69% of workers admitted to wasting at least one hour a day at work. Let’s talk about how we can avoid wasting time. Read More...

I’m self-employed, so when I’m not working, I’m not getting paid.

That’s not the case with most us. In a 2014 study conducted by Salary.com, 69% of workers admitted to wasting at least one hour a day at work. With the average worker working between 250 and 260 days a year, that’s over six weeks of time we’re paid for but, well, we waste.

Where’s all that extra time going? How can we hack our day so we’re productive enough to get the best raise on our teams?

Let’s talk about how we can avoid wasting time.

The top 5 time wasters.

1. Surfing the internet

This is no big surprise, right?

According to Salary.com, Google searches were the number one time-waster in 2014. I admit that I had a small group of sites that I visited daily while I was working the W-2.

I’m sure you’d agree. Are you reading this at work right now?

Internet surfing at work comes from our short attention spans.

We’re working, and a song pops up on YouTube or our phone and we think, “Whatever happened to Macy Gray and that gigantic head of hair of hers?” Before we know it, we perform a Google search and get sucked into a black hole of useless information.

2. Being social on social media

If you want to avoid wasting time, you need to recognize social media as a major culprit.

Facebook was number two behind Google as the most common time suck at work.

Whether on our phones, at our desks, or sitting on the toilet to check out the latest cat video, social media is a huge time suck.

And, BTW, the number of men who pee sitting down has quintupled in the past ten years. I think it’s because they want to peruse social media more comfortable while in the bathroom.

Also, I’m writing a book: Twitter for the Toilet — Your Guide to Conquering the Business World from Inside Your Favorite Office.

I’m kidding, of course. But in all seriousness, keeping up with cat videos, commenting on others’ political rants, leaving birthday messages, and combing through Facebook memories are killing our productivity and helping us waste a few more minutes each hour of the working day.

You might even consider a social media break, just to help you get rid of the habit.

3. Circling the vortex of emails

It’s almost become the “unignorable phone” of yesteryear. A ringing phone must be answered, right? I remember a time when the whole family dashed to answer the phone.

For many of us, email has replaced the rotary phone on the wall. Whether they’re coworkers’ emails or the emails from friends and family, too few of us ignore email until the appropriate time.

What occupies the first hour of your day?

It’s totally email, isn’t it?

Responding to emails. Writing emails. Looking at emails and then not doing anything about them.

If you’re anything like me, you have hundreds of emails in your inbox. Too often they’re parts of email chains seeking one answer but getting everyone’s two cents and, in some cases, four or six cents.

The average office worker gets 121 emails per day. If we spend an average of one-minute reading and responding to each email, that’s a whopping two hours of the day sucked away. Yes, some emails are important, but we all know that many are not.

Add to work emails our personal emails. It’s estimated that the average person receives 88 personal emails a day. Spend 30 seconds on each and we’ve spent almost 45 minutes of our day on personal emails.

If you’re keeping track, that’s two and a half hours on emails. Add in text messages, and we’re probably doubling our time communicating via technology.

4. Unnecessary — and unnecessarily long — meetings

Love them or hate them, in some cases they’re a necessary evil. At the same time, they can be a huge time suck.

Some jobs, usually director level and higher, center on decision-making. Much of that requires meetings for education and decision making. The reality, though, is that most corporate meetings offer little value.

If you’re like I was, on a regular basis you leave meetings and think, “well, that would’ve been better as an email.”

Plus, the first five to ten minutes of most meetings are spent catching up with the other future tortured souls, especially early morning or Monday meetings? We must learn about everyone’s weekend or rehash last night’s episode of The Walking Dead.

If you want to avoid wasting time, consider how you can do your part to reduce meeting time. You can’t always avoid meetings (especially if your boss is involved). But you can get rid of meetings under your purview.

Speaking of chitchat…

5. Being coopted by coworkers

The last major time suck is one of which we may have little control over.

Whether it’s Chatty Cathy or Babbling Bill, every office or team has one. It’s the coworker who seems to have all the time in the world to talk about an endless amount of nothing.

I’m not suggesting an Orwellian office place where everyone punches in, sits at their desk for seven point five hours and then punches the clock on their way home. (I’m an introvert, though, so that would be workplace heaven.)

So, what’s the solution to these problems with wasting time at work? Here are five hacks that can help you stop wasting time at work. Because the more productive we are, the more our boss likes us and the greater our chances of getting a fat bonus next year.

5 hacks to help you avoid wasting time at work.

