Potential Workplace Bullying Leads to Tragedy

bullyRecently, New York City was the scene of two work-related suicides. In one instance, a Home Depot employee shot his boss and then killed himself and in the other, a former employee of Fox shot himself to death outside the company’s New York headquarters. In the first case, we know there was an argument between the supervisor and employee; in the second case, the employee had been seen shortly before his death handing out fliers saying the company had ended his career and suggesting on different social media channels that he was the victim of workplace bullying. Whether this was indeed the case in either incident, it’s clear that there is a strong perception that workplace bullying exists.

According to a 2014 National Workplace Survey conducted by The Workplace Bullying Institute, 27 percent of those surveyed reported current or past direct experience with abusive conduct at work

What is workplace bullying?

Workplace bullying is the tendency of individuals or groups to use persistent aggressive or unreasonable behavior against a co-worker or subordinate. The abuse displayed may be verbal, non verbal, psychological, or physical.

Bullying can take the form of the obvious (such as being berated in front of colleagues, being gossiped about, or being the target of office pranks) as well as the not so obvious (not being included in important meetings, not having your phone calls or e-mails returned, or getting the silent treatment from co-workers or supervisors). Any of these actions can have a detrimental effect on employees.

Why does workplace bullying occur?

A tough economy may be perpetuating bullies in the work force. People are under an enormous amount of stress and expectations for worker productivity are high — despite the fact that employees are being forced to do more with less. Managers are under pressure to get work done through their teams. If they are successful, those managers may receive positive rewards or promotions, fueling the cycle of abuse. And subordinates may be fearful that if they complain about inappropriate management practices they will lose their jobs.

What are the effects of workplace bullying?

Bullying can take an enormous toll on the victim’s health. According to the Workplace Bullying Institute, the stress can lead to debilitating anxiety, panic attacks, clinical depression, and post-traumatic stress or physical health problems including cardiovascular problems, adverse neurological changes, immunological impairment, fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome.

How do I know if I’m being bullied?

The Workplace Bullying Institute suggests using the following checklist to determine whether you may be the victim of workplace bullying:

Experiences outside work:

Experiences at work:

How can I deal with a workplace bully?

Katherine Crowley, author of ‘Working for You Isn’t Working for Me‘ and ‘Working for You is Killing Me,’recommends the four Ds — detect, detach, depersonalize and deal.

Detect involves naming/documenting the bullying behaviors that you are witnessing or experiencing — document what is happening and how the bully is targeting you (or others).

Detach is to take a step away from the bullying by taking actions to restore your energy, repair your emotional state, and rebuild your confidence. Bullies take a serious toll on our health — mental, emotional and physical. It’s extremely important to counteract the negative effects of being bullied. Seek counsel for your mental health; exercise to release the toxins for your physical health; spend time with people who believe in you for your confidence.

To Depersonalize is to understand that you aren’t the first target and you won’t (unfortunately) be the last. It’s not about you — although bullies try to make it seem that way. This person is sick and taking out his or her illness on you.

Finally, Deal by taking some kind of action. You can report your experience to someone in the company who is in a position to do something about it. If no one is willing to address the bully, you may have to leave.

You may need help from others in order to manage the situation. Consider enlisting the help of a career coach, counselor, or mental health professional. A few other books to take a look at are ‘The Bully at Work,’ ‘The No Asshole Rule,’ ‘What Would Machiavelli Do?,’ ‘Can They Do That?,’ and ‘Brutal Bosses and Their Prey.

How to Use Facebook as a Job Search Tool

Many people use Facebook on a regular basis to stay in touch with friends and family, but few recognize the value Facebook can play in a job search. Most people find their jobs through people they know, and the affinities on Facebook are perhaps the strongest of any social networking platform. While we might connect with someone on LinkedIn, Google+ or Twitter that we don’t know very well (or at all), we are much less likely to do so on Facebook. The quality of the connections on Facebook lends itself to fertile ground for immediate and meaningful networking. Here are tips for getting the most out of the Facebook platform.

  • Fill in all information about your work and education. While people tend to complete their profile on sites like LinkedIn, far fewer take the time to do so on Facebook. Completing the work and education section on Facebook makes it much easier for people to understand your experience should you reach out to them for job opportunities. The more complete the about section is, the greater the likelihood that decision makers will be able to find you.

FB 14 about

  • Use Graph Search to find people who may be able to help you with your search.  Search profiles of users based on keywords. For example, if you are a financial services professional and one of your target companies is JPMorgan Chase in New York City, type “people who work at JPMorgan Chase in New York, New York” into the search box and see what results are returned. You may be able to source people who work there who you have a mutual connection with or just message them directly to make an introduction. Results will vary depending on how much information that person has completed on their about page and what level of privacy they have set.

