Problems with a Coworker? Don’t Go to Your Boss First

Posted in Career Advice

In a recent blog post career coach and workplace expert Alexandra Levit recommended that talking to a troublesome co-worker before going to your boss is proper workplace etiquette. Levit suggested that “In general, you should reserve complaining to someone’s boss for cases in which that someone is not giving you what you need, and has been repeatedly forewarned.”  And, even then, you should proceed with caution.  After all, running to the  boss to solve problems or deal with difficult office politics is not going to endear you to your colleagues and fellow employees.

Levit recommends that the “boss card” should only be played when it is absolutely necessary and you have no other choice i.e. the co-worker’s behavior is affecting your work product, making you look bad or damaging the possibility of your year end bonus! Understandably,it takes a lot of courage to talk to a troublesome employee and to explain to them why their behavior is inappropriate, irritating or unprofessional. Nevertheless, this is a requisite first step that cannot be avoided before you schedule a meeting with your boss to diss your colleague.

Nobody likes a “rat” but sometimes it is necessary to go over someone else’s “head” to protect yourself.  And, in many cases, it is likely that you are not the only person who has problems with a  particular co-worker (every office has one or two). That said, before going to the boss, it is wise to be very mindful of prevailing office politics and whether or not the troublesome co-worker is allied with persons who can have a direct impact on your future employment with your organization.

Until next time….

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!

How Facebook Can Hurt a Career

Posted in Social Media

As social media popularity continues to increase, more and more hiring managers and employers are using it to vet prospective job candidates. A little over a year ago, it was estimated that roughly 30% of recruiters and hiring managers use social media to screen job applicants. Anecdotal evidence suggests that today, this percentage may have swelled to as much as 70 percent! 

Although LinkedIn is growing in popularity, Facebook is still, by far, the largest online social networking site. Unlike LinkedIn, which is billed as a “professional networking site,” Facebook remains a social networking site that is primarily used for recreational purposes or to stay in touch with family and friends. However, because of its gigantic size companies are increasingly relying on Facebook for promotional purposes and to recruit new employees.

Until recently, many persons with Facebook accounts paid little attention to the content that they posted to their profile pages. Unlike print and other traditional broadcast mediums, once something is posted to Facebook it is “in the ether” and it is exceedingly difficult to expunge or remove it. Consequently, an inappropriate image or damaging statement posted to a Facebook page will likely remain on the Internet into perpetuity— whether you want it to or not. And, in today’s fiercely competitive job market, employers are looking for any reason whatsoever not to hire a prospective new employee. Therefore, it is vitally important to understand the “dos” and “don’ts” of Facebook and other social networking sites to insure that their use does not interfere with or hinder a job candidate’s employability or future career development.

About a year, Erin Joyce of Yahoo Finance published a post about the impact of inappropriate Facebook use on career development. I have attempted to summarize her insights and tips in this post. To that end, this is what you SHOULD NOT do on Facebook

1. Post Inappropriate Pictures, Photos or Images

It is probably not a good idea for prospective employers or clients to see photos of you chugging a bottle of Jagermeister and obviously “hammered” or dressed up for a night out at a bar or club.

While you may think that your personal life is private, prospective employers may think otherwise especially if you voluntarily posted compromising or inappropriate photos of yourself to your Facebook page and they can find them via Google search. A willingness to post these types of images suggests that you may lack good judgment and not appropriately represent an organization or yourself in professional settings.

2. Complain About Your Current Boss or Job

Everyone complains about their job. However, it is one thing to verbally and privately rant and complain about your incompetent boss or lazy coworker but another to post it to a public forum for all to see! Posting these things to your Facebook page may help to reduce stress and make you feel better but it is probably not the wisest thing to do if you know your boss and co-workers have Facebook accounts or regularly chat with others who do.

3. Post Conflicting Professional Information

If your CV/resume indicates that you received your PhD degree from SUNY-Stonybrook but your Facebook page indicates that you matriculated from Columbia then at worst prospective employers may think that you are a liar or at best careless. Neither is good for jobseeker and discrepancies like these are sure to get your name off the short list for face-to-face job interviews.

4. Update Your Status with Ill-Advised Updates

If you are at work, it is probably not a good thing to update your Facebook status with “watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Game. Likewise, if you are employed it is not a good idea to update your status with “got hammered last night and decided to stay home form work today.” Statuses that imply that you are unreliable, deceitful, and anything that doesn’t make you look as professional as you’d like, can seriously undermine your chances at keeping or landing a new job.

