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Office romance, love on the job, workplace relationships….it is pretty common to date a co-worker and now it is becoming common to be asked to sign a Love Contract.

Let’s face it, the success rate for workplace couples is high. My sister, a teacher, met her husband on the job. He is a teacher, too, and they’ve been working at the same high school together for 20 years.  I love hearing about couples like my sister and her husband who met at work and have a wonderful, long marriage or relationship. As CBS This Morning noted: The modern workplace is one of America’s most reliable matchmakers. When you meet someone at work, you tend to have a common bond that makes it easier to get the spark ignited.

However,  I’m well aware that love at work in the year 2018 is fraught with concerns. Now that sexual harassment is in the national spotlight,  human resources departments are going the distance to educate and prevent this type of workplace behavior — and the lawsuits that result. The latest employer trend: Making employees who date sign a Love Contract.

So let’s say you are dating a co-worker and human resources wants you to sign a Love Contract. Would you know what that was and whether you should scribble your signature on the dotted line?

A Love Contract, also is known as a “Consensual Romance in the Workplace Agreement,” documents the relationship between employees. The purpose is to limit the liability of an organization in the event that the romantic relationship of the dating couple ends — particularly if it ends badly. The contract declares that the relationship is by consent. Both parties have to sign it. Some organizations have included guidelines on behavior appropriate at work for the dating couple.

Signing a paper saying that you are dating your co-worker isn’t very romantic, and it certainly doesn’t help with keeping your personal life private. But it does give a relationship some clarity. Whether you like it or not, by signing a Love Contract, in your employer’s eyes you are “officially” dating.

I have a friend who is dating her co-worker and recently signed a love contract. She winced when her HR director asked her to do it. Now, she says she feels a level of protection as a result of signing the contract, especially because the couples post photos together on social media. “Now I don’t have to hide the relationship from anyone at work,” she said.

Meanwhile, according to CareerBuilder’s Annual Valentine’s Day Survey for 2018, only about a third of people (36%) have dated a co-worker, or will admit to it … the lowest in ten years. It appears either people are afraid to date at work, or afraid to let anyone know about it.

Over the years, I have written about many couples who work together — happily. The CareerBuilder found – 31 percent of workers who dated at work ended up getting married. There also are couples who own businesses together quite successfully. CBS This Morning highlighted Hershey factory workers who are married and airline flight attendants who are married. The  stories of office romances that have flourished are plentiful.

Of course, we all know about the bad breakups in the workplace, too.  These bad breakups can be especially  problematic in smaller companies where employers may have fewer options for moving employees around. I have been in a small office where a couple went through a bad breakup and things got really awkward. Everyone in the office felt the tension until one of the two finally quit. Employers have a lot more than tension to worry about when co-workers split. Some employers have paid a high price in legal settlements when accusations get ugly.

Still, from the employee’s standpoint, one of my biggest concerns with a Love Contract is the invasion of privacy. What if your first relationship at work fails and you go on to date someone else in the workplace. Now, you have to sign another Love Contract. Will your employer pass judgement? Probably.

Basically, there are pros and cons for the employee whose workplace implements Love Contracts. But for the employer, the contract is mostly a win.

The Scoop on Love Contracts  offers more insight on the benefits for all parties. In February, with love in the air, office romances may be blooming. Just don’t be surprised if your employer takes note and makes you sign on the dotted line.

The post Would you sign a love contract at work? appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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When I am around a group of businesswomen, I often am stunned by how many of them say they have experienced sexual harassment or sexual misconduct at work. In light of the #MeToo movement, I feel hopeful that bad behavior is going to improve going forward: After All, #TimesUp. Right?

However, if you find yourself on the unwanted received end of sexual harassment, or if you find yourself in a hostile workplace, there are strategies to handle those scenarios.

Fortunately, to detail those strategies, TONE Networks held a Facebook Live event called Workplace Playbook for Women: The Right Response to Wrong Behavior.

