Your Foolproof Guide to Hugging at Work (Because it Can Get Awkward)


By Liz Fosslien and Mollie West-Duffy
A female friend—we’ll call her Fran—recently called Mollie in a panic. “I’m worried I crossed a boundary at work,” she said.

“Several times a year, I meet with a group at a hotel or conference venue for a few days to plan a big conference. The group members aren’t my direct colleagues since they work at different organizations. I give everyone a hug goodbye when we leave, since we’re friendly and I know it will be a few months before I see them again. At our most recent meeting, there were several new people. As we said goodbye at the end of the week, I hugged the people I already knew. But then I felt awkward not giving a hug to the new people, so I went in to hug them as well. Now I’m worried that I was too forward.”

Sound familiar? This is a common experience in the digital age when work communication has been brought to a whole new level of intimacy. Messages from your manager might include emojis or arrive via text or Facebook Messenger. People you haven’t actually met in person feel like they could be actual friends.

So how do you know where to draw the line? We spent three years studying these kinds of challenges for our book, No Hard Feelings: Emotions at Work (And How They Help You Succeed).

First off, there are three levels of work relationships to consider, and each has a different hugging norm.

There are the people you work with every day, like your teammates. We’ll call them your “day-to-days.” It would be a lot to hug these people hello or goodbye because you see them so frequently. Even if you’re leaving or coming back from vacation, it’s fine to just say or Slack them your greeting. And when it comes to your direct report (or someone else junior to you) or boss, unless you’re very close, a good general rule is to forget about hugs all together.

Then there are people who you see less often, like colleagues who work in other offices, clients, or partners at other organizations. We’ll call these people your “occasionals.” It’s more normal to hug these people simply because you don’t see them that often (as was the case in Fran’s situation). However, there is a huge variance in people’s comfort level with hugging. Mollie has noticed that some of her clients, for example, are huggers, and some are definitely not. The clients who are huggers tend to view Mollie as a friend and partner, in addition to a consultant. The clients who are not huggers tend to view her as an advisor and prefer to keep a professional boundary by not hugging.

Lastly, there are people who you’ve just met or will only be seeing once. We’ll call these people your “newlymets.” For example, Mollie often facilitates workshops for extended client teams. She knows she will only meet these workshop participants once, and so it would be weird to hug them hello or goodbye.

The problem in Fran’s case was that she was interacting with people from two different levels at once: the “occasionals” and the “newlymets.” The norms for both of these groups are different.

So, what to do? There are three good options:

  1. You can hug the “occasionals” and offer a handshake to the “newlymets.” It’s unlikely that someone you just met will be offended that you’re not hugging them.
  2. You can wait to take your cue from the other person. As you’re going down the meeting-each-other line, don’t launch in for either a hug or handshake, but watch the other person’s body language to see what they’re going for. If you don’t watch carefully, this can result in the awkward “hugshake,” which is what we call the jumbled mismatch of limbs when one person goes in for a hug and one goes in for a handshake. (If this happens, don’t stress—it’s not the end of the world and will most likely be forgotten in an hour.)
  3. If you really want to hug the “newlymets” for consistency’s sake, you should acknowledge it. You can say something like, “I know we just met, but I’m a hugger. Is it OK if I hug you as well?” This gives the other person a bit of a heads up and the opportunity to grant their permission (or not) before you go in for a hug.

Continue on to The Muse to read the complete article.

How to Survive Burnout


By Laurence Favier

The pressure of looming deadlines, a pile-up of urgent tasks, not to mention a toxic work environment, filled with competitiveness, incivility, and gossiping—this can leave anyone feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, and at risk of burnout. Having experienced burnout several times during my career, here are some tips to surviving burnout—and thriving.

Recognize the Warning Signs, Early

Burnout can build up slowly over time and may present itself not only with work pressures but social pressures, too. If you’re a people pleaser, you may find yourself becoming exhausted from making too many commitments, promises, and doing favors, to try and please everyone in your life, including family, friends, and even colleagues. And at work, you may find yourself being pushed and pulled in different directions, struggling to juggle an increasing to-do-list with ‘surprise’ urgent tasks that can pop up during the day.

Your body is probably showing you the warning signs of burnout, starting with tiredness and irritability, that can eventually lead to fatigue and even insomnia. It’s important to recognize and acknowledge these signs early. Don’t blame yourself—it is not worth the added pressure and can worsen your burnout symptoms.

By acknowledging these signs, you’ll be able to recognize whether you need to remove yourself from the situation that’s causing burnout. This could mean taking time off work, leaving your job entirely, simply saying ‘no’ to certain social commitments, or unplugging from social media.

Remove Judgments

Acknowledging the warning signs and physically removing yourself from the situation causing burnout are the first steps in taking care of yourself and bringing you back to joy and fulfillment. Once you’ve done this, tackle the struggles and judgments that are bubbling to the surface, internally.

Focus on seeking help, whether it’s by visiting a psychologist, or just talking to a friend or colleague. You may find that just talking about the situation can make you feel better.

Seeking professional help can provide different tools and techniques that can help you through those moments of stress, pressure, and even burnout. Practicing mindfulness and meditation, doing yoga, or other tools and exercises that focus on clearing your mind and breathing may be beneficial for you. Or, perhaps medications may be prescribed to you to help. Keep an open mind and do what works for you, without self-judgment or taking on the opinions and judgments of others. This can help you move beyond the burnout and even prevent it in the future.

