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10 Quotes to Help You Play It Cool in the Workplace

There’s a lot to be said about the ability to play it “cool” under pressure. And it’s an important quality of great leadership. The ability to roll with the punches and stay focused when obstacles arise is essential to leading a productive team. In the workplace, employees most often take their cues from their leaders, so the next time you feel like you may be headed for a breakdown, here are 10 of our favorite quotes to help you keep your cool.

“People who fly into a rage always make a bad landing.” – Will Rogers

“In certain trying circumstances, urgent circumstances, desperate circumstances, profanity furnishes a relief denied even to prayer.” – Mark Twain

“You will not be punished for your anger; you will be punished by your anger.” – Buddha

“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help, and what they cannot.”– Plato

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.” – John Quincy Adams

“Not the fastest horse can catch a word spoken in anger.” – Chinese Proverb

“Patience is the art of concealing your impatience.” – Guy Kawasaki

“If you kick a stone in anger, you’ll hurt your own foot.” – Korean Proverb

“Courage is grace under pressure.” – Ernest Hemingway

“As in nature, as in art, so in grace; it is rough treatment that gives souls, as well as stones, their luster.”– Thomas Guthrie

What are some of your favorite quotes that help you keep your cool? Do you have any deep thoughts of your own? Let us know in the comments section below.


The Results Are In: Your Business Performance Predictions for 2014

For our December 2013 question of the month, we asked about your business performance predictions for 2014, and the results show a definite sign of optimism for the new year.

According to the results, 50% of respondents say they expect to see exponential growth and 43% believe their business volume will be steady, but unchanged from 2013. However, the most telling sign of what many businesses expect in 2014 is the fact that only 7% of respondents say they will see a decrease in business activity.

To add further optimism about the state of the economy in 2014, at the end of 2012 we asked our readers about their business performance predications for 2013, and only 31% of respondents said they expected to see exponential growth in 2013, while slightly more than 25% said they would experience a decrease in business volume.  So year over year, businesses in general seem to be anticipating a fairly productive and successful 2014, which is supported by many key economic indicators, like historic highs in the U.S. stock market, increasing – albeit slowly – housing starts in both the U.S. and Canada, and a rebounding consumer confidence index.

However, the general optimism about 2014 still comes with its fair share of challenges that could derail forward momentum. For example, weak GDP components like exports and investment in Canada and of course, the impact of the new health care reforms in the U.S.

What do you think will be the key challenges to the economy in 2014? Is your business prepared to respond to them? Let us know in the comments section below.


Near Record Number of People Quit Looking for Work in 2013

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics most recent report, the percentage of people looking for work in 2013 declined at a rate not seen since 1961, with the exception of the decline that took place in 2009 as a result of the Great Recession.

The labor force participation rate declined from 63.6 in January 2013 to 62.8 percent last month. The 0.8 percent annual drop was surpassed only by a 1.2 percent drop in 2009 and a drop of 0.9 percent in 1961. The report shows the number of people who quit looking for work has dropped at its sharpest rate in 52 years, with the exception of the drop that took place in 2009.

“The sad, tragic and almost untold story of employment is how many people have quit looking for work,” said Bob Funk, the CEO of Express Employment Professionals and a former Chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve. “It’s misleading to call the economy healthy when so many Americans have given up hope and stopped looking for a job.

“Equally troubling, at a time when the economy is thought to be recovering, the rate of decline is accelerating.”

In 2010, the rate declined by 0.3 percent; in 2011 by 0.3 percent; in 2012 by 0.4 percent and in 2013 by 0.8 percent.

“The number of people who have given up on looking for work is growing – just the opposite of what you want to see,” Funk said. “This issue deserves a lot more attention than it is receiving.”

The Department of Labor announced that the unemployment rate dropped from 7.0 percent in November 2013 to 6.7 percent last month, while the labor force participation rate declined from 63.0 percent to 62.8 percent for the month.



About Robert A. “Bob” Funk
Robert A. “Bob” Funk is chairman, chief executive officer and president of Express Employment Professionals. Headquartered in Oklahoma City, the international staffing company has 675 franchises in the U.S., Canada and South Africa. Under his leadership, Express has put more than five million people to work worldwide. Funk served as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City and was also the Chairman of the Conference of Chairmen of the Federal Reserve.

About Express Employment Professionals
Express Employment Professionals puts people to work. It generated more than $2.5 billion in temporary sales in 2013 and ranks as the largest privately held staffing agency in the United States. Its goal is to put a million people to work.



Tips_For_Working_With_Younger_Boss_Dec2013As more baby boomers are delaying their retirement and working later in life, it’s likely they’ll eventually find themselves working for someone that is younger than them. Working in an environment full of people of different age groups can make it difficult to connect and relate. Here are three tips to keep in mind when working for a younger boss.

Having confidence in yourself will not only help you advance in your company and career, but it can also make work more enjoyable and fulfilling. Walk with caution, as there is a difference between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is important when working for a boss that is younger than you, so believe in your abilities.

Communication is a key to getting to know your boss no matter their age. Ask how he or she likes to stay in touch, whether by text, phone calls, email, or face-to-face meetings. As you learn how to communicate with each other, you’ll figure out how to get along with them as well.

Although you may have more experience in the company than your young boss, understand that what he or she brings to the business is new and that they have unique insight to offer. Change is needed to grow and further businesses, even if it means you may be learning new areas you’ve never thought about.

Keep in mind the relationship between you and your boss is probably the most influential and important relationship at your workplace. Do you work for someone younger than you? If so, share with us in the comments section what you’ve done to bridge a positive relationship across generations.



dirty_santa_Dec2013As the Christmas season quickly approaches, many people are preparing for holiday parties and events. Preparing for Christmas parties can be stressful, but choosing which games to play, or which gifts to give, shouldn’t be. If you’re thinking about exchanging gifts at your work Christmas party, keep in mind that everyone may not have the same budget or allowance for gifts. Dirty Santa, White Elephant and Secret Santa are fun and easy options that won’t break anyone’s piggy bank. It allows people to get creative with gift ideas and it’s interactive so everyone can join in on the fun.

If your office is planning on playing games at your Christmas party this year, here are some do’s and don’ts that you should keep in mind:

1. Do bring a gift within the price range. Don’t feel obligated to spend the exact amount at the upper end of the limit, but be reasonable so no one feels cheated.

2. Don’t forget that Christmas parties are company events, so you should act accordingly, even if others aren’t being professional. Keep in mind your company culture and workplace etiquette.

3. Do go to the Christmas party! Make an appearance, spend time with your co-workers, play games, and have fun. Remember your leadership has planned the party and worked hard to make you feel appreciated.

4. Don’t bring a questionable gift. (Anything that could embarrass you or a co-worker isn’t a good idea.)

5. Do thank the people who hosted the event. Let them know you appreciate them taking the time to plan everything.

If you’re new to your workplace, ask around to see how things have gone at previous Christmas parties. For more Dirty Santa rules, check out this great article from CareerBuilder.

What are some rules you play by with work-related gift giving? Share with us in the comments section below.