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Category: Attitude

First Week on the Job

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career Advice, Communication, Success

You walk through the revolving door of the lobby toward the elevator, soaking in your surroundings—there’s not a familiar face in the building. You straighten out your suit, press #12, and take a deep breath: Once those doors re-open, your first week of work will officially begin.

Whether it’s your first position or your fifth, those first few days on the job can be more than a little intimidating. But with these key rules, you can get comfortable in your new surroundings, get up to speed quickly, and get off on the right foot with your new boss and co-workers

Do: Be a Sponge

One of your most important duties your first week is absorbing everything. Getting to know your company’s culture, the working and communication styles of your teammates, the problem projects, office politics, and department or company-wide goals means that you’ll be able to start your real work sooner (and be more effective when you do).

So, go to the new hire orientation, sign up for professional development classes, and attend all the team and office meetings you can, even if you’re not yet sure what’s going on or they don’t 100% pertain to your work.

Also join in on the informal events. If you get asked to lunch, happy hour, or the office softball league (either as a participant or onlooker), say yes. It’s a great way to meet people, and it shows that you’re excited to be part of the team.

Don’t: Overcommit Yourself

Do be careful, though, to balance your schedule—you want to have plenty of time to learn the ropes from your desk. The last thing you want is to look like you have too much to juggle, seem overwhelmed, or show up late to a commitment because you’re stuck somewhere else.

Do: Ask Questions

As you learn about new processes, projects, and people, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to get up to speed, and people will expect it from the new person on the team. Also take down detailed notes about everything you learn, even if it seems simple. Your brain is going to be on overload this week, and writing everything down will make sure you don’t have to ask the same question twice.

Don’t: Be Afraid to Speak Up

At the same time, don’t be afraid to contribute and add value—you do want to reinforce that you’re the right person for the job! No, you won’t know everything (nor should you act like you do!), but you can make suggestions in team meetings or brainstorming sessions, or ask questions like, “Has this been tried before?” And if you have a skill or ability that you’ve been hired to bring to the team, pipe up and share that knowledge. But be careful to read your audience. You don’t want to come on like gangbusters or step on someone’s toes.

Do: Offer to Help

There may be some down time during your first few days on the job as your boss and team adjust to having you there. But don’t sit around waiting for others to figure out tasks for you—volunteer to help your new teammates on a project. You’ll show initiative, you’ll build rapport with your boss and co-workers, and you’ll learn about expectations, procedures, and how things are done.

Continue reading this article by Laura Katen on The Muse.

Career Advice for College Graduates

Filed under: accountability, ambition, Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career & Money, Career Advice, Communication, Decision Making, Goals, Good Habits, Quick Tips, Skills, Success

Most of the best career advice isn’t learned in school or discussed during formal annual reviews. They’re the priceless nuggets of wisdom you tend to learn through the school of hard knocks instead – sometimes too late. One of the best gifts that seasoned leaders can give to college graduates is practical, candid feedback on what they really need to know to succeed in the “corporate jungle.”

In classic David Letterman style, here are my top 10 career advice tips for college graduates and early career professionals:

#10 Build relationships before you need them

Don’t wait until you need something to have a substantial discussion with your team leader or other key executives. A crisis is a real buzz kill for relationship building so avoid building relationships in the midst of a crisis and instead build them before you need them. Director of Columbia University’s Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Programs, Beth Fisher-Yoshida discusses the importance of relationship building in 5 Ways to Develop More Meaningful Relationships at Work.

#9 Learn your boss’ communications preferences early and adapt to them

When you adjust your style to better fit your manager’s communication/work style preferences, you become easier to manage – and that’s a good thing! This becomes even more important when you encounter that unavoidable “difficult boss” which research shows will likely happen at some point. Learning effective managing up techniques can mean the difference between success and failure when faced with a challenging boss personality.

#8 Don’t hide your awesome

Inexperience can be an asset so use it! Don’t hold back on sharing a completely different idea or approach, or questioning if there might be a better way. Your lack of “experience” could be the key to innovation so leverage that. If you’ve developed a template for tracking incoming orders or have used an amazing app for researching vendors, share that with your team. If there’s momentum around an area where you have expertise, don’t be afraid to volunteer to lead the effort. Remember that you don’t have to know everything to take lead on a project or task.

