b Self-Helpless: True Tales of a Working Girl



Infamous Résumé Lies

During the past few years, the United States has seen a myriad of high-profile individuals -- namely working professionals -- committing a serious crime: résumé fraud. (full article)




The Worst Advice Ever

I just read this article which was originally published on Hotjobs:

How to Deal With an Office Jerk
by Robert M. Detman, for Yahoo! HotJobs

Office life can have its ups and downs, but having to endure a jerk can make it miserable. Office jerks take on many forms, and thus require creative strategies for dealing with them.

Handling Six Common Types

The Loud Phone-Talker. "Obviously the first step is to pull them aside quietly and ask them to lower their voice when using the phone," says Julie Jansen, a career coach, consultant, and trainer. "If this doesn't stop them, you could dish out the same treatment and stand near their cube on your cell phone and talk loudly. Or you can hold up a sign that says, 'Please turn volume down.'" (Sure, let's all act like jerks now!)

The Hang-Arounder. When confronting the co-worker who chronically lingers to chat when you are trying to make a deadline -- a subtle jerk, but a jerk nonetheless -- try standing up when they enter your office or cube. "The unspoken message of your body language will clearly tell him or her to keep it brief and head for the door," says Ken Lloyd, author of "Jerks at Work: How to Deal With People Problems and Problem People." (or how about: "Hey, I'm sorry I have to cut you off but I have a deadline... see ya!")

The Idea Stealer. There is a strong possibility that this jerk can't distinguish between a good idea and a bad one. "Somewhere along the way, slip in a really bad idea and let the jerk steal that," Lloyd says. However, beware that this might only encourage the jerk to become worse. (maybe you should keep your mouth shut and your ideas to yourself)

The Meeting Monopolizer. Get creative. "Try eliminating the chairs and making it a standup meeting," Lloyd suggests. The monopolizer will likely get thrown off and won't have time to settle into the usual routine of unproductive dominance. (why would you make yourself and everyone in a meeting uncomfortable because you don't have the backbone to put this schmuck in his/her place?)

The Bully. Remember, you're not in high school anymore. "Hold your ground and refuse to be bullied," says Steve Piazzale, a career and life coach who runs BayAreaCareerCoach.com. "They'll usually back off over time." (Do these people know anything about office culture??? The bully will NOT "usually back off over time"!!! These people need to read my book!)

The Boss. Sometimes dealing with a jerk should not be your problem, particularly if you have a manager who is a jerk. In this case you might take a look around the company and notice several jerks. "This may be part of the company culture," Piazzale says. "In which case get out!" (this is the only bit of decent advice in this article)

More General Coping Strategies

Passive. Avoidance is the most obvious solution if you don't want a confrontation with any type of office jerk. "You can go to your boss and ask him to intervene," says Jansen. Or, if things are really unbearable, you could ask to be relocated to another part of the office. (really, you need to develop a spine people!)

Active. Avoidance can backfire if the jerk continues the annoying behavior. Try talking to the person. "Difficult people don't always know they're being difficult," Jansen says. "People generally don't have a very high level of self-awareness, so specific and constructive feedback is important." (another decent bit of advice)

If you must confront a jerk, it is wise to take the high road. Career coach Piazzale says, "Try to understand where the behavior is coming from, and tailor your response to that." (if these "jerks" are bat-shit-crazy there will be NO talking to them -- trust me!)




Bullying tied to mental health problems later

Reuters published an interesting article about people (men specifically) that bully and are bullied. It indicates that these individuals are far more prone to mental health problems later in life. Maybe this is why the "bad bosses" only seem to get worse with age; there really *is* something wrong with them!

