You Only Have So Much To Give

You have to love working for a Manager who demands you give it all you’ve got; then when you empty the tank, they question your commitment and willingness to go above and beyond. Where exactly do they think that extra energy is going to come from when you’ve nothing left to give?

Imagine an hourglass if you will, just turned upside down and the grains of sand rushing out the narrow opening and spilling into the bottom half. When those grains are falling, let’s see your productivity at it’s highest. There’s so much sand in the upper half, pressure and gravity come together to keep the sand moving quickly. However, as time elapses, so too does the quantity of sand remaining. Much of the sand is spent and collected in the bottom half, and there’s less pressure being exerted on the remaining grains. Some might actually adhere to the glass and not fall through without a gentle tap on the sides. Eventually, all the grains drop and there’s no more to be had; your productivity is similarly spent.

Like that hourglass, you’re energy is done, you’ve left it all on the work floor. While it’s easy to reach over and flip that hourglass so the process can be repeated, people don’t work the same way. Oh sure we all have some reserves to tap into, but those reserves are also finite. You just can’t keep expecting an inexhaustible amount of energy to be exerted of anyone. People are not perpetual motion machines.

Here’s where the hourglass analogy fails though. When looking at the hourglass, we can visually see how much sand is in each end. We can then at a glance tell how much is left for the upper half of the hourglass to give. People on the other hand; you and me, not so easy to tell at a glance how much we’re holding back and how much we’ve got left to give – if any.

When you go out to buy an hourglass, you’ll find big ones, small ones, and some timers that look like an hourglass only have enough sand to fall for a minute. Others are 3 minutes, 30 minutes etc. In other words, while we might mistakenly ask for an hourglass, we don’t actually want one where the sand will fall for an hour. We still might call it an hourglass. It’s really a sand timer or sand clock.

In your workplace, you can probably think of people who seem to have an abundance of energy. They are productive when they first arrive to work and they seem to pick up speed as the day goes on and when they leave at the end of the day, they still have a bounce in their step. Just as easily, you know the other types of people where you work who start off productive and in short order they need a break to recharge. They go in spurts, needing breaks or their lunch/dinner time to find the energy needed to complete their work and then they race out the door at the end of the day, entirely spent.  Different people, different sizes of hourglasses if you will.

Poor managers don’t get this though. They see some employees as if they were intentionally holding back, tipping their hourglass at a 45 degree angle so some sand remains lodged in the upper half and not giving it their all. Even when someone looks exhausted, the poor manager has a pep talk or cracks a whip expecting more; expecting the employee to jump up and be fully productive as if they just flipped that hourglass. But each employee is a varying size of sandglass. What some supervisors fail to understand is that by the time someone arrives at work, they’ve already spent some of the energy they had earlier. Not everyone arrives fresh, fully ready to go, and not everyone works at the same pace. Some have to work conservatively if they are to make it through the day. Unfortunately, some in management hold up the one employee as a shining example for the rest and compare each employee to the one with the seemingly endless energy. “I need you to be more like ________.”

Rest, sleep, drink, food and time; these are some of the typical things people need to re-energize. We can only give so much and then if we aren’t provided with ways to build our energy back up – or we fail to take measures ourselves to increase our stores of energy, we’re in trouble. Our bodies will take measures into their own hands and either illness or total exhaustion will shut us down. Our brains might be willing, but our bodies only have so much to give.

So we have to look out for ourselves and for each other. When you work for a good manager or supervisor, they get this too. Sure there are times when the old, “we all have to give more” speech rally’s us for a short-time. But when that short period evolves into our everyday work environment, don’t be surprised when staff start failing; calling in ill, taking time off more often, perhaps leaving for other jobs, or taking mental health leaves. The accumulative impact of this is the same workload spread even more upon those remaining. You can’t get more out of those already giving it their all.




Be Punctual

On the last day of each workshop I facilitate, it is a practice of mine; for all of us who work where I do, to give each participant the opportunity to provide us with some written feedback. It is this feedback which gives us the necessary information to improve on future presentations. Every so often someone suggests there should be implications for those who consistently run late.

Make no mistake; having peers who run late on a consistent basis is one of the most frustrating things for punctual people and for those who lead presentations. Facilitators like me are always in an awkward situation; do we start on time and leave others to catch up on their own when they arrive, or do we fill in the time with some alternate activity which doesn’t appear to be a filler but is, so that no one misses the essentials? Quite frankly, another issue is one of concern; is the person okay, are they delayed for 5 minutes, 15 minutes or perhaps not coming at all?

