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5 Ways to Avoid a Bad Boss In a Job Interview

Many people enter a job interview trying to impress the hiring manager on the other side of the table. The interview is really a two-way street that allows an applicant to see if a company really is a place that they’ll want to work! It’s also the chance to spot a bad boss before you accept a job offer. When you use these 5 methods to avoid a bad boss that you can spot in any interview, then you’ll save yourself a lot of unnecessary misery.

#1. There’s Bad Energy In the Office

My favorite job interview question was this: “How would you respond to an employee who was upset about their health care benefits being raised?” There were four other people in the room and after the question was asked, they all sat back in their chairs and crossed their arms. Two things became apparent: health care benefits at this company were being slashed AND no one was happy about it. If there’s bad energy in an office, there’s bound to be a bad office. Say a quick “Thank you!” and don’t look back.

#2. Your Interviewer Doesn’t Care… or Cares Too Much

On my very first job interview, the hiring manager asked if I wanted a soda. I declined. Then he asked me if I liked the sandwiches from the local deli in town. I did, so he offered to share part of his sandwich. I declined that too. Then he asked if I wanted to go out for drinks later. I got up and left. When an interviewer is disinterested, then he doesn’t care about the company and that’s a bad boss. If your interviewer is trying to be your buddy, then they’re desperate and that’s a sign of a bad boss as well.

#3. Where Do You See Yourself in 12 Months?

It’s a popular question that an interviewer will ask an applicant, but it’s more fun to turn that question around when you get the chance. “How would you define success in this position in 12 months?” I asked during an interview once. Her response was surprising. She’d drawn up a complete outline of her expectations for the new employee and what they would achieve. A bad boss has assumptions and preconceived notions about you that you’ll never really end up meeting. Stay far, far away.

#4. Does Your Interviewer Ramble?

The worst question I’ve ever been asked in an interview was this: “If you were a road sign, then which sign would you be and why?” Questions like this have no bearing on an interview unless the hiring manager holds a doctorate in psychology. For the average interview, it means that you’ve got a bad boss on your hands because they don’t know how to build an effective team. There’s a good chance you could become the boss in this situation, but there’s an equally good chance you’ll be treated for migraines in 3 months too.

#5. High Turnover Is Bad News

Some jobs have high turnover rates, like child protection workers. Other jobs have high turnover rates because of bad bosses. The interview is your chance to find out why the position opened up and what the company expects of the new employee. Try to chat up the team to see what is going on as well. If everyone is negative, defensive, and avoids you at all cost, then avoid that job at all costs.

These 5 signs can sometimes be hard to spot and you can still end up working for a bad boss, but these tips can reduce those chances dramatically. Use the interview as your own tool and you’ll be able to find your dream job sooner rather than later.

Do You Ignore the Right People Every Day?

One of the most common pieces of advice that is given to everyone in the business world every day is to prioritize. You do your best to give the most critical tasks more attention throughout the day and allow other projects to sit on the back burner until you’re ready to handle them. The only issue is that once we create our priorities, we tend to ignore them. Items stay on the back burner and don’t get done!

Here’s a thought: instead of ignoring certain tasks that might require our attention, what if you ignored certain people who typically want our attention when it may not be needed?

Is It Possible To Ignore People Sometimes?

Absolutely! Although no one ever really likes to be ignored, the harsh reality of modern life is that there are way too many people who can demand attention throughout the day. If you responded to every email or phone call, then half of your day would already be gone before you got anything else done! Our attention and our time is a finite resource. When too many people need something, then people must be ignored.

It’s all about creating a certain line in the sand when it comes to needs that must be met. If certain needs cross this line, then take care of them. If they do not, even if that person has a personal relationship with you, then they should be ignored until you can move where that line should be drawn. This is what the most successful people do every day. They prioritize their people management, not their work management.

Do You Have a Coffee Stalker Near You?

Why is managing people more important than managing work? Because people are an intense distraction that stops any work from being done. Take that guy who has a cup of coffee in his hand every morning and wants to talk to you about the shows he watched on TV the night before. Not only is he not getting anything done, but he’s preventing you from working while he’s talking to you.

