Category Archives: On the Job

Can I get people to like me more?

I like some people right away. Others take a while, though I may end up liking them more in the end. Why is that? And how do others react to me when we first meet? I did a little research on how to get people to like you, and here are ten of the top tips, in no particular order:

1. Give sincere compliments and thanks. Everyone knows a suck-up, but it’s pretty easy to give honest compliments even if you’ve just met someone. Clothing and accessories are a sure bet. “Hey–that’s a great bag.” Personal traits or characteristics work, too. “I admire the team you’ve built. They work together so well.” “Thanks for introducing yourself. I appreciate that you went out of your way.”

2. Ask lots of questions. Most people love to talk about themselves. It’s their favorite topic. And one of the first lessons in sales is that the person asking the questions is the one in control of the conversation. Asking questions to get to know someone you just met is a sign that you’re interested in them, and we’re all more apt to like people who take a shine to us, right? Continue reading


What if you can’t get motivated?

It’s Friday afternoon at 4:55PM, and I’ve lost motivation. I wish I had a great idea to share, but I just don’t. I want to blog, but I can’t for the life of me figure out anything to write.

So instead I’m going to walk through what I do when I’m unmotivated. (Look at me–I’m writing about not having anything to write. Trippy.) I wrote about being unmotivated at work before, but that was a list of specific tasks you can do when you can’t think of anything else. This is more like a process I use to get the juices flowing.

1. Make a list. The first thing I do when I’m unmotivated is organize. Sometimes I clean out my inbox, other times I sort the papers on my desk. I’m so much more efficient when I work from a list, so putting my to-dos down on paper is a great way to get started. I ask myself “If I was motivated, what should I be doing?” Continue reading

I can’t make friends at work!

Starting a new gig presents a different set of challenges. Not only are there concerns about learning the business, getting around campus, and driving a new route (or–gasp!–figuring out the bus schedule), but you also have to meet new people. I know lots of outgoing, friendly types who don’t have a single problem with this. But I know just as many people who are more naturally introverted or shy, and would prefer to be introduced by someone else rather than take the initiative. For these folks, making new friends at work can be a challenge. Continue reading

Am I a hateful person?

Hate is a strong word and a powerful emotion. So is Love. Since there’s no such thing as loving too much, I worry more about hate. It’s easy to openly declare war on personal peeves, like when people use emoticons at work, or listen in to loud conference calls on their speaker phone. Have you ever said “I hate people who use their speaker phone for conference calls!” when you really meant “I find it inconsiderate when people use their speaker phones for conference calls.” (Similarly, I have a friend who thinks everything is either “fabulous,” or “the coolest thing I’ve ever seen.” Nobody seems to mind when people over-exaggerate in support of something.)  Continue reading

Of the traits I look for in new employees, intelligence is not in the top three

Shocked?  I was, too.  But last week I was ranking a group of traits, and I found intelligence consistently falling somewhere between 3 and 8, depending on the granularity of the list.  Wow.  I look at it this way: There’s no such thing as too hard-working.  There is such thing as too smart.

The most common failing I’ve seen in consultants, both senior and junior, is hubris.  Hubris’ co-pilot is usually intelligence (or, more accurately, perceived intelligence).  Confidence is important, but only when balanced by humility.  I’ve known far too many people who combine intelligence with confidence and attitude and stop working hard.  Instead of prolific production of amazing work, these people work hard only when absolutely necessary and otherwise find ways to do the minimum level required to succeed.   Continue reading

How next week will be my most productive week ever

There’s a decent productivity book for every day of the year.  In true business book fashion, they all say roughly the same thing.  One tip you’ll find in every single one of them is to make lists.  So I’m going with it.  Next week, I’m going to start every day by making a list of the things I can reasonably expect to accomplish.  Some days the list might be three bullets, and some days it might take up two pages.  I don’t really know, because I haven’t been the list-making type.

Ten minutes of listing at the start of every day should result in improved productivity, right?  If it doesn’t, no big deal.  I’m trying it for a week, and we’ll see how it goes.  Hopefully I’ll have something good to report a week from today.

Talk about what you do, not who you work for

I’ve seen it a hundred times–at happy hours, weekend parties, and family gatherings.  The conversation goes something like this:

Established professional:
Young professional:
“So, what do you do?” “I work for 3M.”
“What do you do for them?” “I work in Finance.”
“Do you enjoy it?” “Yeah, it’s a good job.”

Continue reading