Business Advice from Oscar Wilde

Oscar Wilde is known for, more so than almost anything else, his witty and snarky commentary on life and love. One of my favorite Wilde quotes is: “Never be too careful in the choice of your enemies”. At first you may chuckle, and think it’s cute but I want you to think  about it for a while, let his words sink in; “the choice of your enemies”. No one reallythinks that they get to choose their enemies. Often times, your enemies seem to come about as inevitably as emotion, as anger or fear or even love.  So now think about your enemies, think of why they became your enemies and when. Did you find that point in your relationship that you became enemies yet?

Wilde lends his genius to us to provoke thought beyond simple acceptance of having enemies. He almost calls us to be more aggressive or controlling in our lives to CHOOSE our enemies, it almost unheard of!  Who are we to choose our enemies and why would anyone actually choose someone to be an enemy? Truth is, we NEED enemies, we need competition and comparison. But what Wilde is saying is to make a conscious choice in your enemies or your competition. I’m going to dive further into this in regards to office politics and relationships rather than competing businesses. I don’t think too many people are in the position to consider an entire business a competitor at this point in their lives.

Wilde is making two points, both in regards to choice. 1) having an enemy is a choice and 2) who that enemy is is also a choice. We could be friends with everyone in the office if we choose to; it’s not going to be easy and rather a lot of work but it’s always an option.  In just the same way as how easy it is to be friends with someone in our office, its just as easy to be enemies, but both are a conscious choice! While it’s easy to be fiends with some people  and enemies with others, if you consider the opposite, how difficult would it be to befriend enemies and rival friends? It’s a lot of hard work, but definitely worth it; making friends that is.

Wilde insists that having an enemy is a choice and he’d also be right to say that choosing an enemy as a whole, is a good choice. Consider someone like Superman. Would he be as super if he had no crime to fight or no evil enemies to apprehend? He’d just be a guy with super powers who’s a lot less busy than he is now. Enemies serve as a level of comparison, as a mirror or ruler to measure ourselves against. If your enemy has more sales than you, then that’s perfect incentive to sell more! Generally enemies, whether we choose this consciously or not, are close match in our own skill level, it’s only personality and motivation that differ. Superman’s enemy was set out to destroy/control the world, your enemy may be set out to simply make you look bad.

Either way, you must realize that having an enemy is a conscious choice. You can choose not to have an enemy just as you can choose who your enemy is . Be wise in your choice! In my next post I will outline some very important tips as to why choosing your enemy is important and how to go about dealing with one once you’ve made your choice.

Cheers!

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Cough, Cough

Mind the gap between my posts. Due to a recent work trip and illness, I’ve been unable to keep up with my posts but I’m sure ya’ll been able to survive(sorry, the work trip was to Dallas)!

Getting sick is often inevitable, at least once or twice a year, but it’s how you handle your illness along with your time away from work that really counts. We all get sick and we all know poeple who get sick, but we also know people who carelessly spread their sickness around like it were a confetti on New Year’s. Here are a few ways to make your presence more bearable when you have an imminent illness and hopefully your safe practices will rub off on those who are’s so sick savvy.

By law, your employer must provide you with a minimum number of sick days, I can’t confirm how many days that actually is, but be sure to make yourself aware and ask your boss. Ask before you get sick, otherwise it’ll look suspicious if you ask immediately before telling him/her that you’ll be going home for the rest of the day.

Nip it in the bud. While you may only feel a slight cold coming on, clearly not enough to stop you from taking on the mountain of work you have before you, keep in mind that you’re not the only one exposed to your illness. Be mindful that your sniffle or cough is a sign that there are already germs moving in and out of your respiratory system and that’s not something your coworkers would appreciate being privy to. So if you are already starting to feel a little “off” and you have the opportunity to work from home to take a couple hours off, do so. It’s better to treat your illness, no matter how small, before it effects yours office mates. It’s better to put off work to get some rest and hit it when you’re at full strength rather than doggy paddling through with your eye’s half shut.

Quarantine yourself. If you’re sick, go home! But if it’s already December and you’ve ran out of sick days, or you just can’t get away from a busy schedule, do your best to quarantine yourself from the office. Most of us aren’t lucky enough to have our own offices, so be creative when scoping out a way to minimize human contact while you are sick. Ask your boss if you could temporarily move into the conference room – hopefully he won’t counteroffer with the broom closet. Perhaps another office in your building has a free space. Or maybe your nearest co-worker would be happy to bunk with someone else for a day. The more you can quarantine yourself at your office, the greater your chances of reducing the spread of germs and getting everyone else sick.

Invest in antibacterials. Almost everyone has hand sanitizer on their desk, but you should be carrying it in your pocket as well. Gel hand sanitizer should be your best friend when working while sick, also be sure to pick up some spray sanitizer to douse your desk and office space once in a while.

I’m sure if you stuck your head out into the office corridor right now, you could hear someone coughing or sniffling, tis’ the season right! But unless you want to get everyone sick in the process and be that guy/gal who’s named the one that got us all sick, I highly suggest you not only take good care of yourself, but be highly considerate of your illness in the workplace. While your boss may be annoyed you have to go home due to illness, they’re bound to be much happier that you didn’t get the entire team sick in the process.