1. Reduce your time surfing the internet

Keep a Word or Google document up on your computer or notepad by your side to list what it is you want to search and research.

Then, research them during a designated break or in the privacy of your own home because, much like Facebook, your employer is watching your every move online. They can find that information if they want to.

Also, shut down spare browser windows when you’re not using them for work-related activities. When your window’s tab is signaling that you have a new message or that someone just tagged you in a tweet, it’s nearly impossible to not stop what you’re doing and look. It’s very much like that ringing phone that must be answered.

Get rid of the temptation altogether.

2. Downgrade the social media time

Seventy-nine percent of social media is done on mobile. This means solving this problem alone will increase your productivity.

First, turn DND on your phone during work hours. Second, hide your phone from yourself in a drawer for 55-minute periods. During those 55 minutes, focus only your work and get your work done.

On a side note, even if you’re not being social on your office desktop but you’re syncing with your office’s WiFi on your phone, your employer is still watching your every move.

If you can avoid wasting time this way, you’re also keeping your boss from seeing what you’re up to.

3. Don’t let email run your life.

Avoid emails during the first hour or two of your day.

Instead, focus on the most important task for your success that day.

Most highly successful people manage their emails and don’t let their emails manage them. Let’s be honest: emails are usually about what’s important to other people  — not what’s important to you. So you want to focus on what matters most in your own life.

Ask yourself the One Thing question: “What’s the one that I can do such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary?”

By focusing on your One Thing and not one everyone else’s, your productivity will skyrocket.

One strategy is to answer emails for 10 minutes at the top of each hour. Another strategy is to only go into your email three times during the day.

Figure out what works for you, stick to it, and you’ll be surprised at how much you can accomplish.

4. Do your best to get those meetings under control

It’s helpful to have a somewhat militaristic approach to managing meetings at work.

First, have or ask for an agenda for every meeting. Everyone should be on the same page as to what the meeting’s about and what the goal or objective of the meeting is. It’s extra helpful to have this agenda in writing in advance. Anyone who goes off topic gets the buzzer.

Second, schedules meetings for 25 and 50-minute increments rather than 30 and 60-minutes. Let all attendees know in advance that the objective or goal of the meeting must be resolved in this limited time.

If anyone needs to prepare in advance, they should do so accordingly for the sake of everyone else’s time.

Finally, block off 30 or 50 minutes on your calendar, rather than 30 to 60 minutes. This budgets in time for you to fill up your coffee cup or hit the restroom, as needed, and let you shift focus to your next task.

5. It’s time to shut your coworkers down (politely)

Post a DND sign at your desk or on your door, or schedule time in a spare meeting room or office away from everyone else to focus on your most important tasks. You want to avoid wasting time at work? You might need to find a time to politely keep your coworkers away.

We teach people how to treat us. So, train your colleagues to not disrupt you outside of scheduled times or breaks.

This may be tough at first, but in time they’ll catch onto your routine. When you get to leave the office earlier or you get that raise or promotion, they’ll see the value in your regimen.

If these suggestions make you uncomfortable, lie to your coworkers. Tell them you have a deadline and cannot be disturbed. The lie will only go so far for so long, but it’s an easy way to start changing their behaviors and increasing your productivity and efficiency at work. Just don’t get in the habit of lying.

With most of these ways of wasting time at work, it comes down to first acknowledging what the problem is and then coming up with an appropriate solution for the problem.

Once that’s done, you can change how you work, avoid wasting time at work and get much more done.

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Persistent, but innocent or completely inappropriate behavior? Here’s how you can tell. Read More...

With the recent upswell of sexual harassment allegations both in Hollywood and Washington, victims of sexual abuse are starting to come out of their shells. Sexual misconduct isn’t happening more often, but victims now feel emboldened to share their stories and name the people who have mistreated them.

But for every victim stepping forward, there are still plenty who remain silent – often because they don’t fully understand the line between harassment and flirting. Sexual misconduct has always been vaguely defined by the masses, but that definition is starting to crystallize as the public turns to address the epidemic.

Like many women, I’ve experienced my fair share of sexual harassment, both in the workplace and elsewhere. Here’s where I draw the line.

What is the difference between flirting and sexual harassment?

The line between flirting and sexual harassment can seem hazy. What’s innocent and flirty to one person may be totally inappropriate to someone else. A kind smile can seem lewd to its recipient.

To me, the difference between flirting and sexual harassment is the frequency with which it occurs, as well as any escalation in the nature of the behavior. For example, telling me I’m pretty once is flirting – repeating it multiple times becomes sexual harassment. This is especially true if I’ve made it clear I have no interest in the other person.