Well, if you’re someone who feels those consistently arriving late are being disrespectful and that something should be done, let me assure you there are in fact implications. But wait, some of you might run to the defence of folks with such behaviour. Perhaps they come from a long distance, (leave earlier), have childcare issues (work them out in advance and have a backup), stop for a coffee or tea (make it at home) or some other such problem. Yes, very possible. However, would such behaviour be empathized with by an employer – everyday – where they’d allow one employee to consistently show up 5 or 10 minutes late? Not a chance. So how then is a person being prepared for the world of work if routine tardiness is allowed? Oh, and if it’s allowed, where are those implications?

Well, the biggest implication is that your personal reputation is being tarnished as you run late on a regular basis. You see people watch and take note. Whether it’s running late everyday, giving no explanation or apology when you do arrive, not really engaging fully in what’s being taught, failing to participate fully in discussions, taking longer breaks than given, or getting up to leave early at the other end of the day, people watch and remember. Your reputation is something you are 100% in control of through your observed behaviours and words. If you believe no one is watching and / or even if they are, you feel it doesn’t matter, you’re quite mistaken.

During my work I learn of job opportunities, and working to assist so many unemployed, I often inform many of these people with the jobs I hear of. It’s not likely I’m going to recommend someone I have extremely little faith will  show up on time, tarnishing my future recommendations in the mind of the employer’s I speak with. Should I be asked about the person, their attendance, their strengths and weaknesses, I would find myself in a conflict of interest; wanting to help of course but at the same time not want to mislead an employer into thinking they are getting someone with good work behaviours. No, I’d just as soon recommend someone else. Voila; observed and experienced behaviour has its implications.

Now, I do understand we all have Life (with a capital ‘L’) going on; you know…the stuff that just happens and gets in the way of our plans. These things come at us at the worst times it seems; but with every challenge there’s an opportunity to showcase our problem-solving skills. And if those problems are too large or complex for us to solve alone, there’s always the option to reach out and ask others for their ideas and help.

Problems come to everyone; no one is exempt. How we respond to these is often what comes across as more memorable however. So, when we’re late, do we walk into the room with or without an apology for being late? Do we try to engage and get caught up or do we plunk ourselves down and then get right back up to go and get a coffee? As I say, people are watching.

Now, everybody deserves a break. Supposing we’re late – and yes, all of us from time-to-time will experience things we have no control over such as traffic delays due to accidents etc., – it’s what we do in the face of these delays that define us. If it’s a job you’re late for, phone your boss or whomever you are to report to that day. When you arrive, get down to work and if your absence affected anyone such as a team member, thank them for filling in. More importantly, don’t repeat being late. An apology is good, but changed behaviour is best.

I tell you this: one of the qualities which employer’s value highly is showing up on time and being productive when you’re working. So make an effort to get where you’re going on time; make this a regular, routine practice and you’ll be establishing your brand and reputation. 

And if you can’t be on time, be early.

The Workplace Workforce Inventory

As an individual, you should know your strengths and areas for improvement. These become essential when it comes to applying for a new job, making your case for a raise, competing for advancement or making your case for a lateral move into a new role. If you don’t know yourself well enough to accurately articulate your core assets, this my friend, is a major liability to which you are possibly unaware.

Now think beyond yourself; think of the broader workplace in which you contribute your skills, education and experience. Think of the other employees; your co-workers, and the talents they bring. If you look objectively at those around you, you’ll likely identify certain employees who are standouts in certain areas; people generally known to be the on-site experts in certain aspects of the organization. These are the ‘go-to’ people when specific problems and challenges arise. These are the ones recognized by most as having special skills, knowledge and advanced expertise.

In addition to skills, experience and education, there are other assets which people have in varying quantities. Softer skills such as attitude, work ethic, punctuality and attendance, genuine affinity for teamwork, leaders in action if not title and interpersonal skills. As you read each of these, perhaps certain people in your organization come to mind as the best examples; maybe you even see yourself has being at the forefront in a few areas.

Okay, now it’s not my job or yours in fact to actually put together a summary of the workforce in the organizations we work for. However, this is precisely what great organizations do, and they do it on a continuous basis. When an employer intimately knows the strengths of their workforce on an everyday basis, this knowledge positions them well to add whatever dimensions they believe they both want and lack when the individual pieces – you and I – move on or move out. Organizations that don’t assess the status of their workforces on a continuous basis are more reactionary when staffing needs arise, having then to make decisions about what they are lacking and need when time is pressing.

