Thursday, April 28, 2011

Saying Yes to Time Management

By Social Media Working Girl

I'm a people pleaser. If someone needs help, a ride, advice, an errand, a favor...they usually come to me - mostly because they know I'll say yes.

You see, saying no has never been one of my fortes. The art of saying no in the workplace is especially hard for me since I'm not the gal in charge.

I have bosses. I have several of them. People give me assignments, hand over projects, designate tasks and without fail, they all wait for the, "yes, no problem, absolutely, you betcha, happy to help, you got it" complete with a thumbs up or high-five in response. They simply expect that you will manage your time in such a manner to just get it done.

But clearly we can't always say yes. With only 24 hours in the day, it's simply impossible for us Working Girls to take on every task and assignment that crosses our desk or inbox. So how do we say no?

Plain and simple--we don't.

We don't say, "nope, no can do, sorry, no thanks" and that's the end of it. Instead, we prioritize. We learn how to stay organized, on task and most importantly - we master the art of time management.

If you're like me, you're a 20-something Working Girl who's early on in her career, eager to learn and be challenged, and someone who really can't afford to say no to anyone. I need all the help, advice, projects and experience I can get.

Why say no when there's no reason you shouldn't say yes?

Lauren Fernandez perfectly addressed this topic in her recent "Single PR Pros: You Suck at Time Management" post. She writes:

“Time management is an art that few excel at, although many claim otherwise. Work duties, family, dating, networking and friends all have a place in your life during the week. It’s not about how much time you devote to each entity. It’s about the type of routine and habits you develop to fit it all in.”

And while Lauren discusses time management in terms of work-life balance, the same holds true in the workplace. It’s not about being superwoman. It’s about learning to balance the to-do list, prioritizing which line items take precedence over others.

So, say yes.

Chances are you won't get to every project today, this week or even this month. Instead, you'll show that you are ready, willing and fully capable of balancing a busy work schedule while also producing quality work.

And who knows... that determination, hard work and diligence might land you a future gig that let's you assign all the projects.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

And Then There Was One

by Lawyer Working Girl

Last week was a good week and a bad week. The good news is that one of my friends/colleagues got a new job making more money and with a better title. The bad news is that she left me and now I'm all alone! *insert tears* Let me back up a bit...

Not too long after I started working here, I became good friends with three women here. Not only did we chat at work, but we also hung out after work and on weekends. Then it happened. One of my friends got a new job. Then it happened again. Another friend transferred to an office in a different city. And last week it happened yet again. The last friend put in her notice and now she's gone. *insert more tears*

It's funny how when one person leaves others start to get the itch to leave. I'm going to be honest. I've got that itch REAL bad. Ok, let me be really honest. I've had the itch for a while, but now I feel a sense of urgency about it. And I'm not the only one.

Why am I ready to leave? Well, one reason is that I'm so ready to do something that makes me happy. I've talked about it before so I will spare you guys a little. I envy those who enjoy going to their jobs everyday. I want that to be me! The second reason is that I miss my old city. I'm ready to move back. Whenever I go for a visit, it's always hard to come back.

So, now I'm on a mission to find the perfect job for me (of course, working for myself would be the BEST, so the perfect job for me that involves working for someone else). I'm keeping my fingers crossed that things happen for me pretty quickly.

Working Girls, are any of you job hunting? If so, how's it going?

Friday, April 22, 2011

Would You Rather...?

by Working Girl One

Good Work & Good People. What a world it would be if we could always have both! If you HAD to choose, would you rather do work that you love with people you dislike or do work you dislike with people you love?

{image via}

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Get Your 'Tina Fey' Glasses

by Working Girl One

Most of my commute last week was spend reading Tina Fey's Bossypants. If you happened to be on Metro North (oh yeah, I moved...more on that later) last week and noticed a girl in stitches reading an iPad and nearly spitting her coffee on it, you probably saw me.

Rather than providing a full review of her memoir, I thought I'd just share just a few of my favorite quotes. Because, really, if you like Tina Fey (and who doesn't?), you'll love, love, love Bossypants...even if the cover grosses you out a bit.

There were so many gems of advice sprinkled throughout the hilarious stories of Tina Fey's life that I nearly highlighted the entire book. These are a few of many career-related nuggets that I just had to share.

"Some people say 'Never let them see you cry.' I say, if you're so mad you could just cry, then cry. It terrifies everyone."

"Contrary to what I believed as a little girl, being the boss almost never involves marching around, waving your arms, and chanting, "I am the boss! I am the boss!'"

"This is what I tell young women who ask me for career advice. People are going to try to trick you. To make you feel like you are in competition with one another...Don't be fooled. You're not in competition with other women. You're in competition with everyone."

"So my unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism or ageism or lookism or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: 'Is this person in between me and what I want to do?' If the answer is no, ignore it and move on. Your energy is better used doing your work and outpacing people that way."

And finally, this might be my favorite because we all know someone like this at work:

"There was the Program Director, who talked exclusively in nonsense business language 'We are attempting to pro-activate the community by utilizing a series of directives intended to maximate communicative agreeance.'"

