Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mentor Minutes

I am working on a book, videos, and audios that I'm calling Mentor Minutes. 

Here's my first-draft list of topics. Any you'd like to see me add?
Figuring out your next career step?
Making yourself more fire-resistant
What's your brand?
How to become intrapreneurial
The world's shortest writing course
Managing your appearance without going broke
The world's shortest course in staying healthy
The world's shortest parenting course. (If you have issues with your kids, it may affect your worklife.)

The world's shortest management course
Winning at office politics...without selling your soul
How good a communicator are you, really? (a quiz.)
Do you talk too much?
Advanced negotiation strategy
You're the job interviewer: finding out what the candidate is really like
You're getting interviewed for a job: figuring out if it really is a match, and if so, how to convince the employer that's true.
The ahead-of-the-pack resume
The ahead-of-the-pack cover letter
Running a meeting so you find out what's really going on
Keys to being a great participant in a meeting
The art of inspiring others
Getting yourself inspired--Would you like a boost in drive, motivation?
Managing your procrastination 
Giving a talk that's compelling
Get Smart: improving your cognitive functioning
The most important lesson my father taught me
Curing your disorganization: one pill does not fit all.
Just-in-time training: learning what you need without school
Making work more fun...or at least less odious
Making yourself do the ethical thing when it's inexpedient.
A 360-degree evaluation: most painful, beneficial thing you can do for your career:
Reducing your stress
Taming an anger problem.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Get Smart: Time-Effective Ways to Boost Your Thinking Skills

HERE is my latest US News article, published today: Get Smart: Time-Effective Ways to Boost Your Thinking Skills.

Conversations with Marty Nemko in Psychology Today

Psychology Today has a column called Finding the Next Einstein written by Duke University scientist, Jonathan Wai.

That column has profiled Steve Jobs, Carl Sagan, Stephen Hawking, Salman Khan and---and I'm truly honored--me, twice.

Here are the links to the first column and to the second column, which appeared today, and that Psychology Today's home page lists as one of its Essential Reads.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Big, Black, and Shy: A one-woman show truly worth seeing

I'm delighted that the one-woman show I co-wrote, direct, piano-accompany, and play comedic foil continues its ascension. Following yet another standing-ovation performance to a packed house at the NoName in Sausalito, our next performance is TONIGHT Feb 22 10 PM at The Park Avenue in Oakland, CA.  I'd love to see you. Here's the poster:
See the one-woman show that has received a standing ovation
EVERY performance!
Jeffrie Givens
Big, Black, and Shy 
with accompanist and thorn in her side, 
Marty Nemko
She'll make you laugh, cry, relate, and go WOW!
One night only!
Friday, Feb. 22 10 PM
No cover charge. Just a one-drink minimum!
The Park Avenue
4184 Piedmont Ave.
 Oakland CA

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Clever, Creative Resume: Alas, Sizzle Matters

It kills me that career success often depends as much on sizzle as on steak. But lest I be viewed as offering only too-idealistic career advice, I decided to devote one US News article to how to create a resume with sizzle.

At least, I hope you'll find it entertaining. It offers such suggestions as formatting your resume as an Amazon page, infographic, or Monopoly board.

To assuage my guilt, I also included a section of the artticle on how to substitute hyperhonesty for resume-speak. Alas, sizzle seems to work better. HERE is the link.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Winning at Office Politics Without Selling Your Soul

Here's my latest AOL article: Winning at Office Politics Without Selling Your Soul.  

Step-by-step, it points out how to create an plan for becoming well-liked at work and for getting ahead...and what to do if your unrandom acts of kindness fail--for example, if someone's trying to sabotage you so they can get your job or a desired promotion, or simply because they're jealous of you.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Career Lessons I Learned From Einstein (my dog)

I thought you might like an advanced look at my next AOL piece.

Career Lessons I Learned from Einstein (my dog)

After rejecting a pound-full of scary and/or ugly curs, I came upon an white bundle of cuteness and sweetness. He kept pawing on the cage, "Take me! Take me out!"

Normally, I virtually deify intelligence but at that moment, I ignored the experts' urging that, before adopting, I assess a dog's trainability. That sweet cutie was mine. Career lesson: Look your best and be as nice as possible. Those may matter more than your competence, alas.

