office

The biggest mistake you’re making at work right now

It’s been a few years since I consistently wrote about jobs and careers, but occasionally, people will still ask me for advice.

They’re almost always asking me about a problem at work, and it’s always a variation on one of these issues: They hate their job, their boss, or a coworker.

I’m always happy to listen and to share anything that I’ve learned, so I’ll ask them to tell me what happened. They’re always a breaking point – boundaries broken, too heavy of a workload, total breakdown of sanity in their environment.

In almost every situation, I’ve asked, “Why haven’t you said anything about this? Why aren’t you confronting the people who are making you feel this way, or letting your boss know how this makes you feel?”

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Be prepared

With today marking the eighth anniversary of 9/11, there’s been a great deal of news coverage about that day. MSNBC rebroadcast its 2001 coverage in an “as it happened” style this morning. And amid remembering all of the shocking events of that day, an idea came to me.

Wouldn’t it be great if all companies and businesses adapted September 11th – or the week of September 11th – as a time to test their evacuation plans and business continuity plans?

Of course, many companies have drills quarterly or biannually, and they’re constantly updating those plans and testing different scenarios. But it would be great to have a date, or a time frame, where companies focus on disseminating that information and testing it.

I’ve worked on disaster recovery/business continuity plans, and companies will usually do a great job of developing a plan…..which then sits in a corner and gathers dust. No one does a test run, names and contact information don’t get updated, and it becomes an obsolete pile of papers, yellowing away in a binder.

If workers need a reminder that underscores how important it is to know what to do in the event of an emergency, 9/11 is clearly it.

It would be an easy trigger for people to remember something that might otherwise be easy to forget or overlook. Firefighters and safety experts wisely tied changing the batteries in your smoke alarms to changing the clock for Daylight Savings Time, and thousands of lives have probably been saved by functional smoke alarms as a result.

We could probably prevent injuries and save lives at work if companies across the country would adopt this idea.