Career Advice

Hey Boss: You Are Wasting My Time

frustrated product manager reacting to email

I once worked for a boss who had a Ph.D. in time-wasting. This person’s signature move? Pointless meetings. I would spend my days shuffling from one to the next. Few were productive. Most made me feel frustrated. And the more invites I received, the longer my to-do list grew. I finally realized that we were doing his work at the meetings and with the follow-up tasks. 

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4 Words That Make Hiring Managers Cringe

foosball game table with rusted bars

I really cannot think of a company that wants to hire a jack-of-all-trades. I learned this the hard way early in my career when I was speaking with the VP of the group at a company where I was interviewing. I told him that I had done a bit of everything at the marketing consulting firm I worked at in Chicago. He smiled a sly smile.

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Your Toxic Boss Gets Promoted — What About You?

squirrels fighting in a field

Ever had a bad boss who seemed to fool everybody? I am sure you have. You know the type. They fire off indiscernible last-minute requests. Play favorites. And take sole credit for the team’s efforts. But here is the most frustrating part — they keep getting promoted. And that hurts. 

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I Never Had a Boss Who Said "I Am Sorry"

dog licking orange cat

There was the boss who yelled at me for doing what she asked. There was the CEO who threatened my career when I told him that I was leaving for a new company and a major promotion. If you work long enough, at some point you will encounter people who treat you poorly — out of malice or just plain ignorance.

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How to Outsmart the Snake in Your Office

corn snake coiled on rock

Do you suffer from ophidiophobia? It is a common phobia — the fear of snakes. Before you answer “no” take a moment to think. Because although you might not be afraid of a harmless garter variety, you may be alarmed by an unusual specimen found in many workplaces: the office snake.

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You Are Not "Human Capital"

row of mannequins

There is probably no workplace department more maligned in popular culture than human resources. Remember Catbert from the Dilbert cartoons? What about the laughably dull corporate trainings given by Toby Flenderson from “The Office”? It seems HR is an easy target for comedy.
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Commute? You Could Do All This Without One

I cringe whenever I think about commuting to work. The time spent thinking about actually getting something done. The bumper-to-bumper traffic and pollution. It is depressing to think that millions of people endure so many wasted hours each day. Wasted hours because businesses think work must be done in a maze of cubes.

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Your Resume Is in the Trash — 5 Questions Tell You Why

cat in bathroom garbage bin

Resumes take time to craft. I know that. And smart job seekers invest great effort in getting job descriptions and career highlights just right. But in spite of that hard work, your resume is likely landing in the “NO” pile. Why?

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The Problem With Keeping Your Resume "Current"

cat hunting a gerbil

Is there a compulsive updater in your life? You know who I’m talking about — the one who seems to be in a constant state of “reaching out” with a stream of near-daily LinkedIn notifications. Check out Beth’s updated profile! John has a new skill!

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You Really Should Stop Using BCC

toy t-rex eating another dinosaur

Old habits can be hard to break. For years, a friend of mine was required to blind carbon copy (BCC) his boss when sending out emails to other executives. Even after he joined a new company that discouraged backdoor communications, he had to make a conscious effort to stop doing it. The practice was that ingrained in his thinking.

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The 5 Scary Types of Managers

business man with a beard peeking through venetian blinds

Gather ‘round for a tale of workplace woe. Once upon a time there was a boss. He was generally a jovial fellow. But when the moon was full, he would transform into a wild creature overnight, suddenly terrorizing the team, derailing focus, and trashing plans. I once even saw him chase an employee around a conference room table like he was out for blood. The next day the boss would show up to work, back to his congenial self and act as if nothing had happened. Scary stuff.

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Why Optimistic Realists Make Great Tech Leaders

origami paper boat floating on a puddle

I once worked for a guy who always had a smile on this face. He was a friend to everyone and always thought it was a beautiful day. But he was not fully respected by his peers because he never prioritized work that had the best chance of being successful. Instead, he wasted a lot of time and money by blindly assuming everything would work out. A lot of times he was wrong. He only looked ahead at sunshine.

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I Just Met Your Invisible Mentor

little boy peeking through a weathered wooden fence

You can learn how to do just about anything on YouTube. Change a bike tire, learn guitar, or bake a flaky kołaczki pastry. If you are searching for expert career advice, you can even find videos with titles like “How to Jumpstart Your Career in 5 Minutes.”

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Try This When Your Boss Yells: "We Do Not Do It Like That"

businessman explaining something to a colleague in a modern office

Why is it that negative memories have a way of standing out? This is true for personal experiences as well as professional ones. I remember starting a new job many years ago. I was filled with excitement and energy about how I could contribute to the team’s success. But when I brought my fresh marketing ideas to the owner of the small tech company I had just joined, he quickly shut me down: “We do not do it like that.”

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Why I Love Micromanagers

binoculars peering through the bushes

I love micromanagers. Now, you are probably thinking, “Are you for real?” It is true. Micromanagers are heroes in my world. It’s ok if you consider me crazy. I know what you have been told. But they deserve a lot more love than they currently get.

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