Some cringe-worthy moments seem better suited to TV sitcoms, but they can happen in your family: an uncle or aunt who hasn't seen you in a while will ask probing questions about your career or job hunt. Whether you're employed full-time or you're someone who has been on the search for a while, it can be an uncomfortable, and sometimes just plain inappropriate, situation. Here are some ways to avoid the chitchat — gracefully, of course.
- Anticipate the questions. Knowing your family, try think of the most common questions that will be asked so you're prepared with answers. If you heard, "So when are you taking over that CEO position?" last year, then chances are you'll hear it again this time around.
- Use humor. It is, after all, the best medicine, especially if you can find the right time to use it. For instance, if someone asks if you've had any luck with the job hunt, then you can respond with something along the lines of "You mean in this booming economy?"
- Initiate the conversation yourself. If there's someone you just know you can't avoid who will ask improper questions, then start the conversation yourself. That way, you can at least have some control over what subjects you talk about. Be sure to follow up with questions to avoid being on the answering end of too many inquiries.
- Have a back-up plan. Does your cousin or sibling share in your discomfort? Set up a game plan so that if, for example, you give her a raised-brow look, she'll come over to save you from five more minutes of awkward conversation with someone else. Try to also have an excuse handy when you want to exit the conversation: "Did I hear mother say she needs help in the kitchen?"
- Change the subject. If all else fails and you can't avoid the chitchat because you're seated next to the probing person at dinner, then there's nothing wrong with giving a few short yes or no answers and politely saying that you'd rather talk about something else. Turn the conversation back to him by, for instance, asking how his latest trip was.
Have any tips of your own? Share them in the comments!
It's crucial for women to have mentors, especially if they want to get ahead in the workplace. In her keynote speech at Dreamforce 2013, Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating officer of Facebook, says that a barrier women often face is not being able to be alone in a room with a man. She says that it should be "badge of honor for men and women to be alone in the room."
According to Sandberg, It's important to be able to be alone in a room with a man, because the people who are in power are largely men. And for truly effective mentoring and sponsoring, women and men need to be able to have "alone conversations."
Both women and men may find it hard to adjust to the idea that it's OK to have professional conversations behind closed doors because of the implications of talking about something other than business. I know that I can be overly cautious when meeting with a professional contact of the opposite gender who is older than I am. My wariness sometimes extends to the point where I forgo one-on-ones to avoid the potential awkwardness. However, this caution does stem from past experiences with inappropriate attention from men who I was trying to cultivate purely professional relationships with. And I'm not alone in this — many women have similar experiences. Take, for example, the whole debacle with Bora Zivkovic, renowned in his field and a former contributor to Scientific American, who has been accused of sexually harassing several young women who only had intentions of gaining a mentor.
These experiences, both personal and the ones we hear about in the media, have caused a natural reaction in many to avoid developing close relationships with mentors and sponsors of the opposite gender. However, perhaps it's not fair to paint all potential interactions with the same brush. And it may only be hurting women, because it's clear that most of the people in the positions of power are men. Just look at how many female CEOs there are in Fortune 500 companies — only 22, which makes up 4.4 percent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 CEO roles.
If women don't feel comfortable reaching out to men who are in power, we are limiting ourselves to a very small pool, which can affect opportunities for more women to hold executive roles. Women earn 77 cents to every dollar men make, but maybe we can start to turn the tide by overcoming this stigma and learning to be comfortable with having "alone conversations" with men.
Why, yes! I do kind of live here
If you've used a different address on your résumé to tailor it to where the job is based, don't lie about it when it comes up in the interview. If your potential employer asks you where you live, tell them where you currently live, but let them know that you're willing to move for the job. The problem with this lie is you may have several rounds of interviews and you'll have to keep flying back and forth for them. If they think you live in the city, they'll probably give you short notice for interviews and those last-minute flights can be really expensive.
I make so much more than my real salary
If your interviewer asks you how much you made at your last job, you may think it's a white lie to fudge the numbers a little. However, some employers ask for a copy of your W2, so you may want to be cautious about giving a fake amount because it can be construed as unethical. If you don't want to cough up your previous salary, let it be known that you don't think it has any bearing on this new job and cite the typical industry number. If you're pushed to give your previous income, tell them you won't consider an offer below $XX. This is a gray area that many have different opinions on — some like Bargaineering founder Jim Wang don't think that there's anything wrong with a little inflation, while others vehemently disagree.
