Tag Archives: boss

Can You Be Friends with Your Coworkers?

Or will you only end up hurt in the end?

In a given year, many adults spend more time with their coworkers than with their friends or family. That lack of socialization can make it tempting to turn your coworkers into friends. A day spent talking about new projects and meetings can turn into a social outing after work; you can be productive and get your social fix at the same time.

But is it really the right choice to turn your coworkers into friends? Honestly, it depends on who you want to be friends with, where you work, and a ton of other factors. Before trying to start up a workplace friendship, ask yourself these questions.

What’s at Stake?

First, let’s define what we mean by “workplace friendship.” We’re not talking about the cubicle buddy you make fun of the dress code with, or that guy in accounting that told a great joke before the 8 a.m. meeting. A “workplace friendship,” as we define it, is a relationship that combines your personal life with your work life. Meaning that you meet up after work for meals or go to events together.

There can be plenty of benefits to having a close friend at your place of work. They can inform you of project progress in a different department, chat with you about your strengths and weaknesses, or help you figure out how to tackle a particularly difficult work problem.

However, whenever there’s a large group of people, cliques are certain to form. Whether it’s the playground, high school lunchroom, or the nearest breakroom, it’s hard for people to be friends with everyone. And cliques result in people feeling left out, feelings they might act on by gossiping about you or just being difficult to work with.

When you begin a workplace friendship, that means opening yourself up to the possibility of that friendship failing and still having to work with that person. Maybe you complained about a coworker when you were friends but then got promoted, causing jealousy and frustration. They tell that coworker you said something negative way back when and suddenly you’re the office tyrant.

Are They Your Boss?

How good are you at setting boundaries? Some people are able to separate work and personal issues to such an extent that talking to them about deadlines is like dealing with a completely different person than the one you planned an upcoming get-together with.

If you can’t be that person, it’s probably not a good idea to pursue a friendship with your boss. That opens you up to a whole world of criticism. If it goes well, you have to deal with other employees thinking you get special treatment. If it turns out you aren’t actually that big a fan of your boss outside of work and no longer want to spend time with them, you’ll be in the awkward position of feeling like you have to meet with them after hours to keep your job. And you’re not being paid to be anyone’s friend.

As noted by Monster, Dr. Jan Yager, author of “Friendshifts: The Power of Friendship and How It Shapes Our Lives,” said “Same-level friendships are the easiest to maintain. Problems can arise if one friend has to supervise or evaluate the other.”

But what about when your friend gets promoted and is now your boss? The key is to set boundaries. Gone are the days when you could make fun of upcoming training classes or analyze a recent managerial decisions together. If you value the relationship, keep overly personal conversations to after hours and weekends.

Do They Want to be Friends with You?

The Week is pretty clear on where they stand on this issue in their article, given that the title is Your Coworkers are Not Your Friends. And to be honest, they’re right. This quote best sums up what they’re trying to say:

“That is not to suggest we cannot or should not make friends on the job. But it is to say most of our coworkers will only ever be coworkers (take a moment to think about how many of your friendships with former colleagues have any meaningful existence outside of Facebook), and inside the office, they should be treated accordingly.”

Nobody in the workplace is there to make friends. At the end of the day, most of us are here to make a paycheck. Liking your coworkers gives you more of a reason to come in every day (and those that like their coworkers enjoy their jobs to a much higher degree), but it’s not the base reason you work.

What that means is you shouldn’t assume your coworkers want to be your friend just because you do. If they do, great! But if they don’t seem comfortable with high-fives or keep rejecting your invitations to get dinner or hang out on the weekends, don’t take it personally. Although being friendly is often a must to thrive in the workplace, being friends is not. People are free to have their own interests and spend their personal time on their own terms.

Do you have any experiences with friendships gone wrong (or right) in the workplace? Let us know in the comments below!

Questions to Ask Yourself Before a Career Change

Are you ready to make the big leap?

You don’t like your job. You’ve known for a while, but hey; it pays the bills! Plus, it’s not like you hate it—you just wish you were doing something else. It’s simply not the right fit.

