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1. Dump at the door: As you go into work, identify the personal problems/issues you need to "dump" while there. Work is stressful enough without carrying personal stressors too. You don't have time tend to these issues at work anyway. Get rid of your stresses by grabbing some index cards, writing down the issues and putting them away in a box until the workday is done.



2. Develop your plan: Take 15 minutes to plan your day. Know where you're going and how you're going to get there. Stay on your plan to help you focus. When you are focused, you are less overwhelmed. Less overwhelmed feelings equals less stress.


3. Focus, focus, focus: Though most people's tendency is to multi-task, it's often unproductive and stress inducing. Give your complete focus to one project or issue at a time. Once that is accomplished, move to the next.


4. Celebrate, celebrate, celebrate: Once you've focused and succeeded, don't rush to the next challenge. Take a few minutes to savor you success and let it sink in. It will make you feel good.


5. Stretch, bend and wiggle: While at your desk, do one minute of stretches, multiple times a day. It relieves tension and stress. Research will tell you short but frequent breaks give you the best "bang for your buck."

6. Move it, move it, move it: Don your tennis shoes, grab a colleague and walk during lunchtime. You'll come back reenergized and refreshed.


7. Quick—breathe: Do a 6/3/6, a quickie breathing exercise. Breathe in for a count of six, hold for three and release for a count of six. Works anywhere—in the elevator, at your desk or even before a stressful meeting with the boss.


8. Laugh it off: Keep cartoons, jokes and other humor inducing items near you. For me, it's Chuck. Chuck is a stuffed, wind-up hamster that sings "Kung Fu Fighting." No matter how stressed, hearing Chuck's squeaky little voice and watching him swing his nunchuck makes me laugh. Laughter's great because it sends stress busting endorphins throughout your body.


9. Reframe: Perspective changes what we view as stressful. What could you be happy about or grateful for? When the going gets tough, make the tough get going by gaining perspective.


10. Dump at the door, again: You know the drill. Leave the work at work. Unless you plan to actively do a work task at home, mentally leave it there!

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Get a Makeover, Honey

O.K., you may be thinking a makeover is every magazine’s solution to every problem, but if it is, it’s for a reason. Changing your appearance is one easy way to change your whole outlook. And when you change your outlook for the better, that in turn affects every other part of your life. Elementary, my dear Watson. So go out and get some splashy fall highlights and a few sleek wardrobe upgrades (think knee-high boots and anything romantic looking or street chic). Everyone at the office will be sure to notice you’re making the effort to take care of yourself, which will make them think you’re capable of the effort to pull off any project in any facet of your life, including work.

Evaluate and Share
A second great way to upgrade your career is to create a list of goals you have for the company and yourself with the company, and discuss these goals with your boss. Take some time and think about what you like and dislike about the company and your situation in it, and write your thoughts down accordingly. Sharing this goal sheet with your superior shows him or her that you’re not just zoning out from 9 to 5, you’re actually thinking, evaluating yourself and your surroundings in order to make you and the company as successful as possible. Your boss will be impressed by your initiative in making these goals, and may even reward your “get up and go” by making one or more of your goals a reality.

Company Picnic Time

Another effective way of revving up your career is to become more involved with your job’s extras. Have a company picnic coming up? Help organize it (and bring your famous potato salad). Any cause your company supports? Attend its next event. Putting your all into company-related, shall we say, extracurricular activities will again impress upon your boss that you are not only willing to put in the time during office hours, but also put in your extra time into the company as well. Your bosses are more likely to promote someone whose face they remember showing up frequently at company events rather than an equally experienced person who doesn’t socialize and runs to the car at 5:01.

Get Organized

It happens to all of us: we get caught up in a project or talking to a fellow employee and we forget all about that very important meeting that was set up the week before. To err is human, but erring in a very common way such as this can be career suicide. Avoid this problem by coming up with an organization system that works for you, be it a planner, text alerts on your phone or a desk calendar. Once an appointment has occurred, mark it off. Finish an assignment? Check it off. Color coding is another great way to organize — assign a certain task its own color, and you’ll be able to figure out what’s happening next in a glance. Never forgetting assignments or missing meetings will definitely impress itself upon your higher-ups, and again will do nothing but help when they’re deciding who will get that corner office.