The lineup: Liz Weaver O’Keefe,  Dr. Ramani DurvasulaValerie Grubb .

Here are the strategies they shared:

Know your company policy.

Valerie Grubb, a workplace coach and HR expert, told the audience: “Be very familiar with your employer’s policy and procedures. Information is power and you need to understand what your rights are. If you don’t follow policy, you can negate your ability or rights to file for sexual harassment.”

Most policies tell employees to report bad behavior immediately, usually to human resources. But what happens if you don’t have an HR department or if HR tells you to suck it up and don’t rock the boat? Grubb offered this advice:  “Look for someone outside of HR you could go to, maybe someone in legal that you trust.”

Collect documentation.

Whether the bad behavior is an ongoing problem or one-time event, when you report misconduct or harassment, bring any documentation you can get. You will need documentation. What should that documentation look like? Grubb said it should look like this: “Here’s what happened, here’s what I did about it.”

Have an action plan.

To tackle the bad behavior in the moment, you have options. Dr. Ramani Durvasula said she realizes that when misconduct happens, the receiver often is in state of shock and usually either screams or stays silent. “You’ve got to learn from each one of these events,” she said.  “The next time, be ready. Have your well thought out response in the back of your mind.”

If touching or groping is involved, tackle the bad behavior head on, Dr. Durvasula says. For example, you could say, “Wow that was really awkward, particularly with all the headlines going on right now” or you could say, “I don’t appreciate your behavior or comment and I need it to stop.”  The important thing, she emphasized, is that you need to make the harasser understand his behavior is not appreciated. She acknowledged that some people never will admit to bad behavior. “Those are more toxic individuals,” she said.

Don’t be intimidated.

It’s rather typical to worry that reporting misconduct will cost you your job, especially if the perpetrator has power. If HR is not going to help you and finding another job is not be an option, try to find a champion in your company, someone who can help you, Grubb suggested. At the end of the day, if you are telling HR or legal that you have an issue, and they do nothing about it,  you have to quit, she said. “If you’ve been documenting information, it might be worth going to a lawyer, or the EEOC, or legal aid.”

Stick up for others.

If you notice a male supervisor  a female employee, speak up.

“Put on your women’s ears,” Dr. Durvasula said. “Listen for the interruptions when another woman is presenting her point in a meeting. When she is interrupted by a male, say ‘hey we didn’t get to hear the rest of what Val said.’ Then turn toward her and ask ‘Val what were you going to say?’ ”

If you see a woman being treated inappropriately, call attention to it to empower her. Dr. Durvasula suggests saying: “I’m so sorry. I just saw that and you did nothing wrong.”

To all women, she advises:  “When another woman is suffering, it is your business, too, so speak up.”

Say no firmly. 

TONE network’s Liz O’Keefe asked the panelists how to handle awkward date requests in the workplace. “If someone at work continues to ask you out after you have repeatedly said no, you need to be incredibly clear that you are not interested,” Grubb said.  Say something like, “I don’t appreciate that you keep asking me out. I need you to stop.”

Another awkward scenario might occur when joking around turns offensive.

“I will say funny joke and someone takes to next level,” Grubb said. “That’s when you need to sit and in a calm voice have a conversation and outline the boundaries.”

Put yellers in perspective

How do you handle a yeller or screamer in the workplace? There is not a simple answer, and yet, yelling is not considered sexual harassment, even if it’s a way of asserting control. Grubb said she has handled yellers by replying back calmly.  O’Keefe raised the question of how to react when just the opposite occurs:  a male client or boss calls you sweetie. Dr. Durvasula offered an easy response: “Call him sweetie right back.”

As Ave Rio at CLOMedia.com pointed out, leaders will have to decide whether they want to make preventing sexual harassment in the workplace a C-suite priority in 2018. Fortunately, nearly 9 in 10 employees think they will, according to a recent survey by Next Concept HR Association.

I am hoping next time the topic of sexual harassment comes up in a large room of businesswomen, the conversation will have changed. For the better.