#7 Become the go-to person for something valuable

I like to say it’s not just “what you know and who you know” but also “who knows you and what you’re known for.” Becoming known as the Prezi, Slack or Sharepoint expert not only builds your organizational credibility, but it also creates demand for your participation in a wide range of projects that you may not have otherwise had exposure to. Stay attuned to the high demand skill sets in your industry or organization and develop deep skills in an area that is highly valued. If you become known as the resident Prezi expert in the company, you might find yourself working directly with the EVP on her upcoming board presentation and that one on one face time can prove invaluable. Over time you’ll want to be careful not to become pigeon-holed into one particular skill set, but building extreme competency in a few areas early is virtually always a smart move.

#6 Fiercely manage your personal brand

Just as the brands Tiffany, Coke and McDonalds evoke very specific sentiments as you think about them, your name has the same impact when others hear it. Decide what you want people to think about when your name is mentioned, then get about the business of building and managing your personal brand. Whether it’s your dress, lunch buddies, cell phone ring or email syntax, remember that with every choice you’re reinforcing your personal brand. Joseph Liu’s 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand At Work insists that brand building isn’t just for executives; it’s for everyone.

To read the full article by Dana Brownlee, visit it here at Forbes.com.

Cycle for Survival Recap

Filed under: ambition, Attitude, company culture, Passion, What Inspires Me

On Friday, February 8th, the Creative & Marketing division of Solomon Page participated in Cycle for Survival at Equinox Rockefeller Center. Over 15 of our employees cycled in effort to fundraise for cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. We are grateful to be a part of a great cause and encourage our community to get involved.

For more information on how to get involved, visit: Cycle for Survival.

Finding Happiness Within Each Work Day

Filed under: ambition, Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career Advice, Happiness, motivation, Professional Development

One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell us as children was the tale of the traveler and the three bricklayers.

In the story, the traveler meets the bricklayers, who are hard at work, and asks them what they’re doing.

The first man responds, “I’m laying bricks.”

The second man responds, “I’m building a church.”

The third man responds, enthusiastically, “I’m building a cathedral!”

Despite each of the bricklayers having the exact same job, their subjective experience varied significantly.

There’s a great takeaway from this parable. When we can see how what we’re doing fits into the whole—when we’re aware that each metaphorical “brick” we’re laying is contributing to something greater—we feel happiness and fulfillment.

And just like that enthusiastic bricklayer, we too can actively seek to find meaning in our work. The “why” behind what we’re doing isn’t always obvious or inherent, but it’s there, trust me.

A recent survey of over 2,000 American professionals across 26 industries found that employees experience more satisfaction at work when their jobs feel meaningful. The same survey found that raises and promotions are more common among employees who find their work meaningful; these workers also tend to be harder working and more productive.

These findings leave little room for doubt that actively finding purpose in our work every day is the single best thing we can do for our careers. But knowing this and actually applying it are two different things. That’s why we need to learn to exercise a little something I like to call the “meaningfulness habit.”

How to Embrace the Meaningfulness Habit at Work

It works like this: Any time you’re starting a new task, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What meaning can I give to this task?”

In High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, author Brendon Burchard shares a similar practice called “Release Tension, Set Intention.” This involves embracing the transitions we experience throughout the day—going from eating to working, writing to attending a meeting, making a phone call to sending emails—as opportunities to release any tension we may be harboring and set an intention before going into a new task or environment.

Building on this habit, if we take a moment at each transition throughout the day to ask ourselves why we’re doing something before we do it, we can inject more meaning into the task at hand and make ourselves more motivated to complete it. This meaning could be something significant, such as furthering a cause you believe in or helping others in some way, or it could be something small, such as peace of mind or development toward a personal goal.

Not every task needs to be connected to world peace—it just needs to give you some positive feeling, identifiable with perhaps a slight smile, a sense of satisfaction, or a heightened ability to focus.

In some cases, like when you’re working on a particularly dull, repetitive task, the meaning you find may just be to keep your boss happy so you can keep your job and continue to support your partner or kids. And that’s OK!

Here are some other examples:

  • Why am I going to give this presentation? To help get more support for this project I believe in.
  • Why am I going to clean up my inbox? To reduce my stress levels and feel lighter before I go home.
  • Why am I going to fill out this spreadsheet? To keep track of our records so our team functions efficiently.
  • Why am going to attend this meeting? To support the people I work with and offer help where I can.

