7 ways to break out of a rut at your job

Published: Monday, January 29, 2018 @ 2:23 PM

A new survey sheds light on how much time people waste while at work.

As the old saying goes, "If you keep on doing what you're doing, you keep on getting what you've got." Never are the words more true than when you've gotten into a career rut.

It's so easy to keep repeating the same motions on the job, and continue to get the same negative results, whether they're poor performance reviews, missed opportunities or the plain old "I hate my job" condition.

"At various stages of your career, you will get stuck," SixFigureStart career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine noted in an article she contributed to Forbes. "You feel like you have topped out at your job. You hear 'no' from a dream employer or to your request of your existing employer. You hear 'yes' and try something new, it doesn't go as well as expected."

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To escape these draining, disappointing outcomes, you first have to commit to doing something differently, noted Ceniza-Levine.

She and other career experts and psychologist recommend these seven ideas for breaking through a career wall:

Look for similar options. If you've concentrated solely on a certain job at one company, switch gears. Try pursuing jobs simultaneously at their competitors, Ceniza-Levine recommended. Even if you don't really want the other jobs, any research involved will help you with your ideal target. "And the leverage you'll get from being active with the competitors will raise your value," she added. This "similar but related" approach works for internal improvements, too. If you're gunning for a raise to bounce out of a career rut, keep a list of equal but different demands, like a title bump or the option to telecommute a day a week.

Open a door outside your job. "If you're itching to try a new skill or launch an idea, you don't have to do this only in your job," Ceniza-Levine noted. "Start a side business. Volunteer with a non-profit. Take the idea to your professional association."

Quit postponing. Start examining this rut you're in and take steps to address it starting today. "When you procrastinate, you show yourself your activities do not matter, which sends a message to yourself that you are unworthy of your desires," noted psychologist Tracy Thomas, author of Dr. Tracy's Total Life Reset Manual. If you're guilty of constantly postponing career progress, look for a way to jump-start your activities.

Get to know yourself. In order to break the fear and paralysis that can keep you locked into a job jail, you must invest time and effort getting to know yourself, according to Julie Brush, founder and author of The Lawyer Whisperer, a career advice column for legal professionals. "Without this awareness, you'll remain stuck in neutral indefinitely and your career and happiness will suffer," she said. 

While the soul-searching is tedious, the process is straightforward: set aside some quality time (or allot several blocks of time) and write down and answer the following questions. Get specific, advised Brush, providing 10 examples wherever possible for each of these questions:

  • What are your skill strengths? In what way do you excel socially, managerially, professionally?
  • What skills are lacking or just so-so?
  • What do you enjoy doing most? Examples include helping people, crunching numbers, taking risks, building things.
  • What do you not enjoy doing?
  • What kind of culture appeals best to you?
  • What are the key job qualities you need to be happy?
  • What are job qualities that would make you miserable?
  • Describe the perfect job: the role, the employer, the colleagues, the money, the title, the hours and the location.
  • Do any roles or other professions intrigue you? If so, why?
  • Would you be willing or able to go back to school or take a big pay cut to pursue a totally different career direction?
  • How much money do you need to be happy? Are you willing to trade money for other job qualities?
  • Do you have short, medium and long-term career goals? If so, are they still applicable or do they need a refresh? If not, you'll need to set them as soon as possible.

Consider the smallest steps. Just because you've topped out at your job, you don't need to limit yourself to the promotion-or-quit options, according to Ceniza-Levine. "Instead, look for less disruptive alternatives in-between [like] transferring to a different group or switching responsibilities with a colleague," she said.

You can also pursue a completely new job by breaking the process into what she calls "smaller success points." Your contacts may not know of actual job openings, for example, but they may know who runs the group you want or what backgrounds generally get hired. Or they may be able to give you some tips about the company culture. "If your networking is hitting a brick wall, your requests may be too big."

If you have to stay, change what you can. If it's currently out of the question to leave the job that leaves you numb or unhappy, work to make it more bearable, advised Peter Jones of the online career resource blog Job Network. Don't assume you could never find the root of your work blahs. Instead, "ask yourself which tasks you like vs. hate, what things challenge you and what things make you unbelievably bored," Jones noted. "You can always try and find a way to shift the balance to the good stuff by taking a little initiative and making a good case to the powers that be."

Jones' other top tips for improving at a job you can't leave include bonding with colleagues who radiate positivity, take online courses or professional development training whenever available and practice self-care.

