Every job is different, but most bosses seek the same set of basic characteristics in their employees. You can wipe out some of the stress your manager causes by learning and anticipating her quirks, understanding her expectations, and talking to her about shared goals and needs. Get a head start by making sure you are radiating these attributes in the workplace.
Whatever your profession, whatever your position, it won't hurt to follow a few essential guidelines for your office wardrobe. It isn't always easy to know what's appropriate for every office, but we're tackling the tricky dos and don'ts of work wear with these six simple tips. Regularly find yourself standing in front of your closet, struggling to decide what looks professional? Follow these rules to further your career style.
- Always aim for a polished, professional look. Regardless of your position or industry, keep things neat, clean, and work-appropriate. Whether you're the intern or the CEO, it's important to present yourself in a sophisticated way. Translation: don't let your bra straps show, keep clothes wrinkle-free, and steer clear of any footwear that's too casual.
- Invest in a tailor. Wearing clothes that fit makes a huge difference not only in how you feel about yourself, but also in how you're perceived. A perfectly tailored skirt or blazer makes you look sharp and put together, while an ill-fitting blouse or unhemmed pants can come across as apathetic. Show that you care about yourself and your job by getting your go-to items tailored.
- Narrow down the dress code rules. The definition of "casual" or "business casual" can vary from office to office, so before you show up in your Sunday sweats, ask around to find out what people usually wear. If you find that you're veering toward too-casual territory, remember that a structured jacket, jewelry, and nice shoes can help you dress up an otherwise relaxed outfit.
- Feel comfortable with casual Fridays. A casual end-of-the-week dress code is fairly standard, so don't hesitate to take advantage of the easygoing policy. Not sure how you feel about it? See what your manager wears on Fridays and use her outfits as a guideline.
- Be prepared for a variety of situations. You never know when an emergency event or an unplanned meeting might pop up, so keep a few items at the office to help your clothes shift from simple to sharp. Leave an eye-catching necklace, a pair of heels, and a classy bag in your desk just in case.
- Look for inspiration on the street. As you walk to work or grab your morning coffee, take note of what other professional women are wearing. Look around while you're on the bus, riding the elevator, or at lunch to see what works and what doesn't.
Do you have any work-wear guidelines? Share them in the comments below!
You're probably sick of talking about why you were laid-off and how your job search is going, and unfortunately those questions will keep coming until you've found a new job. Potential employers will certainly want to know the reasons behind your unemployment, meaning you'll have to discuss what happened during a situation in which you're already vulnerable. Learn how to handle the sensitive interview question so that you're not left stuttering through an answer.
You may not wake up singing "Good Day Sunshine!" every morning, but that doesn't mean you have to slug through a slow morning routine. Careful planning and self-motivation tactics can help you wake up on the right side of the bed and streamline your daily productivity, to-do list annihilation, and a better morning in the office.
Most of us wish we could linger in bed a little while longer, but getting out of it earlier means getting back into it sooner. Here are simple tips for making each morning good personally and professionally.
If you can't remember the last time you saw your friends, you haven't put on your sneakers in months, or you regularly find yourself checking your phone even when it hasn't beeped, then you probably need to step back and shift your priorities. There's something to be said for hard work, but if all those tireless hours take away from what makes you you, then it's time to strive for some balance. Follow these easy steps to add more leisure to your life.
- Create "break" appointments. If you struggle to tear away from work on your own, then why not pencil it in? Create a phone alert, add it to your Outlook calendar, and consider that "me" time into a must-do.
- Put exercise on your to-do list. One of the best ways to clear your mind and de-stress is to get your body moving, so do what you can to stick to your fitness routine. Whether it's an early-morning gym session or a late-night walk around the block, those precious moments are sure to help you stay sane.
- Limit at-home work hours. Technology makes it easy to work 24 hours a day, but that doesn't mean you should. If you need to work at home, then set a time limit beforehand so that you don't overdo it.
- Leave your phone at home. Truth is, you don't need to be connected all the time; that isn't healthy. When you're heading to the gym or the grocery store, leave your phone behind and check out for a while.
Read on for more ways to improve your work-life balance.
Showing appreciation for co-workers should be as easy as saying, "Thanks, buddy!" But somehow, those two words can sneak through the cracks or come off as disingenuous if they are uttered too often. Office politics, nonstop schedules and confusing etiquette can make thanking your co-workers and boss nerve-racking. Use this simple guide to give gracias to your office mates and when in doubt, just say thanks.
The daily grind won’t seem so bad if you make your office inviting. If you’re struggling on what to give someone special this Christmas, consider gifting them with some of these 8 items that will make their lives at the office more comfortable and convenient. Not to mention, these little trinkets are pleasing to the eyes as well!
The end of the year usually brings up a lot of thoughts about your career. After all, it is generally the time for performance evaluations and promotion announcements. The dawn of a new year is also a great time to make career resolutions, which requires a lot of reflection on how the daily grind was for you in the past year. Share what you wished you had achieved at work with me so we can figure out how to attain your wishes come 2012 — what was your biggest work want in 2011?
This reader posted in our Ask Savvy group — she wants to know how to deal with an unpleasant manager.
I've been in the workforce (financial services industry) for about three years now but have only been in my current job for a few months. I like my role as it is challenging, interesting, and diverse. I get along with my supervisor and my colleague (there are three of us in the small team). Our team sits within the finance department, which is headed by one manager.
Compared to my old workplace, the environment here is very different. This finance department is more cutthroat and has less of a social/friendly culture. The manager has introduced time sheets in order to monitor how long we are taking to complete tasks. This doesn't sit well with the team, and we feel as if she is micromanaging us.
There are also many occasions where she would pinpoint and blame someone when an issue arises, before she is even clear about the entire story. There have been a few situations that show us that she really doesn't know the business inside out and doesn't fully understand the team's roles/responsibilities/functions. At the same time, she appears tough and intimidating. She likes to demand and never admits to her own mistakes. She points the finger before clarifying the situation. We don't respect her. We fear her.
Doing what you can to prepare for a performance review puts you in the best position possible for a smooth experience, but unexpected bumps can certainly arise. If you and your boss haven't been communicating well, that leaves an open door for surprise comments that could shake your confidence. Don't let these minor moments distract you from getting the most from your review. Check out these tips for handling potentially sticky situations.
- Ask questions: Your boss may assume that you know what she's talking about when she tells you you're doing a good job. Ask what stands out about your job performance, and if she's dissatisfied with the job you've been doing, ask for specific examples and how you could do better next time.
- Tell your story: If you think your boss's negativity stems from a misunderstanding, ask her, "I have a different perspective on this situation. Would you like to hear it?" Steer clear of defending everything your boss brings up. Sometimes, it's more appropriate to say, "I hadn't looked at it that way. I'd like to try that next time."