That distraction goes beyond the conversation, however, and this is also time that must be accounted for in some way. Maybe you feel frustrated by the interruption and you spend time centering yourself. Maybe you laughed at his joke and the memory of the joke is distracting you as you try to get to work. The effects of the coffee stalker last longer than you might realize!

What Is Your Threshold?

That’s why finding ways to ignore the right people who don’t meet your threshold of need must be ignored. Slap on some headphones, play some classical music so your mind doesn’t want to sing along with the lyrics to your favorite song, and don’t give the coffee stalker any attention. Eventually they will go away… as will everyone else that doesn’t meet your threshold of priority.

Does this seem like it will make you feel guilty? The result when you tell people “No” is actually quite empowering. You are taking control. You are being the one who creates results. This one decision of planned ignoring excites your active consciousness and actually helps you to work harder! So consider your options: you could put a task on the back burner… or you could just ignore those people who are robbing you of your full potential.

Are Your Habits Leading You To Make Bad Decisions?

Does it always seem like certain people get to taste success, but you never do? Would you love to know what the secrets of these successful people are so you can get similar results? Believe it or not, it is the habits of an individual that will lead them toward consistently good or consistently bad decisions. If the following habits are part of your overall routine, then you could be setting yourself up for failure before a task even begins.

#1. Being Lazy

Laziness is the #1 destructive habit there is. A lack of desire to do the simple things can mean facts don’t get double-checked or standards won’t be maintained. There is no initiative to do something more or even provide additional input that may be necessary. Laziness isn’t procrastination. It is a complete unwillingness to get something done.

#2. Being Caught By Surprise

Unexpected events happen all of the time, but certain people always seemed to be surprised by them. The worst case scenario isn’t always going to happen, so assuming that it can be destructive. Not planning for difficult situations, however, can quickly lead to failure. Do you have a life insurance policy that can help to protect your loved ones? Is there a backup plan in place in case your new investments tank?

#3. Being Indecisive

The worst decision that someone can make is to not actually make a decision. You don’t want to make assumptions and decide on something before you get all of the facts, but you do sometimes need to make quick decisions. Being indecisive means that someone is worried about the consequences of a decision and that ultimately means there is a fear of risk.

#4. Being Stuck In the Past

Were the 4 years of high school pretty great for you? Have you always done something a certain way at work and now you can’t do things that way? Being stuck in the past means you’re looking at memories instead of potential success. Memories are a good thing if they keep us out of repetitive mistakes or provide a pleasant interlude for a daydreaming break during the creative process. Being stubborn about change because you like the old ways or just want to stay in the fond memories of yesteryear? That will lead to destruction.

#5. Being Isolated

Leadership is a naturally lonely position, but it isn’t an isolated position. Leaders are lonely because they have to be the one to make the choices. They aren’t isolated, however, because they solicit different points of view so that the best decision can be made. If you don’t let anyone in, then you’ll never benefit from their experience!

#6. There Is No Skill Development

The worst habit of all is to pretend you can so something when you just don’t have the technical skills to do so. Sometimes you can fake it by spending some time going through YouTube videos or reading websites, but eventually you’re pretending will get found out. Develop real skills and you’ll be able to develop real success.

Don’t let your bad habits keep you back from the success that wants to come your way. Avoid these bad habits and you’ll have the secret to success that you can share with others in the future!

Do You Apply For Jobs Even If You’re Not 100% Qualified?

It has been said that men are from one planet and women are from another. From a career standpoint, it might be more accurate to say that men will apply for just about any job where they meet some of the qualifications, but women will only apply for jobs where they feel like they’re 100% qualified. It’s something that is often quoted when giving women career advice and is usually the foundation of a criticism: women should be more confident!

Women don’t take this attitude because they are lacking in confidence. They are instead applying for the job because they are confident that they’ll get the job! It’s all about time conservation, not a lack of self-esteem. Why waste time applying for a job that the odds say you’re not going to get?

How Can Women Improve Their Chances To Get Hired?

Many people apply for a job simply because they feel like they can do the job based on the advertised job description. There are a number of qualifications listed in this description, including educational degrees, job experience, and even leadership experience. Here’s a harsh reality: these screening tools aren’t always in place to invite applications.