"On bad days when you just can't stand it anymore, don't despair," Jones advised. "Instead, take a quick walk outside to shake off your bad mood. Go take a coffee—or an ice cream—break somewhere in nature."

Whatever you do, don't let small things that are out of your control sour your whole mood.

"Shake it off," Jones said, "and get back to the task at hand: improving your situation or finding a path out."


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7 tips for males who manage or mentor females

Published: Thursday, May 17, 2018 @ 1:48 PM

Women are interrupted 30% more than men in the workplace Being constantly interrupted by men, or "manterrupted," quiets women and makes them lose confidence To avoid spiraling into self-doubt, here are some tips to put a stop to interruptions Speak with conviction using words like 'know' instead of 'believe' Use shorter sentences so your breaths in between aren't as long, making it harder to interrupt Lean in and make eye contact Speak authoritatively and don't open remarks with any type of apology Be sur

It's a sensitive time in this #MeToo era.

As Peter J. Strauss described it in Forbes, "Over the past few months, there has been an important and long overdue national conversation surrounding the topics of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior in the workplace." 

»RELATED: 7 ways women can avoid being ‘manterrupted’ at work

And while the movement has generated massive positive change, "some of the fallout from the ongoing discussion has been the expression of caution—and even a bit of fear—around male-female interactions in the workplace," Strauss noted.

One biggie: Since media reports of extensive sexual harassment started surfacing in fall 2017, a survey from women's empowerment non-profit LeanIn.Org and online survey platform SurveyMonkey found that male managers are three times as likely to say they are uncomfortable mentoring women. They're also twice as uncomfortable working alone with a woman than they are working isolation with another man.

Add to that, the statistic that senior men are now 3.5 times more likely to hesitate over establishing a working dinner with a junior female colleague (versus a male at the same level) and five times more likely to hesitate to travel for work with a junior woman, and women are clearly missing out. LeanIn.org is already on the case; it created a #MentorHer program in February that already features many high power male mentors with female mentees.

Strauss also challenged his peers and the workforce at large to maintain mentoring strides and keep pushing for further gains.

"I would like to encourage my peers to change the tone of this conversation and focus on the many successful male-female work relationships we have each seen, fostered and benefited from," he said. "A workplace is super-charged by having a mix of well-mentored men and women. We need more men to mentor women because they'll be helping to positively change the workplace."

Male mentors benefit, too, according to sociologist David G. Smith and psychologist W. Brad Johnson, who described the aspects of cross-gender professional relationships that flood men with anxiety in Harvard Business Review. Many male mentors they interviewed said they often learned more from female mentee than the females learned from them.

»RELATED: These are the top 50 companies for women in the US, according to one site 

What holds men back from becoming a mentor?

"Partly, these guys are rattled by the prospect of close, caring, but nonsexual developmental relationships with women at work," the pair of researchers concluded. 

But when guys back away from mentoring women, "The net outcome is unsatisfactory for women and for the companies and organizations that hire them," they said.

Here are tips from Smith and Johnson and Strauss for men who mentor women, to the benefit of the workplace, the women and the men themselves:

Focus on professional progress. Rules for mentoring should be the same no matter the gender of the mentee. "What's the mentor or mentee's motivation for entering into this mentoring relationship?" Strauss asked. "You focus on skills, talents, goals and competencies."

Give constructive feedback. "Keep it real by not veering off the track of professional growth."

Think of mutual growth. "Focus on developing the women and men on your teams through impactful mentoring that elevates both the mentor and the mentee," Strauss said.

Ask if you're unsure. Colleagues or HR can help you understand what is considered inappropriate behavior and what is acceptable. "Something that was a compliment years ago might be considered an inappropriate comment today," Strauss said.

Practice common courtesy and respect. "Treat a female colleague as you would any other colleague," Strauss advised. "Men should take the extra step of educating themselves on the definition of sexual harassment and what it means to women in a professional setting.."

Learn to listen up. "Men can be more effective mentors for women if they practice listening skills with the goal of showing empathy versus trying to quickly problem solve or 'fix' things for her," Smith and Johnson noted. "In the process of listening, male mentors may find that they develop and appreciate enhanced interpersonal skills, access to larger networks and insider knowledge of their organization that makes them more effective leaders."

Quit worrying about the crying already!  Men must take it in stride if a female mentee cries. In the words of Smith and Johnson, "Get over it already, dudes. Men should appreciate the research showing that greater prolactin levels, human evolution and socialized permission are at play here, not weakness or distress."


