Moving on to new opportunities can be an exciting time, especially if you have a fabulous new job to go to. But when it comes to telling your current employer that you’re moving on, there are a few things that you should bear in mind. Here are a few things to bear in mind:
You’ll probably have to work a notice period
Check your employment contract to find out the details of your terms and conditions. In some cases, you’ll have to provide up to a month’s notice before you leave. It’s important that you consider this before making arrangements with a new employer. This period often applies to trainee jobs as well as higher-level positions.
You may still be entitled to some holidays
Your current company may be required to give you any holidays that you’ve accumulated during your time working for the business. Sometimes, they may offer you extra payment in lieu of this. Know what you’re entitled to and be prepared to negotiate the terms depending on what’s right for you. If you can make a case that demonstrates that you’ve considered what’s best for the business, you’re much more likely to be heard.
You should organise your finances
Even if you’re leaving your job to go to another, there can be a crossover period where you’ll have to wait longer than usual before you receive your first pay check. When you have bills to pay and rent to cover, this can be problematic. Sit down with a pen and paper and carefully map out what you’ll have to pay for and how switching jobs could temporarily impact upon your finances. There may be some solutions such as taking out a short loan, but this should be done with caution and only as the very last resort.
Once you’ve accepted a new job, your new employer may ask for a reference
Some employers will wait until you’ve accepted the job before they ask your current place of work for a reference. Of course, it could make things awkward if your boss receives the request before you’ve announced that you’re leaving! Try to time things sensitively to avoid any unnecessary problems.
Handing in your resignation is final
In most organisations, there’s no going back once you hand in your resignation! As soon as it’s accepted by your employer, there’s no requirement for them to reconsider if you suddenly change your mind. Make sure that you’re absolutely certain that you want to leave before you give your notice. A bad decision at the end of a long day could be something that you’ll live to regret! Always sleep on the idea and talk to your support network or loved ones before making any commitments.
Leaving your job can be a weight off your shoulders and the opportunity to move onto bigger and brighter things, but by considering these areas before you rush into anything, you’ll be in a much better position.
What are your experiences in resigning from a job?
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This article was brought to you by Jane Smith on behalf of All The Top Bananas. ATTB allows you to search for and browse through UK jobs in one place, from engineer jobs to IT jobs. You can also upload your CV to increase your chances of being headhunted.
It happens to all of us in HR at some point in our lives. We find ourselves caught in an awkward position at work and we ask ourselves, “What is the best response here?”
I am talking about situations where compassion is needed, but with extenuating circumstances. You’ve encountered the scenario before. An employee confides something deeply personal:
- A health issue
- A break-up
- An unexpected pregnancy
She is coming to you not really as a friend, but as someone who she thinks can help her. She wants:
- A break
She doesn’t know or understand the awkward position this possibly puts you in. The information she provides may or may not be true. You know that:
- Her supervisor is at his wits end because her performance is so poor
- She was late again three times this week
- The organization doesn’t have a warm and fuzzy culture with flexibility
- There are impending layoffs and her employment is at risk
What are your responsibilities in this situation? How involved should you be? How do you protect company interests while being a human being?
Human resources practitioners are not registered psychologists or social workers. We are not “Mother Theresa”. For most of us, our employers do not want or expect us to be advocates for the downtrodden, but we are expected to be kind, helpful and looking for the win-win. We do not have a magic wand. Therefore suffice to say that there are no clear cut answers about the level of compassion we need to provide in these tough situations, only possible approaches.
Here are some things you can do:
- To the extent possible, help her find professional help. Does your benefit plan offer an EAP? Are there help lines or government services available? Is counseling a covered benefit? Keep abreast of the resources available to a person in need and share them freely. Short lists are better than single resources. Encourage her to make the call. That way, you don’t have to give advice or get overly involved.
- Are there small things you can do? Can she borrow your office for 20 minutes to get her composure or to make a private call? Is there some small token you have that you can give to her to show her that you and the Company care?
