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You Did What? International Business Etiquette

I’m excited to offer this program at the Downtown and Business Branch at the Carnegie Library. Although oriented to business travel, the information is relevant to any international travel. Please pass the word, especially to people who work downtown.

You Did What? International Business Etiquette

Thursday, April 19, 2018

12:30-1:30 PM, Carnegie Library, 612 Smithfield Street, Pittsburgh 15222

Have you ever said or did something in another country and received a look that made it clear you made a mistake? How do you gracefully proceed and better yet avoid that situation in the first place? Etiquette cultural norms vary widely across countries and a business traveler needs to be savvy. Etiquette trainer, Karen Litzinger, will share insights into cultural differences in greetings, body language, corporate culture, business entertainment, dress and gifts.

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Darkness to Light Inspiration and Winter Greetings

Do not let your difficulties fill you with anxiety, after all it is only in the darkest nights that stars shine more brightly.” -Hasrat Ali Ibn Abu-Talib A. S.

If we didn’t have darkness we couldn’t experience and appreciate light. Of course, we don’t want stay in the darkness that may come with aspects of career transition, nor would we wish it on anyone.  Yet it is an understandable reality.

Sometimes anxiety or depression can overwhelm us.  Allow yourself to loosen the grip of dark times to enable you to move through it.  See and greet it as a visitor who will eventually leave. Perhaps even ask powerful questions, such as “what can I learn from you” or “how can I lessen your impact?” Listen quietly.

Often energy can be shifted by taking a small step of action.  Perhaps it could be sending a networking email or hitting the apply button on a vacancy.  Equally as important are steps for self-care, such as exercise, an inspirational reading, a favorite song or a warm bath. Or take a small step to bring light to someone, even if simply a caring word to a cashier or a thank you note for a networking meeting.  That may help invite light in and lift some darkness.

If you are in that dark space too long, then consider professional assistance to help shift your heart, mind, and spirit to enable continued healing and career progress.  Eventually the light will shine again and then you can shine your own light to help others. And just maybe your darkness will add depth to allow you to better help others whether in your career or personal life.

 

I accept darkness as part of the human condition and take steps to move forward.

©2017, Karen Litzinger, Pittsburgh, PA. May be reproduced or linked to with this statement and where possible a live link. Litzinger Career Consulting provides career coaching and speaking services. Info at KarensCareerCoaching.com

Gratitude Inspiration for Job Seekers and Others

“Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn’t learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn’t learn a little, at least we didn’t get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn’t die; so, let us all be thankful.” — Buddha

You may wonder “How can I be thinking about gratitude when I’m in a cloud of career confusion or buried in rejections or deafening silence from applications.”  This is when you need gratitude the most as a coping tool and to help give you perspective. When we focus on lack, it creates negative energy that can paralyze our actions and repel people who may be able to help us.

Each day look for things that are positive.  It could be something small like a beautiful sunset, a favorite food, an email from a friend, or a special moment with your child or pet.  Maybe there could be things about your search process you can be grateful for, such as an email reply, a job prospect, or a networking meeting even if only 5 minutes of it was helpful.  Perhaps there is even something to be grateful for about being in the midst of the search itself, whether getting to spend more time with family due to a job loss or recognizing your courage to explore a new direction.

Consider starting a gratitude journal writing down five short bullets about what you are grateful for each night before you go to bed.  If you’re stuck, then write down that you have a bed to sleep in or a roof over your head.  The next morning before getting out of bed think of one thing you are grateful for, and that can change the course of your day.

Each day I notice things and people I am grateful for.

Civility Affects Workplace Performance

When I went to my first college reunion last year and peered in the window of the Residence Life office, a poster caught my eye.  As a business etiquette speaker, I loved seeing the message of civility hanging prominently.  On and off during the year, I thought I’d love to get a copy of that poster.

This year when I was invited to a Residence Life reunion as part of Homecoming, I took the opportunity to ask about the poster.  Many thanks to Megan Julius for researching it and sending it to me with permission to share.

This inspired me to share about a new book published this year, Mastering Civility by management professor Christine Porath. She makes a case quoting research studies that the workplace would be more effective with more civility rather than the tough and aggressive corporate culture our society often supports.

Multiple research studies demonstrate how rudeness and bullying have a negative impact on performance. After being belittled as a group, participants in one experiment had 39% fewer creative ideas in brainstorming and did 33% worse on an annagram-type puzzle. Another experiment showed that even observing incivility decreased performance on two tests, 20% and 30%, compared to a control group.

An excellent summary of the book and great links to research is in the article How to Reduce Rudeness in the Workplace at Greater Good Magazine.

I hope the art and research inspire YOU.  Please pass them on.  Goodness knows we need civility more than ever!  Thank you Duquesne for getting the word out. Makes me proud!

Be Inspired by Adrienne in her 80’s

While hanging out on the porch of Angel House in Lilydale, I enjoyed striking up a conversation with Adrienne who was vacationing with her daughter.  While I naturally didn’t start the conversation with the typical “what do you do” somehow chatting led to her sharing a bit of her work history (I guess that’s not uncommon that a career counselor’s conversation goes in that direction).

It turns out she recently retired now in her mid-eighties. [Full disclosure is that although I wrote down some notes, in my unpacking I can’t find them, so some editorial license here.]

She had actually retired already as an office worker. Then through conversation at a church activity with the Catholic Daughters of America, she started up again part-time though she wasn’t actually looking to. (Remember NETWORKING happens at all ages, and actually is the best strategy if you have a challenge such as age or gap in work history.)

I think she said she had been retired for seven years when she went back to work. I asked her why she decided to come out of retirement: She said she likes to keep busy!  Well, maybe that’s what keeps her so active and alert!  We met as she was doing a crossword puzzle and shared that she does a 40 minute walk daily.  I think that was the answer to my question of what keeps her so young!

May you be inspired to stay active and young at heart like Adrienne! And if you’d like some help doing that happily at a job, please contact me.

Karen’s Five Favorite Newsletters

Welcome to the first blog entry of my completely revised, spiffy website! Thank you for your interest in my take on career planning and business etiquette to help people be more confident and competent in this aspect of life. Besides practical tips and information, I also like to share stories that can educate and inspire. So I would like to share links to five of my favorite older newsletter posts that are important to me or don’t quite lend themselves to be rewritten, yet still could be useful.

Take Your Passion and Make it Happen

Thank You Notes: My Etiquette Take on a Post Office Sign

Student Loan Forgiveness

Is a Degree Worth It?

Perfection Reflection and Intuition Insights