Author: Roger Reid

Is it Time to Sue Your Employer?

Is it Time to Sue Your Employer?

Bringing formal legal action against your employer should always be considered a last resort to correcting an difficult situation or problem at work. So how do you know when it’s time to call an attorney? Here’s a three step process to help settle, manage, or otherwise negotiate a problem at work and avoid bringing the kiss of death to your career.

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When Someone Really Needs Your Help

When Someone Really Needs Your Help

Sure, we’ve all had to deal with dead batteries and leaky water pipes—the common frustrations and irritations of life. But occasionally, someone close to you will experience a personal tragedy—a time of extreme distress. And when it happens, even though you’re ready, willing, and able to help, you may feel awkward or uncomfortable because you don’t know exactly what to do or say. But don’t let that keep you from helping out when others need you the most. Here are the basics, and if it helps, think of it as CPR for the soul.

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The Fine “Art” of Argument

The Fine “Art” of Argument

In many situations and relationships you can either be right or you can be happy—but not both. Which is more important to you? By learning how to diffuse a potential argument and turn it into a productive discussion, you can preserve – and even strengthen – your relationships with others.

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The New World Corporate Culture

The New World Corporate Culture

The popularity of “culture” has made it a leading topic for positive change. But as the concept of company culture expands to include tangible, value-added employee benefits, are we creating unrealistic expectations—a sense of entitlement—in the minds of existing and future employees?

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Do You Think Like an Entrepreneur?

Do You Think Like an Entrepreneur?

Sadly, one of the first lessons many new entrepreneurs learn is that they’ve traded corporate boredom for financial stress and logistical overwhelm. If you’re contemplating leaving your company for self-employment, make sure personality, personal values, and work ethic are in alignment with an entrepreneurial mindset. Most successful entrepreneurs were already thinking in “maverick-mode” long before they left their employer, with many operating a small side business or providing non-competitive consulting services.

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I Forgot How to Say “No”

I Forgot How to Say “No”

If you’re good at something, others will ask for your help. And on the surface, there’s nothing wrong with that. Helping out is part of life. But if “helping out” means sacrificing the priorities you’ve established in your own life, where do you draw the line? And just as important, how do you convey that your desire to help is sincere, but your current circumstances and work load make it impossible? You do it by learning how to say “no,” . . . the right way! As a result, you’ll bring your life back into balance, and put priority back where it belongs – on your personal productivity and success!

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Creating the Mental Sub-routines of a Successful Life

Creating the Mental Sub-routines of a Successful Life

It sounds simple . . . focus on the significantly important instead of the urgently trivial. But we all know how quickly a day can become derailed with phone calls, meetings, and last minute requests from customers and supervisors. So how do we stay on track, continuing to take the right steps that, over time, will eventually lead us to success? I suggest using a set of mental sub-routines that act as a kind of auto-pilot, guiding and directing our actions to create new opportunities, establish new professional relationships, and consistently make a trustworthy and reliable impression on others. Want to create your own set of mental sub-routines? Read on.

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How to Tame Your Nerves Before Giving a Speech

How to Tame Your Nerves Before Giving a Speech

For fifty percent of the population, giving a speech produces as much fear as facing death. And yet, responding to a speaking request can boost your career, increase your standing in the community, and enhance your personal credibility and social status. In five simple steps, you can Learn how to get those butterflies to fly in formation and be remembered as the one who rose to the occasion, didn’t hesitate, and had the courage to take the lead.

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Human Resources – Department of Smoke & Mirrors

Human Resources – Department of Smoke & Mirrors

From the description—Human Resourses—it sounds like a division of the company dedicated to the well-being and advancement of the company’s employees. Even the name sounds friendly and inviting, right? Resources help us to excel at our job and be more effective on our assignments. And human? Well, we are human, so it must be a place we can go to acquire the help we need to get along with others, work through problems, and increase the enjoyment and satisfaction we receive from our work. It’s easy to assume the HR department to be a place designed to serve and benefit the company’s work force. Right? In a word . . . wrong.

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The Perfect Age

The Perfect Age

I remember driving to work one morning and listening to three radio personalities offer their opinion on the best age in life. After a minute or so of discussing the pros and cons of a younger body versus a wiser mind, they unanimously chose 35 as the perfect age. At the time, I was 28. The idea of being 35 seemed impossibly old. Hell, I could feel thirty looming in near future and that was bad enough. The idea that my thirty-fifth birthday would be something to celebrate seemed insane. That was over thirty years ago.
How accurate were the radio DJ’s at predicting the supposed best year of my life?

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Ready to Try a Little Minimalism in Your Life?

Ready to Try a Little Minimalism in Your Life?