One day something changes. Maybe you’re placed on a special project where you don’t feel qualified. Perhaps your friend tells you about their new job and everything clicks. It’s even possible you were inspired by something on TV. Whatever the reason, you want to make a career change.

But is it really possible? You have a steady job right now. Is that worth giving up in pursuit of your dreams?

Here at Express Employment Professionals, we see people like this every day. Talented individuals unsure if a career change is right for them. Ask yourself the following questions to get a better idea of whether starting a new path is the best choice.

What Do I Not Like About My Current Position?

Before you quit your job to head out into the job search jungle, figure out why you’re unhappy with your current position in the first place. Is it the company culture? Your job duties? Your boss? It’s possible that your problems with the job could be solved by changing departments within the same company, or discussing the issue with your boss.

You’ll also want to make sure that the problems you have with your current job aren’t going to pop up again in your new job. Learn the type of company culture you enjoy, and what kind of boss you can learn from.

What’s Your Long-Term Goal?

Never quit a job because you’re unhappy in the short-term. First, figure out what it is you ultimately want to do in the future. It’s never too late to start working toward a new dream—however, you need to know the steps required to get there.

While you keep working at your current job, plan for the future. If you want to switch into a new industry, research the industry online and discover what common career paths look like. Take online or after-hours classes if you can. Really get a feel for the job you want and what a career path in that job looks like. The goal here is to make sure the job switch sticks—you don’t want to hop from job to job.

What’s the Downside?

Even if you’re sure you want to begin a new career path, you need to recognize it might be difficult. You’ll need to make new professional contacts, learn a new set of skills, and understand an environment that might be completely different from what you’ve experienced before.

Make a list of pro’s and con’s. How will the new position affect your family? Is there going to be a longer commute? Being realistic about the challenges of changing careers can ensure you run into fewer surprise landmines down the road.

Contact Express

Once you’ve answered these questions and are sure a career change is right for you, contact Express Employment Professionals. Our recruiters will listen to what you liked and disliked about your past position, and use that information to help you find the right job for you.

Staffing companies offer both full-time and part-time positions. This means you could even find a great temp job in your chosen industry before you quit your current job. Think of it as a sneak peek of what a career in that field could look like.

Have you ever experienced a career change? Let us know in the comments section below!

 

Make an Impression with Potential Employers

Starting your career in today’s hiring environment can be challenging, including making a positive, memorable impression with people who could be your employer. There are several ways you can be proactive to ensure a potential boss will have a great first and ongoing impression of who you are.

Social Media

Today, your first opportunity to present yourself after applying for a job is not in person; it’s online. Most businesses you contact for potential employment will do a simple Internet search of your name to look at what you or someone else has posted about you online if they are interested in finding out more about you. According to online image company Reppler, 91 percent of recruiters screened prospective employees through social media, and 69 percent said they rejected a candidate based on what they saw on a candidate’s social media profiles. Take the first step and do the same thing; search your name and see what sites pop up that include information about you, then check each social media site you have a profile on and make sure you don’t have any embarrassing or unprofessional postings. You should also make sure your information is up dated and correlates to information you included on your résumé and cover letter.

The Interview

Most likely, the next time you will be in front of an employer is for an interview. There are two important tips to remember when preparing for an interview to make sure you leave knowing it went well. First, remember that the business is obviously interested in you if they are willing to take the time to talk with you for a little while. So be confident in your abilities and what you have to offer. Next, do the proper research on the company you’re interviewing with and be ready to offer a few practical solutions you believe helps improve the company. “Don’t just recite your job description in a generic way that makes you interchangeable with any person in the same position before and, or after you,” said career coach Wendy Doulton. “Know and show what you bring to the table. Own your interview!”

Give Thanks

Finally, follow up your interview with a personalized, handwritten thank you note to the interviewer. With the instant access of email, handwritten letters are less and less common, so sending a simple and grateful thank you note will help you stand out from the crowd of candidates. Make sure to also follow up through an email or phone call in the days after the interview if you don’t hear anything to find out where they are in the process.