Thriving Beyond Burnout

If you took time off work to focus on getting out of burnout, the return to work can be a delicate process, one that must be carefully planned and prepared for. A question you can ask yourself is, “What do I have or what do I want to change in my work and in my day-to-day life, so this burnout situation doesn’t happen again?” Flexible hours, shifting from full time to part time, weekly check-ins with your manager, or taking more frequent breaks during the day are all possibilities to consider when returning to work and can easily be discussed with your superiors and HR team. Don’t be afraid to ask for these changes and acknowledge and talk about what isn’t working for you anymore. If your workplace values your contribution to the company and has your best interest in mind, they will be willing to make accommodations, especially those that prevent future burnout situations.

Ask this question in other areas of your life, where you know that change is needed, as it is often a combination of more or less important factors that lead to burnout. Keep doing things you like and that work for you in your work and social life.

What kind of invitation can you be for people in your situation who do not dare to change? What if your experience could be useful for someone else? It is time to lower the barriers and walls you may put up to protect yourself and to show you as you are, in total vulnerability. Vulnerability is not a sign of weakness. On the contrary, it is a great strength. The strength to be who you really are, with no role to play, without judgment of yourself or others, without seeking to be perfect, just being you.

What are you going to change today for more ease in your life, move out of burnout and prevent burnout in the future?

About the Author

Laurence Favier is a Joy of Business facilitator and highly experienced corporate executive. After more than 30 years in senior IT roles, particularly in project management and operations, Laurence made a conscious decision to adopt a more fulfilling and nurturing approach to work and impending retirement. After discovering Access Consciousness™, Laurence began to integrate these quick and effective tools into her own life and to teach them to others. She has swiftly become an Access Consciousness™ certified facilitator, a Being You facilitator and a Joy of Business facilitator. Her knowledge of the corporate world is an asset to her clients—Laurence offers relevant and effective training for businesses and business leaders, as well as valuable insights for the wellbeing of employees. She provides trainings, conferences, workshops and one-on-one sessions.

Getting these 5 questions wrong can ruin your chances in a job interview

Woman answering questions at a job interview

By Judith Humphrey

Making a good impression at a job interview involves a lot more than just, being on time, and researching the company. Here are five key questions to answer for yourself if you want to make it to the next round.

1. How will I strike a balance between selling myself and praising the company?

Everyone knows that pitching yourself is key, but overdo it and you’ll turn the interviewer off. You need to strike the right balance between talking about the company you’re interviewing with and talking about yourself. Suppose you start off with, “Here’s why I’d be great for this job. Here are my accomplishments.” You’ve just dug a hole for yourself, because you’re making the interview all about you. Instead, start with explaining how you admire the company, its accomplishments, and leadership. If you can, show you know something about the person interviewing you. Express your excitement about that particular position. In short, talk about the opportunity–and then show why your qualifications make you such a good fit. Your interviewers will be impressed. You’ve made the connection between the job and your abilities, and so will they.

2. How will I tout both my knowledge and my teamwork?

Be proud of what you’ve done and your credentials, but remember, you’ll lose big points if you come across as a know-it-all. Be sure to acknowledge the people who mentored you and teammates who helped you with your achievements. The interviewer wants to know that you work well with others and give credit where it’s due. Sounding too smart will make people feel that you won’t fit in, that if you’re hired you will tell your team just how to do things, and when they get it wrong, you’ll tell them how stupid they are. So be careful. Don’t put down others or correct the person interviewing you. If you say you restructured an organization that was badly in need of your expertise, you’re dissing your former colleagues. If you correct the person interviewing you by saying, “Well, actually, I didn’t work for that division,” or “I’m late because I think you sent me the wrong time in my Google Calendar,” you might as well kiss the job goodbye. Even if you’re right, you’re wrong to sound superior.

3. How do I avoid sounding passive?

Interviewers will ask you specific questions. Answer them but also come prepared to shape the dialogue. The secret is to prepare a narrative that shows your strengths and illustrates why the job is right for you. This script should have a main message about you, as well as key supporting points explaining why you feel qualified for the position. When you’re asked a question, let the answer flow into the material you have prepared. If the interviewer asks, “What is your most outstanding characteristic as a leader?” you’ll have the answer and more: “I see myself as a leader who can inspire others. I do this in several ways. First . . . ” This preparation will give you a stronger presence. It also means that when you leave the room, you won’t have regrets about failing to mention any of the reasons that make you a strong candidate.

4. How eager should I be?

You may be uncertain about whether you’ll take the position. After all, every interview flows both ways–you are evaluating the company, just as they are judging you. But regardless of such feelings, you should act hungry for this job. It’s easy to feel ambivalent about a major career move. Maybe you’re not quite ready for a big jump, perhaps the company interviewing you is not in your industry of choice, or the salary and benefits are not wholly to your liking. But beware: Recruiters and employers will pick up on your ambivalence. They’ll hear it in your tone of voice, your body language, and words. So avoid giving mixed signals. Don’t suggest you’re considering other positions. Express how excited you are about this opportunity. Once the job is offered, you can decide whether you want it.

