By J.T. O'Donnell Every office has one. The employee who is quick-witted and always seems to know when to throw in a snappy bit of sarcasm to make everyone chuckle about an obnoxious client or less-than-exciting new company policy. Their sharp sense of humor is often used in to lighten the mood and diffuse tense moments. And yet... When does the sarcastic employee cross the line? Do they realize the negative impact they can have while desperately trying to seek a laugh? More importantly, can their sarcasm eventually hurt their career? True story... Back in my early twenties, I worked for a start-up company that was full of fellow young professionals. We were all recent college grads looking to finally start to make some good money and had hitched our stars on the excitement of working for a cutting-edge company that gave us stock options and hopes of a big payout in the not-so-distant future. In the beginning, our team was on fire. The company expanded quickly and the energy was intensely fun. But then, some things happened to tarnish the rosy of glow of start-up life. A round of layoffs, followed by a change in our commission structure had us all working more and making less. We were frustrated and angry. And looking back, our lack of workplace experience showed in that we didn't know how to react to what was happening. Many of us started commiserating after work over drinks, eyeball rolling became the norm throughout the day, and a somber, secretive-type communication style replaced our light-hearted banter of earlier days. Times were tough. Then one day, a very sarcastic co-worker decided to take venting his frustrations to a whole new level. He started crafting top secret e-mail rants. He would wax on about various managers, poking fun at everything from their voice to their sense of fashion. Now that I think of it, his daily e-mails were almost like blog posts. Initially, people looked forward to getting them and you could hear a certain style of 'chuckle' that always told you who, across a sea of cubicles, was reading the latest one. His e-mails were like a guilty pleasure served up to ease the stress of working in a downtrodden corporate culture. But then, as things got progressively worse on-the-job, so did the intensity of the employee's sarcasm. And, somewhere along the line, the e-mails went from funny to uncomfortable. In an effort to retain the interest of his readership, the employee's sarcasm took an evil turn. He expanded upon who he wrote about, sometimes leaving people off the e-mail list just to make fun of them. No one was off limits to this employee. If someone looked at him the wrong way, the result could be a page-long demoralization. Furthermore, his obsession with producing these e-mails seemed to have a direct impact on his performance. Not only did he start failing at work, his work relationships started failing too. People became afraid of being associated with him, especially when they realized that getting caught reading one of these e-mails could get them in trouble. And then it happened, the ultimate betrayal... The sarcastic employee was turned in by another employee who had found out he was being 'ragged on' in these e-mails repeatedly. The company IT guy researched and found out just how much work time had been spent on writing/distributing the e-mails and the employee was let go. Talk about tough to explain on job interviews: Hiring Manager: "So, why did you leave your last job?" Sarcastic Employee: "Well, I was trash talking everyone in the company in e-mails during work hours and got caught." To make matters worse, it had been his first real job (i.e. professional setting), and now he had no reference. He couldn't get any of his former co-workers to agree to talk to potential employers for him either because we were all promptly instructed on the 'no reference giving' policy by the HR Manager right after his departure. So, here's my question: Was he the only one to blame? Yes, he wrote the e-mails, but it was the initial reaction he got from all of us that fueled him to write more, which lead him down a path to destruction. My takeaway from the experience was this: There's humor and there's sarcasm. We need the first in the workplace, but not necessarily the second. Being funny at work isn't a problem, as long as you're not sarcastic. What are your thoughts? Do the sarcastic people in your company cross boundries at times? How do you respond to them? Is there room for sarcasm in the workplace? Does using sarcasm put your career at risk?
July 02, 2009
If the stress of juggling school, work, and family is making life difficult, you are not alone. According to a recent study on college employment, 43% of the nation's full-time college undergraduates and 81% of part-time undergraduates worked while getting a degree. Not surprisingly, time shortage is one of the biggest reasons for students dropping out before completing their degree. So how do you make sure that you stay the course?
Here are five tips for managing your time for academic—and professional—success.
Does your college offer courses that work with your life rather than against it? You'll have a better chance of attaining your life goals if they do. So, talk with the admissions counselor and/or your advisor and find out if courses are available online as well as in class, whether courses are flexible, and whether you can complete your program at your own pace. Many campuses offer help with time management, so try to find out what support is available. You could even consider setting up a peer mentoring program to give and get support from fellow students if your college doesn't have one.
You should also talk to your employer. Assess when busy periods are likely to be, and try to avoid big assignments at the same time. Show commitment and consideration, and you'll probably get your boss's support. If you can, look for assignments where you can exploit your professional experience; it's a more efficient use of your time.
