The room in the workplace that is rife with the most conflict and emotional turmoil is not the boardroom, or your boss's office, or that conference room that's most often used for annual reviews. It is the office kitchen.
Leadership roles no longer automatically go to white men -- at least, not overtly. While many companies have made strides in opening up management positions to women and people of color, we have a long way to go before the corporate ladder allows everyone to ascend based solely on merit. Recent research shows that unconscious bias still informs leadership decisions, promoting white men to positions of power when the chips are down.
Does your manager avoid tough discussions, put her own boss or clients first, or overload the least resistant employee with a ton of work? She may be spineless, to say the least. Such a boss will often try to sneak out of situations as quickly as possible without hurting her chance with the higher ups. Simply put, she cannot take a stand and may have very few opinions of her own. If you are stuck with such a boss, there's every chance that you are being overworked and underpaid. So given the odds stacked against your career, what can you do to help your position?
It's been on your calendar for weeks, maybe months, and now it's right around the corner -- your office holiday party. This is such a busy time of year, so the party might feel like a bit of a burden -- just one more thing you need to do. However, if you are especially friendly with a group of people at work, you might be looking forward to it. Chances are, your feelings are somewhere in between. So, how can you get the most out of this semi-mandatory event with kinda-fun potential?
It is the season of spreading joy and merriment around, a.k.a the season of gift giving (and hopefully receiving). You are planning on buying a gift expressing your gratitude to your wonderful manager. It has after all been, one rocking year. So what can you get to the most amazing boss ever?
What is it about holiday parties that makes people think they should reenact their college keggers? Perhaps it's dealing with a number of different stressors all at once, from pre-travel work deadlines to holiday shopping to coordinating with teammates who are increasingly checked out. Then, of course, there's the bad-decision potentiating power of alcohol. If there's one thing the following stories have taught us, it's that everyone would be better off starting their January cleanse a few weeks early. Certainly, their careers would thank them.
You may have worked on the same team together as peers, been classmates in school, and come up for promotion at the same time. But only one of you made the cut this time, and it was not you who was promoted. Now your peer is your manager, and as much as you resent it, there's little you can do but accept her in her new role. Assuming you’re not in a rush to head out the door, here are a few ways you can handle the transition.
The holidays are a challenging time to be a working person. Half the people you need to talk to seem to be on vacation, or at least mentally checked out, your office is filling up with sugary treats you don't want, but can't stop eating, and the nonstop social whirl seems to bring out the worst in your co-workers. Fortunately, some of PayScale's favorite bloggers and writers have tips on staying healthy and sane during the season -- while maintaining your sense of humor, to boot.
How is your workplace similar to your aunt's house during a holiday celebration? Both are bad places to talk about politics, religion, or anything that's liable to get people riled up. Of course, knowing better doesn't necessarily mean doing better.
Signing off as "Salty" instead of "Sally." Including 18 line items in your signature block, including your parents' home number. Forgetting that you already pushed "send" on your daily e-mail to your mom, and closing the subsequent e-mail to your boss with, "Love, Sean XOXO." Realizing that upon sending said e-mail to your boss, you accidentally hit "reply all" and thus also sent your hugs and kisses to your entire team. The ways we can bungle a professional e-mail are endless and there is arguably no worse way than how we sign off.
Although they are diminishing in number, there still are managers whose first reaction to stressful situations is to yell. Sometimes, it's the people you'd least expect: something about pressure brings out the worst in them, and they react by chewing everyone out. Of course, the reasons why won't make much of a difference to you, if you're always waiting for the other shoe to drop. So how do you deal with a boss who is always screaming?
Many workers spend the bulk of their career trying to avoid dealing with human resources, seeing it as a combination principal's office/courtroom. That's too bad, because there's a lot that HR can do to better your career, provided that you know how to use this function correctly.
You're juggling multiple projects, all on a tight deadline, and are just about managing it. Just as you find a minute to take a break and do your anti-carpal tunnel syndrome stretching, your manager comes over with another super-important project with a very close deadline. You want to refuse, but are afraid it may cost you all future projects, maybe even your job. So what do you do?
We all go through difficult times once in a while. Whether it's an illness, divorce, grief, or some other struggle that's got you down, it can be really hard to face the workday when your life is pulling at your heartstrings. But, you need your job, and you recognize the importance of putting one foot in front of the other and carrying on, even though that's easier said than done. The good news is, if you approach this thoughtfully and intentionally, and if you remember to be kind to yourself along the way, your job might actually be able to help you get through this tough time.
If your co-worker does not let you in on relevant information that she "meant to" share with you, takes credit for your work, does not give you the complete picture of projects, keeps all her cards close to her chest, spends a lot of time in the manager’s office, and bags projects you didn't even know about, you may be dealing with a highly competitive colleague.
After years of training and education, you've finally landed a great position in your field. But no matter how much preparation you've done, a mentor could help your career, and assist you personally, in profound ways.