This affects women more than men because more than 1 in 4 women admit that they don’t want to waste their time applying for a job just to be told that they don’t meet the qualifications! Women more than men feel like the workplace follows certain rules and these rules guide the hiring process, how a career can develop, and even how much money can be earned.

Many employers, however, don’t follow these rules. Most employers make up their own rules.

Are You Ready To Start Playing the Employer’s Game?

If you’ve ever had to sit in a waiting room for 20 minutes after your interview was scheduled, then you’ve already started playing the employer’s game. The hiring process is a game for most employers and it is designed to help weed out people who might not be around in a year or two. Today’s employer wants someone dedicated, loyal, and willing to work for less than someone else if they’ve got the right skill level.

This can work to your advantage, no matter what gender you happen to be! It’s all about finding the right combination of compensation and skill for the longest period of time. If you’re willing to play the employer’s game, then you can win if you’re willing to take a calculated risk here or there. Could you do that job if you don’t have a degree? Do you have the job experience needed and the proven leadership skills, but in a different field? Then apply for the job and you might just get it!

Confidence is often considered the key to a successful job application, but self-esteem plays just a small role. Your ability to recognize what an employer wants and then be able to communicate that you can provide this need in the most affordable way is what will help you land that dream job.

Does Your Boss Hate You? Here’s 7 Ways You Can Change That!

Working for a tough boss is one thing, but working for a boss that seems to hate you is a whole different set of problems! It creates tension at work, keeps you thinking about work problems when you’re at home, and ultimately affects the quality of your work. Here’s the good news: you can turn that frown on your boss’s face upside down! Here are 7 ways you can make that happen.

Make Your Word Your Bond

1) When you do what you say you’re going to do, then you create a level of trust that surrounds you. This aura of trust, if you will, is something that doesn’t go away – unless you break your word. The more trust that you can build up when you make your word your bond, the better off your experiences will be with your boss and the less hate will be involved.

Stop Making Excuses

2) Mistakes are going to happen because they are simply part of human nature. A boss hates mistakes, but bosses hate excuses for mistakes even more. Instead of trying to come up with a convincing lie, just be honest. If you’re late because you overslept, say so. If you made an error, apologize and fix the problem. Once you do, make efforts to prevent the issue from happening again.

Stop the Complaints

3) Misery loves company more than a dog loves free sausages. It’s easy to complain about a difficult situation, but you’ll show true leadership skills if you can make requests that will resolve the issues at hand. Putting in a request to get new pencils helps everyone a lot more than complaining about an ineffective boss who forgot to order pencils on the last supply run.

Be Solution Orientated

4) Sometimes you’ve got to take the initiative and just come up with a solution to a problem on your own. Who cares if it isn’t within your job responsibility? Unless you’re a sole proprietor, you’re working with a team of people. When they benefit, you benefit. If they fail, you fail. Find solutions to the issues at hand, share them with your boss, or even implement them on your own if time is an issue. Your boss will love you for it.

Be Willing To Grow

5) If there’s one thing that a boss hates above anything else, it’s an employee that just sits in their chair every day without caring about anything else. You don’t need to be ambitious and try to climb the corporate ladder. You do, however, need to take care of yourself, manage your growth, and follow your dreams and goals. It’s not your boss that needs to get your scheduled into new opportunities or training classes – it’s you!

Find a Way To Be a Team Player

6) A boss is stuck in a position where they must be a team player, no matter what their personal feelings happen to be. Complaining about corporate policy is just going to frustrate your boss even more, especially since they probably agree with you! Stay out of the gossip and just be upfront about your concerns. If your boss can do something about it, then they will. If not, then those in the drama mill will be hated more than you.

Be Proactive About Your Job

7) Most bosses feel like they need to micromanage because jobs just don’t get done on time or with a good quality. If you can be reliable with your job performance, it’ll make the life of your boss easier. Support their success and you’ll have your success supported too! You might even find that some of the drudge work you’ve been doing will get delegated to others.

