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The Case for Allowing Dogs in the Workplace

My furry co-counselor, Einstein, and I coaching a client
Research indicates that dogs in the workplace reduce stress and increase camaraderie, and that problems typically end up being minor and easily addressable.

I make the case for allowing dogs in the workplace and suggest how to get your boss to allow it in my AOL.com article today.

The Handout from My Upcoming Berkeley Adult School Class

Here is the handout for my upcoming class at Berkeley Adult School.  

If you would like to attend, it's this Saturday Oct 5 from 10 AM to 1 PM. 

It's free, with donations accepted, 100% of which will go to the Berkeley Adult School scholarship fund.  

For information and registration, click HERE, although I think you can just show up.

How to Do Life: What They Didn’t TeachYou in School
Marty Nemko, Berkeley Adult School, Oct 5, 2013

Career Success
Realizethat all ethical work—from laborer to leader-- is sacred and makes the worldbetter.

Fewpeople burn out from long work weeks. They burn out from doing work they're notgood at or from working with the wrong people.

Where areyou on the continuum from
Work the least you can get awaywith
Do themost you can accomplish?

Where doyou want to be?

Replacedabbling with laser focus.

Procrastinationis a career killer: 15% of the highly successful call themselvesprocratinators. 90% of unemployed people do. Procrastination may have worked in school but there’s much less gradeinflation in the workplace.

To reduceprocrastination:
1: Remind yourself of the key benefit and liability ofgetting a task done: for example, how good it will feel to get it done, howmuch your procrastination has hurt you.
2. Get comfortable being uncomfortable. That too shallpass.
3. Be aware of the momentof truth when you decide, usually unconsciously, whether to do anuncomfortable task.
4. When tempted to procrastinate, break down the task intobaby steps.  Write them on a“thermometer.” Then stay in the moment and put one foot in front of the other. Don’tknow how to break the task down? Get help.
5. Struggle for only one minute. If you haven't madeprogress by then, get help or decide you can do the project without conqueringthat roadblock.
6. Stay vigilant to avoid procrastination all the way to the task’s end.

Find outthe truth. Most people think they're above average. Getting the truthmight help you before it's too late. And if you are above average, feedbackhelps you be even better. Ongoing, get feedback from your boss and respectedco-workers, perhaps using Checkster's Talent Checkup: www.checkster.com/solutions/talent-checkup.

Below-maintenance. You pay a big price for being high-maintenance. Even askingtoo many questions or offering too many ideas may be unwelcome.

Thinktime-effectiveness. Ongoing, ask of yourself, "Is this worthdoing?" And if so, how perfectionistically?" Just as we drive fasteror slower depending on the situation, we should choose the right speed fortackling a task.

I do mybest thinking-intensive work while hiking or pacing in my office.

Try towork solo if you're brighter and more motivated than most of your co-workers.If you're not, get on teams.

Tellquest stories. Everyone knows that most people are persuaded at least asmuch by story as by statistics but less well-known is that a most powerful formof story is the quest story: Describe a serious problem and the travails of tryingto solve it, ideally a problem you tackled.

Hireslow; fire fast. Hiring may be a manager's most important task.Rather than rely on responses to job ads, tap your extended network – they'remore likely to refer good candidates. Then evaluate applicants mainly by havingthem do simulations of tough tasks they'll encounter on the job. If an employeeis doing poorly, after a brief attempt at remediation, it's usually wiser tocut your losses and try someone else. Spending extra time trying to improve a bad employee is usually a poor and stressfuluse of your time, increases the employee's enmity and, in turn, the likelihood ofa harassment or wrongful termination claim.

Negotiategently. Rule of thumb: Reject the first offer, accept the second. Thinkcosmically: In the largest scheme of things, how important, for example, isthat extra money, after taxes. Will it change your life significantly? Enough to risk losing the job or your boss's good will?

Don'tinnovate; replicate. The leading edge too often turns out to be thebleeding edge. Guinea pigs usually die. You lower your risk in starting abusiness by taking a proven business idea and cloning it in a new location orgiving it a minor tweak. For example, you're more likely to succeed byincorporating the best features of five busy laundromats into yours than by tryingto invent some new product or service.

Keep itsimple. The more complicated the business, the bigger the risk. Doone simple thing well. For example, sell amazing grilled cheese sandwiches.

Be verycareful in spending. Money is a business's lifeblood. So if you spend toomuch, your business will die. So, for example, work from home or see if you canget space free from a friend, a room in a church, whatever. Hire on ajust-in-time basis. Use a template website, not a custom-created one. Figureout how much to pay for products based not on the retail price but on what it likelycosts to manufacture. Example: Eyeglass frames may cost $100 retail but penniesto make – they're just cheap metal or plastic. So if you, Mr. Optician, thinkyou're getting a good deal in buying frames "wholesale" for $20,you're wrong. $1 is closer to right.

It's easyto be liked: listen more than talk, praise often, and disagree rarely. Thequestion is, is it worth the loss of integrity?

There'scost and benefit each time you criticize or suggest. Only sometimes is it worththe price. Make the choice consciously.