I was soon to understand why Einstein's previous owner, in the middle of the night, threw such a cute doggie over the fence into the pound.

Experts say dogs are more secure if left in a crate when being left alone. I didn't like the idea of caging my baby so I left Einstein in a room with the door closed but with access to the backyard. I returned to find him having destroyed the carpet next to the door: He had spent the hours trying to dig his way under the door so he could escape from his "crate."  Career lesson: Take even consensus expert advice with at least one grain of salt.

Within a week, Einstein had eaten my glasses, a bottle of my medication (He had to get his stomach pumped), and one morning when I opened the door to get the newspaper, he sneaked out and took off down the street. In my tee-shirt, shorts, and slippers, I raced after him. Two blocks later, he's sauntering up the freeway ramp with me in hot pursuit. Fortunately, traffic was stopped on the freeway and I yelled "open the door!" because I knew Einstein (his name is obviously false advertising) loves being in a car and perhaps he'd jump in. Fortunately, someone did and Einstein did.  Career lesson: New employees may need close supervision.

Two weeks after I adopted him, I had to go out of town for a day. I figured Einstein would be more secure left at home than in a kennel, and with the doggy door to the backyard and plenty of food and water, he'd be okay. Wrong! When I returned, the house looked like it had suffered a 7.0 earthquake. The poor baby was terrified I wouldn't come back. Career lesson: Be gradual in giving your employees autonomy.

I read training advice from Cesar's Way to No Bad Dogs. Alas, those authors hadn't met Einstein. Despite using clickers, treat-rewards, gentle tones, firm tones, everything short of a stun gun, Einstein remained a, ahem, free spirit. He just can't restrain himself from pulling on the leash when he sees another dog with whom he'd like to play or a tree on which he'd like to pee. But after a month of trying to be the Dog Whisperer, I decided that good enough is good enough. Einstein walks reasonably well on a leash and he comes when called, well, sometimes. Taking dog training classes and/or hiring a professional trainer felt like more work and expense than the benefit would yield. And now, five years later, while some might say that Einstein has trained me as much as I've trained him, I don't regret deciding that good is good enough. Career lesson: The perfect is the enemy of the good. There may be more important uses of your time and money.

Einstein is my receptionist. When a client arrives, he's greeted with an enthusiasm no human receptionist could match. (Of course, I'm not sure that most human receptionists would want to kiss everyone who walked in the door.) Einstein often then races around my home/office, giving a whole new meaning to the term "lap dog." One time, a rather stuffy client was waiting in the living room as Einstein did his lap. Along the way, Einstein pulled a piece of my underwear from the hamper and proudly showed it to the client. While I was embarrassed, I managed a joke: "Every new client gets a free piece of my underwear." Instead of my having lost all credibility with the client, he laughed and we got off to a good start. Career lesson: Often, the antidote to a screw-up is humor.

Oh, one more career lesson. See if you can get your boss to allow pets in the workplace. It can reduce stress and improve office culture and even productivity. Owners are allowed to bring dogs to work in the U.S. Congress. If it's good enough for Congress, it should be good enough for your workplace.

Monday, February 4, 2013

A Customized Approach to Going from Disorganized to Organized

It seems that most formulations on how to become better organized assume that there's only one cure for disorganization--whatever it is that the author most believes in.

With my clients I've found that the cure depends on the cause, much like the cure for a headache will be different if its cause is tension rather than a brain tumor.

My latest article at USNews.com was published today. It identifies ten causes for disorganization so perhaps you can find yours among the list. Then it lists possible cures for each. HERE's the link.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Practical Advice on Procrastination

My latest contribution to AOL.com appeared today and has already been republished on the home page on CNN.com/money and has been selected for publication soon as Editor's Choice on LinkedIn Today.

It's my latest thinking on how to replace procrastination with drive. It's not some panacea piece. I've found that procrastinators can't be "cured." However, like high blood pressure, it can be controlled so it doesn't kill you. The article shares what is working best for my clients.

By the way, a technique for reducing procrastination that I didn't mention in the article is to hire someone to nag you for a week. For example, s/he might phone you to be sure you wake up on time, then call an hour later to be sure you're doing the work you're suppposed to be doing, and then calling throughout the day to dispense praise or strictures, even perhaps such tough strictures as "You're acting like a loser. You said you really want to change. Now do you?"