How social media can get you fired

Going viral on social media can quickly become your ticket to stardom if you play your cards right. On the other hand, it can cost you your job. Here’s what gets you fired.

 Pictures, posts, and videos

This one seems like a no-brainer tip, but still gets employees in worlds of trouble. There have been countless stories about employers being forced to terminate employees due to racist and offensive posts on their personal pages after customers have complained. It’s super easy to find out where someone works, even if it’s not posted on a social media profile. No matter what privacy settings you choose, nothing is fool proof. Whatever you release into the social media universe becomes digital dirt that lives on forever. You can delete those “turn up” photos or fight videos if you want, but thanks to screenshot and share options–someone will “grab and blab” your indiscretions all over the Internet. If you wouldn’t feel comfortable with your boss, parents, or pastor quoting one of your tweets or status updates in front of an audience, don’t post it. Think twice–post once.

 Cyberbullying

Cyberspace gives courage to all cowardly lions. We see memes captioned “Say something nice” and our minds start racing with witty clapbacks and jokes. Never do we stop for a second to think about the individual as a real person. More and more stories are surfacing where victims are speaking out about their experiences with cyberbullying or shaming. They’re minding their business one day, and they’re becoming a source of entertainment for the masses the next. Many of these memes have pushed innocent people to suicide and other forms of self-harm. If an employer gets wind of you being the mastermind for publicly ridiculing people for their shortcomings, you can kiss that job goodbye.

Sharing too much

Social media is about being social, right? You share information about what you’re wearing, what’s for dinner, and who’s the new bae. We all have those online pals who are a little too generous with what they post. For instance, they call in sick and later post how much fun they had at the Beyonce concert, which probably won’t sit too well with their boss. It can get even worse if you’re sharing proprietary secrets, criticizing company leadership, or complaining about how much you hate your job. You don’t accept coworkers as friends, so you’re safe. Wrong! Remember that screenshot we talked about earlier? Gets them every time.

 If the world can see it, so can an employer. Do everything you can to keep a clean social media presence. Even if what you post isn’t work related, you represent the company and its values. Be smart about what you share and keep your job!

 Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

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3 Signs That Scream It’s Time To Leave Your Job

Hitting a career plateau can sneak up on you. One minute you’re thriving and the next you’re bored to death. The key is recognizing when you’ve approached a dead end at your job and learning to navigate the path to brighter days. Here are signs that mean you may need a career tune-up.

 You Hate Mondays

If you find yourself bombarded with anxiety every time Monday rolls around, that’s your first sign. Not just the “oh no, where did my weekend go?” Mondays, we’re talking about the ones that leave you crying through your waterproof mascara. When you love your job, you’re excited about getting the workweek started. You may start off a little slow, but you’re eager to jump in. Discover your passion and find a way to make it into a career. If you’re unable to get your entrepreneurial juices flowing, find a job you’re good at and get paid well to do it. Otherwise, you’ll slowly but surely lose sleep and watch the stress continuously pile on. If you’re feeling uncontrollable sadness every Monday, it’s time to make some changes.

 You’re Not Learning

Learning new things gives you a sense of accomplishment. Sharing what you’ve learned to make a positive impact at work can be invigorating. Lacking this fire and spunk about your career can generate feelings of self-doubt and defeat. Some workers function well with repetition while others crash and burn. If you work for a company with the old “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, and you crave innovation, you’re fit for company culture is most likely slipping. Mundane tasks will drive the self-motivated employee up a wall, causing fight or flight reaction. When sticking it out with the company is no longer worth the fight, start your job search.

 Little-To-No Advancement

Some careers offer little-to-no advancement by default. The only way you’re getting a promotion is if your boss retires or … dies.Not to sound cold-blooded but that is one reason some employers are offering special bonuses for workers who retire early. When promotions are slim, try advancing through projects and added responsibility. Not every employee desires supervisory duties but can easily find ways to contribute to the company’s bottom line. Launch a mentoring, job-shadowing, or cross-training program to share your expertise. It may catch on and be just what you need to rejuvenate your love for the industry.