FB Graph Search for blog

  • Troll company pages to learn more about companies you are targeting and engage with potential decision makers. Most companies have well-developed Facebook presences and many even have separate pages for people interested in working for them. Reviewing these pages can give you a window into a company’s culture and what makes it a great place to work. Job postings, open houses, and internships may be posted there as well. People who are in all professional roles including the C-suite, can learn a great deal from these company pages that can help them speak intelligently about the company’s culture and values during job interviews. Go a step further and “Like” the company page so you can see their activity in your feed and be part of the conversation.

VMware blog post

  • Follow groups based on functional roles. Facebook has pages with resources for many professionals. Key in your functional area of expertise and peruse the conversations going on there. Request to become a member of the group to comment and be part of the conversation.

mechanical engineering jobs

  • Review groups  for leading professional associations within your industry. Professional associations are a great networking resource and supplementing live meetings with virtual engagement can be a great way to boost your network.


Facebook can be a great addition to your social media strategy and offer you an opportunity to source leads on a platform that most people haven’t considered as an integral part of their search. Don’t miss out!


Job Posting Translation Guide

GreekI’ve viewed thousands of job postings, followed thousands of clients through the interview process and listened to what hiring managers tell recruiters they really want in a candidate. Unfortunately, many of the job postings I see are far from transparent and use vague euphemisms to describe what the hiring manager wants or what the work environment is like. Here’s my interpretation of the message behind the “qualifications” I often see listed on job postings.

  1. Motivated – morale here stinks and we are hoping you can fix that.
  2. Ability to delegate – this job is way too much for one person to handle.
  3. Energetic – we want to hire someone born after 1978.
  4. Team player – everyone hated the last guy in this job.
  5. Flexible – It’s ok for us to call, message or text you at any time.
  6. Eager – You will be excited to work for a salary that is not competitive.
  7. High level of integrity – no one trusted the guy you would be replacing.
  8. Ability to multi-task – we are really disorganized here.
  9. Ability to work in a fast-paced environment – we are generally reactive, not proactive.
  10. MBA preferred – we might interview you, but we will drop you like a hot potato if we find another candidate with an MBA.
  11. Bachelor degree required – we realize having a Bachelor degree has no logical correlation with your ability to do the job, but by screening non-degree applicants out from the get-go it makes our jobs easier.
  12. Bilingual English-Spanish candidate preferred – no actually, bi-lingual skills are a deal breaker.
  13. Proficiency in Microsoft Office – we don’t have a budget for an administrative assistant.

Certainly not all job postings are bad and some companies do a great job of explaining who their perfect candidate is and what it’s really like to work there. But far too many create cryptic messaging and then complain of a “talent shortage” when the “wrong” candidate applies. Tell it like it is, say what you mean and keep it real. You might just end up with your perfect hire after all.

How to Follow Up After an Interview

You felt the interview went well. The hiring manager gave you the impression the company wants to fill the position quickly. But you’re still waiting for a response and you are starting to get quite anxious.

How long should you wait before following up on an interview, and when you do follow up, what should you say?  How can you follow up strategically and intelligently? Here are a few suggestions.

1. During the interview, ask when the hiring manager plans to conduct the next round of interviews or make the job offer.

If you ask this question during the interview, you are more likely to have some sort of benchmark to go by for follow-up, and the waiting game becomes more manageable. If you are told that the company plans to get back to all applicants in one week, then it would certainly be acceptable to call on day eight if you haven’t heard from the company, and remind them that they mentioned giving candidates a status update in one week and you are just checking in.


2. Send a thank you letter.

A thank you letter is more than just a courtesy. It’s an opportunity to remind the hiring manager of the value you can bring to the organization. Some candidates don’t bother sending a thank you letter; doing so can be another way to differentiate you.


3. Ask if you can stay in touch with the hiring manager during the interview period.

Sometimes a company’s plans for filling a position can be extended, particularly if it is a large company or if you are interviewing at a company where there isn’t a live job opening. In these cases, it is important to remain top-of-mind with the hiring authority. You can say, “I know you won’t be making a decision for some time, but I would like to stay in touch.” Or, “Can I send you a LinkedIn invitation? That way we can stay in touch during this interim period.”


4. Continue to research company openings and movement.

If the position was posted on the company website or a job board, continue to monitor the posting to see if it was closed or removed. Priorities in companies can change quickly and by monitoring the status of the posting, you may gain clues as to what is happening internally in the organization.


