How to Deal with a Colleague Bad-Mouthing You * Ethics

Together Abroad10-08-2017 12:54 PM

Professional working relationships, just like all other forms of relationships, are not always perfect. Though most of us try our best to get along with our colleagues, there will sometimes be miscommunications, misunderstandings, and even personality clashes. Depending on the parties involved, this can occasionally lead to a situation in which you discover that one of your colleagues has been bad-mouthing you.

Picture this: You and Jim get along well. Your interactions are always pleasant and there have never been any issues between you. Then one day you are talking to another colleague, Sally, who informs you that Jim has been bad-mouthing you behind your back. Specifically, he has been telling others in the office that you are lazy and he has to work extra hours to make up for it. This comes as a surprise to you, because you have always worked hard and delivered your projects on time. As far as you can recall, Jim has never had to take on any of your responsibilities. So, what do you do in this situation?

Firstly, it is a good idea to try and confirm the information Sally gave you with other colleagues, in order to ensure that it is...
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Together Abroad04-07-2017 3:38 PM

Being ranked 1st in the world for work-life balance by the OECD, the Netherlands has not only earned its reputation as a country with a relaxed work ethic, but also as a happier country overall. This high quality of life is attributed to well-defined working hours that rarely exceed 40 hours a week and strong worker’s rights. Of course, this attitude to work is also inherent of Dutch culture, where workers would typically prefer a balanced work life to spare time for family and personal matters, rather than earning excessive amounts of money; this is further proven by the number of Dutch workers who choose to work part-time (26.8% of men and 76.6% of women).

Aside from a more laid-back approach to work, visitors to the Netherlands are often surprised by the difference in Dutch communication; Dutch people tend to be a lot more direct and forthcoming in their communication. This can be jarring for people of other cultures because Dutch people do not tend to read context in conversations and can be distrustful of people who they deem to be overly polite, instead detecting what they think could be a hidden unpleasantness. In a sense, this can also prove...
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Together Abroad09-05-2017 11:00 AM
Working with an employee or employer who asks you to break the rules at work can lead to numerous conflicts and ethical dilemmas in the workplace, but what steps can be taken to deal with such indecent proposals? Proposals can range from keeping quiet about misplaced petty cash to falsifying patient records in a hospital; in either case it is a daunting challenge many employees could face during their career and it is easy to see why anyone could be persuaded to go along with an indecent proposal: “I need to make a first impression on my boss”; “I can’t afford to lose this job”; “I’m too low on the totem pole to speak out”. This is why refusing and speaking up against your boss or colleague can seem like a sure way to jeopardise your job, or perhaps even your career, but it does not have to end this way.

First and foremost, dealing with the inevitable self-conflict helps towards being an ethical employee; it is easy to find yourself: “just following orders”, which is an easy short-term solution when faced with an unethical proposal. However, the long-term consequences may prove far worse than having to find another job,...
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Together Abroad10-04-2017 10:42 AM
All jobs are demanding, and in certain careers overtime is becoming more and more commonplace. It is fair for employers to ask their employees to work hard, but sometimes bosses go too far by placing too much pressure on their employees. The negative effects of overly demanding bosses have been widely researched. For instance, one study found that 77% of employees experienced physical symptoms of stress as a result of poor relationships with their bosses. The wider health effect of consistent overtime, which includes mental health problems, has also been documented.

Getting the work-life balance right is important for many people, especially those who have families or an active social life. According to occupational psychologist Rob Williams, “It’s fine to work long hours and/or to take work home, but this needs to be a temporary solution. Your manager may demand your immediate attention at work, but that doesnot mean they can expect you to consistently prioritise your working life over your home life”.

Saying no to overtime can be tricky. You donot want to damage your relationship with your boss. If an employer constantly demands overtime, assess your current workload before approaching them. Devise some alternative solutions, such as delegating...
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Together Abroad07-04-2017 8:21 AM
There are a few jobs that are truly solitary, while the majority involve teams. Certain professions are more team orientated than other jobs. Teachers usually teach their own classes, but all the teachers form a team together. Although being in a team does not mean it automatically operates as one. After all, a team is formed by individuals who have their own ideas and opinions that maynot always agree with one another. Yet, in order not to derail as a team, it is crucial for the individuals to get along to a certain degree.

There are many ways to improve team spirit. However, there is rarely a single strategy to increase or improve the team as a whole, so where to start?

Trust

Foremost, it is important to trust the members. Trust cannot be created overnight, but it can be built by following these five main points.

Integrity: Follow up on promises, tell the truth, be forthcoming with information, and offer sincere apologies (no buts –a ‘but’ nullifies the apology).

Communicate about vision: It needs to be apparent to all members what the organisation is working towards; without a clear goal, finding support among the members will be slim.