- Be clear about what you can and can’t keep confidential and your channel of communication within the organization. For most employees, the role of HR is unclear, which in many cases leads to the risk that an employee won’t come and see us out of fear or mistrust, even when it is prudent that they do so.
- Encourage her to be discrete about whom she confides in about the circumstances. The workplace is full of people who are your frenemies. Your Company has policies regarding fair treatment but you can’t control everything. While it has become commonplace for stars to rise out of their personal meltdowns, it is more difficult for the rest of us to do so. Also a privately-managed issue will likely result in less workplace disruption.
- Be clear about the conundrum created when personal information like this is shared with someone in HR. Ask for clarity on the reasons she came to you and what she expects your involvement to be. Be clear about what you can and can’t do for her.
- With regards to how the personal situation impacts her job, encourage her to speak with her Supervisor and to be open to possible solutions. Offer to open the discussion with the Supervisor if you feel there may be a risk that the Supervisor may not handle the situation in a manner appropriate to the circumstances. If it is possible, try to create clarity about the continuing performance expectations and work through strategies to address them. Try to keep to as much of a third-party approach as possible.
- Get legal advice as needed. There are a myriad of potential challenges that could present themselves if down the line she is terminated. It could be construed that you used the knowledge gained in the circumstances inappropriately with undesirable consequences.
Above all, be genuine. The success of the outcome is in direct relation to your ability to:
- Be compassionate
- Think on your feet
- Keep your head
- See it through
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The other day I happened upon the Fast Company article 12 Trends That Will Rule Products In 2013. The article was focused on consumer goods like phones and washing machines, but you know what? The trends listed made sense in the context of the workplace too and here’s why: your employees are consumers. It’s inevitable that their consumer purchasing behavior will shape their attitudes at work as well.
Here are four trends Fast Company listed that have implications for those of us in the human resources and management functions of our companies. These trends are driving employee expectations; a wise organizational leader pays attention to these inclinations and responds accordingly.
Customer-facing employees are your brain and your backbone. The article states, “The crucial element in any customer experience is still people, no matter how much technology has transformed the landscape.” Do not be seduced by what your company’s latest technology can do. The “gee whiz!” factor gets old fast – for both employees and your organization’s external customers.
Worth is determined by philosophy, not price. Can you say “intense, endless salary negotiations?” The Fast Company authors ask, “How do you determine a product’s intrinsic worth?” They say that rather than focusing on price, focus on alignment in values. Seems like a no-brainer, right? Then why is it that when the “product” is a talented job candidate, we often get mired in “nickel-and-diming” during the negotiation process? Either an employee will bring a talent set and corresponding values alignment, or s/he won’t. Are you willing to pay for that? If not, quit wasting your time and theirs.
Narrative is a delivery vehicle to make information stick. The Heath brothers made this point with Made to Stick many years ago, but it bears repeating, because, some of us still haven’t figured it out. For example, company policies and procedures are D.U.L.L. but they’re important to efficient business operation. Where’s the “story” behind why you must implement the new policy? If there’s no compelling narrative, maybe you don’t need that policy after all.
Human interaction has never been more precious. “Look for places to act more human.” We’re all fatigued with automated everything. Sure, we love the convenience, but sometimes we just crave an interactive experience with a real person. Like the Discover TV ad that features a customer who is surprised when an actual human answers her call, as leaders and HR managers, we must remember to value the power of a conversation.
Everyone is a specialist. The other day a colleague told me that they were consolidating job functions in the sales division; their sales reps would move from selling three lines of very complex business to eight. That’s insanity. The Fast Company article states “trying to be everything to everyone is a losing proposition.” I agree. People love to “show what they know” and that’s pretty tough when they must “know” everything.
Taking a seemingly unrelated topic like consumer behavior and applying it to workplace issues can help offer insights we might otherwise overlook. As leaders in our respective functions we can glean new insights on bringing out the best in our employees with a slight tweak in perspective.