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9 of the highest-paid doctors in America, per LinkedIn

Published: Wednesday, May 02, 2018 @ 10:56 AM

Top Paying Jobs in 2018

Doctors are often thought of as a highly-paid professionals, and, while that's true, some specialties pay better than others. 

LinkedIn gathered data from its salary tool and shared it with Business Insider, which reported the top highest-paid doctors in America.

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The figures are self-reported based on information from LinkedIn's verified users over the past year. Base median salary information is included, as well as total median salaries, which also includes bonuses and other additional compensation.

The following are nine of the highest-paid doctors (starting with the highest pay) in America, according to LinkedIn and Business Insider:


Base median salary: $575,000

Total median salary: $575,000

Neurosurgeons top the list of highest paying medical professions. These specialists diagnose and surgically treat disorders of the central and peripheral nervous system (the brain and spinal cord and peripheral nerves). These can include tumors, brain or spine infections, stroke, or degenerative spinal diseases.

Orthopedic surgeon

Base median salary: $450,000

Total median salary: $500,000

Orthopedic surgeons treat injuries and disorders of the musculoskeletal system, including bones, ligaments, joints, muscles, nerves and tendons. They're the type of specialist you see for problems such as back pain, arthritis in the hip or knee or sports injuries. Some further specialize in areas such as the foot and ankle or in sports medicine.

Interventional cardiologist

Base median salary: $438,000

Total median salary: $438,000

Interventional cardiologists treat heart and vascular conditions by performing catheterizations. These procedures allow the interventional cardiologist to insert a long thin tube called a catheter into a main blood vessel (often in your thigh, groin, neck or arm). Small instruments are then guided to your heart or another problem area to diagnose or treat a condition. In this way, interventional cardiologists bridge the gap between cardiologists, who use treatments such as medication, and cardiac surgeons, who treat more severe problems with bypasses and other procedures.

Among the top cosmetic surgical procedures of 2017 were nose reshaping and eyelid surgery, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons.

Plastic surgeon

Base median salary: $410,000

Total median salary: $410,000

Plastic surgeons perform operations that change the shape or appearance of a patient's body. Although procedures such as breast augmentation or liposuction may first come to mind, plastic surgeons may also perform reconstructive surgeries after accidents or birth defects or to help minimize scarring on burn victims.


Base median salary: $400,000

Total median salary: $400,000

Gastroenterologists treat diseases of the gastrointestinal tract and liver, including those that affect the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, pancreas and gallbladder. They treat conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), colon polyps and cancer and gastroesophageal reflex disease (GERD).


Base median salary: $395,000

Total median salary: $395,000

Urologists specialize in diagnosing and treating diseases of the urinary tract and male reproductive system. They use medication and/or surgery to treat problems related to the bladder, urethra, kidneys, prostate and more.

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Base median salary: $353,000

Total median salary: $370,000

Anesthesiologists provide anesthesia and pain relief to patients. They're commonly thought of as providing anesthesia during surgery, but they also follow up in recovery and help decide when patients can go home or be transferred. They also provide post-operative pain relief.


Base median salary: $350,000

Total median salary: $368,000

Radiologists are doctors who use medical imaging tests to diagnose and treat diseases and injuries. These can include ultrasound, MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT (computerized tomography) and X-rays. They usually work closely with a referring physician who sent you to the radiologist for testing.

Ophthalmologists earn a base median salary of $285,000.(WSB-TV/For the AJC)


Base median salary: $285,000

Total median salary: $285,000

Ophthalmologists are doctors who fit eyeglasses and contact lenses, but they've also received additional medical training to diagnose and treat eye diseases and vision disorders. They can also perform eye surgery. 


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8 ways to be on time without waking up earlier 

Published: Tuesday, May 01, 2018 @ 10:35 AM

Here's how to get a promotion anywhere in the world Understand what the hiring process looks like in your company Let the company know you want a promotion Make sure your values are in line with the company Make sure you have developed Emotional Intelligence Manage your stress levels

Even if you go along with the recent UK study that indicated nocturnal people are likely to be more intelligent than their "early morning" counterparts, it's not too bright to constantly be late to work.

Forbes, for example, lists tardiness right up there with lying and procrastination among "14 Bad Habits That Can Cause You to Lose Your Job."

