Are You in In-Groups?

Are You in In-Groups? In-groups and out-groups Companies don’t like admitting there are in-groups and out-groups—it conflicts with the one-big-happy-family thing they have going. They want to believe that everybody is equally valued and there are no first among equals. But, of course, organizations are set up exactly that way. There are in-groups at every level of a hierarchy, usually consisting of the boss and some of his immediate subordinates. So your boss is in more of an in-group than you by virtue of his position. So, in-groups abound, most centered around the boss. (I’ll deal with peer-centered in-groups later). Being part of one can bring many benefits. So, my first question is: Are you in the in-group? This might seem a silly question but sometimes people don’t know. You are usually part of the in-group[1] if: You’re the boss’ go-to guy. If you hear what’s coming down the pipe first and particularly if the boss asks your opinion of the new development, you’re probably in the in-group. But we need to distinguish between expert opinion and judgment opinion. Your boss might ask you something in your area of expertise. This is just fact-finding. When the boss asks your opinion…

Is There an In-Group at Your Work?

Is There an In-Group at Your Work? It’s a silly question to some If you have a boss who clearly favors some subordinates, and especially if you’re not one of the chosen, this seems a silly question as it’s as plain as the nose on your face that an in-group exists at your work. But for those either new to work or to the concept, it can be hard to tell. Is there an in-group at your work? There probably is, in that it’s just human nature for the boss to turn to people who’ve been with her a while, whose judgment she values, or who have a perspective she finds helpful. But the presence of an in-group is not as important as whether their special status affects your ability to do good work and be respected for it. Here are some ways to assess this: If you see a couple of the in-group talking, do you feel free to go up and ask, “What’s up?” and do they respond by including you in the discussion? Or do you have to be sure it’s a non-work exchange before you break in? If something happens you don’t like, can you say…

Demonstrate Promotability to Move Out of the Joe Job
Dark Side for Employees / November 12, 2018

Demonstrate Promotability to Move Out of the Joe Job In the last post, we discussed being in a joe job—that is, being underemployed where you are not able to use the full range of your skills and abilities. However, one of the best ways out is to demonstrate your promotability.  Doing that can get you a reference from this job which sets you up for the one you really want. The descriptors you want your supervisor to use in a reference are: Enthusiastic Has initiative Bright Hard-working Responsible This table below demonstrates how each of these could play out in a work context. Demonstrating your promotability Trait NOT: You’re going for: Example Enthusiastic Gosh, everything is great. The people are so great. The products are outstanding. No wonder they sell so well. Adding value in your comment I think this product would be useful to younger people, too. They wouldn’t need it to lighten the load but might appreciate its convenience. Has initiative I know we’re not supposed to do it that way, but it’s stupid. My way is much better. Suggesting changes before implementing I notice we get backed up when there are a lot of customers. I could…

I’m in a Joe Job and Underemployed. Help!
Dark Side for Employees , Introduction / November 5, 2018

I’m in a Joe Job and Underemployed. Help! You’re a salesclerk when you should be in the marketing department. Doing background research rather than writing the strategy. Being an assistant rather than a paralegal. Whatever it is, you’re in a job which not only doesn’t tax your skills but is downright boring.  You are underemployed. You’d like to contribute at a higher level (with more money, of course). Unfortunately, early jobs in the work force often are well beneath your talents. This can also happen in summer jobs or short university job placements. How you do the job where you’re underemployed can make things worse The problem is sometimes exacerbated, however, by how people decide to do the job. Perhaps to signal their frustration, they choose to do one or all of the following: Do the work slowly or poorly; Do the report using the top page of the Google search rather than delving more deeply; Avoid checking the inventory by telling customers that everything is out on the floor; ‘Forget’ to do the menial tasks you’ve been assigned; Let co-workers pick up your slack; Communicate the work is beneath you; Talk about what you could do if the bosses…

Bringing Yourself to Work

Bringing Yourself to Work If you are just starting out in your career, this phrase might not mean much to you. Of course you bring yourself to work. What else could you do? However, if you’ve worked for any length of time, it might have meaning. The longer you are employed, the more you come to realize that you can’t necessarily do at work what you might do in your personal life. The pressures of work Work requires a number of adjustments to what you might typically do. You have to bite your tongue. You need to be careful how you say things. ‘What a stupid idea’ will mostly garner resentment. You need to learn to say, ‘What an interesting thought.’ You have to be a little respectful of your boss and/or the hierarchy. Where at home you might tell your significant other, ‘you’re full of it,’ you can’t usually do that with your boss. Some implicit deference is required even if you don’t feel that way. You have to toe the party line. Going around criticizing the company’s product, no matter how well justified, will at least get you a reprimand if not dismissal You have to play office…