Target Your Perfect Job

Anita,

I wasn’t happy at my former position, so I searched the online job boards and found a similar job at another company. I started this new position six weeks ago, and already it’s worse than the one I left! What do I do now? I can’t seem to land a job I really like.

Bow-n-Arrow_iStock_000021553751Dear “MockingJaymie,”

You may be at the wrong company, in the wrong position, or you could even be in the wrong profession altogether.

Everyone has a hunger for fulfilling work. Ask yourself some soul-searching questions: What’s your passion? What’s your purpose? What’s your raison d’être, as the French inquire? Companies have mission statements; what is your life mission statement? What’s your “calling?”

If you’re more numbers or science-oriented rather than touchy-feely, this Forbes formula may help you rate dream job opportunities.

After some introspective contemplation (long walks in the woods optional, but highly recommended!), you now have the understanding to find a satisfying career path that aligns with your personal values and aspirations. Stop applying for random jobs that just so happen to be open during your job search! Make a plan to proactively seek out a position that better suits you, before it’s even advertised.

Start by compiling a list of 30-40 target companies you’d absolutely love to work for. Your willingness to relocate will determine how wide you cast your net geographically. With the advanced search tool in LinkedIn, search for Companies by entering industries in locations that line up with your passions, interests, and life goals. Click and read company profiles and Follow any that resonate with you. It’s a good professional practice to stay active on LinkedIn consistently, long before you’re in active job search mode. Comment on your favorite companies’ posts. Offer congratulations on achievements. Find connections. Nurture these online relationships before you need to ask them for a favor.

Don’t forget about offline networking as well. Join associations for the industries in which you are interested. Attend Chamber of Commerce mixers. Talk with friends about your “target companies” to see if they can introduce you to any insiders.

How do you approach these 2nd and 3rd connections and friends of friends? On his CareerPivot blog, Marc Miller suggests asking for AIR – Advice, Insights, and Recommendations. Most people will be flattered and inclined to be helpful.

In his book, 48 Days to the Work You Love, author Dan Miller recommends this 3-step process for making yourself know to those target contacts doing work you admire:

  1. Send a letter of introduction by mail, not email.
  2. In one week, send a cover letter and résumé. Again, by mail.
  3. Call to follow up (this is a step only 1-2% of job hunters do).

You’re sowing and nurturing seeds in fields where you will actually be happy in your work. Now, wait for the Reaping. Sure, this may take longer than the traditional “see job ad—apply—interview—get hired” cycle (which can sometimes take quite a while as it is). But isn’t it worth it to wait for a career that inspires?

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Readers: Have you identified your life’s purpose and found a job to support your calling? Inspire us with your story in the Comments below!

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Be a Social Seeker, Part 2

Dear Readers,

Last week, we explored how to search for a job on Facebook. Here, we’ll see how other social media platforms can help in your hunt for a new position.

Twitter_000015982279Twitter Tips

Twitter is probably the best for connecting with companies and people you don’t already know. You can develop a Twitter relationship, and hope it hatches into something more.

First, fill out your bio. Like everything on Twitter, you have to keep it short and tweet! You have only 160 characters to give your virtual elevator speech. As with Facebook and LinkedIn, you want to include a professional-looking head shot, maybe even the same one you use for other social platforms for the recognition factor.

Follow companies you have an interest in and the people who work at those companies, and engage with them. Retweet, yes, but add thoughtful commentary or ask a perceptive question. In your tweets, point to your LinkedIn profile or your personal website or blog, if you have one. But don’t just use Twitter for self-promotion; offer valuable content for your field or circle of interests.

Use Twitter Lists to organize the deluge of tweets into a collection of useful information for your job search.

Level Up on LinkedIn

Check out my past post about LinkedIn essentials. Beyond basic connections, you can sleuth out the HR contact or potential hiring manager for a company you are interested in working for. If you can find a connection to hand-deliver your résumé to HR down the hall, your chances are much greater to get your foot in the door. Your connection may even have some insight about the job that’s not available in the ad.

