How to Identify Certain Warning Signs of a Toxic Culture Before Accepting a Job 0 54

  • FYI: If going to work every day and being around your coworkers and managers feels more like a burden than a benefit to your career, your workplace might have a toxic culture.
  • One other: Ten Unmistakable Signs Of A Toxic Culture
How to Identify Certain Warning Signs of a Toxic Culture Before Accepting a Job

It’s not enough that you get a great job with high wages in a successful company for many prospective employees these days. The company culture is crucial as well, and this covers the actual work environment as well as the prevailing principles by which the company and its employees operate. Some cultures are decidedly formal and rigid, such as what you see in conservative banks and law firms. Others are more casual. There are companies that value long hours and hard work, while others place a higher premium on results.

However, what you don’t want is a “toxic” company culture. It’s when the people there are backstabbing one another to get ahead, and ethics always take a back seat to profits and advancement. Employees are often unhappy, but no one rocks the boat by talking about it. In fact, usually no one speaks up and the sense of fear is quite prevalent.

Lots of new employees and recent graduates are understandably leery of toxic company cultures, and they’re even willing to take lower wages if they can join a great company culture instead. Many workers admit that a higher pay just doesn’t seem worth all that aggravation.

But the question remains: How do you identify a toxic company culture before you join a company? Actually, it’s not impossible. You can find out all you need to know about the company culture of your prospective employers by using these simple methods:

Look Deeper Than the Perks

Some companies tout lots of so-called perks to extol the virtues of their company culture. Maybe they offer free lunches to employees, cots for short afternoon naps, or even game rooms to relax.

But what you have to realize is that perks in themselves have very little to do with the true company culture you’re joining. You have to look deeper. If you’re content to see just the perks, then you may end up with a rude surprise when you discover how the company really operates.

Check Your Surroundings during Your Interview

Often, your interview gives you the first chance to see where you’re going to work. You can do yourself a favor by being a bit more observant about how things are done there. Is the workplace layout open, or do people have their own offices? You should check that the layout fits your preferences.

Then you can also take note of how the workers there deal with one another. Are they formal, or are things a bit more casual? Again, the style of the interactions should match your preferences. It does help a lot when you notice that lots of people excited when they talk. It’s not so good when you can hear the palpable fear in their voices.

You may also want to check out how many people are eating at their desks. You can even smell the food. This isn’t good, as the people are obviously overworked and scrambling to catch up.

Inspect the Bathroom

This is the same piece of advice people hear about good restaurants, and it applies to good companies too. Companies need to take care of their people, and a clean and neat bathroom is a must for all employees.

You also want to check out the graffiti—these defacements are a dead giveaway to how people regard their company. It also tells a lot about the people who work there. Pay special attention to whether people have changed out the toilet paper. If they haven’t it’s a good sign that the people there are accustomed to passing the buck.

See If the Recruitment Process is Rushed

Most people who want to find work usually appreciate it if they find get hired quickly. Lots of people hate it when they have to go through numerous meetings to see if the company will tender a job offer.

But it’s not really good for you as a prospective employee if you’re hired too quickly. This may mean that they’re rushing the hiring process simply because they need workers fast. They don’t necessarily have to be the right employees.

Usually, this happens when a new company experiences exponential growth. They’ve become too successful and they now have too many clients and projects, so they need more workers. This reflects badly on the company because often they don’t do their due diligence in hiring the other people working with you. Also, you become one of the faceless crowd they hire just because they need people and not the right ones.

Ask Them Insightful Questions

When you go through an interview, usually the people from the company ask you questions. At some point, they will ask if you have questions, and you should take this opportunity to know more about their company culture and values. This can offer you some insight as to whether how the company works will fit with your own values.

So perhaps you can inquire about how the company has evolved through the years, and how they implemented the changes they wanted. You can ask them to tell you about a recent example of a dramatically new idea that the company pursued and implemented. Maybe they can also talk about how the company weathered the storms in its history, such as layoffs or losing major clients.

You should also ask questions about how the company workflow works, so you have a sense of when the rules apply rigidly and when there’s room for innovation and creativity. You should also clarify as to which of your tasks will be up to you, and which req1uire a superior’s approval.

All the answers to these questions can paint a clear picture of how the company works, and whether you can fit in nicely.

Listen to Your Instincts

After all, that’s said and done, your instincts can still be a major indicator of how toxic the culture is in a company. If something in you tells you that there’s something wrong with a company, you need to listen to it. Sometimes, when you feel something’s wrong there really is something wrong!

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How to Start a Conversation When You Have Nothing to Say 0 77

  • There is nothing more awkward than an awkward silence but it's something we've all encountered at some point or other. Below are few ideas to help you strike a conversation either at work or at a social function.
  • One other:  Ideas for Building a Real Offline Networking Community
How to Start a Conversation When You Have Nothing to Say

Starting a conversation to get to know another person or breaking an awkward silence can be stressful.  Generally, introverts have difficulty conversing with other people. They are quiet and often have nothing to say. Even extroverts who enjoy socializing will eventually run out of things to say. And during these times, there is this strange awkward moment of silence.

