Everyone has a bad day at work. It’s what you do with it that matters.
I wrote recently how I’m able to get much more completed at work because I’ve adjusted my attitude with respect to time. I now view time as a resource and so I’m not as frazzled. Even my team has commented that I appear more relaxed and energetic.
I’m a big environment person. By environment, I mean how my space feels. I spend a lot of time at the office so I’ve hung artwork on my walls. I bought a desk lamp for better lighting and ambience. I use a screensaver that makes me smile. All of these help me experience good days at work.
Here are some other tips that might help. I keep a bottle of water on my desk and drink it throughout the day (this after my Starbucks coffee!). Staying hydrated keeps me mentally alert. I try to get up and walk around so I’m not stationary at my desk. This also allows me to interact with my team and with other staff.
One of my colleagues worked hard on a presentation and after she gave it, she took time to leave the building and get some fresh air. She deserved that time and it was good to take a few moments to regroup.
What do you do to reduce the stress of work? Share your ideas. And if you need more, here is a US News & World Report on “50 Tips for Surviving your Worst Work Days.”
I’ve hired several staff in the past few months. I’ve also provided opportunities for interns. The first day is critical to setting the stage for their success.
Here are some of the ways I help to start them on their path to success:
1) Clean out the office or cubicle they will use. I take the time to discard old files, wipe down the surfaces and put a fresh tablet, pen and Post-It notes on their desk.
2) Send an email prior to their arrival. Let others know when the person will start and what role they will play. Also share highlights of their background.
3) Provide them with the needed tools. If possible, have their business cards ready, computer passwords set, voice mail activated.
4) Take them to lunch. As a supervisor I want to spend time with my new employee in a relaxed setting. I don’t have new employees start if I will be out of the office.
5) Provide an overview of the organization’s objectives and how the employee will support the achievement of them.
6) Establish measures of success. Set goals and expectations early.
7) Provide an orientation not only to your division but to other areas where the employee will interact. I find this is best done about two weeks into employment because they are assimilating a lot of information.
How do you ensure a successful first day for your new employee?
“If you are over 50 and someone offers you something that seems impossible, you should do it.”
That’s what Elizabeth Brackett, a correspondent and substitute host for WTTW 11’s nightly public affairs program “Chicago Tonight,” said she did when offered the opportunity to write a book.
Shortly after the FBI arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich at his home in Chicago on charges of attempting to sell President Barack Obama’s soon-to-be vacated Senate seat to the highest bidder, Brackett had a book contract from a local publisher.
She took six weeks to write the book, recycling old reporter’s notes and assigning new research. The result is “Pay to Play,” which traces the background of corruption in Illinois and the mindset of Blagojevich.
Having spent 30 years as a journalist in Chicago, Brackett said she still had difficulty writing the book. “I was writing like a journalist,” she told an audience during a keynote session of the 2010 NFPW Conference in Chicago. “That didn’t make for good copy.”
She took a month off from her job to write and research, which included reviewing all of the courtroom notes. She was at the trial every day. In the end the jury was hung on 23 of the 24 counts. Blagojevich was found guilty of one count – lying to the FBI.
When asked what she thought about the case and trial, she said, “I think I can’t decide ‘Is this more than politics as usual?’ ”
“Did they [Blagojevich and his brother] take it to a criminal level?” she asked. “It’s still a question I have a hard time answering.”
Lynn Hazan of Lynn Hazan & Associates challenged NFPW members to tell their story in six words.
She was following the Hemingway Challenge of writing a complete story in just six words. Hemingway’s story…
For Sale. Baby Shoes. Never Worn.
It’s all there.
So can you tell your career neatly in six words? Most participants who shared their attempts did not delve deep enough, Lynn noted. Their words could apply to anyone in the room.
“Go deeper. What makes you special?” Lynn asked. “Why should I hire you?”
She noted the assignment is tough to do, but “that’s what makes it meaningful.”
“How do you market yourself and create demand for yourself?” Lynn asked.
She challenged each audience member to continue working on their story and then turn it into a 30- or 60-second elevator pitch.
The exercise also paves the way for development of a Unique Positioning Statement, which Lynn recommended using for the summary statement on a resume.
“On a resume you don’t have to write in full sentences,” Lynn said. “You do have to entice them to read more.”
To learn more about communications stepping stones, check out Lynn’s slideshow on the topic.
What’s your story?