The post Strategies for Dealing With Sexual Harassment appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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My friend Debbie is a master at making friends. She has friends all over the world in every occupation imaginable. Debbie is outgoing but that’s not why she forms adult friendships so easily. I have watched Debbie in action and I’ve listened to her tell stories of how she became such good friends with the chef in the most popular restaurant in town or the women she met on an airplane.

Debbie, who is 52, has a simple trick or “secret” for making new friends.

When we are younger, under 40, it feels easier to make friends. Everyone in college is our age and eager for friends. When we are young parents, we meet people through our children at birthday parties and on the soccer sidelines. But as we get older, it’s easy to start feeling we have our set group of friends and we don’t really need to make new ones.

The truth is the opposite.

Friends are the key to living a long, happy life and the more we have of them, the better off we are. Indeed, ScienceofPeople.com found that friendship as we age is great for the body AND the mind. “Having good friends can actually benefit you more if you start on a mental decline as you age,” the website declares.

Debbie is proof of the benefits of making new friends at any age. Debbie’s friends offer her their homes around the world to stay in. They offer her hard-to-get show tickets and they come to her rescue when her son in college a few states away needs someone to take him to the doctor.

THE SECRET REVEALED

Debbie has a secret to making friends. As one of her friends and an observer, I have figured her secret out.  If you click with Debbie, you definitely will hear from her again.  Do you know how you have a great conversation with someone on an airplane, or at the gym, or at a networking event? Afterward you typically say, “It was nice meeting you.”

Well, Debbie goes a step further. She gets the person’s contact information and she follows up. Yes, “follow up” is the secret to making friends as we grow older. Going that next step may take us out of our comfort zone, but it is key to forming new friendships. Debbie will reach out to her new friend with an email, phone call, lunch or coffee invitation. She will make plans to meet them at an upcoming event or invite them to stay at her home if they are going to be in town.

THE FLIP SIDE

There is another side of that dynamic as well. If you are on the receiving end of the follow up, let down your guard and open yourself to a potential new friend. I admit that with the responsibilities of juggling work, family and existing friends, I became wary about making myself emotionally available to new people.

One evening, I met a woman at a networking event who was new to town. From our conversation, I learned she worked close to where I live. A few days later she invited me to lunch. I felt reluctant. I hate to take time out of my work day to socialize, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to invest in a new friendship. I have plenty of friends from college and the neighborhood and through my children. But I thought about Debbie and what she would say.  So, I agreed to the lunch. The woman is now someone I call a close friend.

GET YOURSELF OUT THERE

Some people will tell you to join clubs, take up hobbies, go to meetups, or volunteer for charities as a way to make new friends. In other words, put yourself in places where you will meet people with common interests. That advice is good. But to truly make a new friend, you need to go the next step and follow up with some type of outreach or accept an overture when it comes your way.

You don’t have to be a social butterfly, or even flush with all of the coolest friends in town. Even if you have lots of friends, it never hurts to have more. As we grow older, we often discover some of our existing friendships are fleeting as we move in different directions. Sometimes, all it takes is that one new friend or BFF who “gets you” to add more happiness to your life. Maybe you’re the person who likes to have a cocktail friend, an exercise friend, a parenting friend, a neighbor friend and a walking buddy.

By following Debbie’s example, it is easier than you think to form adult friendships. It takes a little courage, but we all have it in us to bond with someone new at any age.

Photo credits: (Top Photo by Hưng Nguyễn on Unsplash)

(Bottom Photo by Joseph Pearson on Unsplash

The post The Secret to Making Friends After 40 appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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A few days ago, I met two young women in a coffee shop. We bonded over the amazing coffee and our joint interest in digital media and its future. One of them said to me: “I’m really surprised how relatable you are.”

I was ecstatic.

Not only do I want to be relatable to millennials, I need to be. And, whether you realize it, you do, too.