5. Allow Friends to Post to Your Wall or Tag You in Photos

Erin was dead on with this one. She said: 

“You can’t control what your friends post to your profile (although you can remove it once you see it), nor what they post to their own profiles or to those of mutual friends. If a potential client or employer sees those Friday night pictures your friend has tagged you in where he is falling down drunk, it reflects poorly on you, even if the picture of you is completely innocent. It’s unfortunate, but we do judge others by the company they keep, at least to some extent. Take a look at everything connected to your profile, and keep an eye out for anything you wouldn’t want to show your mother.”

While Facebook can hinder or hurt employment opportunities, if you used correctly it can also help a jobseeker get hired. Therefore, if you are a jobseeker and already have a personal Facebook page, it is probably a good idea to set that page to private and only permit friends that you approve to view it. Once you have done this, create a second public profile for professional uses only. This page will function like an online resume and should only be populated with information that you would be comfortable showing or telling a prospective employer in face-to-face situations.

Like it or not, social media is here to stay and avoiding its use may signal to prospective employers that you are not technologically savvy or not particularly social: two vitally-important skill sets required by most employers.

For more ways to use Facebook as a job hunting tool check out this post!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!


Creating Better Bosses–The Google Way

Posted in Career Advice

A common complaint amongst many employees is how awful the boss is! Sure, this may result from a bit of employee envy; after all who wouldn’t want the power and salary afforded to most “bosses.” But, the bottom line is that most bosses don’t go to “boss school” and many are elevated or placed in those positions without much formal training. In other words, there clearly room for improvement for many bosses. Unfortunately, the qualities and attributes of a “good” boss remain unclear.

Google, the ultimate masters and purveyors of analytical data have attempted to make them more clear by creating an algorithm that it thinks can help to decipher and identify the often time intangible qualities and attributes that most good bosses possess. The program dubbed Project Oxygen analyzed years of performance reviews, feedback surveys and awards nomination correlating words and phrases to create a list of so-called good behaviors and possible pitfalls of managers and executive. Project Oxygen took over a year and resulted in the following list.

Reprinted from the NY Times

While some of the positive behaviors on Google’s list may appear to be obvious, the fact that they were created based on analytical rather than entirely anecdotal data suggests that may be instructive and helpful. Interestingly, I think that the list of managerial pitfalls that Google identified may be more useful; mainly because these behaviors they are quite destructive and frequently the cause of low employee morale and corporate productivity.

Hat tip to Google!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!!!!



The Truth About Bosses

Posted in Career Advice

Let’s face it; there aren’t many employees in the workforce who have good things to say about their bosses. Bosses are generally reviled and in some cases the criticisms and pejoratives are truly warranted. To that end, while viewing my @BioCareers profile, I noticed that @eBossWatch was following me. The name piqued my interest ( I thought somebody was hawking Hugo Boss watches) and I clicked on @eBossWatch’s website to learn more.

Much to my surprise it turned out that eBossWatch has nothing to do with watches but everything to do with rating bosses! Founded in 2007, the website is designed to alert prospective employees about unsavory and difficult bosses before accepting a job offer. Bosses are rated by answering survey questions and each year eBossWatch assembles a list of America Worst Bosses. Also, you can search the site with your bosses name to see what his/her rating is. The site has been featured on, MSNBC, Business Week, the Los Angeles Times and the New York Post.

I think it is a great idea and one of my favorite parts of the website is its tagline: “nobody should have to work for a jerk.” Amen!

Until next time

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting !!!!!!!


Layoffs: Another View

Posted in Career Advice

While I have never been layed off, I understand how awful and painful it must be. After all, unlike people who were fired for cause or otherwise, most people who are layed off are performing well but they simply became too expensive or expendable to remain with a company facing financial exigency.

Most of us feel for employees who have been layed off—anyone who has experienced a layoff will tell you that it can be a life altering or changing event. But, what about the people who are charged with delivering the bad news to the employees who will be layed off? How do you think they feel and what impact does it have on their lives? 

There was a poignant and heartfelt piece in this past Sunday’s New York Times that was written by a company executive who made the decision to layoff workers and then delivered the news to them himself. While his plight doesn’t compare with that of the employees who lost their jobs, it shows how difficult and disruptive layoffs can for companies that are forced to downsize.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!