Without brown nosing
Of all of the workplace relationships that it’s important to cultivate, the one that you’ll want to make the strongest from the beginning is between you and your supervisor.
Especially if you’re new to the organization, it’s always a good idea to ensure that you are simpatico with the person who determines not only if you’ll get to stay at that great job, but also controls many of the elements of making that job a joy or a drudgery to go to each day.
You’ve got the power
So, how do you quickly build a positive relationship with your boss without seeming unctuous or insincere?
If you’re still in the interview phase, start by realizing that you have power. Whether at the very beginning or at the finalist stage, now’s as good of a time as any to use it.
You should be interviewing the organization and your prospective manager just as much as they’re interviewing you.
A certain amount of tact and discretion is needed in how you do so. Ask questions that provide you an insight into how your soon-to-be boss likes to communicate and how they manage their direct reports.
Some prefer quick texts and give their teams a wide degree of autonomy handling operational tasks. Others may want twice-daily stand-up meetings that are exercises in reviewing things to the smallest detail. Knowing what the expectations are in advance can help you adapt to their styles, or provide you with the understanding that your respective styles are too disparate for you to be happy there, no matter how great the job seems.
Getting personal (professionally)
Once aboard, try to get to know your manager on a “professionally personal” level. Understanding their professional journey (which you can see through their LinkedIn profile and other similar tools) gives you insight into the lenses through which they view their own roles, as well as gives you some things to talk about as you get to know one another. Very few individuals sincerely don’t like talking about themselves, and your manager is no different.
When you do begin to get to know one another well, professionally, avoid the temptation to become a sycophant in an attempt to gain their favor. It often doesn’t work, and when it fails, it fails badly, leaving a bad taste in your manager’s mouth as to who you really might be at your core.
We all want to be liked for who we are and what we bring to the table, so excessive flattery is just that — excessive.
Timing is everything
Temper the attempt to get to know your boss better to times and ways in which they can give you their full attention. It’s likely that she may have many other responsibilities and calls to action placed on her at the time of your hire. She may not have the opportunity to give you as much face-to face time initially as you (or she) may like.
Understanding your supervisor also means learning the competing priorities on their plate, the results they’re expected to achieve, and what your role is in accomplishing those.
You were brought on board for a purpose, and you’ve got the expertise to contribute to help the organization, so don’t sell yourself short. Your boss may well be excited by a new hire that understands what priorities and expectations the company is facing, and has an idea of how they can quickly help achieve them.
When you do have the opportunity to contribute, don’t be afraid to let your boss know the challenges to implementation that you or she may face. When launching a project or resolving a long-standing issue, feel free to bring not only the problem, but a solution forward. Even if your boss doesn’t accept your proposed solution, the conversation you have gives you good insight into the challenges of your new role.
Speaking of that new role, spend as much time as you can going beyond the onboarding efforts prescribed by the company. Learn the ins-and-outs of your job description, what it really is in practice, and your day-to-day expectations. Navigating all of that on your own isn’t advisable. Take advantage of either an assigned mentor or find one on your own who can help you successfully do what you were hired to do
Your manager will have a much better impression of you if they see you as someone who works hard to do the right thing.
Your boss is invested in your success. After all, they’re the one that identified you as the right fit for the position after going through the expense of recruiting and onboarding you. They want to see you succeed. By getting to know them, how they operate and communicate, and what’s important to them, you can begin to provide a return on that investment quickly.
Age discrimination lawsuits are coming due to the pandemic – don’t add to the mess
(BUSINESS NEWS) Age discrimination is spreading despite intentions to help, and employers need to know how to proceed in this unprecedented era.
A 2015 survey found that 75% of older workers found age an obstacle in job hunting. COVID-19 made the situation much worse.
Not only do older workers deal with discrimination, but they are at a higher risk of developing serious complications from the virus. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, older workers were hit the hardest by job loss during the pandemic, which is unusual during a recession. As offices reopen, employers need to be careful to avoid age discrimination in rehiring.
Lawyers expect age discrimination lawsuits to increase.
Last September, Harris Meyer published an article in the ABA Journal that predicted a “flood of age discrimination lawsuits” from the pandemic. Employers who have good intentions by keeping older employees out of the workplace to protect their health are still guilty of age discrimination.
What can employers do to avoid age discrimination?
It may be fine line between making sure you don’t discriminate based on age while offering ADA accommodations. The first thing employers should do is to know what laws apply based on their location. Some states exempt employees over 65 from returning to the workplace out of safety fears, meaning that those employees can still get unemployment. Other states are cutting benefits if employees don’t return to work, regardless of age.
There are some jurisdictions that have passed legislation about which workers have the right to be recalled. Next, review your own policies and agreements with laid off and terminated employees. You may want to consult legal counsel to make sure you’re covering your bases.
As you rehire, whether you’re bringing back former employees or hiring new team members, do not make hiring decisions based on age. Keep good documentation about your decisions to terminate certain employees. If you are citing poor performance, make sure to have a record of that. Don’t terminate older employees who have bigger salaries just because of lower sales. Monitor your words (and that of your hiring team) to avoid bias in hiring and firing.
Provide accommodations or not?
According to the SHRM, “Workers age 40 and older are protected from bias by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; however, that law doesn’t require employers to make accommodations for safety concerns.”
Still, employers can provide flexibility for workers, but it largely depends on the type of job. Reaching an accommodation for an office worker will be much easier than accommodating a sanitation worker.