When you view it that way, it’s easy to see the line between flirting and harassment. Men don’t have to worry about being accused of wrongdoing if they don’t continuously try to woo an obviously disinterested woman.

However, flirting can automatically become sexual harassment when it’s done by someone in a position of power. For example, I used to intern at a local magazine where the editor-in-chief had a reputation for pursuing the young interns. His actions were so widespread that multiple people warned me before I started working there.

Sure enough, a few weeks into the gig, the editor approached one of the interns and asked her out for a drink. She said no because she wasn’t 21 yet, and we tried to convince her to complain to HR about it.

“But he didn’t do anything bad,” she told us. “Maybe it was just going to be a friendly drink.”

At the time, I didn’t have the proper context for why an editor asking out an intern is problematic, but now I know. If you have authority over someone, treating them like a sexual object is always sketchy. They can’t say no without worrying about what it could do to their career.

The legal definition of sexual harassment.

According to the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, sexual harassment not only includes sexual comments or physical advances, but also general statements about one particular sex. For example, if a male coworker complains that all women are golddiggers, that’s sexual harassment.

The EOEC says sexual harassment becomes illegal “when it is so frequent or severe that it creates a hostile or offensive work environment or when it results in an adverse employment decision (such as the victim being fired or demoted).”

Anyone can be a harasser, including a vendor, client, peer or boss. The harasser can be your same gender and have a similar or different sexual orientation from you. So yes ladies, you can be accused of sexual harassment just as much as men.

What you can do.

If you’re being sexually harassed in the workplace, the first step is to document everything. Successful cases are made when the accuser has details, such as where and when the harassment occurred and what exactly was said and done. It can also help to share what happened with people you know who can back you up.

After you’ve documented the instances of harassment, it’s time to go to your human resources department. Tell them you’d like to file a sexual harassment report and bring all the details with you. It’s even better if you have concrete proof, such as texts, emails or voicemails. The stronger your evidence, the more likely it is people will believe you and take action.

Don’t stop writing down what happens after the sexual harasser has stopped bothering you. It’s important to note what your company does in response, in case you want to sue them later on.

If you report sexual harassment to HR, you should know that many companies don’t punish people who are accused of sexual harassment. In fact, sometimes the person reporting it has to deal with blowback if the person blamed is popular or has significant clout in the office.

It’s also OK if you don’t feel like reporting it, just like my friend decided not to back in the day. Not every company has a strong history of defending accusers and reporting it can be more traumatizing than the initial interaction. Do what makes sense for you and your mental health.

What are your feelings or experiences on this timely topic? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Great idea? Check. Good Response? Not so much. Here’s what to do from here. Read More...

We’ve all been there. One day your boss asks for feedback on a program, project, or concept that your team is working on. You spend hours working on your concept: the wording, why the idea rocks, and how your team can start rocking out your new idea. You’re nervous, but you know that they will love it.

An hour passes by, then two, and then your boss says the following: “I’m sorry but we’re not going to use your idea.” You’ve been shot down and it hurts.

If you’re really emotionally invested in your job, having an idea shot down may feel really personal and you might find yourself wrestling with some self-doubt about your value to the team. Before you go down that rabbit hole of crazy, let’s walk through some of the things you should do to keep this situation in perspective.


Unless your boss truly hates you (and sometimes they do) don’t take the rejection of your idea personally. If there are several people who work on your team, it’s possible that your immediate supervisor may have opted to use a different idea.

Hey, it happens.

You might not be aware of a last minute change to the project concept so you’ve ended up presenting something that is no longer relevant. If you’re defined by the work that you do, the rejection of ideas can feel intensely personal. Keep things in perspective, walk away if you’re feeling hurt or angry – don’t lose it on your boss and colleagues. Never let them see you sweat.

Time to regroup.

Spend some time away from the office regrouping and getting into a positive headspace. Don’t let your ego get in the way of all the hard work that you’ve done previously.

If you find that you’re feeling especially demoralized, watch the movie Office Space and imagine how good it would feel to beat up one of the printers that always seems to jam. But don’t do it. You have an imagination for a reason.

Now that you’ve calmed down and are thinking rationally, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Was I clear about the scope of work?
  • Would what I suggested truly move our project on forward? Or, was it an ego-driven suggestion? (Yes, I went there.)

Then, ask yourself, “Am I clear about the overall goals of my team and department?” You may feel like you’re clear on the overall objectives, but things do change. It’s never a bad thing to ask your team lead, “What is the ideal outcome you would like us to arrive at via our work efforts?”

