Tag Archives: boss

Boss Frustrates Worker. Workplace Bully to Blame?

Sometimes even our best work relationships undergo the challenge of communication. Making yourself heard properly at work.   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — My boss didn’t hear what I was really saying. He’s a one of the best bosses I ever had so I was blown away when he seemed to side with the person I complained about who is known around here as an aggressive loud mouth. Do you think I should approach him again or drop it and see what happens if I take his advice (to document this if it happens again and then see him then)? I guess I’m more frustrated than if it was just bad behavior because it concerns money. Seriously I feel like quitting.  Frustrated Frank

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Dear Frustrated Frank,

Don’t quit just yet! If you think your boss is one of the best you’ve ever had, then I think you owe it yourself to approach him one more time on this.

Your question rang a bell for me. There is a co-worker-on-co-worker complaint from my managerial past that I might handle very differently today. Even the most detached and observant manager can become distractedly wrapped up in external (market) circumstances and hear/perceive a complaint, such as yours, as one more pile up on his plate. Yes, Virginia!, even managers are human. It’s possible that if a complaint is highlighted differently, your manager could potentially avoid alienating a great worker by giving off the wrong impression that he doesn’t care. Given your usual positive feelings about him, I’m confident your boss would want to avoid losing you. Great team members are incredibly hard to come by, and that is a strong point for you to push: you are a good team player (and back it up specifically). In today’s down market, see if your boss is facing similar circumstances as I felt in the past. He possibly could do a lot better by the entire team, if you once more point out what you said here to us (that your frustration is higher because it concerns money — not frustrated personal stuff — an entirely legitimate matter for and of you that he can instantly recognize). Even if you think you said that to him or it should be obvious, try stating it differently and ask him if he understands your concerns. Get him to repeat your complaint to you. When you are satisfied that he does hear your real concern, then you will have to decide how you will live with his (new?) mandate. Documenting events in an office is always wise…for you.

On a very real flip side, I want to recognize that office bullying has replaced sexual harassment as the bane of the workplace. Here is one resource.

Work it, don’t quit it yet, Frank!

BadWitch

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Dear Frustrated Frank,

Well. You haven’t really given enough information for me to weigh in on the exact situation you encountered, but in this case it seems fair to weigh what you know of the individuals involved.

First, if you know your manager to be fair and level-headed, why do you doubt his ‘document, wait and report’ suggestion? Even though money is involved, what if your manager knows there is not enough evidence to make your case? In that case, the best thing that can be done is for you to document this incident, future “aggressive” behavior and report any repeat offenses. In that case, you and your manager are actually working together to resolve this situation for good.

It may also be true that though this “aggressive loud mouth” can be difficult to work with, there may be extenuating circumstances you are not aware of. Have there been other incidents? Is this person the only one with access and fingerprints on the money-concerning debacle? Is it possible that someone else maliciously or accidentally is responsible for the situation?

You know best of all, what the situation is. Do not mistake your manager’s usual level-headedness for friendship. This is not really about taking sides. It is about resolving the situation fairly. If you feel like your manager is treating you unfairly, document that too. It is only when you can show a pattern that you have a chance to make things right. Neither your manager, nor your manager’s supervisor is going to take a chance of litigation for wrongful termination. Document. Everything.

And, unless you have a job waiting for you, don’t make any impulsive decisions in this economic climate. An ass of a boss or coworker is actually not worth your solvency. Want revenge? Document. Report to your manager, possibly with a letter to his supervisor if you do not feel the manager handles the situation fairly and win. You have a legal case against the company if they terminate or bring disciplinary action against you for following up on your rights.

Take it slow. Document with dates, time and people present. Sometime patience wins the game. Good luck.

Keep breathing,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

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Sticky Fingered Situation: Theft or Snitch?

If he steals, should you squeal? Oh, and crazy manager dis, too.  — BadWitch

P.S. Welcome to our new friends. Our publishing schedule and where you can send your questions to us are at the bottom of each post. See you back here Thursday!

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — Some money has gone missing from our petty cashbox at work. My manager asked me to keep an eye on someone (just because I often have lunch with this guy on account of our schedules) he suspects. I have nothing to do with the cashbox, and I don’t like snitches. I can’t believe my friend would do something like this, but you never know, and I don’t want to get involved. What should I tell my manager to get out of it? — Boxed In

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Dear Boxed In,

Taking your description at face value, I doubt I could undermine your manager’s authority more than he’s done himself by saying he’s a nut job, technically speaking, of course. Some people just don’t appear ready for authority over others. This sounds more like an episode of Punk’d or a page out of a What Not to Do page I’m imagining, from Managing for Dummies.