You can also check out people who currently work at a company to see what their career paths have been. Perhaps one of the companies in an employee’s previous experience is just the place for you to apply now. Similarly, try an advanced search for people in or near your zip code who have the same skill keywords as yours.

In a Forbes article, William Arruda advises, “Ignore [Anita Clew’s and] LinkedIn’s advice to only accept connection requests from people you know” because LinkedIn’s search algorithm favors those who are in your network. Chances are, you don’t yet have a connection to the person who may hiring you next. (Okay, I may just have to update my rule to not accept all requests.) Arruda urges you to shoot for 500 connections, as that number seems to pack some psychological magic on those who view your profile.

Explore LinkedIn’s Alumni feature, recommends Wayne Breitbarth, author of The Power Formula for LinkedIn Success. Be sure to also join your Alumni’s LinkedIn Group. Speaking of Groups, join any that are relevant to your industry and skills. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 Groups. To get the most networking value, be an active participant in your Groups.

linkedinmemeAs mentioned in Part 1, 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn. HR professionals are checking out your LinkedIn profile whether you are actively looking for a job or not. If you have a good enough profile, you may be contacted by a recruiter. Wouldn’t that be the ultimate outcome in passive job searching!

Pore over Pinterest

You’ll have a better chance finding a job ad on a coffee shop bulletin board than a bona fide job opening posted on the Pinterest. But there are atypical ways to use this digital bulletin board in your job search. Search for career-oriented keywords, such as “résumé” or “interview” and you’ll find a wealth of informational gems. The individual “pins” are visual bookmarks that, when clicked, take you back to the original site. You can follow Anita Clew on Pinterest, and check out my boards that contain past blog posts, as well as ideas on interview and office attire, work lunches, or even inspirational quotes to keep you going when the job or the job hunt gets you down. To get started on Pinterest, here’s a beginner’s guide.

Enter the YouTube Universe

Just like Pinterest, you can use keywords to search for videos to further your career knowledge and sharpen your job hunting proficiency. But YouTube is also an opportunity to upload your own video résumé or introduction. After all, Justin Bieber got his big break by posting a recording of his performance on YouTube! You’ll want to keep your video about 60-90 seconds in length and as professional as possible (call in favors from any friends with film experience). Include a link to your YouTube video in your cover letter, and you’ll seen as innovative with leading-edge skills.

Get started in your social search by choosing the one social media site that you are already enthusiastic about and employing it in a new way… for your employment.

Readers: Which social media platform has been most helpful in your job search?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

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Be a Social Seeker, Part 1

Dear Anita,

I just heard that a friend of a friend got a job through Facebook. I never thought beyond LinkedIn for job searching on social media. Do you have any tips on how to use Facebook or Twitter in my job search?

Social Job Search InfographicDear, Social Butterfly,

I was surprised myself to see that, according to Jobvite, a whopping 76% of social job seekers found their current position through Facebook. While I couldn’t ferret out a statistic for how many people actually found a new job through LinkedIn, success stories are easier to find. And Jobvite does indicate that 94% of recruiters are active on LinkedIn, so don’t abandon the popular professional networking site just yet.

Pew Research Center found only 13% of LinkedIn users check their account daily, 25% check weekly, and 61% check less often. By contrast, 70% of Facebook users check the site daily. So it makes sense that people who are more active on Facebook may benefit from including their online friends in their job search tactics.

Facebook Job Search Tips

Conduct a Facebook makeover, including a more professional profile picture to replace that blurry selfie. Use your About section as a mini-résumé. Be sure to include all past workplaces and college information and, just like LinkedIn, add keywords about your professional skills.