Again, you might not be aware of changes that may have been communicated from the top down – but, not to you. Your team lead will (typically) appreciate that you’re zeroed in on achieving positive outcomes with any suggestions that you may share.

Is this boss an ally?

If you suggest something to your boss, will they truly be open to any suggestions that you make? Do you have a boss who has basically checked out mentally and just goes through the motions?

They may perceive your suggestions either in a positive light (this employee has ideas that I can piggyback on) or, they may feel threatened and think that you’re angling for their job. And, you could be. Remember that the phrase “office politics” exists for a reason.

Is your boss a little…flaky? Do you find yourself wondering how on earth they got the job? Are they easily influenced or super open to team input? If they are open to suggestions, create a strategy where you share new ideas without being annoying or come across as a brown-noser.

It’s ok to Jedi-Mindtrick your boss…as long as you’re using your powers for good.

Finally, if your idea has been rejected, ask for feedback. Don’t be afraid to have an open and candid conversation with your boss. In fact, I would strongly encourage you to become comfortable asking for helpful feedback from your supervisor or boss.

Creating an open line of communication may also signal to your boss that you’re professional and invested in creating change in your job. Good luck!

Have you been knocked down at work? How did you bounce back? Tell us about your experiences in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Got told your job performance isn’t up to par? The answer isn’t at the bottom of a pint of Ben & Jerry’s. Your response can change everything. Read More...

There are certain feelings you start to leave behind after adolescence. The intense anxiety of a first date. The raw shame of being scolded by a parent. The unbridled excitement of Christmas morning.

You might think the churning feeling in the pit of your stomach after failing a test goes away, too. Until you get a bad performance review at work.

There’s nothing worse than being told you’re doing a bad job. It’s a confidence killer and can leave you questioning your entire career. It just sucks.

But a successful career comes from moving past adversity, and a bad review isn’t the end of the world. What really matters is how you move forward from it.

If you got torn apart on your latest review, here’s how you can put yourself back together.

Commiserate and cool off.

I remember my first official performance review. I was so excited. Growing up, I remembered my parents getting performance reviews once a year, usually followed by a hefty annual bonus or raise.

When I sat down, I expected to get a glowing review, full of remarks about my hard work, dedication, and ingenuity – followed by a nice fat check.

Unfortunately, that’s not what I got. While my boss was complimentary, he was also quick to point out my flaws, many of which I hadn’t noticed. I was blindsided and furious, but in the meeting, I remained stoic and professional. I considered that an emotional triumph, even if I wanted to go cry in the bathroom.

I went back to my office, closed the door and took a few moments to breathe. Then, I went to the nearby CVS to pick up some chocolate and call my mom.

I was so disappointed in myself. I remember staring at the official performance review with my total score on it, a 3.5 out of 5. Didn’t my boss like me? Wasn’t I doing well? I felt like a high schooler again, freaking out after a bad test score.

Venting to my mom made me feel better, as did inhaling a bunch of junk food. After I returned to the office, I decided that I liked my job and wanted to get better at it, even if meant facing some things I didn’t know about myself.

If you get a bad review, take time to cool off before you respond to your supervisor. Responding well to criticism is a key component of being a good employee. Pouting or whining about your review will only make you look worse, feel worse, and fail to improve.

Instead, look closely at what your boss said. Realize that more than likely, they’re just trying to help you become better at your job. The more you improve, the better off you’ll be, so try to see a bad review as an opportunity.

Talk to other people at work.

If you’re still not convinced that your boss is on point with her criticism, talk to other people at work to see if they agree. Remember that they may hesitate to be honest with you, hoping to avoid hurting your feelings. Make it crystal clear that you really want the honest-to-goodness truth.

Even if your coworkers do agree with your supervisor’s assessment, they should be able to remind you of your strengths and valuable contributions as well. Maybe they’ll be able to share their own stories of bad reviews. Getting an outside perspective can help you see that this isn’t the worst news you could possibly get.

Ask your boss questions.

When you get a bad review, it can leave you spinning. You might be too focused on getting out of the room ASAP instead of trying to understand what you did wrong. However, it’s important to leave an evaluation with a clear idea of what you’re doing badly and how to correct it.

For example, if your boss says your presentations aren’t persuasive, you need to figure out why. Are they too boring? Are you not identifying your client’s pain points? Where exactly are your weak spots?

