Category Archives: Workplace Issues

Magic Monday: Presenteeism

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

Oy, the past few weeks have been murder. Between work craziness, the unexpected death of a friend, and a springtime cold that I am almost over finally, my productivity has been seriously compromised. I am operating at half-caff today, and working from home, but I wanted to get back into the swing of things, and I missed interacting with all of you! Here’s a new Magic Monday for you. I hope you won’t have to use this advice, but here it is just in case.

This week’s video is about presenteeism. I know that nonprofits like ours are often putting in long hours with fewer resources and trying to make magic happen for our constituents. Sometimes we are tempted or feel obligated to show up to work when we are feeling under the weather, either because of our workload or because of our employer’s compensation structure for sick days. There are several reasons that showing up when you are sick is a bad idea. Your capacity to accomplish our work is stunted; we may spend four days at diminished productivity instead of taking a full day to rest and recuperate. You also increase the likelihood that others will be exposed to your illness. And of course, the obvious: You’re not going to get better any faster by expending what little energy you have on doing what amounts to substandard work.

Believe me, I know how hard it can be to call in, especially if you’re the type of worker I suspect you are. You’re passionate and dedicated. But you’re also not feeling well. You owe it to yourself to look out for #1.

Is presenteeism a problem in your workplace? Have you gone to work sick in the past? Why or why not?


EXTRA: 7 Questions: Telecommuting


Thanks to Daniel Zeevi and DashBurst for this fab graphic.

For this installment of 7 questions, I’m tackling a question that a lot of people seem to have on their minds these days, as costs are rising and quality of life seems to be diminishing. In addition, I know that many of you are young professionals and sometimes juggling home, family and work is a pretty difficult circus act.

Working from home has come under fire a lot in recent years (Marissa Mayer and Yahoo! come to mind), in part because employees are not often held as accountable for their work and productivity. That said, a productive employee is a productive employee, and chances are if they are motivated enough to examine how they can be a better worker, they are motivated enough to make telecommuting work to its greatest advantage.

So without further adieu, the questions:

Read on for the burning questions.

10 Tips: Surviving Micromanagement

Graph of Autonomy, Dignity, Mutiny

Thanks to for this graph. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

I’m not sure if it’s my youth (full disclosure: I’m not really that young) or my personality that adores autonomy and cringes at the concept, and the idea, of micromanagement. In the past seven years, I have been proud to watch the board of our organization grow from a lopsided grassroots board to one who is gradually taking the governance reins and is making great strides.

But as we all know, utopia is a myth, and I have talked to more than one colleague who has at least one person that is making their life relatively sour due to a constant hawkish attention to the tasks that are supposed to be trusted to that person. Sometimes this attention persists, even in light of reassurance from their peers that the aforementioned person is doing the right thing for the organization.

Wouldn’t you love to keep reading? Please do.

Magic Monday: Getting Back on Track After a Break

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

outofofficeemail2Well, I wasn’t on vacation this week (hahaha I wish), but there certainly is a lot of great information out there for people who are trying to get back in the work swing of things after some well-deserved time off. (This advice also works if you’ve been away from something for a while, which is very helpful in my case.) Here are some articles on the topic that may interest you:

And before you decide that getting back to work after a vacation seems like a lot of work, and that next time you might not take a vacation, don’t forget that vacation is good for you:

And a bit of a funny: A slightly sarcastic (and rather candid) away message breaks the mold. (I also got the image for this post from this article.)

Hope the rest of your week is happy trails and sunny skies.

Do you feel more productive after a vacation? Have you worked for a company that has an unlimited vacation policy?

Magic Monday EXTRA: 7th Inning Stretch

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

If I am working predominantly in the office on any given day, I often find myself looking up at the time to find that it is mid-afternoon and I have been sitting in pretty much the same position for several hours. Because my work environment is self-structured, I sometimes forget to take breaks and lunch if I am in the zone. Fortunately, on the days when I have off-site meetings or donor visits, I get a little more activity.

If you find yourself working diligently at your desk, taking the time to move and stretch would be good for you. The detriments of “sitting disease” can’t be overstated. Moving and refocusing is great for consistent productivity and helps prevent fatigue. The next time you need a short movement break, check out this video about stretches you can do in your office. (You can also read the accompanying article here.)

