TIME Business

5 Things You Need to Know Before Changing Jobs

Eric Barker writes Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

5 insights with links to the research backing them up:

For more on how to find the perfect career for you, click here.

This piece originally appeared on Barking Up the Wrong Tree.

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

Uber’s Engineering Director of Growth: This Is the Secret to a Productive Day

Do fewer things well

Answer by Pedram Keyani, Engineering Director of Growth at Uber, on Quora.

Having a productive day starts off by generally understanding the important goals you are working towards and blockers that will get in your way. This doesn’t start on the particular day but actually days, weeks, and months beforehand by doing a few things well.

Break Down Goals
What are the important goals you are working towards? This sounds simple, but it is not always easy to distill goals cleanly. Once you have your 3-4 goals, then you need to break them down into sub goals, tasks, and projects that then get sequenced.

Know Your Priorities
As time moves forward, the priorities for your tasks and projects increase. You should have a list of things that are important and urgent (fires) and things that are important and not urgent. Ideally, you don’t have many fires to deal with (though they always come up) so that you can allocate your time to reduce fires going forward. My goal is to get so good at this that I can spend most of my time being proactive and less time being reactive.

Identify Your Blockers
Any goal is going to have challenges associated with it. If not, it would be trivial and not worth setting as a goal. Writing down your blockers turns them from vague stress-inducing problems into challenges that you can think through.

Make Lists
The night before, start a list of things that you need to accomplish. At the end of the day, see how much you accomplished and also look for things that seemed important the night before but weren’t so important today. Use this process to see how well you plan ahead prioritize and refine that process over time.

Do Fewer Things Well
It is easy to get in a state where you are doing a lot but don’t feel like you are accomplishing anything well. This oftentimes causes more work over time and is a common trap. I make the mistake sometimes where I get proud of myself for how many things I can handle and how much I can multitask. Don’t mistake motion for movement.

Tackle Your Distractions
Take a hard look at what triggers you to get distracted and develop a coping mechanism. These distractions can be loud coworkers, a messy workspace, foot traffic, etc. Sometimes I forget to eat, and when my blood sugar goes down, I lose focus and take a long time to accomplish basic tasks. Sometimes I’m able to catch myself in that state and I get up and grab a snack. Ideally, you don’t get a sugary snack or anything heavy, because that will give you a rush and then drop you pretty hard, but sometimes we all need comfort food.

Ultimately being productive boils down to knowing what you are trying to achieve, knowing what order you need to get things done and committing to doing the work. Identify and aggressively remove barriers that keep you from making forward progress. These are all simple steps that take a lot of work to tune for great results.

This question originally appeared on Quora: How can people organize themselves for a productive day?

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TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

Taylor Swift Is Trying To Shake Off the Counterfeit Problem in China

Taylor Swift during concert in Shanghai on May 30, 2014.
ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images Taylor Swift during concert in Shanghai on May 30, 2014.

Her new arrangements with JD.com and Alibaba will provide a means of authentication

Last week, JD.com and Alibaba, the two largest online retailers in China, announced their deals to sell authentic merchandise associated with Taylor Swift. JD.com will also market an exclusive fashion line that the singer will design for the Chinese market.

After having criticized the music streaming services provided by Spotify and Apple Music, Swift again finds herself at the center of the intellectual property debate. This time, the debate turns to a country notorious for being a knockoff haven.

Will her new arrangements with JD.com and Alibaba finally solve the massive counterfeiting problem in China? What are their strengths, and what are their limitations? Should other celebrities follow her lead to fend off Chinese infringers?

What these deals can achieve

Swift’s deals with JD.com and Alibaba can provide at least five main benefits. First, the dedicated online channels will provide a means of authentication. They will send important signals to the public about where to purchase official goods. Gone is the tired excuse of not knowing where to shop for authentic merchandise in China.

These channels will also help those who have difficulty distinguishing between counterfeits and legitimate products as well as those who fear to shop online. Although many of us frequently buy from Amazon and eBay, both of which were launched about two decades ago, e-commerce did not take off in China until the mid-2000s.