Cheers!

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Airport Etiquette

To go along with the them of this week’s series, today’s installment is dedicated to airport etiquette and everything else associated with getting from the car to the gate quickly, efficiently and without ticking off any other passengers – or security for that matter!

We’re now in an age where air travel is almost inevitable for any job, despite the increasing availability for telecommuting and the better you are at flying, the more you’ll enjoy your job; your employer will love you for it too. And yes air travel is something you can get better; forget being recognized as a passenger, you’re a commuter, a road warrior in battle. With that in mind, take these tips with you the next time you’re headed for the terminal.

1) Watch Up in the Air, take notes.

2) Check in as far in advance as possible before your flight. If you’re not flying first class, checking in online prior top leaving for the airport is a sure fire way to guarantee your carryon has a place on the plane and you don’t get stuck with a middle seat when you don’t want one.

3) Dress like a stripper. I’m not saying to show up at the gate in 6″ heels and plastic underwear. I mean dress in clothes that are easy to remove: pants that don’t require a belt to hold up (pack the belt), easily removable shoes, if its cold, easily removable outer layers. This way, you’ll be able to move quickly through security and take off/put on a later while sitting in your seat on the plane.

4) Be patient. Be alert. Always mind the time but keep cool when you’re standing in line or if your flight is delayed. Nobody likes a person who freaks out in the airport when they worry about being late. Also keep a watchful eye on the departures board. It’s fairly common for flights to change gates, especially when there are delays or canceled flight.

5) Watch Airplane, be sure to laugh.

There are oodles of other tips I can provide you with but I’ll save that for a true road warrior. The best thing you can do when making you way through the hustle and bustle of a busy airport is to keep cool, pay attention and be prepared, the rest will come easy.

Happy flying!

Cheers!

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Traveling For Work (part 1)

I anyone has a career where they are required to travel for work, then I hope you find this post helpful. But you’re a seasoned road worrier, then any addition comments are welcomed! Over the next few days, I’ll be posting articles about making traveling for work a little more bearable as well as how to make sure all your loose ends are tied up before you leave.

Tip No 1: Communicate! You and your boss may be well aware of what you’re doing, when and where but the rest of your team may not be. Make sure you inform your coworkers about your assigned travel plans, especially in regards to your contact availability. If you’re company is sending you to Boston for three days and you wont have much access to your email or phone, then your team needs to know that, otherwise youre bound to walk into a world of hurt upon your return.

Tip No 2: Confirm hotel amenities. You may be flying outing a couple days with full intentions of checking you email as soon as you check into your hotel but if it doesn’t provide wifi, you could be lost. While it’s generally unusual for a hotel not to provide wifi, it’s fairly common for them to charge for using it. Call the hotel ahead of time to confirm
They provide wifi and whether or not they charge for it, the of course clear those charges with your boss. You don’t want to be forced to hike down the road to the nearest Starbucks in search for an Internet connection.

Tip No 3: Set your email/calendar to reflect your trip. Be sure you don’t have any meeting or calls scheduled for the time you are away if they aren’t something you’ll be able to keep. Also be sure to set our “out of office” reminder to direct any incoming emails accordingly. In this job market, you can’t afford to miss

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Weekend Task

We usually use the weekend for relaxing, running errands, spending time with family and a slew of other non-work related activities; and that’s a great thing to be able to do! It’s important to fill your life with family and entertainment but I also want you to fill it with something else, something new.

Your mission for this weekend, and every weekend, is to learn something new and don’t go back to work until you do. Learning new things as often as possible keeps your brain sharp and also sparks the desire to learn even more. It doesn’t have to be anything about work, I’m not telling you to learn more about the company’s financial records, just learn something. You could try a new recipe for dinner, learn how to build a desk, take a stab at writing basic code; the list is endless.

And whether you realize it or not, by learning something new, you allow yourself to become more diversified and therefore more adaptable. In this society, it’s imperative to know something about everything, specialists are dead or stationary. Become a jack of all trades, it’ll impress your friends and more importantly your employer.

Today, I’m off to learn yoga for the first time, what are you going to learn?

Cheers,

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Jumpstart your Social Network for the Weekend

HAZAAH! Friday is finally here, and hopefully you’ve caught my page from yesterday on how to fight Friday afternoon’s lack of motivation. So now that you’ve got your coffee, caught up on your email and counting down the minutes until lunch, I’m going to give you a few tips on how to jump start your social network for the weekend ahead.

It’s fair to say that the chances you’re going to be spending as much time at a computer on your days off is far from equal to that of your work day. However, that doesn’t mean you should let your social network fall to fall by the way side. Here are my top three tips for keeping your social status and personal brand fresh for the days ahead……

1) Write two additional blog entries. You may not have the time or focus to write two separate blog entries on Saturday or Sunday, so write them today and save the entries as drafts, ready for publishing. If all you have to do over the weekend is publish a draft, then that drastically cuts down on the time you need to set aside to write. You can even publish those blogs through your smartphone while shopping at IKEA. This way, you’re still getting your message out with a lot less hassle. This will also cut down on your Monday morning blog congestion. Rather than trying to cram an entire weekend’s worth of info into one blog, you can easily post date a few articles.