So how does this impact on you when you’re working as one of the front-line employees? Excellent question to ask and in answer let me ask you a question. How closely does how you perceive yourself align with how you are perceived by Senior Management? If the way you see yourself is mirrored by how decision-makers see you AND this is an overly positive assessment, you’re in good shape.

However, when the way you perceive yourself is not a shared view by others who are in decision-making roles with respect to staffing, you’d be wise to give this matter some attention now while you’ve the time to address things.

Suppose you see yourself as a team player. You can cite many examples from your experience where you have been involved in committees, projects and even covered the workload of absent co-workers. You assess yourself as I say, as a team player. Perhaps you’d find it surprising to learn however that your employer has been approached by several of your co-workers over the past year who have voiced concerns that while your part of these committees and projects, you actually contribute very little. Some might go so far as to say you’re more concerned with having your name attached to successful teams than actually putting in the work contributing to that team’s success. You’ve really been identified as more of a coat-tail rider. This causes the employer to recall the times when you’ve been asked to cover for absent co-workers and while you do it in the end, there’s always an unwelcome discussion to be had getting you to pitch in.

Now honestly, very few people who would benefit from checking in with how they are perceived by others actually ask for such feedback. Some don’t care what others think of them (as long as they get paid to work), and some are perceptive enough to guess that they aren’t going to like what they might hear.

Here’s the thing though: whether you check on how you are perceived or you don’t, you’re still being evaluated and assessed for your attitude, work ethic, strengths you bring to the team, shortcomings, etc. You are assessed by co-workers, Supervisors and/or Upper Management just as you assess their strengths and areas you see for improvement in them.

You can help yourself to keep the job you have now as well as position yourself for your next challenge in an organization if you give these matters some serious attention. Starting with a co-worker you feel will give you some honest feedback and generally be positive, ask them to share how they see you. Don’t get defensive, be a listener and express appreciation for their opinion. Now repeat this with some others, and include the boss.

What you don’t want to do is put this off until how others see you is cemented in any kind of negative way. If enough people tell you they see you in ways you don’t, you’ve got a choice to either carry on and not care, or make the necessary changes to how you go about your work day to alter their perception, bringing theirs more in line with how you wish to be seen.

May your work days be good days.

Self-Marketing: The Teamwork Question


Okay let’s set the scene. You’re about 4 questions into this job interview for a position you’re quite interested in. You’ve got the qualifications including: experience, skills and your resume obviously promoted your background well enough because you got the interview. From the many people who applied for this job, you’re feeling the odds are pretty good at this point because it’s down to you and possibly two or three others.

The question the interviewers just asked you is to provide an example from your past job where you worked in a team and overcame some challenge. I suggest you pause at this point before reading more and write out your own answer to this question. If you do this, you’ll benefit more from this read as you’ll be able to see the strengths and areas for improvement in your answer from the interviewers perspective. Pause and do this now.

Got your answer? Ready to move on? Great. The first and most important thing is to ensure you heard the question correctly. You’ve been asked to provide AN EXAMPLE from YOUR PAST JOB where you worked IN A TEAM and OVERCAME A CHALLENGE. Those 4 elements must be in your answer.

An example by definition means a single occurrence or time when we experienced something, and in this case it involves teamwork. So in looking at your own answer, did you actually write about one specific time you worked in a team or did you generalize and talk about how you typically work in a team. If you generalized or summed up how you work with others, you failed to share an example of one specific time when you worked in a team environment. “I recall this one time …” is one way to start your answer.

Now the second thing we were asked was to provide the example from our past job. So, in your answer did you share your past job title and employer or did you leave this information out, assuming they’d know from your resume what your last job was? One major error many people make in job interviews is to keep referring to their resume, assuming that what’s on paper there speaks for them. Wrong. You’re getting scored on what comes out of your mouth. You’d be well-advised to say, “I recall this one time while working in my last job as (job title) with (previous employer) …” You’ve now set up the context for the example you’re about to provide; the interviewers know where on your resume you’re drawing the example from.

Now in sharing this example of teamwork you’re about to provide, please look at your written answer. After you referenced the team, did you use the word, “we” or “I” in talking about how things got done? So did you write, “We had to do this, we worked together, we solved the problem”, or did you say, “Our goal as a team was to do this, and I contributed …, I suggested we…, so what I did was …,” When you use the word, ‘we’, you fail to demonstrate what you did as opposed to others in the team, and for all the interviewer knows, you may have been dead weight on the team and while the job got done in the end, you played a very small part in accomplishing the goal. If you used the word, “I”, then you’ve demonstrated the part you played and how your individual actions in this team setting contributed to the outcome.

