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It's a New Year and another chance to make more New Year's Resolutions that I won't keep. But I do seriously like the opportunity of starting off a brand new year with things I will do differently. So at the risk of triggering an edgy response, can you offer some tips that will increase the chance of my doing it right this year and making resolutions that will stick?
I am 48, my technical skills are very good but not cutting edge current -- think of me as still using e-mail when the world has deemed that to be too long and too slow -- and my strategic problem solving ability seems annoying to the "pedal to the medal" executives and owners of the technology companies that I am best suited for. I am encouraged by the job market picking up but I am either not making it to the first interview or getting past the first interview. Can you suggest any ways that I can work around these obstacles or possibly point out some obstacles that I am not seeing?
The team I work on needs a personality makeover, but that is such a sensitive issue. We're all walking on eggshells and I think many of them are close to cracking. Do you know of any way to approach this ticklish issue in a constructive way that avoids the awkward confrontations and defensiveness?
It's ironic that I am writing to you for help, because my problem is that I have trouble asking anyone for help. And no, it's not because I think I can do it better than anyone else. I actually know I need help on many things both at work and at home, I just don't seem to be able to ask for it. Maybe it's a male thing because my wife doesn't seem to have problems asking for help. In fact she seems quite comfortable demanding it (which could be the subject of a whole other request, but that wouldn't fit under career advice). Any idea what's holding me back and more importantly what I can do to overcome this?
am a manager for a national law firm. On a daily basis I am becoming less motivated about my job and my career. The idea of thinking about the future is just more of the same, which de-motivates me even further. I need a new mindset, which will motivate me to go to work every day. I read a lot about how important it is to develop a long range vision which makes perfect sense to me but I have trouble knowing how to do that.
After I missed out on a job, I assumed something damaging was said to my potential managers by one of my references. I called my best reference back and asked him if he had been contacted and if there was anything he might have said or not said that might have negatively influenced my candidacy at this job. He became defensive and said, "I told them when you worked for us and what your job responsibilities were, but that I didn't know what you've been doing since you stopped working for us 10 years ago." The conversation proceeded to become very awkward. I'm sure he sensed the disappointment and hurt in my voice and after a few moments it ended. I haven't spoken to him since. What should I do now?
It's now happened three times. I've left a number of interviews for jobs with the interviewer telling me, "Thank you for coming in today. It was a pleasure meeting you and having a chance to learn more about your experience and skills. As you can imagine, we have a number of applicants for the position and we'll be getting back to you." Such parting words aren't encouraging. And as you can imagine since I am writing you, they haven't led to jobs.
My interpersonal skills pale in comparison to my technical competence and that's preventing me from moving up at the law firm I am working at as an associate. I have already been told by our managing partner that unless I fix those, I am not going to progress as far as I'd like because there are just too many people starting to root against me.
I was recently shocked and humiliated to be told that what I thought was my enthusiasm was viewed as being agitated, hyper, distracting and frustrating. I felt embarrassed and avoided contact with people at work for a couple of weeks. I am gradually beginning to interact more but I do not want to be humiliated again. I also received insight into not only myself but also about how clueless most people are about how they think they come across versus how they really are perceived. Do you agree with this?
My husband was laid off a year ago. He put his resume together, sent it out to 100 jobs, received 10 interviews, was turned down in all of them and has now withdrawn into a shell. He tells me, "I can't take the rejection any more." The more I offer suggestions, the more he pulls away. I've tried getting angry at him and yelling at him, that doesn't help either.
I am finding it more and more difficult to get pumped up to start each week. Telling myself I should be lucky and appreciative to have my job is not working any more (apologies to all those who are out of work and think I am being ungrateful). I am not alone. It seems that so many of my co-workers look like the living dead.
Q: I was recently shocked and humiliated to be told that what I thought was my enthusiasm was viewed as being agitated, hyper, distracting and frustrating. A: I not only agree, I was one of those people. I replied with embarrassment and some self-derisive sarcasm. "Oh that's just dandy. "Oh, no," he continued, "that's not what I meant.
Q: I really hate having to sell myself to potential employers. A: If you're like most technically skilled people aEUR" and you seem more multi-talented than many -- there's a good chance that your interpersonal skills are a tad underdeveloped. Something I have observed in the workplace is how impressive and how impressed people are with what I call "relevant excellence."
Q: My husband and I are both working parents. A: Sadly, for most men, how much money they make and how well they provide for their family is directly tied to their self-worth. Looking so down, not having much of an appetite and wanting to sleep much of the time does sound like he may be depressed. What you're looking for is the way to get through.
Almost everything in my life is a negotiation, from work to my wife to my parents to my kids. The problem is that I am minced meat with pushy and manipulate individuals. How do I keep from being run over by these people?
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