How to Turn Down Opportunities

how to turn down opportunitiesHow do you turn down opportunities at work when the timing isn’t right?  Reader M wonders…

I was recently asked to relocate offices (I work at a mid-sized law firm). The relocation would be something of a promotion based on the work I’d get to do and the people I’d get to work with. I was asked because the other office is very busy and has more work than capacity at the moment. If I were single, I’d probably say yes. Or least strongly consider it. But I’m engaged to a wonderful man who is not enthusiastic about the idea of uprooting his life and his career to follow me to a smaller city with less opportunity for him. My question is, how do you turn down an offer for relocation without appearing to be uncommitted to your job? I want to signal that I love my job and appreciate the opportunity, but that it’s not the right time or circumstances for me.

I had a similar situation come up when I started dating my husband — a company I would have loved to work for started heavily recruiting me, even offering to train me in an area I was eager to get into.  The catch: it was all the way across the country.  I’ve always endeavored to stay in the same time zone as my family, but with the addition of this new guy I’d started dating (only two months in at that point!) it was an easy decision: I turned it down outright.  At the time I felt like a bad feminist, a bad overachieving chick, a bad…everything, but I have no regrets.  (Of course, hindsight is 20/20.)  Along similar lines, I know that my father turned down fairly major career opportunities when my brother and I were in high school because it would have meant uprooting the family to a foreign country.  [Read more...]

The Pros and Cons of Changing Careers

The Pros and Cons of Changing Careers | CorporetteWhat are the pros and cons of changing careers? While the answer will be unique to every individual, this should make for an interesting discussion. Reader N is wondering specifically about the pros and cons from the perspective of hindsight:

You’ve written about women that have changed careers, including yourself. From what I recall, these features were mostly on HOW to accomplish the change. Can you include a post from others you’ve spoken to about what they find most painful about it, AFTER making the change? Like one year after, five years after, etc.

I’m making some major career changes right now, and I am always wanting to know honestly what people found bad about their changes. Maybe it could be also have a “good” section so it’s not so gloomy, but I am curious as to the negatives (salary reductions, work drying up, others?)

I have written about my own tips for changing careers and jobs — I was a journalist for 2 seconds back in the late ’90s, then a law student/lawyer for 11 years, and I’ve been a full-time blogger since 2011.  (We’ve also talked about how to change careers, how to specifically use LinkedIn to change careers, as well was the pros and cons of leaving corporate life.)  I’ll share my own tips, but for other career changers, here are the questions (maybe copy and paste ‘em into the comment section): [Read more...]

How to Be a Boss

How to Be a Boss | CorporetteHow do you be a boss — if you’ve never been a boss before? What changes do you have to make to your working style, attitude, and more? Reader Y has a great question.

I received a promotion last year at my job and I have had some trouble adjusting. I am generally a lighthearted jokester in the office and I find it hard to delegate work or to have my coworkers recognize/ respect my new position. Even though it has been a year, I was wondering if there is any way to turn this around?

Congrats on your promotion, Y! We’ve talked about how to step up your wardrobe to be seen as more managerial, how to delegate to your assistant, and whether you should be friends with subordinates — but we’ve never really talked about the changes you have to make when you become a boss.  (Update: and I just found this post on how to become a leader — knew I had one in the archives somewhere.)

When I started managing people, I remember this being kind of difficult as well — particularly because I was basically a middle man between my boss and my subordinates. [Read more...]

Strategic Volunteering: Do You Do It?

Strategic Volunteering: Do You Do It? | CorporetteDo you guys volunteer? Do you do it at a high level (board member or committee level)? How did you get started doing it — were you interested in the organization, did you purposely do it for networking, or did you somehow fall into it? We’ve talked about this in the context of making new friends, as well as pondering what professional organizations you should join and polling how much everyone gives to charity – but we haven’t really talked about volunteering.

I’m way under the weather today, so I’ve been lying in bed catching up on reading, watching TED, and playing Candy Crush. (I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a sick day!)  One of the articles I’m trying to catch up on (if the NYT didn’t have a huge banner ad that pops up right in the middle of the text) is the recent one about how “the opt out generation wants back in.” Anyway, I was particularly interested to hear about the role that volunteering played in returns to work:

Among the women I spoke with, those who didn’t have the highest academic credentials or highest-powered social networks or who hadn’t been sufficiently “strategic” in their volunteering (fund-raising for a Manhattan private school could be a nice segue back into banking; running bake sales for the suburban swim team tended not to be a career-enhancer) or who had divorced, often struggled greatly.

So, ladies — are you strategic in your volunteering?   How much time do you devote to volunteering?

(Pictured: Fundraising in the dictionary, originally uploaded to Flickr by HowardLake.)

 

How to Tell Your Beloved Mentor You’re Quitting

How to Quit When Your Mentor Is Your Boss | CorporetteYou’ve been offered a new job — but how do you tell your beloved mentor and boss that? Reader L wonders how to quit your job when your mentor is your boss.

I am a fifth year associate and have been at my current firm for just over a year. Recently, an unexpected job opportunity presented itself and over the course of the past two months I have quietly been going through the interview process. Simultaneously, a mentor at work offered me a few great opportunities. For example, I tried and won my first jury trial! I’ve now been offered this new job and am going to take it. My question is how best to handle my resignation when my mentor has so recently invested in my development. I feel like I am somehow betraying him! Help, please.

We’ve talked about how to quit your job with style and grace, as well as how to conduct an exit interview, but we haven’t talked about the often emotional side of leaving, including the tough job of telling your beloved mentor or boss that you’ve taken a new job. I have a few thoughts up front: [Read more...]

The Top Ten Things to Keep In Your Desk

The Top Ten Things to Keep In Your Desk | CorporetteIt’s a perennial question: what to keep in your desk? We haven’t talked about this in a while, so I thought we should discuss reader J’s question:

Can you do a post on essential things to keep in your office/desk? I ask this because I never think of things to bring in until it is too late. Recent example — I’m about to go to a client meeting, and I look down and see my bright pink nail polish half chipped off on every nail. Of course I didn’t have any nail polish remover in my office, so I waste my 10 minutes before the meeting looking around for remover. Other examples include: nail clipper and file, bandaids, Advil.

Some of my favorite posts on the blog are on things to keep in your office — drugstore stuff for your office, tech stuff to buy for your office, food to keep at the office, and the clothes that should live at your office. We’ve also done a fun post on different uses for office supplies (in a pinch). But we haven’t talked about this in a long while, so let’s discuss. Readers, please list your top ten absolute essentials for your office! What have you been surprised to get a lot of use out of?

For my own $.02, if I had to set up a totally new office, I would bring: [Read more...]