Co-worker to the Rescue! 3 Secrets to Creating Allies at Work

Build Allies at WorkWho’s got your back at work? No matter what your profession is, it’s helpful to have an ally in the workplace. At times, every job can be competitive, stressful or difficult, that’s why having someone close by who supports and encourages you is so beneficial.

Build relationships. Creating on-the-job allies takes time and effort. Just working in close quarters several times a week isn’t enough to transform a co-worker into someone who will be there for you when times get tough. To develop meaningful relationships with those around you, be on the lookout for colleagues who are accessible and willing to invest time in you.

For relationships to flourish, you must also be willing to give of yourself to those around you. Look for opportunities to lend a helping hand or a listening ear. Smile when you pass co-workers in the hall, strike up conversations with employees from other departments or surprise teammates with breakfast or lunch one day. These small gestures of kindness are the building blocks for solid workplace friendships.

Don’t take advantage of the friendship. Once you’ve formed a few connections at work, the next step is nurturing and deepening the ties. An essential aspect of any relationship is respect. And one way you can show esteem for your co-workers is by respecting unspoken boundaries.

Your new friends are probably more than happy to help you out when you’re in a pinch or in need of some guidance, but be sure that you’re not crossing the line with your requests for assistance. Before you ask for a favor, always remember the golden rule, and treat others the way you’d like to be treated.

Remember to give and take. To have an ally, you must also be an ally. That means you have to be willing to occasionally stick your neck out on your friends’ behalf or go the extra mile when they’re in need of help.

Reciprocating kindness is an essential part of developing allies at work, or anywhere else. There’s no need to keep score of who did something nice last, but a general effort should be made to look out for others’ best interests.

Having people at work who support you can make a big difference in your level of success and your job satisfaction. So make the extra effort to be a friend to a co-worker today. You never know when you might need the favor returned.

Do you have good relationships with those you work with? What do you think it takes to be a good friend in the workplace?

5 Ways to Earn Respect from Your Co-workers

A new job also brings new co-workers, and that means getting along with new people. Figuring out what to say and how to act around different personalities can be tough when you start a new job. Here are five tips to help you earn the respect of your co-workers.

1. Have a great attitude. Be optimistic at work, regardless of the situation. Your co-workers will respect you when you are positive about your work. Expressing a good attitude even when you need help from others, shows that you are humble and willing to accept that others may know more than you do. To stay optimistic, talk positively about others, your work and every situation. Show your gratitude, and thank your co-workers when they offer help or guidance.

2. Develop a strong work ethic. Maintaining a solid work ethic demonstrates that you are the type of person who puts your best foot forward each day. Doing your work on time and helping others lets them know they can depend on you. You will be respected for your work ethic and dependability when others can rely on you to pull your own weight and get the job done.

3. Demonstrate integrity. Building relationships with co-workers should be based on trust. Be honest with them, and act in a manner that shows your genuine character. Follow company procedures and policies, and make decisions that will allow people to trust you and your judgment. Don’t allow your co-workers to doubt you because of the way you act or what you say. After your co-workers see that you act with integrity, their respect will follow.

4. Embody professionalism. Your appearance, behavior and speech showcase whether or not you have the ability to represent your position accurately. Dress appropriately for your workplace by following the dress code. Be aware of your behavior around others and be careful not to act inappropriately at work. And, watch what you say to others and how you say it. Prove to your co-workers that you are a professional.

5. Respect others. Be polite and courteous to others you work with. Respect their personal space, possessions, opinions and work. Show the same consideration to others that you would want to receive, and refrain from criticizing others’ suggestions or viewpoint. You can have a great attitude, strong work ethic, integrity and professionalism, but without respecting others you won’t receive respect in return.

Following the five tips above will guide you to earning respect from your co-workers. Don’t forget to be patient. It takes time to earn respect from others in the workplace, but it’s worth the effort in order to build lasting relationships with new people.

What tips do you have for others to earn respect in the workplace? Have you been able to earn respect at your job?

Making the Most of a Job You Don’t Love

Whether you work for a Fortune 500 company or dry cars at a car wash, when you’re no longer satisfied, you’re not going to be happy. Your job can start to feel like a dead end when you no longer know what you’re working for, you’re under stimulated, there’s no room for advancement or the tasks you use to enjoy no longer excite you. If you find yourself counting the minutes until you go home, or you sit around daydreaming about finding a better job that best utilizes your talents, there are a few things you can do while working at your current job that will prepare you for new opportunities when they arise and help you focus on something other than not liking your job.

Evaluate and Improve. Take this time to look at yourself and honestly assess who you are as a person and your work ethic. Evaluate how you react in certain situations. See how others treat you and how you treat others. If there is tension between you and the rest of the staff, try approaching your co-workers and addressing the situation so you can better understand what it is that might need improvement. Often times, there is a common denominator and if you keep running into the same problems all the time, chances are it’s you. By taking this time to evaluate yourself and correct your own faults, you’ll be better prepared for opportunities when they arise.

