Career Advice

Below, find some of our recent career advice stories. Have a question for Kat? Check out the Contact page.

Do You Schedule Breaks to Increase Your Productivity at Work?

schedule breaks to increase your productivity at workWe recently discussed taking breaks at work: how long we work between breaks, if or how long we leave our workspaces on our breaks, what we do during them, and so on. While we’ve had many posts about productivity, including how to keep track of work to-dos, how to focus on work when other things are on your mind, and the best Spotify playlists to help you focus, we haven’t talked a lot about taking breaks throughout the day. Can you schedule when you take breaks at work? If so, do you tend to take a break at the same time every day? Do you schedule breaks on your calendar as appointments so that others know you are unavailable?

Even though breaks were allowed and even encouraged at most full- and part-time jobs I’ve held, I still wouldn’t stop to take my first “break” until 1 p.m. or later. Even then, it might’ve only been break time because I didn’t want to miss out on the last call for the office cafeteria salad bar at 2 p.m. I did, however, almost always take 45 minutes for lunch when I could. I would make it a point to take a long walk, read a book, or meet up with a friend.

We realize that for some of our readers’ high-demand jobs, it’s just not possible to take breaks, at least not frequently. For instance, as a trial attorney, on my docket days or days with back-to-back-to-back client meetings, or when I had trial prep, breaks weren’t always an option. I would often eat lunch at my desk, if I had time to eat at all, and I was lucky if I could get a few minutes to check my personal texts or emails.

Here are some tips we hope you find helpful when it comes trying to schedule breaks to increase your productivity at work:

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6 Books to Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

Now that we’re a few days into the new year, we thought it’d be a great time to round up six books to help you achieve your New Year resolutions for your career. Whether you’re aiming to get a new job, negotiate a good salary for a new job (or ask for a raise), get better at delegating to subordinates, find sponsors at work, improve your executive presence, deal with difficult coworkers effectively, or just improve your job performance, these are worth a read. If you’ve already decided on your career goals for 2018, or you’re still thinking about what you want to accomplish this year, these six books can help you figure out how to do just that.

 

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Swearing at Work: Yea or Nay?

swearing at workHere’s a fun question for today: are you for or against swearing at work? Do you think less of colleagues and bosses who do it — or does context matter (e.g., you’re only against it if someone is swearing out of anger or swearing around little kids (or older colleagues)?) Or does your vocabulary rival a sailor’s? Do you consider it a measure of closeness, of “being in the club”? (Does anyone do it to prove their mettle — I’m thinking of the characters from the video for parody video Bitch in Business.) What about crass sayings that aren’t quite swearing, such as “oh, he’s just swinging his dick around” — yea or nay? (Haha: any favorite phrases to share?)

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How to Get a Poker Face at Work

how to get a poker face at work - image of lady gagaHave you ever worried that your face gives away your thoughts every time? Putting on a poker face is always a good skill to have, but especially with performance reviews (and bonus season) coming up, now is a great time to ponder how to get a poker face at work. Here’s Reader K’s question:

A mentor of mine said one of my best qualities is that I’m genuine; however, I was told that resulted in being easily read and having zero poker face. If people can read me, they know how and where to hit, which isn’t good. How can I develop a poker face and be less easily read?

Good question, K, and I can’t wait to hear what the readers say. I also have a face that is far too easily read, but here are a few ideas on how to get a poker face at work (and beyond):

Pictured: Lady Gaga / Poker Face.

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Tips and Tricks for Holiday Networking

holiday networking2017 Update: We still stand by this advice on holiday networking, but you may also want to check out all of our posts on holiday business etiquette.

Here’s today’s question: what are your thoughts about holiday networking? What kind of events (whether through your office, professional organizations, alumni connections, or even friends’ parties) do you think are the best for holiday networking — and what are your best tips for having a successful networking experience at a holiday party? Perhaps importantly in 2017: What are the boundaries of networking these days — do you avoid politics, for example? (A related Q: do you think networking at parties is ever crass? For example — you go to your mother-in-law’s party and groan when, say, a trusts and estates attorney starts hammering in how you need a will and should really call him! How’s Tuesday for a call?)

Some general tips on holidays and networking:holiday networking tips for women lawyers

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Sexual Harassment, Office Culture, Resumes, and “Boys Being Boys”

sexual harassment, office culture, resumes, and boys being boysWe’ve all been hearing and talking about the surge of men getting fired, losing control of their companies, and otherwise being disciplined for sexual harassment and other bad behavior — and we’ve all been heartened by the groundswell of support for the women and men brave enough to come forward. I’m hopeful that we are at the beginning of a tectonic shift in the way sexual harassment is handled at companies, where the default becomes “I believe her” — it’s about time. (Full disclosure, considering the stock photo: this is not a #metoo story, but my heart goes out to the many, many, many women and men who have such stories.) There’s been a lot of discussion and think pieces on this topic in the press — but here are a few questions I haven’t seen discussed that might  be interesting topics here: 1) How do you think these past few weeks will affect the companies, colleagues, and protégés (both male and female) of these men? How will they ever distance themselves enough? 2) For those of you who work at men-dominated firms where, perhaps, a “boys will be boys” attitude has prevailed in the past, has anything changed in the past few weeks? What are the positive changes you’ve seen (whether from HR, company/firm-wide meetings, etc.) that make you optimistic about the future?

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