Employers should assume that workers aged 40 and older can return to work. When the need for help is raised by the employee, enter negotiations for accommodations. Don’t initiate the conversation, and absolutely avoid any references to age.
Know that the environment may change as the pandemic continues to affect workers.
Be thoughtful about your hiring practices moving forward to avoid costly litigation from age discrimination.
Missing office culture while working remotely? This tool tries to recreate it
(BUSINESS NEWS) This startup just released new software to help you reproduce the best parts of in-person office interactions while you work from home.
Are you over working from home? Feeling disconnected from your co-workers? Well look no further: The startup Loop Team just released a tool that reproduces the office culture experience virtually.
“We’ve looked at a lot of the interactions that happen when you’re physically in an office — the visual communication, the background conversations, the hallway chatter,” said Loop Team’s founder and CEO Raj Singh in an interview with TechCrunch. “[W]e built an experience that effectively is a virtual office. And so it tries to represent the best parts of what a physical office experience might be like, but in a virtual form.”
Singh’s company, founded pre-COVID, is posed as a solution to feeling “out of the loop” while working remotely. During the pandemic, where virtually all of us are working from home, this technology is needed more than ever.
How it works is by essentially recreating an office experience on a virtual platform. Somewhere between Zoom and Slack with some added features, Loop Team lets you know who’s free to chat, who’s in meetings, and allows you to have private discussions using audio, video, and screen share. It’s ideal for working on projects together.
Loop’s layout is unique in the sense that it is designed to show you conversations in a clear, direct way – exposing relevant items and hiding the rest. Also, employees who miss meetings have the ability to review what they missed, making it perfect for companies that hire across time zones.
The platform was made available December 1st free of charge, but Singh is hoping to introduce a paid version next year. Pricing will likely reflect team size and should remain free for teams of 10 or less.
I’m a big fan of software that allows you to feel closer and more connected to your co-workers. Do I think anything will ever compare to a true, in-person office experience? Definitely not. That being said, I value this kind of progress, especially since I don’t think office culture en mass will make a return any time soon, regardless of vaccinations.
What’s DMT and why are techies and entrepreneurs secretly taking the drug?
(BUSINESS) The tech world and entrepreneur world are quietly taking a psychadellic in increasing numbers – they make a compelling case, but it’s not without risks.
Move over tortured artists and festival-goers, psychedelics aren’t just for you anymore. An increasing number of professionals in Silicon Valley swear by “microdosing” psychedelic substances such as lysergic acid diethylamide(LSD) in efforts to heighten creativity and drive innovative efforts.
This probably isn’t a shock to anyone following trends in tech and startups, particularly the glorification of the 8-trillion hour workweek (#hustle). But business owners, entrepreneurs, and technologists are also turning to other hallucinogens to awaken higher levels of consciousness in hopes of influencing favorable business results.
Dimethyltryptamine (DMT) is growing in popularity as business leaders and creatives flock to Peru or mastermind retreats to ingest the drug. It exists in the human body as well as other animals and plants. In his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr. Rick Strassman says “this ‘spirit’ molecule provides our consciousness access to the most amazing and unexpected visions, thoughts and feelings. It throws open the door to worlds beyond our imagination.”
The substance is commonly synthesized in a lab and smoked, with short-lived effects (between five to 45 minutes, however, some say it lasts for hours).
Traditionally, however, it is extracted from various Amazonian plant species and snuffed or consumed as a tea (called ayahuasca or yage). The effects of DMT when consumed in this manner can last as long as ten hours. Entrepreneurs are attracted to the “ayahuasca experience” for its touted ability to provide clarity, vision and inventiveness.
Physical effects are said to include an increase in blood pressure and a raised heart rate. Users report gastrointestinal effects when taken orally, commonly referred to as the “purge.” The purging can include vomiting or diarrhea, which makes for interesting conversation at the next company whiteboarding session.
Users are subject to dizziness, difficulty regulating body temperature, and muscular incoordination. Users also risk seizures, respiratory failure, or falling into a coma.
DMT can interfere with medications or foods, a reason why many indigenous tribes that work with it also follow specific dietary guidelines prior to ingestion. Not paying attention to diet or prescription medication prior to consuming ayahuasca or DMT can lead to the opposite of the intended effect, potentially even causing trauma or death.
So why the hell are people putting themselves through this ordeal?
Many claim profound mental effects, often experiencing a transformative occurrence that provides clarity and healing. Auditory and visual hallucinations are common, with reports of geometric shapes and sharp, bold colors. Many report intense out-of-body experiences, an altered sense of time and space or ego dissolution (“ego death”).
Studies have indicated long-term effects in people who use DMT. Some report a reduction in symptoms of depression or anxiety.
Subjects in an observational study showed significant reductions in stress after participating in an ayahuasca ceremony, with effects lasting through the 4-week follow-up period.
Subjects also showed improvements in convergent thinking that were still evident at the 4-week follow up. People who consume DMT generally chronicle improvements in their overall satisfaction of life, and claim they are more mindful and aware after the experience.
It’s important to note that dying from ayahuasca is rarely reported, but that doesn’t rule out the risk. It’s also illegal in the states, explaining why groups flock to Peru to visit licensed ayahuasca retreats or why technologists buy DMT on the dark web to avoid detection.
For those considering a DMT journey (and we don’t recommend it based on the illegal nature and health risks), it’s critical to gain a full understanding of the potential risks prior to consumption.
For more reading:
- A full (and long) history of DMT
- The documented effects of DMT
- What it’s like to take DMT (according to users)
This story was first published here in June, 2019.
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