Be Positive. You never know who you might meet that can advance your career, so try to stay positive even when confronted with negative situations or people. If you’re dealing with a dilemma or an angry co-worker, instead of complaining or lashing out, turn the situation around by challenging yourself to correct the problem. Learn to recognize problem areas and practice working things through to create a positive outcome. Optimism is contagious, and eventually you will begin to impact other people’s attitudes while creating a positive image of yourself.

Take on New Challenges. It doesn’t matter what new challenge you take on, just take on something different than your normal everyday tasks. Learning to do new things, no matter how small, stimulates your mind and boosts your self confidence. According to a report written by Helen Fisher, PhD, learning new things increases brain levels of dopamine, which increases feelings of pleasure. So, no matter how bored you are in your current job, try stepping out of your everyday routine and learn what your co-worker or someone down the hall does. Challenge yourself to come up with a new idea that can benefit you or your company. Offer to help a co-worker with a project, or ask your boss if there is anything you can do to increase your workplace knowledge. Keeping your brain active will ensure you’re ready when a new job opportunity comes your way.

If you feel dissatisfied in your current job, try following these tips and take this time as a learning experience to better yourself for your next job opportunity.

3 Tricks for Reducing Workplace Stress

reduce stress at workDo you work in an environment that’s filled with tension or chaos? If you do, you probably struggle to feel relaxed and focused while at work. Although you may not be able to change the atmosphere around you, you can alter the way you react to it. Following the tips below can help reduce the amount of stress you experience at work.

Let it roll off your back. While it can be difficult not to take a sharp word or a careless act personally, staying calm really is the best way to react. If a co-worker or manager says or does something that gets under your skin, focus on redirecting your attention. You can do this by thinking about something that makes you feel happy or relaxed. Also, try to remind yourself that the person probably didn’t mean to be hurtful or rude, but acted without thinking.

Accepting people’s flaws and forgiving them when they offend you will not only improve your workplace relationships, it will also dramatically reduce your level of stress.

Focus on one day at a time. It’s easy to get caught up in worrying about what tomorrow holds or rehashing something that went wrong in the past.  But, when you fret about the future or the past, you waste today. Instead of always looking ahead of or behind you, keep your eyes focused on the task at hand.

It’s much easier to deal with problems at work when you take things one day at a time. If you’re stewing about another day’s concerns, stop and tell yourself that you will only deal with the stressors that are currently in your path.

Take a breather. When you’re overwhelmed by the situation around you, it’s time to take a step back and clear your head. Even if you’re busy, sometimes it’s necessary to take a break in order to give yourself a little distance from a problem. A few minutes of forced relaxation can help you see an issue in a new light, which in the long run can actually save time.

A few good ways to get away and relax in the heat of the moment are to go for a brisk walk, head to a quiet room and meditate or go to your car and listen to relaxing music.

Stress is hard on the body and mind. Workplace tension also reduces your job satisfaction. That’s why it’s so important to make an extra effort to bring calm into a hectic day. Following the advice above can help you develop a more relaxed mindset and create a tranquil work environment.

What type of stress do you have at your job? How do you respond to it?  Share your stories in the comments section.

9 Tips to a Smooth Start at a New Job

Your first few weeks at a new job are crucial because your co-workers are developing their first impressions of you, and you’re forming work habits that will stay with you for the long haul. During this time, your behavior, attitude and actions will set your work pace and form your reputation, so starting off on the right foot is important. Here are nine tips to help you ensure a smooth start at your new job.

1. Ask questions. If you don’t have the answer to a question or problem you are working on, ask someone to help you out. It’s better to avoid a mistake than to make an irreversible one, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

2. Take notes. Write down everyday tasks and important information that you will need to know later, such as logins and how to operate the phone system. Keep these in a notebook or folder that you can get to at any time. Also, jot down information you learn about the company during training and interacting with your co-workers.

3. Avoid surfing. Stay off of the Internet, and don’t be tempted to check your personal e-mail. If you feel like you have downtime, find company materials you can read to increase your knowledge of the organization, industry and job processes.

4. Turn off your phone. Don’t be a disturbance to yourself and others by answering your cell phone at work. Turn your cell phone off, and let incoming calls go to voicemail. Wait until a break or lunch time to check your voicemail and return personal calls.

5. Complete your tasks. Doing your best work and completing each task on time is critical, because you want your supervisor and peers to see what you are capable of. But, make sure you are also not falling behind. If you find you have too much on your plate, talk to your supervisor and see how you can prioritize your time better.

6. Listen and observe. You can learn more by listening than you can by talking, so be attentive and don’t interrupt others when they are speaking. You’ll be able to learn about company culture, work flow and company policy by paying attention to your co-workers and observing their behavior in the workplace.

7. Be positive. Your attitude shows if you care to be at your new job or not, so be positive and enthusiastic about your new opportunity. Be friendly and courteous to your co-workers while showing them that you are confident and eager to learn.