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And even if constantly arriving late for work, meetings or business lunches doesn't get you sacked, it can degrade your job performances and ability to get along with bosses and co-workers. Such habits display "an attitude of complacency and carelessness," business career program instructor Roxanne Peplow told Forbes.

Talent Zoo president Amy Hoover agreed and noted, "Whether you intend to or not, arriving late shows disrespect to the social contract of the office place as well as your co-workers who do make an effort to show up on time."

Some have literally been late since their earliest days of setting their own schedules, according to a San Francisco State University study. But while about 20 percent of the American population is chronically late, the study's lead researcher, Diana DeLonzor, said the reasons may not be what those in charge of performance reviews would imagine.

It's not that latecomers don't value other people's time, noted DeLonzer, who is the author of "Never Be Late Again: 7 Cures for the Punctually Challenged.

"Repetitive lateness is more often related to personality characteristics such as anxiety or a penchant for thrill-seeking," she told Fast Company. "Some people are drawn to the adrenaline rush of that last-minute sprint to the finish line, while others receive an ego boost from over-scheduling and filling each moment with activity."

Late people also tend to procrastinate more, demonstrate trouble with self-control and be thrill seekers."People who are chronically late are often wrestling with anxiety, distraction, ambivalence or other internal psychological states," psychologist Pauline Wallin told Refinery 29.

But there are still ways to start being on time, even after a long career of being the last to join the meeting or get to your desk. None of them (phew) advise waking up earlier. Instead, time management and psychology experts recommend these eight strategies:

Analyze this.

The first step toward timeliness, DeLonzor told Refinery 29, is self examination. Take a good look at your history of lateness and any patterns that emerge. Are you indiscriminately late to everything, or do you select certain events or times of day? How does being late make you feel? What causes you to run behind?

Professional organizer and productivity expert Julie Morgenstern encouraged a further question: Are you always late by the same amount of time or does it vary? "If it's always the same, that is indicative of a psychological hurdle," she said. "Maybe you're afraid of downtime, or feel that you have to fit as much as humanly possible into your day (even if it's not humanly possible). If you arrive late by 10 minutes to one thing and 30 minutes to another, the problem is likely mechanical. Your time management skills need work."

Try a tiny bite (of punctuality.)

Wallin advised getting a taste for punctuality with a one-time experiment. Make it something small, like vowing not to get on Facebook before work tomorrow, even for a few seconds. "If you can't commit to a small inconvenience like that," she cautions, "you are not ready to tackle your chronic lateness." Also experiment with just a single episode of being on time. "Just once," Wallin advised, "just to see how it feels. Note your reaction. Are you relieved or anxious? Proud or bored as hell? Then work your way up from there."

(JGI/Jamie Grill/Getty Images)

Relearn to tell time.

DeLonzor's research indicated that one shared trait of punctual people is that they're realistic about how much time things take. To join them, she encourages chronically late people to write down how long you think it takes to shower, get ready in the morning and drive to work. Then for a week, track the actual time each of those activities take. Chronically late people are often off of their time estimates by 25 or 30 percent, according to DeLonzor.

Stop planning to be on time.

Sorry, this isn't an "out." It's even harder than planning to be on time: you'll need to start planning to be early, giving yourself time for such contingencies as missing a single traffic light or needing to return to the apartment and grab an umbrella. DeLonzor and Morgenstern both recommended planning to be everywhere 15 minutes early.

Make the plan; work the plan. Especially when you're brand new to a commitment to be on time (even if you've been in the work force for decades), you may need to go overboard a bit in planning to be on time. DeLonzor recommended such foreign tactics as checking directions online, checking traffic reports before leaving or even driving to an new location the day before to understand the route.

Bring something appealing to wile away the early arrival minutes.

"Knowing that you have something to occupy your time will help," says DeLonzor. Make the activity specific and compelling, like a fun game on the handheld or a crossword, not 10 minutes extra of bookkeeping for taxes or something like that.

Tap the power of technology.

One powerful component of a habit "loop" is the cue or trigger that prompts you to engage in your habit, according to Harvard Business Review. For being on time, schedule plenty of cues on your phone or laptop. Instead of setting alarms that go off when you're supposed to arrive, though, set one for each duty you need to complete to arrive on time. Another cool idea: set a location-based reminder, for example, a reminder that you have 10 minutes to be on time once you reach the parking garage.

Time your exit. 

