3 simple ways to stop office gossip in its tracks…

arabian proverb omy

we’ve all been here… trapped in the work break room, trying to dodge gossipy “Gail”. in the moment, wishing you would have opted for that smaller water bottle you were eyeing at the store…

water break small talk is great for morale and building relationships with coworkers.  But if it turns to gossip it’s counterproductive.  Have you ever noticed that after your ears are “exposed” to gossip, you feel a bit less positive and excited? that’s because energy is contagious, and gossip is a negative energy.  it adds no value, and it simply creates an untrusting environment hindering teamwork and productivity.

As a naturally curious person, I love listening, but hate gossip because of the way it makes me feel.  I always feel bad for the person who is being talked about. Here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way for the next time you’re caught in a “gossipy” situation…

  • Change the subject.  Simple enough, right? Don’t engage. Don’t validate the information. Be sure not to listen too long or even shake your head in agreement.  Interrupt, if you must.  A good way to do this is by asking a work related question the gossiper is knowledgeable about.  For example: Oh Lisa, I actually needed your help with this project.  What software did you use for…?
  • Ask the gossiper, “how do you know that”?  This can catch them off guard and throw the conversation off giving you the perfect escape route to change the subject.
  •  Leave the room for that meeting, phone call, etc. you must take care of.  Or if stuck at your desk, let them know you have an important call to take and will have to chat later.

There is nothing greater or more valuable than your time.  Make sure you use it wisely.  If you find you’re the subject of gossip, don’t get down or feel the need to get even. Your actions will speak to your character. Show people who you are, and the naysayers won’t have much to stand on. How do you handle office gossip?  What has worked and what hasn’t?  Do you like when people share gossip with you?

Would you still hire a candidate who chewed gum during an interview? What would be your reaction?

Light

A recent discussion on LinkedIn about  interviews and gum chewing has me curious to find out what your thoughts are on gum chewing in an interview.

Here’s the scenario:

Imagine your hiring for a position at your location.  The candidate who is coming in to interview shows promise.  After introductions and a welcoming hello, you both sit down.  Suddenly, you notice the candidate is chewing gum.  What would you do?  Would you still consider the candidate for the position?

My thoughts… People are far, far too quick to formulate the wrong impression. I find it a bit ignorant not to hire someone based on this alone. I’ve personally witnessed candidates who make “mistakes” during the interview, go on to be top performing employees. If the candidate has the ability to do the role and be a good “fit” then a simple conversation is too easy.  in most gum chewing cases, it was probably last minute forgetfulness due to being nervous for an interview.

Interviews are a time that we must measure people against others and make decisions based on what we know.  It can be hard for people to see past small, easily corrected behaviors.  I would encourage anyone who makes hiring decisions to be open minded, empathetic and honest.  We are all just human after all.  We make mistakes.  We live. We learn. This world would be a terribly boring place if we were all perfect.

Chewing gum is not considered appropriate professional behavior for an interview.  I say why not.  If it’s not distracting or taking away from the conversation. Don’t let what is dictate what has to be. Question the status quo. Advocate change.  Otherwise, we would still be living in caves, or supporting injustices such as slavery.

How would you handle a candidate chewing gum?  Would you still hire them?  Have you ever chewed gum at an interview or workplace?

4 inspring Spartacus quotes

 

spartacus 3

A gut wrenching tale of love, honor and justice based on true historical events has been my on demand go to this week.  in the tale of Spartacus, a man without a penny to his name, with not even freedom to call his own, believes in something greater than himself and changes the fate of history. and if that wasn’t enough, the characters are very easy on the eyes.

4 inspiring takeaways from Spartacus:

  1. “I believe in opportunity.  And the power of reason to seize upon it.” In all things there is opportunity.  If only we have the ability to look for it and the courage to take action.
  2. “A man is never too weak or too wounded to fight if the cause is greater than his own life.” Nothing will stand in the way of a man/woman who believes with all their heart. Nothing is stronger, and I would hate to be the force that stands in the way.
  3. “There is always a choice.” period.
  4. “And maybe there’s no peace in this world, for us or for anyone else.  I don’t know, but I do know that as long as we live, we must stay true to ourselves.” Your life is not of chance.  Be you.  Share your talents.  Dream, believe and change the world.