Be aware: 93% of recruiters are likely to look at a candidate’s social profile and 42% have reconsidered a candidate based on social content. The three biggest offenders, according to Jobvite: illegal drug references (83%), sexual posts (70%), and spelling/grammar (66%) which narrowly beat out profanity at 63%. Go through several screens of past posts (this could be up to a year’s worth, depending on your Facebook frequency factor). Delete any posts you wouldn’t want a hiring manager to see (or “Limit Past Posts” under Settings). Untag yourself in unflattering photos and enable the setting that allows you to review tags people add to your posts before appearing in your newsfeed. If you have some friends with no regard for social etiquette, you may also want to enable the review feature to keep offensive comments from appearing on your wall.

If your job search is on the down-low, even if you are not Facebook friends with your boss, you may be a friend of a friend so there is always a possibility the word could get back. Double-check your Privacy Settings and take the extra few seconds when posting to use the audience selector. Create a Facebook List to group your business and networking contacts. Then, when you post something career-related, you can use the audience selector to share it with your professional list, and your Aunt Bessie won’t see the latest industry article that she has no interest in.

But keep in mind, good old Aunt Bessie may live next door to the CEO of a company that’s hiring for your position! The Status Update (to Friends and Family only if you’re currently employed) is the most obvious way to use Facebook in your job search. While you don’t want to overdo posting requests for career help, remember that out of sight is out of mind, especially in the fast-moving social feed.

Like the companies you are interested in working for on Facebook. Many savvy businesses are publicizing job openings across all social media.

Facebook’s Graph Search in the bar at the top of the site allows you to type in phrases such as “People who work at Facebook” or “Employers in San Antonio” to see what connections pop up. Not nearly as powerful as LinkedIn connections (and glitchy since a recent upgrade for mobile devices), this Facebook search may still yield some useful contacts to Friend or Message.

No matter the platform, social media can definitely be your friend in your job search. Next week, we’ll look at Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and some beyond-the-basic tips for LinkedIn.

Readers: Have you use Facebook to successfully land a new job? Tell us about it!

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Reverse Snooping on Potential Employers

Dear, Anita,

Once I land an interview, I check out the company website and LinkedIn. But if I don’t have any LinkedIn contacts that work there, how can I get the “inside story” about the culture?

Keyhole_Eye_SmallDear, Curious Kat,

Human Resource professionals often perform Google searches and check social media sites to see if a candidate is a good fit for their company culture. Job seekers desperately looking for work don’t often think to turn the tables. But the time spent on researching a company and its culture may prevent a disruptive blip in your career path.

The company website is a great place to start. Most businesses have an “About” tab at the top or link at the bottom of website. Read through it all, including the history and the bios of the management. Even for a business that doesn’t spell out the mission or core principles of its company culture, you’ll get a sense about the company’s personality based on the tone, photo style, and other subtle cues. This research will also pay off when your interviewer asks, “What do you know about our company?” and “Why do you want to work here?”

Next, Google the company name for which you are interviewing. Pass over the company sites you just reviewed and look for third-party sites. Wikipedia may contain additional information (some companies, however, are contributors to their own Wiki listing). On the Google search page, switch from “Web” and click “News” under the search field. While some of this news content may be derived from press releases provided by the business itself, you may be able to glean some insight into the company character or discover some potential red flags.

Glassdoor.com is a website that allows real employees to anonymously review current or former employers, giving the pros and cons of working at the company. You may even get a sneak peak at questions that could be asked during your interview.

Look at other business review sites, such as Yelp.com, YellowPages.com, or MerchantCircle.com. While businesses are reviewed by customers rather than employees, you may be able to intuit company values and business practices. Take these reviews with a grain of salt, however, as there are trolls on the Internet who take perverse pleasure in spreading negativity.

As you’ve found, LinkedIn is a great resource. I’m sure you’ve noticed the “How You’re Connected” sidebar whenever you check out a LinkedIn company profile. But have you ever clicked on “Advanced” to the right of the search box on the Home page bar? There, you can expand the relationships from 1st or 2nd to 3rd + Everyone Else. Under company, leave “Current or past” highlighted for the most hits. Once you perform your advanced search, check out the longer list of shared connections and message or connect with the individuals to see if they are willing to chat with you about their experience working at the company.