Don’toverestimate the power of a rational argument. Before making it, pause to think,“How will that make the person feel?”

Don't tryto show how smart or good you are. Usually, it's wise to prioritize makingothers feel good about themselves.

Long-winded?Constantly ask yourself, "Does the person really need and want to knowthis?" Remember The Traffic LightRule:: 30 seconds=green, 30-60 seconds=yellow, 60+ seconds=red.

Are You Assertive Enough?
Not thatlong ago, to stay reasonably employed, you had only to do what you'retold. But today, alas, mainly the assertive thrive. Are you sufficientlyassertive? Rate yourself 0 to 10 on each of these:
1.  10 = To better suit yourstrengths and/or meet the employer's needs, you'd make the case for changingyour job description.
0 = You'dtake or leave the job description as-is.
Yourscore: ____
2. 10 = You negotiate fairly but firmly.
0 = Youaccept the first offer.
Yourscore: ____
3. 10 = You regularly solicit feedback onyourself and take action to improve.
0 = Younever solicit feedback on yourself and if you get it, don't do much to improve.
Yourscore: ____
4.  10 = You regularly offer positive and negative feedback,for example, if you believe you were treated unfairly or that a co-worker'spoor work is affecting you or the organization.
0 = Younever give feedback.
Yourscore: ____
5. 10 = You're likely to take-on or ask your bossif you can take-on a project: streamline a system, identify a new profitcenter, start an online discussion group, whatever.
0 = Younever propose doing a project.
Yourscore: ____
6. 10 = You often make suggestions inmeetings or to your boss.
0 = Younever make suggestions. You only agree or disagree with others' ideas.
Yourscore: ____
7. 10 = If appropriate, you express disagreementwith your co-workers or boss.
0 = Younever express disagreement with your co-workers or boss.
Yourscore: ____
8. 10 = You’re comfortable making cold calls oremails, whether to get a sale, information, or a reasonable favor.
0 =You're scared to and never make cold calls or emails.
Yourscore: ____
9. 10 = You don't need the structure of school tolearn. You do most learning on your own or with a tutor rather than taking acourse, which may be expensive and/or inconvenient with much instruction that’sinsufficiently relevant or too fast-and-slow-paced for your needs.
0 = Youneed the structure of school.
Yourscore: ____
10. 10 = If your job is boring, unethical,dead-end, insufficiently remunerative, or otherwise unsatisfactory, you lookassertively for better work.
0 = Youstay put unless terminated or a better job drops in your lap.
Yourscore: ____

Utterly Unvalidated Scoring Key
> 90:  Fully assertive. You'll likely move up inresponsibility, perhaps way up, and no matter what, you'll feel control overyour worklife.
65 - 89:  Assertive
40 - 64:  Average
20 - 39:  Fairly passive. You’ll likely hold onlyindividual contributor roles.
< 19:  Passive. You may be at risk of losing even anindividual-contributor role.

Whateveryour score, is there an item or two you'd like to work on?

Parenting. Invoking guilt is a surprisinglyeffective technique and one that helps encourage your child to be intrinsicallymotivated.

Romanticrelationship. Consider having a relationship summit on one or moreof these: sex, communication, career, money, chores, children.

Emotional health
If yourself-esteem is low, perhaps focus on finding work you can succeed at. Realself-esteem comes from accomplishment.

Antidoteto depression and anxiety: Replace self-absorption with "How can I serve anotherperson or society?"

Look for and exaggerate aggrievement and you'lllikely have a worse life than if you look at your glass as half full.

Preventiveefforts are much more potent than treatment. NY Times: 40% of procedures are useless or worse: http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/07/26/medical-procedures-may-be-useless-or-worse/?_r=0

Fasteaters: To slow down, put your fork down after every bite. You'll not onlyconsume fewer calories, you'll enjoy them more.

How canyou live decently on $20,000 a year? Key: Make the effort to find aninexpensive place to live—e.g, iffy neighborhood or a room, basement or atticapartment, or backyard cottage in a nice neighborhood. Also, drive an old Toyota, buy clothes, etcat thrift and consignment stores, Wal-Mart, etc.

Maximizeyour contribution to your workplace's retirement plan: 401(k), 403(b), or,if you're self-employed, to a SEP-IRA.

Don'toverdiversify, putting your money in lots of places. That adds to yourpaperwork and makes it difficult to follow how you're doing. An all-in-one fund provides considerablediversification at low cost, and puts all that diversification on onestatement. Widely recommended: Vanguard all-in-one funds: https://personal.vanguard.com/us/funds/vanguard/onefund.

Locking in new behaviors

Vigilanceregarding communication and procrastination is key although difficult to do.

If youwant to lock in a new attitude or behavior, say and/or write that and why. Thenkeep paraphrasing, NOT reading it, three times a day for at least one week.

A comforting thought: Seven billion people are, in theirown way, trying to make things better. How can one not be an optimist about theworld's future?

A crucial lesson: Remember my dad’s story’s lesson:Never look back; always take the next step forward.

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