5. How much should I rehearse?

There’s nothing more important than rehearsing for that interview. But too many candidates think they can wing it and find out (all too late) that strategy was a mistake. The executive communications company I founded and headed for 30 years often rehearsed leaders for job interviews. I know from experience that practice made all the difference. Rehearsing allows you to fine-tune your “pitch.” Work with a communications professional if you can, but even if you deliver your remarks to a family member or friend, you’ll find that trial run useful. A rehearsal will also allow you to address delivery issues. An audio or video recording, as well as feedback from a coach, can lead to remarkable improvement. It can help you get rid of filler words like “um,” “ah,” and “like.” Rehearse well, and you’ll enter the room with a great deal of confidence.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

Entrepreneurial Advice: 5 Best Tips

woman entrepreneur standing with arms crossed

By Miranda Paquet

There are more than 11 million women-owned businesses in the United States. And that number is growing dramatically each year. In fact, women-owned businesses are growing five times faster than the national average, and businesses owned by women of color have more than doubled since 2007. There are some incredible women who have overcome major challenges to grow successful businesses. Whether you’re thinking about starting a business of your own, or you just need a little extra inspiration in your professional life, these tips will do the trick!

Here’s some advice from successful women entrepreneurs:

  1. “Know your market. If you don’t know where your market is and what they want, you have no chance.”

When Barbara Felix, owner of Felix the Cook, started her custom-made sugar cookies business, she got the word out by donating her cookies to large charity events.

Barbara knew her target audience and where to reach them. Focusing on a specific market and delivering them an exceptional product and experience helped her grow an impressive client list, which includes Google Ventures, UPS, and The Four Seasons.

If you’re unsure of your market, the best thing you can do is start talking to your existing customers. Write up a list of questions and call three of your best customers to get answers. You can even send a quick poll to your email list to learn more about your audience’s interests on a larger scale.

  1. “It’s not going to happen overnight. Just be patient. Set short-term goals.”

Like many small business owners, Kellee Twadelle, owner of Rose & Dove Specialty Gift Shop, left the corporate world to feel a greater sense of freedom, flexibility, and fulfillment. But throughout her years as an owner, there have been plenty of unexpected obstacles.

Kellee has had to change her store location, shift her business model, and manage major challenges during her husband’s motorcycle accident.

Kellee keeps her business going by taking small actions, including partnering with local businesses, sending her customers monthly marketing emails, and running timely events.

If you hit a rough patch at your business, don’t stress over your shifting five-year plan. Start every day by thinking about what small impactful action you can take to get things back on track.

  1. “You’ve got to follow your gut. What’s the worst that’s going to happen? You’re going to make a mistake?”

Once a loyal customer of French goods store La Provence, Dawn Noble bought the business more than a decade ago. Starting without any business management experience, Dawn believes in the power of learning as you go.

Looking back, she knows she’s made some missteps along the way, but Dawn doesn’t let these mistakes slow her down.

When you find yourself second-guessing your decisions, ability, or strength, remember that doing something is almost always better than doing nothing. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid of a little trial and error.

  1. “Make a commitment to education, to learning as much as you can, an ongoing education.”

With more than 35 years of as a business owner, Marie Mouradian, owner of Window Designs Etc., knows the secret to success is to never get too comfortable.

Change is part of almost every industry—even window design treatments. Marie prides herself in embracing new trends and refusing to be intimidated by market shifts.

Marie gets involved by sitting on the board of her local Chamber of Commerce and always trying out new ways to get her business noticed in her community and online.

If you think your business is stuck in a rut, look for local workshops or networking events in your community where you can continue to learn new skills and make new connections.

  1. “Don’t quit and don’t be afraid to flex.”

As an athlete turned business owner, Traci Brown, body language expert at Traci Brown Inc., knows you’re not going to win every day. Sometimes you give it all you’ve got and still come up short.

But Traci’s refusal to give up has served her well. She’s landed a product deal with Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington, appeared on major television networks, and spoken on keynote stages.

As an owner, remember that success might not look like you originally imagined. But if you don’t take a risk and go for it, you’ll never really know what you’re capable of.

Source: This article originally appeared on the Constant Contact Blog.

5 Things Workers Think Are More Important Than Salary

woman walking in high heels

When we think about the things that drive us to accept a job offer, money tends to top the list, and understandably so.

After all, everyone has bills to pay and financial goals to meet, and having a respectable salary makes that possible. But money isn’t the primary driver in workers’ job-related decisions. Here are five factors that employees regard as more important than compensation, according to CareerBuilder.


1. Location

Though some people don’t mind commuting, a terrible one can turn an otherwise decent job into a nightmare. When considering a new role, take the associated commute into account, keeping in mind that unless your company has a work-from-home policy, you’ll likely be dealing with it day in, day out. Choosing a job in a convenient location will lend to better overall satisfaction and less stress, and that’s something you’ll be grateful for in the long run.

2. Affordable benefits

It’s one thing to get health benefits, but it’s another thing to pay an arm and a leg for them. Employers subsidize health insurance at different levels, so ideally, you should aim to find a job where you’re given access to a decent plan at an affordable out-of-pocket cost to you. Furthermore, it’s not unheard of for companies to subsidize employee health plans completely so that your insurance actually doesn’t cost you a dime.

