The Word Employees Dread Hearing Most

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I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again – CHANGE may be the most dreadful, burdening, concerning word an employee can hear in the workplace.

But it can also be one of the most powerful.

The reason change is such a feared word is because in the minds of employees, it’s a mandated set of rules, procedures, ways of doing things or a shift in structure that will rock their work world. They’re used to doing things one way, and they don’t want to have that changed without their say!

That’s why I love this take from Fortune contributor Karen Tegar Padir. Padir states:

Change in the workplace should make employees feel excited, not uneasy.

This is much easier said than implemented, but YES, ideally you can introduce and communicate change to your team in a way that gets them excited about what’s coming instead of worrying about it. Padir calls out a few specific points to keep in mind:

1. Maintain focus.

2. Define change as an “opportunity.”

3. Create win-win scenarios.

Read the whole article for more insight into how you can make change something employees get excited about.

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Career Detour: Not Being Prepared For Your Job Interview

How to Ace Your Job Interview

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Winging a job interview is never a good idea – especially when a little preparation can help you ace it! All job interviews are made up of five basic interview questions that you can easily prepare for with a little strategy…

 The Value Question

“Why should I hire you?” Start by quoting your three to eight Key Success Patterns (your specific patterns that outline how you work and the value you bring – what ultimately sets you apart). Explain that when you use these patterns, you always succeed.

 The Ability Question

“Can you give me a specific example of how you multi-tasked while in your last job?” These are questions have to do with your skills and ability to do the job. Answer these questions with this 3-part formula: what you did, how you did it, and the result.

 The Fit Question

“Why do you want to work here?” Answer by stating that you don’t fully know yet – because unless you’ve worked there, how can you know?! Then add something to the effect of, “Here’s what I do know from reading your materials in the lobby, literature/catalogs, annual reports, web page, networking information, etc.” Finish by asking, “How accurate am I?”

 The Weakness Question

“What’s your weakness?” Answer with “Here’s what I’ve learned…” Then tell the story using positive information, following with, “Is this something that would be valuable in this position, when one knows how to…?

The Negotiation Question

“What are your salary requirements?” Postpone salary talk until there’s an offer made. Let them go first or ask what the salary range is. Take the offer and not the job by asking, “When do you need to hear from me on my decision? This the time to negotiate – don’t do it until now!

Remember that your main goal here is to get a second interview. Too many people psych themselves out because they think they have to get hired in their first interview.

Learn more about this topic in my book, “From Roadkill To Roadmap.”

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Is An Algorithm Better at Hiring Than a Human?!

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This recent New York Times article stirs quite the debate!

Titled Can An Algorithm Hire Better Than a Human, the article is based upon a trend that companies are actually trending toward. Per the article:

“…People have biases and predilections. They make hiring decisions, often unconsciously, based on similarities that have nothing to do with the job requirements — like whether an applicant has a friend in common, went to the same school or likes the same sports. That is one reason researchers say traditional job searches are broken. The question is how to make them better. A new wave of start-ups — including Gild, Entelo, Textio, Doxa and GapJumpers — is trying various ways to automate hiring. They say that software can do the job more effectively and efficiently than people can. Many people are beginning to buy into the idea…”

I think there is room for technology, but human calculations seem quite essential in the hiring process, too.

But what do YOU think?

Would relying on algorithms help or hurt you in your job hunt?

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Job Shaping vs. Job Hunting – And Big News On The Horizon!

St. Louis Post Dispatch career column

The following is an excerpt from my latest St. Louis Post-Dispatch career column, titled Try “Job Shaping” Before “Job Hunting.” It introduces a fresh concept that I believe can help one find more satisfaction in their career before jumping into the job search pool.

At the end, please note an announcement about a new career network that I’ll have more news about soon – I have no doubt it will make a big impact on anyone who wants to leverage it for their career!


Most of us are familiar with terms like “job transition,” “job hunting,” “job satisfaction” and “job hopping.” But have you ever heard of “job shaping”?