Equality:...
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Together Abroad06-03-2017 9:55 AM
So many hours a week are spent at the workplace that it practically becomes a second home. We get close to and gossip with work friends, save personal documents on work computers, and leave personal items lying around on our desks. We become so comfortable with our second home that it sometimes leads to forgetting that some of this information is not appropriate for the work place. Employees have become so lax about personal conversations they had in hallways and cubicles thatabout 53% of support staff workers in the U.S. have reported overhearing confidential conversations.

Sometimes this information is revealed to be more than just the issues your boss is having at home. Sensitive information can be regarding stealing goods or information from the company, the layoff of a coworker, or the lie told to a senior executive. When you are the one overhearing this sensitive information, it can be difficult to decide what to do about it. Should you tell someone? Keep your mouth shut? Confront that person? Weighing consequences and opportunities from the knowledge of this information can be stressful.

Is the information potentially harmful to a coworker or to the company? If the answer is no to...
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Together Abroad01-03-2017 11:39 AM
Applying to a new job, polishing your CV, tailoring your cover letter to make the right impression in order to be selected for an interview… landing a new job is not an easy task. And after the first interview, often a second and sometimes a third follows. But during the last interview, the working conditions are usually discussed.

Primary Terms of Employment

The Netherlands distinguishestwo main differentworking conditions: primary and secondary terms of employment primaireensecundairearbeidsvoowaarden. Under primaireare the standard working conditions that apply to all jobs: wages, holidays, holiday pay, and working hours. It is not always possible to negotiate about all of these topics.

Every employee has a set minimum number of holidays by law. For a fulltime position, i.e. working for 40 hours a week, the minimum is 20 workdays. This number changes when working less hours a week.

Although the vacancy usually gives a clear indication what the salary will be, an employer is not allowed to pay employees less than the minimum wage. How many hours per week you will work, can sometimes be negotiable. How willingly, however, an employer will be to negotiate about this depends on several factors. It is wise to look into...
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Together Abroad06-02-2017 9:17 PM
Toxic individuals come in various shapes and forms: manipulators, drama magnets, notorious liars, gossip-makers and many more. The easiest solution would be to avoid them, but what do you do if you are forced to coexist with them in a workplace? Here are a couple of tips to equip you against all that negativity.

Be Smart

Toxic people tend to provoke all sorts of emotional reactions. They can make you feel belittled, depressed, infuriated and angry to the point where you are willing to throw your career away just to get as far from them as possible. You can bear with them for some time, but feel like one day you are going to snap and give them a good, uncensored piece of your mind. Well, do not do that. Stay calm and rational. Do not respond to the emotional chaos, only the facts. In the end, emotional manipulation is something toxic people excel in; so do not try to beat them in their own game. However, it is a good idea to set some boundaries. If you find yourself in a situation where a toxic person’s words or actions are interfering with your ability to do your job, find...
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Together Abroad05-02-2017 9:47 PM
Gossip in the office is inevitable. In fact asperthe Harvard Business Review, 90% of all conversationperiodsare considered gossip. Most gossip is harmless, and is a means of communication that allows a way for two strangers to feel closer to each other. Some gossip can be harmful though, not only to other people but also to an entire organization.

An organization I previously worked for decided to change the compensation plan for sales reps to increase sales in a specific area of the business. Rumors of this change and what the new structure of compensation would be flew around the office, and none of it was positive. Unfortunately, this ended with some of the most experienced and best sales reps leaving the company. The employees worried that they would be compensated less for the same work, so they started to look elsewhere. This situation resulted from lack of communication between managers and employees, with lots of uncertainty. Negative gossip runs through an organization quickly and if nothing is done to clear up the misconceptions, organizations will quickly feel the ramifications of their misstep.

Gossip becomes extreme during times of stress or uncertainty within an organization. Most gossip is bred from speculations...
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Together Abroad22-01-2017 9:36 PM
It is inevitable, we all catch a cold once in a while, which sometimes progresses into a flu, restricting the patient to the bed for a couple of days (or weeks). It is inconvenient and it can feel like the end of the wold, but often, after a couple of days, life and work continue as usual.

But what happens when you have the misfortune of falling ill?

Calling in Sick

First, it is important to call in sick. In general, this will be to your direct supervisor. Each company has its own regulations on how to inform the supervisor. Often it is by a phone call, but sometimes an e-mail can suffice. What to do when falling ill is almost always explained during the first day at a new job; if this has not be done, or if you are not certain, it is best to inquire about it. Details are included in the companies CAO (collective agreement) or in the employment contract.

In my case, I have to inform my manager between 8 and 9 a.m. My manager informs my colleagues and the team assistant who will then cancel my appointments. This is the official route we have...
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Together Abroad05-12-2016 12:02 PM
We are taught not to judge the book by its cover, and yet generally we go off and do exactly that. You can look at clothing as aliberating means of self-expression or just another opportunity for socioeconomic stereotyping, but inthe career world, it provides a shortcut for clients, employers and business partners to assessing one’s attitude and professionalism. Like it or not, your appearance contributes to other’s opinion of you, so you might just as well try to make the best of it.

