Stay an active and contributing member of your team during your last days at work. Work hard and do your best to leave a good and lasting impression.

Don’t leave your desk or office in disarray. Take a day to organize your materials for your successor. Leave the company assets behind. Unless you brought something from home or paid for that stapler with your own money, it should stay on your desk

Do offer to train your replacement if time permits. If you leave before that person comes on board, make yourself available to answer questions in person or over the phone.

Don’t send boastful or sobbing farewell e-mails. If you choose to use e-mail to notify colleagues that you are leaving, provide your contact information — these people are part of your network.

Do use your exit interview time wisely. Regardless of what you are told, this is not the time to trash your boss or your boss’s boss. If you haven’t discussed your concerns about a co-worker in the past, don’t use this as an opportunity to reveal them for the first time. If you have voiced concern, however, this is the time to reiterate it professionally.

Remember: Leaving with class and grace will never come back to haunt you. Exiting on a sour note can.

Eight Sticky Boss Situations and How to Handle Them

If you’re more excited that your boss is out sick with the flu than you are about your new raise, you’re in good company.

In workplaces throughout the country, difficult bosses are ruining morale and making life just downright unpleasant. Whether they refuse to give you time off or they expect you to be their mother, bad bosses can put you in an awkward position. You need an escape plan when you find yourself in these sticky situations. Communication is key, according to Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D., author of “A Survival Guide for Working with Bad Bosses: Dealing with Bullies, Idiots, Back-Stabbers, and Other Managers from Hell.”

A direct approach will save time and anxiety for both you and your boss. You can’t resolve anything if you keep your concerns to yourself. Believe it or not, your boss might not realize his demands are making you miserable. Just letting him know how you feel could solve your problems.

Here are eight (unfortunately) common workplace situations that bosses often put employees in and advice on how you should handle them:

Sticky Situation No. 1: You are not a personal assistant, but your boss continually asks you to pick up her dry cleaning.

How to Deal:
“You might want to discuss the situation in a diplomatic way and let your boss know that there is priority work you’re not able to do while you’re picking up her dry cleaning,” Scott suggests. Expressing your desire to become more involved with important, work-related projects should gently remind your boss that you were not hired to organize her personal life. Of course, if your boss’ demands are an indication of a deep-seated and unalterable power struggle à la “The Devil Wears Prada,” you’ll need to decide if you’re willing to accept that her requests are part and parcel of your workload — whether in the job description or not.

Sticky Situation No. 2: Your boss frequently loses his temper and yells at you in front of your co-workers.

How to Deal: Again, Scott recommends you discuss your boss’ behavior openly with him. Allowing your emotions to surface will only intensify matters, so it’s best to be calm and collected when you enter this conversation. Ask your boss to identify examples of things you do that trigger his temper, “so you can determine whether you’re making mistakes or if your boss is yelling at you for no reason,” she suggests.

“Often when a boss is … abusive, you’ll find a code of silence and submission that helps everyone get along,” Scott writes in her book. If a discussion with your boss does not lead to change, you’ll need to decide if you want to join your co-workers’ code of silence or voice your concerns to a supervisor.

Sticky Situation No. 3: While your boss kicks back in her office making personal calls, you’re doing both your job and hers. When the time comes to present projects to senior management, your boss takes credit for your hard work.


How to Deal: Scott suggests a couple of ways to get credit even if your boss refuses to publicly acknowledge your contributions. One way is to casually mention your involvement during meetings with senior management. You might also consider keeping leaders informed of the work you’ve done by copying them on memos over the course of a project. (This does not mean CC-ing everyone all the time!)

Sticky Situation No. 4: Your boss subtly hits on you, but you know he would deny his actions if you mentioned they were upsetting you.

How to Deal: “Clearly stating that you’re in a relationship might be enough to get your boss to back down,” Scott explains. If that doesn’t work, try explaining to your boss that his behavior has made you uncomfortable. “In short,” Scott writes, “speak up to stop the behavior sooner rather than later.”

There’s no excuse for sexual harassment. If your boss’ conduct continues, you should make a written account of each incident as it occurs, discuss the situation with your boss’ supervisor, and consider making a formal complaint with human resources.