That's totally my GPA
If you think that inflating your grade point average will get you the job, you may want to reconsider. Some companies request a copy of your transcript or verification with the school, especially those with job positions that require a minimum GPA.
No, I didn't get fired at my last job
Given the bad economy, there are plenty of people that have been laid off so don't be afraid to let the interviewer know. Try not to go into the details, especially if you harbor resentment, and let her know what happened and what you learned from the experience.
Remember, the general rule of thumb is to be honest during your interview. It's different for everyone, but if you get asked uncomfortable questions, there's always a polite way of refusing to answer.
No matter what career you're in, salaries are a key part and negotiation is important to save you from losing money in the long run. Business Insider shares why women should step up to the plate and start negotiating for higher pay.
Not negotiating your salary early and often can cost you more than $1 million in lost earnings over the course of your career, according to a recent analysis by Salary.com.
And when it comes to salary negotiations, women can be their own worst enemies. Research shows that women are significantly less likely to negotiate for higher salaries then men, especially when it's unclear whether negotiating is expected.
According to one NBER working paper by Andreas Leibbrandt of Monash University and John A. List of the University of Chicago, researchers posted a variety of jobs in markets around the U.S. Some had an explicit option to negotiate, and others left it unsaid. When the ability to negotiate a higher salary is ambiguous, men are significantly more likely to negotiate for higher salaries then women.
Further, men actually applied to the job postings with ambiguous salaries at higher rates. It seems that men apply more to these jobs, negotiate more, and reap what the authors term a "disproportionate amount of the surplus, relative to women."
It seems like a task only a superhero can accomplish — raising a family and advancing at work at the same time. But, you shouldn't let the fear hold you back, said fashion designer Nanette Lepore during a Google+ Hangout with ShopStyle. Below are some of Lepore's thoughts on career, being a woman in business, and more.
1. Don't be afraid of having it all
"I think that it's important to realize that you can do it all and not to hold yourself back from having a family or trying to start a business. I remember as soon as I had my daughter, I got so much more productive, and I see it in women all the time. As soon as you add the baby to the family, you're under a bigger challenge to be even more efficient and productive, so I think . . . this extra sense kicks in and you're able to do it all.
I wish someone pushed me to start sooner and made me feel comfortable about having a child in New York City, because you hear [about how hard it is to have a child in the city] a lot. And that was one of the excuses I used. I was [also] afraid of being distracted from my job and my business. But I really think that you just have to believe you can do it, and you shouldn't deprive yourself of having everything."
Being successful in any career takes time and effort. DailyWorth shares tips from a former Cosmopolitan editor in chief on how to be successful in the workplace.
Meet Kate White, former editor in chief of Cosmopolitan magazine (and three other major publications before that). On top of an impressive 14-year tenure at Cosmo — where she grew its readership by 700,000 and solidified the magazine’s spot as the bestselling monthly on the newsstand at the time — Kate is a novelist, speaker, and recipient of the Matrix Award for outstanding achievement in communication and the Woodhall Institute For Ethical Leadership Victoria Award. She’s also a wife and mother of two.
In her latest career guide, I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This: How to Ask For the Money, Snag the Promotion, and Create the Career You Deserve, which came out in paperback this month, Kate reveals her strategies on getting ahead in the workplace.
We asked her to share her success secrets with us. Here they are, in her own words.
No. 1 Don’t Let Your Job Get in the Way of Your Career.
We get so caught up in managing our jobs that we don't remember the career stuff. One day when I was in my early 30s, I looked at the age of women who were editors in chief of their first magazines. I began to realize they were all around 38 years old — so I didn't have all that much time.
I took a couple of public speaking courses with the idea of preparing, even if I didn't know it was what I wanted for sure. And networking is so important. I've said networking isn't everything — it's the only thing. In our careers, we let that go when we aren't actively looking for our next job, but you should really be networking all the time.
No. 2 Don’t be Afraid to Say No.
