Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ten Things They Never Taught You in School But you Gotta Know in Order to Survive on the Job

Most new parents I know say that can't believe the hospital just let them walk out with their newborn child. The panic sets in as they realize there is no owner's manual to accompany such a momentous event in their lives.

The same could be true of the workplace. Sure, some attend years and years of school, but nothing really prepares you for what the workplace is truly like.

That's why I've put together this list. Tuck it in your pocket. Post it on your refrigerator. E-mail it to yourself. Just don't forget these lessons that you need to know when you work for living:

1. Learn to read upside down.

2. Always carry two pens.

3. Never talk about bodily functions at work. This includes hormones, flatulence and constipation. Only share those events with someone related to you by blood or marriage.

4. Clean up after yourself. Maids work at the Hilton, not your office.

5. Hold the door. The smallest niceties often have the greatest impact.

6. Just because someone is lower than you on the company totem pole doesn't mean they can't retaliate if you wrong them.

7. If you keep up only with your industry or job, you'll be royally screwed when you're booted from both.

8. You are replaceable. Ten people could fill your job tomorrow, and a couple of them are within a few feet of you.

9. Look out the window. Taking your nose away from the grindstone often brings about the greatest insight, clarity and creativity.

10. Be careful of anyone who takes your side in an argument. Their commiseration can cause you to say things you'll come to regret.

What else do we need to know to survive in the workplace?


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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

"Don't be messy. Be on time."

The income tax has made liars out of more Americans than golf. -- Will Rogers (1879-1935)

Let's not even think about taxes anymore today, and instead focus on Tidbit Tuesday:

* Bring on the Rogaine: Sometimes you have to be really creative in promoting your business and your professional abilities, and a guy with a blog on balding has done just that. He recently sent me some information that pointed out we haven't had a bald president since Dwight D. Eisenhower. If that isn't worthy of Meet the Press, I don't know what is.

* Ah, that first job: While teens connect through Facebook and MySpace, they often spend their time discussing the latest music, school event or romantic attachment. But some enterprising teens got together and decided they wanted to set up their own job site, and have done so at While pretty limited in scope, it is interesting to read some comments from job-hunting teens and the lessons learned. One teen supplied that she really didn't have any advice to offer other teens since she was fired after two weeks from her toy store job. She did impart these words of wisdom: "Don't dress messy. Be on time."

* And the dog ate my report: As for the above item, a lot more people need to learn a similar lesson that being late can cost them a job. According to a recent survey, 15 percent of workers say they arrive late to work at least once a week, while 24 percent admit to making up fake excuses to explain their tardiness. Some of the excuses:
1. While rowing across the river to work, I got lost in the fog.
2. Someone stole all my daffodils.
3. I had to go audition for American Idol.
4. My ex-husband stole my car so I couldn't drive to work.
5. My route to work was shut down by a Presidential motorcade.
6. I wasn't thinking and accidentally went to my old job.
7. I was indicted for securities fraud this morning.
8. The line was too long at Starbucks.
9. I was trying to get my gun back from the police.
10. I didn't have money for gas because all of the pawn shops were closed.

While many hiring manager say they believe their employees' excuses for lateness, about 27 said they were skeptical. (Can't pull anything over on these folks, huh.) And while we may run late every once in a while, a chronic problem could cease to be amusing since some hiring managers say they would consider firing the employee if tardiness is an issue several times a year.

* At least we're doing something right: "A significant increase in supportive attitudes at the workplace towards co-workers living with HIV as well as greater acceptance of condoms and other preventive measures are being registered around the world as a result of effective HIV policies and practices," says a new report by the International Labour Office (ILO).
The report summarizes the activities of the ILO SHARE project currently active in over 650 workplaces in 24 countries, covering almost one million workers.


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