Don’t be afraid to take chances and create the career you desire. Settling for your current position won’t always cut it. If you’re spending more time at your job than at home, you should definitely enjoy it!

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

Originally posted on hellobeautiful.com

How To Make Professional Criticism Work For You

Here’s how to make criticism positively impact your career.

Where there is progression, there will be criticism. But your reaction to opposition at work can make all the difference in the success you achieve. If you choose to receive it and learn from it, you can move forward in ways you may not have even thought possible. But if you internalize it and take a defensive approach, you can find yourself feeling bitter and stalled.

Here’s how to make criticism positively impact your career:

Pay more attention to details

Having an “amen corner” is the worst thing you can do in the workplace. Sure, we want others to agree — but when we’re wrong, we need to be checked. Entitlement is a setup for failure.

Developing a “goody two-shoes” attitude about your work makes you careless and sloppy over time. When you acknowledge the potential for criticism, you’ll pay more attention to those fine details until you get it right.

Be more open to others’ ideas

Criticism enables you to see another perspective. Not that your way is better or worse, it’s just different.

That one aspect you missed in your work could be the catalyst for a major breakthrough. A closed-minded professional obtains little-to-no advancement opportunities. Money-making ideas are created in brainstorming sessions and two-way conversations. Improve your teamwork and communication skills by actively listening to others. It doesn’t mean you need to become a people pleaser. Just know there are far more ways to solve a problem than tackling it solo.

Achieve personal growth

Accepting criticism as a tool rather than a weapon spawns a level of personal growth that screams leadership. The greatest leaders were laughed at for their outrageous ideas. Rejection has its way of forcing you to self-evaluate. Successful employees will absorb advice and make necessary adjustments in order to reach the next level. The majority of our inner thoughts are negative because we’re our own worst critics. Take control of your mindset and speak life into your ability to overcome barriers by using positive affirmations or self-talks.

Don’t take everything personally

How many times have you gotten defensive when your suggestion was shot down during a meeting? You’re not alone. Understand that the suggestion is being rejected, not you. Don’t jump to conclusions and take things personally. Remember, your idea is on the chopping block, not your worth. Where there’s a recommendation, there will always be advice. Not all advice will be good, but you must make a conscious decision to find a token you can cash out on later.

Much like Erykah Badu, we’re all artists and can be very sensitive about our … “work.” However, reacting negatively to the very criticism that could potentially help your advancement isn’t characteristic of a leader. There is power in always finding the benefits in criticism — good or bad.

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found onFacebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

Originally posted on hellobeautiful.com

 

How Companies Can Rally Behind Black Employees Coping With Racial Injustice

White & Black Girl Talking

Exposure of crises among Blacks has skyrocketed, and the racial divide is clearly showcased in the consistent not guilty verdicts in police shooting cases, violence at campaign rallies, and the impact of media coverage —due in part to smartphones and social media.

The Black community is mortified. Feelings of hurt, anger, and hatred are widespread and can affect employees in the workplace. Employers have incorporated bereavement and grief support into their employee assistance programs (EAP) for the loss of family members, close friends, and even pets.

However, many Blacks feel they don’t receive enough support for racially charged issues. White coworkers can be left feeling unsure of what to say or do to provide comfort and avoid confrontation. Here’s what our White coworkers can do to be an ally without stirring the pot.

Acknowledge the issues

Failure to acknowledge racism in America is one of the biggest fire-starters in social commentary at work. Many Blacks feel their White coworkers simply can’t relate because they’ve never experienced the social injustices firsthand. Pretending that they “get it” because they have Black friends, mixed children, or grew up in a Black neighborhood in an attempt to minimize the issue will really get coworkers’ blood boiling. We’re receptive to questions from Whites and won’t attack them when they’re genuinely seeking information about situations they don’t understand. Don’t deny the nationwide racial tension, violence, and mistreatment simply because it makes people uncomfortable. If you care, help us cope and find solutions. Making excuses or victim-blaming widens the gap among races.