Since I can't really post the article in its entirety here, I'll give you the link. Check it out:





Malaysian Employee Fired for Emails About the Boss

A Malaysian employee was terminated for misconduct after her employer discovered that she sent e-mails from an office computer to friends griping about her superiors. She challenged the dismissal as unfair because her words weren't meant to undermine her superiors; they were only meant as gossip. Surprisingly, though maybe not in Malaysia, she won and was awarded back wages and compensation amounting to approximately $19,000. According to the court, "derogatory, insolent, and impertinent" words said directly to a superior would amount to terminable misconduct, "but if those words are only used behind their backs and only between a few friends," the behavior doesn't amount to misconduct.

Original article by AHI's Employment Law Resource Center .




10 Ways to Unwind After Work - Simple ways to smooth the transition from work to home.

Find it tough to wind down after a demanding workday? Try these 10 strategies for shifting from office to home mode:

1. Leave work at the office. Resolve to not bring work home in the evening (or limit it to two nights a week if absolutely necessary).

2. Wind down your workday early. About two hours before you leave work, make a list of what you need to accomplish before you go and what you'll tackle tomorrow. You'll have ample time to complete your tasks and can leave feeling like you've wrapped up your day productively -- which leaves less fodder for after-work worry.

3. Have a front-door catchall. Buy a large basket or wooden box to place near your door. Immediately stash your briefcase or work bag there when you walk in the door; don't pick it up again until the next morning.

4. Sit quietly. Before you begin dinner, head to the gym, or pick up your kids, take three to five minutes to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Imagine drawing air into your stomach and exhaling fully. This allows you to clear your mind and empty out the workday stress.

5. Write it down. If a particularly difficult situation at work has made it nearly impossible to relax once you're home, grab a pen and a piece of paper. Write about the incident -- without lifting your pen from the paper -- for three minutes. When you're done venting on paper, tear up the sheet and throw it away.

6. Establish a ritual. Having a routine that you follow every day can help you switch your mindset from work to home. Talk about your kids' days at school as you sit around the kitchen table, or drink a giant glass of lemonade -- pick something you can look forward to every day, as the "official" start of your evening.

7. Reduce clutter. A cluttered home can be overwhelming, make you feel as if you're out of control, and magnify the stresses of the day. Take five minutes before bed each night to straighten up, so you'll have a pleasantly tidy house to come home to tomorrow.

8. Pipe in music. Invest in a portable CD player and pop in your favorite tunes while you fix dinner, pay bills, or do laundry. Upbeat, enjoyable music will make your chores more fun.

9. Schedule chores judiciously. If you expect to do laundry, dishes, and bills in one night, you'll likely feel anxious about getting it all done. Instead, schedule each chore for a different night, or save them for the weekend and simply relax after work.

10. Make your commute enjoyable. Listen to a book on tape or a favorite CD, or use your time on the bus or train to read one chapter of a new novel. Even a few minutes of doing something that makes you happy helps to diffuse the day's stressors.

By Lisa Kovalovich for LHJ.com




Judge dismisses torture suit against county but not parks supervisors

Westchester County is off the hook in a lawsuit filed by a learning-disabled man who says he was tortured by his supervisor at the county Parks Department.

A federal judge has ruled that Anthony Costabile, 24, of Thornwood failed to file a notice of claim with the county in a timely manner.

But U.S. District Judge William Conner refused to dismiss the suit against three Parks Department supervisors, saying that the notice of claim requirement did not extend to them. Conner also ruled that, contrary to the county's assertions, Costabile's allegations of torture and abuse are enough to constitute a claim under the state's human rights law.

"Indeed, in 33 years on the bench, we have never encountered allegations of mistreatment in the workplace so shockingly malicious and sadistic," Conner said in a 20-page decision filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in White Plains. "Plainly, if they are true, plaintiffs' allegations reveal that defendants violated not only minimum standards of human decency but numerous provisions of law."

A spokeswoman for Westchester County Executive Andrew Spano declined to comment.
Costabile's lawyer, Gerald Resnick, did not return calls seeking comment.

Costabile claims he was tortured in the summer of 2003 and again in the summer of 2004 while working for the department at Glen Island Park in New Rochelle.