The last part of this answer is about overcoming a challenge. So the key is to share the positive (yes it must be a positive) outcome that resulted based in large part because of what YOU did in this ONE-TIME event you’re speaking of.

Here’s why specific examples are so much more effective than generalized statements about how you typically work. When you recall and share specific example from your past, what you say sounds believable first and foremost and secondly it gives the interviewer the best insights into predicting how you’ll act in the future if/when they hire you. Simply saying how you would generally act without a specific example makes it harder for them to truly believe you because anyone can tell the interviewer what they think the interviewer wants to hear. But an example is proof you’ve done what you claim.

By the way, to really nail this question and all others asked of you, it’s critically important that in concluding your answer, you go back to the point of the question and relate it to the job you’re interviewing for. In other words, that great example you just provided about teamwork and overcoming challenges could be finished off by saying: “When working here at (name of employer) you can rely on me to bring a cooperative attitude, communicate effectively with my co-workers, and contribute to solutions which achieve team goals.”

In the above statement, you’ll note the words, cooperative attitude’, communicate, contribute solutions, and team goals. These words would mirror the same words from the job posting. In other words, what you need is what I bring. I’ll be an excellent fit for your needs.

So, how did your answer stack up? Did you find this helpful?

If you find it awkward to promote yourself, consider sharing what others have said about you. “My co-workers appreciated my ideas”, “the boss later thanked me for showing leadership”.




How Can I Take A Job If There’s No Bus?

i-was-assaulted-on-the-street-but-i-still-walk-home-alone-at-night-408-1428519902Owning your own vehicle is a privilege that not everyone has. Oh sure it comes with its share of costs; oil and gas, repairs and insurance, but for many who drive, it makes getting around so much easier.

Let’s suppose though that you don’t have a vehicle and you rely on public transit for all your transportation needs. When it comes to employment, one of your first considerations is whether the job is on a bus route, or even if it is, you have to ensure that there’s a bus running whenever it is that you finish your work shifts. With no bus option, you can’t possibly consider taking a job right?

Well, not necessarily. While it’s only being responsible to look at how you’ll get to and from a job from wherever it is you live, I would advise you not to categorically rule out a job if the only problem you see is this. You are right though to realize this barrier to employment exists, and it now becomes a challenge for you to put your problem-solving skills to work; the same problem-solving skills you’re marketing on your resume!

Here’s a few things to consider as possible solutions to the, ‘no car’ issue. With no bus route, every other employee with no vehicle who currently works where you’re considering working has had or continues to have, the same problem. Planning on asking how they’ve addressed this problem might reveal a carpool you can join. Or perhaps the usual practice is for 3 or 4 people to jointly call and share a cab just far enough to get to a bus stop and from there they go their separate ways. What you assumed might be a $25 cab ride every day might in such a case only be a $5.00 ride.

Another possibility is that there is a bus that gets you to work, but the bus no longer runs when you get off at 1 a.m. for example. Okay that’s a problem, and for reasons of safety, you sure don’t want to be walking alone at night from some isolated industrial location. This only makes sense and I entirely empathize as I wouldn’t want that walk either. However, there’s still options. First of all, the transit problem is only one way; you can get there on the bus during the times it runs. You might ask in advance of applying if the company has made arrangements you are presently unaware of to safeguard their employees. There could be a practice of leaving in pairs, some provision for company-assisted cabs rides, and yes, maybe calling Uber or some ride share program.

There is another thing you can do and that is to ascertain how many employees are getting to and from work who rely on transit. If you were to lobby the Transit Company, would they see the profit in extending their route or the hours of an existing route to pick you all up at the end of your shifts? If you don’t ask, the status quo remains.

Another option is the combination of a bus ride and your bicycle. There are many buses running now that have storage racks for bikes at the front. Is it possible then to travel on the bus and when it gets to its closest destination, you can depart and ride your bike the final kilometre or two? Maybe this doesn’t work year-round, but for 8 month’s or more of the year, it could be your solution. Fresh air and some exercise benefits you won’t get on a bus alone. Maybe you can borrow the car of a friend or family member too.

Finally, another solution is perhaps the one that most people actually report is how they solved their own issues. Have you guessed already? Talking to your co-workers and asking if someone goes your way and might be willing to drop you off. Offering to share the costs of getting a lift might be the answer and you’ll only be able to do this once you start working and talking to co-workers.