Connect the Dots

Those who have been successful in the workplace will tell you that it’s all about who you know. And they’re right. Depending on the field, a person will often get a job based on who he or she knows instead of talent or expertise. So how do you get to know the right people and reap the “knowing someone” benefit? Go to places or events where you know there will be people who are influential or of some importance to your profession. Then, forge connections with these people. Even if you’re only an acquaintance of the district manager of the company you’re interested in working for, that’s still a foot in the door your competition doesn’t have.

Career success, just like any type of success, is assured if you’re willing to put in that extra effort and time. Your boss will know if your heart isn’t in your job, so invest yourself into your tasks and responsibilities, and the company will reward you by investing in you. (And you’ll reward yourself by investing in those Manolo Blahniks you’ve been dreaming about.)

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There is no face mask, wrinkle fighter or surgery that can help you now. Do you feel that your age shows? Well, at least in the workplace? Most women hope to age gracefully, but while we focus on how to stay looking young, we tend to forget how our career gets those fine lines too. The Generation X’ers (considered ages 19-34 in the workplace) are coming full speed ahead into the workforce, taking out anyone in their path. OK, so it might not be that extreme, but we are better known as the “me generation."

Generation X, Baby Boomers and Women

Women who have been in the workforce or at the same job, for 20 or more years have what the younger generations want — seniority. Whether it is raises based on longevity with the company or gaining rights because of loyalty, Baby Boomers have what Gen. X can’t have. However, the younger crowd has the technological skills and higher education that many older people don’t, but then again with age comes experience and knowledge.

The younger generation also has a completely different work ethic and belief system, making it that much difficult to breach the two generations. The older generation might wait to be told what to do, the younger generation tends to “just do it”. Where as Baby Boomers believe you get promotions for all the long, hard years put into the company, Generation X’ers believe you get paid for performance. The most common difference is education. Those from Generation X went to college, had accelerated classes in high school and for the better part of their late teens/early 20s, spent their time preparing themselves for careers. Baby Boomers worked their way up the ranks, sacrificing personal matters to keep their job, and had no pressure to obtain education after high school.

Being a woman in the mix of all this competition doesn’t help your cause either. Taking time off for having children or staying with them until they go to school can be a hard pill to swallow when entering the workforce again. An even bigger problem, numerous women in their 40s and 50s are entering the workforce for the first time. The statistic on divorce rates is scary enough, but women who are tossed into the dog-eat-dog world after ending a 20+ year marriage are finding themselves in uncharted territory.


Making the Change

Whether you are entering the workforce for the first time or have been loyal to your company for countless years, there are several ways to get noticed or keep your competitive advantage. Here are some helpful tips to give your career a face-lift:


Go back to school. If you already have a degree, enroll for a certificate program or associates degree. Try taking a class here or there to stay current in your field. There are many avenues to take with obtaining some sort of improved education, such as community programs, college courses or workshops offered by your employer. The Cincinnati area is great for continuing education with large universities, community colleges and fine arts programs.

Utilize the internet. If you are a stay-at-home mom and want to get a college degree before your kids get old enough for grade school, apply for online colleges. There are also an array of certificates you can obtain online from Microsoft applications to basic human relations skills.

Use the resources already at your fingertips. Many employers are now offering tuition reimbursement for college credits that can be applied to the business. Just keep a good grade and you can get a degree on the company’s dime!

See a career counselor. They can administer a personality test called the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, a Strong Interest Inventory or a combined MBTI/SIT. Career counselors specialize in helping find the right career for you and can be extremely beneficial when entering the workforce for the first time or feel it’s time for something new.

Get to know the younger generation. *GASP!* Yes, that is correct, talk to the Generation X employees. They can offer helpful hints with computer software and programs or can share innovative ways to get the job done differently. It can also aide in understanding them better. Many qualified, excellent young workers leave a company because they feel as though the older generation doesn’t get them, which can actually end up hurting the company. Who knows, you mind up picking up a few pointers from them.

So ladies, give your career a tummy tuck, lift or just polish up your already good looks and show the youngins’ whose in charge — we’ll talk about changing that wardrobe later.

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Last night the club was hot and so were you, but this morning is a different story. Your head is pounding and you give the term “something the cat drug in” a whole new meaning. Aspirin, coffee and a shower might not be the cure-all for your wild night, but you still manage to make it to work. But should you have stayed home to recoup? Or was facing the blinding fluorescent lights of the office the better choice?