A little cyber sleuthing before accepting a position can prevent the whole frying pan/fire scenario.

Readers: How has researching a company affected your interview, or your decision to take a position offered?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

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Crimes and Misdemeanors

Dear, Anita,

I worked for a company for a total of 13 years, in 2010 I caught a charge that was a misdemeanor but still continue to work for the same company for 2 more years, then got fired for what they say was misconduct. Now I’m having problems trying to find a job, I’ve been applying for jobs ever since August of last year, hoping that something will fall through for me soon. Any advice for me?

Mug_Shot_iStock_000014052000_300pxDear, Miss Demeanor,

I get quite a few inquiries from job seekers with criminal records, both felonies and misdemeanors. (My post Disclosure of a DUI is one of my top 5 posts of all time.) It’s not surprising since nearly one-third of Americans have been arrested by age 23, a National Institute of Justice article observes. Criminal records range from one-time arrests where charges are dropped to serious repeat offenders, but most arrests are for relatively minor nonviolent offenses.

Since you have a misdemeanor on your record and you’ve been fired, that could count as two strikes against you in the eyes of a potential employer. Check out my blog Explaining Away “You’re Fired.” Since you worked at the company for 13 years, you must include it on your résumé and applications. The misdemeanor, however, may be a different story, depending on where you live. In recent years, some cities and states have prohibited public and sometimes private employers from asking for criminal histories. See the areas with “Ban the Box” policies at the National Employment Law Project (NELP). Positions in fields such as law enforcement, education, or care giving may require full criminal record disclosure, even misdemeanors. Be sure to read applications carefully; some only ask about felonies and not misdemeanors. Others may state a specific time period, such as “in the last seven years.” You don’t want to hide it, as it will come out if and when an employer performs a background check.

Police officer conducting sobriety testThe U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) offers guidelines for employers on consideration of job applicants’ criminal histories. While these are not policy or law (so not really enforceable in many states), the top three factors employers should consider are: 1) the nature and gravity of offense, 2) time lapse since the offense, and 3) the nature of the job. While an employer with an open accounting position should be hesitant to hire someone who, say, embezzled from a charity, a middle-aged candidate with one sole DUI from college days might fill the position without any issues. Try to apply to jobs that have nothing to do with your infraction (so no driving jobs if you have a DUI on record).

If your misdemeanor is really holding you back, consider having it expunged from your record (sealed from all but law enforcement). The procedure varies from state to state, so you may wish to consult an employment attorney.

Job Seekers: How have you gotten a job with a misdemeanor on your record?
Hiring Managers: Do you have any advice on how job seekers can best present any criminal records?

Do you have a job-related question? Ask Anita.

Subscribe to receive weekly emails with career tips and advice for job seekers, employed people, and managers and supervisors.

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Résumé Failures and Faux Pas

Good Morning, Readers!

Ever wonder if your résumé is up to the tough challenges of the current job market? With a large amount of top talent, like you, on the hunt for a new career, people are beginning to get a little creative with their résumés and cover letters to spark excitement.

While some spunk may grab the attention of the hiring manager, others are a downright no-go. Today, I couldn’t resist sharing a very interesting and rather baffling CareerBuilder survey I found called “Common and Not-So-Common Resume Mistakes That Can Cost You the Job.” Here are the unforgiveable blunders they discovered:iStock_000018568936Large