Now onto you and your authority over yourself. If ostensibly you see nothing, then you have nothing to report. Right? But if you did see something firsthand, would you report it or stick to your “no snitching” guns? Mull over your values now: do you strongly believe stealing or snitching is wrong no matter the circumstances, or do think your loyalty to a friend is more important than to your employer? No one can answer those questions for you so get on it, cupcake.

Securely you,

BadWitch

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Dear Boxed In,

“Snitch?” What are we in prison? Are you going to shank someone?

Listen, as a parent, I may have a different take on things. You see, one who cannot honor the bounds of good citizenship, i.e. not biting the hand that feeds him, does not deserve protection from his deeds coming to light. If my child were to steal or bully or in some other way offend the bounds of good citizenship, I would expect someone to inform me. Why? Not because I seek to punish, but rather to have that child bear the karma of the act, learn from it and grow into a better person and a better citizen.

Harsh? No. I believe living in truth is the only way to live a life of peace. And I don’t mean the peace of self-righteousness. I mean the peace of living honestly with no baggage to lie, hide, of be ashamed of. That is peace.

If your friend is innocent, then you have nothing to fear about reporting what you hear from him on the crime. If, however, as I think you believe, your friend is guilty then you must ask yourself, is it better to hide the sins of a thief, so he may feel as if he has gotten away with it, giving him license to steal again?

Find the middle way. Tell your friend that others, i.e. your manager, believe he stole the money and that for the safety of his job and reputation he should return it. If he was slippery getting it out, he can be slippery getting it back in. You will have given your friend the opportunity to learn from his mistakes—hopefully, without the cost of his job.

Just tell your manager you will keep your ears open. Frankly, you do not want to be seen as aligned with the thief. Then, tell your friend what needs to be said, “Whoever stole the money is stupid and short-sighted. The few dollars will not compare to a salary. They should return the money before they have lost the security of a paycheck for a few extra dollars in their pockets between paydays.”

Do the right thing,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

Personality Order: Assertive Women

Maybe the old adage should be updated to “Nice Girls Finish Last.” Finding your balance to speak up for yourself.    — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I’m a hard working woman. I do all right with my title and salary but would like to earn more. I think I need to become more assertive, but I’m actually worried I’ll change my personality. How do I become one without doing the other?   — Speaking Up For Myself

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Dear Speaking Up For Myself,

Clear the path for other women, mama! Women still earn only 77 cents annually to every dollar a man makes. Aside from all the solid reasons why women would benefit from being more proactive (not wait for someone to notice their great and hard work; that’s not how it works), straightforward and expecting more, I sense you have other conflicts in this department. So I’m urging you to: Start appropriately speaking up for yourself in life and your work voice will follow suit. Assertiveness is not the same thing as aggressiveness. Look ‘em up, Polly. Get more crackers out of life.

As for your personality changing when you learn to assert yourself more — strap that helmet on because it will, but in the best ways. Instead of worrying about this, I’d like you to make two columns headed “What I Like About Myself” and the other “What I Need to Speak Up About More Often.” Go wild, cupcake! Don’t hold back. In either column. I think you’ll have fun filling these out, but if you find you have more trouble with one than the other (or both), then that’s where you really want to take some coaching from the old children’s traffic poster and: stop, look and listen.

See if your challenge is more around not liking yourself enough (subjectively, I deem having fewer than 10 Items in your “Like About Yourself” column is way too speedy a lane to be standing in in life), or scared to “Speak Up About (More).” Note that I put that in parentheses because you may already do an OK-ish job identifying issues and speaking up for yourself, but maybe, just maybe, you could stand to just amp up the frequency (not to be confused with volume) and consistency, lil lady. Lastly, please don’t worry about losing friends or hurting others’ feelings if and when you are simply speaking up for yourself…ever.

Raise your expectations,

BadWitch

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Dear Speaking Up for Myself,

I’m confused. In what universe does speaking up for yourself mean changing your personality? The truth is the truth, whether you speak it or not. Now you can try the passive-aggressive-never-say-straight-out-what’s-on-your-mind, but getting what you want through manipulative means seems more two faced than setting the record straight.