Second, the dedicated channels will enable Swift’s Chinese fans to develop a direct relationship with the singer. Many “Swifties” no longer find it enough to listen to her CDs and go to her concerts; they also want to have her style and wear clothes designed by her. By getting music fans to buy products directly from authentic sources, the channels will educate customers about the importance of intellectual property protection.

Third, Swift’s deals will increase her leverage in demanding response and expedited action should counterfeiting problems arise. JD.com and Alibaba may also consider taking preemptive anti-counterfeiting measures to keep the singer happy.

After all, if she is disappointed by the high volume of knockoffs found on their websites, she may stop selling products there. Any benefits the online retailers will gain from selling Swift-related counterfeits will be quickly offset by the loss of sales of authentic merchandise associated with not just the singer but also potentially other celebrities.

Fourth, the recent deals will help Swift obtain stronger protection for her merchandise on websites owned by JD.com and Alibaba. Although the official merchandise will be sold in Alibaba’s highly popular TMall, that company also runs Taobao, which reportedly has been filled with counterfeits related to the singer.

Cooperation is important because policing online networks can cost tens of millions of dollars. Determining which listing contains fake items and which does not is also difficult. Thus, by showing her willingness to cooperate, Swift has taken a highly welcome approach to working proactively with Chinese online retailers to combat counterfeiting.

Instead of relying on the stick, which foreign governments and businesses are known to use, the deals can serve as the much-needed carrot to get Chinese retailers to work harder to remove unauthorized merchandise. They will also help avoid the “bad blood” that usually develops following the use of strong-armed tactics.

Finally, the deals will send useful signals to other websites, especially those filled with knockoffs related to the singer. The hidden message is clear: If you are willing to clean up your act, you may also be able to get business from Swift and perhaps other major celebrities. Given the size of the growing celebrity-driven market, such a message will have considerable persuasive power.

What these deals will not do

Unfortunately, Swift’s deals with JD.com and Alibaba can solve only part of the massive counterfeiting problem in China.

Not everybody is willing to pay the full price for authentic products. Some cannot afford them. Some do not think they are worth the sticker price. And some are just content with buying low-quality knockoffs at much lower prices.

The problem with the counterfeiting debate — whether about China or elsewhere — is our tendency to lump the different types of counterfeit purchaser together. We also assume that counterfeits will be indistinguishable from the originals.

In a place with a massive counterfeiting problem such as China, consumers have become quite sophisticated in distinguishing products. If they buy counterfeits, they often know what they are getting into — just like those shopping in a dollar store.

To further complicate matters, most products are now made in China, and the production cost is a small fraction of the retail price. If any of these products are unfortunately leaked to the market without the right holder’s authorization — for example, when unlicensed extras have been made through a widely dreaded “ghost shift” — those low-priced, unlicensed products will have the same quality as the licensed ones.

It is therefore understandable why some Chinese consumers are so eager to buy counterfeits, especially given the significant price differences. If they are lucky enough, they may even find unlicensed goods made in the same factory using the same raw materials.

Challenging questions remain

In sum, there are still many challenging questions concerning how celebrities can protect their intellectual property in China. There are also business-driven reasons that are unrelated to intellectual property protection.

For example, did Swift reach the recent deals in part to ensure the success of her upcoming tour in China? Was cooperation with local companies badly needed given that the tour’s title, 1989, reminds people of the massive student protests in Tiananmen Square?

Regardless, Taylor Swift has certainly gone in the right direction when she agreed to team up with JD.com and Alibaba to provide authentic merchandise. Other celebrities are well-advised to follow her proactive, partner-based approach to protect their intellectual property in China.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Business

How to Deal With the Donald Trump in Your Office

Don't engage in battle

With his larger-than-life personality and inescapable media presence, Donald Trump might seem to be one of a kind. But people very much like him are everywhere—minus the superstar status and wealth. They show up regularly in the workplace, displaying a similar unflappable sense of self-importance, utter insensitivity to others’ feelings, and intolerance of criticism.

