Men's Health: Real Life Survival Guide

Men's Health: Real Life Survival Guide

by Editors of Men's Health, Christian Millman


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781579545000
Publisher: Potter/Ten Speed/Harmony/Rodale
Publication date: 11/28/2001
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 5.02(w) x 7.04(h) x 0.64(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Get Ahead without Being a Suck-Up

Most of us have observed with chagrin the meteoric rise of a colleague who's a sycophant—a bootlicking, obsequious lackey whose toadyism seemingly has netted him a promotion or a pay hike that somebody else deserved more. Somebody like us.

    Must a man shed all vestiges of self-respect to advance in the working world? No, say workplace consultants. Here's how to get ahead and still be able to look yourself in the mirror.

    Be a company man. "The best way to influence your boss is to use his self-interest and not yours," says Alan Weiss, Ph.D., president of Summit Consulting Group in East Greenwich, Rhode Island. "In other words, focus on your contribution to the company, not on what you're doing. It's one thing to say, 'I show up every day on time.' But to say, 'Our sales increased 2 percent last month because of the new procedure I introduced'—that's different."

    Keep calm. Discuss your request in the same calm tone of voice you would use to discuss a strategy for an upcoming sales conference, Dr. Weiss advises. "It should never be with your hat in your hand, nor should it be demanding. It should be colleague to colleague, a credible discussion of the merits of the case."

    Time it right. Most people wait until their annual job evaluations to tout their accomplishments to their bosses, Dr. Weiss says. By then, those achievements may be a blur in your boss's memory. Instead, send your boss a memo detailing your achievement soonafter each major accomplishment, he suggests.

    Increase your load. Take on an extra project or two and the responsibilities that come with it, advises Robert Vecchiotti, Ph.D., president of Organizational Consulting Services of St. Louis. A person is likely to be given a salary bump only became he is given additional responsibilities, he says.

    Take the initiative. Look for tough issues to solve before they are evident to others, says Dr. Vecchiotti. "If you're prepared with a good analysis of the situation and a couple of options, you'll attract attention. That's what really distinguishes people who are going to move quickly and get raises as a consequence."

    Become indispensable. If you have knowledge, skills, or abilities that others in your company don't possess, you increase your bargaining power, says Michael Mercer, Ph.D., an industrial psychologist with the Mercer Group in Barrington, Illinois, and author of How Winners Do It: High Impact Skills for Your Career Success. "The more replaceable you are, the less leverage you have."

    Be vague. If you're seeking a pay raise, don't specify how much, Dr. Weiss advises. "You might ask for 8 percent, but it could be they were prepared to give you 20 percent," he says. "Nobody ever negotiates upward."

Career Killers

Just as there are things you can do to increase your chances of winning a raise or promotion, there are surefire steps to sabotage your career. Here's how to avoid three of the most common mistakes.

    Stay out of politics. If you have the political instincts of a 10-term congressman, feel free to delve into the backbiting world of office politics. If not, stay on the sidelines. "If you play on somebody else's ball field with his equipment and his rules, you lose," Dr. Weiss says. "Stay above the fray. Never try to elevate yourself by degrading someone else."

    It may seem that being a political animal is essential to advancing your career, but you can turn your indifference to your advantage, Dr. Weiss says. "Point out that you consistently avoided gossip and water-cooler stuff and only focused on the results that were needed," he says. "And that you pride yourself on that kind of professionalism."

    Don't be a toady. Some people recommend that you emulate the boss—right down to wearing the same tasseled loafers and mimicking his speech patterns. The theory is that if you're like him, he will be more apt to feel comfortable with you and reward you. "Total garbage," Dr. Weiss says. "It's manipulative. It's dishonest and it's often transparent. You should dress professionally, but you have to be who you are. Nobody likes having toadies around."

    Keep it strictly professional. Don't plead for a raise because others in your office got one. Nor should you cite the fact that you have a mortgage to pay and a family to feed, Dr. Weiss cautions. Others are in the same situation, and it's irrelevant, he says. "It should always be based on evidence."

If You Fail

Okay, you gave it your best shot, and the boss said no. After you finish sticking pins in the voodoo doll with his picture on it, consider these moves.

    Be persistent. If the boss doesn't commit one way or another to your request, ask him what would be an appropriate follow-up to your discussion or what you should do next, says Dr. Weiss. Don't just let him get away with a brush-off comment such as "Thanks, I'll get back to you."

    Get a reason. If your request for a raise or a promotion is rejected, ask why. There could be a good reason, says Dr. Weiss. "If so, going to another job isn't going to help, because whatever it was that held you back would hold you back there."

    Ask for perks. Even if your bid for more pay or a promotion is turned down, you can come out ahead, says Dr. Mercer. See if you can negotiate some job perks—the company paying your expenses to a convention or two, more vacation days, use of a company car or a car allowance, or use of a mobile phone, for example.

Excerpted from Men'sHealth Real Life Survival Guide by Larry Keller and Christian Millman. Copyright © 2001 by Rodale Inc.. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Table of Contents

Part 1Real Responsibilities
Get Ahead without Being a Suck-Up2
Give a Great Speech6
Run a Meeting10
Get a Leave of Absence14
Fire Somebody18
Cope with Being Fired22
Fix a Leaky Faucet26
Unstop a Toilet30
Unclog a Drain32
Clean a Carpet Stain34
Reset a Pilot Light36
Change a Tire38
Change the Oil40
Find Your Way44
Sharpen a Knife48
Clean a Fish50
Build and Maintain a Fire54
Barbecue like a Pro58
Get Rid of Pests64
Handle Pushy Salesmen72
Survive an IRS Audit74
Be Your Own Lawyer76
Talk Your Way Out of a Traffic Ticket80
Part 2Real Relationships
Get Back in the Game84
Flirt with Flair88
Compliment a Woman92
Drive a Woman Wild When You're Not in Bed96
Cook a Romantic Meal100
Drive a Woman Wild with Words104
Give a Massage108
Unhook a Bra with One Hand114
Propose Marriage116
Pick a Barber118
Make Small Talk120
Tip in Every Situation124
Stand Up to a Bully128
Throw a Punch132
Answer a Child's Questions138
Sound Smarter Than You Are142
Deliver a Eulogy146
Part 3Real Recreation
Host the Ultimate Super Bowl Bash150
Choose the Right Beer154
Mix Drinks like a Bartender160
Host a Dinner Party166
Select and Open a Bottle of Wine170
Make a Memorable Toast174
Beat a Hangover178
Lose 10 Pounds180
Win at Arm Wrestling182
Throw a Perfect Spiral184
Pitch like a Big Leaguer188
Shoot a Free Throw192
Bowl a Strike194
Break at Pool196
Throw Darts198
Get on the Air on Talk Radio200
Win at Monopoly204
Win at Poker206
Win at Carnival Games210
Become a Swimsuit Photographer214

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