Supporting the workers of Indianapolis: Employed—Unemployed; Happy—Frustrated; Executive—Employee. All are welcome!

Is it Okay to be Friends with Your Co-workers?


Is it okay to be friends with your co-workers?

The short answer is “yes.” You totally can and should. After a while, you and your co-workers become somewhat of a family. You figure, if you’re going to spend more than half your waking hours with the people you work with, you might as well enjoy their company. Besides, camaraderie is totally natural and bound to happen anyway. (Read the rest of this post…)

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Tue, February 24 2015 » Corporate Culture » No Comments

Real World Psychology “Tricks” for the Workplace


Midwesterners are known for their pleasant attitude and friendly demeanor. Here in Indiana—where people are referred to using the folksy term “hoosiers”—you might expect workplace conversations to always be straightforward.

But that isn’t always the case. Here are some “tricks” for influencing behavior.

© Flickr User Creative Ignition

Be Silent to Hear Volumes

Here’s an amazing quirk of human behavior. People can’t stand silence. If you just shut up during a conversation, there’s a good chance the other person will start talking and tell you what’s on their mind.

This great for negotiations, but also in cases where you know there’s a piece of information you don’t have. Ask a question, and give people space to speak. And when they seem to come to a natural end to a response, just stay silent. Chances are good they will keep talking.

Use the “Walk Away” Technique

Suppose another person comes into your office or cubicle to ask a question. Instead of answering them while sitting there, stand up and start walking while you’re talking.

If they want to continue the conversation, they will have to follow you. So walk over to their office, and once you finish, they are right where they are supposed to be! This is a great way to have brief conversations. It’s also a way to subtly train people that if they have a non-urgent question, they should just send an email.

Try the “Door-in-the-face” Technique

Imagine you ask a stranger for a really big favor. They are probably going to respond with exactly what this approach implies—slamming a door in your face. But then follow up with a smaller favor, and they are more likely to say yes than they would have been in the first place.

This is a well-documented phenomenon. Researchers don’t agree on exactly why it works, but the experiments show that it is definitely successful.

Magic Trick
© Flickr User Dani_vr

You have to decide for yourself if you’re willing to use any of these tricks on people in your life. But even if you won’t use them, be aware. Perhaps others are using them on you.

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Tue, February 17 2015 » Uncategorized » No Comments

Apply for Jobs with Ridiculous Descriptions


A while back here on IndyAtWork, my fellow blogger Laura Neidig put together a few posts about job descriptions. It turns out that HR directors and managers everywhere (not just here in Central Indiana) have a tendency to write job descriptions that border on the ridiculous.

In Laura’s first piece she begged people to dial back the job description. There she notes:

What often begins as a reasonable description of duties takes a turn down the path of what would surely be the road to burn-out. Lists of job requirements with 25 or more tasks are the norm.

In a follow up piece, she advises employers:

Job descriptions should follow the ABC method of writing: accuracy, brevity and clarity.

Also: Run your job description by a few people to see if it makes sense to them. There are perfectly good words out there that would cause far less confusion.

Man with Briefcase
© Flickr User Brennan

So what should you do when you encounter these crazy job descriptions in the wild? Apply anyway. The person writing the description is more than likely throwing a bunch of skills and requirements in there just in case. Or, they are taking all of the random things the previous person learned over the years and putting them on a list.

Worst of all, they may be combining two or more old job descriptions into one big dream.

What should you do? Apply anyway.

Ultimately, there are no candidates who can do everything on the job description. Even if it seems ridiculous, you should apply. Even if you feel a little unqualified, you should apply.

It may seem like you’re overwhelming the hiring manager, but that’s not your concern.

If the job description seems ridiculous, apply. You just might get an interview—which is a chance to gently discuss why the job description doesn’t make any sense.

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Tue, February 10 2015 » Uncategorized » No Comments

This Is Not a Flexible Workplace


It’s a reasonable workplace. Flexible means that we will bend the rules. That’s not a good idea. If you have rules, they ought to be followed.

“Reasonable” means we have good rules. So why aren’t we “flexible?” (Read the rest of this post…)

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Tue, February 3 2015 » Uncategorized » No Comments

How To Maximize Your Time at a Career Fair


Indianapolis is home to several job fairs, some of which are organized by the local community and many of which are affiliated with schools, colleges, and specific employers. How can you make the most of your time there? (Read the rest of this post…)

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Tue, January 27 2015 » Career Planning and Goal Setting, Self Development » No Comments

The Danger of Traditional Thinking


I recently visited a small logistics firm here in Indianapolis. Like just about every trucking company, they had a solid, traditional-sounding name, operated out of a nondescript building, and were located in an industrial part of town. Are there good reasons for these choices? (Read the rest of this post…)

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Tue, January 20 2015 » Change Managment and Learning Organization, Corporate Culture, Leadership » No Comments