What say you? How do you see consumer behavior outside the office influencing the way employees act in the workplace?
About the author: For 20+ years, Jennifer V. Miller has been helping professionals “master the people equation” to maximize their personal influence. A former HR generalist and training manager, she now advises executives on how to create positive, productive workplace environments. She is the founder and Managing Partner of SkillSource and blogs at The People Equation. You can connect with Jennifer on Twitter as @JenniferVMiller.
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“”My relationship with the office bully is strained and unproductive. Whenever we interact I get a knot in my stomach.”
If you have experienced something similar, you’re not alone. In 2013, The Workplace Bullying Institute (WBI) reported that “35% of the US workforce has experienced workplace bullying” (http://www.workplacebullying.org/individuals/problem/being-bullied/).
Bullies yell, spread rumors, roll their eyes or “forget” to invite you to meetings. According to WBI, workplace bullying is “repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons, by one or more perpetrators in the form of verbal abuse, offensive conduct/behavior and work interference.”
Rakesh Malhotra, founder of Five Global Values, writes “most bullies portray themselves … as polite and respectful, as they are charming in public …” Gretchen, from the movie, Mean Girls, says: “I'm sorry that people are so jealous of me … but I can't help it that I’m popular.” Bullies often see themselves as the victim and don’t get or care how they make others feel. Says one bully, “The biggest problem I have at work is that I don’t get respect from others.”
When bullies run amok in the workplace, they can cause emotional and psychological turmoil. Dr. Gary Namie, who is leading a campaign to enact the Healthy Workplace Bill, which requires employers to implement policies and procedures to prevent workplace bullying, says victims can have “hypertension, auto-immune disorders, depression, anxiety and … have their work and career disrupted.” One victim reports, “I did not go to the satellite office for months because I did not want to see the bully.”
To learn more about workplace bullying, The Lindenberger Group, a New Jersey-based, award-winning human resources firm, conducted written surveys and interviews in 2012. 121 people participated, from age 20 – 65, from companies with 50 – 5,000 + employees, and from a variety of industries.
Over 80% of respondents believe that bullying is a serious problem but fewer than 25% of companies do anything about it.
Bullying includes swearing, shouting, humiliation, and unwarranted criticism and blame. One victim reports, “I had to make a bank deposit so I left the office and locked the door. When the bully could not get in, she called me, screamed, and threatened to have me fired. The next day another employee showed her the office key on her key chain. She never apologized. Her response was just ‘Oh, silly me.’”
ur study, over 50% witnessed or were victims of bullying in their current workplace (60% at a previous company).
Over 95% of victims report increased stress and 90% report lower job satisfaction. Other effects include health complaints (65.4%) and lower productivity (57.9%).
Men are bullies more often (55%) and women are victims most of the time (77.1%). Most victims (59.3%) and bullies (68.6%) are ages 41 – 60 which leads to an interesting question … will Millennials (born 1977 – 1992), reputed to “play well with others”, be less prone to bully?
Another finding is that most bullies (77.6%) are at a level above the victim. In the movie, The Devil Wears Prada, Andy says about her boss, “She's not happy unless everyone around her is panicked, nauseous or suicidal.”
The majority (78.2%) state that no actions were taken to correct bullying. However, when action is taken, coaching is the preferred strategy (50%) followed by termination (38.9%).
Most believe that bullies have psychological issues (88.1%) while others see bullying as career-driven: to weed out competition (60.3%) or get ahead (52.4%). One victim states, “Our office bully needs to listen and manage her temper. She needs to stop throwing people under the bus.”
80% favor laws to prevent workplace bullying but believe that laws have not been passed because employers worry about lawsuits (63%) or don’t understand differences between bullying and harassment (59.7%). Bullying can be directed at anyone regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, age, disability or skin color. Harassment is treating someone differently because of those differences.