3. Job stability

There’s something to be said for not having to constantly worry about getting laid off. Though there’s no such thing as a lifetime guarantee that you’ll never lose your job, your chances are much lower if you accept a role in a thriving industry, and at a company with a solid track record. In other words, make sure to vet your employer before signing on, because if a given company has been losing money year over year, it’s a sign that it’s not the most stable environment. At the same time, make sure any job offer you accept is truly a good fit. You might manage to talk up your qualifications and get offered a reach position, but if you struggle with it, you might find yourself out of work soon enough.

4. A good boss

A great boss could spell the difference between enjoying your job and hating it. What qualities should you look for in a manager? For starters, it helps to work for someone who’s approachable, open to ideas and feedback, and honest. You should also aim to work for a person who will push you to do better, and support you on the way there. At the same time, there are certain types of bosses you should try to avoid, like those who feel compelled to micromanage or are extremely set in their ways.

5. A positive work culture

Working for a company that values its employees, fosters collaboration, and encourages creativity is a good way to wind up happy on the job. You can get a sense of a company’s culture by asking what the work environment is like during interviews, and reading company reviews online. The right culture fit is essential not just to your happiness, but your professional growth as well.

Continue on to Yahoo News to read the complete article.

Top Organizations to Receive Diversity and Inclusion Honors Award At Annual Conference


The Association of ERGs & Councils (a practice group of PRISM International, Inc.) released their annual list of the Top 25 US Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), Business Resource Groups (BRGs) and Diversity Councils set to receive the tenth annual 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ at an award ceremony during the 2019 ERG & Council Conference in Orlando May 3rd.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ is the only annual national award that recognizes and honors the outstanding contributions and achievements of ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils. It was established in 2008 by the Association of ERGs & Councils, a practice group of diversity and inclusion consulting and training firm PRISM International, Inc.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ recipients are a diverse combination of US organizations representing most sectors, geographies and sizes. “This year we had a diverse pool of highly qualified applications representing 1,079 ERGs, BRGs, Diversity Councils and their chapters,” states Fernando Serpa, Executive Director of the Association of ERGs & Councils. “We also had several non-Top 25 groups demonstrate best practices and results that deserve to be recognized and they will be receiving the Spotlight Impact Award™ that highlights the achievements of these select groups in the categories of Organizational Impact, Talent Management and Culture of Inclusion.”

This year, for the first time, the Association of ERGs and Councils will bestow the honor of Top Executive Sponsor of the Year. “We wanted to recognize and call out the important role executive sponsors play in developing, supporting and enabling their ERGs and Councils to succeed,” Serpa said.

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ Top 25 recipient rankings will be revealed at the May 3 award ceremony at the Disney Yacht & Beach Club Resort in Orlando, Florida. The Award Ceremony and Conference is open to all diversity and inclusion professionals involved with ERGs, BRGs and Councils.  This is a great opportunity for individuals to learn and share best practices, network, grow and celebrate, to become inspired and be renewed…all for the purpose of increasing their impact on key organizational and business objectives. Learn more by visiting

The 2019 ERG & Council Honors Award™ recipients in alphabetical order include:

  • American Airlines – American Airlines Diversity Advisory Council
  • Atrium Health – Atrium Health Divisional Diversity Councils
  • Bank of America – Military Support & Assistance Group ( MSAG)
  • Cleveland Clinic – ClinicPride Employee Resource Group (ClinicPride ERG)
  • Cleveland Clinic – Military/Veterans Employee Resource Group
  • Cleveland Clinic – SALUD
  • Davenport University – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council
  • Entergy Corporation – Entergy Employee Resource Group
  • Erie Insurance – Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council
  • Froedtert Health – Froedtert Health Diversity Council
  • General Motors – General Motors Employee Resource Group Council
  • KeyBank – Key Business Impact and Networking Groups
  • Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals – Mallinckrodt Inclusion & Diversity Council
  • Mount Sinai Queens, part of the Mount Sinai Health System – Mount Sinai Queens Diversity Council
  • Mount Sinai St. Luke’s, part of the Mount Sinai Health System – Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Diversity Council
  • National Guard – Joint Diversity Executive Council
  • Northern Trust Corporation – Advancing Professionals Resource Council (APRC)
  • Northern Trust Corporation – Women In Leadership Business Resource Council (WIL BRC)
  • Northwestern Mutual – Asian ERG
  • Northwestern Mutual – Northwestern Mutual Women’s Employee Resource Group
  • Novant Health – Asian Business Resource Group
  • PNC Financial Services Group – Corporate Diversity Council
  • State Street Corporation – Professional Women’s Network – Massachusetts Chapter (PWN-MA)
  • Texas Instruments – Texas Instruments Diversity Network (TIDN)
  • Turner, Inc. – Turner Business Resource Groups
  • U.S. Bank – Spectrum LGBTQ Business Resource Group
  • U.S. Bank – U.S. Bank Proud to Serve

The 2019 Spotlight Impact Award™ recipients in alphabetical order include:

  • Dominion Energy – Dominion Energy Executive Diversity Council (EDC)
  • FedEx Services – Diversity and Inclusion BRT Council
  • Food Lion – Diversity and Inclusion
  • MUFG Union Bank, N.A. – Women’s Initiative Network (WIN)
  • Summa Health – Diversity and Advisory Council