If you haven’t had the chance to watch Spartacus.  I highly recommend, especially if you are a fan of Game of Thrones and/or Vikings.

 

The secret to happiness…

heart sing

 

Find your gift… then give it away!

So often we get hung up on the idea of success… its’ link to money, prestige, titles, perks, and so on.  There is nothing worse than trading your most valuable asset, your time, for money. Time will never be repaid to you. Money doesn’t go to the grave.  True success is doing that thing that you’re really, really, good at, that you absolutely love and giving it away.

I dare you to try.  It takes courage to step out of your comfort zone and try something new with the risk of failure at your heels, but isn’t that what makes it exciting?  In the end you will never regret that you tried.  What’s the worst that could happen?  You find out it’s not for you, you move on, with a great story to tell.

Erma Bombeck said it perfectly. “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me.”

 

 

“to all the dreamers…” what we can learn from Jared Leto’s acceptance speech

If you didn’t have the opportunity to watch the 2014 Oscars,  you missed out on some awe-inspiring stories of hope. One of those stories, was Jared Leto’s.

Jared Leto 2014 Oscars (ABC)
Jared Leto 2014 Oscars (ABC)

“In 1971, Bossier City, Louisiana. There was a teenage girl, who was pregnant with her second child.  She was a high school  drop out… and a single mom.  But somehow she managed to make a better life for herself and her children… She encouraged her kids to be creativework hard, and do something special.  That girl, was my mother.”

Even in less than perfect circumstances, we have the ability to dream. So be creative & work hard, and you may just do something special.

What brings out your creativity? How do you stay committed to your dream?  For a little inspo, watch Jared Leto’s 2014 Oscar acceptance speech:

Why did I not get a call back on my resume or job application?

So you sent off your application and/or resume for that job you thought you were well qualified for?  it’s been two weeks and still no call or follow-up from them? Here’s a few easy fixes that could be landing your application/resume in a rejection pile.

  1. The TMI email address:
    sexikitten33@___.com  Hey, I’m all for sexy kittens, but they don’t belong in the workplace, sorry. Well, the exception being Hugh Hefner’s workplace.  ha. when a recruiter/manager views your resume.  this is their only image of you, and your email is a glimpse of that. Using something “inappropriate”  displays a lack of awareness and professionalism, to say the least.  It may seem trivial, but when a recruiter has a competitive hiring process with several qualified candidates there is no room for sexikittens. but that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative with your address think recruiterwhitney or ITtom.
  2. Blank sections on your application:
    Recruiters review tons of applications per day.  An applicant who leaves blank sections appears uninterested and lazy.  Not a great starting point. Also be sure that even if you included a resume, that you still post your information within the body of the application. yes, it sucks.  I agree, employers need to get on board with shorter application processes, but until then, do right or not at all.
    If taking the time to fill out each section of the application sounds daunting then maybe this job isn’t for you. Save yourself the time and don’t half-halfheartedly apply.
  3. Generic resumes and forgetting to change it up:
    “I am excited to join ABC,” when applying to company XYZ.  Wow, I’m sure XYZ company is excited for you to join ABC too!  Yes, this really happens!  Be sure to review your resume before submitting it. Easy fix, that could ruin your chances to be considered.
  4. Spelling and Grammar:
    A resume/application with spelling and grammar errors looks careless. Let’s say you’re applying to a job with the responsibility of balancing money or completing company financials. Accuracy will be pivotal, so spelling and grammar errors on an application are a huge red flag. Always proofread.  Don’t be this person:  “Responsible for profreading and editing communications for company … “
  5. Bad-mouthing your previous employer:
    “Bad” employers really do exist.  However, what you say about your previous employer, manager or coworker is more revealing of you than it is of them. Diplomacy, professionalism and the ability to look for resolution are important qualities to managers.  Qualities they will be looking for during the hiring process.  Keep the “Reason for Leaving” section on your application positive. What sounds better to you? “Ready to take the next step in my career.” vs. “No support for career goals, stuck in a dead-end job, no room for growth.”