The Problem is Closer than You Think
Most people can agree that alcohol and work don’t mix, unless you’re a bartender. The surprising fact when it comes to alcohol abuse is that it is not the clinical alcoholics that cause the most problems for companies; it’s the social and light drinkers doing the most damage. New research by the University of California shows 87 percent of alcohol-related problems in the workplace are caused by light to moderate drinkers. The prime suspect of these problems? Hangovers.

Researchers say that while in a hungover state, a person’s ability to focus and concentrate is lowered. While some think they can focus just enough to get the work done, they’re actually more susceptible to making mistakes. While we’re inebriated, we can recognize our inability to function, whereas with a hangover, we think we’re hurting but sober, but actually the opposite is true: we aren’t fully aware, which leaves a gaping hole for errors.

The Costs of Alcohol in the Workplace
Another sobering fact? The cost to businesses due to alcohol abuse in the United States is the highest in the world. Measurable factors include absenteeism, loss of productivity, theft, health insurance claims, injuries and fatalities. Estimates by the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) place costs at $100 a year, while other studies show it to be as high as $148 billion.

The NCADI and The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) show these staggering (no pun intended) statistics that drug and alcohol users:

  • Use three times as many sick days
  • Are five times more likely to file a worker’s compensation claim
  • Are more likely to have worked for more than three employers in the past year
  • Are more likely to injure themselves and others

Alcohol just doesn’t affect the one who consumes the brew. The DOL reports that one in five workers have been put in danger or injured, and have had to work harder, or re-do work, due to another employee’s drinking.

Family members are also affected by another’s alcohol abuse. A study conducted by the Hazelden Foundation shows that 26 percent of American workers surveyed reported abuse within their family. Effects on family members range from “drifting away” or distracted thoughts, missing deadlines, attendance issues to errors in normal judgment — one in seven even say that a family member’s addiction made he or she forget safety or security procedures.

What to Do If There Is a Problem
Alcoholism is recognized today as a disease, affecting no particular race or group from the lowest paid worker to the CEO. It is important to know your company’s policy on alcohol abuse. Some are approved to do on-the-spot testing, while others can suspend an employee until further notice up to termination. In some industries such as the FAA or the DOT, you can lose your license or ability to be employed until you can show proof you have gone through rehab and counseling.

Many companies offer substance abuse help through their Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Help is not just available for the abuser, but to their family members as well.

If you or someone you know needs help, here are a few sources:

  • The National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Center 1-800-784-6776
  • American Council on Alcoholism (800) 527-5344
  • Alcohol Abuse and Crisis Intervention (800)-234-0246
  • Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, National Treatment Hotline 1-800-662-HELP
  • National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information 800-729-6686

Or if you’re a social drinker and you plan on attending one of Greater Cincinnati’s fine entertainment establishments, think about where you’ll be in the morning. Try only taking $20 cash into the bar with you, or for every alcoholic drink you have, drink a glass of water to match. If it’s the nightlife you like and not the liquor, go for virgin drinks or non-alcoholic beer. Have fun and enjoy yourself; just be safe and remember the repercussions come morning!

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If you need to find your dream job before moving on to a better opportunity, you need to go back to bed and take up where you left off: dreaming. Careers, like relationships, are bred over time and rarely are created out of kismet.

My name is Ella Kallish and I am a career marketing specialist. I can help you define and successfully market your professional talents and skills to achieve better opportunity. When you are ready to look for opportunity, you will need to ask and answer a few important questions about yourself first: Who am I? What do I want? and How do I get there?

While these questions seem simple, their answers will provide the building blocks of a successful search. The creation of a resume is your cornerstone. It should speak to your work experience, skills, achievements, education and extracurricular and or professional organization achievements.

Your jobs, promotions and professional reputation often depend on the success or failure of your written and oral communication skills. One of the most important written tools in your professional life will be your resume. Consider the following six planning steps when constructing your resume:

  1. Define Purpose
  2. Know who your audience will be
  3. Choose the messages you want to convey
  4. Collect accurate and exact facts (dates of employment, etc)
  5. Outline and organize your message. The order in which you present your ideas is often as important as the ideas themselves. Disorganized writing reflects disorganized illogical thought processes or careless preparation. (Herta A. Murphy & Herbert W. Hildebrandt, "Effective Business Communications." McGraw-Hill, Inc. 1991)
  6. Edit message – proofread

To deliver a clear and winning message in a resume, you will need to structure, edit, revise and proofread a few times. Make sure that you are consistent in the format and word usage presented throughout your resume by following the Six C's of business communication principles:

  1. Completeness: Check for the five W's – who, what, where, when and why and also how.
  2. Conciseness: Shorten or omit wordy expressions, include only relevant statements and avoid unnecessary repetition. Example: "I was responsible for the development of an analysis group that supported sales and marketing" vs. "Developed an analysis group to support marketing and sales." Prune irrelevant words and get to the point. Drop bridge words like "a," "I," "and," "the," "it" and "also."
  3. Consideration: Think of your reader. Speak about your accomplishments and contributions – stay away from "we" where possible – a company is hiring you, not your group. Apply integrity and ethics when constructing information.
  4. Clarity: Be clear, choose words that construct effective sentences and paragraphs. Remember, complete messages save time and move the process along more quickly. Also, briefly define the business for which you work to establish context of your experience for reader.
  5. Concreteness: Use action verbs in stating achievements. Example: "Was part of a group" vs. "Led a group." Other common action verbs are: developed, directed, edited, implemented, transformed, published, analyzed, created. Compose strong sentences and choose vivid, image-building words.
  6. Correctness: Use the right level of language, include only accurate facts, words and figures. Use parallel structures; make sure that you are consistent in the format and word usage presented throughout your resume. Apply integrity and ethics when constructing information.

The Six C's sounds like a lot to consider, but consider this: In a competitive job market, the deciding factor between you or an equally skilled competitor getting the opportunity may very well come down to how well you have presented yourself.

Work on this exercise: Write or rewrite your resume and send it to me for review! You may e-mail me at:


Dear Ella,
I told my boss two weeks ago that I was resigning my position after I was given a verbal offer from a new company. Today was my last day at work, but I still don't have a definitive start date. What should I do?
– Out Of Work

Dear Out Of Work,
Well, it's a little late to close the barn door after the horse is out of the stables – but for the rest of my readers: NEVER give notice until you have an offer in writing from your new employer. This offer letter is legal and binding and cannot be canceled or pulled unless it was entered into fraudulently by you or was contingent on reference checks that ultimately did not prove acceptable. My advice to you is to contact the human resource director of your prospective employer and let them know that you are now out of work based on their offer and you need a formal start date faxed or e-mailed to you immediately.

If they do not offer you a start date within one week's time from your call (always follow up with a written letter recapping your conversation and snail mail it to them certified, return receipt requested), consult a human resource or corporate attorney. It is important to present your attorney with all written correspondence exchanged between the prospective employer and yourself (hopefully you have saved e-mail exchanges, faxes, letters and so on); this will help to establish a "meeting of the minds" or intent of parties involved. Good luck and let me know what happens.

Written by Ella Kallish
All rights reserved
Additional information on Ella Kallish may be found at



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How many of you just show up for work and that’s it? Do you only care about punching the clock and simply getting your job done? For some people, work is work. You show up on time, do what’s expected and go home for the day. However, for others it can be more. It is the sense of accomplishing something, completing a measurable task by the end of the day. There is a sensation that needs to be filled of worth and value—the desire to be wanted and needed by your coworkers.

In either case, it is very important to know where you stand in the company. When using the phrase "where you stand," you can cover quite a few areas. Have you been in trouble? Do you work well with others? Does your superior see growth for you? Is a raise in your future, or a pink slip? Knowing the answers to key questions like these can make all the difference in your workday, no matter what your philosophy is on getting the job done.

Important Things to Know

Most organizations complete monthly, quarterly or yearly reviews. These are not only tools to give you feedback on your work and help improve your job performance, but can also be used in determining raises AND whether retribution is needed. The reports should cover basic criteria, such as:

  • Attendance
  • Tardies
  • Rates
  • Percent of sales

Your review should also cover additional comments on:

  • Management observations
  • Individual goals
  • Company goals
  • Room for improvements
  • Quality suggestions

Businesses vary on what they “grade” an employee on, but you should always know the basics. There are many different methods for performance appraisals, but the most popular is a method known as Goal Setting, more commonly called management by objectives. There are several factors and requirements involved, but in a nut shell, the objective is to set a clear understanding of work to be done by the employee and establish action plans to achieve the objectives. This of course needs to be done on a regular basis so that your work and any other barriers can be discussed between you and a supervisor.

Things You Should Watch Out For

When there isn’t a clear-cut, documented source in front of you, there are things you can look for to gauge where you stand. It is important to keep a self-inventory of your own performance even when you aren’t being reviewed. This can help prepare you for future discussions of your goals within the company, as well as preventing those accumulated tardies from sneaking up on you.

