Famous crisis manager Judy Smith laughs at the job mistakes that keep the rest of us awake at night. Take her advice to look good at work and rest easy.
Famous crisis manager Judy Smith laughs at the job mistakes that keep the rest of us awake at night. Hey, if she can rehab Michael Vick's image, she can definitely smooth things over for you. Take her advice to look good at work and rest easy.
You're applying for a new job after being fired or laid off from your last one. The hiring manager wants to know why you left that position.
"Steer clear of the word fired if you can! You never know if they'll call your last employer, but you can address that hiccup on your résumé by saying something like, 'It wasn't a good fit for me any longer, and I'm ready for a new opportunity.' If you were laid off, talk about the division-wide cuts that were made that just happened to include you. But avoid taking on a 'woe is me' tone that makes the pink slip seem personal."
You've been working on a big assignment, but it's taking far longer than you had anticipated. You don't want to miss your deadline, but you know that if you turn it in now, it won't be your best work.
"One of the classic mistakes people make when things aren't going right is to resort to lies. Inventing excuses will only make matters worse for you when the truth comes out. That said, always find the positive angle instead of jumping to what you've done wrong. Try this tack instead: 'That assignment you gave me really isn't up to the standard that I'm used to handing in, so I want to spend another day working on it. Is it okay if I get it to you tomorrow morning?' There's probably a little wiggle room with your deadline, and it's fine to buy time if it turns a poor job into something praise-worthy."
Your manager spots a mistake in a team project you worked on. You immediately realize it's your fault, but fessing up will put you in her crosshairs.
None! "Sometimes you have to own your mistakes. Never let someone else take the fall for you--it'll ruin your future credibility. Come clean immediately: 'I'm sorry, that was my fault. If we have time to correct it, please let me do that. It won't happen again.' Is your boss going to be disappointed? Yes, but there's something to be said for demonstrating honesty and integrity."
You have to collaborate with a difficult coworker to finish a project. She's the type to shirk responsibility and lay blame on whomever she can. You've seen other colleagues get burned by her in the past, and you don't want that happen to you.
"Put everything in writing. Work crises often result from miscommunications. No one ever really wins a he-said/she-said blame game, but if you've got emails to support your position, you're golden. So exchange email status updates that will protect you if things blow up."
Judy Smith is the author of the new book Good Self, Bad Self. Kerry Washington stars in the ABC show Scandal, inspired by Judy's career.