Sometimes it’s OK to say no to opportunities, if you feel it is going to be too much at this moment. After the Anne-Marie Slaughter piece [“Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,” in The Atlantic], there was a lot of talk about mothers having it all. I just think you always have to make trade-offs as a parent, trade-offs in your marriage, in your beauty routine, in your fitness routine, etc. You may not be able to have every opportunity during some really busy periods in your life . . . But as long as you’re keeping a lot of vitality in your career and you’re networking, another opportunity will come around.
It's the question everyone's dying to know: How does Giada De Laurentiis manage to stay so slim? The Food Network chef comes clean about her clean diet in her recent cookbook release. Quite the departure from her bread and
butter olive-oil Italian cookbooks, Giada's Feel Good Food ($19, originally $33) focuses on recipes that are predominately healthy, vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. But that's not the only way Giada is expanding her brand. We talked about her other surprising ventures, including what she hopes to be remembered as. Spoiler alert: it's not a TV personality. Read on to see the full interview.
Whether in an entry-level or senior position, every employee who has held a job has had a boss before. LearnVest has compiled eight questions you should ask to ensure a successful relationship with your boss.
Think about it: You probably only hear from your boss when a) you royally screwed up, b) you majorly kicked ass or … c) it’s performance review time.
Feedback from your supervisor is what you crave, unless you’re happy flying under the radar, which certainly won’t help you advance. Getting honest input from your supervisor is crucial to your relationship with your boss—and, like it or not, your relationship with your boss can make or break your career. A solid rapport makes deadlines a breeze and the workday go by in a flash; but a shaky one can render even a short elevator ride interminable.
Plus, having a good relationship with your boss may even reduce stress at work. In a workplace study by the American Psychological Association, up to 75% of respondents said the most stressful aspect of their job is their immediate boss.
Here, we asked an expert to share a few key questions you can ask that will help you and your supervisor get on (or stay on) the right track.
1. How was your weekend?
When to ask: “Monday mornings are hectic and everyone’s got a million things on their to-do list—but don’t overlook the opportunity to ask about your boss’ weekend,” suggests Jodi Glickman, author of “Great on the Job: What to Say, How to Say It: The Secrets of Getting Ahead. “It gives you an opportunity to start building a personal relationship and connect on a non-work level.” Try to ask something specific, like if her daughter won her softball game or how the client dinner went—it’ll show you’ve been paying attention.
Why it’s important to ask: The more you know about your boss, the better. By understanding how she spends her time when she’s not at the office, you’ll learn what’s important to her. “It allows you two to build a real relationship that extends beyond spreadsheets and timelines,” Glickman explains. “It gives you another dimension to connect on so she also sees you as not just a subordinate but someone with a personal life and outside interests, too. Furthermore, by sharing personal details about your life, you will appear more mature and invested in the relationship. That scores big points with management.”
The premiere of Catching Fire is almost here! There are so many reasons why the trilogy appeals to us — we're awed by Katniss's strength and pluck, qualities we can all definitely use in the workplace. Although the office isn't exactly a "kill or be killed" environment, there are plenty of lessons we can learn from our favorite heroine.
1. Image matters
Everyone's watching — people will judge you based on how you portray yourself externally, so try not to get too comfortable. Getting drunk at work events and passing along negative office gossip won't endear yourself to anyone. Try to keep really personal topics out of the office, and always put your best professional foot forward.
2. Build solid alliances
One of the reasons for Katniss's success is the strong alliances she makes over time. The key thing to remember here is to forge genuine connections. We've all seen the drawbacks of partnerships with hidden agendas in the trilogy. False partners can end up stabbing you in the back (literally) and will not help you professionally. Don't pretend to be all chummy with someone you have problems with, or your efforts won't seem genuine. And if you do have issues with someone, find a way to give constructive feedback if it's work-related. If it's personal, try to get over it, because as The Hunger Games fans all know, life can definitely be very short.
3. Make sacrifices
Sometimes, you need to go the extra mile to show your true worth. In the first book, Katniss gives herself up for her sister to participate in the games, which makes her a favorite among the Capitol audience. There are times when there will be tasks you don't want to do or when your company enacts changes you don't like. Don't complain and moan about it to fellow colleagues or your boss. Instead, find ways to work around it and to make it work for you.