The 2019 Executive Sponsor of the Year recipients in alphabetical order:

  • FedEx Services Diversity and Inclusion BRT Council – Rebecca Huling
  • Perdue Farms Inclusion Council – Randy Day
  • Southern California Edison Company (SCE) Women’s Roundtable (WR) – Maria Rigatti
  • U.S. Bank Proud to Serve – Mike Ott

About the ERG & Council Honors Award™
The ERG & Council Honors Award™ is the only annual national award that recognizes, honors and celebrates the outstanding contributions and achievements of ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils that lead the diversity and inclusion process in their organizations and demonstrate results in their workforce, workplace and marketplace. Learn more by visiting ERG & Council Honors Award™.

About the ERG & Council Conference™
ERGs and Diversity Councils are vital links for improving organizational results. However, to remain impactful and effective, they need opportunities to increase their skills and knowledge and to learn and share best practices. They need opportunities to network, celebrate and grow. This is the purpose of the only annual conference designed specifically for ERGs, BRGs and Diversity Councils. Learn more by visiting

About the Association of ERGs & Councils
The Association of ERGs & Councils is a practice group of PRISM International Inc. and the premier resource for transforming Employee Resource Groups, Diversity Councils and Employee Network Groups to impact key organizational and business objectives. Learn more by visiting the

About PRISM International, Inc.
PRISM International Inc., a Talent Dimensions company, is a WBENC-certified, full-service provider of innovative and proven consulting, training and products for leveraging diversity and inclusion, addressing unconscious bias, increasing cross-cultural competencies and creating more effective ERGs and Diversity Councils. Learn more by visiting

Have a Job Offer? Consider these 5 things before saying yes


Corporate culture may be the key to happiness at work. You can have an exceptional job offer, but if the culture is not a match, it could be problematic.

You deal with a lot—coworkers, the boss, and office politics. If you can’t succeed in a certain culture, you can’t succeed in the job.

Why Corporate Culture Matters

It is too simplistic to think that corporate culture is solely about mission and values. It manifests itself in other avenues, such as working overtime, availability of flextime and telecommuting, how people interact with each other, the dress code, benefits, professional development opportunities, how performance is evaluated, leadership style, and the decision-making process. In essence, everything is culture-driven.

When you have a pending job offer, primary consideration may be compensation, benefits, and perhaps the commute. Those are all significant factors, but when you are thinking about making a move, dig a little deeper.

Key Considerations Before Accepting the Job

1. How did you feel when during the interview?

It is normal not to feel completely at ease, but you should have some sense of feeling comfortable. During the interview, be a consummate observer—from the time you walk in until the time you leave.

Pay attention to the way you were greeted and how were you treated during the entire process. Were all communications professional, timely, and respectful?

If you hear a common theme in the questions the interviewer asks, that is a clue about what he or she will expect from you. For example: “Tell me about a time when your workload was particularly heavy. What steps did you take? “How do you establish priorities to never miss a deadline?”

Also observe how people interact with each other in the office—were they friendly or did you detect friction? Pay attention to how they act when their boss is around.

2. Can you thrive with the office vibe?

Is it a suit-and-tie culture when you are a business-casual person who loves jeans on Fridays? Is it the ever-popular open office space? I’m the quintessential introvert, and I know that an open office space would severely limit my performance. It is simply not how I work best. If that defines you as well, see if you can tour the office before you make a final decision. The physical space, noise level, and interactions with staff will all play a crucial part. There’s most likely not going to be a perfect environment, and all jobs will include some sort of give and take. The bottom line is to know your deal breakers so that your performance and satisfaction are not inhibited.

3. Is the company on firm financial footing?

Due diligence is the name of the game. If the company is public, you may be able to gather information on their financial stability from public filings and reports. If you are thinking about working for a government contractor, it is OK to ask about the length of the contract. If the contract is nearing an end, will they be able to place you elsewhere? You can also uncover information from a simple Google search and checking their social media mentions. You’ll be able to get a sense of whether there might be trouble ahead. Try to ascertain whether they have been adding jobs consistently or if hiring has been shrinking.

4. Will you be better off after taking this job?

Here is a million-dollar question: If you had to find a new job in the following year, will this job help you with your professional development? Before you start any job search, you should have a strategy. Accepting a new role should be a stepping stone that inches you closer to your career goals. By the same token, if you stay with this organization can you see a path of career development? Avoid exchanging one dead-end job for another one.

5. Can you respect and like the person to whom you will report?

Studies have shown that a significant number of people leave a position because of their boss. Having a great manager can make or break your work experience. When you’re in an interview, it is a two-way conversation. You owe it to yourself to ask questions. Find out how success will be determined. Learn as much as you can about your manager’s expectations beyond the job duties, as well as his or her leadership style. This will give you an indication of whether you’ll be working for a leader who is reasonable or one that will make you unhappy.

Jan Johnston Osburn

Joanna Gaines: Achieving a Work-Life Balance

Joanna and Chip Gaines

By Mackenna Cummings

Joanna Gaines is proof that finding the balance between nurturing a healthy, loving family and maintaining a powerful career is not only possible, but well worth it.