5. Stay in touch with company contacts.

If you got the interview through a networking lead, stay connected with that person to see whether they have any knowledge of what’s going on in the organization. Perhaps the hiring manager has decided to add additional positions or upgrade the job you applied for.


6. Be patient.

We’d like to think that we are the first thing on the hiring manager’s mind, but usually we aren’t. Interviewing is generally just one small part of the hiring manager’s responsibility — and sometimes unfortunately, it takes a back seat to other pressing issues.



If after all the waiting, it turns out that you are not the person selected for the position, don’t abandon the relationship you worked so hard to create; just reinvent it. Find opportunities to stay in touch with the hiring manager. Many companies like to keep in touch with their No. 2 choice for the position because there might be a better fit for that person somewhere down the line. Every hiring manager you meet can turn into a networking contact and a possible resource for the future.

What Jobs Will Exist in the Future?

2030What will jobs and employment look like in 2020, 2030 and beyond? What are the mega-trends shaping tomorrow’s careers and what new opportunities can we and our children look forward to?

Although vitally important to position yourself for a great job today, it’s just as important to consider tomorrow and all that it will have to offer. I
spoke to Wendy Enelow, Founder of the Career Thought Leaders Consortium, a global career industry think tank for some insights. Here’s just a sampling of both current emerging professions and those which may exist in the not-to-distant future.

Future Jobs in Space
  • Exobotanists andExozoologists will study potential life forms on other planets outside our solar system.
  • Space Sweepers will control debris from outer space that has accumulated as a result of space exploration that may pose health, environmental and safety concerns.


Future Jobs in Emerging Technologies
  • Digital Identity Planners will help people control and manage their online identity.
  • Global System Architects will transform national technology systems into global ones.
  • Digital Archaeologists will be hired to dig up digital dirt about a person or company from the Internet.
  • Online Community Organizers will build, create, and maintain online communities.
  • Roboticians will service and maintain household robotic devices.
  • Terabyters and Wiki-Writers will research, write and edit online information resources and dictionaries.


Jobs in Health & Human Services
  • Bio-Botic Physicians will work on medical device technologies that improve health and lifespan. These workers will repair devices and resolve complications between the natural biology and nanobots (biological machines)
  • Brain Signal Decoders (Mind Readers) will translate brain signals into words to help patients who are unable to speak.
  • Environmental Health Nurses will treat patients exposed to environmental toxins.
  • Agri-Restaurateurs will grow their own food to prepare meals.
  • Green Careers Coach will teach workers how to create more eco-friendly work environments.


Future Jobs in the Sciences
  • Energy Harvesters will combine engineering and construction skills to explore alternative forms of energy.
  • Extinction Revivalists are genetics specialists who will revive extinct species of animals.


Future Jobs in Organizational Management & Leadership
  • Chief Experience Officers will oversee sales, marketing, and human resources and be in charge of managing customer and employee satisfaction levels.
  • Talent Aggregators will maintain databases on workers for hire, and mobilize them quickly for projects.
  • Global Sourcing Managers will act as logistics experts who understand global supplier relationship, international customs and international law.

Ten Ways to Stay Fit Without Leaving Your Office Cubicle

deskDoes your work keep you chained to your desk most of the day? Is it hard to find the time or energy to exercise before or after work, or on your lunch hour? I spoke to Stephanie Mansour, CEO of Step It Up With Steph and creator of the Cubicle Crunch to learn about a series of stretches and exercises that you can do at your desk to get in shape.

Here are the top 10 exercises:

1. Stress buster

Relieve stress and take deeper breaths by stretching your shoulders and chest — this will help improve posture and open up the muscles in the chest. Sitting up tall, clasp your hands behind your back and gently pull arms away from your back. Stretch the front of your body in your chest.

2. Ab strengthener

Feeling flabby in your midsection? Act like you are zipping a tight pair of pants and engage your lower ab muscles. You can pulse (squeeze, release, repeat) 10 times, a few times throughout the day.

3. Upper arm and shoulder strength

Get a leaner upper body by doing push-ups while seated at your desk. Engage your ab muscles and place your hands shoulder-width apart on your desk. Bend your elbows, leaning forward toward your desk, then press away. Repeat 10 times.

4. Quad toner

Tone your quads while sitting down by pointing one leg forward and squeezing your thigh. Slowly lift your straight leg up to hip height, then tap it back down. Repeat 10 times per leg.

5. Glute stretch

Stretch your glutes and relieve low back pain by crossing one ankle over your knee and leaning forward. Feel a stretch in your glute, hold for 20 seconds then switch sides.