Sticky Situation No. 5: Your human resources department encourages employees to use their vacation time, but your boss grumbles angrily every time you ask to take time off.

How to Deal: “Bring this out in the open to clarify what the policies are,” Scott suggests. A frank conversation with your boss might reveal that she thinks your vacation requests coincide with the company’s busiest and most demanding periods. “Negotiate time off for when you’re not needed,” she recommends.

Sticky Situation No. 6: You receive your annual bonus and are distressed to find it’s significantly lower than your boss has orally promised.

How to Deal: There might have been a misunderstanding; discuss the matter with your boss before jumping to any conclusions. If your boss can provide a reasonable answer —perhaps the company is going through difficult times and bonuses are lower than expected across the board — it might be best to overlook the discrepancy. But if you still think you are owed a larger bonus, you will need to decide whether it’s worth rocking the boat before going above your boss’ head to resolve the matter.

Sticky Situation No. 7: Your boss continually solicits your advice
regarding his personal problems.

How to Deal: “This is about setting boundaries,” Scott states. Look first at your own actions to make sure you haven’t unwittingly implied to your boss that you’re an available confidante. If your behavior isn’t what needs altering, Scott recommends you draw a boundary by suggesting a more appropriate person for your boss to take his problems to, such as a family member or friend.

Sticky Situation No. 8: You suspect your boss of unethical and potentially illegal business practices.

How to Deal: This is one situation where you probably don’t want to confront your boss directly, Scott advises. Document any evidence you find before informing the company of your boss’ actions. “If you think your boss is committing crimes, it can be a crime to keep working there or to ail to report what you suspect to the authorities,” Scott writes in her book.


Employee Beware: Five Signs of a Lousy Job

courtesy: careerbuilder.com

Ever known someone who worked at the same job for years, but complained about it daily? Have you accepted an unfulfilling job because you think work is work and it doesn’t need to be enjoyable? The fact is many people are stuck in lousy jobs and have either grown complacent, don’t know that there are better options out there, or just aren’t sure what the warning signs are.

Here are some signs it’s time to look for greener pastures:

1. You dread going to work.

How you feel about going in to your job each day can tell you a lot about whether it is the job for you, says Andrea Kay, career consultant and author of “Life’s a B*tch and Then You Change Careers.” Do you wake up in the morning and dread leaving your house for the office? While you are not expected to jump up and down with excitement every Monday morning, feeling constant job-related anxiety is a significant sign that you are in the wrong place.

2. You get no enjoyment from your day-to-day responsibilities.

No job is fun and games every day, but you should find some enjoyment in your daily responsibilities. Kay says that examining your job’s typical duties is important to gauging whether or not it is a good fit. The things you do daily should fit with your strengths, which are the things you like to do and do well, Kay says. For example, if you are happiest when you are out communicating with people, you probably will not be happy working with numbers and spreadsheets all day.

3. You are uncomfortable with the company culture and environment.

Some people write off the importance of culture in the workplace, but it can have a dramatic effect on your overall happiness and success. Kay says you need to ask yourself if you feel comfortable with the values of the organization. Are they in alignment with your own?

Additionally, the work environment can be another big factor in determining if a job is one that meets your needs. For example, if you love to spend all your time outdoors, you might not be happy sitting behind a desk day in and day out.

4. Your relationship with your boss is turbulent.

Problems with the boss are the most common reason that professionals give for leaving jobs, and the employee/employer relationship is critical to overall job satisfaction. “Define what would be an ideal relationship with your boss so you can take the initiative to help create it or know what to look for,” Kay says. For example, do you like someone who works closely with you or would you rather work for someone who is hands-off? Only after you determine what your ideal is can you assess whether or not your relationship is living up to it.

5. You see no opportunities for career advancement or enhancement.

If your company does not place an importance on job training and professional development, this should raise some concerns. Similarly, if you have been stuck in the same position for years, have the desire to move up, but are not given the opportunity to do so, you might want to re-evaluate your situation.

