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Water Cooler

Information and insight about your career and the workplace at large
August 2004

News and Views

Assigned overseas? You'll be there for a much shorter timeframe—less than one year in most cases, due to employee security concerns and relocation costs. For the first time, the United States ranks among the “most challenging” countries for relocating employees, behind China and Japan (again due to increased national security measures implemented since 2001). Only half of relocating employees (51 percent) plan on bringing their children with them to their new assignment. Despite these trends, organizations rated their return on investment by relocating employees as “good” or “excellent.” Source: June 13, 2004 edition of GWSAE Network Fast Read, reporting on the 10th annual Global Relocation Trends Survey by the National Foreign Trade Council, GMAC Global Relocation Services, and Society for Human Resources Management Global Forum

If you're not seeing results from your networking it could be due to what Len Foley at the Sales Training Insistute considers the top five networking mistakes: (1) random, unfocused networking; (2) a self-limiting view of networking; (3) settling for "cold" referrals; (4) "solo" networking; and (5) settling for "shallow" networking relationships. These mistakes can be corrected: Foley tells you how in his Fast Company article, "Working the Network." More

Most employees don't want to be pulled into the potentially tense conversations that are cropping up around this year's elections: a survey reported that 30 percent of the 26,000 respondents said their approach to politics at work was "don't ask, don't tell," and another 46 percent preferred to listen but keep their opinions to themselves. Experts recommend deflecting uncomfortable conversations by asking questions rather than answering them if you're not sure how your views will be received. If you still feel pressured, find a way to change the subject or excuse yourself from the room, and try to stay focused on the issues rather than on the personalities. More


Have you dreamt of a career change for a number of years, but were unsure about how to begin the search for a new career path? Check Deb Koen's article in the July 23, 2004, edition of the Wall Street Journal, who recommends digging into your personal motivators, identifying patterns of satisfaction and dissatisfaction, and conducting what used to be called "information interviews" with individuals in career paths that interest you. More

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. Special Offer: Get a complimentary copy of Mentor Me when your story is selected for publication in WaterCooler . Send your story to and watch for your byline in a future issue.

This month's story is from Josh Robinson, who, in deciding to leave his first employer, made some important discoveries about how to evaluate subsequent job offers.

I Had to Leave-but How Would I Decide Where to Go Next?

One of the most important things in my early career was learning from some hard experiences that actually shaped things for the better.

My first job was working at a television station in Spokane, Washington. I'd moved to the West Coast after having only lived in the East and the Midwest. The job involved midnight-shift hours. There wasn't enough pay to compensate for that. It was an "extreme" way to begin a career.

I'd closed my eyes and gone into that job blind, thinking it could be an adventure. I hadn't really visualized myself in the actual situation. I decided to leave after 10 months, even though I had friends [at work and in the area. From that experience I learned not to think of things just in the abstract. When I evaluated my next job offer, I was pretty disciplined in how I thought about it. I knew that if I exchanged one problem for another it would only be a short reprieve, so I considered the social setting, the hours and the money, the reputation and character of the town. I accepted the offer and was there three-and-a-half years, and it was a great, great experience.

-Josh Robinson, Director of News Programming
for a major international online content provider

Book Review

Mary Foley's Bodac!ous Woman:
Outrageously in Charge of Your Life and Lovin' It!

More than Just a Pretty Face

It's easy to love this book just on looks alone: the book is a slim 121-page easy read and features a playful layout and fun graphics that make you feel Mary Foley is right there in the room with you, speaking out loud as you read along.

But Foley's Bodac!ous Woman is more than just a pretty face. In its pages, the author reveals more of her personal story than in her previous books. The result is a hard-earned wisdom that rings true to the woman looking for additional self-mentoring resources.

For instance, Foley writes about the time when, planning to work out before leading an important series of meetings at AOL, she realized she'd forgotten to pack the pants part of the "pantsuit" she'd planned to wear-with no time to drive home and change-and how she transformed a potentially embarrassing situation into one that showcased her creativity.

She recounts her collision with AOL's glass ceiling, her own role in cutting her own career short, and what she decided to do about it.

And she tells the story of her abusive marriage and its part in transcending her inner "good girl," a theme she returns to throughout the book.

These experiences started Foley on the journey to becoming bodacious, i.e., exhibiting the courage to be in charge of her own life. And in revealing them to the reader, Foley becomes not just one more expert doling out career advice, but a real woman who lives her life and learns from it.

The book is full of pithy sayings like "Being a good girl is a way to avoid unpleasant realities" and "Remember it's bodacious we're shooting for, not badacious." Each of the four chapters ends with several "Exclamation (Summary) Points." Attention-getting graphics illustrate key points, like "Dreams aren't just wispy castles in the air. They are the endpoint of strategic planning."

And through it all, Foley weaves and expands on her "Bodac!ous Woman" mantra: Look Within, Think Strategically, Act Bodaciously, and Love Every Minute of It."

Foley speaks her truth with good humor-"No breast implants are required to be bodacious," she writes-and with a decidedly original take ("I want to live like my nail color-Wild Berry" and "Live life as an exclamation, not an explanation"). Her insights are both practical and inspiring to the person interested in authentic personal and professional development.

For more information or to order Foley's book, visit her web site (

And here's Mary's special offer to WaterCooler readers: Get a free preview of the first chapter and a 25% discount off the price if you decide to pick up a copy of Bodac!ous Woman today. Go to special offer now.

Coming Up

Workshops and Book Signings

Virginia Business Education Association Summer Conference , Reston, VA, August 3 - 5, 2004. Contact: Kathy Waldron, 703.219.2257;

Meet the Authors, International Women’s Writing Guild, New York, NY. October 10, 2004. Contact: Hannelore Hahn, 212.737.7536;