Archive for December, 2010

Compliment Who? Why Would I Want To Do That?

In Penelope Trunk’s book, Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success, (shipping from Amazon!)

She shares a tip that is incredibly brilliant –

Here is tip #21 from the book: Mud Slinging Means You’re Losing Ground
If you want people to like you, give them compliments. I know, that sounds like I’m telling you to brownnose. Instead, I’m telling you to find genuine ways to compliment people, which require spending a lot of time looking for the good in people.

The difference between a genuine compliment and a desperate brownnosing attempt is empathy and insight, according to Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, Harvard Graduate School of Education psychologists and co-authors of How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work: Seven Languages for Transformation.

This insight is extremely easy to see, but very difficult to do – Penelope’s right that it requires a lot of time looking for the “good” in people. Especially when, in the shifting tides of office politics and commercial longevity at an all time low, the first thing you have to figure out is who should be the focus of your attention. I thought for a long time that it was this particular person within our organization, but in one misguided step, that person was no longer around.

Did I waste time learning what this person was about? I sincerely hope not, because what I did learn was how to “learn” people. What makes a person happy/sad? What makes that same person introverted and contemplative? What is needed to bring the inner person out that needs the compliment so they’ll shine even more?

There are a million questions and obviously there is no way to begin to cover even a small fraction of the intricacies of the human psyche – that’s what doctors and lawyers and psychiatrists and psychologists, and did I say lawyers? to figure out.

But take the time to learn those around you. You really don’t know when that co-worker will be granted management status…over your department. It’s important to make everyone around you feel special – because in their own right, they are. No matter how deeply you may disagree with that person sharing a cubicle with you or how depressing they make you feel – we’re all going through something right now. I know we live in the “me” world right now – but – what the heck is that?

Do we (I) write just to see our fingers tapping on the keyboard or do we (I) really have something important to say that matters to anyone? I want my words to mean something – I want them to surprise, shock & make someone think…BUT I don’t want it to be in a manner that would disgust someone or make them think less of me as a person or an employee or an employer.

They say that every word we send out in a blog, email, Facebook page will live in eternal infamy – positive or negative. – So maybe I don’t have as many readers as I’d like – maybe that’s ok…for now!

Mind Your Holiday Manners – Regifting

Image via Wikipedia

I picked this up from Romy Ribitzky over at and felt it worthy to share with you!

Gift It Forward
Thanks to the downturn in the economy, regifting is more popular than ever. Once a definite don’t, the practice is now up to debate with uppercrust magazines such as Town & Country offering suggestions.

“If you can do it gracefully, there’s nothing wrong with regifting,” says Elisa Camahort Page, co-founder of BlogHer. “Certain industries get a lot of promotional items that they never use and those—like makeup kits, coffee packages, samples—can make for great presents.”

Siva V. Kumar, CEO of TheFind, an online store aggregator based in Mountain View, California, says regifting is appropriate for those who can’t afford to buy presents but still want to find a way to thank people. “As long as the item is still in its original packaging, un-used, and neutral, go ahead and consider it,” he says.

To avoid the biggest faux pas—giving the item to its original gifter—keep note of what you got and from whom.

But don’t succumb to regifting out of pressure to spend money, urges Schultze, who says the practice is never appropriate. “You can always give a card. That shows that you took the time to think about the person who’s getting it, and you don’t have to sacrifice your integrity as a gift-giver,” she says.

Want Not, Gift Not
We’ve all been in a situation where we’ve gotten something that we hate, we already have, and will never use. While temptation to gift it forward can run high, the best way to deal with unwanted gifts is to donate them to charity, Schultze says. That way you can do some good, and make the present more valuable. “Whether you choose a straight donation or you write it off, doing good will always come back to you.”

Since gifts are a matter of taste and style it can seem virtually impossible to always pick out the perfect present. But consider these simple guidelines: Are you buying this item because you like it or because you think it will make someone else happy? Do you need to know someone’s size? If yes, make sure you know it in advance and don’t guess. It can be very embarrassing and awkward to give a too-large or a too-small sweater to someone. If you want to get apparel, think accessory, like a scarf. How would you react if you got this from someone else? If you’d feel the slightest bit uncomfortable, put it back on the shelf and move on.

Read more:

Don’t get bogged down by office gifting, choose simple presents that are sure to delight.