While Kay says these five factors can be indicators of a lousy job, she also strongly cautions against using them as an excuse to leave without first taking some initiative to change your current situation. For example, if you feel like you have not been provided with opportunities to advance, proactively seek out these opportunities by talking with your boss or consulting human resources. If you feel like you do not fit in with the culture, assess whether or not you have made an effort.

“You need to ask yourself ‘have I done everything that I can to explore advancing or enhancing my career here?'” Kay says. “Do what’s in your power to make a difference.”

If you are still feeling unsatisfied, the job is probably just not for you. And while it might be time to look for something new, your lousy job is not a total loss — use what you’ve learned to help you find the right fit next time.

Job Search Reality Check

Courtesy: careerbuilder.com

A strong hiring environment may cause you to think that your job search will be a piece of cake. But the truth is that finding the right job can be hit or miss. It’s important to have realistic expectations to keep your spirits high and limit frustration.

So that you enter the process with your eyes open, here are some job-search perceptions you may have and the reality behind them:

Expectation: My job search will take no time at all.
Reality: There’s no guarantee how long it will take to find a new position.
Finding the right opportunity is not always easy. The open positions you come across may not seem challenging enough, or certain details about a job, such as the salary or commute, may not be appealing. Along with searching classified ads and online job boards, you’ll increase your chances of finding a job quickly by tapping your network of friends, former co-workers and industry contacts for leads.
In addition, hiring managers may take several weeks to respond to your application. After all, they have full-time jobs with demands of their own, and hundreds, if not thousands, of résumés to review. That said, don’t be afraid to follow up with a prospective employer to help move the process along. Eighty-two percent of executives polled by Robert Half International said it’s a good idea to do so within two weeks of submitting a résumé.

Expectation: I need to send out only a few résumés.
Reality: Finding a job is a numbers game.
As mentioned above, a hiring manager may receive countless résumés for an open position. That’s why it pays to spread a wide net. And while you want to keep in mind your goals, it may be unwise to hold out for the “perfect” job, which you might not find — or which might not even exist.
Also keep in mind that some of the résumés you distribute may not reach their destinations. If you e-mail your résumé, it could end up in the hiring manager’s spam folder, depending on the words it contains. For instance, if you “won an award” for being a team player, your message could be seen by an e-mail filter as a sweepstakes or moneymaking promotion. “Received formal recognition” would work better.
Networking with members of your professional network is one way to save yourself some time and effort. Hiring managers give preference to personal recommendations and may move your résumé to the top of the pile if someone you know puts in a good word for you.

Expectation: My résumé and cover letter are terrific!
Reality: You could probably improve your application materials.
Take a close look at your résumé and cover letter. Do they sell your skills and qualifications? Make sure that, instead of simply listing your previous duties, you detail your accomplishments and contributions in previous roles. So rather than saying, “Wrote one high-tech column for company intranet each week,” try, “Wrote weekly high-tech column for company intranet that increased readership by more than 200 percent and helped employees better utilize company systems.” This will show a prospective employer exactly how your work improved the bottom line and why he should hire you.
Also make sure your materials are targeted. Research the company before responding to an ad to determine how your qualifications can meet its business needs. In addition, read through the job description and include specific terms from it in your résumé and cover letter. Doing so will demonstrate to a hiring manager that your skills are a good fit for the position as well as increase the likelihood that your documents will be flagged as promising by résumé-scanning software.

Expectation: My skills are top notch — any company would want to hire me.
Reality: You may not be as marketable as you think.
A common mistake job seekers make is overestimating their arketability.
Although you may think your skill set is solid, take an honest look at your qualifications to determine how in demand you really are. Keep in mind that your marketability depends on many things, including factors that may be out of your hands. For instance, you may live in a part of the country where many other individuals with similar experience are also looking for employment.
Of course, there are some factors you can control. For example, many firms seek employees with well-developed soft skills, such as communication and leadership abilities. Enrolling in a class or seminar can help you build these competencies. Industry publications, members of your professional network and recruiters can help you determine your weaknesses and identify ways of strengthening those areas to improve your marketability.
Finding a new position is difficult, and it’s easy to fall prey to your frustrations. But by maintaining a realistic outlook, you’ll be better able to overcome any hurdles and land a job quickly.

