By Leslie Whitaker
Dear Good Girls,
I work with a colleague who was a stay-at-home dad for years. Now his daughter is 18 and he is back at work. We often meet to collaborate on budget issues, and our meetings are frequently interrupted by his daughter, who calls him two or three times a day to say she is bored. Occasionally he cuts out early to drive her places. I find this behavior totally unprofessional and have told him so, but he does not care. I am sympathetic to working parents. I breast fed my own daughter at the office. But by the time your children are teenagers, they need to respect the boundaries between home and work, except in case of emergency.
He does not report to me, and now that budget season is over, he needs me more than I need him. I am tired of helping him complete his work when his habits are so unprofessional. What do you suggest?
Since you do not need his cooperation at this point and he needs yours, you are in control. The next time he interrupts a meeting with you for an extended conversation with his daughter, simply signal to him that you are cutting off the meeting and walk out the door. Reschedule it at your convenience. If he is unable to complete his work in a timely fashion, it should become apparent to his supervisor soon enough.
Despite its off-color title Ballsy: 99 Ways to Grow a Bigger Pair and Score Extreme Business Success (F&W Publications, 2006) Karen Salmansohn s new book has plenty of on-target advice. A career columnist for Newsday s AM-NY Newspaper, New York City, she is a veteran of the advertising industry and author of 29 books, including The 30-Day Plan to Whip Your Career into Submission. Measuring 6- by 7-inches with more graphics than words, this light-hearted success manual is full of useful quips. Among my favorites:
Knowledge, creativity and positivity are contagious. Get infected. Be infectious.
Patience is boring and unglamorous, but a highly necessary virtue.
You might not think anything is changing in your career, but if you are patiently persistent, you will see change.
Ready to give up? Down a cockytale. Recall a time you blew a room away with your presentation or idea. Make yourself swagger.
When faced with a problem, substitute someone you trust and respect as being in your place and imagine what they would do.
One of the best ways to assess if someone is leading a truly successful life is to see how often he laughs within his day.
Salmansohn s recasting of the nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo as a role model for success is inspired. When she left the advertising business to start a writing career, many friends noted that if she failed she could always go back to advertising, an option she dismissed.
I had what I call Mr. Magoo Vision about achieving success, she says. When Mr. Magoo went to cross the street he didn t see or hear the cars honking at him. Nor did he look back behind him. He just kept walking with the goal of getting to the other side of the street.
When it comes to realizing your big dreams, caution can be counterproductive.
Leslie Whitaker Got a problem at work? Leslie Whitaker, co-author of The Good Girl's Guide to Negotiating, would like to hear from you. Send Leslie an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to P.O. Box 5063, River Forest, Ill. 60305.
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