Somehow, she makes it all look easy, even though we know it’s not. She refers to herself this way: “Wife. Mom. Renovator. Designer. Shop owner. Homebody.” Most of us know her from her five-year run on the HGTV show Fixer Upper, which wrapped up filming in 2018. The show was an instant hit, and she and her husband, Chip, became household names and virtual friends to millions of Americans who enthusiastically tuned in every week—and who continue to catch daily reruns of the hit show.

These days, fans are also watching her spin-off series, Fixer Upper: Behind the Design. Now in its second season, the series features Joanna giving the stories behind her work bringing details and designs together for her season 5 Fixer Upper clients. She unveils surprises we didn’t see in the original episodes and gives us a peek at never-before-seen renovations. It seems we just can’t get enough of Joanna Gaines.

Big Business

She’s the author of At Home: A Blog by Joanna Gaines, as well as editor-in-chief of and regular contributor to The Magnolia Journal, her magazine that debuted in fall 2016. She’s also written numerous books on cooking, design and more, the latest of which is We Are Gardeners, a children’s book she coauthored with her children. Last fall, she completed her third collaboration on the charming children’s clothing line, Matilda Jane Clothing with Joanna Gaines. And she lives on a fully operating Texas farm, raising five young children with her husband.

Chip mugs for the camera on the sidewalk outside the ground-floor studio of the TODAY show during Joanna’s November 2018 interview.

Together, Joanna and Chip own the construction and design company Magnolia Homes, the basis for their hit show; a restaurant, Magnolia Table; a children’s furniture store, Magnolia Kids; Magnolia Realty, which serves various cities across Texas; their magazine, The Magnolia Journal; and the Magnolia Market, located in the renovated Magnolia Silos in Waco (and online at They also created the popular Hearth and Hand line of home and lifestyle goods, which can be found in Target stores across the country.

The Road Back to TV?

But in one of the most significant entries in Joanna’s planner has to be her recently announced plan to return to television. In November, Joanna and Chip broke the news on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon that they are working on a deal to get back on the small screen, and their spokesman John Marsicano confirmed the news to PEOPLE. “We’re excited to share that we are currently in the early stages of talking with Discovery about a lifestyle-focused media network for Magnolia,” Marsicano reported. “The details surrounding this opportunity remain a work in progress, but together, our hope is to build a different kind of platform for unique, inspiring and family-friendly content.” The two aren’t drifting too far from their original television home—Discovery Inc., also owns HGTV, so the new venture would part of the same family of networks.

Living Beyond Dreams

Why are people so hungry for more of Joanna Gaines? Because she’s the real deal—her humility and

Al Roker and the Gaines'
Chip Gaines, Al Roker and Joanna Gaines in April 2018

gratitude toward all she’s built comes through to her viewers and readers, and audiences connect to her in a way that makes them consider her a friend, not just a celebrity. She puts her heart and soul into everything she does, and it shows. Fans feel her love for her clients, her family, and every one of her business ventures. She’s comforting, calm, in control—and she is proof to other women that they can be, also.

“This entire business idea was born completely out of a dream I didn’t know could ever come to life,” Joanna said on “It’s truly only because a fiercely faithful, brave, and bold husband pushed me to pursue my dream that it ever came to be.” It’s clear that Joanna and Chip are a team that shares every project, every challenge, and every victory.

Finding the Balance

But really—how does the mom of five manage to do it all? Joanna has, over the years, revealed tips that have helped her triumph as a mother and businesswoman. Some of those tips were assembled by the Money & Career department of the lifestyle website CheatSheet®:

Don’t make being a mother and an entrepreneur separate roles. She finds ways to incorporate her children into her work, taking their suggestions on paint colors and even having them travel with her and her husband on work trips.

Be all in. To find success in both work and family, she says, you have to give everything you have to both. When she’s at work, she is all in, and when she’s home with her family, she’s all in there, too.

The Gardeners Book
Joanna Gaines’ newest book, We Are The Gardeners

Family is first. While her projects get 100 percent of her effort while she’s working on them, she’s adamant that family will always come before business. “The balance thing is hard because at first, that’s what I was trying to do, and I was kind of going crazy because at the end of the day, it’s hard to really balance anything,” she said.

Balance tasks to prevent life becoming all work and no play. Joanna believes her family’s outdoor hobbies bring a great balance to their busy work days. She gardens and raises livestock, and her children are an integral part of these hobbies, allowing the whole family to unwind and bond together.

Know that while being away from your kids is difficult, you’re teaching them by working hard. She’s satisfied with the example she’s setting for her children, teaching them the value of hard work and what it takes to succeed. “I explain that I have to work, just like they have to go to school,” she says.

Know your strengths and delegate duties to others on your team. It’s wise to rely on your support system for help in areas that aren’t your specialty. It relieves stress, even with something as small as accepting that Chip is best at swaddling and rocking their kids to sleep.

When one door closes another one opens. While the Magnolia Market was in fact Joann’s original dream, she was forced, early on, to close her beloved shop so the couple could refocus their goals on their realty company, Magnolia Homes. The success of Magnolia Homes and other enterprises led to the reopening of Magnolia Market on a much larger scale. In the same way, their decision to end their successful show Fixer Upper was reaffirmed when they discovered they were expecting baby number five, and that decision has now allowed them to consider even bigger ventures. Scaling back, changing course, or redefining a dream—it’s all part of the journey for Joanna.