Don’t ask us to let it go

You let go of a job, a friend, a significant other, or an old pair of shoes — not something that is relentlessly beating down your door, day after day. The worst thing you can do is ask Black people to let go of our disgust with a justice system that’s unfair and a protection service that kills our people. In our minds, if you’re not asked to forget attacks against Whites, we shouldn’t be asked to forget the tragedies we feel are exterminating Black males at an alarming rate. It’s not that we’re expecting you to singlehandedly fix the problem, just don’t straddle the fence. Don’t scream for equality in the break room with us, and play golf with the oppressors on the weekends. That’s not how it works.

Understand that we don’t feel free

Yes, on paper it says we’re free. Understand that if a Black man and a White man are doing the exact same thing within their rights via the law, there may be totally different outcomes based on race. There’s this thing called privilege that is available to any White person at their leisure. Privilege is present in the workplace with promotions and salaries, and in the community with opportunities to go about one’s business without being followed, harassed, or injured. It’s different for us. The freedom to mind your business is something most Blacks experience very minimally. We can’t proudly and safely exercise our legal rights without fear of harm or reprimand. We also can’t freely speak against the institutions that deny us when they also employ us. Imagine that stress. Not that it’s the kryptonite, but using that privilege to contribute to actual changes would be helpful.

Speak up

In addition to EAPs, employers should provide cultural sensitivity training as part of diversity education. Do some research on your own if you feel your employer’s program is watered down and protects the company more than it protects the employee. Understanding how different races handle certain situations could help prevent offensive comments, inappropriate questions, and lack of acknowledgment of social issues. If you’re not calling someone out for racist or insensitive comments, it sends the message that you condone it.

Let us be emotional

Rage, defeat, terror, and mourning are all emotions kindred to Black people during adversities. The fear of being under attack can affect you in the workplace and at home. We fear for our jobs. We’re afraid for our families, and we’re petrified about the lack of protection. We’ve watched horrifying footage month after month of our people being killed, and it’s hard to function. Each person of each race is not the same and we get it. That’s why we’d rather have your sincere emotional support versus pandering. Continued anger is fueled by Black censorship, cultural appropriation, and total disregard for our lives. Mutual respect is crucial now more than ever.

Racism and racial tension are alive and well. A cultural divide at work can be detrimental to an employee’s well-being if emotions and conflict aren’t handled properly. To see any change and mutual understanding among coworkers of all races will take some time, but we must never ignore the role we play in making a difference.

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful.com

Do You Rub Your Coworkers The Wrong Way? 5 Types Of Employees You Never Want To Be

African businesswoman filing fingernails at desk with boss looking over cubicle wall

A healthy work environment makes all the difference in your 9 to 5. You spend more time at work than at home. Having that one coworker that rubs you the wrong way can make an eight-hour shift seem like an eternity. Here are the types of coworkers we wish we’d never met — and the kind you want to make sure you avoid becoming.

She sucks up to leadership

No matter what, she’s going to find a way to get up close and personal with the management team. At every turn, she’s “skinning and grinning” in the boss’ face, trying to gain more brownie points. She’s a snitch, and you have to watch your back. You just want to do your work and get paid, and couldn’t care less about buddying up to leadership. In her mind, the more she brown noses, the better her chances at landing a promotion, raise, or some other perk. You are very tickled by her antics because you have insider knowledge that even management views her as a pest.

Not doing her share

You really thought group work would be a thing of the past once you graduated — but oh no. Here you are stuck in the conference room as your coworker spews her grandiose ideas for projects when she knows she’ll never contribute. When the deadline is fast approaching, something always happens — her cat gets pneumonia, she books a vacation, or something “other worldly” happens. You can’t believe she’s done it again, and you’re left doing most of the work. It never fails that when it’s time for accolades, she’s front and center. Secretly, you laugh to avoid crying or worse.

