Posts Tagged With: Work

The Job Interview

By Saad Zafar

The other day, I went for a job interview. I arrived early so was told to wait. So I’m sitting there waiting. Just looking around, observing the people coming and going. There were a couple of other people waiting as well. And what I noticed was that people don’t wait like I do.

And what I mean by that is when people wait these days (for anything really), they reach into their pockets and take out their mobile devices. And then they proceed to just flick through them (probably doing nothing in particular). Now, I don’t do that. Anymore. There was a time that I used to do that.

Whenever I had nothing to do, I would just take my cellphone and just scroll through my newsfeed on social media. And when I was done doing that, I would do it again. And I ultimately came to the realization that it’s really an addiction. Continue reading

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Working Through Work

By Saad Zafar

It is quite an uncomfortable realization to learn that a significant number of one’s ex-colleagues thought of one as “difficult to work with” and “not a team player.” It hurts. It hurts a great deal especially when one has worked with those very same colleagues for years while under the impression that we’re all getting along fine.

What’s disturbing is when one finds this out after one’s gotten fired. Just the humiliation of it all. It wrecks your self-esteem and makes you wonder if there’s actually something wrong with you or whether it was just a case you simply not being the right fit for that company.

You see, when you really start pondering over it all, you start getting unhealthy thoughts that make you question whether you’re actually fit to work in any corporate environment. And it’s hard to remain level-headed under such circumstances because all your thoughts are coloured by the intense emotions that you’re experiencing. The same most interesting one (for me) being a sense of betrayal that I worked with dedication and loyalty for that organization for 5 years and this is the thanks I get. Continue reading

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Call for Nominations for The Robert Johnston WorkInCulture Award

September 17, 2012
WorkInCulture is pleased and excited to announce a call for nominations for The Robert Johnston WorkInCulture Award. This award will be presented to an individual who has demonstrated a tenacious commitment to furthering human resources development in the cultural sector in Ontario. Either as a manager, mentor, supporter or educator, the recipient has made a deliberate and fruitful contribution to supporting the growth of our most valued resource: people. The Award is named in honour of Robert Johnston, whose longtime service in the cultural sector as former Executive Director of Cultural Careers Council Ontario (WorkInCulture) and former General Director of The National Ballet of Canada (from 1979 to 1987) stands as a model of professionalism for cultural workers of all disciplines. The  inaugural award was presented to Patricia Fraser, Artistic Director of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre in November 2010.The Award is open to individuals (artists and administrators) who have contributed a minimum of 10 years of professional service to the arts and cultural industries. The Award will be presented at the WorkInCulture Annual General Meeting on November 14th. Continue reading
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Desk management – 5 steps on how to organize your desk (Originally Published on

Clare Kumar Writes About Organizing Your Desk Space – Photo Courtesy of

Clare Kumar - October 12, 2010

By Clare Kumar

We’ve covered the theory behind getting organized, but what about the practical side? How do you go from a cluttered to calm desk space? The following 5 steps show you how:

1. Commit

Set aside 30 minutes to tackle the re-organization of your desktop. Once space has been redefined, it will take much less time to clear at the end of each workday.

2. Clear

File any papers, folders or reference material. Recycle or shred any unimportant papers.

Set aside – perhaps in a bag or box – items to be returned to others, or taken home.

Use a box – perhaps the one copy paper is delivered in – and place in it all the remaining items from your desk.

3. Cull

As you place items in the box, edit your supplies. Get rid of pens and markers that don’t work or that you simply don’t like using. Throw out dried up glue sticks. Let go of the three jammed staplers that you think might work one day and replace them with one that does.

Keep only one each of basics such as tape or glue at your desk, and place backups in a supply cabinet.

Take a closer look at all the awards and office trinkets you have accumulated. It is alright to let them go if they are taking up valuable desk space.

If you like to keep photos in your office, consider mounting them on the wall, or changing to a digital photo frame to reduce their footprint.

4. Categorize

Sort the items into two groups – those which should remain with your desk and those that can be placed elsewhere.

Store the items you use most often close at hand. The less often you use something, the more you can afford the time it takes to retrieve it. If you’re not sure what you’re using, place your supplies into a shoe box. Each time you use an item, retrieve it from the shoe box and put it back in your drawer. If after a week you haven’t used an item it may not need to be by the desk, in fact, you may not need it at all!

5. Repeat

Overhauling your desk area once in awhile is a good idea to pare down to your essential supplies. It will make it easier to clear your desk at the end of every day, enabling you to start each day with a sense of control.

If you have a clear desk policy for security reasons, it is critical to establish good habits so that files are in order when you need them rather than being stashed away quickly.

Coming up next in the series: Organizing the Home Office

ACCO BRANDS CANADA is proud to sponsor this 10 week series on organizing your workspace leading up to ORGANIZE YOUR DESK DAY; on October 21, 2010. Get the tools you need to get organized from world-class brands such as Swingline, Quartet, Day-Timer, GBC, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. Clare Kumar, founder and Chief Organizer at Streamlife, an organizing company, will take you on a practical and inspiring journey from chaos and clutter to productivity and peace of mind.