Living With Purpose

Her journey began in Wichita, Kansas, where she was born before moving to Texas with her Korean mother and her Lebanese/German father. As a child, she was bullied for looking different from her classmates, which led first to confusion and then to insecurity. She earned a degree in communications from Baylor University’s Baylor Communication in New York but still wrestled with the doubts and fears that filled her childhood. Approaching her college graduation, she says she “had a revelation” to embrace her strong Christian faith and let it guide her to help other women who may have struggled as she did. “While I was in New York, I really felt like God was telling me that I would be able to help women who weren’t confident, who were looking for guidance, or who were lonely,” she told the magazine Darling. She just knew that her own pain would give her the tools to help those women who were hurting, because “I had felt that pain myself.”

From a place of wanting to help others, Joanna Gaines found success beyond her wildest imagination—proof you can choose to do it all and do it all well. Inspiring people to pursue their own dreams is still an important part of her life’s purpose. “The key to everything Chip and I have learned in our life together so far seems to be pretty simple: Go and find what it is that inspires you, go and find what it is that you love, and go do that until it hurts.”

Look for Professional WOMAN’s Magazine’s spring digital issue, featuring Joanna & Chip Gaines, live on March 15th!

Celebrating International Women’s Day


Every year on March 8th, women around the world come together to celebrate women’s social, economic, cultural and political achievements. International Women’s Day is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with all those fearless women standing up for gender equality and spotlight those who often pass unnoticed.

This year’s campaign theme—#BalanceforBetter—represents how, from grassroots activism to worldwide action, we are entering an exciting period of history where the world expects balance. Balance drives a better working world, and the better the balance, the better the world. “We notice its absence and celebrate its presence. Let’s all help create a #BalanceforBetter.”

The 2019 #BalanceforBetter campaign does not start or end on International Women’s Day—it runs all year long. Its theme provides a unified direction to guide and galvanize continuous collective action, with #BalanceforBetter activity reinforced and amplified all year.


Ethiopia’s First Woman President

Sahle-Work Zewde’s election as president of Ethiopia is a landmark in many respects. It is the first time in Ethiopia’s history that a woman is assuming this elected high office, a new milestone in Ethiopia’s trajectory towards women’s empowerment and effective participation in political decision-making. She is also Africa’s only serving head of state.


Brazil’s New Agriculture Minister
Tereza Cristina: Tereza Cristina, Brazil’s agriculture minister SERGIO LIMA/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Tereza Cristina, head of Brazil’s farmer’s caucus in the lower house, was named by President Jair Bolsonaro as agriculture minister. She is the first female cabinet member the president-elect has appointed and the second to hold the position, after Kátia Abreu.


First Female Mayor of Tunisia

After 160 years, and 32 mayors, the North African capital of Tunisia has elected its first-ever female mayor. Souad Abderrahim a self-made businesswoman said in an interview after being elected, “I am only one among many women who have struggled for years for equality.”


Haifa’s First Woman Mayor
Einat: Einat Kalisch-Rotem, mayor of Haifa, Israel EDWARD KAPROV
This past fall Einat Kalisch-Rotem made history as the first woman to become mayor in Haifa, one of Israel’s three largest cities. Kalisch-Rotem ran on an independent list with the “Living in Haifa” faction against the incumbent mayor, Yona Yahav, whom she defeated with 55 percent of the vote.


Japan’s First Female Fighter Pilot
Misa Matsushima: First Lieutenant Misa Matsushima of the Japan Air Self Defence Force poses in the cockpit of an F-15J air superiority fighter at Nyutabaru airbase in the outskirts of Miyazaki, Miyazaki in Japan JIJI PRESS/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
1st Lt. Misa Matsuhima made history this past summer when she became the first woman to qualify as a fighter jet pilot in Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF). “My longtime dream has come true. I want to become a fully-fledged pilot, no different from men, as soon as possible,” she said after a ceremony at an ASDF base.


Women Joining Front Lines in the British Army
Kat Dixon: Royal Wessex Yeomanry Tank Gunner reservist Lance Corporal Kat Dixon, 28, from Swindon in Southwest England BEN BIRCHALL/PA IMAGES VIA GETTY IMAGES
Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson announced that all roles in the military are now open to women. Lance Corporal Kat Dixon from Swindon, is one of the first to serve in a frontline role as a tank gunner in the British Army.


First Woman Wins Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race
Wendy Tuck: Wendy Tuck became the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race in 2018. MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Wendy Tuck from Australia made history this past summer when she became the first female skipper to win the Clipper Round-the-World Yacht Race. Tuck told the Australian Daily Telegraph, “I hate banging on about women. I just do what I do but I am very proud.”


What You Wear Matters


How to dress for your interview
By Mary Lorenz

As if job interviews weren’t stressful enough, what with trying to remember the right things to say and do, you also have to think about what you’re going to wear.

After all, interviews are all about showing yourself in the best possible light, and your interview outfit is part of that, says Heather Tranen, founder of Schtick, which offers career coaching and personal branding.

