Work Ethic: For the Birds?

6:42 AM. I parked my car and gathered up my still-warm mug of pomegranate green tea, my lunch bag and my purse. I zipped up my coat and put on my gloves, preparing for the chilly-snap nippiness waiting for me outside.

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As 29°F rushed to meet me, I heard something I hadn’t heard for awhile: Birdsong. Beautiful birdsong. Robins, I think, with perhaps a blackbird or two.  I looked around and spotted a few, clinging to stark branches, silhouetted against the lightening sky.

And I thought how incredibly lovely it was to hear this summery sound here in the wintry chill of early spring, evocative of childhood, summer vacation and the bliss of knowing you could step outside without a jacket.

I also thought, Are they nuts?

Hail had come bouncing down around our ears just the other day. Snow could still coat the ground, the winds could howl and we’ll all be cursing as we chipped ice off our cars.

But no. The calendar had told the birds to come back, so come back they did.

Granted, instinct goes into that driving force. But it got me to thinking: These birds aren’t putting on the brakes and turning back at the first sign of trouble. They may have to dig a little deeper and search a little harder for what they need as they’re hopping around all puffed up, but they’re here, and they’re staying here, and every day—rain, snow, fierce winds—they get up and sing.

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So what about from the human point of view? Think of your current job or jobs you’ve had in the past. If you know you’re heading into a storm, whether it’s because you have a hectic, stressful workplace, or you hate your boss, or you feel your soul has been mortgaged, how do you handle it? When it’s raining on your day, do you call in “sick?”

Everyone needs a personal day to recharge, but hiding at home won’t help forever. Take the work ethic of the birds, but turn it into something that fits your short and long-term goals, and what you want out of your life and career. Set aside an hour for dedicated job search, sign up for a class to increase your skills for that promotion, start tapping your network for other opportunities.

Every second you spend being miserable is a shot against your overall well-being. The important thing to remember is that you have options, but you have to use them. If it’s always going to pour buckets on you, it’s up to you to get a new migratory pattern.

Just try telling that to the birds.

Priorities: Should You Stay or Should You Go?

You need to leave early for an appointment. Your boss schedules a last-minute meeting. What do you do?


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Depending on the flexibility of your plans, you may be able to unpick your arrangements and stay. Other times you may just have to keep heading out the door.

Simple choice, right? But it doesn’t always seem this way. You may feel resentful when you stay, and worried when you leave. You may waste way too much time and energy wondering what your boss and co-workers think about your decision—and what they say about you when you’re not there. You may even have been told that someone else would love to have your job so you’d better do what it takes to keep it.

How do you arrange your priorities so life doesn’t get in the way of work—and vice versa?  Some things to consider

Workplace Rivalry

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What’s the best way to handle someone who is making you downright miserable at work, always competing with you, raising your stress level, being combative—or worse? Should you get your manager involved or try to resolve the issue yourself? What if it IS your manager?

Our Twitter #careerchat got the answers for how to handle workplace rivalry. One thing’s for sure: Don’t let anything, least of all your own reactions, sabotage your job. As @WomensAlly says, “Own your own career!”

This way to the chat recap