Ground Rules

It does not matter whether you work in an office and are expected to wear a business attire, or at a fast food restaurant and have to show up in a uniform. You should always look neat. Whatever your clothing, make sure to avoid stains, wrinkles, missing buttons or muddy shoes. As petty as it may sound, not being able to take care of your clothing can make people doubt if you are capable of taking care of their business.

Avoid tacky items. You can look “fun and approachable” even without a plastic butterfly in your hair or a cookie monster tie. Also sticking to simple principles like wearing the right size or choosing clothes...
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Together Abroad05-12-2016 1:44 PM
Whistleblowers are often seen as selfless vigilantes, watchmen of public interest and organisational accountability. Or as traitors, defectors and renegade double-crossers. The motivation factors that bring them into action vary from altruistic “wanting to do the right thing” to trivial “someone else was given the position I wanted”. In any case, if you are dealing with a whistleblower, you might be in real trouble and need to address the issue seriously.

What to Do When Your Employee Blows a Whistle

First off, you need to investigatethe nature of the complaint and whether the alleged wrongdoing is true or not. If the complaint relates to a serious fault (especially concerning health and safety regulations), it may be advisable to suspend the related process or activities pending the outcome of the investigation.

Next, you have to figure out whether the complaint is a personal grievance or whistleblowing. Depending on which one of the two it is, the employee in question may be entitled to legal protection under the House for Whistleblowers Act, which was adopted by the Upper House (the Dutch Senate) in March this year. In order to invoke legal protection, the complaint must fulfil three requirements: there must be a...
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Together Abroad05-12-2016 9:21 AM
Most of us celebrate when we receive a job promotion offer. And why should we not? Perhaps our boss finally recognizes the hard work we put in, or being the first to come into the office and the last to leave, or landing the company that client or project that was out of our league… Whatever the reason, your boss is saying: “Hey, there is an opening for a better position and we thought of you first”.

But what if you feel apprehension? Or end up having a sleepless night thinking of the promotion rather than a celebratory drink? Well, not all promotions are good, and certainly not all promotions come at the right time. Here are some factors to consider.

More Responsibility

A promotion often implies more responsibility. You have proven your worth and are clearly able to manage with the responsibility you already have, so it is time to add some more. However, contrary to what your boss may think, you may be barely managing as it is, and the thought of more responsibility is too taxing. It could be that having to deal with more clients or colleagues or larger projects is not for you at this...
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Together Abroad10-10-2016 9:15 AM

Alarm clock gives out, train is delayed, the car breaks down — it happens to the best of us. But there is a difference between occasional logistical malfunction and habitual tardiness.

How Late Is Late?  Some chronic latecomers would argue that showing up anything up to 15 minutes late is okay. Well, time is a surprisingly exact thing and does not leave muchroom for interpretation. If you are expected to start at 9a.m., and if you are not present at 9a.m., then technically you are late. You might think that a couple of minutes simply do not matter, but this opinion can (and probably will) differ from the one that your employer has. And since you are on his/her clock, that is what counts.

Are You Entitled to Being Late? Maybe your job requires you to put in many over hours, and therefore you feel it is only fair that you “get your time back”. Maybe your justification is that it is okay to be a bit late for work if you also leave later. And it is, but only if your boss explicitly says so. Generally, it is not a good idea to bend the rules based on an assumption....
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Together Abroad12-09-2016 11:29 AM

To dislike your job is one thing, but if you feel physically sick just thinking about going to work, your work environment may be outright toxic. Especially if there is hostility between you and another co-worker. There is a proper way of dealing with such a situation. For starters, you should work from the bottom up.

Try to Turn the Situation Around

Address the issue directly with the offender, but be careful about how you approach it. Act professionally and with integrity, stay calm and avoid emulating negative behaviour. Criticise the offender’s actions, not the offender. Steer clear of office gossip, as that will only spread negativity and contribute to an already hostile atmosphere.
Keep your head down and remember that you are here to get the work done. Do so as well as you can. If your first attempt to diffuse the situation fails, you need to face your offender again, repeating your previous message and letting them know that you will be taking the matter to the HR. You should keep documentation of the communication between the two of you, in case you will need it later.

Turn to Management and Human Resources

If you gave it your...
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Together Abroad22-08-2016 9:51 AM


Once employed in the Netherlands, you may find something called a non-solicitation clause included in your contract. This is separate from the commonly seen, non-compete clause. While a non-compete clause prohibits an employee from entering into a new employment agreement with a competitor, a non-solicitation clause prohibits an employee from entering into an employment agreement with a customer or business relation of the former employer. It is important to think about how this could possibly affect your later career before signing it, as this can be legally enforced and a fine may be in store for any who break the agreement.