This behavior reflects a personality trait I call “extreme narcissism.” Unlike the everyday narcissism prevalent in today’s selfie-obsessed culture, extreme narcissism can be hurtful and even dangerous to innocent bystanders.

Extreme narcissists view the world exclusively in terms of winners and losers. They constantly try to demonstrate that they are winners, not only by bragging about their accomplishments but also by triumphing over people they view as beneath them: “losers.” If anyone should question his winner status, the extreme narcissist will experience it as an attack, as if he is being called a “loser,” and will instantly go on the counter-attack to reassert his superiority.

In the workplace, this translates into a colleague who, feeling challenged or criticized by a co-worker, suddenly becomes an adversary hell-bent on destroying his enemy’s reputation. When criticized, an extreme-narcissist colleague may also respond with self-righteous indignation, attempting to deflect the criticism by blaming his detractors for some other fault. He’ll treat the source of that criticism with contempt as a way to invalidate it.

This is exactly how Trump has behaved recently on the national stage. For example, he sued Univision for $500 million when, in response to his inflammatory comments about illegal immigrants, it decided not to air the Miss USA Pageant that he owns in part. He ridiculed NBCUniversal as “weak and foolish” for also declining to air the pageant. And in response to criticism from people including Charles Krauthammer, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, Trump has made it clear that he thinks these men are such obvious “losers” that their criticisms carry no weight.

Trump’s battles with his detractors may be causing mayhem on the political front, but they hold several useful lessons about working alongside an extreme narcissist:

1. Don’t engage in battle. Remember that the winner-loser dynamic is always at play, even if it’s not readily apparent. Because extreme narcissists are relentless in defending their winner self-image, you will never prevail if you fight back.

2. Do nothing to challenge his winner status. Be excessively cautious not to wound his self-esteem, even when you don’t see your comments or behavior as hurtful.

3. Document everything. Because extreme narcissists are often ruthless and vindictive, take every precaution to protect yourself. This often means laying the foundation for legal action, including preserving hostile emails or other written exchanges and getting witness statements as legal proof.

4. If necessary, find a new job. You will never change the extreme narcissist. Don’t delude yourself that you will one day get him to “see the light” and come around to your point of view.

Following these tips may help you keep the peace at work, but don’t ever let your guard down: Because extreme narcissists lack empathy and are unable to recognize other people’s feelings, they can be dangerous.

Joseph Burgo is the author of the forthcoming book The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissism in an All-About-Me Age.

TIME Race

How Minority Job Seekers Battle Bias in the Hiring Process

The job search process plays an important role in shaping, reinforcing and sometimes counteracting inequality in the labor market

Discrimination in the hiring process has limited the opportunities available to both racial minorities – such as African Americans – and women, with important consequences for their well-being and careers.

For example, research has shown that white job applicants receive 50% more callbacks for interviews than equally qualified African American applicants. And, in the low-wage labor market, scholars have found that African American men without criminal records receive similar callback rates for interviews as white men just released from prison. Researchers have also documented discrimination in hiring against women, with particularly strong penalties against mothers.

But how does this reality affect these groups – African Americans and women – as they hunt for jobs? Do they tailor their searches narrowly to help them avoid discrimination, sticking to job opportunities deemed “appropriate” for them? Or do they cast a wider net with the hopes of maximizing their chances of finding a job that does not discriminate?

Until now, we have known little about this issue, largely because no existing data source has closely followed individuals through their job search.

New research that we recently published in the American Journal of Sociology attempts to address this limitation by drawing on two original datasets that track job seekers and the positions to which they apply.

The results of our study point to three general conclusions about the job search process:

  1. African Americans cast a wider net than whites while searching for work.
  2. Women tend to apply to a narrower set of job types than men, often targeting roles that have historically been dominated by women.
  3. Past experiences of discrimination appear to drive, at least in part, the broader job search patterns of African Americans.