Thinking she’s the boss

Cue the side-eye, “who asked you?” neck roll. This woman thinks she rules the roost, and is a complete know-it-all. You say to yourself, “Girl, you’ve been on this job two seconds, now you know everything?” No ma’am. Seriously, you have to maintain your composure and integrity. She’s always pointing out the mishaps in the team’s results and stating how she would have done things differently if asked for her input. Your professionalism outweighs your pettiness and you push through. Everyone knows she doesn’t light a candle to your outstanding performance.

She’s nosy

You can’t sneeze without her knowing about it. She may even have the audacity to tell someone else what she thinks she knows about you. If she’s not asking completely inappropriate questions, she’s helping stir the pot on who got fired and who’s having a secret relationship. You have to be careful with this woman. Her desire to invade your privacy can be disguised as concern for your well-being or livelihood. Do not be swayed — it’s a trap.

She’s a Negative Nancy

No matter what kind of great news you or accolade you received, you can always count on her being there to try and bring you down. She’s obsessed with what she doesn’t have — be it enough money, recognition or privileges — and she wants the world to know she is miserable. Her days are spent with incessant talk of how much she can’t wait to quit or how she wants your coworker or supervisor fired. It seems impossible to make her happy and these days, you’re mostly staying clear of her so that you don’t have to be dragged down by her negative attitudes.

Employees who enjoy their work and team members perform better. There’s no surefire way to avoid a workplace pest, but at least you’ll know how to spot her and steer clear.

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful.com

Natural Hair And The Workplace: What You Need To Know

African American business colleagues working together on a laptop.

Does natural hair make a difference in your job search?

Minutes away from jumping off the deep end at my recruiting job, I got a call from a hiring manager about a corporate human resources position. As a recruiter, I knew I needed to do some research to decide whether or not I’d take this company seriously. In previous jobs, I was careful to analyze financial, political, or community-related dirt on companies, but taking a deeper dive into the organizational culture was an afterthought. For me, this time would be different.

In the past, I found myself removing my braids or straightening my hair for interviews. “Why should I have to alter my hair for fear of rejection? My hair grows from my scalp this way,” I often said. It was time to put my foot down with this foolishness and never be caught asking my boss if a potential hairstyle was “professional” enough or against company policy.

After all, this new employer was recruiting me, and I was feeling like a hot commodity. Since I didn’t apply for the job and they were courting me, I decided to flip the script and do most of the judging. You do know that’s what happens in an interview, right? You’re always judged — by your appearance first and your skills last.

From previous experience in interviews, it seemed as though, the tighter the curls, the more your hair was a “distraction” — whatever that means. Girl, bye! What if the melanin-enriched community got together and decided redheads were a distraction? Seems silly, right? Well, it’s the same thought process when it comes to Black women and their hair, whethercorporate America wants to admit it or not.

Don’t get me wrong. I fully understand when you don’t make the rules, you have no real authority in changing them. When someone else writes your check, you come to a crossroad on whether to bite the bullet and alter your hair or find another job.

Is there scientific evidence proving my Afro, dreads, or twist-outs produce less quality work than my straight or wavy-haired counterparts? I doubt it. However, until I had my own business was up and running, I had to take a long, hard look at my next employer before accepting an offer. I refused to work for a company rooted in self-hatred.

As previously stated, research is crucial in your job search. Here are three ways I investigated my potential employer’s views on natural hair and respect for cultural differences in general.

Website:
I visited the company website to view photos, branding, and messaging to gauge the company culture. This particular company had a personal statement about accepting the differences of others. OK, I thought, good start.

LinkedIn:
Next I searched LinkedIn to find current and past employees of this company. Did they look like me and how long did they stay? Did any have natural hair? It turns out, more than a few employees were natural, including an executive leader.

Observe:
Lastly, during my visit for the interview, I observed employees as they walked to and fro. The environment was casual and family-oriented, and this was important to me. I didn’t want to wear suits every day and I certainly didn’t want to have to hide my hair in a bun every day.

