Friday, July 18, 2008

Ten Rules Guaranteed to Cause You Less Stress

It's Friday. TGIF, right? You've put in some long hours, dedicated yourself to the job and figured out a way to whittle your lunch tab down to $1.25 (ketchup put into hot water makes tomato soup, right?).

I know you're stressed. That's why I'm here to tell you that it's really OK if you:

1. See that when you're the only one getting on the elevator with the top boss you suddenly say: "Oops! I forgot something! You go ahead!" Some days you just really don't want to do the whole elevator-pitch thing, ya know?

2. Claim you already gave to the latest charitable cause for which a colleague is collecting money. You're not a bad person, but if it comes down to saving the sea turtles or a latte, well...

3. Don't watch "The Office" because it depresses you. It cuts a little to close to the bone. "Dwight" has inhabited the cubicle next to you for three very, very long years.

4. Are determined to best your personal record of 17 straight spins in your chair. You brought some WD-40 to work, and are waiting for everyone to leave before trying for your personal goal of 35 spins.

5. Have scoped out a future retiree's larger, more private work space and are already schmoozing the office manager to make sure that when the time comes, that baby is YOURS.

6. Claim you didn't get the phone message from your boss over the weekend because your service sucks. And the e-mail? Same thing.

7. Show up for the company potluck with your personal, extra-secret recipe for chocolate chip cookies. Good thing Mrs. Field's is near your house...

8.Have written an entire novel in your head during a human resources presentation on "Know Your Company, Love Your Company."

9.Paid the snotty parking lot attendant all in pennies on the day he reported you were parked in vacationing employee's spot.

10. Offer your opinion on the latest business books, although you didn't actually read them. But those amazon.com reviews are so helpful, aren't they?

If you want to add to this list, feel free. It's Friday. It's OK.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Personal Trinkets at Work Can Hurt Image

Your collection of snow globes – now numbering somewhere in the dozens – is quite eye-catching, covering nearly every available space in your cubicle. And that poster of the Hooter’s girls really adds a special touch, as does the photo of you and your buddies emptying the keg at a beach party.

Ahh…there’s nothing like having a workspace that’s, well, comfy. Something like a home away from home. (Not to mention the screen saver of your dog giving birth is just awesome!)

But according to a recent study, so many personal touches may actually hurt your professional image.

Researchers at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business found that if more than one in five items that adorn a worker’s office or cubicle are personal in nature, others may view that as unprofessional. (For the record, personal touches were seen as photos, artwork, posters of movie stars, sports equipment, etc.)

Still, this may be only an American bias, since a “general aversion for blurring the work/personal boundary in the context of work is more reflective of American business practices” that those in other countries, says Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks.

Sanchez-Burks, an assistant professor of management and organizations at the school, says that Americans like to put on their game face when entering the workplace door, and don’t cotton to the idea of a lot of personal gee-gaws cluttering up the space.

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