On an important side note, these racial differences exist for both men and women and these gender differences exist for both whites and African Americans.

Let’s go into a little more detail on these three main findings.

Casting a wide net

Our analysis shows that African Americans apply to a greater range of job types with a broader range of occupational characteristics than similar whites.

For example, one of our survey respondents was previously employed as a “material moving worker.” Over the course of the survey, this respondent applied for jobs consistent with his prior work experience, such as “material handler” and “warehouse worker.”

However, the respondent also reported applying for jobs in retail sales, as an IT technician, a delivery driver, a security guard, a mail-room clerk and a short order cook. This respondent applied to jobs in a total of seven distinct occupations over the course of the survey, which represents a fairly broad approach to job search.

While this is just one example, it was typical. In both of the datasets we examined, African Americans systematically applied to a larger number of distinct job types than whites with similar levels of education and work experience.

Women and self-selection

Our study demonstrates that women pursued a search strategy very different than that of African Americans.

Women appeared to self-select into distinctive occupational categories consistent with historically gendered job types, such as office and administrative support positions.

During their job search, women also applied to a narrower range of occupations than men with similar education and work experience.

For example, women wanting to work in retail sales were more likely to apply strictly for that type of position during their job search. Men with similar aspirations, on the other hand, were more likely to branch out and apply to adjacent job types, such as wholesale, advertising or insurance sales.

Past discrimination drives blacks’ behavior

So what accounts for these race and gender differences in how people search for a job?

For African American job seekers, we found that perceptions of or experiences with racial discrimination played an important role in explaining their greater search breadth.

In one of the surveys we conducted, we asked job seekers about their experiences with racial discrimination at work. In our analysis, we found that individuals who reported that they had previously observed or experienced racial discrimination in the workplace were more likely to cast a wide net in their job search compared with those without such experience.

A gender-segregated workforce

But if discrimination, in part, drives the search behavior of African Americans, why do we not see similar adaptations by women, who also undoubtedly face employment discrimination?

We suspect the answer is related to the deeper and more explicit nature of gender inequality in the labor market. Occupations remain highly segregated by gender, and individuals from an early age can identify male- and female-typed jobs.

This reality affects women’s occupational aspirations as well as perceptions of the constraints they may encounter when deviating from gendered patterns. In either scenario, women’s self-selection into female-typed occupations may allow them to avoid jobs where they are more likely to experience discrimination. At the same time, this strategy likely reproduces gender segregation at work, which is an important source of gender inequality.

For African Americans, things are quite different. There are far fewer readily identifiable “black” or “white” jobs. The barriers facing African American job seekers can pop up across the labor market. Thus, it is more difficult for African Americans to target jobs where they will be able to avoid discrimination.

But a broad job search allows black job seekers to reach otherwise difficult-to-identify job opportunities in which racial discrimination is less prevalent. Given the challenges of anticipating where and when discrimination is likely to occur, applying to a broad set of job types raises the probability that an African American job seeker will apply to a job that does not discriminate.

Key consequences and takeaways

Job search strategies matter and can make a big difference in everything from lifetime earnings to potential career opportunities.

We find that broad search is associated with being more likely to receive a job offer, but also with receiving lower wage offers. Thus, job seekers appear to face a trade-off between the goals of finding any job and finding a good job. The broader search patterns among African Americans, therefore, may reduce some of the employment gap but contribute to the long-standing racial disparity in wages.

Second, to the extent that broad search leads job seekers to occupations that are different from their past work experiences, this strategy may limit African Americans’ ability to build coherent careers that are consistent with their experience and aspirations. Given significant racial differences in search breadth, these dynamics are likely to contribute to persistent racial inequalities in labor market outcomes.

In the case of women, limiting the scope of their search likely reinforces existing patterns of occupational segregation, which has consequences for the gender earnings gap and implications for other forms of persistent gender inequality.

Where does this leave us?