Each personal experience will be different depending on the industry, location, and other factors. Companies will most likely have a dress code stating your hair must be clean and “neatly groomed.” Keep in mind that “neatly groomed” is left up to that company’s interpretation. Do some digging before you find yourself in a workplace that forces you to abandon your personal identity.

Has your natural hair affected your job search?

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful.com

How To Be More Productive When Working From Home

Baby bottle and blocks on African American woman's desk

Cush salaries and corner offices are no longer the only perks to landing the job of your dreams. Quite a few companies have increased flexibility in work schedules by adding work-from-home positions. With this option comes the added expectation of meeting productivity requirements without constant supervision. Here’s how you can stay on point:

Get dressed:

Working in a pj’s can be a luxury of working from home. If it affects your ability to get into work mode, you may want to get dressed like you were going into the office. There is a direct association with how you dress and how you feel. If tanks and joggers make you feel too relaxed, trade them for slacks and tunics. The goal is to be professional, motivated, and disciplined. Some work-from-home employees have to take it up a notch and actually designate an office space. Deep-couch working is not for everyone. Know your limitations and do everything you can to maintain your professionalism.

Make a list:

Starting your week with a list of goals is the best way to hold yourself accountable for your work output. Setting goals helps you get the most out of your day and propels you forward. Technology has made list-making a breeze by providing access to scheduling apps, phone reminders, voice memos, and so much more. Keeping your priorities in check can make or break your career. You’re working away from the office now, which means you won’t always have your boss tapping your shoulder, motivating you to get things done. You’ll most likely have to give weekly reports or check-ins to let employers and employees know how things are progressing. When you can give detailed updates on the status of your projects, you can easily assure your team back at the office that your physical absence is not a hindrance.

Use a timer:

Setting goals and making lists won’t guarantee a completed project. Assigning time limits to your tasks will help you minimize distractions and stay on task with deadlines. Using a timer also helps break the repetition in your work. If you have a larger project, you can complete it much faster by breaking it up into smaller parts. If you can quickly knock out a task in five to 10 minutes, do it first, so it won’t slip through the cracks. The worst time to start a task is during the last 20 minutes of your day. This is usually the time we’re focusing on wrapping up, dinner plans, and personal errands. You can also designate a specific time of day for checking emails and returning phone calls. Of course, you’ll have to handle emergencies as they come, but you’ll have a better idea of what you can accomplish throughout the day.

Take a break:

Remember to take some time for yourself. When you’re in an office setting, you’re reminded of lunch by smelling microwaveable meals or hearing chitchat as your co-workers line up for the break room. You may even get invited to a group outing. Working from home means it’s all on you. If you live close enough to the office, you may still want to participate in office lunches. In reality, you’ll work through lunch or try to squeeze in some laundry or cleaning during what’s supposed to be your break. Make it a habit to take a 30-minute to one-hour break each day to regroup. Productivity increases when you’re refreshed. This is especially important if your job requires a lot of time sitting in front of a computer. To decrease leg cramps and strained eyes, step away for a few minutes every two hours. Whether you decide to take a walk or a nap, this time should belong to you.

Working from home creates freedom, but it shouldn’t be your invitation to start slacking or putting in way too many hours. Your team trusts you to handle business even when they don’t see you. Get ready to set boundaries, have regular check-ins, and exceed expectations!

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

 

 

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful.com

So, You Got Fired: Now What?

I hope I don't lose my job over this

You’ve been clocking in day after day, then BAM! – you’re fired.

Many employees, just like you, find themselves with a portfolio packed with credentials, only to have employers slam the door in their faces. Getting fired can be very discouraging and leave you feeling stressed and depressed. Here’s what you can do to turn that pink slip into a job offer.

Tell someone

Let professionals in your desired career field know you’re job hunting again. You don’t have to spill the beans on every detail of your termination, but you need your network to keep their eyes peeled for opportunities.

One mistake for job seekers is keeping quiet out of embarrassment and fear of judgment. Utilize social media sites to connect with professionals or learn about job openings. Visit LinkedIn, Facebook groups, Twitter, and industry-specific organizations for job postings.