Why is it important to have a beneficial relationship with your boss? Because one day you might find yourself in a similar leadership position. You’ll want a little help here and there, which means being proactive about providing help can stop hatred before it ever starts.

6 Tips To Be Happy At Work

It’s easy to follow the negativity at work because misery loves company. If you’re tired of the negative and want to be happy at work, then here are a few ideas that can help you change up your routine, shift your focus, and maybe even help you look forward to going to work in the morning!

#1. Make an effort to smile more. It can’t be one of those fake smiles that shows a lot of teeth, but not a lot of emotion. In making an effort to smile more, you’ll need to look for the good that is around you so that you can see and experience the joy that comes with an authentic smile. That means you’ll also need to focus on rejecting the bad and finding ways to be content in all things.

#2. Push the reset button on your brain now and then. We’ve all had those moments where one thing after another after another after yet another thing all come crashing down in bad ways. The stress builds up in your chest, makes your neck ache, and then the worries begin. Instead of succumbing to the pressure, take a moment and just push the reset button on your brain. It takes just a minute and can be a favorite poem, prayer, or chant. There may be no better way to increase your energy levels immediately!

#3. Don’t talk down to yourself. Nice job, you idiot!” “What were you thinking, you moron?” “What on Earth were you thinking?” Self talk works in good and bad ways depending on what it is that we say to ourselves throughout the day. Many of us use the negative version when we make a mistake, but rarely use the positive version when we do a good job. If you give yourself the credit you deserve, you’ll actually give yourself a measure of mental durability that can prevent you from being overwhelmed in the future.

#4. Take time to celebrate. Make one of your goals in life to learn something meaningful every day. Will learning the Peter Capaldi has always been a lifelong Doctor Who fan change your life? Not necessarily, even if you are a big fan of the show! Will discovering a new way to flag your emails so that you can be more efficient with your time change your life? Possibly.

#5. Be human. It’s fine to be strange. It’s actually part of the human experience! You could choose to be irritated, frustrated, or righteously angry… or you can choose to be bemused by the strange things that people do and realize that you probably look pretty strange to others too. The best part about being human is that our limitations are the strengths that others have and by finding creative ways to work together, we can all be stronger and happier for it.

#6. Use the manners that Mom taught. There are a lot of people who do a lot of thankless jobs every day. It’s not fun to clean vomit from a toilet seat or craw through a dusty HVAC system to restore a building’s air conditioning. How about those customer service agents who get belittled by angry customers every single day? Get into the habit of saying “Thank you,” whenever you see a job well done and not only can you change their day for it, you can make your own day a lot happier as well.

6 Ways You Can Find More Passion In Your Job

Does it feel like your job just drains the life out of you every day? Do you dread getting up in the morning because you absolutely hate going to work? For many, their career takes up about one-third of their life. The negative feelings associated with despising a job and its responsibilities can drain more energy from your soul every day than the work that is being done!

The good news is that you can start getting the passion back for your job starting right now. It all begins with the emphasis that you’re focusing upon. Are you looking at the short-term issues more than the long-term results? What joy can your job give to others? Focus on these positive feelings and you will start to feel a level of passion begin to return.

#1. Take the company mission to heart. Every company has a mission that it wants to achieve, even if it is a fast food restaurant. This mission is important because it is a reflection of the passion that the company wishes to show the public at large. Incorporate this mission and find a way to make it important to your life and needs as well. Providing joy to others is a great way to bring joy into one’s life!

#2. Be productive every day. One of the fastest ways to lose the passion for a job is boredom. When people aren’t challenged to grow and succeed, boredom can set in really fast! Don’t rely on your superiors or co-workers to challenge you. Challenge yourself and make sure you accomplish things every day to achieve at least one of your goals. Success will always give passion a boost!

#3. Set benchmarks for yourself. How can you track your progress if you don’t have any benchmarks or metrics set for yourself? When you set your goals, create plans that will help you see the progress you’re making toward these goals. In doing so, you’ll also create a foundation of passion because you’ll be able to see where you’ve been, where you currently are, and where you plan to be.

