Blog Posts by The Daily Muse

  • Job Hunting? Think like a Lion

    Job Hunting? Think Like a LionA few months ago, I visited Tanzania for the first time, and over the span of two weeks had the amazing opportunity to venture out to the Siwandu and Jongomero camps in the remote Tanzanian bush. On my first day, we happened upon a pride of lions resting by a lake, just as the sun was setting. One of the young males decided get a closer look, and I was immediately spellbound by his presence. As he slowly sauntered by, he favored me with a glance, and for one magical moment, I looked into the eyes of the king of the jungle.

    Understandably, I became a bit obsessed with lions after that. But in addition, as I watched one of the world's most effective predators in action, I realized that they could teach us all a thing or two about hunting-for a job. Hear me out.

    Lesson #1: Learn From Others

    Hands down, one of the most impressive animal sightings I had was of a pride of seven lions and cubs dining on a giant water buffalo. Although the buffalo was massive, it was easily dwarfed when Read More »from Job Hunting? Think like a Lion
  • Just Do It: How to (Finally!) Stop Procrastinating

    Stop ProcrastinatingI can think of a thousand things I'd rather do than sit in front of a spreadsheet (scrubbing bathtub tile grout with an elderly toothbrush instantly comes to mind).

    And I'm not alone-whether it's a lunch with a particularly prickly client or counseling a well-liked colleague about poor performance, most of us are guilty of back-burnering our tedious or stressful on-the-job duties at some point. While you may argue vigorously that an extra hour of Instagram doesn't hurt a single soul, experts in the fields of productivity and procrastination beg to differ.

    "Procrastination takes up real estate in the mind. Even if you're not working on a project, you're still energetically thinking about it. Your mind becomes cluttered and there is no room for the things that make you successful in business-like innovation, creativity, and intuition," says Christine Hassler, life coach, entrepreneur, and author of 20 Something Manifesto. Whether you predictably put off the monthly expense report or

    Read More »from Just Do It: How to (Finally!) Stop Procrastinating
  • 4 Job Interview Lessons You Can Learn from Stand-up Comedy

    There was a time when I thought there was nothing more nerve-wracking than a job interview. That, however, was before I performed stand-up comedy. It turns out that standing in front of a roomful of strangers waiting for me to make them laugh was even scarier than sitting across from a hiring manager.

    But once I got over my initial stage fright, I realized that the same techniques I used to master the stage could also be used to land a job. So the next time you find yourself breaking into a cold sweat at the thought of meeting with a potential employer, try these comedy-inspired tips to set the stage for a great interview.

    1. Develop a Confident Persona

    One of my first comedy lessons is that people can pick up on your energy. Confidence and enthusiasm (or lack thereof) are contagious and can have a dramatic impact on how you're perceived by your audience. When I walked onto the stage with a confident, relaxed stride and delivered my punch lines with an exclamation point instead of Read More »from 4 Job Interview Lessons You Can Learn from Stand-up Comedy
  • 3 Ways to Toot Your Own Horn (Without Being Obnoxious)

    Toot Your Own HornAsk just about anyone what personality trait grates his or her nerves the most, and a braggart is bound to top the list. So, it makes sense that most of us are loathe to toot our own horns, for fear of coming across as obnoxious. Especially in the office. This obviously makes standing out in the workplace a bit of a challenge. But, given that promotions aren't exactly being doled out by the truckload these days, we all need to find ways to highlight our own talents. With that in mind, here are a few things to keep in mind that'll help you impress your boss with your stellar skills without coming across like an egomaniac.

    No Splashing in the Shallow End

    When you're first starting a new job, or even a new role, it's important not to make a big entrance right off the bat. For example, if you want to show off your Excel wizardry, simply declaring you're the best in the land isn't going to impress anyone.

    Instead, start small and subtle. Craft your best spreadsheet possible for whateverRead More »from 3 Ways to Toot Your Own Horn (Without Being Obnoxious)
  • A Rookie’s Guide to the Office Potluck

    Office PotluckWhether your office is celebrating an employee's recent promotion or simply fostering some holiday spirit, sooner or later you'll be the lucky recipient of an office-wide email prompting you to don your oven mitts and prepare your best dish for sharing. OK, so it's not nearly as nerve-wracking as your first presentation in front of the corporate execs, but as a potluck rookie, you probably have some concerns. If you're nearing your first collaborative meal in the workplace, the following tips will guarantee your culinary success.

    Skip the Excuses and Participate

    It's tempting to take the easy way out and simply forego the potluck-after all, you're probably strapped for extra cash, stressed about an upcoming deadline, or altogether too exhausted to cook. Well, put those excuses aside, grab your mixing bowls, and get cooking. More than anything, potlucks are meant to be a fun way to connect with your co-workers, so give in and make the most of it!

