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EPISODE 18: HOW TO EMAIL LIKE A CEO
“So sorry I didn’t get back to you, I have been crazed,” is the most eye-roll inducing response ever. What that statement really says is that I saw your email, but I prioritized other people over you. I shut down when I hear people say that they didn’t respond to an email because they are busy. Breaking news, we’re all busy. Being busy is not an excuse. Being busy means you to have to work harder to manage all the various forms of communication that come at you throughout the day.
Most of us fluctuate between email, iMessage, G-chat, Slack, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook every few seconds for hours on end. The amount of reading that we do is more than ever before, but when it comes to business one thing is for sure: The more senior you are, the faster your response time. CEO’s tend to respond faster than the majority of their employees. If you ever email a CEO, no matter what level you are, you can expect a response in under five minutes. If you don’t get one, I can assure you that they immediately forwarded your email to someone else to respond to it. Either way, it has been read.
So how do busy CEO’s communicate better than the rest of their workforce? They know that reliable communication is the key to their business. They value their network, and they know that as leaders people depend on their direction. If they are not responsive, it’s a chain reaction of paralysis that leads to unproductive teams and poor performance.
EPISODE 17: THE SECRETS TO CHANGING YOUR CAREER
"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is the most underrated difficult question that we burden kids with. From the ripe old age of 18, we are forced to declare a major in college and set out on a path toward that end goal. I was pre-med in college and ended up graduating with a degree in Neurobiology and Physiology. I am now a brand marketing & communications executive in the fashion industry. I changed gears in my junior year of college with just enough time to start interning in a new direction, which at the time was in the magazine industry. I was lucky or at least brave enough to acknowledge that tiny voice in my head telling me that being a doctor was wrong for me. It was not the track that I was meant to be on and I was going to start a new life in the land where The Devil Wears Prada.
It's not as easy for those of you who have these epiphanies later in life. What if you're years into your chosen career and then decide you are unsatisfied and have other dreams? You're too old to intern, and unfortunately, rent and food don't pay for themselves. You can't go backward from your current level to an assistant to make that transition. So do you just suck up your life sentence and carry on? It seems so unfair to have to do so, but for so many, changing careers sounds like an impossible mission. Let's be honest, your resume will look insane and why would anyone give you a chance with no experience?
EPISODE 16: "How To Quit Your Job Gracefully"
Hey you. I see you over there checking that LinkedIn job alert. You've got one eye on that report that's due in an hour and the other on that resume upload button. It's ok; I get it. You're over your current work situation. Who cares that it's only been eight months, you are D.O.N.E. Your boss sucks and the demands are relentless. You are so out of there.
It's easy to give in to those feelings of frustration and start to fantasize about the moment you will tell them that you're leaving. But back in the olden days, when you resigned from a position, you had probably been there for minimally two years if not four. You gave at least two weeks notice, and you left on good terms. Something has happened to us as a working culture where it seems people think it's ok to burn bridges and leave ashes as they move from one company to the next. No matter what industry you work in, news travels fast. Everyone knows everyone, and your reputation doesn't follow you from job to job, it gets there before you do. There is a smart way to quit your job and here are my top five rules for doing so. I promise you that if you follow them, you will be better off for it.
EPISODE 15: " The 10 Commandments of the Job Interview"
or how not to have your interview turn into a horror movie....)
Your resumé and cover letter landed you an interview. Bravo! But before you start celebrating that the hard part is over, take a seat and settle in for some storytime. The interview is the real test of your worth. You are not, after all, a piece of paper in Arial font size 10. Throughout my career, I have interviewed countless candidates who read well on paper and even had good references but then completely bombed the IRL meeting. Giving a good interview is a lot like performing on stage. To do it well you have to understand your audience first and then be able to adjust your act in real time when you notice that you've lost them. In fact, understanding whom you are speaking with can be even more important than expressing your passion for the company. Your interviewer judges every aspect including your visual identity, personality, ability to think on your feet, communication skills and of course, your knowledge of the job at hand. If you want this job, do yourself a favor and adopt my ten commandments for nailing the interview.
EPISODE 14: "Congrats On Your New Job, Bummer That You Hate It"
5 Sanity and Resume-Saving Tips
It's 2017. Gone are the days when people stay at companies for decades. In fact, the millennial mindset is that of a butterfly, "Why would I stay in one place, when I can experience many and increase my salary and position as I go?" Sure, that’s one mentality. But then there's also the old-school mentality of loyalty, dedication and respect. Your company is investing in you so perhaps you should return the favor. Hey let’s face it, it's easy to quit a job, it's not so easy to fix a job.
So, when the grass looks greener somewhere else and you make that move, what happens when you arrive and realize that it's actually full of weeds and dry patches? Your instant thought process might be that you need to quit. Quitting is easy! In that moment of hate and dread, you might not care about the bridges you are burning. But you need to think about how your current job affects your future job. If you do quit suddenly, what does that look like to your next employer? A resume that looks like the departure screen at JFK airport is not a good look. In fact, it raises red flags to any legitimate employer. Instead of throwing in the towel and immediately dismissing your new job as a fail, try these five tactics to ease your transition and improve your office culture.
EPISODE 13: "7 Ways To Develop A Thick Skin In the Office"
You know the moment. The words pass through your ears but your brain doesn't register them until a moment or two after. By then, it’s too late. The numbness turns to a sting and it burns through your entire body. "Wait," you think to yourself. "Did she really just say that? You contemplate how your boss could so easily dismiss the deck you slaved over for days. She threw her words hard though and they stuck like lint on velvet. As your eyes begin to water, you mentally try to calm yourself down. "Don't cry," you tell yourself, but you know the tears are coming.
You walk back to your desk feeling defeated with thoughts of headhunters running through your mind. But what really happened? You presented a deck filled with ideas that you thought were creative and relevant to the goal at hand. Your boss didn't like them and she expressed that in a way that made you feel small and useless. No crime was committed here, but yet you can't help but feel awful and certain that you need a new job.
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.
EPISODE 1 "Great Expectations"
I’ve never been a planner. Truth be told, it wasn’t even my idea to start a newsletter. One late night, I decided to clean out the files in my computer. In doing so, I came across a post that I had written for a fashion magazine. Due to changes at the masthead there, the piece never ran. I don’t know about you, but for me, nothing is sadder than words never read, so I decided that I wanted to share them. Oh but wait, I don't have a blog. No worries I thought, I’ll just build a tab on my website, alizalicht.com, and put it there. I tweeted the post out with no real expectations of a response. I just felt better knowing that it wasn’t collecting dust in my 'documents' folder.
But then something fortuitous happened.