The #metoo and Times Up movements have opened up the conversation on sexual harassment and gender inequality in the workplace. While these issues have existed for as long as time itself, these movements has kept them in our consciousness by dominating the awards season thus keeping the topic in the news cycle.
The momentum of both movements has brought about a mindset shift for me concerning a career advice that has been passed down and one I have abided to religiously; “never badmouth a former (or current) employer”.
The argument for this piece of career advise is that most organisations would not hire a candidate that speaks badly about a former employer because such candidates cannot be trusted as they can also speak ill about you when the opportunity arises.
Starting from my first work place experience as an intern up on till this day I have had at least 5 different work spouses. Even though at the earlier point in my careers, I wasn’t aware of the work spouse concept, I am thankful for those relationships as they made each one of those jobs easier and some have led to lasting friendships.
It’s that time of the year again and many offices are planning to have what has become a tradition of sorts in the corporate world; the office Christmas party. The office Christmas party has become synonymous with Christmas and has become so popular that it is a staple practice in countries where Christmas isn’t even an official holiday and Hollywood has even made a movie with Jennifer Aniston in the leading role based on the shenanigans that have become synonymous with such parties.
While the office party is usually a time for employees to take a break from the stress of the job and have a moment of fun relaxation while mingling with their bosses at a more informal setting, many have misunderstood that there are principles that apply to such parties and have found themselves in embarrassing situations which have soiled their reputations long after the last guest walked out of the party venue.
A personal poor first impression incident happened early on in my career as an entry level e-business banking officer. Part of my job scope at the time, included going to client locations to pitch our electronic banking applications to a group of often high ranking officials. It was a pretty standard routine, I would start off by delivering a power point presentation to highlight the product features, follow it with a Q&A session after which I would launch the application and proceed with a live demo to emphasize how user friendly the products were.
I delivered these presentations so often that it got to a point when I could do my presentations without having to look at the slides and could predict the questions that would be asked and answer them preemptively. I had also learnt from doing so many sales pitches that almost every audience had a ‘problem person’ and could spot them almost immediately I stepped into the meeting room. A ‘problem person’ in this instance refers to that one person that pretends to have more important things to do than being bogged with ‘your’ sales pitch, they usually spend most of the meeting fiddling with their phone/tab and would only spring into action during the time for questions to ask questions with the sole purpose of throwing you off.
Over the course of doing these pitches, I had learned that to manage the ‘problem person’, I needed to pay them more attention than necessary and answer their questions as politely as possible no matter how mundane or meaningless the questions were. The trick was to identify them for what they were (distractions), navigate their obstacle courses as effortlessly as possible, stay on focus and never lose my cool or let them get on my nerves.
On one occasion, I was tasked with making a pitch for an important prospect of the bank and before heading to the meeting my manager informed me of how big the prospects account was and the decision as to whether they would start banking with us rested on the product I was going to talk to them about. So I was already a bag of nerves heading into the clients office and it didn’t help matters when I spotted the problem person the moment he walked in as I was setting up. He sized me up and said to my hearing that he would have preferred someone ‘more senior’ than I was to handle the presentation.
Earlier in my banking career, I was redeployed to the sales unit without requesting for it and on short notice. Even though I like to believe that I love taking on new challenges I took on the redeployment with a lot of anxiety and trepidation because all my years in banking, I had been told that sales was the most difficult job function to excel in as the market was saturated with several commercial banks selling the same products to the same customers.
My manager at the time tried to calm my nerves down by giving me a prep-talk by sharing some nuggets that had helped her excel to become a star sales person with several promotions and awards to show for it. She explained that like me she had been thrust into sales but that she was able to succeed by leveraging on the strength of her network. She advised me to take advantage of the people in my social circles and to always be prepared by having my call cards and a couple of account opening forms I would never know when the opportunity to meet a prospective client will come.
Well, it’s not like you weren’t already Facebooking at work, the difference is now you don’t have to swiftly minimize your web browser when your supervisor walks in.
Yesterday Facebook released Workplace by Facebook, a service designed for internal business communication. Just like the Facebook you’ve come to love as a medium to connect with family and friends, Workplace offers group, messenger chats, trending posts, videos and Facebook live. So now your CEO can address the entire company via Facebook live.
Boss – employee friendships can be complicated because of the power imbalance that comes with having one person supervise the other, but like every relationship, there will be good and not so good moments.
For you the subordinate, the perks of such friendship can be enormous as your boss may trust you with information that you would normally not be privy to, can pick you for high priority projects and assignments and may even speak in your favour to the people that matter in making or breaking your career within the company. But it also has its downside which can include resentment from your co-workers, accusations of favoritism when you get rewarded with raises or promotions and having to constantly prove that your successes well deserved and earned as a result of your hard work and dedication.
Is developing a friendship with your boss a good idea? That depends on a number of factors such as;
Were you friends before you became the subordinate? It wouldn’t make any sense to cut off a friendship that was already established just because your professional positions have changed. However, you have to make a conscious effort to maintain a professional candor whenever you are on the job by giving your boss the respect he deserves.
I’m sure by now you have all seen the video clip of US Presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton being assisted by secret service agents into her campaign vehicle after a fainting spell brought on by overheating. And even though she emerged a few hours later having rested and looking much better, her doctor had to release a statement that she had been diagnosed with pneumonia a few days earlier and that she would be taking a few days off the campaign trail to heal.
In an ideal situation you should call in sick whenever you do not feel well enough to function optimally at work, yet many people would rather come into work for fear that their job security may be undermined by missing work days due to ill health.
As much as we want to be healthy all the time, the human body was designed to break down when it comes in contact with foreign bodies (germs, bacteria, viruses etc) yet 60% of workers still show up to work when they have the flu. Many of them show up not because they are overly committed to the job but because their bosses or workplaces discourages them from taking sick time. Read more