Even if we’re not tangibly building something—like the bricklayers—there can still be meaning behind it. It may be a stepping stone to something greater; it may be an opportunity to be an example to others; it may be a creative outlet; it may be a way to support our retirement. No reason is a bad one.

(If you’re still struggling, try reading this article on finding meaning in a meaningless job and this one on caring about more than just your title.)

Ultimately, whatever we’re doing, there’s a reason why (otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it). Which is good news because that means there’s always meaning (and happiness) to be found.

For the original article: The Muse.

7 Ways to Show Emotional Intelligence in a Job Interview

Filed under: Attitude, Interviews, Job Market, Job Search, Personality, Professional Development

Yes, having solid technical skills is important in landing a job, but maybe not as important as you might think. In fact, in a survey of more than 2,600 hiring managers and human resource professionals, 71% stated they valued emotional intelligence in an employee over IQ. What’s more, 75% said they were more likely to promote a highly emotionally intelligent worker; and 59% claimed they’d pass up a candidate with a high IQ but low emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is going to be even more relevant for job hunting in the future too, the Future of Jobs Report from The World Economic Forum ranked emotional intelligence in the top 10 job skills required for 2020. Since more companies are paying attention to hiring people with high emotional intelligence, if you’re looking for a job it’s an important skill to demonstrate in your interview.

Here are 7 ways that to demonstrate emotional intelligence in a job interview:

1. Actively listen

Instead of focusing on a response to the question being asked, give all your attention on the question itself. Don’t give in to the urge that you have to answer the question immediately. Interviewers are looking for a thoughtful response, instead of an immediate one that indicates that you are giving them an answer that you have rehearsed. Repeat the question back in your own words to make sure that you understand it the way that it was intended. If you are not sure if you are answering the question ask the person asking it.

2. Show emotions

Many interviewees, due to nervousness, can came come across as wooden and tightly controlled. It’s not only okay to show some emotion, but the right emotions will form a connection between the interviewer and you. Smiling, as long as it doesn’t appear forced or inauthentic, is always good. Showing enthusiasm and some excitement is also good if it is real. The caveat is not to force any emotions. If the interviewers get a whiff that you are coming across as someone other than yourself, it will cause them to mistrust you and decrease your chances of getting the job.

3. Share the credit for your achievements

Take a cue from professional athletes when they are interviewed after a win or achievement. They always credit their team mates, their team, rather than taking personal accolades. When asked about a project that you are proud of, or that was successful, be sure to share credit with the team, unit, and others who were involved in the project. Make it clear that you are proud to be a member of the group that was involved in the success. This gives more credibility to you being a team player, than if you simply claim that you are, which everyone does.

4. Share how you are trying to improve yourself

The typical advice for answering a question about your weakness is to frame it as something that is actually a strength. For example, claiming to be a perfectionist, or becoming too involved in your job, which can be seem as strengths by an employer. These answers do not cut it any more, as interviewers are looking for something more substantial. When disclosing a weakness be sure to indicate what you are actively doing to work on it and give examples of making progress. Interviewers know that we all have weaknesses and suspect that we may try to hide those in the interview. As long as your weaknesses do not raise any red flags, being honest, open and genuine will help gain their trust and respect.

5. Don’t shy away from talking about conflict

For the question about your strengths, rather than only focusing on your qualifications or technical ability, talk about your ability to work well with others in a teamwork setting. Your ability to adapt to change or setbacks and work well with coworkers and customers is important to bring up. Instead of simply mentioning these things, be prepared to come up with examples of when you had to use those skills. Perhaps there was conflict within your unit or you had to deal with an irate customer. Talk about how you used your soft skills to effectively deal with these situations.

You can read the rest of this article on Fast Company.

How to Boost Productivity During the Dog Days of Summer

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Distractions, Focus, Good Habits, Organization, Productivity, Quick Tips, Strategy

You may have loved your job when you started, but it’s not unusual to get in a rut. If you’re experiencing burnout, changing your mindset can bypass it, says Daniel M. Cable, author of Alive aWork: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do, during his interview with Stephanie Vozza of Fast Company.

“Our brains are not wired for routine and repetition at work,” he says. “Disengagement isn’t a motivation problem; it’s a biological one.”

Cable was a professor at the University of North Carolina when he says he lost his zest for his own job and slowly descended into boredom. After being diagnosed and treated for Hodgkin lymphoma, his perspective changed, and he found a sense of gratitude for his job. He stumbled on research about the part of the brain called the ventral striatum, also called the “seeking system,” and its role in being your best self.