Monday, April 18, 2011

Am I weak?

by In Transition Working Girl

I have been dying to write about this for over a week and would like to pose a question to all of you Working Girls. But first, let me set up the situation for you.

Recently, I was given the opportunity to go to lunch with two of my co-workers. The first is someone who, I think, finds a reason to yell at me on a weekly basis and the second, is the person I replaced. It was sort of an odd lunch, but the person who always yells at me thought it might be nice to get to know the "old me" since we are around the same age. It was really great, the "old me" and I hit it off right away.

After the get-to-know-you conversations, the conversation quickly turned to how my boss is non-confrontational and how the person who yells thinks being non-confrontational is a sign of weakness. I stopped in my tracks, this is why I get yelled at! This had me thinking all week, since I would rather talk through the issue, this makes me weak? What do you think?

I think that in the workplace there are many different styles of management and dealing with issues in a confrontational manner can only escalate the situation. To me the word confrontation has negative a very connotation. I would rather talk through the issue, let both people state their point of view and come to a resolution. I do understand that there are people who run from any sort of confrontation, but that does not make them weak, it just means they need to be communicated to in a different way.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Trash Talking the Boss

by Lawyer Working Girl

The past few weeks at work have been long and stressful. One week I worked Monday through the next Sunday. I was getting very little sleep and it was taking a toll on my mood. Yes, Working Girls, I was moody, but I can tell you that I was not the only one. I've been feeling the stress level rise around the office for the last few weeks. Smiles have worn off people's faces, colleagues are getting confrontational with each other, and employees are snapping at their superiors.

I have a couple of colleagues with whom I can bad talk the job or the people we work with only because I truly trust them and they trust me enough to be honest about how they are feeling on the job. I know some of you think that's probably a bad move--trash talking with coworkers--but I think some trash talk is expected at work amongst employees, right?

I also find myself tweeting my feelings some days. I'm never specific, never name names, and I've never tweeted the name of my company. It's usually something very generic like, "My patience is wearing thin" on a day when someone was trying to tell me how to do my job. If my boss read my tweets, I don't think he or she would find anything pointing to him or her or the company, but I have wondered if anyone monitors our personal online activities.

I recently read an article that discusses this very thing. There was a case in Connecticut where the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a company cannot fire its employees for complaining about their bosses on Facebook. I'm kind of for this ruling and against this ruling (just like a lawyer, huh?).

On one hand, I believe that employees should be allowed to live their personal lives without the company butting in; but on the other hand, if someone is out there bashing the company's image or disrespecting the boss, I don't think that should be tolerated. I mean, it's one thing to talk about your boss (which I never do because I actually like my boss a lot) or company or colleagues amongst your colleagues, but when you start bad-mouthing to the outside world that's different. You're possibly damaging your company's image. I think of it as most people think of their families--it's ok for you to talk about your family members, but as soon as someone outside of the family says something, it's not ok.

Working Girls, what are your thoughts on this? Do you find yourself venting through social media? How do you ensure that it doesn't affect your career?

Monday, April 11, 2011

E-mail Errors

by Editing Working Girl

I can be reached by e-mail at all times, both business and personal. I love the fact that though a few years ago this would seem obsessive behavior.But with the bounds and leaps of smart phones, pretty much every one of you can claim the same fate.

With all of this constant connection, something is bound to go wrong. Like that e-mail that you thought you only sent out to a coworker calling your boss' bluff but didn't realize you hit "Reply All". Maybe even that draft you keep to rant in that accidentally was sent? That e-mail to a customer that was meant for a coworker? Sometimes, it happens.

Luckily, I have only had this experience in a very mild manner. I was forwarding an e-mail to a coworker so he could see my prior conversations with a customer he was on the phone with and accidentally sent it to the customer. No harm, no foul. But what if I had said something bad in the e-mail? What would I have done?

I think the best way to handle that sort of situation, is to be completely upfront and claim responsibility. This can go further than you think. Instead of blaming it on the e-mail system, computer, internet, distraction - admit fault. Yes, you did accidentally send a horrible e-mail out, but trying to hide behind the computer further will only make things worse. Secondly, depending on how bad the e-mail actually was, make sure to throw the appropriate apology in there. Maybe it will open up discussion between you and your boss? Maybe your coworker will forgive the things you said? Hopefully, you will get the issue resolved.

As Editing Working Girl, this is where I plug the great habit of editing every e-mail. If you make it a priority to glance over your e-mails before you send it (starting with the Send To line) there is a good chance you can avoid this situation. I do it now for every work e-mail I send after that mishap with the customer. I take it to the next level and after I forward an e-mail I check my Sent folder to make sure it did, in fact, go to the right person. Be proactive.

As the woman in charge of Twitter at my office, I have, on more than one occasion, sent out a personal tweet on the work account, and vice versa. Luckily, I have always caught it right away and Twitter has a delete button.

Has this e-mail snafu happened to you? What advice do you offer Working Girls who may be going through this situation (or may go through it in the future)?