We are somehow pressured to say something. But the pressure creates mental blocks and prevents us from choosing interesting and appropriate topics to talk about. Why does this happen? Why does it have to be so awkward? Why do I have to suffer through all these?

These things are just part of getting to know a person. We often don’t run out of things to say when we are conversing with close friends and family. But if you’re talking with someone that you’ve just met, then expect some long awkward silences during your interactions.

It’s hard to talk with a stranger since you have to establish a common ground. You might not know what interests them, what they dislike, what offends them. And because of this we often try to play it safe and say nothing at all.

How to Talk to People And Never Run Out of Things to Say

You need a few tricks up your sleeve to hold a conversation with a complete stranger. By knowing how to talk to people you can improve your social status and create the foundations of a wonderful friendship. This knowledge will also help you create a network of professional connections.

The trick to talk with people is to:

Talk to Them Normally Like You Would a Close Friend

It’s very simple but very true. Most people try to be interesting and talk about all kinds of exotic and extravagant things. They believe that they have to win people over by making jokes or by talking about interesting things.  I hate to say it, but you’re not building a connection with them this way, you’re actually building walls and keeping them away.

Talk about the weather, about the place, about current events. It doesn’t matter what you talk about. What matters is the interaction between you and the other person. People often forget the topics in their conversations but they often remember how they felt during the conversation. So just be yourself and treat them like a close friend, they’ll eventually come around.

Get to Know Them by Asking Questions

The most basic trick in holding a conversation with a stranger is by asking them about their favorite topic.  And what is everyone’s favorite topic? Simple, it’s me! Me! Me!

People like talking about themselves, it’s a topic that they’re very familiar with. When you ask people about themselves they tend to get a good impression of you since you’ve taken an interest in their lives.

That’s why if you run out of things to say, then go for the safe and sure option of asking questions about the person you’re conversing with.

Ask open-ended questions

Which one is better?

This one.

You: Hi, do you like it here?

Stranger: Yes….*awkward pause*…. Do you like it here?

You:  Yes…*awkward pause*… See ya then.

Or this one?

You: Hey! I like your shirt. Where in the world did you get such an awesome looking shirt?

Stranger: You like it? Well I was out shopping one day where I saw this …..*blah blah blah*

The second conversation is obviously the better choice. The reason is that you used an open-ended question. Questions that can be answered by a yes or a no often in awkward silence. It’s hard for the person to continue answering when it can be answered by one or two words.

What you need is to ask questions that let their mind think and allows them to continue talking without holding anything back. Ask them about their day or how they managed to do this and that. The possibilities are endless.

Talk About Food

Talking about food is a universal topic, it is extremely helpful if both of you are at a party or if both of you are having dinner somewhere.

Some people are ignorant about the latest iPhones, tablets, and gadgets. While others are experts at medicine, programming and other topics. It’s hard to find a common ground if both of you have such a gap in knowledge. However, everyone eats food and it is a topic that most of us are knowledgeable about.

You can simply comment on how delicious the food at the restaurant is or you can talk about how the food in your country is prepared. It doesn’t matter, just say something to keep the conversation going.

Rephrase what they said if you have nothing to add

Stranger:  I’ve put a lot of work making that necklace and what did she do? She sold it! That girl sold it!

You: So you’ve spent all this time and effort on the necklace and she didn’t even care?

Stranger: Yeah, and….*blah blah blah*

If you have nothing to add or aren’t knowledgeable about the topic, then you can simply rephrase their previous statement to keep the conversation going. This shows the other person that you are listening to what they’re saying as well pointing out that you are interested in the conversation.

By repeating what they’ve said you’re creating rapport and you’re making the person trust you more. This will make them happy enough to continue conversing with you and they will share more about their life.

Share Something About Yourself

It isn’t just a one-way conversation. If you’re going to keep asking about other people’s lives then you’re eventually going to have to reveal something about yourself as well.  You can try to play it mysterious by giving vague answers, but being mysterious won’t help you form meaningful connections.

You don’t need to tell them your deepest darkest secret, you just need them tell them small minute things about yourself. This may come unnatural to introverts, but if you’re going to build rapport, then you need to learn how to open up and share details of your life.

Don’t Be a Know-It-All

You know whose fun at parties? That laid back guy who knows how to have a good time.

You know who isn’t fun at parties? That obnoxious know-it-all who thinks they’re better than everyone because they’ve read an entire encyclopedia in the span of 2 hours.

Don’t be the know it all, they’re hard to converse with and some people can be turned off by that “I’m better than you because I know more” attitude. If someone makes a mistake about a certain topic, don’t brush them off and correct them harshly, be subtle in correcting them. It’s even better if you don’t correct them at all.