In almost every workplace, millennials are the employees bringing new ideas to the table and asking the interesting questions. They are the workers who are being developed into future leaders. I don’t want to be the older worker who isn’t relevant enough to collaborate with a millennial on an innovative new project or participate on a pitch to a prospective millennial client. I am guessing you don’t either.

Today, the millennial generation, (roughly ages 18 to 34) is the single largest demographic in the American labor force. They are sitting in the cubicle next to you and they are determined to get ahead. If you want to succeed alongside them, you need young workers to view you as approachable, relatable and current. You want to be someone they want to collaborate with and share information.

Here’s a look at seven strategies to address generational differences and set yourself up for millennials to want you on their team:

1. Be future-oriented. Young workers don’t want to talk about how things used to be done and they definitely don’t want a lecture about why they should do things your way. They want to share their ideas and for you to get excited about them. Some of their ideas will improve efficiency so get on board.  Bottom line: Talk about tomorrow, not yesterday.

2. Project energy and enthusiasm. Millennials are an optimistic bunch and they thrive on collaboration. They don’t want to hear about your aches and pains or how tired you are,  and they don’t want to sense you’ve given up before you started. Millennials want to be around people who are role models for positivity, go-getters who are comfortable trying new approaches. You can still share your wisdom and experience but in a way that comes across as collaborative.  Bottom line: Show excitement and openness for new challenges.

3. Communicate their way. Have you ever seen a millennial text a co-worker a few desks away? Young workers view this kind of communication as no big deal. While older workers are busy holding meetings and emailing, our younger counterparts are group texting and instant communication. Their hyper-connected work style isn’t going to change and we need to adapt to it. Bottom line: Consider going online to talk to your millennial co-worker.

4. Show empathy. Gen Xers who have been through the recession and job loss tend to show little empathy for the younger generation’s problems such as high student debt or costly home ownership. Rather roll your eyes or generalize when a millennial complains about having it rough, realize the obstacles are a huge deal to them.  Millennials crave feedback so give it to them, but with empathy, by reinforcing what they are doing well.  Bottom line: Refrain from dismissing millennial problems or being overly critical.

5. Be social. You don’t have to go to lunch every day with your young co-workers but you should at least start a conversation. Ask what them what they did over the weekend,  or show an interest in their Instagram post. If you co-workers are into health and fitness, (many Millennials are) talk with them about your weekend workout routine.  Millennials value teamwork and if you are relatable, they want you on their team. Bottom line: Make a social connection with your younger co-workers.

6. Be flexible.  Millennials don’t mind putting in long hours but they want to set their own schedules.  In Deloitte’s 2016 Millennial Survey,  22 percent of millennials said they would be willing to work more hours and 82 percent would be more loyal to their employers if they had flexible work options. So, if you’re the fuddy duddy insisting young workers are at their desks from 9 to 6, give it up. Let young workers complete tasks in the way that works best for them. Giving a millennial worker this flexibility can boost productivity and allow companies with a global reach to span multiple time zones.  Bottom line: Let young workers complete tasks in the way that works best for them. 

7. Show an interest in technology. Instead of poking fun of your young co-worker’s addiction to his mobile phone or his constant need to upgrade his devices, show an interest, too. Use more technology in your presentations and be curious about the tech tools that are popular in your field. As Carmine P. Gibaldi of Harvard University notes on Business Insider:  “Don’t discuss what you don’t know, and be sure to be “somewhat” knowledgeable—maybe not equal to your younger colleagues, but not a dinosaur.” Bottom line: Up your tech knowledge and don’t highlight your gaps.

A lot of us Gen Xers and Boomers want to stay in the workforce a long time. I am one of them. We need to do our best to make sure all that we have to offer is recognized, that we are relatable to young co-workers, and that our age doesn’t hold us back.

The post How to Be More Relatable to Younger Workers appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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As I get older, I have grown to realize I’m a scaredy cat. Activities like using a PlayStation console for the first time, or adapting to an iPhone that doesn’t have a home button scare the heck out of me.