Over 90% think that discipline is the best course of action, 88.8% favor policies, 86.4% want to know how to report bullying, and 84.8% favor training. Says one executive, “It’s important to take complaints seriously and handle things quickly.”
The course of action for human resource professionals is clear: develop policies, provide training, let employees know how to report bullying, offer coaching, and create exit strategies. The course of action for managers is also clear – take complaints seriously and follow through with disciplinary action. Leaders must create a culture to prevent workplace bullying. And if that doesn’t happen, remember Ralphie from A Christmas Story? His best line in the movie? “Say Uncle. Say it!”
About the authors: By Judy Lindenberger and Travis Johnson. The Lindenberger Group is an award-winning human resources consulting firm located near Princeton, New Jersey with experience in developing policies, conducting training and providing coaching on all types of workplace issues, including bullying. You can learn more about The Lindenberger Group at www.lindenbergergroup.com.
As a woman in HR, gender pay equality is a topic that fascinates me.
George Fox University sociology professor, and researcher, Melanie Hulbert, was gracious enough to allow me to interview her about the subject. With Melanie Hulbert’s interview and my subsequent research, the connection between paid parental leave, and closing the gender pay gap, became extremely clear to me as well as the need for US culture to shift the idea that parental responsibilities automatically fall on the mother.
Through paid paternity leave and the equal distribution of parental duties between genders, pay equality can be better achieved. While the culture of management is ultimately responsible, HR professionals can help by championing for better parental benefits on behalf of women and all new parents in the workplace.
According to the report, Paid Leave in the States, the US is one of four countries in the world that have no federal law requiring paid time off for new parents. Liberia, Papua New Guinea, and Swaziland are the other three.
Hulbert discussed the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the lone exception to the lack of US paternity leave laws. The FMLA mandated that companies with over fifty employees, were required to provide twelve weeks of unpaid leave to those who need time to take care of a family member. The act was a step forward, but still a failure in the sense that it doesn’t include companies with less than fifty employees and the leave provided isn’t paid.
A 2011 report by Janet Walsh, deputy director of the women’s rights division of Human Rights Watch, “Failing its Families,“ reports that while over fifty nations guarantee paid leave for dads, a mere estimated 10% of non-government workers have paid parental leave in the US.
Hulbert commended countries with paternity leave rights that extend to men as well. When asked about countries leading the way in gender pay equality, Hulbert points to Scandinavia. “You cannot help but look to Scandinavian countries. Sweden and Norway are the trendsetters when it comes to gender equality, in multiple realms,” Hulbert said. “Not just in the workplace, but in politics, religion and other major institutions,” she explained.
Sweden’s paternity-leave policy, instituted in 1974, is one of the best in the world. In Sweden, the government will pay new parents a maximum of 80% of their salary up to approximately $65,000, for thirteen months. Both parents are legally required to contribute, with fathers (or mothers, depending) required to take at least two of those months. As a result, government statistics indicate that almost all Swedish fathers take off the minimum two months, at least. That said, Sweden still has a long way to go, with women still earning less than men, and women taking 76% of the parental leave according to Statistics Sweden (SCB) in 2011.
It appears that in order for gender pay equity to move forward, we must not only be more flexible and accommodating to new parents, but change the cultural narrative that the responsibility of parenting is mostly the mothers. Researchers such as Hulbert and Walsh point to government mandated maternity leave as a step towards gender pay equality.
Pay equality should be a priority for women in HR, and one way to help aid the process is including better paternity leave in the HR discussion about employee benefits.
About the author: Emily Manke is an Outreach Coordinator and blogger for Online Human Resources. She frequently contributes to OHR’s HR blog. Her interests include, writing, HR, gender equality, workplace diversity, social recruiting, music, and being outdoors. You can find her on Twitter at @HRDegrees or on LinkedIn. Emily resides in Portland, Oregon with her boyfriend of five years, and her half Red-Heeler, half Pit-Bull Spud.