#4. Journal everything. Take a notebook with you to work and chart things that bring you joy when you’re at work. It could be the regular jokes of a co-worker, a compliment from a supervisor, or even the amazing hash browns and pepper gravy the cafeteria serves. It’s easy to lose sight of the good things when negative feelings surround us. Chart the good stuff and then look back on it when you feel less than great about waking up on a Monday morning.

#5. Get creative. The biggest negative that many people feel about work is a lack of being creative. Sometimes this lack of creativity feels forced upon people, but that doesn’t have to be accepted. Always be creative, even if someone demands that you are not. Worst case scenario? Your creativity lands you in a better job somewhere else.

#6. Rejoice in the good. It is ultimately about perspective. If we rejoice in the good and simply discard or forgive the bad, then we won’t be worried, anxious, or fearful of what the future can bring. Those are the greatest stresses of all! Simply be content, in this very moment, and you will find your passion back.

Are You a Disorganized Person?

An interior designer would be ashamed to see the current condition of my desk. There are three piles of paperwork, a stack of promotional posters, four energy drink cans, a bag of potato chips, and one coffee mug all surrounding my computer. To me, this is normal. This is also a great way to bring a hidden danger into the work day that can rob anyone like me of their productivity.

Making Piles Means You’re Not Setting Limits

I don’t usually think of myself as a workaholic, but the fact that I’m working most weekend days for at least a few hours betrays my own perspective. I make piles of work that need to be done because it makes me feel organized, but that’s not the issue. The real problem is that piles of work mean that there isn’t as much discipline in setting limits as there needs to be.

It also means that there are days where I’m treating my desk as a storage space. Clutter has a method of multiplying as soon as you allow it to come into your life, which means even more dangers to productivity. What would happen if there was still some coffee in that mug that’s sitting right in front of my computer screen this instant and it spilled? There goes my productivity!

Here’s the harsh reality and it’s one that I’m still learning: the best working surface is clean, flat, and organized. It’s fine to have some comfort items, but the visual clutter just needs to disappear.

Let’s Make the Clutter Disappear To the Floor!

Has your desk ever become so cluttered that you started using the floor as extra storage space? I’ve been there so many times and it isn’t always work items that hit the floor, is it? The gym bag, the backpack, the laptop bag all tend to have a specific spot on the floor that is assigned to them! It seems like a good idea at first, but the floor is just an extension of the working space. If you’re creating space on your desk by taking up your floor space, then there’s still an issue going on.

Clutter isn’t always the extra energy drink cans or the pile of coffee mugs from the last week on your desk. Your digital clutter, or your emails and other messages, can take up even more of your time. How long did it take you to find that one specific email you needed, even with the search boxes on your preferred email program? It took me 15 minutes to find an email the other day!

It’s more than just being organized. It’s also about giving a proper first impression! You will be judged within the first 30 seconds of someone seeing your office. If it’s clean, tidy, and organized, people will think of you as a true leader. A visionary, perhaps, or someone who knows what they want out of life. Have the clutter and people will see you as reckless, without vision, and ultimately not the right person to meet their needs.

You don’t have to clean your desk every day. You do have to schedule time in your day to clean up your working area, however, because otherwise the clutter will expand. When this happens, you may just find your productivity deflating in return.

Five Ways to Increase Your Credibility at Work

Credibility is an important part of how others view you. In the workplace, having credibility can affect you in a number of ways, including determining whether or not you’re give larger projects that could lead to promotion. Unfortunately, it seems like many people have incorrect or inaccurate views of what credibility actually is, and are therefore unaware of how to improve their own credibility. According to Webster’s dictionary, credibility is “the quality or power of inspiring belief.” It’s your ability to inspire others to believe in you, and your abilities. So how do you increase your credibility?

1. Be Honest

Honesty and integrity are key elements to building your credibility. If you are unsure of your ability to complete a project, be honest about needing help. When someone asks you a question at work, answer them honestly and fairly. Finally, be committed to acting in an ethical way in everything you do. If you want to build credibility with your coworkers and bosses, it’s important that you build your reputation as an honest, ethical person.