I am constantly in awe of my teenagers’ tech prowess and the flippant way my 16-year-old son tackles learning to use a new gadget.

When it comes to fear of technology, I know I’m not alone. My friend won’t watch Netflix unless her daughter is home to work the television remote for her. When I asked her why she doesn’t learn how to use it, her answer was “It’s too complicated!”

But is it? Why are we so afraid to do what are kids do with technology and just figure it out?

The answer to why we get afraid of technology is simple:

Technology makes us feel out of control.

A 2015 Survey of American Fears found technology came in second for what scares us, right behind natural disasters.

Researcher Christopher Bader, a professor of sociology at Chapman, told The Atlantic: “You can no longer make it in society without using technology you don’t understand to buy things at a store, to talk to other people, to conduct business. People are increasingly dependent, but they don’t have any idea how these things actually work.”

How I’m overcoming my fear

About a year ago, I went back to school for my Masters in Mass Communications/Social Media.

At the beginning when I was learning video editing or how to use Prezi, I would break out in a sweat and scream for my teenagers. “Help me out over here will you?” And, over they would saunter over knowing that I was second away from turning into a crazy lady. It got so bad I felt like they should stay home from school just incase I needed them.

Yet, my biggest takeaway from going to back school as an adult hasn’t been anything I learned in my classes. It has been that if I’m patient with myself and don’t give into frustration, I can overcome my fear of technology and teach myself how to do almost anything.

Someone else out there is struggling with technology, too

Every day I remind myself that no one is an expert on everything and new technology challenges even the most savvy users. There are now smart watches that receive email, cars that drive themselves, headsets that allow you to see a mixed reality and phones that recognize our faces.  Who knows what’s coming next!

The key to getting past our instinctual fear of technology is knowing this: There’s a reason there are delete and undo buttons,YouTube tutorials and backup files. When it comes to digital gadgets or gaming devices, chances are by playing around and figuring it out, you won’t break it or screw it up and you will be super proud of yourself for learning how to use it.

So in the new year, let’s adopt the mindset of the younger generations: Click, drag, download, press buttons. Just try it. What’s the worst? We can always pour ourselves a glass of wine and call tech support —  or a teenager!

The post How to get over your fear of technology appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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I am making dinner, a task I absolutely despise. As usual, I have put cooking off until my children repeatedly are asking when dinner will be ready. Normally, I slice vegetables with a frown on my face. But tonight, I’m happily swaying to the soft jazz that my Amazon Echo is playing.

My children gave my husband and me the Echo as our holiday gift. When I opened it up, I wasn’t sure what to think. It wasn’t a gift I had asked for, or one I knew much about. But when I tell Alexa to play soft jazz music for me while I cook, I realize that the Echo is the tech gadget I needed, but didn’t know I needed.

While cutting vegetables, I turn to my voice-controlled Echo and say, “Alexa, remind me to turn on the oven in 10 minutes.”  

I have decided that having a gadget around to verbally remind me of tasks is worth whatever my kids spent on the device. Recently, I set a reminder on my phone to tell me to buy concert tickets at the time they went on sale. But I got distracted with a work project, didn’t look at my phone, and got crappy seats when I went to buy tickets an hour later. That won’t happen again with Alexa around!

There are tons of things I can do with my new Amazon Echo that I am just discovering. I can control devices in my home, as well as stream music and podcasts. I can have Alexa answer questions, give me traffic, weather and news updates. When I am scrambling to get out the door in the morning, or get my sleepy teenager out the door, I can ask Alexa the time from pretty much anywhere in my home.

Like most working mothers, I want to be more organized in the new year. Since Amazon Echo can sync with my Google Calendar, I can ask Alexa to let me hear what meetings, appointments and kids activities I have each day. I can also use Alexa to create shopping lists and add to them as needed. No more forgetting appointments or writing shopping lists on scrap papers!

From CNET, I learned that Alexa can send notifications when my Amazon order or a Dominos pizza order goes out for delivery. I just need to enable notifications by opting in. That’s a cool feature for someone like me who LOVES Amazon Prime. I’m not sure how I managed before new printer ink could arrive at my home in just two days.

