Browsing the archives for the Random category.

Geeks Gone Pro joins Alltop


I’m proud to announce that Geeks Gone Pro is now part of Career Alltop.   This is part of the all-important effort to get visibility for this new blog.  Career Alltop provides RSS feeds of blogs related to – you got it – Careers.  This blog joins 50-60 other blogs related to HR, recruiting, job searching, etc.  Scroll down to the bottom – yes, all the way to the bottom, and you’ll see my RSS feed.

Alltop, all the top stories

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Happy New Year


Happy New Year, everyone.  It feels good to close out 2009 and focus on the possibilities of 2010.  Be safe with all of your celebrations!

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Merry Christmas


Merry Christmas to those who celebrate it.  Happy Kwanzaa and Joyous Festivus and a late Happy Hanukkah to some of the others.  Hopefully everyone is enjoying some time off.  Joy and peace to all!

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Maslow’s Hierarchy and your Career


In the last post, I talked about fear and the impact on the workplace.  Today, we’re going to consider fear in psychological terms and think abut how it might be impacting your career. 

You gotta remember I’m a geek psychologist and every once in awhile, I’ll pull out some theory.  Remember back to Psych 101, you probably talked about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  In this theory, there are five levels of needs – going from fundamental to more esoteric.  The theory states that if you are threatened at one of the lower levels, you will focus all energy on that level and not at higher levels.  Look at the graphic below which came from Wikipedia

File:Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.svg

This shows the lowest level as being Physiological and the second level being Safety.  People who have been laid off and are in serious financial distress are dealing with those levels.  They are being threatened by hunger and homelessness and unemployement and other basic issues.  All of their energy is focused on reacting to those threats.

From what I have seen, the recession is serious enough that many people who are employed are also focused on basic issues like safety.  If you are working and focused on that level, how is that impacting your work and career?

For the sake of professional development and career advancement, you need to be focused on the higher end of the hierarchy.  Your attention should be on confidence, achievement, problem-solving and adding value.  One common defense mechanism for introverts (applies to many geeks) is to retreat and withdraw when threatened.  In the workplace, this could look like keeping your head down and focused on work.  The hope here is that the introvert/ geek would not be making waves and would stay under the radar and, as such, be less of a layoff target.

The reverse is actually a better strategy.  This is an ideal time to stand up, be noticed and prove how you can provide value in a broader way.  Focus on the achievement end of the hierarchy.  Yes, it is going to feel uncomfotable and feel risky.  Be thoughtful in your approach to minimize risk.  But it is time to take a chance – stand up – be seen – showcase your ability to benefit the company and be a leader.

A down time like this can be an opportunity for those who choose to take it.

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Fear in the workplace


2009 is coming to a close.  I don’t think many people will be sorry to see it go.  As we all know and experienced, it was a rough year.  We saw venerable companies go under or go into bankruptcy.  The stock markets tanked and the economy followed.  Almost everyone felt personal impacts such as layoffs, cut wages and hours, foreclosures and bankruptcies.  

Smart Brief on Workforce asked several bloggers to summarize 2009 in terms of workplace issues.  The posts that resonated the most with me talked about fear.  People who have lost their jobs face serious hardships and intense stress.  It is a hard time to be out of work.  Those of us who kept are jobs are grateful for the paycheck – we are definately in better shape than those who were layed off.  Even so, a paycheck does not mean that we are not impacted by fear.  Fear also affects people who are still working (you can sometimes throw survivor guilt in there too). 

HR Bartender wrote about some examples that captured the impact of fear on the workplace – even spilling over into workplace violence.  Fear and frustration and anger can build so intensely that it comes out in violence.  Eileen Habelow, a guest poster at Dan McCarthy’s Great Leadership Blog, talked about fear creating a survival mentality.  Those who have a job feel fortunate but also threatened.  That results in defensiveness, lower productivity, less focus and lower satisfaction.

The end of the year is always good for reflection.  I encourage you to think about two topics:

1.  How has fear impacted you at work?  Have you changed your behavior?  How do you want to do in 2010?

2.  If you are a leader/ manager or strive to be one, consider how fear has impacted people around you.  What can you do to make your workplace a more secure andless fearful place?

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Geek Fun: Star Wars Management

Geek Fun, Random

Happy Friday! has provided some sage management advice via Start Wars.  Thomas Waligum wrote What Star Wars Teaches Us About Career Management, and it offers good advice along with a good chuckle.

With my focus on development and succession planning, this was my favorite:

“But beware of the Dark Side. Anger, fear, aggression—the Dark Side of the Force are they.” -Yoda
File Under: Training and Development; Networking
Star Wars Moment: Yoda sagely instructs Luke Skywalker during his training on Dagobah, with guidance such as: “Always with you it cannot be done. Hear you nothing that I say…. You must unlearn what you have learned.” Skywalker says that he’ll try. “No!” says Yoda. “Try not. Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
Real-World Lesson: There’s a wealth of value for you in listening to the wisdom of another, older employee’s experiences—especially if that colleague has been mentoring others for 800 years. (Yoda wisdom for future Madoffs: “If once you start down the dark path forever will it dominate your destiny.”)

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Happy Thanksgiving!


Part of professional development is knowing when to rest and re-charge.  For most of us in the United States, Thanksgiving is a great time for that.  So eat lots of turkey and stuffing (my favorite part), watch football, visit with family, go shopping, or do whatever makes you happy.

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