BLACKBOARD is my occasional professional advice newsletter. You can subscribe to BLACKBOARD at the bottom of this page.
EPISODE 12: "The Top 4 Reasons to Say Yes to Anything Your Boss Asks"
I’m not a delicate little flower. When it comes to giving my opinion on an idea, I’m not shy about saying that something can’t happen or using the word no. “If you don’t want the truth, don’t ask me what I think,” is one of my personal mantras. I’ve always been proud of my direct nature and sincerity, and for the most part, those attributes been applauded. Having the confidence to say no is an important skill to hone. Being a firm decision maker is a leadership trait. The people who can say no with confidence are generally the most successful, right? Think again.
EPISODE 11: "Five Ways To Improve Your Reputation in 2017"
The New Year's resolution has an excellent PR person. Am I right? I've never seen a topic get more undeserved hype because the truth is the New Year's resolution is a fraud. Seriously, why do we even bother? I'll tell you. Because there's that tiny hope that if we say our resolution aloud we might feel guilty enough to go through with it. Like if you're a musician, you might resolve to say, "I will learn the words of my songs this year." #JustSaying. But in truth, our resolutions don't last more than a week or two. So this year, I have a new idea. Why not resolve to do something that your parents started on the day you were born? Why not resolve to make your name mean something? It's actually way easier than hauling your bum to the gym three times a week. Bonus points: You can do it while sitting firmly on your couch and eating a pint of ice cream.
EPISODE10: "This Is How You Know You're Not Meant To Be An Entrepreneur"
Plans. Dreams. We all had them growing up. When we are younger we’re taught to believe that if we plan properly, our dreams will come true. I went to college with the intent of being a plastic surgeon. I majored in neurobiology and physiology, but in my junior year decided to throw it all away and go into fashion. Fashion was not part of the plan. Fashion was never the goal. So much for plans.
EPISODE 9: The Pitfalls of Workplace Ghosting
"Connecting you two amazing women!" my friend Karen emailed one Monday morning. I had known this email was coming because Karen had told me that her friend Stephanie was interested in connecting. As a mentor to many and an uber-networker, I never decline an introduction. Hey, you never know what one introduction can do, right? I responded immediately thanking Karen for the introduction, moved her to bcc (per good manners in sparing her inbox) and reached out enthusiastically to Stephanie. After sending that email, I didn't think about it again until Thursday when a different "Stephanie" popped into my inbox. Hmm, I thought, where is the Stephanie that was so eager to connect? Stephanie's email was nowhere to be found. I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt, so I went into my sent folder and re-sent the email as if it was the first time. Still nothing. Ever.
EPISODE 8: Don't Post Your Way To Unemployment
Remember freedom of speech? I don’t know about you, but lately, I feel as if we have lost it. If social media reflects the health of our society today, I’m afraid that our blood pressure has reached toxic levels. The art of debate has been replaced by harassment and bullying. On a daily basis, I see Facebook friends brawl and publicly unfriend each other. If Facebook is where friendships go to die, Twitter is where strangers go to battle.
When you’re watching the online war of words unfold, it’s easy to feel compelled to jump into the conversation.
EPISODE 7: Seven Steps To Entrepreneurship
I can’t remember the exact moment I had the thought, but it was an epiphany. It crept in slowly, like someone trying to startle me: “What if I didn’t have the title of SVP Global Communications anymore?” What if I wasn’t the voice of DKNY PR GIRL®, commanding the attention of half-a-million followers on Twitter? What would happen if I quit my job?” Those questions spun around my head like clothes in a dryer.
I decided I had to find out.
For the record, my last job was the stuff dreams were made of. I’m very sure that people would line up for blocks to have the opportunity to step into my role.
EPISODE 6: The Sound of Silence
Imagine for a moment that you're pitching new business. You have the correct contact and are preparing your initial outreach email. It has to be perfect, so you spend hours crafting a compelling message. You spell-check and grammar-check to the point of OCD, and you feel really good about your pitch. GIRL ON FIRE good. Then you take a deep breath and hit SEND.
EPISODE 5: Do you feel like an imposter? Good. Join the Club.
This week, with amazing contributions and advice from Emmy Rossum, Nina Garcia, Roman Tsunder, Hillary Kerr, Katherine Power, Samantha Ettus, Mickey Boardman, Bevy Smith, Dave Kerpen, Nicole Lapin, Peter Shankman, Melanie Notkin and Mary Alice Stephenson.
"I'm convinced that I've somehow tricked my boss into thinking that I'm more adept than I am. There's no way that I'm fit for this promotion," wrote *Jane in an email to me. I stared at my computer in disbelief. I couldn't help but think sarcastically, "Sure Jane. Your boss gave you this promotion because you tricked her. She hasn't considered any of your work history at all. Hell, she probably just felt bad for you, and that's why you got promoted."
NO, NO and also NO.
I immediately started pounding on my keyboard.
EPISODE 4: "On Wednesdays We Wear Pink"
"Aliza, I'm quitting! I can't take it anymore!" read the text message that had just popped up on my phone. It was 7:20 am on a Saturday morning, and I had barely rolled over, let alone had a sip of coffee. Okay, I thought to myself, I need to put out this fire, but later, at a more decent hour.
Understanding human nature seems to be one of my strong suits. In turn, career therapist is a badge that I wear frequently. As much as I am happy to help in this area, it also saddens me to consider how many of my friends (and readers who have written into #AskAliza) have similar work problems. Politics is the hottest topic in America right now, but in the workplace, office politics has always ruled.
Later that afternoon I called my friend *Jason to talk him off the ledge of job suicide.
EPISODE 3 "Is this what I am supposed to be doing right now?"
Over the past few weeks, I have taken power networking to new levels. Quite frankly, it's been exhausting. But we must keep busy, right? Otherwise, we risk getting rusty or worse, lazy. The truth is that I've never been one to relax; my brain is always on to the next thing I think I should be doing...
EPISODE 2 "Traffic"
Welcome back, dear readers. If you’re just joining my program, please do yourself a favor and go back to the archive and start with Episode 1. If you continue to read this, it's like startingHouse of Cards at Season 4. You wouldn’t know what Frank did to Zoe. Scratch that, you wouldn’t even know who Zoe was. In the same vein, you need to know a little bit about me to understand where I am coming from now.
Today’s BLACKBOARD topic is “traffic”. While I love Waze, it’s not that kind of traffic. The traffic I want to talk about is very, very different.