Tag Archive | career

0.2 days without a workplace-related accident

During the summer before I started college, I worked as a laborer for a lawn-cutting service. There were five guys on the crew — including me — and my boss was a guy named Crew Leader Carl. He had hair down to his shoulders and always had a cigarette sticking out the side of his […]

Learning invaluable lessons from an incompetent life coach 

It was around seven on Tuesday evening. My girlfriend, Ashley, and I had already eaten dinner. Now we were both sitting on the living-room couch, watching a Love It or List It rerun on TV. I was reclined with my head tilted back, and as the show played out, I started to snooze. It had […]

The erosion of quality in today’s ‘hurry-up-and-half-ass-it’ economy

A few years ago, I took a temp job as an entertainment blogger for an online magazine. My boss’s name was Ron. He was short with a clenched jaw and shoulders so stiff that they came up to his ears. Ron would spend his day walking up and down the rows of desks, screaming horrific […]

When you’re less successful than an empty desk

It’s not exactly a confidence booster when somebody gets introduced to an empty desk and ignores you completely.  This happened to me years ago, and it’s happened to other people I know, too. I was working at my desk when a manager tromped in with a high-level executive. I had heard that she would be […]

Anything you can do, a computer can do better

My boss called me into his office the other day. “Take a seat,” he said. “I’ve got big news.” My heart jumped. “Is it about that promotion I’ve been asking for?” “Not exactly,” he said, sinking into his chair. “I’m afraid I’m going to have to let you go.” “Oh.” I looked down. “This doesn’t […]

Sick days and substitute teachers 

Substitute-teacher days were always weird. You knew something was off as soon as you walked into class. You could feel it churning in your gut – along with the undercooked corndog you’d eaten for lunch. Some random adult would be standing at the head of the classroom, looking lost and out of place, as if […]

Seasoned employees don’t use exclamation points

When I compare my work e-mails today to the ones I wrote as a new hire, there’s a noticeable difference. My e-mails today — though friendly — are often brief and to the point. The sentences are simple, and the punctuation is basic. “Hi John. Please send me a copy of the check. Thank you.” […]

Welcome to the Period of Post-Quality, where the details don’t matter

A lot has changed since the 2008 financial crisis. Some of the aftershocks are more obvious. There are fewer jobs. Fewer opportunities. Wealth and abundance flow into Wall Street, while capital and resources are siphoned from Main Street. Yet some of the effects are more abstract — harder to define. People sense there’s something off, […]

I still don’t have a clearly defined dream

Ever since childhood, I had a vague notion that I wanted to be a writer. I carried the idea with me through college. And although I was always writing short stories and even novels, I never gave much thought to how to develop my dream. I think I just assumed that I’d become a novelist, […]

Being curt doesn’t make you businesslike

I’m noticing a trend lately where people respond to e-mails with an abrupt, terse tone. No greeting. No “please” and “thank you.” Just a curt, one-sentence response, with a sprinkling of condescension. I imagine they’re trying to sound confident and authoritative. After all, real professionals don’t waste time with pleasantries or kindness. Real professionals are […]