It might seem embarrassing to ask for a breakdown of your flaws when you’d rather highlight your strengths, but it’s important to dig deep into the criticism. Your boss needs to know you understand how you can improve or they won’t feel confident in your abilities. They’ll be impressed if you clearly want to get better, and disappointed if you try to walk past any criticism.

Follow up later.

Once you’ve had a chance to look over the review and implement the necessary changes, find your boss a month or so later and ask them if they’ve noticed any differences. You want to make sure what you’re doing is working, and make your desire to improve clear to your boss.

You can schedule a formal meeting to determine if the changes are working. Even if you’re still falling short, your boss should appreciate your resolve to find a solution. Remember, employers like problem solvers, so always come prepared with other ideas that might work.

How have you responded to a poor performance review? Let us know in #Adulting Facebook community


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Don’t let the holiday music and parties get you off your game. Here’s how to enjoy the season while keeping things together! Read More...

I live in Colorado and as I’m writing this we are gearing up for our first snow day…even though the weather has been near 80 degrees for the past couple of days. Weather whiplash is a very real thing and so is decreased productivity during the holiday season and colder months.

This year has been epically crazy, so a lot of people will probably be caught off guard by the fact that the holiday season is just around the corner. OMG. You’re probably having a minor panic attack as you read that sentence and I’m right there with you. I’m freaking out because the holidays have historically killed my productivity if I don’t have a well-thought-out plan.

Let’s plan together and stay on top of things.

Work your schedule.

First, spend some time reviewing your schedule from October through January. Why those four months in particular? They are the four months where people begin to shop more, celebrate the holidays, and have a substantial uptick in personal plans.

Those plans may include: trips to visit relatives or friends, holiday parties, going to the theater, or hosting an event at your home.

Grab your planner and write down as many of those events as possible so that you have a clear idea of what’s coming up. Then, remove any event or activity that isn’t 100% necessary from your schedule. By taking the action of removing unnecessary events from your schedule you’re creating a buffer in your schedule and freeing yourself from obligations that will ultimately distract you from taking care of the things that are important.

Fall in love with the word NO!

The holiday season tugs on many people’s emotions. As a result, people may find themselves saying “yes” to activities that are a distraction. People may also need to say “no” when asked to participate in activities with emotional vampires.

You’re probably wondering how an emotional vampire affects your productivity? Well, they suck your energy dry. If drama ensues (and it typically does) with an emotional vampire, you’re getting sucked into calls recapping and discussing whatever imagined drama that the emotional vampire is upset about.

Saying “no” will be one of your most powerful productivity tools this holiday season. You’ll thank me later! On the flipside of this, say “yes” to activities with people that will lift you up and fill you with joy.

Shop from home.

In the age of Amazon Prime, Hello Fresh, Thrive Market, and Safeway grocery delivery, why on earth do you still insist on going to the grocery store several times a week? On Saturday or Sunday take some time to review your upcoming week. Create a meal plan and order your groceries or a meal kit service.

If you’re needing new clothes, order them instead of going to the store, and if you’re feeling especially focused on embracing systems to make your life easier, you may consider scheduling someone to help with cleaning during weeks when you have a ton of guests or just an especially hectic schedule. Don’t clean before the cleaners arrive – that’s a waste of your time!

Spend time getting ahead wherever you can. Here are some personal and professional examples:

  • If you celebrate Thanksgiving and plan on having guests that weekend, begin planning NOW. Start picking up non-perishable items such as: condensed milk, extra aluminum foil, the baking pan for the turkey, or canned cranberry jelly. Or, you could order a pre-made meal and save your time for spending time with friends and family.
  • Work backward on your projects. What do I mean by this? Look at the projects you’re currently working on and spend time getting ahead of those projects by looking at the end result you’re working towards. Figure out the deadline for those tasks and then work backward from that deadline. You’ll most like complete those projects faster and you’ll also create a time buffer because you’ll be ahead of your schedule.
  • Digital content creator? Blogger or Podcaster? Spend some time scheduling your content ahead (building a content buffer) similar to what was mentioned during the previous point.

Part of managing and maintaining your productivity is acknowledging that you can’t do everything and that the holiday season is a constant process of balancing:

  • Your expectations
  • Other people’s expectations
  • Social Commitments
  • Work

Maintaining your productivity during the holidays ultimately requires you to give yourself some grace, focus on one day at a time, and have realistic expectations of what you can do for you and what you can do for others.

Do you have any good tips to share? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community

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Jobs can suck hard. Don’t be the person that makes it worse. Get your co-workers on your side. Read More...