These clauses come in many forms so it is important to pay special attention to your contract. Some may prohibit you from working for any and all customers and/or business relations, while others may just list certain ones. It is possible that your contract may even prohibit you from being in contact with that person or company. In 2011, a judge was overhearing an application for interim relief in Arnhem and ruled that an employee who accepted a LinkedIn request from a customer of his former employer, had violated his non-solicitation clause. Because of this, it is also possible...
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Together Abroad01-08-2016 10:15 AM


A typo or sending an e-mail to the wrong person are the little mistakes that can occasionally happen to all of us. Although typos can be excruciating, the consequences are often limited (this of course depends on the line of business one operates in). However, hitting the forward button instead of the reply one, after venting your dismay about your boss’ e-mail, can have more dire consequences. The satisfying fulfilment of getting it off your chest is short-lived, once the realisation kicks in and replaces the gleeful feeling with regret, anxiety and embarrassment. The question is how to act accordingly?

Apologize

No matter what kind of blunder you have made, the best way to prevent it from escalating into a worse situation is to act immediately by apologizing and acknowledging you have done something unacceptable. The recipient can hardly disagree when you admit what you did was wrong. Of course, it doesnot mean all is forgiven and forgotten, but it is the first step.

Own the Consequences

Apologizing alone will not always be enough. Depending on the blunder, there will be consequences. In order to keep the damage to a minimum, it is important to accept the consequences and to...
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Together Abroad11-07-2016 11:27 AM
 
The idea of maintaining a professional code of conduct is relevant to many individuals throughout their professional lives. You may have come across the term before. You may also have wondered what makes it so important. One importance is that a professional code of conduct allows people to represent their organizations in a suitable manner. Another reason is that work environments become more pleasant to work in when more workers are aware of how they should behave themselves. As an employee, adhering to the right code of conduct will likely make it easier to work efficiently and well with your colleagues. Ensuring your behavior is professionally appropriate will probably also help your coworkers feel more comfortable in the workspace which you share.

Unfortunately, perceptions on what is acceptable professional behavior can vary greatly from person to person. Some people’s limits on what behavior is acceptable inside of a working environment may be stricter than yours, and vice versa. Nevertheless there are some generally applicable rules to observe when it comes to maintaining a professional code of conduct.

Respect

It is really important to always be respectful—of your coworker’s feelings and/or concerns. When conflicts arise, as they tend to do, yelling...
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Together Abroad04-07-2016 11:12 AM


The holiday season is near and people are beginning the countdown to their well-deserved break. In certain branches, this transition is noticeable: team meetings are not as regular, major projects and changes are on hold until August/September, and the office is quieter as some colleagues are already enjoying their holidays.

In general, it is up to the employee to decide when he wants to takeleave. Depending on the branch, most companies ask their personnel sometime after Christmas to inform the administration about their summer leaves to prevent understaffing.
Taking some time off, however, entails more than just sending an email to the right person. When working in a team, it is customary to check with your direct colleagues. Some might have school-age children and will therefore be bound to the school holidays. (Besides the practical part, informing your direct colleagues about your holiday plans is also socially seen as the best way to proceed.) When too many requests are submitted during the school holiday periods, employees with children usually have precedency. This usually works out naturally; those who are not bound to the school holidays often prefer to take leave outside the high season since it is cheaper.

After checking...
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Together Abroad20-06-2016 11:32 AM

Last year, about 1.2 million people experienced workplace harassment, such as bullying, discrimination and (sexual) harassment by colleagues or supervisors.This has to come to an end according to minister of Social Affairs and Employment Lodewijk Asscher.
Employees, who have been victimized, report in sick more often than an average of seven days per year. Besides the personal suffering for those involved, it will cost employers loads of money. TNO research institute calculated that it costs employers about 1.7 billion euros per year.
Therefore, at a conference on this issue in The Hague, Asscher started the campaign "Moet tochkunnen", meaning something like "There should be a way" against harassment at work. The fact that so many people faced harassment last year ''shows that this campaign is not a luxury", said the minister.
He also designated half a million eurosto a group of experts that can help the companies to tackle the problem. In addition, the Inspectorate will pay more attention by their controls. Workplace harassment is a major cause of stress at work, and is the number one occupational disease in the country.
The campaign mainly draws attention to the gray area between a joke and harassment, with the aim of...
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Together Abroad06-06-2016 12:15 PM
Wasting time is usually a habit—something you unwittingly partake in, because you are used to allowing yourself to do so. You might have become accustomed to spending too long or too many moments on social media, or other such actions, and you might have grown tired of feeling guilty for it. Routines are a way of encouraging the developing of other, more productive habits.

