Archive for July, 2010

Dating a co-worker: Fair play or no way?

Apparently, gyms and grocery stores have nothing on the workplace when it comes to dating hot spots. According to a 2009 survey, 40 percent of people say they’ve dated someone they worked with at least once. Surprisingly, of those surveyed 32 percent said they actually ended up marrying their office girlfriend/boyfriend.

There are upsides to finding romance in the workplace, like the spark of energy it can give you on a gloomy day. It’s also convenient. And I’m not talking about carpooling. The ease of getting to know other singles at work – as opposed to your neighborhood tavern – can make pursuing romantic relationships hard to resist. It has also become more acceptable over the years by companies and employees alike.

Not that you should consider any of that an endorsement of on-the-job dating.

Should love turn to scorn, there’s really no escape from your ex. Mutual friends, the parking lot, elevators, meeting rooms, hallways and the cafeteria …

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Are you networking effectively?

By Alaya Boykin

We all have been told about the power of networking, but have we really been taught how to network effectively?

About three weeks ago, I attended a conference with Reid Dugger Consulting Group as the facilitators. Wrise D. Booker was the presenter, and she gave tips on networking effectively.

Effective networking is not about scheming, putting on facades or being pushy. When you meet a professional, it’s good to take the approach of what you can do for them and not what they can do for you.

People respond to compliments and praise, especially when it’s apparent that you’re thoroughly familiar with their work.

After grasping their attention by not talking about yourself at first, make the transition into your introduction.

LinkedIn and e-mail are great ways to network. Contact professionals right after you meet them while the connection is still fresh.

Keep in touch throughout the year, not just when you need something. Effective networking is all about …

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Valuable training or a waste of time?

No matter what you do for a living, every job requires some sort of training. Nobody walks in and knows how to do everything in the job description. You have to learn how to perform tasks in accordance with what your employer wants, right?

But what about training classes or team-building exercises that don’t apply directly to your job? I know someone who was subjected to a monthly session where employees practiced breathing techniques and then hugged a tree – literally.

Do classes in communication styles or how to host productive meetings help your career development or are they a huge waste of time and money? Tell us about your experiences.

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Job regrets

“You’re hired.” Two words we all love to hear. Whether it’s that first real job out of college, the one that follows months of unemployment, or the fresh start after years in the same position, landing a new gig is always exciting.

But what happens if the dream job turns out to be a total nightmare? Though it takes three to six months to acclimate to a new environment, recognizing that a job’s a real stinker can happen in less time than it takes Lindsay Lohan to say, “Not guilty.”

Job hunters are most often blamed for hiding imperfections. It’s no secret that companies do it, too, as perhaps you’ve already discovered. A misleading job description, the maniacal boss no one mentioned during your interviews, clicky co-workers – any one of those can quickly scrape the luster off a new job.

What’s the earliest you’ve ever left a job? Why did you leave? Did you leave it off your resume?

— AJC Jobs on Twitter:

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Create your own job

By Alaya Boykin

Are you looking for the next great job? Instead of conforming to what is already in existence, maybe you should use your skills to create something new.

In the last five years, a lot of new jobs have been created − social media communications specialists, for example converge traditional outreach methods and new social media techniques within a company. Another recently created position is a user experience designer, which focuses solely on improving user interaction online.

Current economic times and a more demanding digital society have forced many workers to perform jobs that have never existed, and in many cases because multiple positions have been reduced to one.  The requirement for employees to be more adaptable has increased at a staggering rate over the years.

Have you identified a particular job that doesn’t exist? Have you created a position at your company? Have you ever been the first person to hold a newly created position?

— AJC Jobs on …

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Tools to use when looking for a job

Anyone who’s trying to find a job in the current market needs help in their search. Résumés, cover letters, newspaper want ads, online job boards, networking sites are just a few of the tools that can help jobseekers land a position.

So when a successful executive recruiter offers his help for free, it might be a good idea to take advantage of it. Skip Freeman is president of the HTW (Hire to Win) Group and author of “Headhunter Hiring Secrets: The Rules of the Hiring Game Have Changed Forever!” He’s offering a free, full-color, 347-page eBook edition of his ‘Headhunter’ volume to the first million people who download it from the book Web site.

“That’s something I want to do. It’s also the right thing to do at this point, when unemployment is one of the most serious problems facing us here in the U.S., as well as worldwide,” Freeman said in a press release.

What tools have worked best for you in job searches? Have your job-search strategies changed in …

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Don’t get robbed of your own ideas

By Alaya Boykin

Some of us are creative and skilled at crafting good ideas. What company doesn’t admire an innovative employee? Companies look to hire employees who can take them to the next level.

Believe it or not, employees who constantly push the envelope of new concepts can get taken advantage of. Sometimes, when taking an idea to management, it can get warped into something that veers away from your initial vision.

Other times, management might reap the benefits of presenting an idea that you came up with to potential clients, and not give you the credit you deserve. Things could also get messy if you casually tell a co-worker about an idea and he or she steals it.

Have you ever been robbed of a great idea at work? How do you protect your ideas so that you get the credit? If you had a million-dollar idea, would you present it to your boss or would you keep it to yourself and implement it on your own?

— AJC Jobs on Twitter:

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There’s no “I” in team

By Alaya Boykin

Working in teams is supposed to happen pretty regularly in the workplace. An article on says that building a culture of teamwork is what makes a company move forward.

Although this may be the rationale of some, teamwork is not always met with open arms by all employees. Some workers believe that relying on other people puts their own reputation at risk, and possibly their job.

I think we all can agree that a key component of a functional company is employees working in an environment in which they believe they can effectively get work done. Teamwork can be a factor in whether that occurs.

Do you think teamwork among employees helps construct a progressive company? Or is it the individual performance of employees that makes a company function efficiently?

— AJC Jobs on Twitter:

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What’s for lunch?

Lunch can mean many things at work: a hearty, midday meal to make up for missing breakfast, a chance to chat with coworkers, a short escape from an overbearing boss, a welcome break to catch up on reading or a chance to run some errands.

Some people brown bag it. Others go out every day. Exercise freaks get in a quick workout. Ladder-climbers eat with higher-ups and use it as a way to, well, climb the ladder.

What’s your lunchtime routine? Do you wolf down a sandwich at your desk or do you take a two-hour, three-course repast? Do you go for a quick run or maybe do some shopping? Tell us about it.

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Great movies about work

A few of us here at Blog Break HQ spent some time discussing our favorite work movies. What’s a work movie, you ask? In keeping with our methodically formulated classification system, any film that takes place primarily in the workplace, is about the workplace or whose characters’ principal roles are as employees qualifies as a work movie.

Here are our top three picks:

“Glengarry Glen Ross:” Stars include Jack Lemmon, Al Pacino, Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris and Kevin Spacey. Baldwin’s “Mission of Mercy” scene is outstanding. (Keep the headphones on and the kids away while you watch it; it’s full of coarse language.)

IMDb (Internet Movie Database) rundown:

Times are tough in a New York real estate office; the salesmen are given a strong incentive by Blake to succeed in a sales contest. The prizes? First prize is a Cadillac Eldorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, third prize is the sack! There is no room for losers in this dramatically masculine world; only …

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