Do you have any favorite stretches that help you get through the day?

Devil’s Advocate: Give Failure a Hug

You said it, bro.

You said it, bro.

I was reading an interesting article today on Idealist (via Young Nonprofit Professionals Network, hat tip to Ellen!) about embracing failure. I learned from the article that Engineers Without Borders publishes an annual Failure Report about the various things that didn’t work on their project sites and what they learned from those failures.

I sat at my computer for a full minute taking it in. That, I can honestly say, is organizational awesomeness.

Wouldn’t you love to keep reading? Please do.

Webinars: April 11-April 25, 2013

webinarsI love a good webinar, and there are a ton of them out there! I’ll be posting a list of them weekly; if you’re interested, follow the link for more information and to register. See my Webinars page for an ongoing listing. (NOTE: Membership may be required to access webinars.)

Click here for this week’s listing.

Happy Anniversary

Should have killed me

Dear Job,

It’s been an exhausting and often rewarding 6 (8? 20?) years. I know we’ve had disagreements, and I’ve gotten mad at you a lot, but here’s to the future and to accomplishing what we hope to accomplish together. I kinda love you, you know.

As ever, Kylie.

So sometime around today is my 6th anniversary at my job. I’d say time flies when you’re having fun, and truth be told, parts of it have been fun. There have also been grueling, discouraging times and growing pains. But I doubt I would trade it for anything.

Wouldn’t you love to keep reading? Please do.

Magic Monday: Stop Multitasking

“Magic Monday” posts help you start the week off right. Monday is a great day to review and regroup; if you set your mind to it, you can make this your best week yet. Thank gosh it’s Monday!

I am the world’s worst multi-tasker. Some days I can’t even walk the 10 feet from my assistant’s office to the time clock without getting distracted. I am very guilty of trying to do too much, in which case everything I am trying to accomplish suffers. Studies have shown that multitasking isn’t worth it for most people. If you have trouble single-tasking, here’s a short video that may help. The difficult part may be focusing on the video without trying to do something else at the same time!

Have any of you largely eliminated multitasking from your work day? Have you noticed a difference?

10 Tips: Dress for Development Success

yellow jacket polka dot skirt

Classy and stylish work outfit. Thanks to thimble be quick for the image. Check out the rest of the outfits on their page (sorry guys, just ladies on this one).

I can remember distinctly the handful of epiphanies that I’ve had in my career that have made a true difference in the way that I do my work and flex my development muscles. At the risk of sounding shallow, one of those was definitely the idea that what you wear, and how you carry yourself, can make you instantly seem more competent and better equipped for success.

People, whether we like it or not, base a lot of their impressions of us on first impressions and appearances. Though it may not actually be the case, donors and colleagues look at a well-put-together development professional as more competent and more talented than their less stylish counterparts. (And yes, I’ve known a lot of super-lazy dandies that don’t fit this description, but, as the proverb says, perception is reality.)

For the arts professionals who read this blog, we’re fortunate in the sense that we have more freedom to assert our personal style in a professional environment than, say, our human services or political counterparts. Our orgs are creative by nature, and creativity is often encouraged amongst staff. Our own employee dress code (which I crafted, not completely disharmoniously, from that of a hair salon), states “All dress will project an image of fashion, professionalism and good taste.” (Today, for example, I am wearing a grey 3/4-sleeve jacket with a white button-down shirt, a long marcasite pendant necklace, and a grey knit muted leopard-print skirt with nude hose and patent snakeskin pumps. Not too over-the-top, but not too conservative either.)

You don’t need to pay a personal stylist or personal shopper to give you advice (though there are many reasonably priced ones out there). Much of what you need to know you can learn from books and websites. All it takes is practice, and a few friends or colleagues that will be honest with you. Enlist their help, and explain what you want to accomplish.

I could write about this topic all day (interview dress, the 10-point system, business casual, etc.), but instead I thought I would offer 10 Tips (and Links) to help you get started on your own professional-dressing odyssey. I’ve tried to provide a mix of guy, girl and unisex tips, but feel free to add your own in the comments section!

Wouldn’t you love to keep reading? Please do.