There are several things you should keep in mind when you are aiming to develop a good work routine, in order to stop wasting time.

Keep the Enemy Close

Do not ignore the distractions or activities that most commonly cause you to waste time, or that you use to waste time with. It may seem counter-intuitive, but these form a crucial part of your productive routine.

Some people maintain that a so-called “cheat day” helps you stick to a diet. Apply this same logic to your daily routine; setting breaks for the things you are not supposed to do helps you maintain productivity. So, determine what causes you to waste the most time. Is it YouTube videos? Your phone? Smoking? All of the above? Integrate these activities into your day in a way that makes the...
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Together Abroad09-05-2016 10:12 PM
For both employers and employees, maintaining a good relationship with each other is important. Consistent positive interactions reduce the likelihood of conflict between the two. For employers, maintaining a good relationship can form a way to encourage employee loyalty to a company or organization. Also, if employers and employees get along, then there is a far more pleasant working environment, which in turn increases overall productivity.

There are simple logical steps that each party can take to encourage such a positive relationship. For instance, neither should display hostility towards the other, both should treat each other with basic respect and speak to each other politely. Beyond such common courtesies, both employers and employees may have questions on what they can do to get along well with one another. Should employers and employees look to develop a friendship? Is that productive? How much should they interact? And what kind of interactions should be sought out the most?


Be Supportive

A good employer-employee relationship is based on mutual support. It should become a common practice for both parties to work together. Neither should feel far removed from the other’s responsibilities. Indeed, this should form part of the organization’s basic functioning. Both parties...
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Together Abroad01-05-2016 4:08 PM
Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility

Employee activity can generally be monitored in two ways: directly—meaning in the office, or online—by means of their social media or Internet activity. Monitoring an employee in person should be done with the aim of determining whether that employee is using their time efficiently, often absent at their desk, or distracted by other online activities. An employer or organization can also monitor whether employees are using social media prudently, and not sharing information about the company that they should not be sharing.

Every organization carries the responsibility to determine how important they find it to be aware of their employee’s actions. Not every organization requires as much information as the other. Regardless of how much you want to monitor employees, however, it is advisable to always do so with these do’s and don’ts in mind.


DO keep an eye on employees…

Openly

This means involving your employees in the monitoring. If you have certain expectations for their behaviour, inform them of this soon after they take up their positions within your organization. Make sure to inform them of which social media activity you feel would reflect poorly on the organization, and what information they can share....
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Barbara Haenen18-04-2016 10:43 AM
Interacting with Your Surroundings
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Together Abroad15-02-2016 11:15 AM
After firing CEO Dov Charney, American Apparel decided to update its company code of ethics with stricter guidelines regarding interoffice relationships. According to the new policy, “No management-level employee may make sexual advances, welcome or unwelcome, toward any subordinate.”
Despite their efforts, there's a crutch to the matter: Whether or not there are policies forbidding them, office relationships happen.
A recent survey by CareerBuilder found that nearly 40 percent of employees admitted to having a romantic relationship with a co-worker. And a whopping 31 percent of office relationships result in marriage. If so many people get involved in an office romance, they can’t always be a bad idea, right?
Maybe, maybe not. However, it's important to know how to avoid mixing your career and your love life. Aftrer all, you don't want to put your career on the line for love. Here are a few tips to help you make sure that pursuing your love interest won’t cost you your job:

Avoid Getting Involved with the Wrong Person
According to the CareerBuilder survey, 24 percent of intra-office relationships were with someone higher up in the organisation. To some degree, this could be considered a misuse of power, or even sexual intimidation...
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Together Abroad18-01-2016 9:31 AM
Only until ten years ago the legal understanding of age work discrimination in the Netherlands was taking discriminating actions against people of the age of thirty-five and above. The specificity in the selection of the range of people that fall under the category, however, has been reconsidered. Nowadays, all age groups are legally protected against age discrimination and given the rights of equal treatment. A very smart move, since discriminating which age groups to be protected from age discrimination is by itself an age discrimination.
What exactly does this mean? In general conditions, without including exceptional work environment, it is unlawful to discriminate with regard to: the recruitment and selection processes, job placement, termination of employment, conditions of employment, education and training, promotions or working conditions. If you feel that you have been treated differently because of your age with respect to any situation related with the above, you might have been victim of age discrimination. How to deal with such situation can be looked from different perspectives.

The first one is the formal actions you can take. Such as: complaining to your employer, the human resources department or the committee dealing with discrimination complaints and try to find a...
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Together Abroad04-01-2016 1:58 PM
With every job, there comes a certain level of responsibility. These responsibilities dictate what you have to do during your working hours, and what your main duties are. However, you have finished your basic tasks. You're still in office hours, though you have already finished your workload. What now? Do you continue working?

This will present two scenarios to you, showing the potential benefits of working above and beyond the minimum of what is reaquired of you.