6. Hamstring stretch

Stretch your hamstrings to also relieve low back pain by standing up and leaning forward, letting your head and arms dangle in front of you. You can open your feet as wide as your hips and even bend your knees to make this more comfortable.

7. Neck tension

Relieve neck tension by dropping your right ear down toward your right shoulder and feel a stretch in the left side of your neck. Hold for five deep breaths, then repeat on the left side.

8. Mobility improver

While sitting in your chair, gently twist to one side, looking over your shoulder, and take a few deep breaths. This will help with digestion and also help regain mobility in your spine.

9. Wrist strengthener

You can reduce carpal tunnel syndrome and tendinitis by stretching your wrists. Press your hand and arm away from your body, then turn your fingers down. Use your other hand to gently pull your fingers down away from your wrist. Feel a stretch underneath your wrist, hold for 10 seconds, and repeat on other side.

10. Butt and thigh tightener

On your way to the bathroom or water cooler, lunge your way there instead of walking! Step your right foot forward, a few feet in front of your left foot, and slowly bend down. Keep your right knee directly over your ankle, and bend your left knee. Then step forward with your left foot, and repeat until you’re at your destination.


LinkedIn “Netiquette” Are You Asking for Too Much Too Soon?

linkedinI was recently interviewed by my hometown newspaper, the New York Post, about the do’s and don’ts of LinkedIn etiquette. One of the biggest problems I see with people’s approach to using LinkedIn for job search is that many have unrealistic expectations for the online relationship and ask for too much too soon.

Something strange seems to happen to some people when they network online. It’s as if some people think that none of the common rules for building relationships exist. Could you imagine ever saying any of the following things over the phone or in person to someone you don’t know?

  1. I’ve seen you walking down this block in the neighborhood before. Want to meet for coffee?
  2. Someone told me we used to work for the same company that employs 20,000 people. Want to chat sometime?
  3. I found your number in the phone book. Maybe we have something in common.
  4. I heard through the grapevine that you work for a company where I would really like to work. Can you tell me more about what it’s like to work there?
  5. I found you in the 1997 student alumni directory. I’m a graduate of the class of 1980. Would you like to compare notes?
  6. I know I’ve never actually met you before and you have no idea who I am. But someone suggested I say “since you are someone I know and trust, I would like to add you to my network.” Does that work for you? (Hint: that’s verbatim from a LinkedIn template that people seem to use whether they know you or not).
  7. You looked like someone I should know so I followed you home, made note of your address and then did a search to find your phone number. Would love to meet formally sometime.
  8. I found your name and number written on a cocktail napkin at a local restaurant and I decided to call you. I figured, “what do I have to lose?”

Of course you wouldn’t say any of these things! So why do people think this approach will work online? If you are using LinkedIn or other social media tools to connect with others, create authentic relationships and recognize that the affinity will grow over time. Even on Twitter where there are generally no gatekeepers for connecting with others, it’s still advisable to follow the person for awhile and create a supportive and non-threatening dialogue before bringing the relationship face to face.

I am a fairly open connector on LinkedIn as well as other social media platforms. But I have to know a little bit about you and why you want to connect before I accept. Isn’t that just common sense?

For anyone interested in connecting via LinkedIn, you can find me here. Just be sure to tell me how you found me and why you think we should connect.

Spring Cleaning for Your Job Search

tulipsSpring is here and it’s time for some Spring cleaning. That goes for your career strategy as well.  Have you given any thought to trimming your bloated, outdated resume or banking some of your new networking contacts to help advance your job prospects  this season? Here are 7 easy steps you can take right now to get your career on course and ensure you are prepared for future opportunities.

  1. Ditch toxic people. You know the ones I’m talking about. They are the people who say no one is hiring, you’re too old to find a new job, you make too much money, you’d be crazy to change careers…the list goes on and on. These people rarely add any real value to your career goals. Find people who can support you or hire a professional to help you chart your career course.
  2. Put your resume on a diet. Has the waistline of your resume expanded to 3+ pages? Are you still dedicating a half page to detailing information about your client base in 1999? Is you resume packed with information about company courses you completed back in the eighties? Remove this unnecessary poundage from your resume and create a sleeker, more streamlined message of value. If you like to diet alone, here’s a resume guide to help you. And if you need someone to help you whittle your resume down to a respectable size, let me know.
  3. Give your LinkedIn profile a makeover. How old is the picture on your profile? Does it need to be updated? Is the information current? Does the headline show only your current job title or does it convey more about your message of value and expertise? Have you paid attention to the skills section and have you created a customized URL to improve your chances of being found? If you are totally baffled by LinkedIn and social media in general, we should talk. A resume is no longer enough and you will need a strong online identity to compete for the best opportunities in 2014.
  4. Make new friends. Has your network gone stale? Do people in your professional community know what you are up to and do you communicate with them regularly? Now might be a good time to catch up by phone, grab coffee, or exchange an email to touch base.
  5. Practice interviewing. If a great opportunity became available tomorrow, would you be ready to pitch yourself to a hiring manager? If not, here’s a free app for interview prep that can help.
  6. Benchmark your salary. Do you know what you are worth? Have you been in the same job or same company for a long time and has your salary become less competitive? Check out sites like Payscale and Glassdoor to do a quick audit.
  7. Do something for someone else. Help someone with a personal or professional project, volunteer in your community, recommend a colleague on LinkedIn, or make an important introduction for someone. The more you give, the more you get. Start giving now and you’ll be getting back by the end of the season or maybe even sooner.