While reading a Business Insider post, I discovered that I can request an Uber car to pick me up just by asking Echo. I activated the Uber skill in the Alexa app, and now when I want to Uber, my Echo lets me know how far away the closest car is from my home. It even lets me know if there’s surge pricing.

Oh yes, there’s another cool feature that my Echo offers that I must let you know about. It’s called Alexa Flash Briefing. It’s the ideal feature for a news junkie like me. A flash briefing is a customizable news update that Alexa can read me. I can choose from a list of news sources (CNN is the most popular). All I have to do is ask “Alexa, what’s my flash briefing?” 

This morning, I read a news article that said vendors are about to show off the first augmented-reality glasses that can talk to the Echo and display information to the wearer’s field of view. I can’t wait to use that feature some day.

New tech gadget can be intimidating for those of us who aren’t techies. But I promise you, the Echo is easy to use and definitely life enhancing — and I probably haven’t even scratched the surface of its usefulness.

The post A Mom Finds Cool Uses for the Amazon Echo appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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On Twitter, I noticed this hashtag trending: #NextYearIPromiseTo…..

I’m pretty sure there were lots of people answering with…achieve a better work life balance.

For me, and for lots of others, it’s been a challenging year. We want to make the most of our time, but there’s never enough of it to do all that we want in our jobs and our personal lives. We want to find a level of contentment, but we have these crazy busy schedules. Some days, it can be so overwhelming to balance life’s competing demands.

Here is some encouragement: Don’t give up trying!

If you are exhausted, stressed, frustrated or overworked, you can turn things around in 2018.

The key is spending the next few days thinking about what you can easily change to help you become more fulfilled, and which life changes will take a lot more effort.

Start with your job.

* Ask yourself some questions. Did you stay too late in the office too often? Did you take on projects that didn’t pay off? Did you waste time checking email instead of doing high priority work? Did you put in a ton of extra work to get a customer, raise or promotion that never materialized?

Having a productive and happy life as well as having a successful career requires mastering how to say no to what didn’t work for you or what caused you stress and focusing on what activities did lead to results or personal satisfaction. Spend the time now to figure that out.

* Consider how you used technology. Between apps and new devices, technology is making our lives easier, but it should not control our lives. For many people, this might mean we struggled in 2017 with powering off technology when spending time with friends and families or when focusing on certain activities. Think about what it will take to do better in the new year.

Next move on to your personal life.

*Again, ask yourself some questions. Did I show up as the friend, partner, lover, parent that I wanted to be? Did I spend enough time on activities I consider priorities? Do I need to sacrifice more to achieve career success, or did I sacrifice too much? Did I practice the self-care I need to be at my best?

* Now, ponder your answers. Which disappointments are easy to correct and which require some focused effort? Which fixes require communication with a boss or a spouse? As the clock ticks down to a brand new year there is opportunity for less stressful life than the one you led in 2017, but you’re going to need to live and work differently.

Remember, people with well-maintained priorities leave work or meetings when family and friends need them. And, people who feel they have balance are present when they are engaged in activities outside the workplace. Most important, people who aren’t exhausted make time for exercise and stress relief.

The key to work life balance is making conscious choices every day, and being happy with those choices. Here is a post I wrote a few years back about a women who committed to better work life balance and made the changes it took to make it happen. If you feel your life tipped out of balance this year, decide now what you want to do differently in 2018, write your plan down, put it somewhere visible, and commit to new habits for a better work life balance in the new year.

The post How to plan for better work life balance next year appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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When I learned about a hot new app for a trivia game that much of America is playing, I decided I was going to give it a try. The mobile app is called HQ and it is live trivia game show with cash prizes. This morning, Carson Daly explained the hype around the HQ app better than I can possibly explain it. What you should know is that you can win money by answering trivia questions in real time. So many people are playing the interactive game that HQ’s servers are having trouble keeping up. For now, it’s only available for iOS devices but a version for Android is coming out Dec. 25.

