Office gossip can help you


"At its worst," says Working Mother in its February issue, "gossip in the workplace can be devastating; it can cause irreparable damage, from hurt feelings to destroyed careers." But the story adds, "When handled wisely, this same informal network can enhance your reputation and increase your visibility as a highly regarded employee, leading to more pay and even a promotion."

This excellent article suggests you take these steps: Be your own press agent ("get yourself talked about in a positive way"); establish strong peer relationships; broaden your network; identify influential people ("get to know a few key people who make things happen"); give praise to get praise; never snub subordinates; know when to button your lip; work the crowd ("if your first reaction is to skip the company picnic, you could be missing an important opportunity. Grapevine is best at social gatherings.")

RECESSION UPDATE: "We appear to be on the threshold of a business recovery. The worst is over on the job front, but mere stability will not inspire consumer confidence. We need employment growth, and that is probably a couple of months away." (Investment Counselors of Maryland.). . . . "Even after the recession ends, the U.S. economy will limp along unless the government cuts federal spending and taxes and spurs savings and investment." (Consensus of four prominent economists, in Nation's Business.)

TAX TIPS: Working on your income tax that is due in about two months? Here, from Tax Hotline, are the most frequently overlooked tax deductions: Contributions of personal property to charity, driving your car for charity, fees for safe deposit boxes, trips to your broker/accountant in connection with investments, use of home phone, magazines etc., for business purposes, business equipment (briefcases, calculators, organizers etc.) and IRA contributions. See your accountant for details.

WORKPLACE WISDOM: "Try to do the same tasks at approximately the same time each day to cut down on indecision, one of the leading time-wasters in the workplace." (Short Shots). . . . "The acronym SCORE is a helpful motivational device: Seek suggestions, Comfort employees, Offer opportunities, Reassure workers, Encourage taking risks." (Business to Business, Diversified Insurance Inc. publication). . . . "About 25 million people work at least part-time in their homes; 1.3 million of them, or 5 percent, have fax machines at home. That percentage should increase to 50 percent by 1995 and to 95 percent by 2000." (Same publication). . . . "Had my wife and I talked to other entrepreneurs and their spouses about starting a new business, it would have made us more sober going in." (New-business owner in INC, February).

QUIZ: If you co-sign a loan for a friend, that means that you: (1) Become eligible to receive part of the loan principal. (2) Are responsible for repaying the loan if your friend defaults. (3) Vouch for your friend's reliability but have no legal obligation for the loan. (4) Cannot get a loan yourself until the co-signed loan has been fully repaid. Read on.

MID-MONTH MEMOS: On Feb. 25, Security Analysts will hear Hartford Steam Boiler Insurance Co.'s treasurer, Robert Trainer, at noon at the Hyatt Regency. . . . Quiz answer: No. 2. When you co-sign a loan, you are in effect guaranteeing that it will be repaid, even if you have to shell out the money. Moral: Think carefully before co-signing any loan. (Data from Dollar Stretcher). . . "Will You Lose Out During the Next Round of Layoffs?" is worth reading in National Business Employment Weekly, dated today.

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