Together, the findings from our study suggest that the job search process plays an important role in shaping, reinforcing and sometimes counteracting inequality in the labor market.

At the same time, discrimination and other barriers to employment must be considered to fully understand how labor market inequality is generated.

And, as the comparison of race and gender suggests, how individuals adapt to workplace barriers can take different forms and have distinct consequences.

Our research points to the importance of systematically examining both job search processes as well as discriminatory behavior and other constraints in the workplace if we hope to fully understand and rectify persistent racial and gender inequalities in the labor market.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Books

The 5 Biggest Mistakes All Leaders Make

Geoff Smart, Randy Street and Alan Foster are the authors of Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success.

How not to be the Donald Trump or Michael Scott in your office

Imagine if there were an Uber for hiring. Instead of trawling through résumés and endless interviews, you could just open an app and order yourself a new data scientist or marketing analyst. Then you could track their expected arrival time and only accept them if they are 4.5 stars or greater. It’s a nice idea but, despite the hype, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Well, not for senior hires, at least. And although everyone agrees that hiring is tough, most managers struggle with an even more prevalent leadership mistake. It’s an affliction as prevalent as the common cold and one of the least recognized in the workplace today.

Over the last 20 years at ghSMART, we have been able to empirically observe where executives excel and where they get in their own way. We have conducted five-hour interviews of more than 15,000 leaders across every major industry, producing more than 9 million data points. So, what is the number one most common mistake that holds leaders back? The complete inability to remove underperformers. New managers struggle with it. So do CEOs, CFOs, COOs, you name it – it’s endemic. And why do we all struggle with this? Here are the top five reasons that we see:

  1. You are an eternal optimist. You somehow believe that you will fix poor Mark in Finance or Emma in Marketing. Or, even better, perhaps they will magically fix themselves.
  2. You don’t want to rock the boat. You believe in accepting the cards that you are dealt. You have been taught to make do. As kids learn at daycare today, “You get what you get and you don’t get upset.”
  3. You dislike conflict. Difficult conversations are difficult. So it is easier to suffer through it even if your whole team can now get less done.
  4. You will look bad. You may have hired or promoted them into the role. You don’t want to just pass the buck.
  5. You excel at procrastinating. Why do today what can safely be put off for another day? Besides, who knows? He or she might resign, and that would make it easier for everyone.

You may suffer from just one, or more likely a combination, of these reasons. And yet our research found that executives who excelled at removing underperformers from their teams are more than twice as likely to have had a successful career than all other senior leaders. Yes, that’s right: twice as likely.

The best leaders we meet tell us that it makes all the difference. Panos Anastassiadis is one who does it very well. He was the CEO of Cyveilance, which grew over 1500 percent in five years. Panos shared how he thought about the “who” in his business: “Every quarter I start with a blank sheet of paper and I design an organizational chart based on my biggest priorities. I make the assumption that I have to operate with only 50 percent of my staff. Who would be on my team? Then I increase my assumption to 70 percent, 85 percent and 95 percent. Immediately, I know who my stellar personnel are and who are key and indispensable. Whoever is not in the 85 percent group is very dispensable, and I average up on the first occasion. As a result of that, our involuntary attrition has been less than 2 percent.” What was the result? “The team we built has been the single decisive factor for our success. I have simply been constantly averaging up who is on the team.”

And yet many of us have watched Ricky Gervais’s or Steve Carrel’s portrayal of the appalling boss on The Office and sympathized. Yes, David Brent and poor old Michael Scott are terrible managers, but we identify with their deep-seated need to be liked. Like them, we also seek approval from our co-workers and teams. We don’t want to be a narcissistic Donald Trump shouting, “You’re fired!” That’s not what we signed up for.

There are ways you can do it and still do right by the individual in question. You can set them clear goals and craft the role to play to their strengths. But when it is clearly not working, it is time to take action. Run a fair, objective talent management process; tell them that their performance is not where it needs to be; and give them 30, 60 or 90 days to turn their situation around. But if that does not work, it is time to have that tough conversation that deep down you know you should have had 6, 12 or maybe 24 months ago. And only then you can get out your Uber-like hiring app and order yourself the A player that you need.

