Victoria D. Anderson Answering Student and Young Professionals’ Questions in Starting and Navigating Their Course in the Work Place
As Shared With Rashida Maples, Esq.
Q. How do know if you’re “paying dues” or being taken advantage of by veteran employees?
A. Today’s climb to the top looks different! The first step is to ensure you do not have an antiquated definition of this proverbial term. In today’s workplace, you should anticipate paying some dues, and “paying dues” will still require you to work hard— and earn the top spot by getting results. The key is to make sure your hard work does not include ‘suffering in vain’.
At various points during your professional journey you will be asked to lead projects, take-on temporary or time-limited assignments, occasionally work long hours, or accept lateral moves—don’t shy away from these! They are ‘in bounds’, and can each be great opportunities for your development by enabling you to build new skills, and demonstrate your star power!
To ensure you are not being taken advantage of, it is critical to discuss – in advance – how these assignments link to your career path, or contribute to your professional development overall.
I also recommend practicing a little preventative medicine by taking the following steps: 1) ensure you have a documented professional development plan, 2) discuss how each new project or task contributes to skills needed at the next level, and 3) create measurable benchmarks that can be evaluated along the way.
“Paying dues” is a reality, and will absolutely require effort, sacrifice, and flexibility—but with communication, clarity and a plan—you can make sure the payoff works in your favor and propels you up the ladder.
Q. I am interested in knowing and fully understanding the best means of navigating professional socializing, particularly lunching with co-workers and offers to go for cocktails after work.
A. Professional socializing has numerous benefits and is an essential part of building relationships in the workplace. If managed appropriately, socializing with coworkers can facilitate teamwork and communication, improve productivity and make work more enjoyable. But there is a point where workplace socializing can cross the line. Here are 3 tips for avoiding possible pitfalls:
Certain topics should be avoided at work–no matter how friendly you are with you coworkers. Steer clear of topics that make people uncomfortable like race, religion, sexual habits, physical appearance and money. A simple “no comment” can be a polite way to avoid potential danger zones. So when in doubt–don’t! It is always better to be safe than sorry.
Anything you do or say at work can affect your reputation, your career future, and the reputations of others–so don’t relax your professional standards just because you have developed a friendly relationship with co-workers. Be careful who you choose to get close to in the office, and be mindful of the personal and private information you decide to share. When in doubt—keep it professional.
Developing personal friendships with employees that work for you (or that you work for) can be like wading in murky water. An inappropriate conversation with a subordinate is even worse than one with a coworker. It is essential to keep a degree of professional detachment between yourself and those you manage. In this case, utilize social settings to foster team-building, or recognize positive team results—not to develop personal friends with direct reports.
Q: What is proper etiquette with co-workers or supervisors at professional social moments (dinner parties, functions where alcohol is served)?
A: Office parties and get togethers are usually held to celebrate, or build camaraderie in the office, and can be quite fun. You will best enjoy the time with your coworkers without office drama–or regrets–if you know the rules and respect professional etiquette in social settings.
Unless otherwise specified, the dress code for the office should apply if the event is being held at the office. For off-site events, when in doubt—ask the person who is organizing the party or event.
Keep conversation light and humorous while still maintaining professionalism and restraint about personal things. Discussing family, sports, news, or entertainment is completely in-bounds, but it is best to avoid ‘hot-button’ issues—such as religion and politics.
As a rule, mirror your company culture to decide if it is acceptable to drink alcohol in social settings. When in doubt about whether drinking alcohol is appropriate—don’t drink at professional social events. Alcohol can lower inhibitions that you would normally maintain in the office setting. If you decide having a drink is culturally ‘acceptable’, maintain a one drink rule during company sponsored events.
Victoria D. Anderson is a human resources professional, and currently works as a Partner Resources Manager with Starbucks Coffee Company. In this role, she is responsible for strategic business partnerships and leadership consulting–and focuses on organizational effectiveness, partner relations, and talent management.
Also On HelloBeautiful:
Celebs Tweet Their Thoughts About #JusticeForSandraBland
1. Jesse Williams
#SandraBland's treatment while attempting to travel freely on HER public roadways has been acknowledged as unlawful. She is already dead.
2. Taraji P. Henson
"SAY HER NAME #SandraBland"
3. Ava DuVernay
"'Why are you arresting me?' Because you know your rights. Because I can. Because no one'll believe you. #SandraBland"
4. Kim Kardashian
#WhatHappenedToSandraBland We need answers!!!! This is NOT ok! This is all shady! They need to own up to this & tell the truth!
5. Jussie Smollet
"A loss 4 words. #SandraBlandMatters #BlackLivesMatter 👈🏿tell me this should change once the nation shows that we do. "
6. Snoop Dogg
🙏🌹. Sandra. Rip. 🌹🌹
7. K. Michelle
R.I.P to this queen. This could've been any of us. My prayers go out to her family. #sandrabland https://instagram.com/p/5fvlO_AhCf/
8. Gabrielle Union
SAY HER NAME!!! #SandraBland #SandraBland #SandraBland #SayHerName
"We must get to the cause of #sandrabland death because this CANNOT happen again #deathorfreedom"
10. David Banner
"When will we fight back. A man's duty on earth is to protect women and children. Where are the gangsters? Preachers? We need you. Please."
11. Nicki Minaj
"Rest In Peace #SandraBland"
12. Talib Kweli
"We the people ask @LorettaLynch to investigate #SandraBland #KimberleeRandleKing RETWEET "
Signs. Signs. Signs all around us. The Message is Here. #SandraBland
14. Missy Elliot
"When I look at the #SandraBland traffic video it brings so many emotions😳😢😡😡😤!"
15. Jessie J
"God bless your soul Sandra | #sandrabland | Change needs to come |Justice needs to be served | Heart… https://instagram.com/p/5fV79mQ0aw/ "
16. Jackee Harry
"It's time y'all, it's time.." #SandraBland #BlackLivesMatter
"In memory of #SandraBland these things don't make no kinda sense "
18. Holly Robinson Peete
I really don't look forward to having ANOTHER difficult conversation w my kids tonight...but here we go again😧💔 #SandraBland #SayHerName 😢
19. Jeffrey White
Sadly, doesn't matter by whose hand she died. Unjustified arrested set the outcome in motion. The state murdered her. #JusticeForSandraBland
Sandra could have been your mother, sister, aunt, friend or if she wasn't killed the community outreach advisor A&M. #SandraBland
21. Joan Smalls
"My heart is broken. Sending my deepest condolence to her family and friends. May you find Strength, Peace and Justice. When will this stop? #EqualityForAll #RIP #Why #SayHerName
22. Gladys Knight
Sandra Bland.... #SayHerName #SandraBland
23. Cara Delevigne
Things need to change NOW #SANDRABLAND #Justice #Equality
24. Meek Mill
"Rip to that young lady that lost her life about a traffic stop! 🙏 ima make sure I pray for her and her family! 🙏😄😄😄"