2) Sign up/log in to location based apps. If you’re going to be out and about this weekend, it’s the perfect time to keep up on your location based apps or sign up for them. Apps such as Foursquare, Foodspotting and Yelp are great ways to score discounts and find new things to entice your appetite for life.  Foursquare is one of my favorite for two reasons, you can get great deals on almost anything, simply by “checking in” when you visit a business and you can feed your check-in’s to Facebook and Twitter to let others know where you’re hanging out. Yelp is also quite amazing when you need just about anything. It provides you with a map of your current location, the surrounding businesses you’re looking for (complete with directions and phone number) and reviews from people who have been there before. This app is particularly useful for restaurants! But be sure to create an account before hand if you don’t already have one, it might need to be done on a computer rather than on the go with your smartphone.

3) Show some personality in your social network. Apps and blogs are great for getting your message out or when you need to be resourceful, but no one in the social networking scheme likes to interact with a robot, unless you’re in a Popular Science chatroom. A weekend blog post is a great way to let your personality shine! While it’s always important to be topical and intelligent when posting in a social network, it’s equally as important to incorporate some of your personality into your posts as well; this tells employers and other possible connections that you actually have a pulse. Think of your posts/reviews as little portions of a job interview. When submitting a resume, that never seals the deal, employers need to interact with you to see that you’re a normal functioning person, so use your medium to let yourself shine a little, don’t be afraid to crack a joke or express how much you LOVED the Lady Gaga concert last night.; just don’t be vulgar!

There you go! It’s five o’clock somewhere, but if not where you are, then take a few minutes before heading home to jumpstart your network for the upcoming weekend. Others in your network will love being connected to you and these tips are guaranteed to get you more followers, maybe even a new job!

Cheers!

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Friday Syndrome

Today is my Friday; my job requires me to work Sunday through Thursday, so I’ve done my best to convince my body that Thursday is now Friday. The only problem with moving your days around is that  “Friday Syndrome” comes too. If you’re in a career that you enjoy so much, – you always want to be doing it, it makes you happy and you never want to go home, then god bless you, I’m quite jealous. In fact, I’m looking for one of those jobs myself. But for the rest of us, once Friday late morning/afternoon rolls around, we are often overcome with a complete lack of motivation to do much of anything. A blanket of laziness drapes over us provoking thoughts of better plans for the weekend.  Unfortunately, in most jobs where this syndrome occurs, we don’t have the luxury of  calling it quits any sooner than 5pm. That being said, here are my top five ways to break the spell of Friday Syndrome, whatever day your Friday might be……

1) Stand Up! Get up out of your chair and stand up, get your blood flowing. I didn’t say go anywhere, don’t waste time wondering into the kitchen or by the water cooler. Just stand up and work.  If standing up makes it difficult for you to work effectively, then invest in a few items to raise the level of your keyboard and monitor; or if you’re so inclined, build them.  By standing up, you’re increasing the blood flow to the rest of your body and withing seconds I promise you’ll feel more energized.  Even consider taking a lap around the office or up the stairs, get your heart rate going!

2) Set a deadline. Whether what you are or should be working on has a set deadline or not, set (a new) one.  The busiest people in life get the most work done; you know why? – they set deadlines because they have other things to complete. If you need to make a dinner reservation or pick up kids from school at a set time, there’s little stopping you from busting your hump to finish. So  even if you have nowhere to be on a Friday, set a time frame for yourself anyhow, it’ll also act like a checklist, keeping you on pace to finish strong.

3) Turn up the tunes. When I know I need to focus and get it done, I’ll put my headphones on and tune everything else out.  Picture yourself as Kevin Costner in For the Love of the Game, he blurred everything out except the catcher at the plate – do that! Try putting on your workout playlist. I know when I listen to music I workout to when I’m not actually working out, my heart rate goes up and I get excited, that definately puts my into fifth gear. However always be mindful of coworkers or any office policy against music or headphones.

4)  Work in a new location. Think about where you get your best work done and go there. If the sunlight helps you get into work mode, then go sit outside with your laptop. If the smell of coffee and a bustling crowd helps you focus, go to Starbucks. By changing your location, you’re changing your mindset. If you work for a company that won’t let you leave your office, then bring the new environment to you – put a new lamp in the room, light a sawdust scented candle, change the scheme!

5) Create a challenge. The most effective way to motivate two people is to stand them next to each other and say “go”. While you may not have someone to compete with at the moment, set a bar for yourself to reach. If you normally complete your finance reports in 2hrs, set a time limit of 90mins, and see what happens. If you have nothing you can do to challenge yourself with, then make something up, make a game out of whatever your doing, create a reason to win.

Employee motivation is one of the hardest concepts to grasp in any industry and if you can figure out how to motivate yourself, especially on a Friday afternoon, that ambition will be recognized immediately by your superiors and it’s all good news from there. Here’s a video from Jason Freid, author of Rework, on working while you are at work. If my five tips didn’t help you, his speech sure will. Happy Friday!

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Cheers,

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