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Chris Temelkos Writes About Work and Health – Photo Courtesy of

Chris Temelkos - June 20, 2010

By Chris Temelkos

If you’re putting extra hours in at work to impress your boss, you may want to think twice. A study published in the European Heart Journal found that employees who regularly put in 11-12 hour days increase their risk of a heart attack by 60%, compared with those who work 7-8 hours. However, the hours themselves are not to blame, rather the stress and demands felt by putting those extra hours in.

The study followed full-time civil servants aged 39-69 between 1991 and 2004, 4,262 were men and 1,752 were women. Throughout the study 369 of the workers had heart attacks or developed angina, of those workers 54% did not work overtime, 21% worked an extra hour, 15% worked an extra two hours and 10% put three or more hours in of overtime. The risk of a heart attack was 56% greater for those who worked overtime and those who worked only a couple of extra hours saw an increased risk of 21% while putting in an additional hour had no effect.

Having control over our work, regardless of hours, can reduce the risk of a heart attack. Do as much as you can, to keep your work under control and take a break, there’s always tomorrow.


Globe and Mail

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Overcoming Fear and Paralysis That Can Derail Promising Careers

Harvey Deutschendorf Writes about Fear - Photo Courtesy of

Harvey Deutschendorf - April 10, 2010

By Harvey Deutschendorf

At the end of the unit meeting, Jeremy once again felt very frustrated.

Janice and Alan had once again taken up the majority of the time, talking about things which he felt were trivial and inconsequential. It seemed to him that every little thing that they did they had to embellish it so that it would look like it was some huge accomplishment. Jeremy, on the other hand, did have some success which merited attention. Over the last couple of months, he had thought up and launched a couple of major initiatives which were quite successful. He was complimented by business partners outside of the organization for his initiative and ability to carry through with difficult tasks. However, within the small division of his corporate organization, Jeremy watched in frustration as people who seemed to do little but make a lot of noise got all the attention. What especially grated on him was the fact that whenever his manager was away, Janice and Alan were asked to take turns covering. Jeremy was never asked.

Not only did Jeremy see himself as more talented and capable, he had a master’s degree compared to Janice and Alan who had college diplomas. The real problem was that Jeremy was in an almost constant state of fear in his workplace. He was afraid of being the centre of attention and standing out in the crowd. Since his youth, he had struggled with shyness and felt uncomfortable in groups. This allowed others with less skill and ability to be promoted ahead of him. Sure enough, within a short time, Jeremy watched with dismay as Janice applied for and was accepted for a supervisory position in another part of the organization.

The company brought in an emotional intelligence (EI) expert to do a presentation and all the staff was invited to have their EI assessed. The results were confidential, between the expert and staff. Jeremy agreed to do the assessment and found it to be an eye-opening, transformational experience. He found that even though he was very high in most areas of the assessment, his assertiveness scores were well below average. He began to see the EI expert for coaching on how to overcome his fears and become more assertive. They came up with a two-part plan to help Jeremy overcome his fear of groups and improve his relationship building skills.

To overcome his fears of being the centre of attention Jeremy immediately joined a Toastmasters group where he was forced to speak in front of groups of people. This supportive environment gradually helped him overcome his fears and he became more comfortable speaking up in the unit and other meetings. With the help of his coach, Jeremy set goals for every unit meeting. The day before the meetings he wrote down a list of things he wanted to get across. He told himself that regardless of how uncomfortable he felt with taking the time to go through his agenda, he would not give up his time before he said exactly what he had intended to. It was difficult at first. He almost felt a sense of panic but managed to take a few deep breaths and continue on until he said exactly what he wanted to. That night he went out to celebrate the victory with his fiancé.

Even though the word in the company was that Jeremy was a dedicated and competent employee, nobody knew much about him as he was so quiet and private. Management was nervous about promoting someone who appeared to them to be secretive, wondering if he had something to hide. Jeremy came up with a plan to change that. He noticed that his coworkers like Janice and Alan spent a lot of time chatting with the manager. Jeremy forced himself to approach the manager and his direct supervisor at least three times per week and only talk about personal matters. This was part two of the plan, relationship building. When his superiors told him something about their personal lives, such as favorite holiday places, or names of pets, he went into his office and made notes on a pad he kept in the bottom drawer just for this purpose. This gave Jeremy something to ask them about in future conversations. Prior to this, he made little attempt to engage co-workers, often working alone when they went for coffee. Eventually, they stopped asking him. He now began to join them regularly and initiate personal conversations. At first, he found that they seemed to be suspicious of him as it was unusual behavior, but over time he began to sense that he was being accepted and began to feel that he was one of them. While he was still aware of fear and anxiety at times, it never overwhelmed him as it had in the past. It now served as a wake-up call for him, letting him know there was something he needed to look after.

Within a year, Jeremy applied for a higher level position within headquarters office of the organization. He practiced mock interviewing with his coach until he was confident that he would be able to fully speak in a manner that drew attention to all of his skills and abilities. He got the job and later learned from his new manager that his previous manager had commented on what a great team player Jeremy had become. He remembers the sweet sound of those words. They were the sounds of success.

Submitted by Harvey Deutschendorf, author of THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success, published by American Management Association of New York. Harvey resides in Edmonton, Alberta. CANADA

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