Career Calling

February 14, 2015

Are Your Co-workers Selfish, or Are You Naive?


Bloomberg has published a very interesting article on how people treat each other in the workplace. Citing research performed by two scholars at Stanford, Akane Otani writes that we are more likely to return favors done for us by friends than we are to help co-workers. This is logical since most workplaces because people are more calculating about what they do at work. One of the researchers, Jeffrey Pfeffer, recommends that the best way to deal with selfishness at work is to be realistic about it. He says that we need to stop looking for a “mythical Santa Claus” that is going to be nice to us. People act in their own interest, and we need to do the same.

In one sense, I totally agree with this advice. While we might make friends of co-workers, those relationships tend to be separate. If we can get a better job, we leave our co-worker friends behind. On the other hand, bosses and co-workers are often our best teachers and mentors. Throughout my career, I have learned great life lessons at work. Now, I would add this to them: Don’t get upset when a co-worker stabs you in the back to get ahead or plays office politics with your reputation. That’s how most people are, especially when they aren’t our friends.

June 23, 2011

Finding a Mentor: Good Advice for Women & Men

Filed under: Career Management — claycerny @ 11:33 pm
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Writing in Huffington Post, Amanda M. Fairbanks examines the value of women finding a mentor at work.  Fairbanks quotes experts who advise developing mentor relationships early in a career.  She also distinguishes between a mentor who advises one in climbing the corporate ladder and a sponsor who is an advocate during that process.  The article ends with four very practical tips.

This advice applies to men as well as women.  It is also wise to think about mentors who are not at your company, other professionals who can give you advice and options.  Find a mentor and let that person know that you appreciate her or his support.  When your time comes, mentor others.

October 16, 2010

Find Inspiration

Filed under: Career Management — claycerny @ 1:12 am
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In a recent post, Seth Godin explores the difference between heroes and mentors.  We usually define mentors as people we know, experts who can guide us.  Godin suggests that we think about heroes the same way.  We can have the great business leader as our mentor, but that person can be a hero.  If we listen hard, that hero becomes a virtual mentor.