Busy, successful people understand what they can do each day, how they use their time, and what can realistically be accomplished. Learn from their techniques and you can do the same. Record your daily activities to find out how much time you really have. Assign a specific time to important tasks rather than hoping they will happen at some point. Get smart when prioritizing tasks so that "clean the attic" does not have the same weight as "write term paper." Build in buffer time for the inevitable interruptions. And set time limits for each task to stop it spreading into the rest of your day.
Once you have your schedule, beat procrastination by breaking down massive projects into manageable blocks. Work is usually the best way to get working, so start with small tasks to get the ball rolling. Finally, once you're in the zone, note any good ideas that pop up and move on. That way your ideas for your company's sales conference won't distract you from your revision—and you won't forget them.
John C. Maxwell, author of How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, put it best: "If something can be done 80% as well by someone else, delegate!" Clear out the clutter of unnecessary tasks and make more room for more important activities. Evaluate your commitments, discuss realistic goals with friends and family, and then learn to make use of other people.
It can be hard to let go sometimes, but you don't have to do it all. There are almost certainly tasks in your daily routine that can be done easily by others, even if your only available resource is a willing spouse or child.
Stay in the here-and-now and focus on one class at a time. If you complete one or two courses, you'll be motivated to take another. Equally, don't put too much pressure on yourself to complete your degree within a certain timeline.
Success is the biggest motivator, so acknowledge a job well done but don't allow yourself to be distracted when things don't go according to plan. Learn from mistakes and then move on. Remember that learning is a cumulative process: you won't be judged by one project alone and you don't have to be perfect every time. Sometimes, good enough is just that.
Extra-strong coffee is not a long-term study aid! When schedules fill up, sleep is often the first to be sacrificed. But lack of sleep actually makes your task much harder: your mental health, physical health, stress levels, and schedule are all affected.
Make sure you take time to look after yourself. It doesn't take long for the constant round of class, study, work and more study to take its toll on your ability to perform. Plan time to relax and be social—and treat it like every other commitment. It will improve your productivity overall.
Time management isn't a skill you pick up right away. Ironically, it too takes time. But the good news is that more and more students are managing to earn a degree while working full-time. The even better news is that the time management techniques you learn when balancing your various commitments can be applied throughout your career to enhance your chances of future success.
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This post was originally published at an earlier date.
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In your job search, you've probably come across companies you've heard of, and companies you have not. Chances are, the companies you've heard of have employer branding strategies to help them attract top talent and boost employee morale. If employer branding benefits companies, why should job seekers care about it, too?
The short answer: employer branding can actually help job seekers find the right job (and company) for them.
If you're looking for a job, here are three specific reasons why you should pay attention to employer branding in your job search.
It Helps You Get To Know A Company Better
As you browse job postings and find employment opportunities that pique your interest, it's important to research a company before applying for a job. Employer branding makes it easier for you to research a company and find out what they do, who they serve, and what it's like to work for them.
Companies with a strong employer branding strategy focus on creating and sharing content about their organization on many different platforms, including social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok. Job seekers can easily get a feel for a company's culture through browsing their accounts on these platforms, getting a better idea whether they'd like to work for them or not.
It Shows You How A Company Treats Their Employees
While you can get a decent amount of information about how a company treats their employees from sites like Glassdoor, employer branding takes it a step further. Every piece of content a company pushes out for their employer branding strategy, from educational articles to fun videos, provides job seekers with a snapshot of the company culture and the types of employees who work there. With employer branding, employees are encouraged to talk about their experiences at work. If job seekers want to find a job at a great company that cares about their employees, they should listen.
Nobody wants to work for a company that treats their employees poorly. By paying attention to a company's employer brand, you'll learn a lot about what it would be like to work there. You don't want to realize you made the wrong decision on your first day at work.
It Makes It Easier For You To Create Your Interview Bucket List
Paying attention to employer branding will help you create and manage your interview bucket list. As a professional, you should always have an interview bucket list, a list of 10-20 companies you'd love to work for. Companies with strong employer brands will have a higher chance of landing on your interview bucket list because you'll be able to find enough information about them and decide whether they're the right company for you.
What are their values and beliefs as an organization? Do you feel connected to their mission? Are you passionate about what they do? A company with a strong employer brand will help you figure out the answers to these questions very easily so you can conduct an efficient and effective job search.