Minimalism. It’s the new, trendy lifestyle of simplicity. Pair it down, throw it out, recycle it, or give it away, it doesn’t matter, just as long as you get it out of the house. The rationale for paring down is simple: The time we spend on our unneeded or unnecessary possessions often spills over into other areas of our life, reducing or shifting our focus away from more important priorities.

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Why Things Will Never Make Us Happy

Why Things Will Never Make Us Happy

The first of the year is the traditional time to set new goals, to identify what’s important in our lives and make plans to accomplish our objectives. For some of us, that means a new job, buying a home, or acquiring the latest model car. Others will focus on pure financial goals, setting a desired net worth, or accumulating a specific amount of cash in the bank, hoping it will give them a sense of freedom.

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Are You Really Cut Out To Be The Boss?

Are You Really Cut Out To Be The Boss?

Regardless of your particular goal—to create the next best-selling phone app, buy a fast-food franchise, or grow your fledgling used car business into the number one automobile dealership in the state—it probably started with great ambitions and dreams of financial independence. But if after several years of hard work, you’re still struggling to keep your business afloat, or worse, your efforts have ended in failure, debt, and disappointment, you may be asking . . . What happened?

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How Much Power Does the Past Have Over Your Future?

How Much Power Does the Past Have Over Your Future?

I haven’t been back to my old hometown in years. The last few times I was there, I felt like I was visiting a graveyard—lots of buried memories and too many headstones. So it wasn’t long before I began to feel uncomfortable and knew it was time to leave. A lot of it has to do with the recollection of things left unfinished—incomplete plans, broken dreams, and lost relationships. Looking back, I know most of it . . .

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Why So Many Fail to Achieve Their Dreams

Why So Many Fail to Achieve Their Dreams

“I was at the right place at the right time!”
“I was fortunate to have the right people working for me.”
How many times have you heard a business owner or entrepreneur offer a self-deprecating quip that minimizes his hard-eared and well-deserved success? It’s an overt show of modesty, and it’s about as far from the truth as you can get. So what does it take—exactly? What are the necessary ingredients to insure your business start-up has the best chance of becoming a financial success?

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Time For Plan B?

Time For Plan B?

We dream of a perfect life. We set our goals and make our plans. We work hard. And then life happens. We lose our job. Our spouse is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. The economy nosedives and wipes out our retirement savings. At first, we reel in shock as it all sinks in. Nothing makes sense. There are no clear answers. When we finally catch our breath, the questions overwhelm us . . . How will I ever get through this? What’s going to happen to me? Will I survive?

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Will Belonging to a Tribe Result in a Longer, Happier Life?

Will Belonging to a Tribe Result in a Longer, Happier Life?

You say you’re not tribal? Then you may be hurting your chances of living a long and healthy life. In a recent Ted Talk titled, “What Makes a Good Life?” (www.bit.ly/TED-GoodLife) Robert Waldinger recapped findings from the Harvard Study of Adult Development, the longest study of adult life every done. After tracking participants for 78 years, one of the most important (and surprising) result to date was the importance of . . .

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Men and Their Sons

Men and Their Sons

In my senior year of high school, one of my teachers told me that when I was much older, I would be able to look back and remember three or four days that had been the most important—days that would ultimately shape my life. These were the days that changed me—forever. The one that immediately comes to mind is the morning I received the phone call from . . .

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Fifteen Techniques to Maximize Your Personal Effectiveness During Meetings

Fifteen Techniques to Maximize Your Personal Effectiveness During Meetings

Like them or not, meetings are the life-blood of the corporation. Often prompted by little more than a desire to “get everyone together,” spontaneous meetings have become an accepted part of the work day. Whether it’s implementing a new organizational process or procedure, a strategy session, dissecting a team report, goal setting, policy changes, introducing new employees, or disseminating information, a meeting is still the preferred method to accomplish the task.

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Re-thinking Your Age in a Youth-Oriented Culture

Re-thinking Your Age in a Youth-Oriented Culture

Sixty may be the new forty, but conventional assumptions and cultural bias about aging can still undermine your career, your professional relationships, and even the way strangers interact with you. The best way to protect your personal power and maintain your professional influence as you get older? Be proactive in maintaining your life skills, health, and mental acuity to insure others perceive your age as an asset instead of a liability. First, let’s face the facts.

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Nothing Personal . . . It’s Just Business

Nothing Personal . . . It’s Just Business

Ever heard that? Ever said it? Unfortunately, having separate identities—one for business and another for a personal life— is fairly common in the winner-take-all world of industry and commerce. Many of us have experienced it so often we’ve come to expect at least some sleight-of-hand at the negotiating table, and as a result, approach every new business relationship with caution—if not outright suspicion. At the risk of being called naive, I have to ask . . . How did it get this way?