Geoff Smart, Randy Street and Alan Foster are the authors of Power Score: Your Formula for Leadership Success, published by Ballantine in June 2015.

 

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Football

Buffalo Bills Founder’s Foundation to Give Away $1.2 Billion

Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson gestures during a news conference in Tampa, Fla. on Jan. 31, 2009.
Chris O'Meara—AP Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson gestures during a news conference in Tampa, Fla. on Jan. 31, 2009.

The founder of the Buffalo Bills sold the team in 2014 for $1.4 billion

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, named after the founder of the Buffalo Bills football franchise, will launch later this year with the goal of giving $1.2 billion to charity, according to trustees of the organization.

Wilson, originally from Detroit, sold the team for $1.4 billion in 2014 and died at the age of 95 in March of this year. Throughout his life, he also owned manufacturing, mining, insurance and other businesses.

The foundation will focus on “five pillars”: healthy lifestyles, youth development, caregivers, community development, and economic growth; the foundation will target Wilson’s hometown of Detroit and surrounding areas along with his adopted town of Buffalo, NY, and its surrounding vicinity, reported The Detroit News.

Over the past 20 years, Wilson had amassed $1.2 billion for the foundation through an irrevocable trust; $60 million in grants will be available in 2015.

“Ralph saw firsthand the impact of his generosity in his lifetime,” Mary Wilson, his widow, said. “Always thinking of others even in his own legacy, his hope with this trust was that the foundation’s work may make a direct impact in the lifetimes of those who knew him best.”

 

TIME psychology

Study: You Should Be Nicer to Your Colleagues

Workplace rudeness is quite contagious

We experience rudeness and incivility all the time. From simple insults and offhand remarks to purposely excluding others from groups, these behaviors are largely tolerated in our daily lives and in the workplace. The question is, what effect do these behaviors have on us?

It’s pretty clear that high-intensity negative behaviors like abuse, aggression and violence are harmful. But what’s the harm in just being rude and uncivil?

A growing body of research offers compelling evidence that experiencing rudeness, and even simply witnessing rudeness, can have surprisingly harmful effects on performance, creativity and even helpfulness. However, it might not even end there.

What if rudeness were actually contagious? This would mean that rudeness may not only hurt those who experience or witness it, but also have secondary effects. People who’ve experienced rude behavior from others are now “infected” with rudeness themselves, and will be rude to the people they interact with next.

Office rudeness is contagious, just like the common cold

To explore this phenomenon, my colleagues and I at the University of Florida (Andrew Woolum and Amir Erez) conducted a study to find out if rudeness was contagious from one person to another.

Over the course of a seven-week period, the participants (students engaged in a negotiations course) engaged in 11 negotiations exercises with various partners.

After each negotiation, participants had the opportunity to rate how rudely their negotiation partner had behaved. The structure of this exercise allowed us to explore how rudeness could be contagious by examining how the rudeness experienced in one negotiation influenced rude behaviors in the next negotiation. We didn’t instruct participants to be rude; we simply measured the normal rudeness that was present in the negotiation setting.

We found that rudeness is in fact contagious. If negotiators felt that their negotiation partner was rude, when they went on to their next negotiation, their new partner in turn perceived them as rude.

Another surprising finding was how long this effect lasted. Some of the negotiations took place one after another, and some took place up to seven days apart. We found that the time between negotiations didn’t seem to matter. Even if negotiations were a week apart, the rudeness experienced in the previous negotiation still caused participants to be rude in their next negotiation.

Why does rudeness spread from one person to another?

Prior research has shown that both emotions and behaviors can be socially contagious.

For example, when people around you are feeling happy, it is likely that you will start to feel happy too. Similarly, when people around you tap their toes or fold their arms, often you will start doing the same thing. Since these effects are usually described as simple subconscious mimicry, they probably can’t describe why rudeness can make us more rude. So how does it happen?

