How to Ask to Work From Home (or Start Any Tough Conversation at Work)

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How to Ask to Work From Home (or Start Any Tough Conversation at Work)

When it comes to tough conversations in the workplace -- asking your manager about working remotely, a raise, parental leave or flexibility, a change to your job description or a deadline -- most people ruminate endlessly on the potential risks.

  • She could say no...

  • She could get mad that I’m asking...

  • She could FIRE me...

  • I could come across as entitled, or unprofessional, or lazy, and this could be the beginning of the slow death of my entire career…..!

The prospect of “making waves” ignites worry and even catastrophic thinking in the best of us.

But sometimes we become so blinded by the risks of having the conversation, we fail to see the risks of not having the conversation.

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The 5-Year Plan Alternative: Your 5-Year Vision Exercise

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The 5-Year Plan Alternative: Your 5-Year Vision Exercise

We think about ‘5 Year Plans’ all wrong. Oftentimes this common question strikes panic in our hearts, because we feel like a specific job title is required for it all to make sense.

But instead, you need to start with a vision of what you want your LIFE to look like 5 years from now. Once you have a clearer sense of this vision and the right kind of options and the right way forward will follow.

How to craft your 5-year vision:

Pull out a pen and paper, or open up a new document on your computer, and simply write down what a typical week would look like in your ideal future.

This starts with a detailed description of a typical work day: What time do you wake up? Who's there? What do you do first? What does your morning routine look like? Where is work? If not at home, how do you get there? Who is there when you get there? What happens while you’re there? How is your time organized (lots of short bursts, periods of time of deep work, etc)? What kinds of tasks do you do? Whom do you do it with and for? When do you leave? What happens after work? And so on. Also, how do you spend your weekends?

It's likely not all clear to you today, and your vision may change with the new experiences and people that come into your life. You may feel at home with your creativity, or you may need to try a few things to get the juices flowing — sketching out a picture that represents your future, word mapping, brainstorming with a friend.

But get at least a few paragraphs down on paper that you feel good about when you read back to yourself. Use this narrative as your north star for today.

Once you do, you can consider the jobs and paths -- and the decisions or changes you could make -- that will get you as close as possible to this vision.

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How to Set Authentic Career Goals

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How to Set Authentic Career Goals

It’s important to set audacious goals for the future. If we don’t say our dreams out loud, they will never come true.

That said, sometimes we can have an unhealthy relationship with goals -- choosing goals that make us feel smaller instead of empowered, setting goals that we feel we “should” achieve instead of goals we want to achieve, or holding onto goals that are no longer right for us.

How do we choose the right goals for us?

SMART goal setting is an excellent framework for short-term goals and project management.

But for long-term goal setting (“I want to be in ________ job by 2020” or “By the end of this year I will be ________”), here are the three guiding principles I suggest keeping in mind:

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How to Know What Your Manager Wants

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How to Know What Your Manager Wants

Dear Liz,

I recently started working with a new supervisor, and she’s hard to read. When I send her drafts of my writing projects (I work in online curriculum development), she returns them to me with lots of edits. I don’t mind the edits, but she hasn’t given me any qualitative feedback like “good job,” or “this should have been better.”

I’m working as hard as I can, but I’m constantly wondering whether I’m exceeding expectations, or if I’m at risk of being fired.

Should I just assume I’m doing well (and do my best to set aside my pangs of fear that I’m not) and hope for a positive 6-month review? Or what’s your advice?

Sincerely,

Reading-Between-The-Lines

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“My interviewer didn’t show!” What It Means & How To Respond

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“My interviewer didn’t show!” What It Means & How To Respond

Dear Liz,

I was supposed to have a phone interview today, but my interviewer never called… She did email me about 45 minutes later saying that her meeting had run over and was very apologetic, but it still stung.

This is the third time this month that an interviewer rescheduled on me last minute. It’s hard not to take it personally, and re-preparing for interviews has become a serious drain on my time, energy, and confidence.

Does this happen to everyone or is it just me? And what’s the best way to respond? Should I write off the organization, or do I just need to suck it up and accept this as part of my job search? I’m feeling seriously frustrated and am interested in your take on all this.

Sincerely,

Waiting By The Phone

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Why Quitting Is The Real Secret To Success

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Why Quitting Is The Real Secret To Success

“What’s your anxiety right now on a scale from 1-10?” I asked him.

“I’d give it a six...” Jason replied nervously.

We had arrived at the part of the job search that makes everyone uneasy: networking. And Jason was especially unexcited about being there.

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5 Must-Do's For Landing A Job In 2019

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5 Must-Do's For Landing A Job In 2019

The new year presents such a timely opportunity to ask ourselves, “What’s missing?” and, “What’s possible?” in our careers. 

And if a new job is something you’ve set your sights on for this year, here are the top 5 strategies I recommend for landing a job you love.

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Comparison Distress: How to Handle Icky Career Questions This Holiday

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Comparison Distress: How to Handle Icky Career Questions This Holiday

Dear Liz,

I’m dreading going home for the holidays. My friends and family keep announcing their big new job titles on Facebook and LinkedIn while I’m still in the same job I’ve been in the past couple of years. I hate being asked “What’s new at work?” and “What’s next?” when I don’t have anything impressive to say.

How do I respond to these questions when I don’t have good answers? Do I just suffer through it and make next year the year I up my career game?

Sincerely,

Embarrassed To Be Asked

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