    Pull Out the Family Recipes

    There Read More »from A Rookie’s Guide to the Office Potluck
  • What to Get Your Boss for Christmas

    What to Get Your BossAt some offices, holiday gift-giving is pretty standardized: The whole department draws names, or you have a gift exchange, or everyone decides to go in together to get the boss a lovely gift basket or some concert tickets. And then at other companies, you're pretty much shooting in the dark. What can you get your manager that will impress her, without going overboard and making her (or anyone else) think you're a brown-noser? (And, if we're really being honest, that won't blow your entire holiday bonus check.)

    No matter what type of boss you're shopping for, we've got you covered with these perfect gift picks, all under $50.

    Kate SpadeKate SpadeFor the Office Dweller

    Let's start here: You know at least one thing about your boss, and it's that she comes to the office every day. Pop your head in her door and take a quick scan of what she might need. Does she have stuff all over the place? Try this "Cordies" organizer ($24.99), which will keep her phones, camera, wallet, and other desk essentials Read More »from What to Get Your Boss for Christmas
  • "Fast-Paced" and "Flexible:" What Job Descriptions Really Mean

    More often than not, job descriptions are as vague and frustrating as the end of The Matrix-leaving you with more questions than answers. What does "willing to be flexible" really mean? What does the day of a "master multi-tasker" actually entail? And what are you getting yourself into in a "fast-paced, high-intensity" environment?

    Sometimes, these phrases are harmless, but others, well, let's just say it pays to read between the lines a little bit. We chatted with a recruitment consultant from a Toronto-based executive search firm and got the skinny on what these cryptic bullet points may really mean. Read on for a quick translation guide-plus what you should ask during an interview to make sure you uncover any major red flags.

    "Flexible and willing to perform other tasks as assigned."

    This line signals a job that will give you a variety of job duties, which can be great if you're the kind of person who thrives on every day feeling a little bit different. Just beware that "other Read More »from "Fast-Paced" and "Flexible:" What Job Descriptions Really Mean
  • “Can You Come in for an Interview—Tomorrow?”

    Last Minute Job InterviewAs a recruiter, I'm constantly calling people for interviews. Since I have clients who need positions filled immediately, I often ask candidates to come in as soon as possible-sometimes even the next day. I also remember being on the job hunt myself a couple of years back and getting called for an interview to be held that very same day!

    If you're a job seeker, you shouldn't be alarmed by these surprise job interviews-in fact, you should be prepared. And having been on both sides of the desk, I've learned a thing or two about how to get ready. Here are a few pointers for how to handle last-minute job interviews with ease, all based on mistakes I see people making all the time.

    Always Have Your Resume Ready

    One of my biggest pet peeves is when applicants don't come in with a hard copy of their resume. I know I called you in at the last minute, but it's part of the deal-and having a resume on you is pretty elementary if you're a job-seeker. Even if you're called in that day and don'tRead More »from “Can You Come in for an Interview—Tomorrow?”
  • From Wiped to Wired: How to Be More Productive After Work

    Be Productive After Work

    With winter and the holidays creeping around the corner, there seems to be fewer play hours in the day, extra obligations piling up, and more to do on the job. And returning home after a long day's work can feel increasingly daunting with household chores, bills, and errands. So what's a girl to do with more tasks and less time?

    If only we had the energy we did in college. Remember? You'd come home late, completely wiped from studying or an exam (in my case, it was usually a volleyball match) and despite your exhaustion, you were somehow able to rally yourself for the evening's social activities. Who could resist another 80s party, right? While I'll confess I haven't found that energy again (and while neon spandex and side ponies will always be more enticing than balancing the checkbook), I have found a few ways to rally after work just the same. These steps have made a noticeable difference for me in making my post-work hours the productive (or social) time I want them to be.

    Read More »from From Wiped to Wired: How to Be More Productive After Work
  • The Unspoken Rules of Calling in Sick

    Calling in sickIt all starts innocently enough-first a sniffle, then a tickle in your throat, then before you know it, you've been knocked out by whatever nasty bug happens to be making the office circuit. But, while your body may be begging you to stay home, those piles of work on your desk (and maybe even your boss) are suggesting otherwise.

    So, what do you do? Should you load up on whatever non-drowsy cold medicine is rolling around in the dark recesses of your junk drawer and suck it up, or keep your germs at home and let the bug take its course, sparing your colleagues the same fate? Taking time off is tricky business, especially when it's an unplanned day like a sick day. While there's no guarantee you'll convince your boss and colleagues you're better off at home, there are a few things you can do to help minimize the blowback the next time you're feeling lousy.

    Know the Rules (Hint: They're Not in the Employee Handbook)

    I'm willing to bet most of us with a standard 9-to-5 have sick days Read More »from The Unspoken Rules of Calling in Sick

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