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We are all guilty of it at one point or another. We mislabel it as hand holding, coaching, giving directions, leading, etc. In reality there is a world of difference between what we are really doing and all these labels we mask it under. I’m talking about nothing but that hideous spoon-feeding we all do.
Everyday we hear of stories from managers complaining about how over-reliant their employees have become on their managers to solve the tiniest of problems; how no one bothers to research an answer, and worse, as one manager put it, how this ’laziness’ as he termed it, is catching up with whom he thought were the stars on his team. The managers’ agonies are genuine and we do sympathise with them (by we I mean the HR community. After all, of all functions, HR suffers most from this spoon-feeding habit: as an employee, I don’t have to research what benefits I’m entitled for, I will call HR and they will read me that clause in the policy which by the way, is a click of a button away from me on the company portal!).
But being genuine doesn’t take away our responsibility as leaders for allowing this to fester. Let’s admit it, spoon-feeding is our own hands wrong doing. We do it with all the good intentions in the world but a time must come when we must push back if we want to institute a performance culture in our organisations.
For the one or two of you who want to know what sparked the idea of me writing this short posting about this topic, well the HR team literally spent the past 2 weeks answering employees calls and responding to emails of how to complete the employee engagement survey launched earlier last month. Despite the fact that the communication employees received was so clear, and contained a detailed step by step guide, yet no one seemed interested in reading and instead, the easy way out, ring HR, they will read for us!!
So yes, back to my point, for everyone’s sake, let’s please stop the spoon-feeding. And here’s why:
- As a leader, you want to encourage your employees to find solutions to problems they are facing. You expect them to have explored all possible solutions before knocking on your door with a problem. After all they are fully competent to do so. One leader I know constantly pushes back by asking his team two questions when they come to him with a problem: a- what in your opinion is the solution to this problem? And b- if you were me how would you solve this problem?
- Embedding the above within the culture of your organization is a perquisite of innovation. One effective approach is to challenge assumptions and stay in question mode. You want to ensure that your employees are exhausting all possibilities, and they are doing this on their own. Your role as a leader on the other hand is to trust and provide them with the right environment and resources. Do that and a new idea is inevitable. You start unearthing the potential in your team, which leads me to the third reason.
- Stopping the spoon-feeding is an effective approach to identify future leaders. Combined with the right level of empowerment, the stars on the team have an opportunity to discover new ways of doing things, do away with ‘that’s how things were done in the past’ syndrome, and outperform. Spoon-feeding keeps employees stuck in a rut and breeds mediocrity.
- Spoon-feeding erodes accountability. There is no ownership, period. You, the leader, get sucked up into solving day-to-day problems. Productivity and performance suffer.
Moral of my posting today is to say ”No” to spoon-feeding if you want an engaged population and you able to add the value a leader should be bringing to the table.
About the author: Hanadi El Sayyed is a Senior Human Resources Business Partner working for Majid Al Futtaim Properties, the market leader in development and management of shopping malls in the Middle East. Based in Dubai she specialises in strategic workforce planning and development with an emphasis on corporate sustainability and sustainable development. You can reach her on Linkedin or on Twitter as@Hana_ElSayyed.
I happen to have a propensity for guilt. Although I am not sure of the origins of this tendency to own every hiccup in life, I battle it daily. Add that I am a working mother of two small girls and this doesn’t help with my guilt ridden personality.
When it comes to being a working mom, I often cannot quite tell what exactly I feel so guilty about. Do I regret not having as much time as I would like with my girls? Or am I feeling badly about the fact that I like my job, that it satisfies a core part of my personality? If the latter, what kind of mother does that make me?
I would like to think that every mom feels just like I do but the fact is they don’t. I have some amazing women in my life who are strong and confident in their choices to excel at work and raise really likable children. These women are wonderful examples to me and their advice helps me curb the guilt.
Recently I had coffee with a girlfriend who is not only successful but is raising two adorable boys. I asked her to share insight on how she gets through the day without nagging bouts of self-reproach.