The holidays should be an enjoyable time of the year, and yet often when it comes to the workplace, it can be the most stressful time of the year what with growing gift lists and mounting pressure to close out the year.

But since this is also the time to show appreciation, most often with gifts, a few simple rules can take what can be an overwhelming experience and make it a fun one.

Keep It Simple
For both bosses and employees alike, buying gifts for each other ranks among the most stressful elements of the holiday season. The first step to combat the nerve-wracking office holiday gifting season is to recognize that it’s impossible to please everyone, says Peter Handal, chairman, CEO and president of New York City-based Dale Carnegie Training.

Set reasonable goals and just keep it simple, he suggests. Most of us exchange gifts with people we know relatively well as work hours get longer and collaborating on projects becomes more common. If your office is going the Secret Santa route—still a very popular option as it keeps everyone to a spending cap and makes sure everyone’s involved—and you picked someone you don’t know, a few well-placed questions about likes and dislikes, or a couple quick trips to their cubicle can offer clues.

When it comes to the boss, decide early whether everyone’s pitching in or whether everyone’s on their own, suggests Dana Schultze, gift guru with “The benefit of going in on a joint gift is that you can give something nicer, of higher value, without having to spend a lot. And it also ensures that everyone’s spending the same amount,” she says.


Read more:

Related Articles

Gift advice from the experts ( What do you think of regifting? (

Helping In Small Ways

In an article by Kristen Jacoway in the I was moved to not only share the article, but to in-fact pass it on in its entirety…

She writes – Whether you’re an entrepreneur or a job seeker learn about the latest and greatest tools to help you succeed.

No Job, No Home, No Food – Will You Help?
Perhaps this issue’s column should be entitled “Using the Web for Good!” Given the fact that we are approaching the holidays, I wanted to re-post from my website. The following article was and continues to be one of the most popular that I’ve written. I have been trying to perform random acts of kindness this season – giving a waitress a tip that amounted to the purchase price of the meal, paying for someone’s coffee behind me at a coffee shop, and more. As we approach the holidays, remember that for some people, this is a time of their darkest moments. Most of us are filled with hope, joy, and family. At the same time others are wondering how they will feed their family, much less buy gifts.

This past weekend, I saw a man holding a sign that said, “No Job, No Home, Please Help” kneeling on one knee at the entrance of where people turn to get on the interstate. We have all seen the signs, “Will Work for Food” and other signs like it amid the recession and high unemployment rates. What can we do to help? The image especially troubles me at this time of the year, but indeed, breaks my heart year-round. I want to help, like many of you, but have not been sure of a good way to help.

I identified some items you can easily have in your car to help those that are holding those signs.

Ideas for Hospitality Bags

Look up “Shelters” in your Yellow Pages and put the shelter (s) name on a card with their address and phone number. Have some calling cards available to give to people so that they know where to go and call for help.

From e-How, I found the things you’d want to include in a Hospitality Bag (written by Bob Waldrop). You can view the full article here, “How to Make a Hospitality Bag to Help the Homeless.” Below are some of Mr. Waldop’s suggestions:

•Paper lunch bags
•Small packaged foods like Vienna sausages, sardines, peanut butter and crackers, etc.
•Granola or “power” bars
•Clean socks
•Hand lotion
•Hard candies
•Small servings of canned fruit or pudding
•Plastic zip lock bag
•Dry washcloth
•Small soap
•Napkin and spoon
Some other ideas for your hospitality bag include potted meat, individual sizes of peanut butter, applesauce, juice boxes, individual packages of nuts or cheese crackers, bottled water, and / or individual packages of cereal.

You could also assemble hygiene bags to distribute that include such things as toilet paper, soap, shampoo, deodorant, feminine products, toothpaste, dental floss, and / or diapers. At this time of the year, having some extra gloves, hats, blankets, sweat-shirt, sweat pants, or anything warm is a very helpful . You never know if there might be an entire family affected and this person is the one who is going out looking for help.

You may decide to go and purchase a meal for them at a fast food restaurant so that they may have a warm meal.

A homeless man in Paris

Image via Wikipedia

I have seen many people in a public place (i.e. in the downtown area, by the interstate, etc.) and it would be very easy to have these kits available in my car to give to someone. I’ve read where one man assembles these types of kits (including the blankets) in a thrift store backpack to hand out to people. Of course, be careful and approach people with caution. Make sure you are in a busy area where other people are present.

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