The first scenario is finishing your work before it is done, and you're still within work hours. This presents a perfect opportunity to ask for more work from a manager or team leader, or to start working ahead of yourself. Working ahead of yourself is an interesting time-management technique. If you have scheduled your work for the week ahead, try to do some of your work that is due the next day, the tasks that aren't group dependent, or happen due to time context. This'll actually lower your overall work load over the week, while improving your efficiency. By improving your efficiency, you have improved your productivity, and that would mean going above what is required by you.

You may notice that there...
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Together Abroad18-12-2015 4:08 PM
It's that time of the year again, when the HR departments across The Netherlands are setting up some of their biggest corporate events of the year. Though a lot of time and budget is invested in them, why should you bother? What is their importance?

Corporate events generally revolve around holidays in the country. Often December is a busy time for this, considering Christmas, Sinterklaas, and New years are all celebrated this month. In essence, the goal of the corporate events is very much in the spirit of the Holidays; bringing all the members of the various departments together and enjoying yourselves. This relaxation is very important to a good work-life balance, and over all, learning to be relaxed around your colleagues. Even from the companies perspectives, increasing the cohesiveness of co-workers is a massive benefit, as improving relations has a positive correlation on the productivity of workers.

Even so, it may be difficult to see exactly what these events can bring to you. As a quick break down, the two most important reasons these corporate events can be benficial to you are:

Build stronger team relationships: as you and your colleuges get closer together, you'll learn more about eachother....
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Together Abroad07-12-2015 10:04 AM
In our busy world, it is sometimes challenging to combine work with private and social life, while not getting stressed. The trick is in knowing and following a time balance. Here are some time-management tips which will hopefully help you to not lose your nerves and to stay efficient and happy within and outside your work.  Do a time audit of your regular week
Spend one week looking where and how you spend your time. Using these results, consider how you may redistribute your time to have enough for the activities you really value. Also notice what you are wasting your time for. Simplify, delegate or totally eliminate activities that absorb too much time (especially if they are not worth that time).
Work smarter, not harder
Managing your time does not mean completing as many tasks into one day as possible. It is about simplifying work process, grouping similar tasks together, doing things faster. It is about thinking of what can be done more efficiently, instead of automatically performing a time-consuming task again and again.
Start with the most important tasks
The golden rule of time management is to first complete the two or three tasks that are the most crucial for...
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Together Abroad27-11-2015 7:48 PM
The World Economic Forum (WEF) publishes the Global Gender Gap Index. The Global Gender Gap Index provides insight into the disparity between men and women for more than ninety percent of the world population. The Netherlands rises this year from fourteenth to thirteenth place.

The inequality between men and women over the past ten years decreased by 4 percent. Women now earn about what men earned in 2006. If we continue at this slow pace the WEF is expecting the gap to close entirely in about 118 years. This means that by the year 2133, the disparity between men and women will be lifted.

There is no country in the world where this type of wage inequality has been eliminated completely. The top four countries - Iceland, Norway, Finland and Sweden - have a wage gap of around twenty eight percent, while the lowest rated country - Yemen – has a fifty percent gap. The Netherlands has the gap between men and women standing at around seventy seven percenty, meanign women earn twenty three percent less than men.

The 145 countries studied were compared on four aspects of inequality: economic participation, access to education, health and life expectancy, and political...
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Together Abroad12-11-2015 1:10 PM
No one wants to be under appreciated or neglected in something that you have invested in your time, effort, mind and hopes. And if in any other aspects of your lives it might be easier to recognize such situation and how to deal with it, when it comes to work, things get a bit trickier. Identifying when your boss doesn’t notice your hard work can be difficult, especially for younger employees, who don’t have previous experience with such circumstances or a lot of work experience in general and are still not used to what to expect in a work environment.
Some examples of under appreciation could be when you do your job well, complete your task on time, etc., however you don’t receive any kind of feedback, or the only type of feedback you get is the cases when you have done something wrong or a mistake. A lot of people might explain for themselves such behaviour as natural with the fact that this is their job and that is what they are supposed to do.

However, it is impossible to deny that a simple “good job, thank you” can boost your work motivation and feeling of accomplishment and that...
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Polina Merkulova03-11-2015 9:36 AM
“Alone we can do a little; together we can do so much,” is a famous quote by Helen Keller. Indeed, teamwork is a very important cog in the clockwork of business which helps to accomplish so many objectives that would never have come true by working individually. The main goals of team building are exactly what the word says – to build a great team of employees that can effectively and productively work with each other. Therefore, team building can be seen as an important part of the employee learning and employee development. So, let’s look more closely at why team building is important, what it wants from you and what you can get out of it!

