Career Watch

Sandra Naiman

The author of The High Achiever's Secret Codebook discusses dealing with stress at work.

What's the single best way to reduce stress in the workplace? Attend to your own physical and emotional well-being. Develop healthy eating and sleeping habits. Get plenty of exercise. Practice relaxation techniques on and off the job.

What else do you suggest? Don't let things build up. Communicate to colleagues about what bothers you sooner rather than later. Maintain your perspective and sense of humor. When you do feel tension building, which it inevitably will, excuse yourself from the situation and give yourself time to cool down. If you cannot get away, speak softly and slowly, thus cueing your body to relax.

What do you say to someone who says he doesn't have time in today's business climate to employ these practices? You don't have time not to. Undue stress will take its toll on you, on and off the job. Moreover, it will impact your performance. A stressed-out worker shows signs of it in the quality of work and in how he or she relates to colleagues. Letting stress get the best of you can ultimately undermine your career success.

CIOs' Priorities in 2009

An overwhelming 65% of 321 CIOs and other senior IT leaders polled late last year rated the ability to build and maintain relationships with the business as "very important." Nonetheless, when it came to staff-development priorities, only 4% of the respondents listed communication training as their top priority.

Which Skills Are Most Important, and How Does Your Team Rate?

Very important. My team achieves excellence in this skill.

Ability to build and maintain relationships with the business
Managing and delivering IT operations
Managing IT developments and programs

What is your top priority for staff development in 2009?

Technical training programs 31%
Informal development among peers 21%
Management training programs 14%
Soft-skills training programs 9%
Focus on enhancing consultative skills 8%
Use of Web 2.0 technology to share knowledge 6%
Communication training programs 4%

Source: Fourth Annual Strategic Insights Survey of IT Leaders in the U.S., conducted for IT recruiter Harvey Nash USA by PA Consulting Group Ltd., Published February 2009

When 'I'm Sick' Isn't Enough Of an Excuse

A full third of 6,600 workers surveyed by reported that they called in sick last year when they actually felt fine. Employers who were polled cited a few of the more unusual excuses for absences they had heard:

•   I don't want to lose the parking space in front of my house.

•   I hit a turkey while riding a bike.

•   I had a heart attack yesterday morning, but I'm all better now.

•   I donated too much blood.

•   My dog was stressed out after a family reunion.

•   I was kicked by a deer.

•   My psychic told me to stay home.

Source: survey of 6,600 workers and 3,388 hiring managers and human resource professionals, Q1 2009


Percentage of U.S. IT professionals who said they feel that they are not given the training they need in order to progress.

Source: SkillSoft Inc. survey of 6,000 employees at midsize and large companies, of whom 2,000 reside in the U.S. and 1,000 work in IT; September 2008

Page compiled by Jamie Eckle.

Copyright © 2009 IDG Communications, Inc.

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