If after being fully prepared and leaving an interview excited, you don’t get the job, don’t be discouraged. Consider asking the interviewer for some feedback on what you can do to improve your chances of getting a job. A rejection is not the end of your job search, it’s just another learning opportunity for you to grow as you continue moving forward in pursuit of a great job. A positive reaction to being turned down for a job helps display great character and maturity to other employers, so make sure you react positively when you get the news and if you decide to post the news on your social media sites.

Is Your Relationship with Your Boss on the Rocks?

Group projects don’t end after high school. As adults, we call it work. Karen grew up, and now she’s a department manager.  Like Jerry, some coworkers are undependable. And like Karen, some managers are less than great. It gets even harder to perform well when you suspect your manager might have it out for you.

But how can you really know whether your manager has a problem with you?

They Micromanage You

Maybe it’s constantly checking in on you or scheduling private meetings every day. They don’t seem to believe you when you say you have a deadline covered. Whatever it is, they’re not doing it to anybody else on the team. And that’s a problem.

You’ll probably never really know the reason. Maybe you made a bad impression on your first day, or the last person to hold the position was a friend of your boss. It could even be something in your background or social history.

How do you fix that? By doing a self-analysis. Look at your accomplishments and behavior. Check your career development plan. Are you doing anything offensive or untoward? Did your boss previously approach you about a performance problem you still haven’t dealt with?

If you can’t find anything, politely approach your boss about it. Ask them if there’s anything you’re doing wrong. Note specifically how you are being treated differently.

They’re Short with You

If your boss doesn’t make any effort to engage with you, something is wrong. You try to ask for their assistance on a project and they only give yes or no answers.

For whatever reason, they don’t want to talk to you. Maybe they don’t find your work satisfactory or don’t see you as worth their time.

As soon as you can, engage in a conversation. Don’t let it fester. Ask them why it is they refuse to engage with you. It could be because they expect you to handle your responsibilities on your own, or it could be a personal issue. You won’t know unless you ask.

They Don’t Give You Credit for Your Work

If you’re doing your job well, you can expect to be given more responsibilities. That’s how you move up in your career. However, a boss that has less than friendly feelings for you might be tempted to take credit for your accomplishments.

Start to take note of your accomplishments; write down how you achieved or completed projects. Bring this information to your manager, and let them know that you are proud of your work and would like to be recognized for it. If they listen to you and you’re able to work with them, great!

However, if your boss refuses to listen to what you have to say, regardless of reason, you may need to go to their manager and let them know about the situation. If the situation still doesn’t improve, it may be time to start looking for a new job with a great boss. 

Have you ever had trouble with a bad boss? How did you handle the situation? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 

What Type of Boss Do You Have?

And what does that mean for you, as an employee?

Throughout our lives, we’ve all worked for a variety of bosses. Some are compassionate and inspire us to excel in a number of ways. Others are independent leaders who have a tendency to be more assertive.

Daniel Goleman, of the Harvard Business School Press, outlines six basic boss types, illustrated below in an infographic by the Quid Corner, an online financial resource center. Although we all have our own ideal management type, the graphic also outlines the optimal ways to get along with each type of boss. So even if your manager isn’t naturally compatible with you, you’ll have some idea of how best to get along with them.

 

Is Your Boss a Great Leader?

Difficult to earn and easily lost, trust and respect are two of the most important characteristics of great leadership. Workers look to their leaders for guidance and behavioral cues that influence the way they react to a given situation. So, the trust a workforce has for the people in charge greatly impacts productivity.

In fact, according to the 2017 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) Employee Job Satisfaction and Engagement Report, 61% of employees said trust in senior management is very important to their job satisfaction. Even more striking, only 33% said they were “very satisfied” with the level of trust in their organization overall.

So, what does it take to earn trust and respect from employees? Check out these five important qualities, and let us know if your boss (or past boss) has what it takes.