You want people to take you seriously in business, you better start taking yourself seriously. What you care about, what you feel is valid because you care and you feel it. If you are too afraid to speak up and share what matters to your heart, how will you stick up for an idea you have on a project, budget, new hire or fire? The ability to speak up to share what’s on your mind is a critical quality for a successful business-person.

Hard working moves beyond overtime and taking on extra duties. Hard working means showing up and participating. Participating means saying what’s on your mind. If you are not showing up, bringing all your skills and ideas to the table, you’ll only be perceived as a follower. Followers don’t get the promotions, the raises or the responsibilities.

Now remember, speaking up does not mean getting defensive, argumentative or loud. It is calmly stating what is on your mind. Remember, in an idea session, everybody can be right and maybe the answer is a combination of two ideas rather than one person’s idea over another. Practice in the mirror. Start meditation classes so you are clearer with yourself about your own information. The more you feel it is acceptable to feel the way you do (because it is. Hello nature!) the easier it will be to express those feelings without self-judgment, which should make it easier to share with the rest of the world without too much defensiveness.

Good Luck,

GoodWitch

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Image – Alexis Biedel, Glamour Magazine

Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.


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Office Troublemaker Produces Work Stress

You know what they say about one bad apple… Identifying needs increases productivity. Deworming that Malus pumila.   — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — Help. I work with a smart small team on a pretty important project in our division. Four out of the five of us get along, and work out our challenges. There’s one person who is rude and insolent and often hogs meeting time and doesn’t share ideas. How can we deal better with this person?   — Team One

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Dear Team One,

Are you the PM on this one? If so, it’s incumbent upon you to get everyone in the boat stroking to the same beat in the same direction. Identify what makes this troublemaker tick at his/her base. Appeal to that by managing him/her by this motivating need. For instance, time is my currency, and I respond well to being given a long leash of freedom to self-direct and manage my own. If I didn’t make my deadlines and was irresponsible to my tasks, obviously productively managing me would have to change to another tactic. Identifying what this person needs and wants (again, we’re talking fundamental motivating wants, not ridiculous fantasy items) is key to managing the trouble better, more effectively.

Also, this sort of ongoing disruption is very morale-draining for the rest of the team members who get on smoothly. Nip it in the bud. But be aware that the causes that make for bad apples can range as much as people do, from: annoyed at perceived team slackers, dissatisfaction with management, to boredom (often the disrupters can be the highest producers who are expressing frustration non-constructively; get to the root of this). Motivate everyone equally by rewarding positive and constructive behaviors. Rewards don’t have to be monetary or otherwise material — the right-tone public praise and appropriate contests between team members goes miles and miles to building camaraderie as well as laughs and bonding on a long road trip in a small vehicle. [Learn more how to deal with office “Fight” and the five other Automatic Stress Reaction (ASR) Types.]

No jerk zone offices for great good,

BadWitch

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Mother’s Day “hang over” with the little kids leaves Good Witch speechless on today’s question. Have a fabulous week and we’ll see you back here Thursday!

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

Office Stink: OSHA, Workers Rights Dismissed

When bad work smell offends management, a stink is brewing. Standing up for your work safety rights.  — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I work in a department store and there’s a weird smell in the area I work in. It smells chemical or electrical, or something. When I complained to my co-worker, she immediately brought up bringing in OSHA. Our cool manager said she’d ask the store manager. She called us all into her little office, shut the door and yelled at me. She said, “I just want this off my desk!” and that’s how the meeting ended.     — Poisoned Penny

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Dear Poisoned Penny,

I will suppose that you are a reasonable woman and not prone to frivolous troublemaking at work, or crying wolf here. Your situation is potentially serious and your store manager either needs to be sent to managerial training (and such seniors do exist), or there’s more to the story than reported here. Otherwise, health first!

Let’s simply assume that she could use some coaching. For your concerns, it’s really quite a simple process to start. With some exceptions, most employees’ rights to safety under OSHA in the workplace are covered by the law and you can look them up (or find the right people/agencies to help you, e.g., contacting your local OSHA representative, or if you belong to a union, your rep there). The process consists of an opening conference (between employer, union representative and you), walk-around/physcial inspection, and a closing conference to discuss findings and what (if any) corrections need to be taken care of by the employer.

Poisoned Penny, worker safety and a healthy work environment are a legitimate concern/complaint. I have empathy for you and applaud your standing up for your rights especially to a strong-willed but misguided store manager. Lastly, keep in mind it’s probably just one misguided manager and not the employer itself, so your best judgment will serve your best interests.