“This part of our brain urges us from the time we’re babies to explore what we don’t know,” he says. “Little kids can be given an awesome toy with noises and buttons and they’ll be really into it for a week or few days. Then they find something else that hadn’t seen before, like car keys, and they find that way more interesting. It wasn’t because the thing is cool; it’s because the thing is new.”

When we succumb to these urges, our brain delivers dopamine to reward us and that makes us feel more alive, and the same thing can happen at work, says Cable, currently a professor of organizational behavior at London Business School.

“When we’re in the rut of routine for the 502nd time, this part of the brain shuts off,” says Cable. “Your brain is saying, ‘You’re better than this. We’re not built of this. We’re built for bigger things.’ Then the brain stops the release of dopamine, which makes it seem not only boring but that it takes forever.”

There are three ways you can trigger your brain release dopamine, and get out of your rut, says Cable.

1. Play to your strengths

Identify your signature strengths and the impact you can have by using them on a daily basis. “How can you bring value to the team by using your unique strength?” asks Cable.

When he started tapping into his strength—humor—Cable says he regained an appreciation for his job. “It made me feel good and I saw my students lean in when I used humor,” he says. “As a professor, it was something unique to me. I decided to bring it when I teach class instead of leaving it at home.”

Think of your job as a flexible vehicle and determine how you can bring your strength to it.

2. Be willing to experiment

Avoid the risk of routine by shaking things up. Cable decided to develop new classes instead of teaching the same class over and over.

“A sales manager who was promoted and never got a chance to get out in the field might start going into the field again to talk to clients,” suggests Cable. “It’s just a way to refresh and learn new things.”

Activate that seeking system by going outside of your comfort zone, suggests Cable.

3. Tap into purpose

Finally, analyze cause and effect in your role. We all want to see the impact of our actions, says Cable. Leaders can help employees personalize the purpose of work by providing direct conversations with the people who use work as well as internal decision makers.

“Try to think about the story you want to tell yourself about why you do your job,” says Cable.

You can read the rest of the article on Fast Company.

How to Fall Back in Love with Your Job

Filed under: Attitude, Happiness, Psychology, Self Reflection

With February upon us, staying immune to some variation of the “winter blues” becomes almost as difficult as avoiding the flu. A general sense of restlessness and discontent may try to worm its way into various facets of your life, including your career. Or, perhaps, after the buzz and excitement of the holiday season, your day-to-day feels less satisfying.

You may look back on your current position and wonder when the passion began to fade. This spurs the question, should you stay, or should you go? As a firm believer in second chances, we suggest taking a step back to look at the bigger picture of your experience in this role before kicking it to the curb.

With that said, how do you reignite the spark?

Review the impact you’ve had on the company
Take a moment to look back on your time with this company. Review the role you’ve played in getting your organization or department to where they are now versus when you first started. While doing this, create a list of your achievements and consider if you could continue building upon them. Is this organization a better place in some sense because of the work you’ve done–are you a more skilled professional because of the work that you’ve had the opportunity to do?

Uncover the root of the problem
Sometimes the cause of your dissatisfaction can be easily pinpointed to an exact incident, but more often than not, your current feelings have been built by layers of varied occasions or relationships. In the case of the latter, it may take some self-reflection to reveal when and why you fell out of love. If you’ve had a bad experience with a coworker, fixating on your understanding of that particular incident is an easy route to take, but have you thought about it from their end or looked at the overarching actions that caused the experience to occur? Opening your mind to process a situation from an emphatic approach frequently generates a different perspective and greater respect for the people on the other end.

Look at your relationships
Consider the relationships you’ve formed during your time in this role. How have your colleagues helped you grow, and do they still have knowledge to impart? For many of us, a large portion of our experience is shaped by the relationships we maintain, and a positive or negative team dynamic could make or break your perception. If you’ve been working with the same individuals for a while, maybe you’ve settled into a predictable routine. Try shaking things up by asking your colleagues about their professional background or past experiences. You may be surprised by what you could learn from their past lessons.

Improve your view
Many of us spend a similar amount of time in our workspace as we do in our home. Decorating your house to make it feel like your home is done without question, but often we don’t put thought into personalizing our workspace. Consider the saying that the home is a reflection of the self. Think about that phrase in terms of your work area–a cluttered, impersonal space won’t help you feel connected to the work you’re doing. Of course, you can’t take the same creative liberties in your office as you could in your home. But consider adding some personal touches through photographs of family and friends, interesting desk accessories, plants, a calendar that reflects a personal interest, or books for inspiration. By introducing these elements you create a space that is familiar and comfortable, thereby naturally uplifting your mood.

