Information and insight
about your career and the workplace at large
News and Views
If your company can't support a full-fledged mentoring program, ask if they'll sponsor a scaled-
down version. This is exactly what Goldsmith Consulting
CEO Barton Goldsmith suggested when he proposed
that companies create mentoring programs to help
employees deal with "negative" people in their
workforce (source Office Solutions, July
21, p. 46). Try a pilot program at your workplace, even
if you have to start it yourself. Possible topics could
include avoiding job obsolescence by creating a
personal learning agenda, rising above a job plateau,
and aligning your goals with your company's strategic
plan. Go for it!
Beyond the glass ceiling, good news--
suggests that women's advancement in the
government's senior executive service (SES) appears
more real than contrived. Researcher Julie Dolan,
assistant professor of political science at Macalester
College in St. Paul, MN, found that SES women rate
themselves as more influential than their male
counterparts and better at setting priorities for their
organizations, giving advice to agency supervisors, and
getting others to follow their recommendations. Though
the study was done in 1996, Dolan said that similar
gender-equal findings would be true today.
How productive you are has a lot to do with your company's communication networks, says
MIT Sloan School of Management professor and Center
for eBusiness director Erik Brynjolfsson. Some of his
recommendations for how companies can deal with
information overload include learning what to ignore and
what to pay attention to; developing intelligent,
machine-based filters and automated decision makers
(like airport ticket kiosks); distributing decision-making
authority throughout the company rather than only at
the top; and improving employees' decision-making
skills through training, education, and better hiring
Weird but true: U.S. approves blood leeches for therapy.
Blood-sucking leeches -- used for thousands
of years in medicine -- now have the U.S.
government's approval as a tool for healing skin grafts
or restoring circulation. What does this have to do with
mentoring yourself? Only this: don't immediately
discount "primitive" solutions to modern-day problems.
Sometimes there's gold in the old.
Conflict is inevitable,
but it doesn't have to ruin
your workday or stress you out so much that it affects
your health. (Under stress, your body releases cortisol.
Excesses or deficiencies of this "stress hormone" can
lead to various physical symptoms and disease states.)
Check out physician Melissa C. Stoppler's 10 top
conflict resolution tips and make your work environment
less stressful, more productive.
Want to mentor your boss? Start by understanding
him/her. Fast Company lists 10 questions you
can use to figure out what makes your boss tick.
Benefit: by understanding your boss, you improve your
own work life.
Go to 10 Questions
Making It Work for You
Readers, this is your space—for tips on how
you've solved a problem on the job, "gotten over"
not tooting your own horn, or anything else related to being
your own best advocate in the workplace. Send your "a-ha's"
to email@example.com and watch for your byline in
a future issue.
About this selection: Sometimes we think we're too old or too invested in our career to change. This month's
selection shows that any big change is possible--if you take it slowly. As the Chinese say, "The longest journey begins with a single step."
Just DOING It: One Step At a Time!
Chapter One in Mentor Me, talks about
overcoming obstacles and our own resistance. I
identified with that chapter in my own story. After
nearly 20 years as a psychiatric nurse, I had hit the
wall. I was bored, apathetic, and increasingly irritable--
"burned out." As I looked at the situation, I realized
that my irritation was not at the patients or the job,
but at myself. I needed to make a change, but I was
afraid. I didn't know how to do anything else.
Ironically, the lessons I had tried to impart to my
acting-out adolescent patients became my guides.
Lesson 1 was that we are all responsible for our own
behavior. No miracle was going to come along and
rescue me from my fears. I was the only one who
could make the needed changes. Lesson 2 was that
great leaps can lead to great falls; in the psych world
this called "self-defeating behaviors." I needed to take
small, achievable steps if I truly wanted to succeed.
I was able to make use of my previous education to
change my career from psychiatric nursing to reviewing
psychiatric cases (psychiatric utilization review) for a
health insurance company. In this job, I learned to use
computer systems and thrived in a totally different and
new environment. That first little step out of the
hospital environment was actually the biggest, because
I faced my fears and took control and responsibility for
my happiness. The next job I obtained was a training
position with a utilization review software company.
Each new position I took increased my confidence and
was never, ever as scary as that first decisive step.
Today I am a senior project analyst for a technical
company working on a government healthcare project.
--Anne Glenn, Senior Project Analyst, EDS
Corp., Herndon, VA
Editor's note: Anne is the mom of Julie Zielaskiewicz, whose "Making It Work"
piece about finding a new job at her old company appeared in the March 2004 edition of WaterCooler.
Let me be the first to say, "Cool--a Mentor Me mother-daughter team!"
Workshops and Book Signings
Virginia Business Education Association Summer
, Reston, VA, August 3 - 5, 2004. Contact:
Kathy Waldron, 703.219.2257;
Meet the Authors,
International Women’s Writing Guild, New York, NY. October
17, 2004. Contact: Hannelore Hahn, 212.737.7536; http://www.iwwg.com