Here are five easy tips for keeping tabs on yourself:

  1. Use an attendance calendar to track any absences, tardies or time off. Typically, an administrative assistant should have one for the current year with an easy coding system.
  2. Take a look around you. Does your desk look unorganized? Are there stacks of uncompleted work? Having your workload under control not only shows that you are completing the tasks given to you, but also that you probably know where everything is — a big plus in great time management skills. Both of which result in bonus points when proving you are worthy of that raise.
  3. Watch who and what you talk about. By doing this, you can maintain complaints from coworkers and keep foul talk at bay. Knowing you are ethical and abide by the code of conduct curbs any disciplinary action, or even worse — a trip to Human Resources.
  4. Compare yourself to your peers. Do you keep up with work flow and production? Do you step up to take on projects more than others? Recognizing your hard work (or lack of) can either set your mind at ease that you are doing or good job, or light a fire under your rear to put forth more effort.Remember old reviews, poor marks on your record, disciplinary actions, etc and simply change your actions! Making self-improvements keeps you out of trouble, and shows that you took corrective action (which will more than likely pop up on your next review).

If you are competing for a higher position, or looking for a promotion, take all the different things the business looks at into consideration. They can range from many factors including:

  • Seniority
  • Education
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Age
  • Effort
  • Work historyLevel/difficulty of job
  • Responsibilities

Even if you don’t appear to be qualified by the listed standards, just showing interest and initiative goes a long way. Just because you have only been there one year and the other gal has been there ten, it's always good to let the company know your interests — so (pardon the cliches here) stick your neck out, go out on a limb or take a shot in the dark to put your best foot forward!

If there is ever a time where you are concerned about your job, talk to someone about it. Even though you might not get a straight answer, you can at least find areas of opportunity. Of course events like layoffs or business closings are out of your hand, but termination or getting rejected for that promotion is not. There is always room to improve; even when we think we are the epitome of perfection, or at least as close as it comes.

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You haven't even passed over hump day and you are as backed up as a line for the ladies room. The thought of staying late or working on Saturday has given you a migraine that no pill can fix and your boss is already on your case about your extra hours.

There just never seems to be enough time in the day to get everything done. Eight hours barely allows you to skim the surface, and putting in more hours at the office takes away from everything on your personal life's "to-do" list.

Don't Get Personal
With the Internet, that is. According to a survey done by, 44.7 percent of polled workers say web surfing is their biggest distraction. Save checking your personal e-mail or Web pages for your lunch time (it's okay to finish this article, though).

Turn off the news alerts. They are wonderful features, but evaluate how often you get one and then read other stories that have been posted.

"Oh my gosh, you won't believe what I just heard!" Stop it right there! As much fun it is to talk with your neighbor and share your personal lives, it kills a ton of good work time.

Make a List
Write down a list of time specific items (such as meetings, conference calls or package pickups) and a list of items you need to complete. Completing time specific items first helps a ton when getting the smaller things finished.

Prioritize your "to-do" list. A good rule of thumb is categorizing items as urgent, important and neither. In a work diary or planner, break down tasks by time. Plan out your day, allowing time for interruptions or emergencies, and stay on task. Example: 9:00-10:00 check e-mails, 10:00-11:00 research statistics for report, etc).

It's All about Timing
Work on the more difficult tasks when you are at your best. If you know you hit the afternoon slump after lunch, try working on something that doesn't take so much thought and focus then.

Get the dirty work done pronto. Don't wait until Friday, 10 minutes before you leave, to approach someone about a problem.

Set up a specific time of day that you aren't to be disturbed. Having the "open door policy" is one thing, but taking it literally is another. It doesn't hurt to close it for an hour or so, just let people know that you aren't to be interrupted except for emergencies.

Take your lunch or breaks at the times of day when you loose your perk, or when it's not important to be around the building. If you can, flex your schedule to come in early. You can avoid rush hour traffic, and have a quiet peaceful office to yourself.

Get It Done in Groups
Allot specific times of the day to check and respond to e-mails. Close your e-mail when you are done and don't open it until you have another time set aside. Stopping what you are doing to read, answer and fulfill e-mail requests interrupts your thought process, schedule and efficiency.

Make your phone calls in one sitting. Gather all information needed before making calls and go down the list. Go through your inbox in one sitting. Trash or shred documents that aren't needed, and immediately file those that are of relevance. Have piles of documents to be filed? Grab your headset, let someone know you are away filing and do it all at once.