They leave the door open
Free and open communication is essential for building trust and respect. Open door policies take many shapes, but fostering an environment where employees feel safe coming to the boss with workplace concerns, new ideas, or even constructive criticism, show that a leader is receptive to and genuinely interested in understanding the situation on the frontlines of the business.

They believe consistency is key
From how a leader reacts to project challenges to how he or she reprimands individual employees, consistency in words and actions is a major part of building trust. Inconsistent messages and unpredictable behavior will cause employees to feel that they can’t depend on a leader to make fair and honest choices of action in difficult situations.

They get their hands dirty
There are few better ways for a leader to build trust and respect than rolling up their sleeves and jumping down into the trenches with the employees. Showing that they aren’t afraid to step out on the front line and get their hands dirty creates a bond through shared experience and reminds workers that they’ve been there and have personally walked a few miles in their shoes.

Confidence in their decisions
Mental fortitude and resoluteness create confidence among employees. Wishy-washy decision making and uncertainty when the going gets tough causes doubt, and when the team isn’t fully behind their leader, a breakdown in communication and productivity is sure to follow.

They share their wisdom
As iron sharpens iron, one person sharpens another—leaders who give willingly of their time and expertise to build up the next generation earn trust and respect from the people they lead. Not only do they set the standard for future leadership, they also leave behind a legacy worth celebrating.

Workforce productivity and success hinges largely on examples set by the people at the top. Building trust doesn’t happen overnight, but the leaders who invest the time to foster a positive working environment based on mutual respect will be rewarded with employees who are more engaged and loyal to their company.

Does your  boss (or past boss) have any of these qualities? If not, how does that affect your productivity ? Let us know in the comments below!

Just Say “No” to Working on Vacation

Sometimes you really need to unplug from the office.

Young woman using laptop on a beachRegardless of whether we like our jobs or not, they can be stressful. Ideally, going on vacation should refresh us and let us return recharged and ready to work. However, this doesn’t always happen. Your phone follows you everywhere, which means your boss and the rest of the workplace do, too.

So how are you supposed to handle all of this? By knowing how to tell your boss no without actually saying no. Sounds hard, right? We’ve got you covered.

1.       Communicate with Your Boss

If your boss has a tendency to interrupt your pool time, it might be time for a discussion. The number one thing to remember is that this is communication, NOT confrontation. As such, you need to be open to understanding you boss’s reasons for contacting you constantly. Perhaps they simply don’t trust anyone else to do your job effectively. Or maybe they just feel a need to control the situation.

Begin by politely telling them how these work interruptions are affecting you. Maybe it’s taking time away from the kids or putting a strain on your relationship with your significant other. Let your boss know that, in the end, uninterrupted vacation time is best for the both of you. You get the relaxation you need, and they get a freshly charged employee.

Once you’ve established why vacation interruptions are a problem for you, it’s time to assure your boss that all of your responsibilities will be covered in your absence.

2.       Work Ahead

In order to ease your boss’s worries (and make them less likely to contact you on vacation), work as far ahead as possible before you leave. If anything is due the week of or even the week after your vacation, it should be done before you leave. And even if you don’t work in a deadline sensitive environment, there are still duties you can take care of before you leave.

These include touching base with your contacts and letting them know you’ll be gone, going through any outstanding voicemails or emails, and cleaning your workstation. In addition, make sure to update your voicemail and email to reference your vacation. You should include not only the duration of your vacation, but also the name and contact information of your stand-in for use in emergencies.

3.       Create a Back-Up Plan

Reassure your boss by clearly laying out how all responsibilities will be covered in your absence. Provide a point person that will act as your stand-in while you are away. This person should be able to handle any deadlines that could be missed while you are gone.

When you talk to a stand-in, make sure they know where all of your files are located, as well as any other information that might be helpful while you are away. It’s similar to hiring a babysitter, except in this case, the baby is your job. And instead of telling them where the bottles and diapers are, you’re letting them know about files, contact information, and conference calls.

Ever had to tell your boss you wouldn’t be taking calls on vacation? Let us know how you did it in the comments below!