8 Tips to Developing Good Habits (And Keeping Them) 0 54

Developing Good Habits

Our habits can either make us or break us. Our habits shape who we are and what we become.

That’s why we must form good habits. People believe that they can transform their lives in a single night through sheer willpower and determination. But that’s impossible! It’s like following your New Year’s Resolution in the first couple of days and then giving up on the 5th day.

Today, we have some for you to try while developing good habits.

Let’s take a look …

Developing Good Habits

Does the reason for this belief stem from our easy and convenient lifestyles?  We can order food to be delivered to our place in less than 30 minutes. We can get a ride via Uber. Everything is fast and we get what we want fast.

However, building habits and making them last requires a lot of time and a whole lot of effort. It’s not going to happen overnight.  You can’t build the life you want if you are a slave to your bad habits. You will get fat and unhealthy if you don’t exercise and follow a proper diet. Your business will not grow if you don’t work on it. Your relationships will not blossom if you don’t step up your game. Habits determine what we are in life.

Here are some tips to create good and long-lasting habits.

  1. Have a Grand Vision That You Must Achieve

Man is always searching for a higher meaning. If you don’t have a higher goal in mind, then you’ll find it hard to stick to your habits. Get in touch with yourself and have a grand vision for your life, use this grand vision to inspire and desire change within yourself.

Whenever you stumble, lose your way, or get tired of your life, remember your vision. Remember that you’re not doing this for yourself but you’re doing this for something far greater than yourself. Push through your obstacles and use this grand vision to build the life that you want to have.

  1. Assess your readiness for change

Find out what stage you are on James O. Prochaska‘s transtheoretical model of behavior change. Once you’ve identified what level you are in, aim for the next level until you reach the final stage.

There are 6 stages:

  • Pre-contemplation: People at this stage are unaware of their desire for change but they have some minor thoughts about changing.
  • Contemplation: People at this stage are aware of their desire and they would like to change their habits.
  • Preparation: People at this stage intend to have a concrete plan for change and they can probably start within the next 30 days.
  • Action: People at this stage have made progress. And are still making progress.
  • Maintenance: People at this stage have already taken action but they may fall back to old habits if it isn’t properly maintained.
  • Termination: The habit has been formed and it is a part of the person.
  • Which stage are you in?
  • Set smart and realistic goals

You need to set proper goals that can be achieved in a certain time frame. Vague and unrealistic goals often end in failure.

Do you know what SMART goals are? SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bounded.

You can practice setting SMART goals by setting daily goals that you have to do. Have something that you have to achieve every day. It can be something as simple as drinking at least 8 glasses of water every day or exercising for at least 10 minutes a day. If you keep following and setting goals every day, you’ll eventually form a habit of setting goals and seeing through those goals.

  1. Start small

When we set our first goals or try to change something in our lives, we often try to change the big things. Sometimes we even try to change everything all at once! We come up with long bucket lists that we must achieve.

Even though it is grand and amazing, this kind of goal setting and habit-forming hardly ever works. And when they fail, we become depressed and give up on making goals entirely.

This doesn’t mean that you should give up though, this simply means that you have to start small and work on achieving small victories. Use the momentum of small victories to eventually set bigger and harder goals.

If this was a game, then you’d have to beat the minions first before fighting the boss. Don’t set the bar too high, or else you’re going to take a big fall if you fail.

  1. Track your progress

“That which is measured improves.”

      – Karl Pearson

According to a weight loss study with 1,700 participants, people who kept daily records of what they ate lost twice as much weight when compared to those who didn’t keep any records at all.

This doesn’t just apply to weight loss, the same can be applied to any goal. Keeping track of your progress makes you more self-aware. And with the knowledge of your current standing, you are able to make slight changes to your plans to better achieve your goals.

  1. Analyze your progress and adjust your habits

Things change, our habits aren’t permanent and they can improve over time. Start small and gather momentum, add one good habit over the other. You’ll eventually have enough confidence, willpower, and momentum to do big things.

The opposite is true as well. Our good habits can deteriorate and eventually turn into bad habits. That is why it is very important to track our progress.

Once you are aware of your current standing, you can make the necessary changes to achieve your goal. If you know that you’re heading down a bad path, you can change it.

If you’re losing progress, make changes to improve it. If you’re improving too much, check on your health and decide if you can do better.

Just keep pushing yourself to be a better person. Keep pushing yourself and take one small step each day. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

  1. Have a buddy who follows the same habit

It’s good to have someone who you can work together with. If you plan to quit smoking, then it’s good to have a buddy around. Make a bet with one another, the first one to smoke would have to pay the other 100 bucks or something.

In short, it becomes much harder to quit on your goals if you have a buddy around.

  1. Reward Yourself

Reward yourself for a job well done. Treat yourself to an all you can eat buffet after dieting for a whole month. Or you can spend some money once in a while if you’re trying to be frugal. Just don’t overdo it. Ok?