Before we break down this new term, consider the causes and effects of discontent in your job. Maybe your work is dull and lacks challenge. Or it could be you’re trying to fit a 12-hour day into 10. Or possibly your current job isn’t preparing you for greater responsibility and growth. When we feel these kinds of stresses on the job, we often turn to two options:

1. Transitioning into a new job or role within the organization.

2. Leaving the organization all together.

But we (and the organizations we work for) rarely think about what could be achieved by giving energy and thought to shaping our career.

So, what does “job shaping” mean? First, it means thinking about what aspects of the job currently do work for you. What duties give you joy and energy? Once you have identified these positive aspects of your job, look around and ask yourself how you could use them to enhance, fix or solve business problems. This will help you begin to “take shape” of what is best about your job and where you want to invest more time and energy. Now, if you can’t truthfully identify ANY aspects of the job you enjoy, you probably should become a job hunter instead of a job shaper. But, hopefully, it’s the latter!

Continuing on — once you’ve identified the new shape… READ THE REST OF THIS CAREER COLUMN AT STLTODAY.COM.


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How To Make an Unpaid Internship Pay Off

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Unpaid internships are always a controversial topic. Some universities and professionals would advise young up-and-comers to take an unpaid internship because of invaluable experience and a chance to get their foot in the door. Detractors, on the other hand, would say that you’re “working for free” and letting a company exploit your time and talent.

So when Charlene Oldham at St. Louis Magazine asked my take on the topic, I had a lot to cover!

As I’m quoted as saying in the article, I believe taking an unpaid internship can be worthwhile, but it’s essential that you set expectations of what you can learn and what you can do to advance the organization before you start there.

You need to identify a potential supervisor who is accountable for your growth, and with whom you can open lines of communication about your roles, responsibilities and future opportunities.

Check out Charlene’s article, and weigh in with your unpaid internship experiences!

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What To Do When Trauma Hits Your Career or Personal Life

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When a trauma hits our life, it’s natural to ask why this had to happen. But there comes a time when sitting around asking “Why?” is no longer beneficial or healing. So the next question to focus on is “What?”, as in, “What am I going to do now? “What information do I need in order to move forward? What do I have and how can I use that to help me get through this??

Focus on survival. In my b0ok From Cornered To Corner Office, I write about taking care of yourself: improving your career, making good things great. In the book, I outline a dire and distressing situation faced by Melody, who was completely blindsided by a divorce. For her, the first issue was survival. When you’re just trying to survive, you work your way through the maze one small step at a time. “How am I going to get dinner on the table for the kids tonight? Where can I stay until I find my own place? Who can recommend a good attorney?” Think of psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the theory of motivation which states that a human’s biological and safety needs (such as food, water and shelter) must first be met before you can address needs of love, esteem and belonging.

Open yourself up to discovery. After you’ve weathered the survival period and you’re back on some kind of solid ground, it’s time to start casting the career net. It can feel uneasy to go from the hunker-down mode of survival to the optimism of self-discovery, but it’s a necessary step toward building your dream career from here on out. Think about options you’ve never considered before – selling the house, moving to another state – always backing up those ideas with fact-finding. When your foundation has crumbled and you’re starting from scratch, you can actually rebuild in an infinite number of ways. What’s your purpose now? What is it you really want?

For more insight into this topic, check out From Cornered To Corner Office.


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How Proposed Overtime Rule Could Impact Your Workplace

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While a lot of what we talk about here on the blog tends to relate most with those who have a salary, a huge sum of Americans work for an hourly wage – and they often work overtime with no pay increase during their extra hours.

President Obama plans to change that, as he recently proposed a new law. Per this article:

A proposed new rule regarding overtime pay would mean increased paychecks for up to 5 million workers, according to the Obama administration. A proposed adjustment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) — establishing the 40-hour workweek and rules to provide employees with a minimum wage and time and a half of their regular rate pay for working overtime — would raise the salary threshold for overtime. While it has been occasionally raised, the threshold has fallen behind its historic levels since it wasn’t regularly adjusted for inflation.