Hang It Up!
Don't waste time holding while the person you are calling for is found. Just say, "I'll give them a call back around 'state time,'" or leave a message.

If you have an associate answering your phone at work, let them know when to forward calls to your voicemail. If it is a telemarketer of sorts, immediately have them transferred to your voicemail. Let them know when you are busy and are not taking calls, as well.

Keep the personal calls to the bare minimum on both your cell phone and office phone. That includes text messages!

Get Healthy
Eating more nutritious foods can help give you the extra energy to make it through the work day, even those pre-lunch hunger pangs.

Skip the vending machine all together. Not only are you wasting your money, you are wasting time putting your work down, traveling to the vending area and eating your snack (Cheeto dust orange finger prints won't qualify as an "artistic touch" to the presentation due to your boss today).

And get plenty of proper sleep. This helps avoid that mid-week burnout, and keeps you from making those "lead eye" mistakes that take up more time to go back to correct.

Utilize Co-workers
Depending on what age range you fall in, sit next to someone in a different generation. Studies show that people in the younger generations work not only harder, but better, when they sit next to someone in 50+ age bracket. For those in the 50+ age bracket, you can pick up fresh ideas, and newly-taught techniques, from the young pup in the cube next to you.

Delegate any extra work to another worker. *GASP* But that means you have to let go of control! It's a win-win, trust me. You clear up time for your serious projects, and empower others at the same time.

Just Say "No"
If you know you don't have time, don't take on the extra project. It can take away from the quality of all of your work, and possibly backfire when you don't get something finished on time.

Cut out the meetings. If it's not necessary for you to be there, request to have a copy of the minutes and utilize the time to get work done. If you need to hold a meeting, try setting the time for an hour before lunch to avoid going over.

Keep this in mind: as much as some like their overtime checks, it is important to remember that you aren't always guaranteed to have it, and not everyone has this luxury. It is smart, personally and professionally, to live within the means of a normal 40 hour day. By trying these tips you can learn to get everything done, while still sticking to the timespan of 9-5.


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In order to make your life less stressful, it is very important to learn about your personality style, the strengths and limitations associated with that style and with whom your personality is most compatible. Personality Plus is the name of a book by Florence Littauer, and it helps you understand your personality and how you interact with others.

By understanding these personality types, you're able to better understand the people around you and learn how to interpret their actions based on their individual personality styles. This will remove some of the guesswork and will eliminate the desire to prematurely jump to conclusions, which often leads to tension and conflict within the work environment.

According to Littauer's Personality Plus, these are the four main personality types and characteristics:

Choleric: This is the commander-type. Cholerics are dominant, strong, decisive, stubborn and even arrogant.

Melancholy: This is the mental-type. Their typical behavior involves thinking, assessing, making lists, evaluating the positives and negatives and general analysis of facts.

Sanguine: This is the social-type. They enjoy fun, socialising, chatting, telling stories – and are fond of promising the world, because that's the friendly thing to do.

Phlegmatic: This is the flat-type. They are indifferent, unexcitable and relaxed.

Positives and Negatives
None of these types are specifically described as positive or negative – each having upsides and downsides. The book makes it clear that the characteristics are for observing and identifying, rather than judging.

  • A Choleric is focused on getting things done, but can run rough-shod over others. They are decisive and stubborn.
  • A Melancholy is a planner, making sure things happen, although sometimes they can paralyse themselves with over-analysis. Lists and "doing things the right way" are characteristics of this personality type.
  • A Sanguine gets on well with people and can get others excited about issues, but cannot always be relied upon to get things done. They love interacting with others and play the role of the entertainer in group interactions. They have a tendency to over-promise and under-deliver.
  • A Phlegmatic is neutral – they tend not to actively upset people, but their indifference may frustrate people. They try not to make decisions, and generally go for the status quo.

The Personality Plus system is less about identifying a person's profile, and more about the implications that may have for group interactions. As such, it is used in sales and negotiation training, and for understanding group dynamics in business.

A Choleric might get frustrated by a Phlegmatic who doesn't seem to want to get things done now. This pairing however can work well, though, because Cholerics tend to tell people what to do, and Phlegmatics tend to do what they are told. This coupling often have relationships with each other – although interestingly this may introduce a downward spiral, where the Choleric becomes increasingly commanding, and the Phlegmatic becomes more indifferent through their interactions.