DeLonzor says many late people — including herself — have an aversion to leaving the house, and suddenly feel the need to straighten the blinds or open the mail when they should be heading out the door. To combat this she uses a mantra of sorts: "When I catch myself doing this, I'll snap or clap and say 'This can wait.'"


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6 most impressive benefits offered to Amazon employees

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 10:36 AM

How much do you know about Amazon?

As Atlanta and 19 other cities strive to become the site of Amazon's next headquarters, aka "HQ2," an important question needs answering: What's in it for potential employees?

After all, HQ2 could bring 50,000 new jobs to the chosen city.

According to business publications like Business Insider and Fairygodboss, those employees would be in good hands.

Though Amazon does not appear on the ranks of the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For® 2017 , it does offer premium benefits and perks to its full-time employees and it would extend the same or similar packages anywhere it chose as a second headquarters.

»RELATED: 9 best-, worst-paying jobs at Amazon 

As its VP of HR John Olsen told Business Insider, the company provides uniform benefits across all levels of employees. "My benefits package is the same as a benefits package here at the fulfillment center," he said. "I think we've got an egalitarian process."

Here are six current Amazon employee perks or benefits to drool over:

The new Amazon Books store at Domain Northside opened in March and features about 2,000 book titles, as well as Amazon’s electronic devices and some nondigital products, such as board games, toys and high-powered blenders. Addie Broyles / American-Statesman(American-Statesman Staff)

Top-rate tuition reimbursement. Amazon corporate communications manager Nina Lindsey included this teaser on the full breakdown of Amazon benefits she shared with Business Insider: "Both full-time and part-time hourly employees are eligible for Amazon's innovative Career Choice program that prepays 95 percent of tuition for courses related to in-demand fields, regardless of whether the skills are relevant to a future career at Amazon." Amazon even steers students to a few good bets in the future economy, though they don't match the company's hiring profile (at least not yet). "Career Choice allows employees to develop in-demand skills for professions of the future, including medical technicians, paralegals, robotics engineers and solar panel installation professionals," the website enthuses.

Some of those classes might even be held onsite at the HQ2 if the current headquarter continuing education strategy is duplicated.

»RELATED: 5 things to know about Amazon

A "network of support" when it's a jungle out there. According to the Amazon jobs site benefits link (and with the caveat that these benefits apply to full-time employees and may vary by location), company benefits designed to "make life a little bit easier" include an extensive and free, employee assistance program. It provides confidential 24/7 support for multiple aspects of work and personal life. This assistance runs the gamut: from access to financial counseling and estate planning to online assistance with children's developmental disabilities.

Dental and vision insurance for part-timers. According to the Amazon jobs link, employees who work more than 20 hours per week still receive "funding towards medical insurance" and dental and vision insurance with "premiums paid in full by Amazon."

A bias-resistant interview process. Amazon's rating on the women's work website Fairygodboss isn't too rousing: Just 33 percent of its female employees who offered feedback would recommend it to other women. But Amazon did get a glowing review of its ongoing interview process improvements.

"Amazon has even incorporated bias training into their interviewing practices so that every Hiring Manager and Interviewer considers subconscious biases they may have coming into the interview (an example would be women coming across as 'abrasive' in an interview whereas a man would come across as showing backbone)," one woman wrote. 

Enhanced ability to adopt. According to the Amazon jobs page, the company also gives full-time employees help with qualified domestic and international adoption expenses including attorney fees, court costs and travel. The adoption edge at Amazon also includes leave prior to, and following, the birth or adoption of a child. It taps into Amazon's industry unique "Leave Share" option, where an employee can share time off with a spouse or domestic partner whose workplace doesn't offer the option.

An Amazon employee gives her dog a biscuit as the pair heads into a company building, where dogs are welcome, in Seattle. Butler County's Liberty township is making efforts to snag Amazon's second North American headquarters.((AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)/For the AJC)

Bring your dog to work every day. Really devoted pet parents would adore working at Amazon, at least if HQ2 follows the current headquarters. Fairygodboss describes Amazon as "a dog owner's dream. On any given day, you can find hundreds of dogs roaming the company's campus, where they happily enjoy doggie water fountains, a dog park, and treats at the reception desk."

As solid as the Amazon's job benefits are, Atlanta would do well to also try to draw an Audible outpost for top worker perks. The Amazon-owned company, based in Newark, listed some of these perks for employees during a recent hiring spree, according to Business Insider: In-house gym, Happy Hour on Fridays, tuition assistance, transit reimbursement and a breakfast and juice bar on Mondays.

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