It has been awhile since I’ve worked in an office, but I still remember the people that I truly loved working with. And fortunately for me, I’m still friends with a large number of those amazing people.

It’s not easy becoming the co-worker that everyone loves. There are so many landmines to avoid when you’re in the workplace, and being “the co-worker that people love to hate” is not the title that you want to wear at work.  Let’s talk about all of the ways you can get your co-workers to love you without becoming the office brown-noser.

Always remember to respect other people’s time.

You don’t have to watch the clock obsessively, but be aware that people notice when you’re constantly late for work, meetings, or keep them waiting in general. After a while it stops being funny and just makes you look like a douche and unprofessional. And, seriously, those are two labels you want to avoid at work.

It doesn’t matter if you run constantly late for everything and everyone else in your life (even though it’s still annoying). Be self-aware enough to know that disrespecting other people’s time will ultimately make them dislike working with you.

Create a plan so that you’re on time and stick to it.

Can you hear me now?

Practice active listening whenever you’re in a conversation or meeting with your colleagues. I remember being constantly frustrated because I felt like people weren’t listening to me.

We would have discussions in one of the endless meetings that could have been an email. I would pipe up to make a point and then people would talk over me or ignore what I said – all the time. They clearly weren’t listening to me. It was so annoying and I felt disrespected.

Be the person who truly listens to others. We notice when you do. Offer thoughtful and kind responses to whatever proposals or questions that your colleague brings up. If you’re in disagreement with their comments, be kind when offering point of view.

It sometimes feels like people have forgotten the art of being tactful. At work, it still reigns supreme.

Don’t eat other people’s food.

They always find out who does it.

I’ll never forget the drama that ensued one year because one of our colleagues kept eating everyone’s lunches. I worked in education so it was normal for  everyone to bring  their lunch. We also had a ton of community food for everyone to take if they were hungry. So it baffled me when this person would eat the food that other people brought…but, they did. On and off for a year.

The worst part…it was just too awkward to call this person out. Instead, everyone gossiped about the fact that they were eating everyone else’s food. That person even helped themselves to  my Perrier and that was the end for me. Fortunately, this person left and things got back to to normal.

If you have nothing nice to say…

Gossiping will also get you shanked professionally. The thing about gossip is that even if you’re telling the truth about a person or calling out a situation, if you’re constantly gossiping, people will wonder what you say about them when they’re not around.

I have a very firm policy of whatever I say – I will say to your face. It makes life easier. But, at work you really should avoid gossip in general. If you find yourself in a group of people and they start gossiping just float away and say you have something else to do. If you still find yourself sucked in, just joke and say that you’ve got nothing to say and move on.

Know which topics are off limits.

For the love of all that’s holy-be self-aware enough to avoid talking about how young or old you or your colleagues might be. For some people it could come across as talking down to others (if you’re older) or, it could be perceived as disparaging other people’s age if they are older than you.

I’ve literally cringed when people begin talking about age at work. Just do your job and move on.

It feels like it’s obvious but for the sake of just stating the obvious-avoid talking about religion, race, or politics as much as you possibly can. Discussing any of those topics almost never ends well.

At my old job we actually were able to talk about these issues because we were all almost of the same mindset regarding all of those issues. But the typical workplace won’t have that high a level of value alignment. Leave the talk at home for people who have no choice but to listen to you.

By no means am I saying that you have to stop being yourself, never say what you mean, or pretend like you don’t have an opinion. But, what I am saying is that the self-aware worker is the one who is well-liked, listened to, and promoted in the office space.

Be that guy or gal. It’s not that hard.

Do you have any other tips for being a good co-worker? Or any stories about bad ones? Let us know in the #Adulting Facebook community.

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Want a job? Tone down the online fame. Your next keystroke could have real-world consequences. Read More...

Newsflash: Nothing you do on social media is private!

We’ve known this since the early days when the careers of Kim Kardashian and Justin Bieber launched and we were privy to way too much, way too often.

We pretend it’s not true, but we can’t pretend any longer because for us common-folk, the stakes can be really high. Your social media presence could get you fired or keep you from getting the job you want.

It may be that in the 1980s Steve Jobs gave the singer, Rockwell, a sneak peek into the iPhone and it inspired his ode “Somebody’s Watching Me”. Because today, yes, everyone and everything is watching you.

Whether you’re doing anything worth watching is in the eye of the beholder, and today there are people paid to behold you.

If you’re not online, you don’t exist. But don’t be too out there.