Sitting at home and applying for jobs isn’t always enough. Some of the key components of finding a new job is about who you know. Focus on connecting with three new contacts a week.

You’ll also need to lean on your family and friends for support to keep your sanity intact. Have them encourage and remind you what qualities you have to offer your next employer. Rallying the troops to help vouch for your performance will bring you a few steps closer to landing your dream job.

Refine your skills

If you’ve been out of the job market for a while, you’ll want to brush up on your skills. Since you have some time on your hands, further your education in your desired industry. Research a few webinars, workshops, or articles to learn up-to-date information. This will help you stand out and maintain a competitive edge. Technology, laws, and best practices change by the minute, and an “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” attitude about your career lessens your chances of raking in the big bucks.

Also, don’t pass on volunteer or internship opportunities simply because they don’t pay. Keeping busy gives you less time to sulk and gives you purpose. Think of your volunteer experience as a possibility to broaden your portfolio versus a way to pad your pockets. Key decision makers for major companies are members of volunteer boards, so never pass on the chance to rub elbows with your future supervisor!

Ask for references

Reach out to previous colleagues or supervisors who can vouch for your past performances at former jobs. You’ll need all the kudos you can get to help counteract the unfavorable situation at your most recent job.

But never list someone as a reference without permission. The last thing you need is to have a potential employer contact a reference who doesn’t remember the position or work you’ve done for them. Give your references a call and remind them of that next to impossible deal you closed or the award-winning project you spearheaded last year. If a previous supervisor can provide information from your annual reviews or customer satisfaction surveys, it could help substantiate outcomes and achievements you’ve listed on your resume.

Be sure to ask for feedback – good and bad – so you know where you stand and where you need to improve.

Seek professional help

If you haven’t interviewed or updated your resume and cover letter in the last six months, you’re probably a little rusty. Hire a professional, such as a career coach, interview coach, or resume writer, to help develop a strategy to enhance your marketability.

Times have changed and so have job-search trends. A professional will help you stay on top of your game. Because this person isn’t connected to you emotionally, they can offer candid critiques of your shortcomings and tell you exactly how to adjust. A coach can assist in establishing goals and provide tips and a checklist to monitor your progress. You must enter this relationship with an open mind. Being terminated is a delicate situation, and although your wounds are fresh, you have to remain focused.

Leaving your job involuntary can throw you for a loop if you don’t have a backup plan. Go ahead and cry, but you will get over it. Creating a solid financial and career blueprint will be your best bet for a major comeback.

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful.com

What’s At Stake When You’re Friends With Your Coworkers?

Being friends and being friendly can be polar opposites when you throw work in the mix.

The term “friend” is used very loosely these days, especially when you’re talking about being friends with coworkers. Some choose to cross the line while others keep it strictly professional.

What’s best for you in your situation? Here are some things you may need to consider.

Social Media

Time and time again, employees find themselves in the unemployment office due to social media outbursts.

Keeping your personal business private is challenging when you’re connected to coworkers via social media. Let’s face it: There are certain details of our lives we’d much rather keep separate from work. You can share your deepest, darkest secrets without fear of judgment with your true friends. You probably hold back with your associates. Chances are, an associate is not the first person you’d call if you were evicted from your apartment and needed someone to help you pack up your belongings.

Of course, it’s not impossible to find a friend at work, but you need to proceed with caution as people rarely show their true colors at work.

Connecting with coworkers puts you at risk for unwanted drama. Think twice about sharing a post about what you really did that day you called out sick. Some of us dress completely different at work and home. Would you want your boss or nosy coworker catching a glimpse of your “grown and sexy” attire? And what if your boss discovered your favorite pastime was trolling the internet?

Gossiping vs. Venting

Don’t mistake someone who shares workplace gossip as a friend. You’re likely to become the topic of discussion if you push the right button. Even if you’ve shared every girl’s night out or social event with this coworker right by your side, it doesn’t mean she’s your true friend.