Safety first,

BadWitch

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Dear Poisoned Penny,

Note in writing everything from the meeting! Include dates, times and conversations you had with co-workers, as well as the store manager tirade. Please note, you are now in a protected class because you presented a possibly hazardous situation to your manager. This “whistleblower” act was put into place so if you know there is something hazardous in the workplace, you can let supervisors know without fear of reprisal.

In truth, your manager may just want it off her desk, but inadvertently has put a more dangerous item on her desk. If someone were to get sick (and, yes, sick building issues do exist and are taken very seriously), she as the representative of the company has been made aware of the situation and now makes the company liable. Scary.

In your notes, be sure to comment on the smells—what they smell like to you, times of the day they are present, and any associated things going on in the building (systems running when smell is present, recent construction in the building etc.). And, of course, if you are feeling less than well after the smell presents itself, go see a doctor. Be sure to keep yourself well. Now, please note, I am not a lawyer, but my recommendation would be to drop an anonymous tip to OSHA. In the end, your health is most important.

If you still have questions, consult an employment lawyer. Know your rights!

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.


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Family Business Succession, Difference of Opinion

When you’ve worked hard all your life to build something meaningful, you think twice about just giving it away. Even to your own kids. When families are split on kids taking over the family shingle.    — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I’ve run a successful small business for nearly 25 years. I’m planning on retiring within the next five years. My oldest son seems to think I should automatically give him this business. While he’s worked hard for me during summers since he was 16, this is very different from being ready to step into a managerial role right now (he just graduated college). I want him to go work for someone else and learn there first, not take over mine. My wife and I disagree strongly on this.    — Elbow Grease

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Dear Elbow Grease,

My first Real Job was in the skin-toughening media industry, and I was quite a bit younger than most peers with the same title. Except…a guy last named Sherman. His father, he boasted to me, owned a reputable and thriving business that he had a burning itching to join and eventually run. He was reasonable but still lamented that his dad refused him (and hard) which was why he was now working with the likes of me…!

I agree with you, Elbow Grease. Your son will do well to apprentice (preferably somewhere else first — if for no other reason than objectivity of business lessons without family dynamics possibly obscuring his clarity) before prepping to take the reins of the family business, but as that’s not really the main issue I see here. You and your wife benefit from getting on the same page about this so that, ideally (being a family business), you can present a united front to your son. It’s possible she’s simply seeing his interests through her mother’s eyes rather than the business as a full blown enterprise that needs proper tending. Talk operational details to her, and if any, highlight those that your son’s experience level clearly isn’t to par on…yet. Barring unity on the issue, as it sounds like you actually run this business, you should gather your thoughts and present them rationally and if he’s truly serious about this endeavor, he will adapt just fine.

Effectively grandfathering into a leadership role of an established business takes more than just work hours. If your son can successfully navigate potential rejection, hard knocks in this market, disciplining and/or mentoring by an objective manager or two, then he will be far more equipped to learn the ropes and rise in your family business, and eventually possibly run it. There’s no telling a BadWitch that there’s any substitute for a strong work ethic, get-over-yourself/never-take-it-personally thick skin and pragmatic stamina in the work world, to build character, put one’s mind right about one’s place in the world and the biggest lesson of all — earning your reputation and everything you’ve got — humility. Then he’ll be ready to work/transition with you, because for him by then, the business will truly mean something more than a living, prestige or other immature view of such a blessed heirloom.

The old fashioned way,

BadWitch

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Dear Elbow Grease,

Though I appreciate your beliefs on children earning privileges and your commitment to hard work, I have to side with your wife on this one. It sounds like you’ve raised a son who is dedicated to the family business and who is no stranger to hard work. So, if you’re planning to retire and your son wants to take over, why would you want him to work for someone else to learn the ropes.

I understand that you have some trouble seeing him as a leader, as he is just graduating from college, but age alone does not distinguish one’s ability to run a business. CEOs come as young as 13 years old these days. Drive and determination are not defined by how old you are.

Your son has work experience. He wants to be involved in the family business. You are not retiring for 5 years. Why not spend those 5 years training him to take over your business. The work experience he would get from other companies will not be specific to your company’s needs. You have 5 years to give him specialized training on what he will need to know to run your company effectively after you have retired. Isn’t that better than having him work for another company for those 5 years and then trying to learn how to run your business years down the line without your guidance?