Walk a Tightrope to Survive Office Politics

courtesy: timesjobs.com

Do you often find yourself at a cross-road between two groups in office? When you enter into a conversation with your colleagues, most of the time it is either back-biting or finding faults with others. And by the end of it you just feel lost and unhappy. If this is what happens to you, then you are also a victim of office politics.

It is differing values, ideas and culture in interpersonal relationship which often breeds politics in office. The worst part is when it leads to a hostile environment and a feeling of enmity. But the ground truth is that office politics simply cannot be avoided. However, you can certainly navigate your way out of this maze with minimal side-effects. To do so, you need to:

Stay Neutral
Experts say the best way to deal with it is to stay neutral. Avoid close association with numerous camps which might be at work in the entire organizational matrix. Mix with all groups but be sure not to be labeled as a member of any camp.

No Gossips Please!
Apart from the fact that gossips consume a lot of your productive time, whatever information you might share then might be used against you in the future. Don’t entertain talks which are often complaints. Being silent and listening to such gossip can be easily misinterpreted; get the message right across that you are not interested to talk on such issues. Talk about neutral issues like sports, weather, film, music or whatever interests you.

Be a Transparent Team Player
Whatever you do, be transparent as much as possible. Don’t pass on someone else’s work or ideas as your own and take credit for it. If you are a team leader, share credit in times of success and take responsibility in times where there is a crisis. This will help you to earn a lot of respect amongst peers and juniors. Treat all co-workers with respect, listen to them and value their contributions.

Don’t Criticize Others
If you are not happy with the performance of your subordinates, make sure that you discuss it with the person in private or in an official manner meticulously. Avoid ticking off a person in public, as it might become a hot topic of gossip and you might become the center of a spicy and negative discussion.

Believe in yourself
If you are a target of gossip; believe in yourself and your abilities. Things will die down on their own. Talk to people who have a problem with you and have an open discussion. Avoid acting superior to colleagues who are on the same hierarchical level. Don’t think of quitting; it’s the same everywhere. Always remember: quit only when you want to, not because you have to.

How to Stay Afloat in a New Work Place…

courtesy: timesjobs.com

THE big change has happened. And you are happy that you made the decision to switch to a more interesting, challenging and senior position in a new company. That’s the simpler part. A few days into it, and what looked glamorous and exciting from the outside, is suddenly starting to appear a wee bit trickier than before. You’re the rank outsider nobody seems to want around, and you don’t have time for this nonsense. After all, there’s work to be done, and you need to prove that you’re every bit worth the fat package your new employer paid to acquire you.

Welcome to reality. It’s a whole new game that you need to learn and adapt. Time is certainly not on your side, so it’s critical to get your act together from Day One. Here are a few points that can help you manage the transition into a new company.

Focus on relationships from Day One
No matter how long you may have worked in organizations, the truth is that managing people and interpersonal relationships remains the most difficult part of any leadership role. Each instance can be different from the other and no amount of theoretical frameworks and even experience can prepare you for some situations. Building relationships is your single most important task. Visit people outside your team and spend time listening to how they work, and what difficulties they encounter in dealing with your team or department. Offer to help with solutions, if any.

Clarify, clarify, and clarify
Nothing is more dangerous than ambiguity. Before you start, clarify up front what your role definition would be. What the expectations of the organization are from you, the timelines for those deliverables and what resources would be made available to you to help achieve them.

Easier said than done? Most likely, this wouldn’t be handed to you on a platter, so demand clarity. It’s also in your own best interests to have measurement parameters in place. As you begin benchmarking your team’s and your own performance against these parameters, work will start to become more challenging and enjoyable.

Don’t be in a hurry to make a big impression

When you are in an alien environment, the easiest way to get everyone to notice you is to make a big splash with a new project, propose to change processes that you think are old and redundant or redesign structures that come in the way of efficiency. Don’t even think about it, because it’s sure to ruffle a lot of feathers and, of course, get you nowhere. Be realistic about the scope of your new role. Give yourself some time to learn the processes and systems and how people work. Patience can be your best virtue here. Allow yourself a few small victories, though.
That will boost your own morale and that of your team, who would be looking up to you.

