Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Reinventing Yourself--Create New You at Work

· DO downplay prickly parts.

· DO avoid impulsiveness.

· DO establish boundaries.

· DON'T look for affirmation at work.

Turbulent and ever-changing don't begin to capture today's workplace. Heck, it can be downright disorienting. Which reminds me of two men who tried to rob a pizza delivery truck in Fountain Hill, PA. They jumped on the truck while it was stopped at a red light. They pushed the driver aside only to discover that the truck had a manual transmission. Neither robber knew how to drive the truck. They clumsily brought the truck to a bumpy stop and bolted.

Just like those robbers, we all need to keep gaining new skills if we want to get ahead in today's constantly changing workplace. I'll offer three Do's and one Don't for adapting to work today. For more, check out Stephen Viscusi's book, "On the Job" (Three Rivers Press, 2001).

DO downplay prickly parts. I can hear what you're saying, "Prickly? Moi?" Yes, you. We all have our times when we can be challenging to be around, for example, before your coffee in the morning, after a rough session with the boss or any Monday. It's important to know your prickly parts and to keep them in check, or at least at a level where they won't do damage to your career possibilities. If you don't know your own prickly parts, then talk about them with coworkers that you trust. Remember we all have them.

DO avoid impulsiveness. Anyone who knows me is laughing at this one. Yes, I've been accused of being impulsive a few thousand times in my life. But impulsiveness is often dangerous at work. The times when we have to move immediately are relatively rare. Yet, the times where we can take a deep breath and really think through our choices occur often. I still wouldn't call myself calm or reasoned, but I do take my time more than I ever have before. And the results have been dramatic.

DO establish boundaries. The workplace grinds down everyone. With pay cuts, benefit reductions and doing the work of multiple laid off workers, it's rough out there. It's tough to establish boundaries when you're been squeezed from every direction. But it is important to try. For example, when your boss drops three new projects on your desk ask, politely, what existing projects he or she wants you to work less on to free up time for the new stuff. Sure you could get an earful for asking. But if you don't, then all you can expect is for more and more to be dumped in your lap.

DON'T look for affirmation at work. Waiting for a pat on your back for a job well done? Hope you are patient, because most people are starved for any acknowledgement. That's why it is so important to get affirmation elsewhere, from volunteering, exercise, religious affiliations, frankly wherever you can find it. Because most workplaces today are mostly about the "mean" part of the phrase "lean and mean."

Follow these tips and your job won't automatically rob you of your dignity. You'll probably be more effective too.

About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"People who cannot invent and reinvent themselves must be content with borrowed postures, secondhand ideas, fitting in instead of standing out."

–Warren Bennis

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