Regularly, I advocate calendaring “contemplate your navel” time.

What is it?

At a minimum, quarterly or yearly, carve out occasions to design your career with a big-picture landscape in mind. The power of this activity comes from recognizing that you work within three overlapping touchpoints of understanding and grasping how they are impacting you today:

  • Past—Which informs your work decisions.
  • Present—What you experience every day on the job.
  • Future—Your guiding light to dream achievement.

If you don’t weigh your actions from this overview perspective, you may be limiting your tomorrow, not to mention never uncovering the hidden gems that lead to a successful, satisfying career (from your standpoint). This frame of reference provides a mental snapshot to pursue your development plan.

Here are a couple of ideas you’ll want to check out within this context and determine which one you intend to add as your next career strong suit.   

Office Politics—A survey by Accountemps discloses that 80 percent of employees think politics are alive in the workplace. So, most of us have experienced the hazards of office politics at some point in our careers.

And many think it isn’t enough to work hard but that they can only move ahead by being involved in office politics.

There is a certain amount of truth to that. It isn’t something you can ignore. Learning to accept and navigate the landscape is essential.

Ask yourself: Am I hesitating to dip my professional toes into the work bumper pool competition because the thought of it leaves a bad taste in my mouth? Is it a significant factor in my not wanting to move up any higher in the organization?

This quick gut check aids you in determining whether or not this area is something to consider cultivating.

Three rules of thumb to take into account when facing friction, rivalry, or power plays:

  1. It doesn’t have to be dirty pool. You determine what you participate in or don’t. You control whether you infuse office politics with your values and integrity. By modeling ethical behavior when dealing with senior management or your peers, you will affect change in your business culture over time way more than ignoring it ever will.
  2. Speak less. Actively listen and listen carefully to everyone’s viewpoint. To be effective, according to research, you should attend to what is said 95 percent of the time.
  3. Make sure you know the facts. Office politics frequently has much to do with bending the truth to fit the circumstances. Don’t embroil yourself unless it’s a matter you’re sure you want to take on, that you fully understand the totality of the discussion, and that the timing is right for you.  

Remote Work or Not—The answer is as complex as the employees themself. Muddling the issue is that from the company’s perspective, the answer depends on the marketplace. In contrast, employee requirements stem from personal preferences.p

This whole topic has more twist-and-turn cliffhangers than a Federer-Nadal Grand Slam final.

For many years, companies have vehemently resisted sanctioning remote workers. That is, until the pandemic hit hard and fast. Then, businesses madly scrambled to produce quality work from their employees’ homes. Yet now, with the pandemic winding down and organizations facing an economic downturn, remote work opportunities are decreasing while employee demand remains high.

The tension between employee expectations and business needs has only tightened in recent months with mass layoffs and return-to-work mandates.

But if you remain committed to working from home…

What can you do to edge the remote decision in your direction because you don’t achieve something merely by wanting it? Your request has to make business sense.

The reality is that you have more clout for remote work assignments when there is a low workforce inventory, but you still can influence the decision.

Start by addressing the subject from your company’s point of view—not yours! You know your organization, so what’s important to them?

  • Stop “covering your bottom”—Many spend precious time justifying working from home. Unfortunately, their self-reporting focuses more on convincing than delivering what’s crucial to the organization. Don’t be caught up in your job’s frivolous little bits and pieces. Make sure you know what senior management expects from you and highlight those results.
  • Yes, the outcome is vital—Remember, you’re not looking to verify the time you spend on the job. Such an attitude is based on “the long-gone 40-hour work week, managing by seeing culture for white-collar workers.” The winning argument is the superior quality of your end product.
  • Identifying expectations is essential. Too often, we make assumptions based on our view of the workload, yet, leaders measure success by a much higher benchmark. So, pinpointing those matters rather than a litany of your “to-do” list is essential on your part.

The quality of your work experience resides in your hands and mind. Passivity or going with the flow rarely engender extraordinary careers.



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