2. Be Competent

If you truly want to appear credible at work, know your job inside and out. People trust others who appear to be experts in their field. This means that you need to be committed to learning your job well, and to consistently add to your knowledge. It’s not enough to simply read books; hands-on experience is important for building expertise as well. Whenever new workshops come up that could help build your knowledge base in your field, take advantage of the opportunity. Ask to take part in projects where you can show off your expertise.

3. Be Wise

When it comes to credibility, few things can build it faster than making good decisions. If you want to be viewed as being credible, you need to be able to ask intelligent questions that allow you to analyze a complex situation in order to make a good decision. Being able to see the big picture instead of becoming focused on the smaller details can go a long way toward building your credibility at work. Try to avoid quick judgments – gather all of the information you can about a situation before coming to any conclusions.

4. Be Empathetic (not Arrogant)

For many people, becoming an expert in their field has a tendency to make them arrogant. If you want to be viewed as credible, it’s important to avoid this. In order to build credibility with others, you have to be empathetic to their personal situation. Find out what is important to your coworkers, and take an interest in the things that are important to them, and in their personal situation. Take the time to understand where another person is coming from before you reject their point of view or suggestion. You also need to demonstrate a lack of arrogance by being willing to admit and learn from your mistakes.

5. Be Happy

Let’s face it, no one can be happy all the time. What’s important for your credibility is that you are the type of person who can lift someone else up when they’re having a bad day. Having a consistent attitude of positivity and optimism can help to make you more likeable, which can make you seem more credible to your coworkers. This means being friendly, and trying to find the humor even in the worst situations. Try to view problems as challenges to be overcome, and describe them that way when talking to others. Make an effort to express gratitude toward others both privately and publicly. Whenever possible, do this in writing.

Five Habits That Make You More Productive

In today’s fast-paced world, it seems like everyone is searching for ways to be more productive. We make list after list of things to do, consume copious amounts of caffeinated beverages, and work more hours than we ever have before, and yet many people feel as though they’re still not getting enough done.

Unfortunately, as much as technology has tools to help us stay connected to our work, it has also given us more distractions than we’ve ever had before. It seems like every few minutes our phones go off with a notification of another text message, Tweet, or Facebook post that just begs for our attention. With so much going on, it can be difficult to focus on getting things done.

Furthermore, many people have developed a misconception about what true productivity is. After all, there is more to life than checking off boxes on your to-do list. When you look at truly productive people, they are usually not focused on doing more – they’re focused on getting more value out of doing less. So how can you change your focus and become more productive? Following these five habits will give you an excellent start.

1. Pare Down the To-Do List

Being productive at work doesn’t necessarily mean checking off 30 tasks on your to-do list in eight hours. Instead, try to focus on accomplishing the things that are most important. Even better, skip making the list at all. You’re usually aware of the important things that need to be done; do you really need to spend time writing out a to-do list just so you can cross “make a to-do list” off of it?

2. Take Breaks

It might seem like taking more breaks would be contradictory to becoming more productive, the most successful people realize that breaks are good for the brain. In general, a good work day should be broken up periodically. Go for a walk, grab a healthy snack, or meditate. You’ll find that when you sit back down at your desk, you’ll be better able to focus and concentrate on getting those important tasks done.

3. Remember the 80/20 Rule

Much like paring down your to-do list, it is important to remember that about 20 percent of what you do during your day is going to produce 80 percent of your results. By eliminating those things that don’t matter, you can maximize your productivity. Try it: the next time you’re handed a big project, break it down into smaller tasks. Then, systematically remove smaller tasks until you’re left with the 20 percent that will give you 80 percent of your results.

4. Focus On Yourself in the Morning

Instead of spending the first 30 minutes of your day checking emails and going over your to-do list as you get ready for work, spend this time focusing on yourself instead. Eat a good breakfast, exercise, or spend 10 minutes meditating. This ensures that you begin your day in a calm, focused manner, in full control and prepared for what you want to accomplish.

5. Do the Most Challenging Tasks First

It can be tempting to put the harder tasks for later, but the most productive among us know that these are the tasks that should be tackled first. When you leave the more difficult things for later, they spend all day occupying your mind, distracting you from focusing on your current task. By scheduling the most difficult tasks first, you get these out of the way, freeing your mind to focus on other things later in the day.

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