To tackle this question, we explored whether a process occurring in a subconscious part of the brain was responsible. When we experience social stimuli (like a conversation with a coworker), they can activate concepts deep in the subconscious part of our brains.

A concept could be anything. We have a concept for anger, happiness, sadness, power, and, of course, rudeness. The activation of concepts is automatic – meaning when it happens, we aren’t aware of it. And when concepts are activated, this changes the way we perceive the world a little bit.

For example, just seeing a happy face could activate the happiness concept, causing us to perceive future stimuli as more happy. Furthermore, researchers have found that when people write a short vignette about power, that can activate the power concept, causing people to feel more powerful.

So if that rude concept is activated, it causes us to perceive stimuli as a little bit more rude. And that’s what we found in two experimental studies. When people experienced (or even witnessed) rudeness, they noticed rudeness in their environment more, making them more likely to perceive things as rude, and this perception of rudeness caused them to respond with rudeness.

For example, imagine someone walking by you and saying “Hey, nice shoes!” You might interpret that as a compliment, or you might interpret it as an insult – it’s sort of hard to tell, and your brain has to decide. Well, when you’ve recently experienced rudeness, you are more likely to perceive that comment as rude even if it wasn’t meant that way. Then, subsequently, you will respond to the perceived rudeness with more rudeness.

What is so scary about this effect is that it’s an automatic process – it takes place in a part of your brain that you are not aware of, can’t stop, and can’t control. So, you would not necessarily be aware that the reason you (mis)interpreted the “nice shoes” comment is that you had recently experienced rudeness. This means you can’t temper the process.

Just don’t be rude

This evidence that rudeness is contagious really underscores how harmful these behaviors can be, particularly in organizational settings.

While prior evidence showed that rudeness could be harmful to performance, creativity and helpfulness, this research shows that the effects are not limited to the parties of the rude interaction.

In this way, rudeness can spread out like a virus, not only harming the performance of those who experience it but also making them carriers likely to pass the harm on to those with whom they interact next.

This means that maybe we need to rethink what behaviors are acceptable in the workplace. Behaviors like aggression, abuse, and violence are not tolerated at work, but sometimes rudeness tacitly is – but maybe it shouldn’t be. Up to 98% of workers report that they have experienced rudeness in the office, and 50% say they experience it weekly. So just be nice.

This article originally appeared on The ConversationThe Conversation

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

7 Reasons to Pursue Entrepreneurship

startup-man-sitting-side-view
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"For others the freedom and flexibility that comes with creating and owning one’s own business represents the ultimate satisfaction"

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Question: What is the main benefit of entrepreneurship that traditional career paths don’t offer?

The Ability to Create Your Own Destiny

“Entrepreneurship can be very rewarding. You can create your own hours and make your thoughts a reality. We now employ 10 people and we are still growing. I love looking around the office and seeing how collaborative everyone is. It feels good to know that I have created a working environment that people love.” — Courtney Spritzer, SOCIALFLY

The Ability to Positively Impact Your Environment

“The ability to impact the marketplace and see your ideas manifest into tangible services and products that add value is perhaps the most fulfilling benefit of being an entrepreneur.” — Damian A. Clarke, DAC & Associates

The Opportunity to Work How You Want to Work

“There’s no line manager to tell you when you can’t take a day off. There is no red tape to sidestep, or a procedure for anything. You’re not bound by corporate planning left over from the eighties. Systems are new, unfettered and modern. Things work, and there’s no one but you to say otherwise.” — Ben Gamble, See Through

The Chance to Learn Under Fire

“In a traditional job, you are generally only responsible for one bucket of activities. In a startup, you’re able to wear a lot of different hats and learn quickly by doing it. It’s an MBA from the School of Hard Knocks and shouldn’t be underestimated.” — Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

The Freedom It Offers

“From my perspective, the main benefit of entrepreneurship is the freedom it offers to create and grow a business that’s owned (fully or in part) by you. Traditional career paths tend to lock people into a certain role or industry for years, which works for many. But for others the freedom and flexibility that comes with creating and owning one’s own business represents the ultimate satisfaction.” — Michael Rheaume, SnapKnot Inc.