- Stop apologizing for your choices. Yes you work. Yes you like it. Yes you love your kids. All of these things can go together without competing (well most of the time-perhaps not when you have to call in sick because your 2 year old caught some awful version of the stomach bug). Change your perspective and focus on what a great example you can be to your children by modeling work ethic, passion, and drive. These are important traits to possess and who better to teach your children than you?
- Be true to who you are. Follow your own path and not a prescribed path you think is correct. There are so many ways to “mommy” children. Do it your way and you will feel better about it. I spent the first year of my oldest daughter’s life trying to prescribe to every sleep ritual out there. None of them felt right to me and none of them worked well for my daughter. Once I accepted the fact that the
Everyone faces distractions at work. Very seldom do any of us ever enjoy the luxury of eight to nine solid hours to dedicate to focusing on priorities and projects without something coming up to draw our attention elsewhere.
Maybe it’s a phone call from school to let you know your child is sick; maybe it’s your significant other calling to vent about some frustration; maybe it’s a co-worker who’s just in the mood to chit-chat about the latest reality TV show. Or maybe it’s self-inflicted distraction as you find yourself day-dreaming about that long awaited vacation that’s just around the corner.
These types of distractions are common, but also typically easy to deal with. You make arrangements for the sick child, your listen to the venting, you politely break away from the conversation with the co-worker, or you tell yourself if you can just focus for a few more days that vacation will be here soon enough. You do what you need to do and soon after return to the task at hand.
But what happens when you’re faced with a distraction that’s not quite so easy to deal with? What happens when it’s a more major crisis in your life, or even a series of significant distractions that all but sap any hope for concentration you might have?
I was faced with this kind of distraction a few months back. It came at a time of year that usually leaves me a bit melancholy anyway; as the long, warm, busy days of summer transitioned into the cooler, more mellow days of fall and winter, I found myself facing a particularly difficult time with an unexpected brief illness and subsequent death in my family. And because I have been very fortunate in my life to not have had to face many experiences like this, the loss hit me
During this time, there were days that I found myself struggling to focus on much of anything, nonetheless work. For the most part, I was able to accomplish what I needed to do to get by - but there were days when more than that was just not possible. Sometimes that meant finding busy work to make the hours pass. Sometimes it meant leaving the office and taking a book to Starbucks for a coffee and a 30 minutes of reading to force my mind to focus on something.
As time went on, I was able to start powering through and get myself back on track, but it led me to wonder if there was a better way? Were there any tricks I was missing, any secrets to pushing past the distraction?
Beyond that, it made me contemplate how do we as HR professionals and managers help our employees through their distractions? Every day, around us there are likely numerous employees who are attempting to deal with their own personal struggles, some of whom may be very good at hiding that fact. How do we recognize the signs and support them through it?
What about you? How do you manage your distractions when faced with them? How do you get yourself back on track? And how do you help those around you manage theirs?
About the author: Jennifer Payne, SPHR is experienced in employee relations, employment/staffing and training & development. She currently works in talent management in the retail grocery industry and is honored to be in the company of such talented and seasoned Women of HR bloggers. Jen is a fan of happy hours, hockey, traveling and connecting with interesting people. You can connect with her on Twitter as @JennyJensHR and on LinkedIn as Jennifer Payne, SPHR.
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Typically over the holidays I end up watching a lot of television. This time of year there are always season finales and competitions and other things to catch up on, and for me this year was no exception.
Based upon the things I saw, I’m convinced that 2013 will be the year for women.
Why? Well, because women were hugely showcased at the end of the year, in ways and in places that were surprising.
First, Alex Guarneschelli won the Next Iron Chef, Redemption competition. For those that don’t know much about the world of haute cuisine, there are few female chefs, and where women exist, they are often not at the top. But this time, the final two chefs in the competition were women, and they cooked their hearts out. The best part about the finals is that both Alex Guarneschelli and fellow finalist Amanda Freitag made it without special consideration. They made great dishes, period.
