Resource: For Women Only in the Workplace

Disclaimer: While the title states women, this advice is just as important for men.

I have some bad news. More than likely, your job existed before you and, just as likely, it will exist after you.

As author, Shaunti Feldhahn explains in her book, For Women Only in the Workplace: What You Need to Know About How Men Think at Work, a job holder is the temporary holder and custodian of a position.

The job, position, title and everything that goes along with it, “exists independent of the person and will be there after they leave,” she writes.

That’s a pretty heavy statement. You know you are more than just a cog or a square peg and that you bring certain talents, perspectives and qualities to a position that are exclusively unique to you, but none of that matters to the company as an entity.

Think of it this way, separate the people you work with from the company. The company is cold and only cares about the bottom line. The company sees things in black and white. You are helping the company or hurting the company. The company expects you to do what is best for the company and not for yourself. Your job is to make money for the company.

“If you’ve got a role [position, title], you’ve got to play the role, like a doctor has to remove a tumor or a dentist has to pull a tooth,” explains one of Feldhahn’s interview subjects. “The dentist undoubtedly cares about the person whose tooth is failing. The doctor cares about the person whose tumor needs to be removed. But they do not let their concern for the person overshadow their responsibility.”

Feldhahn uses this example in the book (on page 35), it typically took 25 hours to investigate and file a report.  At company A where she was a salary employee, that didn’t matter. At company B where she was an hourly employee, her new boss told her she needed to cut down on her hours. To which she replied, “If I am going to do it right, it will take at least 25 hours.”

Finally her new boss at Company B explained, I’ve bid 17 hours for this project. That is all the client will pay me, no matter how much time you take. I’m going to lose money employing you. You might think what you’re doing can’t be done in under 25 hours, but I’m asking you to do a different kind of report, the 17 hour version.

The take away? If your consistently cost your company money (remember time also is money) your job will go to someone else.

Resource: How to Be the Employee Your Company Can’t Live Without (book)

These 18 Ways to Become Indispensable are invaluable. Whether you are starting your first job, a new career or just want to make sure you’re always putting your best foot forward this book is a must read.

Management consultant, Glenn Shepard, whose previous books showed managers how to get the most from their workforce, now tells employees how to get the most out of their careers.

The author suggests rather than reading the book in a single sitting (easy to do, it’s a quick read!) to read one chapter a day for the next 18 working days.

Mr. Shepard’s advice won’t necessarily apply to your current situation or be practical for you to implement, but it is worth reading to make sure and to give you a different perspective.

A few takeaways, just from Chapter 3:

  • Don’t be mentally lazy. Be sure to think things through to the logical conclusion. p. 22
  • Don’t cherry pick the best tasks, do the unpleasant ones too. This means filling out paperwork, cleaning up, making sure the copier is filled with paper and toner, etc. p. 24
  • Know your “work quirks.” p. 26

Resource: Email Etiquette

Image from:

The advice of Peggy Duncan, author of Conquer E-mail Overload With Better Habits, Etiquette, and Outlook, was recently featured in Shape Magazine (see you never know where you’ll find words of work related wisdom!).

The short article lists 5 of the most common email questions.

  1. When Do I need to use the CC line?
    To separate the people who need to respond from those you just want to share the information with. To is for response or action required. CC is for keeping people in the loop.
  2. What should go in the subject line?
    Be specific, Duncan advices. If you are writing to let someone know the time for a meeting has changed, write Today’s meeting is now at 2 p.m. in the subject. Think of a subject like a newspaper headline. The most crucial piece of information.
  3. Is it ok to use emoticons?
    Smiley faces are not acceptable. “If you wouldn’t put it on company letterhead, don’t put it in an email,” according to Duncan. Now, once you know your office culture, it might be ok to use a smiley face in a semi-personal email to your coworker, but never ever to a client.
  4. When do you hit reply all?
    Rarely. Duncan advises, “almost never.” Reply all just gunks up everyone’s inbox. Refer to CC above and only reply to those who need the answer or need to be kept in the loop.
  5. When do I send a follow-up email?
    Give 24 to 48 hours for a response advises Duncan. If it’s urgent and requires an answer before then, don’t be shy about calling the person.

There are even more tips in Duncan’s book. Now if only everyone in the office would read it and take her advice!

Resource: Daily Worth

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a new series on Dispatches from the Castle, Resources. In these posts, I’ll share go to resources online and off.

For those who like information to come to them, I highly recommend signing up for the Daily Worth.

According to the website, “”Daily Worth is a community of women who talk money. We deliver practical tips, empowering ideas, and the occasional kick in the pants… daily to your inbox.”

While this website is targeted to women, there is excellent information for everyone. For example, the Earn post from Tuesday, May 3, featured Peter Shankman (HARO‘s founder) and his take on Top Job Hunting Gaffes to Avoid. If you’re in the job market, read this. Reread it. Book mark it. Share it with your friends. Print it out.

Those tips are just a few of the excellent information available on Daily Worth. Sign up to have crucial information delivered to your inbox.

Leap of Faith: Part Duex

Photo from Mike Todd Waving or Drowning?
Some of you may remember my Leap of Faith post here from the beginning of March. I’m happy to report, it was worth it!

While nothing solid has come of this rekindled connection, it has potential to be beneficial for everyone involved. That alone made the fear and possible rejection worthwhile.

The response to my outreach was so much more than I hoped it would be. It’s always a wonderful feeling to be remembered, especially by those who you think have long forgotten you.

It’s never too late to dig up those old business cards and just say hello. If you can find a current connection, that’s better. However, simply saying, “I was going through an old drawer and found your business card and wanted to say you left an impression on me” might be more than enough.

I write when and where I met the person on the back of the card, just in case. You never know who might be a great resource or connection in the future.