Between February 16 and March 9, 2017, Harris Poll conducted an online survey on behalf of CareerBuilder. The results surprised even me, someone who lives online and who used to do background checks on people.

According to the survey:

  • 57% of employers are less likely to hire a job candidate they can’t find online.
  • 54% have chosen not to hire a job candidate because of their online presence.
  • 70% of employers use an online screening process to vet job candidates.

The takeaway is that it’s becoming more important to have an online presence and it’s even more important to manage that online presence well.

Be Social, behave yourself, and be smart.

You may not be as bad as The Tinkler or Mr. Chocolate, but these funny yet unfortunate social media blunders aren’t the only examples of why you might not land that next job.

Posts and pictures with drugs and sexual references certainly won’t help you become gainfully employed. What you may not know is that two-thirds of employers polled by Jobvite in 2014 said that job candidates with posts that include profanity, guns and alcohol might make them consider someone else.

Even more surprising is that while 44% of employers said posts about alcohol were concerning, 66% were concerned about poor spelling and poor grammar in social media posts.

What can you do?

Be secure, not sneaky.

The answer to the social media screening process is not to have no social media presence (double-negative intended, future boss) and it’s not to lock down your social media presence like Ft. Knox.

The best way to manage your online life is to set up all your social media accounts, except LinkedIn, as private as possible. Then, create a professional, well-managed, and public LinkedIn profile and make it so amazing they can’t ignore you. This way, prospective employers can find you, and they find what you want them to find.

Vegas rules don’t apply.

The internet isn’t like Vegas. Hell, even Vegas isn’t like Vegas.

Anything you do online can easily go public no matter how private your settings. People like to share on social media. They like to do screen shots to make edits or to share on different platforms. So, if you told the boss that you’re home with the flu, avoid having pictures taken of you lying by the pool.

Remember, too, as many a newbie celebrity farther back than Madonna and Playboy has learned, that if ever someone can make money off of you, they’ll probably try! So, in the way, distant future when you may be a big name for yourself, that thing you thought no one would know – won’t be found out because you didn’t do it.

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

…then, don’t say it at all. This rule is like The Golden Rules’ slightly silver sister. In an age when even the slightest off-color remark can get someone fired from a job or treated like a pariah, don’t say anything negative about anyone, ever.

You may feel justified bashing this politician or that public figure and they probably deserve it. However, the person who may be able to get you the job you want may like that politician or that public figure and you may have just strained your relationship with them, if it ever existed. There are people paid to criticize people. If you’re not one, let them fight the good fight on your behalf.

Remember your grandmother.

Or, your mom. Or, Jesus. Or, whoever’s opinion you most cherish. Before doing, sharing, or saying something on social media, first consider what this most important person might think before going through with your plan.

If you’d feel embarrassed if they saw or read your brazen post or share, then a prospective employer might see it as a reason to not hire you or worse, “like” you.

For some reason, it’s easy to forget that on social media the whole world may be watching. What we think is private, funny, cool or justified may not be in that beholder’s eye. Until that day when you no longer need or want a job, keep that in mind.

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We’re all replaceable. But what if you could be less replaceable? Get your shit together and show your employer that you really are someone they don’t want to lose. Read More...

You’ve got the job.

Now you need to keep it.

With the tough job market and concerns about student loan debt ratcheting up the worry levels, it makes sense to think about how to make yourself indispensable at work.

That way, when it’s time for lay offs – or even if you want a promotion or raise – you are more likely to be considered a valuable company asset.

If you’re trying to figure out how to make sure your employer finds you necessary, here are several strategies to try:

1. Develop strengths valuable to your company.

Pay attention. What skills does your company value?

A surefire way to become indispensable at work is to have strengths that your employer relies on.

It’s not enough just have a valuable skill, though. You also need to be one of the few people who possess it. Figure out what your strengths are, and then determine how they can translate into necessary skills that are somewhat rare at your company.

Once you do that, they’ll never want to let you go.

2. Cultivate a good attitude.

The better your attitude, the better you are for the company. True, positivity can’t make up for a lot of things, but it does go a long way.

If you are positive, see opportunities, and are good for morale, your employer will likely decide that you’re necessary. When it comes down to a choice between letting go of one of two employees, and one of you is a downer, it’s the downer that is usually out, all other things being equal.

Don’t be a downer.

3. Stay current with technology and skills.

If you’re up-to-date on all the latest technology and best practices, you are more valuable to your employer.

Plus, it can be enriching and a good way to invest in yourself to stay current with technology and keep your skills up to date.