  • Résumé was submitted from a person the company just fired
  • Résumé’s “Skills” section was spelled “Skelze”
  • Résumé listed the candidate’s objective as “To work for someone who is not an alcoholic with three DUIs like my current employer”
  • Résumé included language typically seen in text messages (e.g., no capitalization and use of shortcuts like “u”)
  • Résumé consisted of one (run-on) sentence: “Hire me, I’m awesome”
  • Résumé listed the candidate’s online video gaming experience leading warrior “clans,” suggesting this passed for leadership experience
  • Résumé included pictures of the candidate from baby photos to adulthood
  • Résumé was written in Klingon language from Star Trek
  • Résumé was a music video
  • Résumé didn’t include the candidate’s name
  • On the job application, where it asks for your job title with a previous employer, the applicant wrote “Mr.”
  • Résumé included time spent in jail for assaulting a former boss

Do your résumés have any of these formidable faux pas? If so, time to do a serious round of editing to get it up to snuff! Take a look at my post, Reasons for No Résumé Responses, for more helpful hints.

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Warm Wishes,

Anita

Changing Jobs

Dear, Anita,

I just accepted a new position with my company and am very excited about the opportunity… yet at the same time, I’m feeling really nervous about the change. What are some ways I can overcome my fears?

Dear, “New and Nervous,”

ButterflyCongratulations on this new chapter in your career! Changing jobs is a part of life, and the fear that goes along with each change is only natural. Our human instinct is to stay within a certain comfort zone, develop habits, and stick with routines that are familiar to us. The idea of rocking the boat with change tends to heighten our anxieties and can create unwanted stress.

The key is to simply reset your frame of mind.

  1. Don’t look at change as a bad thing. This is a very exciting time for you! You need to embrace the opportunities that come with it. I often remind myself that life is not a dress rehearsal. We only get one chance to live our life (“YOLO” in Generation Y terms) – to grow, learn new things, and expand our horizons. If you find yourself stuck in a rut for any reason, it’s up to you to make a change for the better.
  2. Get through the fear of the unknown. Take a good look at what’s worrying you. Is it the money? The commute? The new routine? Make a list of all the things you’re concerned about and break down each item. More often than not, you’ll find that some of the things you’re concerned about are trivial – or anxieties you’ve built up in your head that can be easily addressed and resolved. I also think you’ll find that the things you fear most won’t actually happen to you.
  3. Live in the present. Dwelling on your past role or worrying about what your new position is going to be like will only drive you nuts. Don’t miss out on what’s happening TODAY; enjoy those feelings of anticipation and excitement. When you get into the groove of your new position, give it 100%.
  4. Be resourceful. The fact that you’re starting a new position with the same company gives you the upper hand. Most people go through the same jitters – and they’re starting fresh out the gate with little or no experience with the company or environment. Take advantage of the people and resources available to you. Most of your doubts and concerns will quickly fade away as you engage in your new position. Ask questions along the way, and learn everything there is to know about the role and what is expected of you. Once you have a clear picture in your head, you will quickly get into a new rhythm and find yourself in a new routine that works for you (just like the one you’re accustomed to now!)

All in all, change is good, and the time you spend at work should be stimulating, invigorating, and exciting. A friend once told me that if you don’t feel those little butterflies in your stomach anymore in your current role, then it’s time to make a change. So get out that butterfly net and go for it!

Best Wishes,

Anita

Readers: How have you handled the uncertainty that comes with either a promotion or a new job?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

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Thank You for the Interview

A reader writes…

Hi, Anita:

I was fortunate enough to land an interview at a manufacturing plant close to where I live. I am very excited about the possible opportunity to gain employment with this company and want to leave them with a lasting impression. What can I do post-interview to continue to spark their interest?

Dear, Eager to Please:

Congratulations on your interview. Getting your foot in the door and meeting face-to-face with the hiring manager is a huge leap toward gaining employment. Now that you have aced the interview, it is time to seal the deal with a little something extra: a great “thank you” note.