Now, I’m not here to make political commentary. But I think we would all agree that this new rule would impact both hourly wage workers and their salaried employers in their workplace. And not surprisingly, there are a lot of opinions on the positives and negatives of such a rule.

Educate yourself by checking out this article, which features different points-of-view that we should all consider if this new rule does indeed go into effect.

And as always, please comment with your thoughts!


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9 Tips To Help You Get a Job Promotion

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Let’s get something straight right off the bat, here – if you want a job promotion, none of these tips will help you unless you first DESERVE it.

I’m not in the business of giving people quick fixes to get the title and salary promotion they simply “want.”

But if you are driven, know the value you deliver to your organization, and are confident you are worthy of a promotion, then I want to point you to the tips outlined in HR Pro Kevin Delaney’s article, “How To Get Promoted: 9 Things You Need To Do.”

I like Delaney’s advice because each thing maximizes the value you already deliver vs. gives you “tricks” to make other people think you are worthy of something you’re not. Here’s a sneak peek at the tips:

  1. Get around the right people.
  2. Stop hanging out with the wrong people.
  3. Attitude is everything.
  4. Communicate.
  5. After you communicate, communicate some more.
  6. Participation is highly recommended (read: required).
  7. Invisibility is great if you’re Harry Potter, but it won’t get you promoted.
  8. Don’t fixate or obsess – myopically focus on getting promoted.
  9. Go with the current, not against it.


Read the whole article for a breakdown of each tip, and comment with any advice you have from your personal experiences!

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Don’t Take This Job Search Detour

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When you’re looking for a job, it’s only natural to want to open yourself up to as many opportunities as possible. However, applying to all the seemingly relevant help-wanted ads you see is a major career detour.

Only one in ten jobs is actually advertised, and only one out of ten of those are any good. Newspaper ads especially represent the bottom of the barrel: entry-level jobs, high-turnover positions, straight-commission sales, scams, government agencies paying lip service to EEO hiring…the list goes on.

But most job hunters devour the Sunday paper and online job postings as if they will actually provide something. Don’t feel bad if you’ve done this – no one’s probably told you otherwise. But the world’s changing, and so are job-search methods.

If you are in a job search, my suggestion is to spend no more than five percent of your time with want-ads. You can do this by narrowing down your list to the top 10 jobs that seem desirable to you, and then really going after them. Don’t just send a cover letter and resume, call them to find out what the position really is, and go from there.

Learn more about this topic in my book, From Roadkill To Roadmap.

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3 Tips To Help You Manage Millennials

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Of all the generations out there, “millennials” may have secured their reputation the fastest (fairly or unfairly is up for debate)!

Some call this group entitled, stubborn and overly confident.

Others call them independent, revolutionary and inspiring.

Whichever side of the millennial fence you sit on, I believe every generation has value that others have not yet considered. It’s up to everyone else to figure out how to maximize their possibilities, and maybe even turn their weaknesses into strengths.

That’s why I want to share a Mashable article titled 3 Truths About Millennials That Will Change The Way You Manage Them.

The article does a great job of showcasing the opportunities with millennials – not just the millennials themselves, but how MANAGERS can get more out of their investment in this demographic.

The article identifies 3 specific things you can do to better be in touch with – and get more from – millennials:

  1. Ask “why?” –  Millennials are a collectively inquisitive group. Don’t expect them to just follow marching orders. Give them the “why” behind their responsibilities, and their understanding of the end goal will make them – and you – better for it.
  2. Envy startup culture – Help make your millennial team members part of process, rewarding their desire to have real, tangible significance in their job.
  3. Give feedback early and often - Helping your millennial team member move forward without stripping away their ability to do the job “their way” is essential in setting everyone up for success.

Read the article for more insight into this topic, and let me know what your experiences working with (or as) millennials is like!


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