Thursday, October 30, 2014

Which Superhero Are You?

There are many different types of personalities in the workplace - heroes and villains, alike. I'll let you decide which one is which.

The Flash
This person gets their work done very quickly. Once the task landed on their desk, the turn-around time to completion is lightning fast - and The Flash is ever-proud that the work is always delivered before the deadline. That's not to say that the quality of the work is always good. Attention to detail is usually the main casualty, as is consistency. But the sooner the task gets checked off the list, the better.

The Enforcer
The Enforcer knows every single company policy, by-law, and industry standard. If a colleague tries to bend the rules, The Enforcer is there to make sure that the law is obeyed. Dotted "i"s and crossed "t"s are more important than meeting deadlines. Sometimes innovation, flexibility, and timeliness are sacrificed, but to The Enforcer, doing it right takes precedence over all.

This person (thinks they) can do everything. Superman will volunteer for all sorts of assignments, no matter how far the subject matter is from their field of expertise. Superman will always get results, but will sometimes cause a lot of destruction along the way. Superman doesn't mind, though, because they are bullet-proof and admonishment bounces off their chest, onto the floor. Superman's kryptonite is the self-inflicted massive workload, which somehow always gets done in the end.

The Joker
This person is quick-witted and is fun to have around. Always livening up meetings and social gatherings, The Joker is ever-ready with a funny anecdote or entertaining gag. However, The Joker can be irritating, especially when the jokes fall flat or when meetings are extended unnecessarily to accommodate yet another story. The Joker can come across as being unprofessional, but usually takes work seriously, as long as there isn't an audience around.

Captain Focus
Captain Focus has an uncanny ability to maintain an intense focus on their work. Neither working too slow or too fast, Captain Focus is hell-bent on getting the job done properly. Captain Focus doesn't have time for chit-chat, long lunches, or camaraderie. Witty repartee is annoying and deviation from meeting agendas is likely to bring on epileptic fits. Captain  Focus is professional to the umpteenth degree, just don't try to talk to him between, say, the beginning and the end of the day.

The Anti-Googler
This person spends a large portion of their day asking other people questions. Instead of typing a search term into Google, The Anti-Googler will shout out questions across the room, call you, text you, message you, email you, or (worst of all) hang out by your desk. The Anti-Googler makes sure you know your stuff. They cause discussions to break out like small brush fires, which both disturb your schedule and engage you in professional discussions with your colleagues.

This person follows orders to the letter. Soldier is loyal and is willing to do the grunt work if that's what it takes to finish the task. For Soldier, the mission is everything - get the job done, on time and to the highest standard. Soldier isn't afraid of working hard. In fact, Soldier isn't afraid of anything and is unfazed by new challenges or changes in the work environment. Soldier often does not see the big picture and can be single-minded. Soldier has the deepest respect for the chain of command, but can also be a good leader, if necessary.

Ego Man
This person has a very high regard for themselves. They are confident, self-assured, and often very intelligent. Ego Man's high self esteem makes him a good negotiator and debater, and not such a great team player. Ego Man is ambitious, but can get bored easily. Ego Man is motivated with public praise, rewards, and promotions.

So, which superhero are you?

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Thursday, October 16, 2014

Three Aussie Phrases You Should Never Use at Work

I love Aussie slang. It can be colorful and evocative, and it reminds me of where I grew up. We once had a handyman who inserted "strewth" and "bloody oath" into every sentence. I betcha he went down the pub to shout his mates, or invite them back to watch the footy and rip into a six-pack.

A rudimentary Google search will find any number of web sites listing Aussie slang. On most of those sites you'll find multitudes of Aussie phrases inappropriate for the workplace. I'll refrain from mentioning any here.

However, there are some seemingly innocuous Aussie phrases that you should avoid using because they can erode your colleagues' confidence in your abilities.

No worries
A favorite phrase of mine, "no worries" is ingrained deep into my DNA. When talking with other Australians, I'll add "mate" to the end.

The problem with "no worries" at work is that, by using the word "worries" you suggest that there could be worries. Why would you want to implant doubt that you can get the job done?

"No worries", and its cousin "no problem", mean "I'm on it" or "I'll take care of it" or "leave it to me". Why not use one of those synonyms, instead?

Of course, "no worries" could also mean "you're welcome", probably said after the work was done. In this case, you can get away with slipping this phrase in once in a while, but don't overdo it.

She'll be right
Australians love to ascribe the personal pronoun "she" to objects ("she's a great car"). In fact, anything can be a "she" ("she's gonna be a ripper wedding" or ”she'll be right, mate".)

Following "she'll be right" with "mate" just seems more complete. Sometimes I prefer the longer, but more musical, "she'll be right on the night."

When your boss asks you if you're on track to completing the report on time, don't say "she'll be right". It doesn't instill any confidence that you can get the job done.

When I think of "she'll be right" I imagine the speaker giving the listener a firm, but friendly pat on the shoulder as he walks away, leaving the listener wondering if everything will really be alright.

"He's gone walkabout" means that the person in question has gone on a long trip for an indeterminate period of time (typically in the outback and on foot), or that he has gotten lost.

Imagine that your colleague has taken an extended bathroom break (i.e. he's bludging) and that the boss is looking for him. Saying that "Bob has gone walkabout" might get him into trouble.

If your boss asks you for the TPS Reports (and you can't find them) don't tell him that they've gone walkabout. It shows that you are disorganized. Instead, tell him he'll have them soon - and then find them!

But if you really don't care, you could always say, "They've gone walkabout. But, no worries, she'll be right, mate."

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