As you look for a job, remember the importance of employer branding. The companies that spend time building their employer brands are often the companies that have great company cultures, benefits, and other things they're proud of that are worth showing off. The ones that don't—well, that sends quite a different message.
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TikTok, the popular social media platform that allows users to make and share short-form videos, is not just for individuals looking for funny and entertaining content. It's also an amazing opportunity for employers to step up their employer branding efforts and engage with job seekers in a new and exciting way.
If your company hasn't considered using TikTok for employer branding, or you're on the fence about it, here are three reasons why you should incorporate TikTok into your employer branding efforts today.
Reach A New Audience
Think about your current employer branding strategy. You're probably reaching a pretty consistent audience in the various channels where you post and share content about your company. With TikTok though, you could reach a new audience every single day.
Depending on factors like hashtags, video content, and the sound you use, your videos will reach the audience most likely to interact with them, due to TikTok's insanely accurate algorithm. For example, if one day you post a funny video about your product to promote it and get people thinking about your brand in a new way, that video will reach users who have liked similar videos and content in the past. And then if on another day you post a video about your company's unique employee benefits, and mention that you're hiring, that video will likely reach a completely different audience, one that's full of job seekers.
Connect With A Younger Generation Of Talented Workers
Reaching a new audience might also mean connecting with younger job seekers. Although TikTok is for everyone, the vast majority of users are between the ages of 16-24. This means millions of recent college grads are using the platform—and are probably looking for their first "real" job out of school at the same time. Wouldn't you love to connect with young and talented job seekers and attract the right candidates to your open positions?
This younger generation is Gen Z, and in order to gain their attention and show that your company is modern and can keep up with the times, a TikTok account is almost essential. Nobody wants to work for a boring and outdated company! Think about how you can connect with a younger generation of talented workers with your current employer branding strategy. If there's some room for improvement, give TikTok a try.
Attract Job Seekers With Fun & Educational Content
The content you create on TikTok is what will determine how successful you are at achieving your employer branding goals. At the end of the day, TikTok is a great opportunity to attract job seekers who otherwise might not have thought about applying to your company for a job if they hadn't seen your videos or connected with your company in some way on the social media platform.
To attract job seekers, create fun and educational videos about your company, highlighting employee benefits, company culture, and unique job opportunities. Interact with commenters and followers. Consider what a job seeker's impression of you would be if they stumbled across one of your videos and checked out your profile. Is your company relevant? Why would someone want to work for you? What makes you stand out from other employers? Think about these questions when you add TikTok to your employer branding strategy to ensure your content is helping you attract job seekers.
As an employer, you need to stay on top of your employer branding strategy, using every tool out there to your advantage, or else other companies will attract more job seekers and you'll miss out on talented professionals of all ages. If you were unsure about the importance of TikTok in your employer branding strategy before, we hope this article motivated you to give TikTok a try. You'll attract the right job candidates (and have a lot of fun, too!).
Could your employer branding strategy use a boost? We can help!
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In this article, I'll provide you with an analysis user guide, complete with templates and examples and, most importantly, how to leverage this analysis during your strategic plans.
What Analysis Tools Should I Use?
There are tons of business analysis models that can help you better understand your business, but some of the most effective ones are the SWOT and PESTLE strategic analysis models.
SWOT stands for:
Strengths and weaknesses represent your company's internal environment—things that are happening now. They represent things that you have control over and can change.
Opportunities and threats represent your company's external environment—things that are happening in the future. They are things going on outside of your company and are not something you can control or change.
A PESTLE analysis can be done in conjunction with a SWOT to more deeply analyze the external section in the SWOT. It is more valuable than SWOT for longer term strategic plans. PESTLE stands for Political, Economic, Social, Technological, Legal, and Environmental.
- POLITICAL: Government policy, corruption levels, trade controls, import and export restrictions, taxation changes
- ECONOMIC: Exchange rates, disposable income levels, interest rates, unemployment rates, wealth distribution
- SOCIAL: Education levels, population growth rate, religious harmony, attitude towards health, social welfare programs, generational shifts
- TECHNOLOGICAL: New technology considerations, internet penetration, access to basic infrastructure, software privacy, technology competency of workforce
- LEGAL: Tax laws and regulations, labor laws and firing policies, copyright and anti-piracy laws
- ENVIRONMENTAL: Weather patterns, attitude towards recycling, attitude towards organic and green products
SWOT and PESTLE are simple tools that, when combined, provide a complete picture of your business environment for an effective strategic planning process.
Here are downloadable free templates and examples to get you started.
SWOT ANALYSIS TEMPLATE