Networking with the Office Nemesis

We’ve all seen them: the insidious co-worker who seems to be working toward a common goal with you, yet thwarts your efforts at every turn. The Office Nemesis lurks around every corner as you attempt to be the productive, shining star at your company. How can you find a way to co-exist–and thrive–around this person?

I recommend that you keep your eye on the prize! Achieving COMPANY goals is of paramount importance to both your employer AND your career. This may mean, however, that you are stuck working alongside someone whom you might never choose to see outside of the office… and who frequently sabotages your work, talks about you behind your back, and worst of all, makes it IMPOSSIBLE to get your job done!

How then, to sail past the issues with someone who doesn’t seem to be on the same page? What works for many professionals are the three “C’s”–Collaborate, Collude, and Co-exist.

Collaborating with your co-worker means first assessing what they have to offer and then letting them know that you VALUE their contributions. Many of these peers are simply looking for attention!

The first step I recommend when dealing with the Office Nemesis is this: invite them to lunch or coffee. In this sit-down, be prepared to hear both positives and negatives about your workplace. Remember that this is normal for someone who may be feeling underappreciated.
Here’s the key: turn the conversation to this person’s strengths and encourage them to tell you what they WANT to do at work. Then ask them if they can take on this role for your current project.

Now, I don’t mean to imply that you should override (or attempt to BE) the boss there. However, you may find that tapping your co-worker’s strengths can lift their mood about work and help them operate on YOUR side.

The next option is to Collude. During your time together, you will undoubtedly find that your colleague has some preferences about how projects could be run or some other ideas that could raise workplace productivity. If at all possible, carefully consider what he has to say so that you can promote the value of these ideas!

A caveat: ensure that these are POSITIVE changes you’d like to throw your weight behind. Bad-mouthing your company will squash your career faster than you can say “negative reputation.”

A third strategy for dealing with the Office Nemesis is to simply Co-Exist. Sometimes, you are going to find that your co-worker is just too burned-out, worn-down, or otherwise overly negative to really offer a productive contribution to your company.

However, if you followed the steps to Collaborate, you will be in a great position to give your colleague the acknowledgement they crave. When the Office Nemesis feels appreciated, he or she frequently stops trying to derail other’s projects.

Be careful to continue displaying YOUR positive and upbeat attitude at work! You don’t want to give the impression of Collusion where it will reflect negatively on your accomplishments.

Remember that there ARE ways to deal head-on with the issues presented by the Office Nemesis!

See How Your Salary Stacks Up at Payscale.com

A unique tool for salary research, Payscale.com offers the ability to evaluate that next job offer or raise.

What’s great about this site is that you can provide specific information on your particular qualifications, such as certifications, where you earned your degree, how many years of experience you bring to the job, etc. before your results are generated.

Forbe’s Tips on Managing the "Younger Boss, Older Worker" Dynamic

This Forbes article on The ‘Young Boss, Older Employee’ Dilemma presents some interesting points on managing this situation, from both the management and worker standpoints.

The author, Tara Weiss, notes that while this issue has always been at play in the workplace, the divide between aging workers (who have increased substantially in volume) and Gen X/Y has made the divide stand out more sharply than in decades past.

Forbe’s Tips on Managing the “Younger Boss, Older Worker” Dynamic

This Forbes article on The ‘Young Boss, Older Employee’ Dilemma presents some interesting points on managing this situation, from both the management and worker standpoints.

The author, Tara Weiss, notes that while this issue has always been at play in the workplace, the divide between aging workers (who have increased substantially in volume) and Gen X/Y has made the divide stand out more sharply than in decades past.

Setting New Year’s Goals? Check out Mindtools.com

For help establishing clear, attainable goals (not to mention goals you can actually revisit from time to time to remind you where you’re headed), visit Mindtools resources at http://www.mindtools.com/page6.html.

Happy New Year!

OfficePolitics.com

The language is salty, the meaning is blunt, and let’s face it, no one really wants to hear all about the error of their ways. However, I just love OfficePolitics.com because of these things. There is probably no other site that gives it to today’s professionals in this straightforward, you-need-to-know-this-NOW style.

If you are up for stories from the front, check out the letters and responses.

Researching Possible Careers? Try This Tool to Forecast Your Future

This Occupation Profile tool from CareerInfoNet is the coolest thing since Salary.com.

Use this site to search for a specific job type in your state, complete with current salary ranges plus projections on how this career field will grow or decline.

Anyone considering a career change should check this out ASAP – what a great planning resource!