3 Reasons to be Offensive

Posted by Richard Moran.

confrontation between the horse and the fattening of chess. 3d rendering and illustration.

No matter where you work, some people are offensive. But the word offensive has many meanings. Usually, when it comes to work, offensive refers to the person who reheats leftover fish burritos in the microwave or yells in meetings every day. Being offensive under this definition will guarantee that you are well known in the office. Just not the way you want.

A friend introduced me to a better way to be offensive. I asked him why he gets into the office so early every day. He usually arrives before 6:00 A.M. He said, “When I get in early I can be on offense. I can send out my raft of emails before others get in and be ready for the day. If I get in later I am finished before I can start. I play defense all day.” Well put.

On reflection, those who are most successful are always on the offensive. They are always a step ahead and putting a plan in place each day. They are the ones that people follow.  No big secret is involved and it is just common sense. The reasons why you should consider going on offense are simple:

1.    You set the agenda. What is most important to you and your group’s success becomes the focus when you set the agenda. The things that get done are the things you want to get done.

2.    You get things done. You can plan. You can be organized and most importantly, you can check things off the list. The work world admires people who are known for implementation.

3.    You enjoy your work more. When you are on defense you are always back on your heels waiting for the next thing to come along. What can be more satisfying at work than to be setting the agenda and getting things done? Not much.

Of course, there are intervening variables like the boss who is also playing offense and setting a different agenda or the customer who needs immediate responses. Being on offense doesn’t necessarily mean you are in the office at 5:00 A.M every day. You can find your own way of getting onto offense depending on your style and the culture of the workplace. The world isn’t perfect when you are on offense but being out front can make work more satisfying. 

Just stay away from the other definitions of offensive.  

The “Gotta Minute?”​ Trap

Posted by Richard Moran.

Certain phrases are part of the workplace although they never show up in any business word dictionary. “Gotta minute?” is my favorite. You can be assured of certain factors when you hear the question.

  • Whatever it is, it won’t take a minute. If it is important enough for the interruption, you can be sure it will require time. The minute usually lasts for forty-five minutes.
  • “Gotta minute?” is usually a signal that something really good or very bad is about to happen. On the really good side, it could mean that we met the target or the money is flowing in like a flooded river. Wahoo. On the bad side, it usually means that someone is resigning and it’s usually the person who asks for the minute.
  • If it’s Friday afternoon and your boss asks for the minute, it may mean that today is your last day on the job and you will have many minutes in the future to work on what’s next.
  • “Gotta minute?” when asked very sheepishly might mean there is a personal problem involved. Think someone needs time off because of a divorce or an issue at home. Or, it could mean that someone is about to coach you about your hygiene problem or that you are acting like a jerk. Say thanks for the feedback.
  • Maybe the request for the minute is totally benign and someone just wants to discuss basketball or the lunar eclipse. This is rarely the case when you hear “Gotta minute?”
  • Rumors abound in the workplace, even mean and salacious rumors. The “Gotta minute?” question might really mean, “I have a juicy rumor I want to share with you. It may not be true, but it is worth disclosing.”
  • Lastly, the “Gotta minute?” person is often the man or woman you have been trying to avoid and not letting on your schedule. Their attack for a “minute” is the only way they can talk to you.

Of course, when approached with the “Gotta minute?” question, the answer could be no. But the person who is doing the asking is usually sly and catches you when there is no avoiding the minute. So the best thing to do is to listen for that minute, be empathetic and make a decision about whether or not to continue. Sometimes, we all just need a listener and for that minute, or more, that could be you.

Thank God It’s Monday

Posted by Richard Moran.

TGIM is now a thing. I may be late to the game about looking forward to Mondays. I was always a big fan of TGIF and I am still working through the real psychological effects of the Sunday Blues. Sure there are reasons to look forward to Monday to get back to work. It means you have found work that you love or maybe that you hate staying home. Great jobs welcome happy people on Mondays.  Let me remind you about the research that is clear about what it takes to love your job:

  • You need to feel that your work is meaningful.
  • You need to enjoy being around your coworkers.
  • You need to feel like you are using your skills and expertise.
  • You need to feel a sense of autonomy and can make decisions.

If you can check the yes box on all of these factors, congratulations, you have won the career lottery and I can see why you might look forward to Mondays and returning to that meaningful role with great coworkers. (See firefighters or special education teachers as big winners in the career lottery.) Notice there is not much about pay mentioned in the four factors. In short, a bad job doesn’t become good because of pay. 

New studies are showing that even people who don’t like their jobs are looking forward to Monday. Millennials are especially prone to the attraction of Monday and there are many reasons. We have unknowingly created a badge of honor for working hard. Have you ever boasted about the backlog of emails or texts that have stacked up in your in-box? Striving to be more successful is never ending and looking forward to Monday to get back at the grind is what is now important to many. Heroes like Elon Musk and just about any start-up founder are the models. 

All this work, but to what end? If you say you are looking forward to Monday, TGIM, and you don’t like your job, you are working too hard.