The Flexibility to Be Your Best

“The main benefit of being an entrepreneur is flexibility; flexibility to work as hard as you want, make as much money as you want, work the schedule you want and sell the product/service you want. How smart and hard you work will determine how much flexibility you give yourself. Entrepreneurship is not for those who need the structure of a 9-to-5 job and a job description.” — Steven Newlon, SYN3RGY Creative Group

The Ability to Love What You Do

“Before taking the plunge in entrepreneurship, I always thought whether I would find a job that I really loved. Now, I work harder than ever before almost on a 24/7 basis. And I absolutely love what I do. I look forward to the every day in office. Loving your job is key to success and entrepreneurship is a sure way to make you love your job.” — Ashu Dubey, 12 Labs

BusinessCollective, launched in partnership with Citi, is a virtual mentorship program powered by North America’s most ambitious young thought leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners.

This article originally appeared on BusinessCollective

TIME Careers & Workplace

6 Common Grammatical Errors and How to Correct Them

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Do not underestimate the power of incorrect grammar

Proper grammar seems to be a thing of the past — why stress about tiny technicalities, right? Wrong.

You should be a grammar stickler for many reasons. Do you want to risk turning off potential clients, employers and connections because of grammatical mistakes?

Many people are so concerned with what they are saying in an email or text message that they completely forget to pay attention to how they are saying it. If you chose to turn grammar mode off when you are communicating with friends, that is one thing, but there is absolutely no reason to send a professional communication that contains errors.

Here are six grammatical errors that are so simple, yet such common offenders. Make sure you aren’t making them.

1. Your/You’re

This is probably the most common mistake I see on social media, in text messages and in emails. This one is real simple — if you are trying to say “you are” then “you’re” is correct. If you are talking about something that belongs to you, such as “your car” then you use “your.”

2. Too/To/Two

Many people confuse these and don’t even realize they are doing it. It’s real easy — “two” is a number, “too” is an adverb that means “also,” and “to” is a preposition used to express motion, direction, limit of movement, contact, a point of limit in time, purpose, intention and destination — to name a few.

For example:

“I would like to become an entrepreneur.”

“I too would like to become an entrepreneur.”

3. There/Their/They’re

What should have been squared away in third grade continues to haunt grammar police on a daily basis. The there/their/they’re mistake is common — but it’s really simple to avoid.

Use “they’re” when you are trying to say “they are.”

“Their” should be used when you are indicating possession.

Finally, “there” needs to be used when referring to a location.

Example: “They’re going to love working there. Their company culture is amazing!”

4. You/U

This one is really just pure laziness rather than a grammatical mistake. Texting has completely ruined grammar and you/u is a perfect example. I understand that “u” is perfectly acceptable if you are texting a friend and are in a rush — but it’s not acceptable in a professional email.

Here is an excerpt of an email I received last week from a C-level executive who is in charge of a company that does business worth several hundreds of millions of dollars every year:

… that would be gr8! Talk to u soon!

He managed to nail two text slangs back to back like a champ. Again, if it was a text message, fine — but a professional email is no place for this. This email is actually what sparked me to write this article, so thank you grammatically challenged C-level executive.

5. Then/Than

When you are talking about time you use “then” and when you are making a comparison you use “than.” It really shouldn’t be that difficult to distinguish what one to use:

“We are going to grab a quick bite to eat and then head back to the office.”

“This new software update is much better than the previous version.”

6. It’s/Its

This one confuses a lot of people, mainly due to the apostrophe, which typically symbolizes possession. Use “it’s” when you are trying to say “it is” and use “its” when you are looking for the possessive form of “it.”

“I looked at its owners manual to get the correct settings.”

“It’s a beautiful day outside.”

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com

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