The point I am making here is that there are essentially 3 reactions you can have when you realize there is no transit option for a job posting you’d love to apply to.

  1. You can immediately dismiss the job as an option
  2. You can look at transit as a problem to solve and the degree to which you really want the job will determine how little or great the effort is to solve it.
  3. You can inquire of the employer if there is another shift you’re unaware of that better aligns with when buses do run if it’s a case of being on a bus route but no buses run when you start or end a shift.

Like all problems and personal weaknesses or challenges, it’s not so much having them but what you’re doing to actively work on them that is important. How long have you had this travel problem? Have you made any progress in fixing it? So for example how much money have you saved up in a dedicated fund to buy your first car? You might only need $500 or $1000 to get a used car, insure it and get it on the road. Dream car? No. But, this starter car might allow you to get that good paying job and from there work on getting a better one down the road. Down the road…. ha! I made a funny.


Age Discrimination And Employment


One of my readers asked me this week for my thoughts on handling age discrimination. While this is a topic I’ve covered in past blogs and articles, (and you can read all my blogs on my website at ) I believe there’s value in returning to this subject yet again.

As it applies to the job selection process, the issue of age generally comes up as:

  1. You’re viewed as too young.
  2. You’re age isn’t an issue.
  3. You’re viewed as too old.

My advice begins with doing an honest self-assessment before you even apply to work. Please note the words, ‘honest assessment’. There’s no point to talking about this age issue if you won’t or can’t see yourself through an objective lens. To assess yourself, you’ve got your chronological age which you can’t ignore or alter. Some jobs require by law employees to be of legal age. If you scream discrimination because you’re 16 and can’t get a job as a Driving Instructor or Bartender, there are laws that prohibit hiring you.

Look at yourself. Are you 22 but look and act like you’re 17? Or are you 54 but look and act 68? In other words, think about how you are marketing yourself to potential employers when they see and hear you. Do you have good posture both sitting and standing, walk with energy, speak with vitality and enthusiasm? Conversely, do you slouch, walk slowly and bent over, shuffling along and talk with a raspy, laboured tone and sound completely disinterested?

Think about your appearance. Whatever you’re wearing, is it appropriate for the interview? How’s your hair? What about your complexion? No matter your gender, give your face a critical look because interviewers sure will. Could you do with trimming those busy eyebrows, what about the hairs that might be peeking out of your ears or nose? Not the best image to present but in the privacy of your own home, you can do something about these before presenting yourself to the world. Maybe a little concealer or foundation – no matter your gender by the way, would smooth out some telling lines.

One thing you must do is understand and BELIEVE your age to be an asset or strength. If you don’t, you’ll actually say damaging things about yourself that point to your age as a liability. If you think you’re too young, you’ll say, “I know I don’t have much experience but…”. If you feel old, you’ll say, “Of course that was when computers were just coming out and …” Yikes!

If I may, wherever you are – young or old, get in sync with the general pros and cons of people your age – AS SEEN BY EMPLOYERS. Here’s a sampling:


Pros: energetic, healthy, eager and quick to learn, technically savvy, recently educated, mobile, vitality, no bad work habits from other employers, potentially long work period

Cons: lack of experience (work and life), less committed and loyal, underdeveloped work ethics, punctuality (especially early mornings), easily distracted (cell phones), childcare


Pros: life and work experience, problem-solving and negotiation skills, perspective, stable, committed, beyond childcare, responsible and punctual

Cons: set in ways, you graduated when?, failing health, fatigued easily, less invested, not into technology or social media, stubborn, retirement looming

Don’t get defensive if you don’t think that summary is fair of you personally; these are stereotypes of two groups as seen by some employers. They are what they are. Your job is to stress your positives and perhaps even address head-on how you don’t have the perceived liabilities of your peers.

The best way to deal with the issue of age however is to turn your age into a benefit to the employer. So for example, you walk through the office on the way to the interview room and from a glance around you notice every employee seems to be under 35. You realize you’re old enough to be their mother or father or worse, you could end up with the affectionate name of ‘Grandpa’ or ‘Grandma’ around the water cooler. Oh right, water coolers disappeared in the 90’s!

If things seem to be wrapping up too quickly and you feel somewhat dismissed because of your age, you worry that you this interviewer might see you as a poor fit, out-of-touch, etc. So it’s not really your age that’s a problem, it’s what that age represents to them. 