If you are an HQ fan, please explain the appeal and tell us if you’ve actually won cash!

The post HQ: The Hot New App You Will Want to Know About appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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You may think the Kardashians are overrated or annoying. You may even dismiss their 10-year-old reality TV show as ridiculous.

Big mistake.

The Kardashians are an empire and they are one of the most business-savvy families of our time. My husband, a button-down accountant, is hooked on Keeping Up With The Kardashians. The reality TV show is his guilty pleasure. He rarely misses an episode. At first I made fun of him. Now, I sometimes watch the show with him, and when I do, I learn something each time that could benefit my career —and yours too!

The Kardashian-Jenner family are millionaires because they work hard and they work smartly. The five sisters and their mother,Kris Jenner, have created a lucrative franchise by employing tactics that you and I should be using. From watching the family in action, here are some strategies to consider implementing.

  • Make every trip a combination of fun and business. The sisters (Kim, Kourtney, Khloé, Kendall and Kylie) will go to Italy or New York and combine sightseeing with a paid appearance or a meeting with a potential business partner. We can all do this type of travel blend if we plan in advance and think strategically.

  • Realize teamwork prevails. These sisters have each other’s backs and want to see their siblings succeed. Despite all the drama that unfolds, the sisters always rally behind each other. They will show up at each other’s appearances and fill in for each other as needed. We all need to build a team like that around us. It is that sense of team that has kept America fascinated with the family and has helped create the Kardashian brand.
  • Highlight your strengths. The Kardashians are trendsetters because they use their sense of style to be their best selves and play up their strengths. Some of the sisters are curvy, others are lanky. But all of them have learned how to dress and use makeup to flatter their best features.

  • Laugh at yourself.  The Kardashians often make fun of themselves, or each other, but in a loving way. It’s what makes them relatable. On a recent episode, Kim unpacked Chloe’s suitcase without her knowing, and repacked it with more stylish outfits from Chloe’s closet that she rarely wears. Instead of getting mad that Kim was insulting her sense of style, Chloe laughed and wore the outfits. She realized she looked good in what Kim picked out. If done in a loving, well meaning way, we can all take advice from someone who means well.
  • Find the opportunities. If there is anything the Kardashians prevail at it is finding opportunities. Sure, brands clamor for the women to endorse their products. But Chris Jenner, the family matriarch, seizes on those opportunities that are the right fit and turns down those that aren’t. Being successful isn’t about grabbing every offer that comes your way. It’s about finding those that fit with your personal mission and will benefit you long term.
  • Resist getting caught up in the negative. Life is messy and even money and fame does not make you immune. The Kardashian-Jenner family has had their share of failed marriages, fertility issues, commercials gone bad and even a robbery. However, they publicly deal with their heartache and then they move on. Their support for each other is a big part of their ability to do that.
  • Stay one step ahead.  If there’s a new trend, the Kardashians are early adopters. They take chances with style, language, and social media. Because their fans follow what they wear, how they talk and what they do to stay in shape, they have created a lifestyle that others aspire to copy. The sisters do not need everybody to love them, which is why they ignore the haters and are willing to try new products or agree to new ventures. By doing so, they stay in the spotlight and remain relevant. It’s really about looking at what’s ahead and being okay with stepping out of your comfort zone.

  • Make downtime. On a recent episode three of the five sisters took a roadtrip to bond. When is the last time you took a road trip with a family member to bond? You might say, “those girls can afford to do that”or “it’s easy for them to take time off.” However, that’s not true. The Kardashians work as harder or harder than any of us —  running fashion lines, keeping sponsors happy, making appearances and being a part of a television show. The difference is they make time to enjoy life.
  • Create a personal connection. If you are going to know how your industry is shifting, you need to talk to people who can clue you in, such as customers, bosses and competitors.The Kardashians are always talking to fans on social media. By connecting with their fans on such a personal level they learn and respond. 