Thank you notes are a great way to show how much you value the interviewer’s time and appreciate their interest in you. It also lets them know that you are serious about wanting to be their next stellar employee. In my personal opinion, thank you notes are a requirement after every interview. Follow these simple steps, and take five minutes out of your day to help land the job you desire!Thank you

  • Ask for a business card from the hiring manager before you leave the interview. You should always do this at the end of the interview to make sure you have the correct contact information and address.
  • Select a professional stationery or card on which to write your “thank you” message. Avoid unprofessional imagery or loudly designed cards. Some hiring managers may prefer email communication. In this instance, it may be appropriate to send an email. If you are unsure on which method is best, do both. Send an email and mail a hand-written letter.
  • Address the interviewer using Mr., Mrs., or Ms. For example, if you are interviewed by John Employer you would write Mr. Employer. It is best to be too formal than too familiar.
  • If you are sending a card, address the envelope and write the card by hand. This makes the card more personal and shows that you took extra time to write it just for them (not mass-produced).
  • Choose a message that resonates with the hiring manager and include some information from your interview. Below are two examples that you can use as a guide.
    • Dear, Mr. Employer: Thank you for taking the time to discuss the (Job Title) opportunity with me on (Date). I believe my previous experience and skill set make me an excellent candidate to join your team, especially since you mentioned that (Issue) was a challenge you wanted to tackle. It was truly a pleasure to meet with you, and I look forward to hearing from you. Best regards,
      (Your Name)
    • Dear, Mr. Employer: Thank you for meeting with me to discuss the (Job Title) opportunity at (Company Name). Your insights and additional information about (Job Responsibilities) were very helpful and helped solidify my belief that I am the perfect candidate for the position. I look forward to hearing from you soon, and thank you again for this opportunity. Sincerely,
      (Your Name)
  • Send the thank you card as soon as possible, ideally within 24 hours of the interview. You can either send the card in the mail or hand-deliver it to the reception desk where you interviewed.

To bring these tips together, take a few moments to view this video:

This small acknowledgement will take you very far in the interview process. It will help the hiring manager remember you and serve as a reminder to your professionalism.

Readers: What have you done in the past to make an impression on a potential employer?

Best of luck,

Anita

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Want to receive these tips by email? Simply subscribe for once-a-week tips and tricks for career success!

Achieving the Annual Raise

Hi, Anita:

I am just about to hit my second year mark with my employer and I think I deserve a pay raise. I have performed exceptionally well and taken on other roles and responsibilities in my department. How would you suggest that I go about asking for a pay raise at my annual review?

Dear, Ready for a Raise:

Congratulations on your two-year anniversary! From the sound of things, your employer is probably very happy to have brought you on board. Now that you have shined in your current role and offered to assist in different capacities, you most certainly should open the floor up for salary negotiations. As the old sayings go, “it doesn’t hurt to ask” and “you never know you can’t until you try.”  Here are some things to keep in mind when asking for a raise.

  • Make sure your timing is right. It is typically appropriate to ask for a raise after you have been at the company for at least a year. If you ask before this time, it may be premature and come off as pushy.
  • Show your commitment to your job and the company day in and day out. Your manager will be impressed by your tenacity and loyalty to the team. This means… Show up on time each day. Don’t sneak an extra 15 minutes into your lunch hour. Don’t spend your time on Facebook or texting with your girlfriend during the work day. Don’t make jokes about how much you’d rather be in bed than at work. Even if you only do these things every now and then, your manager will notice and take it as a lack of commitment.
  • Bring a list of projects or activities in which you had significant involvement to present to your manager. You want to show how valuable you are to your team and why you should be receiving increased compensation for your efforts.
  • Similarly, bring a list of goals that you have accomplished and a list of those you wish to achieve in the future with the company.
  • Do your research beforehand by looking at comparable positions in your area on sites like Payscale. You will go in knowing whether or not you are being low-balled or asking for far too much compensation.
  • Come to your raise discussion with a goal salary in mind. If you have a number in your head, you will be more confident and set on achieving that rate.
  • Be direct with your raise request. Do not beg for a raise or ask your manager if you deserve one. Be confident and proud of your accomplishments that have spurred you toward having this discussion.

These points will help you get off to a great start during your pay negotiations. With concrete proof of performance and confidence, a raise is more likely to come your way.