Having a sounding board is the benefit of having a close associate at work. She would most likely provide advice to get those much-desired kudos from your boss. Be mindful though, if she has an opportunity to steal your shine, she just may do it. Why not? She has no loyalty to you whatsoever outside of work. Not trying to rain on your parade – just keeping it realistic here.

Who’s the boss?

In the workplace, you’re always someone’s competition. Some manage perfectly fine when getting cozy with coworkers – until you’re vying for the same promotion. Suddenly, that confidante is in her feelings and may not feel you’re qualified to be in a position of authority. Being a true friend with a coworker can stifle your advancement. Your friend wants the job but you know you’re more qualified. Do you apply for the job and steal her thunder? Talk about stress. Can your friendship sustain the competition? How do you remain friends when you are no longer peers? How will she take it when you’re calling her out about tardiness?

A true friend would respect your position and tighten up while an associate starts her job search.

And if you become your friend’s supervisor, that’s another hurdle you have to consider. You may have to face the occasional favoritism allegation from other subordinates, too.

When you arrive at that fork in the road, the direction you take shouldn’t be decided upon recklessly. There can be pros and cons associated with being friends with coworkers. True friendship should be unconditional. Just remember, a friendly workplace association most likely comes with conditions.

Do you think it’s possible to be friends with coworkers?

How To Avoid The Dreaded ‘Angry Black Woman’ Perception At Work

Angry African American woman using computer.

Passion and anger are often confused in the workplace. For instance, you left the meeting feeling you’d stood your ground during the key decision-making process of a tense brainstorming meeting. Your coworkers saw a fire-breathing dragon ready to cremate anyone who dared to get in her way.

Here’s how your actions could be presenting you as the “Angry Black Woman” versus the thought leader making power moves.

Facial expressions

Many women have trouble concealing true feelings when they’re unable to control their facial expressions. You hear something bizarre and immediately launch into the head tilt, twisted face look before you know it. In reality, you’re simply trying to process the information to make sense of it, but others assume you have an attitude. Non-verbal cues help others gauge whether it’s safe to approach or engage with you. It is no secret black women are characterized as sassy, outspoken and opinionated – although we’re actually just animated, passionate, boisterous or exuberant about the things we care about most. If you show your thoughts and feelings on your face, check yourself!

Hand gestures

It’s very annoying when others mock black women by using overzealous hand gestures, lip popping and neck rolling. However, this has been the stereotype for many years. Most can admit that we may partake in a handclap or two when getting a point across, but there’s a stark contrast in how this is interpreted in the workplace versus among friends. A male counterpart is simply frustrated when fist-pounding every syllable at the roundtable. A black woman is deemed angry for using her index finger to tap on last month’s report of plummeting sales numbers. Being mindful of perception and removing aggressive hand gestures such as pointing during conversations will help black women deviate from an inaccurate interpretation of their views and feelings.

Tone of voice

It’s not what you say but how you say it. Well, it’s also the tone associated with it. You can say, “no” six different ways and it can have different meanings based on tone. On one hand you’ve plainly answered a question and on the other, your coworker felt you were being short or rude. If your voice carries, focus on speaking slower and softer. Rapid speech is often misinterpreted as “going off” when it’s just a normal rhythm for you. Smiles can be seen and heard. Making that simple adjustment when speaking can improve the outcomes of difficult discussions tremendously. It’s hard to say something in an angry tone when smiling – much like frowning while enjoying an ice cream cone.

Every black woman isn’t angry although she has a laundry list of reasons why she should be. You can’t control what others think of you but you can change your attitude and communication style if it affects your pockets.

Ashley Watkins, of Write Step Resumes, LLC, helps job seekers and career changers write their career dreams into reality one step at a time.  She can be found on FacebookTwitterInstagram, Pinterest, or via www.WriteStepResumes.com for resume help, interview prep, career tips, and motivational quotes. Click here to schedule a FREE consult today!

Originally posted on HelloBeautiful.com