He names supervisor Roberto Alcantara as his tormentor in several alleged incidents of abuse at the park, many of them involving shrink wrap.

Alcantara shrink-wrapped Costabile to a chair and then set the shrink wrap on fire when Costabile could not free himself, Costabile and his mother, Candida, claim in their lawsuit. In another alleged incident, Alcantara shrink-wrapped Costabile to a chair with wheels, rolled him out to the parking lot at Glen Island and turned a hose on him, dousing him with such force he nearly choked. Alcantara also is accused of shrink-wrapping Costabile to a chair and then dumping buckets of cold water on him, causing Costabile to strain so hard to free himself that he developed a hernia that required surgery. The supervisor was also accused of verbally abusing Alcantara, calling him "retard" and "idiot," according to the Costabiles' complaint.

Costabile was fired in 2004 for leaving work 15 minutes early, even though he had permission to do so, according to the complaint. But the county says he was fired for leaving a piece of equipment unattended.

He and his mother sued the county, Alcantara, and two of Alcantara's bosses in May 2006. The county filed a motion to dismiss in September. Three weeks later, Costabile filed papers seeking Conner's permission to file a late notice of claim. In yesterday's decision, Conner denied Costabile's motion, saying that he was not empowered to grant it, that Costabile would have had to ask a state Supreme Court justice for such a waiver. But Conner said even if he was authorized, he would not grant Costabile's request because the request came more than two years after the alleged incidents, well beyond the state's deadline of one year and 90 days.

The original article can be viewed at LoHud.com.




You've Just Been Promoted... Now What?

You worked hard, became the go-to person on your team and finally were promoted to manager. You feel that you've arrived. And you may have already made your first mistake.

"A lot of people think there's some glory in getting this title of manager" and take the job because of the success it implies, not because they really want to manage other people, said Gerard H. Gaynor, author of "What Every New Manager Needs to Know."

But never fear. Gaynor and other experts have tips on five common mistakes new managers make -- and how you can avoid them.

Take Time to Learn

You naturally want to show the people who promoted you that they made the right decision, so it's tempting to try to make big changes right away. "There's always pressure to do something soon to get some visibility," said Libby Pannwitt, a career counselor and principal of Work Life Design Group in San Carlos, California.

But it's better to take it slow. "There's an awful lot to learn," Pannwitt said. "Who are the other players? What is your place in the hierarchy? What is the contribution that's expected of you?" And if you spend some time listening and learning, when you do take on a big project you'll be more likely to succeed.

Share the Work

If you're feeling overwhelmed with all the work you have to do, take a careful look to be sure you're not still trying to do your old job as well. It's a common mistake of new managers, said Carol W. Ellis, a business and career management consultant and in Placitas, New Mexico, and author of "Management Skills for New Managers."

"In many cases they've been rewarded for doing work," Ellis said. "Therefore they're afraid to give it up." Remember, though, that your old job is now someone else's responsibility -- and yours is to make sure your team succeeds, not to do all the work yourself.

Listen to Your Staff

Making decisions without getting your staff's input can cause two problems. First, you won't benefit from the insights they may have had about how best to go about your project. Second, your staff will not have any investment in making sure the project is successful.

"If employees don't feel that they were involved in the decision, then they can have all kinds of excuses for why this program or project is not going to work," said Carole C. Edman, a human resources consultant and coach in San Jose, California.

Share Good News

If someone compliments you on your team's work, tell your team. Some new managers "don't think people need to know when they do a good job," Ellis said. But that's not true. Sharing praise helps build trust.

Expand Your Perspective

As a manager, you have to expand your thinking to know what other groups are doing and how their work and your group's affect each other.

"Your scope of interest must go beyond the scope of interest of your group," Gaynor said. "You just can't sit back and say, 'I've got my own little shop over here.'"

Original article published on Yahoo! Hotjobs.


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