Melancholies might make lists and work through them point by point, and get frustrated by Sanguines who tend to bounce from one idea to the next, often without completing the first.
A simplification might be that a Choleric likes it "my way," a Melancholy likes it "the right way," a Sangine likes it "the fun way" and a Phlegmatic likes it "any way."


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The humidity has arrived, Kings Island is jumping, and all the hot acts are on their way to Riverbend.  Its Cincinnati’s way of saying, "summer's here!"

The time of year is upon us that makes memories and sets the stage for unforgettable trips to escape the daily grind. Here are some tips on how to schedule that much needed time off and what to do before you leave.

Compared to other countries, Americans receive the fewest vacation days per year. According to, Americans take an average of 13 vacation days, which is dismal compared to Japan's 25, Canada's 26, Britain's 28, France's 37 and Italy's whopping 47! So what can you do to help leave the worries of work behind?

Regardless if you are an hourly employee, salaried manager or owner, there are some basic guidelines and "to-dos" we should all try to follow.

  1. Make sure that time is available. Before you book flights, hotels or other accommodations, check to see if you can even take off. Many, if not all, companies require submission of a vacation request.
  2. Notify clients, customers and fellow employees that you will be out of the office. Two weeks is the minimum, but try to give as much notice as early as possible. Let them know who they can contact in your absence, their contact numbers and e-mail address.
  3.  Take care of all forms of communication. Many e-mail programs have "out of office" messages you can set up, or your IT department can help. Change your voice-mail or set up a message that directs the caller to contact your designated person. Also, make arrangements for your faxes to be picked up and taken care of. Instead of saying you are on vacation, out of the country or nobody is at the building, state that you are out of the office and what date you will return. For small business owners or home businesses, this announces to thieves that the coast is clear to break in.
  4. Take an inventory of recently completed, current and future projects. Try to finish as much as you can before you go so nothing sits while you are gone. This also helps ease the apprehension of coming back to an overflowing workload. It's a good idea to give a heads up, or go over any possible problems that might arise with certain accounts or projects with some other workers.
  5. Try to cross train. Even though another person might not know everything there is about your job, it is very helpful to have someone who knows the basics just incase something needs to be done. Pass on any odd jobs or office duties that you are responsible for such as stocking the restroom, maintaining the copy and fax machine, turning off fans or lights, etc. Many of these things go unseen—there isn't a paper fairy who stocks the 8½x11 tray every night while everyone is gone.

Being a location manager or business owner makes it a little harder to take planned vacation time. You might be able to sneak out of the office early or take extended lunches, but actually leaving for days on end can leave a lot of open holes in the daily business. Besides covering the tips listed above, don't forget about these items:

  1. Make sure that all checks are signed and bills are paid. Get together with whoever receives mail or handles accounting to make sure that all bases are covered.
  2. Stock your petty cash, and if needed, leave a check for a designated person to cash in case of an emergency.
  3. Leave emergency contact information for any maintenance problem that might arise such as the electrician, phone, computer systems, etc. This also includes your emergency information—and stress "emergency". The point of taking a vacation is to get away from the office, not have it calling you. Don't want to sound too stern? Joke and say, "Unless the building is on fire, I'll be at the beach!"
  4. Arrange for you confidential documents to be handled accordingly. Designate a trusted employee to handle your e-mail, snail mail, faxes or voice-mail. If you would rather keep all documents unopened until you return, at least have someone collect any items that arrive for you.
  5. Have your employees give you a list of items or issues they need to address with you before you leave. Take care of any problems or questions—this helps set your mind and theirs at ease.

Being a business owner, it can be hard to let go of control. This can really put your business, and staff, to the test to see how well it functions without you. Even though when the cat's away, the mice will play, try to trust your workers that they will do their job. Even with the freedom they might feel with you being gone, they will still get their tasks completed – probably to avoid retribution when you return – but they will work.

If you still feel more comfortable calling to check in, keep in minimal, once or twice and only talk to one designated person (probably the same person handling your communications). Whether you call daily or once, it is a good idea not to call at the beginning and end of your vacation. It's your time away from work, enjoy it!

If you have vacation time, use it. It is important to take time off, both physically and mentally. Some companies offer payment for vacation time not used, and while it is tempting to get an extra check on your anniversary date, relaxing poolside for a few days is well worth it. Vacation time is given to you for a purpose, so don't feel bad taking time off or feel that you are burdening others with your absence.

