Joyce’s Blog

If you have to think if  your joke is appropriate, it’s not. If you hesitate before lambasting a colleague, don’t. If you stop, however briefly, to determine the correctness of your comment, that’s reason enough to move it from the top of your agenda and the tip of your tongue. Study your action under cooler circumstances. Company leaders familiar with personnel law and risk management are putting their employees on alert. Co-workers, already stressed withRead More
If you’re following trends, you’ll notice that a significant number of workers want to make a difference where they work, want community in their workplace, and want their company to make a difference in the community in which they live. That’s a real shift from the days of the unwritten employment contract that whispered, as long as you show up and do your job, you’ll have a job until you retire. In those days Americans didn’t need community inRead More
Warning to  Workaholics on Vacation No beach is warm enough, no pool deep enough, no book long enough to keep you from the next call, the next report, the next conquest. No companion is fun enough, no escapade strange enough, no catacomb deep enough, to keep you from the next deal and the next plane that gets you to where the heat is hot enough, the mountain high enough, the trial tribulation enough, to makeRead More
Dozens of human interest stories have emerged as a consequence of this year’s earthquakes, oil spills, fires and tornadoes. We’ve learned about the brave few who helped the many; the risk taking few who endangered the many; and the reluctant few who created more work for the dependable many. Continue reading →Read More
As organizations continue to grow, shrink, and mutate, employees are getting used to doing the mobile shuffle: from working on-site to working in flight, on phones, and from hotels. The greater the distance and the longer the stay, the bigger the worry: I’m losing touch with my team and I don’t know what to do about it. The more far flung our companies become, the more employees are sent to remote locations to head up global businessRead More
You’re more apt to be remembered for how you conclude an engagement, then how you begin one. Your reputation is established by the sum of your days, not by the start of them. Like it or not, it’s your proactive response to bad times, not good times, that defines your contribution. Consider that when you step into a project, a professional relationship, or a company. Take Tom (Dick, or Harry) as a case in point:Read More
Harold did it again. He hired the wrong person and is in a world of hurt. Harold’s a businessman who describes himself as street smart, strategy savvy, and a sap when it comes to hiring. First it was his financial advisor. Harold was ecstatic, he couldn’t believe his luck. He found a creative accountant who doubled as a visionary. At last, someone who agreed with his spending habits and encouraged him to spend even more.Read More
Screaming toddlers are banging on pots, demanding attention while their harried mothers and frazzled fathers yell in their phones and hunch over their desks, desperate to complete what looks like their job. Distraction controls. Chaos reigns. Nothing of value gets done. The banging gets louder and no one can listen because no one can hear. This manager is done. “I am so over it, I just don’t care.” She’s so tired of the back biting,Read More
A recent reprint of an archived Ann Landers column from 2000 is just as relevant today as it was when it was first printed. It was practically on fire with letters from customers who were fed up with the attitude of retail clerks. I was struck by the irony of what these letter writers were saying: “If you don’t like people and consider them an interruption or a nuisance, go find another job.” “Within driving distanceRead More
A client  shared this childhood experience with me and described the  impact that it’s had on her life and career. She said I could share it with you. The only thing I’ve changed are the names… “Momma loved to get into her car and drive wide open. Only problem was she’d fall asleep at the wheel. She’d sleep anywhere she’d put herself and she was more apt to put herself at the wheel than anywhereRead More
A caller asked what advice I had for the graduating class of 2011. He introduced the subject by describing how successful his youngest daughter had become. She was five years out of college and making a salary none of us dared dream at her age. His concern was not for her financial future but for her ability to relate to those around her. “She’s as bright as she can be, and personable, too,” he said,Read More
Aana is  nine years old and bright. Really bright. I was interviewing her for a book chapter I’m writing about youngsters and their ideas about work and the workplace. She eased right  into our conversation and jumped at a chance to give me a crash course on Star Wars characters and the relative merits of becoming a Jedi Warrior. (She’s seriously considering the latter as a career choice. I was impressed.) We made a deal.Read More
A recent letter writer suggested that employees, the newly hired and the barely there,  would benefit from understanding that employers have some very basic expectations of them. I heartily agree. In fact, here’s one boss’s secret copy of Here’s What I Didn’t Tell You Because I Thought You Knew. This place is called “Work” Get to work earlier than on time (and that’s based on my watch, not yours). Get to work earlier than on time every dayRead More
The trend toward 360 degree performance appraisals can be more of a jolt  than the faint of heart can handle. Back in the old days, which can be as recent as a few minutes ago, high ranking employees could stay in their jobs,  earn substantial bucks, and be as good or as bad as they always had been. That was when an annual review came around as often as a bicentennial event.It’s not that employeesRead More
Feeling insecure at work? Want some fear insurance? Make a plan. Everyone needs a strategy that’s ready to launch when necessary so that there’s no need to be afraid. “What if I’m laid off? Who will take care of me? Who will help me?” We get downright childlike when the “I don’t want to think about it” actually happens. It’s the grown up version of “I want my mommy!” It’s understandable that employers and employeesRead More
This April 10 – 16 is National Volunteer Week. Individuals who choose careers in the non profit world of human services are a particularly hearty lot. They do more with much less and  try harder because giving up isn’t an option. They lead, follow, direct and manage kindred spirits who join them in believing that what they do makes a difference, and those who benefit, deserve the chance it gives them. Continue reading →Read More
This is it, plain and simple: As a supervisor, manager, or business owner, your job is to direct the work of others, not to do their work for them. In order to achieve that in a timely and efficient manner, it’s your job to communicate your expectations in ways they understand. If your employees are unclear about the assignment or the manner in which you want it done, they’ll do one of three things: figureRead More
American workers have been struggling with mixed blessings of merger and downsizing for over twenty years now. No wonder. It’s a challenge for any large system to rapidly expand and contract without putting unnecessary strain on the people who make up that system. I’ve been working with the emotional impact of these changes on employees since the early 80’s. Back then my clients were principally working in smokestack industries, companies located in Illinois, Ohio, andPennsylvania. Before long, financial institutionsRead More
Last week I meet with four very talented and very disagreeable employees whose careers were on the chopping block. They had one universal complaint: No one told them they were going to get fired until it was too late to do anything about it. Were they told in advance and did they have sufficient time and support to turn themselves around? The employees’ case: They received significant promotions and salary increases that indicated they were recognized asRead More
John Q. Employer is expecting you. He’s been interviewing for the last few weeks and he’s getting a little frustrated. He wants to hire someone and he’s determined to do it right. He’ll take the time he needs. It’s worth it to him. You were due at 2:00 p.m. It’s 2:15 p.m. and you are nowhere in sight.  You finally roll in close to 2:30, flashing a broad smile, extending an energetic handshake and brandishing several earnest excuses. You’re late.Read More