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Improve Your Elevator Pitch by Eliminating Techno-speak!

Improve Your Elevator Pitch by Eliminating Techno-speak!

The opportunity to meet someone new is often constrained by time limits (and thus was born the “elevator pitch”). In these spontaneous situations, you typically have less than a minute to make a positive impression and leave your new acquaintance with a clear indication of who you are and what you do—especially when your intention is to make a new business contact.

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When Someone at Work Stabs You in the Back, Play by the Rules

When Someone at Work Stabs You in the Back, Play by the Rules

You’ve been attacked! Maybe you were used as a scapegoat, wrongly blamed for the team’s failure to meet quota, or bring a project in under budget—and neither metric falls under your responsibility. Or worse, you’re the target of rumor and innuendo; Someone has accused you of not acting in a professional capacity, or suggested you’re distracted with outside interests and it’s affecting your productivity. You may not know why it happened, but the damage is real. And as the initial shock begins to wear off, you know you can’t just sit there and take it—you have to do something.

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Have You Chosen the Wrong Life-Goal?

Have You Chosen the Wrong Life-Goal?

This one sounds like a no-brainer—you’d think our internal compass would set off alarm bells and red flags from the moment we begin to consider it. But a surprising number of people are addicted to a fantasy, believing in a future that is hopelessly unattainable. These are the folks who are sure they’re going to invent the next Pet Rock or Beanie Baby, and are just waiting for inspiration to strike. Maybe they’ve been planning to write the next run-away best seller, but haven’t completed a single chapter in years. Or they imagine themselves the CEO of a Fortune 500 Hundred company but haven’t risen above the entry level position they were hired at twenty years ago. And so they wait—for conditions to be just right, or circumstances to change, or for fate to magically transport them to the life they were “supposed” to live. Ask the typical “Dreamer” why they . . .

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Are You Paying Too High a Price to Accomplish Your Goals?

Are You Paying Too High a Price to Accomplish Your Goals?

Management newsletters and business blogs are buzzing with tips and techniques on how to choose objectives that are realistic, challenging, measurable, and most important, time-bound. These articles often deliver their advice accompanied by the well-worn metaphor of comparing the unfortunate goal-shunning majority to a ship without a rudder, its certain destiny to become nothing more than a rusting hulk on an unforgiving ocean. All good things . . . right? Usually. But there are exceptions.

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How Many Times Does It Take To Get It Right?

How Many Times Does It Take To Get It Right?

My second grade teacher was annoyed with my lack of immediate comprehension of subtraction, especially the part about “borrowing ten from the number on the left and adding it to the number on the right,” to keep the process going. “How many times do we have to repeat this until you get it right?” My seven-year-old brain didn’t know how to answer. Later on, I would realize her question was rhetorical. She already knew the answer—as many times as necessary. So why was she so frustrated? Because she knew . . .

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What’s Your College Degree Worth . . . Today?

What’s Your College Degree Worth . . . Today?

A few months ago, I decided it was time to update my LinkedIn profile. Everything was going smoothly until I looked at my education, a section of the personal profile usually populated by a list of colleges and earned degrees conferring certain—but subjectively vague—status. I get that. For some, it’s a place to start. A formal education. The foundation of a professional, well-rounded career. As I began to review and update my own educational accomplishments, I didn’t get very far before I began to question how untimely that seemed. For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why the education I’d received some forty years ago had anything to do with who I am today. Which made me wonder—what’s my formal education it worth today, after forty years?

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Navigating the Dangers of an Office Romance

Navigating the Dangers of an Office Romance

For decades, companies have used behavioral guidelines, environmental influences, and formal policy to keep their employees from engaging in flirtation, romance, and sex. Human resource departments continue to circulate memos reminding employees to keep excessively personal conversations, gestures of affection, and sexual overtures outside the office. Has it worked? Depends on how you measure it. As most will tell you, it’s still there, bubbling just under the surface.

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Yes, Money Matters

Yes, Money Matters

When I ask folks what they regret most in their lives, I get the usual, expected responses: “I wish I’d spent more time with my family. I gave up too soon on something that was important to me and now I wonder . . .” Or, “I wish I’d taken better care of my health.” And then . . . they talk about money. I want to make it clear these are not death-bed confessions, but responses from those in the fourth-quarter of life—active seniors who are still very much concerned with the responsibilities and obligations of life. Many wish they’d been more frugal in their youth, or started investing at an earlier age, or been less gullible when they were talked into buying a ten thousand dollar collection of Beanie Babies, because “the value was sure to double in a year.”

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What Do You Do With a Negative Soul?

What Do You Do With a Negative Soul?