Check out this clip for a few tips on getting the raise you want:

Readers, what tactics have you used to ask for a raise? How nervous were you to bring up the subject on a scale from 1-10 (10 being “pulling your hair out” nervous)?

Have a question you would like to ask? Visit http://anitaclew.com/ask-anita/.

Warm Wishes,

Anita

Working With the Office Monster

Dear Anita,

I have been at my job for a few years and have finally become fed up with working and dealing with my horrible co-worker every day. To our supervisors and higher ups she is overly nice, but she treats the rest of us like dirt.  I cannot stand her antics and the bullying she is doing around the office. Can you please offer some advice and shed some light on this awful situation?

This reminds me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!

It looks like you have a very difficult and unbearable co-worker on your hands. As much as we wish the office to be a safe and drama-free workplace, unfortunately a few poisonous apples can manage to slip through the cracks. These are Witch of Workpeople that you do everything in your power to avoid and they still manage to weasel their way into your day. They are incredibly difficult to please, nasty, unethical, and are on a mission to make others’ work lives miserable. They are also incredibly skilled at manipulating others around them. Luckily, your pal Anita has a few tricks up her sleeves to help handle these intolerable creatures.

Do your best to remain as far away from them as possible. This does not mean you need to switch jobs, hide under a rock, or flee to the closest neighboring country. If there is an open desk away from the office monster, talk to your boss or human resources manager about making the switch. If you feel comfortable, you may want to mention the reasons why you are requesting the move — something along the lines of “I feel that my current location is not a neutral or conducive environment for me to work as efficiently as possible.” If a new location is not an option, invest in a pair of noise-cancelling earphones. It is one way to drown out the chatter and unpleasantness.

It is important to remember that most bullies will end up digging a hole so deep, they will find themselves out of a job. Many act the way they do to get an edge over potential competition by emotionally and professionally damaging their co-workers. Do your best to avoid engaging with this individual. If you have to interact with him or her on a daily basis, be prepared to handle any disagreements or friction ahead of time. When we are caught off guard, emotions kick in and we are less likely to think rationally. If you have a strategy, you can handle the situation like the professional you are!

As any normal person would, you may begin to feel that retaliation is in order. After putting up with and being put downScary! by this behavior, it only seems fair to fight back. It is very important that you hold back with all your might and do the opposite; kill them with kindness. It is the best way to handle your emotions. They will have little-to-no reason to continue to engage you in their antics or become frustrated with not being able to get a rise out of you.

Hopefully by now, this individual has begun to back off of you, and you are getting back to what is important: work. But don’t, for a single second, think that the situation has left the premises. Most unpleasant people are habitual bullies. They will wait until they see you at a weak point and will attack like a wild animal. Ever hear of the saying, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer”? The manipulator will wait until they have an opportunity to exploit you or bring you down again. In short, keep up your guard and continue to watch your back.

If further action is needed, I suggest you call a meeting with your boss and human resources manager. It will be more meaningful to all parties involved that you are being proactive, and it will be a big wake-up call to your horrible co-worker that you are no longer going to tolerate this bad behavior. Again, leave your emotions at the door. Be strong and stand up for your right to a psychologically safe and sound workplace. State your case, but try not to point fingers. Your boss or human resources manager may request further explanation or encourage you to briefly go in to detail about how you are feelings. It will be helpful to check out my post on Tackling Employee Tensions to be prepared for a conflict resolution meeting.

Have you ever encounter an office monster? If so, what did you do to diffuse the situation?

Have a question? Ask Anita Clew! Visit http://www.anitaclew.com/ask_anita to submit your tough one!

Have a Spook-tacular Halloween!

-Anita Boo

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Disclaimer

Anita Clew's blog posts are intended for general guidance and should never be taken as legal advice. In all instances where harassment, inequity, or unfair treatment is believed to be present, please consult your HR Department or legal representation.
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