What is team building?
Team building is about learning to efficiently work together with your co-workers. The best way to achieve this goal is to make employees know each other as best as possible, usually through informal communication. Various training programs exist to help companies make a strong team. There are a number of different ways companies use team building training programs from simple business exercises to sport games.
There are team building games which involve role playing events from the past, as...
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Abdirashid Aden02-11-2015 12:35 PM
When succeeding in a new job it is really important to follow certain steps to ensure continues improvement and also showing your capabilities to the new employer. Listen exactly to the supervisor/manager on what he/she explains about the job and how to perform on a daily bases. Set realistic goals for yourself that can be achieved in your task to eliminate disappointment yourself and other team members. Plan and continue evaluating yourself as progressing throughout the job. “Behave as if you’re still being interviewed. Once you’re hired it’s natural to feel a sense of accomplishment. It’s easy to assume you belong. After all, they hired you, right? You’re awesome! And the company is brilliant for having recognized your awesomeness. High five! “ Darmish Shah (2015) Communicate regular with your manager to ensure your task that completed as expected It is really important to ask questions about your role, to show a sense of curiosity and willingness to your new employees. It is a bonus to use initiative as it shows that you can think outisde the box and can bring good development ideas to the table. Resposibilty is key as it ensures that you can cope with the tasks you are...
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Together Abroad07-10-2015 10:31 AM
According to the UNESCO discrimination or harassment is defined as either intentional or unintentional behavior without reasonable justification, which consists of an unfavorable treatment of an individual or a group. We can distinguish many types of discrimination or harassment as well as several places at which they can occur. Harassment at work can have many faces; discrimination can happen on the basis of gender, cultural background, religion, or age. Recognising how discrimination is presented is vital for being able to create an equal and equitable workplace.

Gender discrimination in the workplace is still a part of our reality. It is a well known fact that women are often paid less for the same amount of work than men. Out of 142 countries The Netherlands are ranked on the 14th place in the Report on the Global Gender Gap of the World Economic Forum in 2014. This index intends to analyze the (un)equal treatment of both sexes in certain countries and thus makes comparable; the higher the rank, the less unequal treatment. According to the Central Bureau of Statistics, in The Netherlands this amounts to 18.6% difference between the average amount earned per hour by men, against women.

Another discrimination issue...
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Together Abroad31-08-2015 1:23 PM
A few years ago I met with an acquaintance of mine for a drink. He moved to the Netherlands a month ago after he has accepted an employment offer from one of small local companies. During our meeting I got to know that he was fired. The reason for that is that he sent from his work email to his private email a work-related file. On my question whether he knew that he was not allowed to use any work related materials/information outside of the office, his answer was negative. Since he could not access his work related materials from anywhere else, but his work laptop, and could not access the office at all times, he wanted to work on this file over the weekend to get up to speed with his responsibilities. According to my acquaintance, it was not confidential information.

The interesting part is that apparently, his employer was checking his emails. He did not know about it. He also did not know for how long his email correspondence was monitored and whether there was any other type of monitoring happening. The Director came and told him that he is fired without giving any opportunity to explain why...
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Together Abroad24-08-2015 2:08 PM
Two types of gossip pass through most work places: negative gossip and positive gossip. Both can be a welcomed distraction, but only negative gossip stands to mislead workers off their track to success. Typically defaming and slandering, negative gossip can be anything from instigating an alleged office affair to passing along rumors of a new employee’s inferior skills.

Negative gossip between colleagues acts like a virus: it infects the working relationships between co-workers as well as between boss and employee, and if not properly addressed, can lead to employment terminations and ruined reputations. A breakdown in this social fabric causes coworkers to become enemies, and while shots are thrown over lines of division, productivity and morale continue to decline.

What can employees do to deal with negative gossip in the workplace? The right response is crucial because overreacting or saying the wrong thing may fan the flames, but ignoring some kinds of negative gossip can damage your reputation or even career. There is no one shot solution to deal with negative gossip, so overcoming it may take a multi-dimensional approach. Here are some steps to take to effectively deal with different types of negative gossip in the workplace.

1. Confront...
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Together Abroad28-07-2015 11:47 AM
A workplace conflict is traditionally described as opposing interests involving scarce resources, diverging goals and frustration.

However, this description is too narrow and not covering the problem completely. Work disputes are thought to arise in a situation of mix-motived relationships of competition or cooperation. Thus, the traditional understanding of conflict can explain the competitive conflict environment but doesn’t really focus on disputes occurring in a cooperative one, where people with the same goal can still come to a disagreement. Defining well the problem at hand is not only a technical matter but an essential task for a proper management. Conflict in the workplace can be generally understood as incompatible activities, where one person’s actions interfere, restrict, or in some way disturb another’s actions.

Conflicts in the workplace are often thought to lead to destructive and negative consequences. On the contrary, if well understood and properly managed, conflicts can contribute greatly to team and leader effectiveness. When facing conflict, focusing on three main issues can help identifying if a certain dispute can be constructive and how to deal with it.