Negative people. We all have them in our life. You may even have one in your own family— someone who’s outlook on life is overly pessimistic, complains about everything, or worse, they spend every moment telling you what’s wrong with your life. The result is an energy draining, frustrating experience no one wants to repeat. Big question: Should you try to change them? Depends. How important is this person in your life? If it’s your spouse, they obviously deserve more priority than the cranky neighbor who refuses to return your wave.

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Zen For Skeptics (and Engineers)

Zen For Skeptics (and Engineers)

I went to college to become an engineer . . . to learn math, physics, and principles of electrical design. Black and white stuff. No gray in engineering.
I remember my first introduction to digital computers. I learned to program the Digital PDP-8 and PDP-11 by moving banks of switches into either the on or off position. Ones or zeros. No other choices, no other possibilities. You were either right or wrong. As a college senior, I belonged to a plucky bunch. Very sure of ourselves, we were confident we would change the world with our highly disciplined, university-trained minds. Maybe you saw us on the way to class. We were easy to recognize . . . a few of us still carried slide rules on our belts. The more affluent . . .

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Bring Your New Year’s Resolutions Back From the Dead

Bring Your New Year’s Resolutions Back From the Dead

With a third of the year behind us, the end of April signifies an important milestone—a four month benchmark for the goal-setting exercise that’s been a traditional part of each new year. Four months ago, many of us were writing down our resolutions and setting goals to stop smoking, get a better job, find a spouse, lose weight, and hundreds of other wanted changes in our lives. How’s everyone doing? According to national statistics, not very well. Ninety-five percent of us have not only given up, we’ve forgotten about our resolutions completely. That leaves only five percent who are still taking action and will actually accomplish any kind of lasting change.

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A Note to my Nephew

A Note to my Nephew

I have a nephew who reminds me of myself—the me from thirty years ago . . . aggressive, wanting to excel, battling the other “bright boys” also competing on the fast track, hoping to score a cushy corner office on the tenth floor of the corporate office. I have no idea if he’ll read this. And if he does, if he’ll recognize the similarities—where I’ve come from and where he’s likely headed. I hope he’ll see the commonalities, and understand how quickly they can become consequences. For the last several years, he’s been following the path laid out for him. The same path that has lured generations . . .

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It’s Not Luck . . . It’s Still Who You Know (Or Meet!)

It’s Not Luck . . . It’s Still Who You Know (Or Meet!)

While pure luck can play a part in everyone’s life, there are definite actions anyone can take to improve the chances of success. There’s no hocus-pocus involved, just a few straightforward steps that can increase the number of “chance encounters” with those who may influence your thinking, help with a project, or simply refer you to a critical resource or individual. Welcome strangers. We have a tendency to avoid those we don’t know, but strangers can be the very best source of new opportunities. Try breaking the ice with someone when standing in line, while in an elevator, seated at a concert, or wherever you encounter a stranger and innocent chit-chat is not objectionable . . .

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I’ve behaved badly, but I’m trying to change

I’ve behaved badly, but I’m trying to change

I was talking with a friend in the gym last week. We were discussing our “personal demons,” the things we know are bad for us, but still require a mile of mental barbed-wire to keep them away from corrupting the parts of our lives we value the most. “Mine’s sugar,” he said. “That piece of Danish in the morning is just too hard to give up.” I nodded, but didn’t say anything. Not because I don’t have an equivalent weakness for something sweet, because I do. My once-a-week Snickers is definitely something I should do without. But in this case, a candy bar wasn’t what came to mind. I’d focused on a much different culprit, one far more serious than eating a couple hundred calories of sugar and fat.

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Spring Cleaning For the Mind

Spring Cleaning For the Mind

We accumulate a lot of “stuff” during a year of living, and spring is traditionally the time to sort it out, dust it off, and throw away what is no longer useful or necessary. The best place to begin? With our own thoughts, opinions, and beliefs. In many ways, our minds are like a well-used closet, collecting old impressions, assumptions, and judgments—the clutter of life. Every once in a while, we need to take a look inside and determine what should stay and what needs to be swept from our lives. It’s really a chance to get back to basics, to recharge our motivation and, if necessary, make a few course corrections. And while the process can be rewarding, it can also be very challenging.

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Waiting For My Life to Begin

Waiting For My Life to Begin

I did it because it was expected of me . . . If I hadn’t, I would have disappointed my parents and my friends would have felt sorry for me—maybe even pitied me. And that would have made me feel like a loser. But I didn’t have to worry. I’d done the right thing. And now my parents could brag about their son’s success. Even better, I could give that all-knowing nod to my friends, letting them know I’d scored the mother-lode. I was two months away from my college graduation and I’d just accepted a job with a major corporation—we’ll call it Acme, Inc.—a company with offices and production facilities all over the world. Lots of opportunity, lots of room to grow for a young man just starting out.

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