Brazen Careerist: Valuable job skill you learned from your (annoying) older siblings

Brazen Careerist

Those of us lucky enough to have siblings know a rewarding, lifelong loving relationship is built upon a firm foundation of taunts, noogies and tattling.

Interestingly enough, the mean things your older brothers and sisters inflicted upon you have in fact given you valuable workplace skills. Here's how professional development grew where you once only saw a nagging inferiority complex:

The Quit Hitting Yourself! Game

In this time-honored game, the older sibling grabs the younger sibling's wrist and proceeds to make the younger sibling hit herself with the hand attached to said wrist.

"Why are you hitting yourself?" says the older sibling, feigning concern. "Quit hitting yourself! Why are you hitting yourself?"

And therein lies the humor of the whole thing, because no person in their right mind would sit and inflict harm upon themselves. Right? Right.

This fun game came to mind recently when a friend told me she had finally talked to the boss about a raise.

"Ok, so what was his answer?" I asked.

"Well, we didn't get that far."

"What exactly did you ask?"

"I just asked what the financial situation looked like for people in the office getting raises."


OK, not quite true. But when you're not getting what you need or even want, be it guidance or a new piece of software on your work computer or even a raise, don't hop around the question, potentially making yourself look bad and unassertive in the process. (Seriously, quit hitting yourself.)

I'm not saying asking for a raise is easy -- to be honest, it makes me break out in hives and want to curl into a ball --but if you want it so badly, just remember those hives will be WORTH an extra 3 percent.

The Puke Spot

This one isn't exactly a widespread phenomenon, but bear with me.

In the home of a childhood friend whom I will call Jane, there was, for a good long time, a discolored spot on the carpet right outside her older sister's room -- the unfortunate aftermath of one night, when said sister's stomach flu couldn't wait for a sprint to the downstairs bathroom. And despite many hours of parental scrubbing, Jane and her sister avoided that spot like the plague.

Well, most of the time. But then sometimes, Jane's sister would say, "Hey! Jane! Come here! Let's play!" and Jane would be off like a shot, happy to be included.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
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