Okay, so no one really does these things, right?  Ha.  You’d be surprised.  Recruiting, I have seen these repeated mistakes again and again. I tend to look past such mistakes.  However, MOST hiring managers will not be as “open” to these mistakes.

If you aren’t getting called back on your applications or resumes, don’t get discouraged.  Try to find a way to improve for next time – even if it is just tweaking your resume a bit.  A friend or colleague may be able to give you an outside perspective.  Or feel free to email me your resume, and I will lend you a few quick tips… opportunity.meets.you@live.com

Inspiration. There are far, far better things ahead than anything we leave behind. -C.S. Lewis

10 phrases “ain’t nobody got time for” at work.

Effective communication is not what you say, but how it’s delivered. If you’re speaking, but not adding value, then stop. Ain’t nobody got time for that. The office has enough energy vampires and time wasters.  Steer clear of these 10 phrases buzzing around the office.

  1. I’m tired. It’s easy to say, as most people can relate to this, but don’t. Haven’t you noticed the contagious yawns going around?  We are all tired, we don’t need to be reminded.
  2. That’s not fair.  This is my pet peeve.  Life is NOT fair, nor is it meant to be. This is probably some result of my upbringing… as the oldest child, I was always supposed to “know better,” even when my younger sibs started it. I remember as kids, our dad (the family jokester) would fill each of our cups with soda and be sure one of us had much less in our cup. And of course, as a kid, our reaction was “hey, why did I get less, that’s not fair.” His answer was simple… “life’s not fair.” To say the least, we learned really quickly that fairness wasn’t a solid argument. Fairness cannot be measured.  Things happen in their own time, eventually evening out.  The key is to stay focused on yourself, and not compare your situation to others. My dad to this day says he was preparing us for the real world. Thanks, dad.
  3. I can’t.  stop limiting yourself, you’re only standing in your own way.
  4. The problem is…   If you have the ability to find problems then work on your ability to find solutions.  Bring ideas and alternative solutions to problems… not more problems.
  5. I’m too busy. hello time management and delegation. Here’s a way to look at it, there are many colleagues excited to learn new things & gain new experience – pass on the torch and at the same time free yourself up to do other things.
  6. But.  “But” has a negative connotation. It negates what you just said.  Instead of using but, why not try to add value or provide a suggestion.  What would you like to hear? “I really liked your idea, but the strategy was a bit confusing.”  versus “I really liked your idea.  It would be great to understand the strategy a bit better, have you thought about using a flow chart?”
  7. I don’t get paid for that.  Money isn’t everything. Some may think it so.  . but if it’s your end goal, then it will be a monster to your happiness. Like all roads to success, you have to invest to get results. Invest in your company, work hard, show that you care, and I am certain the money will follow.  If not, have an honest conversation with your boss about the value you add to the organization.
  8. That sucks.  How you deal with hard situations, is very telling of you as a person.  Don’t be the complainer.  Be the person that takes action, and turns tough situations into opportunities.
  9. I’ll try.  aren’t we all just trying anyway?  how about “you will.”  Have enough confidence in yourself to know that even if you don’t know how, you will find a way.   With any job or task, do it with all your heart and give it everything you got.
  10. He/she is always/never. don’t place labels.  “always” and “never” are so final. no one is always one thing or never another.  we change, adapt, and grow. Also conversations like this are a productivity and morale killer. People who gossip are projecting their own insecurities in life onto others.  Because in some way shape or form they do not feel adequate or accepted. Don’t get hurt by gossip, let it roll off your back. Your actions will speak to your character.

Inspiration. Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already. -Dave Willis