So go on the offensive without being offensive. Do the exact opposite of conventional advice and lay out your age. Explain that you noticed the general age of your potential co-workers would appear younger and you’ve recognized there’s an opportunity here for both you and the organization. Many customers prefer to be served by people of their own age; they feel better understood. While you can benefit from the help of your new co-workers in picking up technology, you offer in return your maturity, stability, life experience and this could help mentor younger and aspiring co-workers. Speak to your good health and downplay any negatives associated with your general age group.

In the end, you can only do your best to ensure you’re giving yourself the best possible shot at a job and you’re doing what you can to avoid being negatively viewed because of your age – young or old. If you can’t convince them of yourself as an asset, it might not even be your age that’s the issue. Don’t jump to age discrimination if you don’t meet the job requirements or just aren’t the chosen candidate as there’s a lot of good, qualified people out there.


The Team, ‘Goodwill Account’

three women in front of desk
Photo by Christina Morillo on

If you’ve got co-workers, you’ve likely got other, “co’s”, as in cooperation, co-dependency and coordination. Can you count on your co-workers to be cooperative and do you all work using a coordinated approach that thrives on that co-dependency?

I’ve heard many people describe frustration in their workplaces where the only time the word, ‘team’ comes up is when it means having to do your own work and take on other’s too; such as when they are absent or not pulling their own weight.

When working in an environment where you’re assigned to a team, it’s probable that the number of people on the team has an impact on the dispersal of work when someone isn’t contributing fully. So in a team of two people, the impact of one member not pulling their weight falls completely on the other. In a team of three, the extra workload could be equally split between the other two and so on.

If and when you work in a team environment, you should be aware of the need to make regular deposits into the team, ‘goodwill account’. Pitching in without being asked, helping others voluntarily when you’re on top of your own work, expressing praise for the good works of others and of course gratitude for any assistance you receive. This goodwill comes back to you when others sense or become aware that you’re not at your best one day, appearing distracted, absent due to illness or required to go to some training event. You see this goodwill when you return and unexpectedly find some of the work you believed you had to do is already completed.

Not everyone however, gets this idea of contributing to the goodwill account. There’s often this lone wolf on the team; the one who’s in it for themselves, figures they get paid to do their own work and the only time they pitch in to support a colleague is when they are told to by Management; and then under protest. I worked with a fellow decades ago now who fit this description. A likeable fellow in many ways, but when he was on the schedule to cover for anyone absent, he didn’t. He’d go over to a phone full of messages and clear them all without listening to or actioning any, then claim no one called. Not exactly a team player.

The notion of co-dependency or co-reliance on each other is inherent in teams. People are going to be sick, they’ll be at training, they’ll have days where they just don’t feel it, vacations, there’ll be deaths in their families, projects they’ll be drawn into, committees they’ll be part of, and the list goes on. It’s not just others either as the same is true for you. When you find yourself in a team of people who understand and contribute equally to the goodwill account, you’ll appreciate how fortunate you are.

By nature however, employees are not generally the same when it comes to involvement in activities at work. You’ll find one or two on the team who seem to be on five committees at any time, then others that may have had their fill and pull out of this extra commitment preferring to focus on the job at hand or limit their time to the social committee.

The difficulty for many comes when one or two people on a team are perceived to be drawing a lot more out of the goodwill account then they are depositing into it. I mean, if your own workload isn’t impacted by anyone else, you likely feel it’s none of your business how productive or not someone else is. However, when your workload is increased on a fairly regular basis, it has the potential to create disharmony. You know, one co-worker grumbling to another about so-and-so on the team and that second employee chiming in with their own dissatisfaction. It may start innocently, but know that your awareness that someone else feels similar to you has the potential to cause a negative ripple.

Under the right circumstances, and if coming from a caring, empathetic approach, you might test the waters and ask someone if everything is okay. Your inquiry has to be more than just because of the impact on your own work. The risks of course are that the person might feel they are doing a good job of concealing whatever is causing their production or contribution to the team slip. They might feel it’s none of your business, or you could open them up to confiding in you with something you’d rather they hadn’t.

Working on a team where others have your back and you’ve got theirs can be extremely satisfying. Not everyone however is at the core a team player, nor does everyone need to be. There are many fine jobs where people are inherently left to work independently and they thrive in it. A Sales Representative with an extensive territory might spend a large part of their day on the road visiting customers and potential customers. Even in such a situation, they may still rely on Head Office personnel to feed them leads, forward data and check on inventories and supply orders. There’s still some element of team even in this scenario.

Float this idea of the goodwill account perhaps at a team meeting. What does a deposit look like? Is it important that everyone contribute to it?