Ten Ways to Make Sure You Don’t Get Hired

Here are ten ways I see job seekers sabotaging their job search. Are you guilty of any of these mistakes?

  1. Inflate their qualifications or lie on their resume. While a resume is not a legal document, it should be an accurate representation of your experience and achievements. I advocate for showing your employment history in the best possible light, buy lying is never wise.
  2. Forget to proofread their resume. One of the easiest ways to show an employer you don’t pay much attention to details is to submit a resume with a typo. Check, double-check, and triple check your document. Use spell check and ask a few different people to proof the resume before sending it to employers.
  3. Send the same generic cover letter to every employer. The cover letter is the perfect opportunity to make a connection with the employer and explain how you can help solve their problems. Don’t go vanilla here. Tailor your cover letter to the employer and position you are applying to.
  4. Neglect to research the company before the interview. With so much information on the Internet there is no excuse for not knowing about the company you are interviewing with. Use Vault, Glassdoor, WetFeet, Jigsaw, and LinkedIn to unearth important information about the companies and people you are interviewing with and don’t forget to take advantage of the research resources available at many public libraries.
  5. Ask everyone they know for a job. Unless you want your friends and colleagues to stop returning your calls, don’t just ask everyone you know for a job. Instead ask for information about a company, a person, an industry, etc. Let your contacts know you value their knowledge and insights. Through these exploratory conversations they may be able to point you in the direction of a possible job opportunity even if they can’t help you land that job directly.
  6. Neglect to send a thank you letter following an interview. It’s not just a courtesy. It is an opportunity to make a second impression on the person you just interviewed with and remain top of mind. Send the thank you letter within 24 hours of the interview. A few paragraphs with a thank you and a recap of why you are the perfect match for the job can help keep you on the hiring manager’s short list.
  7. Fail to leverage their network. Some people feel that reaching out to their network for contacts means asking for favors. It doesn’t. See #5.
  8. Snub social media. Imagine being able to go into the offices of everyone you know and look through their Roledex (remember them). That’s what social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter allow you to do.
  9. Complain. It’s easy to blame the company or the economy for your job search frustrations. But it won’t get you a job any faster. Find a few close confidents you can vent to and don’t spread your frustration to others. Keep a journal to help you chronicle your search journey and help get your feelings out.
  10. Give up. This is perhaps the scariest one of all. And there are a lot of people out there that have given up. Unemployment benefits won’t last forever. At some point you will have to get back in the game. If you have dropped out of the race for several months, getting back in is much harder. Keep at it. Plan job search activities every day. You will be scheduling meetings with friends and colleagues, doing Internet research, building your online network, working on your resume, practicing your elevator pitch, etc. There is a lot to do. Job search is a full-time job. Now’s not the time to take a vacation.

Interview Tips for Men: What’s in Your Wallet?

walletMy male clients often ask me questions about appropriate interview dress. Most know to wear a suit and tie and polish their shoes. But I recently read a great post by Ann Lindsay of Style of Success, an image consulting firm specializing in men, titled What Does Your Wallet Say About You? If you think about it, your wallet is a huge part of your interview attire.You may need to pull it out during the interview so you can give out your business card or accept cards from others. So what does your wallet say about you?

According to Lindsay, the wallet is often the weak link in a man’s professional interview attire. A worn, overstuffed wallet says:

  1. I’m not organized.
  2. Details don’t matter.
  3. I don’t care that the lines of my clothing are being distorted.
  4. I put myself last.

Yikes! Certainly not the impression you want to convey during an interview. You can read the full post here for advice on how to select a great wallet and keep it neat and organized. And if you are interested in working on your interview attire, check out our partnership with Lindsay via Career Solvers’ image consulting services.