Cube Rules Links – February 7, 2014

Cube Rules Links

Cube Rules Links


Here is what I have saved for you from the Internet:

  • The 40-year slump. It’s a long read — but well worth it for understanding how income inequality started…back in 1974. “The steady stream of Watergate revelations, President Richard Nixon’s twists and turns to fend off disclosures, the impeachment hearings, and finally an unprecedented resignation—all these riveted the nation’s attention in 1974. Hardly anyone paid attention to a story that seemed no more than a statistical oddity: That year, for the first time since the end of World War II, Americans’ wages declined.”
  • The Fear Choice. The Love Choice. Which will you choose?
  • 16 things I know are true — but haven’t quite learned yet. Yeah, me either: “There’s a difference between knowing something and living as if it were true. At the end of 2013, these truths are all lingering on that awkward threshold, for me anyway.”

Cube Rules Links — January 31, 2014

Cube Rules Links

Cube Rules Links


Here’s what I’ve been saving for you from the Internet:

14 Career Tasks for 2014

Task list


Task list

Time to close up 2013 and start looking at 2014. When I think about 2014, I want to come up with actionable, doable tasks that will help your career and job performance. Blue sky stuff doesn’t cut it; only things that lead you to employment security do. Let’s take a look at the list:

1. Update your resume. Your resume is a living document based on the work you’ve done over time. It is easy to remember and/or find the information you need to update your resume from the work you’ve done this past year. It’s not easy to find the same information from five years ago when you need to update your resume to apply for that cool job that just became available. Thus, update your resume. Now.

2. Update your LinkedIn profile. Although LinkedIn is many things, one of the primary purposes of the site is to allow you to present your job skills and experience out there to the world. Recruiters use LinkedIn to find candidates. Help them find you so you can have consideration for that cool new job that you never knew was available.

3. Learn a new job skill. Job skills are the currency of choice in the job market. If an employer determines you don’t have the skills to do the job, you’ll never get a shot at the interview – or promotion. Having the job skill is no guarantee of landing the job, but not having the job skill is often a reason to not even interview you.

4. Nail down your business goals. This means both how you will achieve your business goal and how you will measure it to ensure success. Too many people get their goals for the year in corporate American and then drop them into the (electronic) file cabinet. Then get surprised at the end of the year when management rates them poorly because they couldn’t prove they met their goals. Don’t let this happen to you.

5. Determine your current job satisfaction. When you become a Cube Rules member, I include a simple survey for you to answer to see how satisfied you are with your current position. Tracked over time, it will help you see your job satisfaction trend. The trend is important and gives you an early indication on if your satisfaction is getting better or worse. It will help you see if you need to be looking for a new position.

6. Improve your status reporting to your manager. The simple status report can become a powerful way to consistently show your work to your manager and provide the documentation needed for your performance review.

7. Get all of your personal stuff out of the office. Get it off of the work computer (you don’t own anything on your work computer, including your personal stuff; the company does), get it out of your desk. Take your status reports home. Take your performance reviews home. Take any kudo emails, print them, and take them home. Both times I was laid off, I had to immediately turn in my computer and was walked (nicely) out the door. Don’t lose all the critical career data you need for finding a job by having it at work. That just sucks.

8. Subscribe to services (like my newsletter) with your personal, not corporate, email address. Same reason. I always have “out of office” responses that include “Mary Smith is no longer working at…”. Have your career stuff go to your personal email accounts.

9. Resolve to get the personal contact information for people who leave the company. They are going to work at some other company. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how it is going at that other company if you decide to move on? Or if the company lays you off and you must move on? Yes, it would.

10. Resolve to add fourteen people to your business network this year. Track it. Your business network is critical to finding answers needed for your work – and finding jobs when you decide to leave.

11. Help someone in your business network every month. Whether it is to answer a question, introduce them to someone they need or want to talk with, or help them navigate your hiring process because they would be a great addition to your company, helping people first is critical to your credibility when your turn comes to seek help.

12. Consider interviewing for another position. Think about it: interviewing is our least practiced job skill because we so rarely interview for a job. If you feel you are secure in your position – or it has been a long time since you’ve interviewed for a position – consider going through the process. You’ll find out how difficult it is and it will help you gauge the amount of time it will take you to find another position. I had a coworker who had the objective of landing one job offer a year going for a position he would work in. And, yes, he eventually took one of those offers.

13. Decide to pay off at least one bill this year. The car payment. The credit card. The highest interest rate loan you have. Get rid of it. It will give you more take-home pay and you won’t be supporting companies with your interest payments.

14. Max out your 401(k) or IRA plan. Figure out how much it would take per month to do so and then put that amount into the plan. You’ll take a hit in take home pay – but not as much as you might think because of the tax deferment. The earlier you bite the bullet, the bigger the payoff later. Compounding does that.

What have you decided to do in 2014 to help your work?

Cube Rules Links – November 29, 2013

3D Bullseye

Here’s what I saved for you this week of Thanksgiving here in the United States:

Cube Rules – 12 rules I believe about working for a company




There are some under currents in my writing about working for corporations. Attitudes that lurk in the background before taking on the transformation needed to become a Cubicle Warrior. But I haven’t explicitly stated them. I have more. But these twelve are a good start to help you see the assumptions — the Cube Rules, if you will — of the advice I give here on the site.

Here they are:

  1. Despite your best performance, the company’s management has control on whether you stay working or get laid off. Or fired.
  2. Company loyalty to employees does not exist; to believe it does will harm your life
  3. Personal loyalty in a corporation exists — but corporate policies will trump personal loyalty
  4. A company expects your job skills to contribute to their business goals — not to improve or support your career
  5. Performance ratings and rankings are more about budget conformance than career feedback
  6. In order to be promoted, one must already be doing the work required in the promotion
  7. The biggest influence on your career right now – good or bad –  is your manager
  8. A good manager will at least do no harm; a bad manager can destroy outstanding performance
  9. Employees must continually add and support job skill development or be left behind in the market
  10. Employees must continually add and support their own business network to build career and job leads
  11. There is no job security. Period.
  12. There is only Employment Security.