As Erandi Palihakkara writes on her Huffington Post blog:  “Regardless of what their critics say, the Kardashian family has managed to stay relevant and keep their brand highly profitable in a volatile industry for many years. The Kardashian brand may not be around forever, but they sure have learned to capitalize on it while they are still the talk of the town.”

Clearly, when it comes to staying relevant and being successful, we all have a lot to learn from their example.

The post How the Kardashians Can Boost Your Career appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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Office Holiday Parties Will Soon Begin. Be Prepared.

One holiday season, my co-workers and I gathered in the lunchroom for our office holiday party, eager to dine on a potluck holiday meal. In the center of the lunchroom sat a giant punch bowl with sangria. An hour into the party, the bowl had been refilled at least three times and most of my colleagues were laughing more than I had ever seen.

This year, we can expected fewer punch bowls at the office holiday party.  Because of the political and business climate, employers say they are planning scaled-down festivities with less alcohol and more limited guest lists.

As employers rethink their office holiday party strategies, we need to do the same. There are new circumstances and new rules that apply this holiday season.

Be on guard for political talk.

It’s inevitable that someone will bring up politics, particularly some statement or action by President Trump. You will need to make an-on-the spot judgment call. Usually, the rules are don’t talk politics in the workplace. About 90 percent of the time, your judgment should tell you to stay quiet at the holiday party when someone brings up politics. However, if you are one-on-one with a higher up and you feel the same way on a political issue, it may be okay to agree. Use caution.

Tap into the new awareness of sexual harassment.

Sexual misconduct is one of the hottest topics of the year. This year, more than ever, no one can afford to be a groper and blame alcohol as an excuse. In fact, because of the recent high-profile lawsuits involving inappropriate sexual behavior in the news and the #MeToo campaign, employers are being more cautious. A survey by Challenger Grey & Christmas, a Chicago-based global outplacement & career transitioning firm, found only 47.8 percent of employers will serve alcohol at their holiday parties this year, down from nearly 62 percent of company parties that offered alcohol service in 2016. But even without alcohol, a more relaxed environment might invite inappropriate behavior or unguarded comments. If you’re a jokester, be extra cautious this year. Also, don’t sit or stand near anyone who could put you in an awkward position.

Network as if your career depends on it.

Sure, it’s nice to enjoy the festive atmosphere of a company office party. But today, no one is safe in their jobs. As Elizabeth Harrin, author of GirlsGuidetoPM.com says: Networking is an essential part of your job, whether you know it (or like it) or not.” The rules of the holiday office party typically are “don’t talk shop.” It’s good to abide by that rule, however, that doesn’t mean you can’t use the party as an opportunity to strategically bond with people who can advance your career. use this occasion to meet people in other departments. In addition, as Challenger suggests,  learn more about the interests of your co-workers or managers outside of the office. That personal connection will help you when you bring up that new idea, and it could help when it comes time for salary reviews.

Listen to office gossip.

Normally, gossiping in the workplace is a BIG don’t. But this holiday season is a strange one. Automation and digitization are changing many industries and in some cases, that means our job security is at risk. In addition, the fourth quarter is critical for some businesses and we all need to be tuned into how performance could affect our income and growth opportunities. Those dynamics make attending the office holiday party critical as well as asking key questions and listening to conversations. Knowledge is power.

Attend other companies’ parties.

Most people feel odd about or reluctant to attend company parties they are invited to that aren’t their own. This year, shake it off and get out there and mingle. Challenger Grey found 38 percent of company parties allow friends and family to attend. Meeting people outside your own workplace presents an opportunity to expand your professional network and possible learn about jobs openings that aren’t advertised. Today, all of us need our network to be as broad as possible. In the book, Business Networking – The Survival Guide: How to Make Networking Less About Stress and More About Success, Will Kintish writes: “If done right, meeting more people leads to more business and career opportunities.”

The post The New Rules of the Office Holiday Party appeared first on Cindy Keeps Up.

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