Second, the 2012 Kennedy Center Honors show performance was carried by awesome women (even though the deserving recipients were with one exception, men). Think about this. Tina Fey’s tribute to David Letterman was funny, poignant, and quintessentially spoken as a woman, even though David Letterman, by all accounts, is not. Bonnie Raitt, a trailblazer in her own right, performed Buddy Guy’s Sweet Home Chicago with a raspy finesse that only she can do. And Heart’s Ann and Nancy W
ilson, the bedrock of the women’s rock movement, belted out Stairway to Heaven in a way that not only respected Led Zeppelin but brought new significance to what is arguably the greatest rock tune ever written.
So women adding new context to the traditional; I like that. It seems a lot of other people did also.
Is this a trend? I hope so!
From a human resources perspective, I wonder what 2013 will bring for women. As barriers break and as it becomes more normal, and less novel, for women to contribute unique things to our workplaces at the highest level—all the better. We need to think about a people movement.
That said, it will be a good thing when articles and blogs like this no longer have to be written, when women’s achievements are not unique or noteworthy as a women’s achievement. Until then though, I look forward to seeing and hearing about all the occasions when women rocked it.
Here’s to 2013.
About the author: Bonni Titgemeyer is the Managing Director of The Employers’ Choice Inc. She has been in human resources for 20+ years and works in the international HR arena. She is the recipient of the 2012 Toronto Star HR Professional of the Year Award. You can connect with Bonni on Twitter as @BonniToronto, often at the hashtag #TEPHR.
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We are unwrapping some posts from the Women of HR archives for you this holiday season. Relax, enjoy and let us know if there is a favorite of yours you'd like to see unwrapped and run again.
Our fearless leader over here at Women of HR recently sent us a link to an awesome manifesto titled, Six Rules Women Must Break In Order to Succeed. The list includes provocative ideas such as taking center stage, being politically savvy, and playing to win.
I have a rule I'd like to add to the list and it's a big one:
In this instance, by care I mean taking responsibility for anything outside your own purview and trying to fix, make better, help, show concern, or apologize for problem or issue that you did not create.
The fact is, women already apologize far more often than men. And we apologize for different reasons, often to convey sympathy rather than responsibility. Here's a great example from dinner with my brother and sister last night. We were going to a football game and meeting the rest of our family. The waiter forgot to put in her order and then came back to discuss it as the rest of us were finishing the meal. She told him to forget it. He tried to argue with her about it, since he'd just put the order in.
My sister said, “I’m really sorry, but I had said I didn’t want that shrimp dish after all. We’re trying to get to a
football game. Since you forgot to order the dish, everyone else is finished. Please cancel it.”
He brought it out ten minutes later. She said again, to the waiter: “Thanks, but like I said, we don’t want this shrimp now. I’m sorry.” He left it on the table as he went to get the check. The shrimp dish was on the bill.
My brother said to the waiter: “Hey, man, you screwed up. I guess you’re eating shrimp for dinner. But we’re not paying for it. And we don’t want to drag this doggy bag full of shrimp all over town tonight.”
Notice the difference?
My brother is not known to be especially assertive, but my sister is known to be particularly so, for a woman. And she still apologized twice for a mistake she didn't make. My sister was trying to convey sympathy, but the waiter apparently heard responsibility – why would she apologize if she hadn't somehow helped create the problem?
Care less. Apologize less. Or at least count the number of times you say, “I'm sorry,” compared to your male peers. Let people take responsibilities for their own mistakes. It won't kill them. And continuing to care too much about the people around you might kill you. Or worse, send you driving home with a dish of shrimp scampi that has been sitting in your car for 3 hours on a hot Houston night.
About the author: Franny Oxford, SPHR is an HR leader for Texas entrepreneurs and privately held companies. Franny is committed to helping all members of the HR profession become better risk takers and stronger questioners of the status quo. You can connect with her on Twitter as @Frannyo.
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