“Showing up to an interview polished and dressed appropriately for the role you are interviewing for shows that you put effort into yourself and into understanding the organization’s culture,” Tranen says. She adds that a good interview outfit can help with your confidence going into the interview. “If you feel great on the outside, it will calm the inner crazy person shrieking insecurities inside your head.”

Deciding What to Wear, When

You’ve likely heard the saying, “Dress for the job you want,” but it’s also important to dress for the company for which you want to work. While a suit used to be the universal standard, that’s not necessarily the case anymore.

“Lately it seems like hoodie culture of the Silicon Valley start-up world has replaced the boxy pantsuits of the Wall Street glory days,” Tranen says. “However, many industries still remain fairly traditional. While many companies are relaxing their dress codes, a lot of industries, such as finance and law, expect you to be on your suit A-game when you come in for an interview.”

Because there are no hard and fast rules anymore, your best bet is to do your homework ahead of time to figure out what the standard dress code would be for the role and company at which you’re interviewing.

6 Tips for Dressing for Job Interview Success

Because every company is different in what they consider appropriate workplace attire, here are some tips to ensure you dress for success every time.

  1. Do your homework. Don’t know much about the company? Tranen suggests engaging in “a little light internet stalking” to find out what the dress code is. Go on the company’s website, for example, to see if there are photos and videos of employees. “This can give you insight into the company’s overall vibe,” Tranen says. “Model yourself accordingly.” It’s also OK to ask a friend at the company, or seek out alumni from your college who may work there to gain insight.
  2. Err on the side of overdressing. “A good rule of thumb is to dress one level above what folks at the company wear on a day-to-day basis. For example, if they are business casual then it’s best to break out that suit collecting dust in the back of your closet,” Tranen says. (See “Decoding the Dress Code” below.)
  3. Pay attention to details. Make sure you always look polished. In other words, don’t show up in wrinkled, stained, ripped or ill-fitting clothing. Comb your hair, and check to make sure none of this morning’s spinach omelet ended up in your teeth. Consider keeping a small grooming kit with you for any last-minute touch-ups you may need.
  4. Keep it simple. You want the interviewer to focus on you, not your attire. “Avoid distracting an interviewer by embracing a simple approach to interview attire,” Tranen says. That means going easy on the jewelry, makeup, hair and clothing. Stay away from “outrageous” colors and patterns, as well as pieces that show off too much skin. “Let your awesomeness speak for itself through the answers you give throughout the interview.” That doesn’t mean you have to be boring, however. Tranen says investing in “a good, classic handbag or briefcase that can fit your interview materials comfortably…will make you feel both organized and stylish.”
  5. Put the perfume away. Once you’ve showered, shaved and applied deodorant, avoid the urge to “bathe yourself in cologne or perfume,” Tranen says. She recalls interviewing a job candidate whose scent was so powerful, it nearly made her sick. “Needless to say, he didn’t get the job.” In an interview, you want to be remembered for your skills, not your scent.
  6. Have a dress rehearsal. Tranen recommends always trying on your interview clothes before the day of the interview to prevent any possible wardrobe malfunctions. “If things don’t fit right anymore, if your go-to jacket is missing a button, or if the shirt you love is wrinkled, it gives you time to troubleshoot,” she says.

Decoding Dress Codes

Sometimes even asking about the dress code can still leave you confused. For instance, you might hear that a company is “business professional.” But what’s the difference between that and business casual? Or if a company describes its dress code as “casual,” how do you know what’s too casual? Here’s a cheat sheet to deciphering some of the most common office dress codes:

  • Business professional. In a business professional atmosphere, suits are the norm. Women might wear a skirt or pant suit with heels, while men may wear a blazer or suit jacket, button down shirt, suit pants, a tie and dress shoes.
  • Business casual. Forget the suit when interviewing at a business casual company. Men might opt to wear dress slacks or chinos, a button down or polo shirt, a belt and dress shoes. Women might consider wearing a conservative dress, or a blouse (or sweater) with a skirt or dress pants and dress shoes or boots.
  • Casual. When interviewing at a casual office, it’s still important to look polished and professional. (Save the jeans and flip-flops for when you actually have the job.) Men might consider wearing a long-sleeved dress shirt, khaki pants a belt, and dress shoes. Women might wear a collared shirt with pants or a pencil skirt, or a work dress.



Meet The 25-Year-Old Georgian Winemaker Named To Forbes’ 2019 30 Under 30 Europe List


In the village of Obcha, located in western Georgia, there’s seven acres of land where indigenous grapes grow without pesticides or fertilizers. The juice ferments inside traditional clay pots buried into the ground, called qvervi. Little is added over the next several months as the juice transforms into wine.

The result is Baia’s Wine – one of the most coveted labels coming out of Georgia today. It’s helmed by 25-year-old Baia Abuladze, a fourth-generation winemaker who grew up on the family farm, attended college in Tbilisi and started making her own wine just four years ago. She was named to Forbes’ 2019 30 Under 30 Europe list on Tuesday.

“I follow the old traditional methods and rules. They knew what to do and how important the land is,” says Abuladze, whose grandfather taught her to prune vines and pick grapes according to the moon cycle, a practice common among biodynamic winemakers today. “It’s really powerful to follow the moon. We do not have special equipment and other processes like stabilization by adding chemicals to fall back on.”

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