Finally, try taking vacation time for extended periods rather than one day here, another day there. You will feel much more relaxed once as you get to unwind and breathe for more time than a three day weekend. Also, ease back into the work week. Avoid flying in at 8:00 on a Sunday night, only to turn around and head to work at 7:00 the next morning. Take a day or two to slip back into reality before slamming yourself with work less than 24 hours of heading home from the beach.

Now if only you could only figure out what it is you forgot to pack…



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Put those endless 9 to 5, pencil-pushing, desk-sitting doldrums to an end by taking a step beyond the desk into a new job opportunity: real estate.

Many professionals are drawn to real estate because of the freedom, excitement and – if you’re good at it – hefty pay. “Your own dedication affects your paycheck,” says Meghan Ferguson, agent with Coldwell Banker West Shell. “If you’re a go-getter, you get paid accordingly.”

Agents are also drawn to the opportunity to set their own hours – making their own appointments, days off, etc. Ferguson chooses to work every day, unless she’s in another city: “I’m out of town a lot more than I used to be,” she laughs.

Others become agents because they have the disposition for the business. Ferguson was one of these: “My father was a salesman and always pushed me toward it, but I was always like, ‘Ugh.’ I thought it was all corporate,” Ferguson says. “But then I realized that sales was just building relationships and helping people. I’d already been doing that my whole life. It seemed like the perfect fit for me.”

Aside from the monetary benefits, selling real estate can be a positive experience, Ferguson says. “Every time you go after a sale or project, you set a goal for yourself and your client. Helping them in a very important step in their lives is very rewarding,” she says.

Real estate is generally acknowledged as a fast-paced profession, so one thing to keep in mind before committing is deciding whether you can juggle the rest of your life (family, hobbies, etc.) with the market. “It is possible,” Ferguson says. “You end up having to schedule that time. Put your family commitment first, and schedule your appointments around that.”

Training to become an agent takes six weeks if the classes are everyday, but you can accommodate it to your lifestyle, Ferguson says. “Some people who have another job can still keep that job. It’s pretty flexible in that sense,” she says. Some real estate companies will pay for future agents’ training, once that prospective agent is officially licensed and under contract with that agency.

The first integral step to real estate is getting a mentor, someone who’s been in the business for a long time, Ferguson says, since the fast-paced market can be scary when you’re starting out. “It’s better to team up with somebody who knows their business, and then change their technique to work for you,” she says.

Although newcomers to the market can get started fairly quickly, Ferguson advises future agents to put money aside before beginning training. “Go in expecting not to make money your first year. And if you do, that’s fine. But if you can stick to it for a full year, your second year will pay you back,” she says.

According to Ferguson, by the second year, the agent has forged connections with clients, which in turn yields referrals, some of which Ferguson says she had no idea how they’d heard of her. “I don’t have to go out and actively pursue leads, but in the first year, that’s all you’re focused on.”

More experience also brings a specialty, whether an agent’s expertise is in selling condos, homes, land or property. Ferguson recommends trying them all, and then going with the one you feel most comfortable with.

Another decision to consider in real estate is which company you should become a part of. Different companies offer different benefits and programs, so finding a company that fits your needs is essential.

Cincinnati-based Huff Realty is very agent-centric, says Joy Amann, chief operating officer of the Ft. Mitchell location.

“The ability to facilitate and manage it to its final success is all provided for our agents and clients alike in a manner that just really gives them a competitive advantage,” Amann says.

Huff also pays for continued education classes, says Angie Sabet, an agent with Huff Realty for nine months. “I interviewed with three managers before I chose Huff,” she says. “During training, I followed my poor manager around for weeks before I felt comfortable enough to be on my own.”

Chuck Thompson, owner of EXIT Realty’s Cincinnati branch, says EXIT differs from other realty companies in many ways, namely in different programs set up to reward exemplary agents.

The way an agent’s commission is split is one of EXIT’s benefits. Most agents start out with 50/50 at other companies, Thompson says. EXIT, however, splits commission 70/30 no matter what, but agents who have earned $100,000 in gross commission in one year earn 90 percent of profits for the rest of the year.

EXIT agents are also rewarded for referring other agents for the company, Thompson says. If an agent refers another agent to EXIT, he or she will receive 10 percent of the gross commission every time the referral closes a deal, with a maximum of $10,000 given per agent per year, just for sponsoring.

This referral percentage is rewarded to an agent even after the agent has left the company (as long as the agent doesn’t join another real estate company) at 7 percent of the commission, and after death, 5 percent of each referral’s commission is given to the agent’s beneficiary.