Show that you are interested in remaining relevant in your field. As you continue to expand your skill set and ensure that your company stays ahead of the curve, you’ll make yourself indispensable at work.

4. Focus on tasks that matter.

It’s tempting to bang out a bunch of easy tasks to look productive. But almost anyone can do the easy stuff.

Instead, look to accomplish things that matter. They might not be super-easy things, but they should have a bigger impact. If you develop a reputation for doing things that matter you will be more likely to be considered indispensable.

5. Go the extra mile.

You’d think this goes without saying: go the extra mile. However, it often does need saying.

Is there a way you can add extra value? Do you go above and beyond?

When you can show that you do more than is expected, or if you can add an extra twist, you are seen as a valuable resource. You want to be seen as someone who will continue to help move the company forward, rather than someone who does the bare minimum.

It doesn’t mean you have to work overtime every week or let work take over your life. But if you can add that extra bit to your work, you will be more valuable overall.

6. Be a team player.

Are you a helper? When others know that they can come to you for a little extra help, you are likely to be seen as dispensable at work.

Collaboration is increasingly becoming a major part of doing business. If you can’t play nice with others, your employer is likely to see you as a liability, rather than an asset.

Do your best to help the team and show that you are willing to move forward with goals. Stay focused on the team goals and be ready to help the company, and your bosses will feel much better about keeping you around.

7. Show reliability.

One of the best ways to make yourself indispensable at work is to be reliable. If you say you’re going to do something, can you be trusted to do it?

Meet your deadlines and be someone that others trust. Avoid over-promising. Do your best to accurately estimate what you can accomplish – and when you can reasonably get it done. Then, if you can’t meet your obligation, let someone know ASAP.

However, if you are constantly late and unable to keep up, that could indicate an issue in how you manage expectations. Review how you do things and what you can realistically get done. Underpromise and over deliver on a consistent basis, and you’ll gain a reputation for reliability.

8. Build important relationships.

Sometimes it really is about who you know. And it’s not about sucking up to your boss’s boss.

Instead, it’s more about building relationships with people important to your company. Is there a client that you could connect with and become point person with?

Can you help build a partnership? Can you introduce someone as a consultant to help solve a problem?

Think about the relationships you can enhance in work and business. As you build these relationships with your co-workers, supervisors, clients, and others, you will be seen as an integral part of the workplace, and someone to keep around.

9. Make your supervisor’s job easier.

If you really want to be indispensable at work, make your supervisor’s job easier. Do what you can to pitch in, help out, and solve problems. When your supervisor can trust you, s/he is more likely to go to bat for you.

Your supervisor knows what you do to help them with work. When they look good, and your efforts are part of the reason, they know it. Supervisors want to keep people around when they help them look good.

As a team player and as someone who shows skills and abilities that can help your company, you can become indispensable at work.

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Fun fact: no matter what anyone tells you about looking on the inside, you’re being judged by how you look on the outside.

Even if you think it’s unfair, your career can be impacted by the way you dress, the tattoos you have, and your piercings. If you don’t dress for the situation, you could find yourself passed over for work.

In fact, there have been studies that indicate how you dress for the situation can impact the way you perform tasks. Take a lab coat. Hand it to someone and tell them it’s a doctor’s coat, and they do better at various tasks. Give them the same coat and tell them it’s a painter’s coat and the performance level drops.

But it’s not just about the way your outfit impacts your productivity. You people are making judgments about you based on the way you dress. If your clothing and overall appearance (hair, makeup, tattoos, and more) don’t fit the environment, you could be passed over for a job.


  • What you where can impact how well you do your job.
  • How your preparation and appearance affects your frame of mind.
  • The problem with having visible tattoos, especially in a retail environment.
  • Dress for the situation depends on the workplace.
  • Different workplaces have different expectations and dress codes.
  • How changing societal norms have influenced what it means to dress for the situation at work.
  • Tips for figuring out what to wear to work.
  • How to put together a closet that allows you to quickly get ready for work each day.

Use our “Do Nows” to review your clothing choices and prepare your closet for the work day. We also look at how you can pay attention to the way your clothes make you feel so you can figure out which outfits to wear for different occasions. And, finally, a listener questions allows us to finally get to the bottom of what it means to be “business casual.”

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You are judged by your appearance
How clothing affects your appearance
Workplace dress codes and women
Sweatpants and the workplace?
Tattoos and your job prospects
Hosted byHarlan Landes and Miranda Marquit
Produced byadulting.tv
Edited and mixed bySteve Stewart
Music bybensound.com

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