Homing from Work – What Personal Tasks Are OK/Good to Do At Work?

Homing From Work | CorporetteThere was an interesting article in Greedy Associates a few months ago about “homing from work” — trying to achieve work/life balance by getting personal errands done during the day.  I hadn’t heard the phrase before, but it’s obviously something I did while working long hours at the law firm, and something I’ve advised people to do (to certain degrees) when, for example, advising people to try to fit social visits with friends into breakfast or lunch dates, getting a midday workout in, or even keeping a recurring appointment (therapy, personal trainer) or a frequent doctor’s appointment.  Still, other times I’ve advised people to avoid doing things at work (for example, not having long wedding planning calls at the office), either because it’s unprofessional or it’s bad for work/life separation.  So I thought we’d discuss:  what do you think are things that are appropriate to do at the office?  What are the things that are almost BEST to do at the office and make you more productive and happy, and which are things that are acceptable — but just barely?  What are the things that are “hard NOs” in terms of homing from work?  My own list might look like this, I suppose:

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How to Build a Book of Business

What are the best practices for business development? Business Development: How to Build a Book fo Business | CorporetteHow do you build a book of business?  Reader S, a new partner, wonders:

I am starting at a new firm as a partner where there is a great deal of emphasis on client development. Its a long story but I do not have much experience developing a book of business. I know you have done posts on networking but I don’t recall seeing anything related specifically to client development. Any tips on what to do differently in terms of networking when you are specifically seeking business and not just changing jobs? How do you “pitch” to a potential client? How do you even get your foot in the door to deliver a “pitch”? Thanks!

Congratulations, S!  I have almost no familiarity with this myself (at least in the non-blogger capacity), so I thought I’d poke around the web.  I’d guess your BEST bet would be finding a mentor or two among the partners at your own firm.  Keep in mind that what you’re looking for here isn’t necessarily someone whose practice is identical to yours (or what you want it to be) — in fact, they may see you as competition.  Instead, look for someone whose personality and style is similar to yours.  What works for an extrovert will not be the same for an introvert!  I’m curious to hear what readers say, but here are some great tips from the web: [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...]

How to Set Up a Mobile Office

How to Deal with Hot Desking | CorporetteWhat do you do if you don’t have a specific desk or workspace every day, and instead have to carry everything you need for work with you? How do you set up a mobile office, or deal with a “hot desking” situation? I’ve had a few questions about this recently, so let’s discuss.

First, Reader S — a British reader starting a new career — will be spending most workdays at clients’ offices, with no more than one day a week at the home office; she may also be commuting on very crowded public trains to and from her work. Essentially, she wonders:

How do I create a “mobile office?
- what are the essentials I should carry everday in order to have everything I need, but not look like I’m moving in and damaging my back in the process?
- What should I bring with me but maybe leave in the hotel room if I don’t need them EVERY day?
- How do I pack light clotheswise but stay stylish?
- Also, what few things should be the things I prioritize and keep in my locker at my company’s office?

A second reader, R (also from the UK! hello Brits!) wonders how to deal with a new office where “we ‘hot desk,’ meaning there are desk tops with docking stations but no drawers or pedestals (with a small locker allocated to them, so small it won’t even fit a pair of shoes.)

Whoa. I’ve always been the kind of worker who likes to really personalize my office — it’s one of the main reasons I’ve resisted working in coffee shops or a group office space now that I’m self-employed. Although it looks like hot desking is already fairly common overseas, Inc. notes that it’s the “latest office design craze” here in America as well, so let’s discuss. (And I’ll say at the outset that your job will dictate what you need — an accountant may need a more specific calculator than the one on your phone; a lawyer may need more highlighters or tape flags than a consultant, and so forth.)  We’ve talked before about how to lighten your tote bag, but here are a few more ideas for you: [Read more...]

Careers and Personalities

personalities and careersCareers and personalities are always a fun topic, and a TON of of different things exist out there to help you pick which career might work best for you. A friend just told me about the StrengthsFinder and of course there are books like What Color is Your Parachute (updated yearly, apparently!), and I know I’ve taken interminably long quizzes that have told me (much to my dismay) that being a lawyer is a great career for me. (Wasn’t there a similar episode of Friends where Chandler finds out he’s a great fit for the job he’s hated all those years?) So I thought it might be fun to have a conversation about it. For those of you happy in your careers — what is the specific mix of personality trait and career characteristic that is a great fit for you? For those of you who’ve been unhappy in your careers, what was/is the mix of personality trait and career characteristic that grated the most? Does anyone swear by a book or test that helped you find your path?  For those of you who have been in one career for a while, but hated one job and loved another, what were the job-specific traits that hurt or helped your fit for the job?

For my own $.02, I would say: [Read more...]

How to Respond to Work-Related Praise

How to Take a Compliment Gracefully | CorporetteHow do you respond when someone praises your work — without sounding like an entitled braggart (and without undermining yourself)? Reader T has a great question about compliments at work.

My question for you is, how do you respond to a co-worker (sometimes a supervisor) telling you they’ve heard great comments/feedback about your work? I’m confused as to whether this is a compliment you simply say thank you to, or is there more we should add? (i.e. I appreciate the opportunity to learn) It’s not a direct compliment, yet somehow is one. I often feel the need to justify the passed-along compliment with an explanation, yet sometimes I inadvertently undermine my own efforts and achievements.

First, that absolutely is praise, so congrats to Reader T.  I’m curious to hear what the readers say about whether you can undermine yourself with your response to praise. For my own $.02 — particularly as someone with an overactive imposter syndrome — I’ve definitely been tempted to respond with things like, “It was a team effort!” or “___ really helped by supervising me,” or “I was really lucky to find the answer so quickly!”

Maybe it’s a facet of age or experience (or just writing and reading about this stuff), but I’m pretty sure that my more recent response to any work-related praise has been (and will be) more along the following lines: Thanks. I’m glad you’re hearing good things. It was a fun project and I’m happy to get started on a new one. All said with a smile but not necessarily exclamation points. I feel like these responses don’t undermine your work by attributing luck or someone else.  Maybe it’s just me, but none of these responses really smack of WHY YES I AM A GENIUS HOW NICE OF YOU TO NOTICE.

I’m curious, readers — do you inadvertently undermine your own efforts and achievements, either by being overly humble or letting your imposter complex take over?  Do you notice other people doing it?

Pictured: Thank You, originally uploaded to Flickr by HelloJenuine (also available for sale at Etsy).