Understand the Power Networks and Who Matters
Formal organisational positions hardly indicate who’s really in charge. It’s often a core group that gets things done around the place. So carefully observe and figure out the powers that pull the strings and influence key decisions. These could take the form of unofficial ‘shadow boards’ that could consist of members of the formal board of directors, influential shareholders or even outside parties. Understanding this can determine how much and how fast you can execute on your plan, and make all the difference to your success as a senior executive.

Exude Positivity
And finally, take a positive approach to your work. Be clear that you have come to work and deliver on the agreed upon work targets. Do not allow yourself to be bogged down by the politics and the negative people around you. Rest assured there will be plenty of naysayer and trouble makers trying to pull you down. It’s, therefore, important that you stay moored to your goals and objectives, and cut out the noise. Enthusiasm is rare these days, so keep the cheerfulness going.

Stay True to Yourself
Even as you are doing all of the above, make sure that your actions are above board. Resist the temptation to take shortcuts or measures that could put you or your team in an ethical bind. When everything else fails, it is your own sense of values that will stand you in good stead.

The MAKING of a “Persuasive Presentation” !

Courtesy: timesjobs.com

Presentations have become an integral part of the corporate culture. In fact for every new initiative, bosses ask for a detailed presentation. A few tips on how to make a good and impressive presentation…

Presentations have become a part of our daily work schedule. Each one of us has to prepare a presentation either for internal assignments or for clients or to demonstrate a new initiative. Here are a few points that you can remember before starting to make a presentation,

Know your topic:
The worst mistake to do is to make a presentation on a topic which you do not know. You need to know your subject thoroughly and you must be enthusiastic about it.

Research:
Start thinking of your own professional and personal experiences to tie to the topic. It’s easier to speak from the personal perspective. It also helps increase rapport and credibility with your audience.

With today’s technological advancements, visuals are being integrated into presentations of all types. Here are a few guidelines to help you develop successful visuals in your presentations:

While developing content, think about how you want to present your material graphically
You will devise a crisper presentation when you do content and visuals as a one-step process. Also, you will not risk putting off the visuals until the last minute and ending up with less than you need.

Create visuals that signal quality.
This puts the best face on your presentation, your company, your business, and you. If your company provides master slides, use them. If not, use PowerPoint templates.

Make readability a top priority.
Select clean, simple fonts. Arial, Tahoma and New Times Roman are the best choices. Select point sizes that people can easily read. In person presentations call for 44-point heads and 32-point type for body copy. Reduce the font size if you are doing a web-conference and your visuals are available on a desktop monitor.

Limit the amount of text on a slide.
Do not use more than six words on one line, and no more than six lines of text on one slide.

Go for diversity in your slides.
Consider charts, diagrams, tables, clip art, and sound galleries. But practice restraint. With so many bells and whistles available, the temptation to keep adding multimedia is great.

Use animation to uphold interest.
If you’re presenting bulleted information, for instance, use the dim function. This helps sustain audience attention.

It must be said that sound topic knowledge even aided with visuals is not enough for making a persuasive presentation. Here are some more tips on bringing your presentation alive for your audience:

You should put your main points on cards and build your talk from these outlines.
Otherwise, you will fall into the trap of reading to your audience, weakening the all-important human connection. There are occasions when writing a speech makes sense, particularly if there is policy or legal issues involved. Still, you want to write like you talk.

When rehearsing, remember to actually “speak the speech.”
Just running through it mentally is not enough. Rehearse your speech alone, with others, or by using an audio or video tape. Better yet, do all three.

Wrap it up with a productive Question and Answer session.
Have a few questions ready in case the audience does not respond. Start with, “A question I often hear is. . .” This primes the audience to jump in with their own questions.

Most important, know your audience.
Who are they? What are their values? What’s important to them? Why did they invite you to speak?