8. Earn respect. This is your only chance to create a first impression, so demonstrate your work ethic, and give 110% to all of your duties. Be humble about needing help, and make sure to thank your co-workers when they do help you out. Then, they’ll show you respect, because you’ve earned it.

9. Be a team player. Make time to collaborate with your co-workers, especially if they need help. Work together with your new co-workers instead of trying to compete against them. You’re on the same team now, and you’ll get more done working together than you will working alone.

Being successful in a new job takes effort, so put these nine tips to use from day one. Work on a positive image and start your job off right. Your first impression is usually a lasting impression, so make it a good one.

What advice do you have for others starting a new job?

3 Tips for Negotiating Salary During the Job Interview

negotiate salary in an interviewCongratulations, you’ve landed an interview! Maybe you’re even on your second or third meeting with a particular employer. As things move along in the process, you’re getting closer to the time of salary negotiation. To ensure that you’re prepared when the time comes to talk about money, check out the following tips.

Let Them Bring It Up.
You don’t want to be the one to broach the subject of compensation. If the employer is interested in you, you can be sure that the topic will eventually come up, so wait for that time to discuss it. That means you shouldn’t list your salary requirements on your résumé unless you’re required to do so.

Stating how much money you want too soon can box you into a figure that is lower than what you might’ve received otherwise, or it can eliminate you from consideration because the amount is too high.

Also, bringing up salary too early in the process is presumptuous and can make it appear that you’re only interested in money.

Do Your Research.
Before the interview, it’s your job to find out what the going rate is for the position you’re being considered for. This figure will vary depending on your location, skills, experience and education.

To get an idea of what the salary for the job will be, do online research on sites like, or If you happen to have friends who work at the company you’re interviewing with or know people who work in the same industry, you can get a good idea about what type of salary you can expect.

Researching compensation before the interview is an essential step to receiving a competitive salary. After all, if you don’t know what’s a fair price, how will you know if the interviewer’s offer is one you want to accept?

Don’t Be Too Quick to Accept the First Offer.
Before you shout “yes” to the first number out of the employer’s mouth, take a moment to think things through. Even if you’re satisfied with the offer, it’s best to not be hasty.
Consider asking for a day or two to review the offer before committing. During this time, evaluate the offer and ensure that it’s in line with the position responsibilities and your background.

If the offer seems too low based on your research, try making a counter offer. But be sure you have solid reasons for asking for increased compensation or other perks. Employers won’t be inclined to dish out more money just because you say you “need” it. That’s why you’ll have to be able to explain why your skills and the position responsibilities deserve a higher salary. Chances are, even if the employer is unable to sweeten the deal, they’ll respect you for thinking things through and knowing what you’re worth.

Before going in for an interview, it’s important to know what a reasonable pay range is for the position you’re applying for and to be able to sell your skills to the employer. By preparing for salary negotiations, you’ll increase your chances of receiving the competitive salary you deserve.

7 Tips to a Successful First Day at a New Job

Imagine you’ve recently received a job offer, and you decided to accept it. The job search is over, but now your first day at your new job is just around the corner. Are you a nervous wreck, overwhelmed thinking about all of the changes you’re making, or are you ready? Do you know how to prepare for this challenge? Here are seven tips to help you have a successful first day at a new job.

1. Refresh your memory. Look again at the company’s website and refresh your memory about all of the company’s information you discovered before your first interview. Review any information you may have been given during the interview process. Also, look over the job description and review what is required. If you have time before you start, you may want to polish a skill or two.

2. Get your rest. No one wants to start off their first day tired, so make sure you get a full night’s sleep. If you are feeling sluggish, drink a glass of water in the morning to help wake up your body. Then, you’ll be ready to tackle the tasks at your new job because you’ll be awake and alert.

3. Dress appropriately. Set out your work attire the night before, making sure to follow the company’s dress code. Scrambling around trying to figure out what you are going to wear will only stress you out and probably make you late.

4. Know the route. Chances are, you interviewed where you will be working. But if not, make sure you know how to get there and how long it will take, and plan accordingly so you arrive on time. Remember to factor in traffic if your previous trips to your interviews weren’t during rush hour.

5. Make a good first impression. Be polite and friendly to everyone you meet at your new job. Make good eye contact as you introduce yourself to others. If you need to, write down people’s names so you can remember them later when you pass them in the hall.

6. Be flexible. Although you may want to meet friends for lunch, keep your schedule open. Your new co-workers might offer to take you out to welcome you to the team. In case this doesn’t happen, take a few dollars with you and find a place nearby so you can treat yourself to lunch.

7. Ask questions. Your co-workers understand that you are new to the job and might need help, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Take notes on helpful information you will need later, such as routine tasks and access codes. It’s better to be seen as someone that accepts help than to be a know-it-all that refuses help.

You made it through the application and interview process, so relax and try to enjoy your first day. Remember, the company hired you for a reason. You’re the right person for the position, and you’ve earned this opportunity.

Have you started a new job recently? What suggestions do you have for others that are nervous or overwhelmed about starting a new job?