You have the opportunity to direct his training through the departments you believe he should have hands on experience. You can oversee his managerial style. You can work with him as he begins to see new ways to improve work flow through your business. You would have the opportunity to work through —with him—to manage how improvements are instituted. You have the opportunity to train the person who will carry on your family business. That seems like an opportunity that should not be ignored.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Juicy Relationship Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your FREE brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009-2017 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.

When is In-office Fundraising Out of Bounds?

Everyholiday season request for donations go up. That’s expected for the Season of Giving, but what if your supervisor asks you to support his kids’ PeeWee endeavors all year long? Giving back some of your mind.     — BadWitch

Readers Are Spellbound & Perplexed…

Dear GWBW — I have a supervisor who always sells crap for his kids’ school. Where’s the line of obligation and suckerdom? — Diabetic Soon

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Dear Diabetic Soon,

Ah!, office politics. Nice. Goes well with pie but little else. If you’re like most people you want to give a token of support to your supervisor, but don’t let this arrangement make you feel like you’ve been taken for a ride personally. Here’s my gently-used donation to you: be straight up with your supervisor. I would gently remind her/him of your salary’s limitations (especially in times like these when everyone’s (including school) budgets have been hard hit) by pointing out that if you supported every good cause you actually wanted to, there’s going to be a car wash to support you that s/he better show up to! Then I would state the annual cap on your willing support – whatever number you want to give and doesn’t impede your budget. If it feels easier for you to break that annual number out to quarterly giving (pre-chat, tally up your last year’s in-office donations and I think you’ll be shocked how much those “small contributions” added up to) then do so, not exceeding your own annual limit. Decide. Commit. Do not allow yourself to feel guilty or ashamed that this amount that you worked so hard for, to give away to support someone else out of your sense of sharing, is too low or “not enough” – remember: zero is a viable option.

If, as you say, this supervisor feels so constantly free to cross the donation line at work, then s/he is either a very gung-ho but tunnel visioned parent, or s/he is A-ok with and willfully leveraging her/his power over you. Water seeks its depth and a supervisor who shows such little common sense or respect tends to languish at her/his own level (except at a company that mirrors such values; another subject).

If all that’s too much for you, then check your employee handbook or ask HR (you don’t have to mention names) what, if any, company policy there is governing in-office solicitations. Then helpfully share this newfound information with your supervisor as a supportive ‘I just found this out, too’-gift. Who knows, maybe s/he actually didn’t know.

All good things within limits,

BadWitch

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Dear Diabetic Soon,

Well, I must state the obvious. Just because your supervisor is selling doesn’t mean you have to buy. Your boss’ fundraising for his kids school is much needed these days. School budgets have been cut to the bone. I know in my children’s school the amount of volunteer hours has gone up across the board, because the school does not have the resources they did, even last year.

That being said, your donation to the cause is not a requirement of employment. Don’t let guilt—or some misguided attempt to impress your boss—put a whole in your wallet or increase your sugar intake. I’m not suggesting you be a Scrooge, because, as I said, the school’s extra fundraising helps buy books, fund computers and, in some cases, keep sports and arts programs going. However, buy what works for you, not everything.

In donations, like living expenses, create a budget. Know how much you can afford to contribute to worthy causes. Then, decide how much of that you would like to forward to your supervisor’s fundraising activities. Spread out those buys over the year, choosing the one’s that intrigue you. You figure, chocolate can go in a gift basket at the holidays. I remember once we sold holiday candles, which works well for stocking stuffers or funny gifts for co-workers. Believe me, it’s an inside joke they’ll all get.

In others words, the little you do can help a lot. But give from a place of wanting to help, not wanting to suck up. The truth is, we can all tell when someone offers us something in some disingenuous bid to up their ranking. It’s called brown nosing and it’s not attractive. On the other hand, donating from the heart, caring about how the dollars are spent and how they help…that will give you big props with your boss—and karma points too. So, make your budget, then dig a little deeper and give from the heart.

Good luck,

GoodWitch

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Image, Universal Studios Home Distribution

Juicy Coaching for Leaders and Individuals.

Mondays money, work, purpose dilemmas. Thursdays family, relationships, love dramedy. Send your FREE brewing questions on how to thrive—not just survive— modern life to: coaching@stillsitting.net.

© 2009 ManifestGroup. No materials may be used without expressed written permission.