Broaden your connections
Often in an office-setting, we become unintentionally socially affixed to members of our department or those that we sit near. Lack of exposure to other business areas may be causing you to miss out on great opportunities to broaden your network. Take control of this by asking a coworker from a different department out for lunch or coffee. By engaging with other sections of your company, you may acquire a fresh perspective and understanding of your organization and gain a lasting professional connection along the way.

Communicate what you’re feeling
As in any relationship, maintaining open communication with your teammates is a critical component to success. What feels obvious to you might go unnoticed by others. If appropriate, schedule time to sit down with your boss or teammates and try to talk through your thoughts. Outside perspectives may shed light on the root of your feelings and serve as a reminder of why you fell in love with your job in the first place.

Goal-setting
Now that you’ve done the work, reflecting on your past achievements and company growth, it’s time to look to the future: what could you accomplish in your role this year? Analyze a high-level perspective of your department’s objectives–are there projects in the pipeline that appeal to you? Do you see an opportunity to learn a new skill or strengthen an existing one? If you answered yes to either of those questions, ask yourself if you’d be comfortable with someone else building on the work you started. Begin with the end goals and break them down into phases, then into actionable items, until you have an overarching project plan for success. Has the flame returned yet?

As with most things, we frequently want what we can’t have and overlook the value of what’s in front of us. If you’re willing to put in the work, you may find your “relationship” (aka your job) is stronger than ever before.

How to Network When You Aren’t Sure What You Need

Filed under: Attitude, Communication, Confidence, Networking, Professional Development

Networking is something that makes a lot of people cringe—and understandably so. When people think of the word “networking,” images of forced and insincere flattery comes to mind.

But that’s more often the case when networking is an event—a ritual you perform every once in awhile. Practiced as part of a routine, it can be a lot more livable—just another way of building meaningful relationships. The best time to network is not when you need something, but when you don’t actually have a specific ask in mind. Here’s why, and how to get better at networking when there’s no obvious need you’re trying to fulfill.

WHY YOU NEED TO NETWORK WHEN IT FEELS POINTLESS
Many will immediately recoil at the idea of networking outside the confines of specific events, purpose-built for the occasion, and when there’s a clearly defined need they’re trying to fulfill. After all, networking usually requires pursuing people individually, even if it’s on a casual basis and possibly getting rejected or ignored over and over again.

Continue reading the original article on Fast Company…

5 Remarkably Powerful Phrases That Will Help You Get What You Want

Filed under: Attitude, Communication, Confidence, Good Habits, Psychology

Would you like to be better at getting what you want from your employees, co-workers, customers, bosses, kids, and partner or spouse? Sometimes a change in wording is all you need.

That advice comes from best-selling author and executive coach Wendy Capland. Over the years, she’s learned that certain words and phrases minimize what you have to say, making your requests ineffective. Others have surprising power to influence your listeners. “They increase our effectiveness in communicating clearly and up our ability to get what we want,” she says.

Here are some phrases Capland says are particularly helpful at getting the desired response. Next time you want something from someone, try one of them out, and see if it doesn’t make a difference:

1. What I heard you say is …

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>

10 Ways to Become a More Confident Person

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Confidence, Good Habits, Quick Tips, Success

With confidence, the world just seems like a better place, a sunny day where anything is possible. Without it, the darkness slowly creeps in and your mood begins to decline.

Just like the sun provides crucial vitamin D, confidence provides the “juice” necessary to succeed in both your personal and professional life. Whether it’s fear of the unknown or the scars of past failures, low confidence can occur for many reasons. Below are 10 ways to become a more confident person that should help you in all aspects of your life.

1. Fake it until you make it.
This is a common term for a reason. Clearly, if you are reading this, you are seeking ways to improve your confidence, so faking it may be a good way to start. Eventually, even you may start to believe all the great things about you!

2. Dress the part.
Nothing makes you feel better than looking in the mirror and liking what you see. I consider myself a very casual person, but even I cannot enjoy comfort if it isn’t sometimes contrasted with style and effort. This also applies to grooming.

Click here to read the rest on Inc. >>