Those are: conflict resolution strategies, conflict type and motives of the participants.

1. Collaboration
There are different ways of approaching a...
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Together Abroad20-07-2015 12:38 PM
Workplace bullying, shortly defined as “the repeated unethical and unfavourable treatment of one person by another in the workplace” (Constance Dierickx, Ph.D), is quite common nowadays. However, not every employee knows how to properly deal with it.

Even though bullying is an important social issue today, employees often do not recognise that they are being bullied. It has been proven that bullying is harmful for both the company, as it causes demotivation, destroys team work and even leads to staff turnovers, as well as causes serious damage to employee’s health, both morally and physically.

Here are some hidden forms of possible bullying, followed by tips on how to deal with it.

You are being bullied at work when:
• You find yourself excluded from what is happening or when the necessary work knowledge is kept from you.
• You are either overloaded with work or given tasks are being replaced with inappropriate, easy tasks (like photocopying or making coffee).
• You receive unrealistic goals and deadlines which are unachievable or tend to be changed without notice and you mostly receive instructions via emails or post-it notes.
• Your performance is frequently being criticised.
• You are treated much more strictly...
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Together Abroad18-05-2015 12:25 PM
Being late for work happens to everyone at some point in time; sleeping through an alarm, getting caught up in horrible traffic or disruptive train schedules are just examples of getting into circumstances beyond your control. But being late on a frequent basis may be a bit more inconvenient for you and your co-workers. Some companies have strict tardiness rules, others are more tolerated, and however your case may be, it is important to stay on a positive note with both your supervisor and co-workers.

Here are some tips for being late for work;

• Be fully aware of the company’s tardiness policy
Make sure to follow the proper protocol concerning tardiness at work.

• Warn others on your late arrival
If you are stuck in traffic or need to arrange a baby sitter, immediately contacting your supervisor is a good approach.

• Let your boss know you arrived late
Your boss will respect you more for owning up to your mistakes and honestly explaining the reason of your tardiness than not confronting him or lying about it.

• Contact your co-workers or clients that you left waiting
Your tardiness may cause supervisors or co-workers to become angry and frustrated,...
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Together Abroad04-05-2015 12:45 PM
Searching for a job is never an easy task and whether you are employed or unemployed, conducting a job search requires lots of research, time and effort. For various reasons, candidates that are currently employed are much more favoured by hiring managers.

Although, selling your personal brand while employed is easier, it can be particularly tricky, if your current boss is unaware. You definitely do not want to lose your job before finding a new one.

To avoid such situations, here are some tips on job searching while employed:

• Don’t tell anyone at work
“Loose lips sink ships”, an old adage might be quite accurate in this situation. Announcing your future departure can jeopardise your current and potential job

• Don’t do job search in the office
Tracking your internet usage is very common nowadays in the workplace, so avoid problems and do your job search in your personal time and place

• Be professional
It is extremely important to stay productive and focused in your current job even while job hunting; it professionalism. Also, avoid bad-mouthing your current employer as this will come across unprofessional to hiring managers and it can harm your future employment

• Keep LinkedIn up-to-date...
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Togther Abroad16-03-2015 6:15 PM
One of the greatest challenges company’s face today is the continuous personal use of internet and mobile technology by employees during working hours. This constant distraction is well known as “Cyber slacking”. Many employees use a great amount of their work time reading through personal emails, social media and answering personal phone calls. Cyber slacking has become a great concern for many companies today.

Dutch employers are quite strict on the matter and expect no less of their employees. The workplace is considered a respected environment, therefore cyber slacking is unacceptable. All Dutch as well as international employees are assumed to be self-disciplined and should be well aware of the accepted amount of time by the company.

Regularly, employees are given the liberty to control the quantity of time they use the internet for personal use. However, many companies have taken the issue into their own hands. Tracking the internet use is a common method in terms of visited websites and engagement in other online activities. Likewise, it is quite common that employers these days have written policies regarding personal computer usage as a support mechanism for discipline and even for discharge.

As an employee, it is very important to...
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It has been a long journey since I arrived in The Netherlands, and I want to thank you for being available to receive me, believing in my profile and thank you for all your support, and I express my wish to keep our contact. I followed all your guidelines and recommendations, and I succeeded! Thank you for your best attention, let's keep in touch

Helder Costa

I would like to thank you for your great job to make my CV presentable and truly reflecting my knowledge and experience.
With your highly professional advices and support I felt more confident and eventually I got a job.


Tanya Pelser

Thank you to both yourself and Irina for a great workshop this morning, it was refreshing to hear some really basic ideas for the Dutch employment search which I'm sure will help start everyone off on a new career path! I will definitely be using the services of Together Abroad and one of my first actions is to revise my CV and submit this for a review.

James Stopford