How To Listen: My Crazy Office Overtime, Season 9

Kathi and Katherine talk about listening on this week’s My Crazy Office Overtime show.

How do you listen when you don’t like what the other person is saying?

Listen to this week’s podcast here.

The Importance of Praise

This is a stressful time. As we continue to live with uncertainty, nerves can fray, hope can turn to fear, and disappointment can turn to deep sadness and depression. As the weeks of our pandemic quarantine pass, our initial response of being on our best behavior may be giving way to more normal reactions to work annoyances and unrealistic expectations. 

So, without sounding sappy – and those who know me know I’m not sappy – what if we all tried to be nicer to one another? I’m talking about kindness and respect. There may be certain days where remembering to be nice to your co-workers, clients, vendors or management could pose a challenge, but you can forgive yourself for those days and start again tomorrow.

What takes a few seconds to do could make someone’s day. You have no idea what people are dealing with in their personal lives so just be nice, it’s that simple.

Consider the following:

  • How about asking everyone you come in contact with – “How is your day going?” And wait for their answer.  Let’s go a little deeper than the usual, exchange of “How are you?” “Fine.” 
  • When on a Zoom call, why not say, “You look good today.” Then wait to see the other person smile.
  • Reach out to people via text, phone or email and say – “I was thinking about you” especially to those co-workers who live alone.
  • Take a moment to tell your coworkers, “Nice job on that project.” Of course, you do need to mean it.  Acknowledging the effort someone puts into their work can help them feel good – especially during these difficult days.
  • Practice saying, “Thank you,” even for the small things. Most of the time, we don’t need to thank others daily.  We’re usually working at a fast pace, moving from one thing to the next. Offering an unexpected “Thank you,” can create a much-needed positive moment in someone’s day.
  • When in a virtual or in-person meeting try saying, “I appreciate your input.” So often we don’t take the time to acknowledge the ideas that other people contribute. Whether we use that input or not, praising another person for their ideas helps them flourish and get better at offering ideas over time.

I know that not all corporate cultures will find these practices comfortable, so pick and choose wisely.  But kindness and praise never hurt anyone, so give it a try.

Kathi Elster – Executive Coach and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises.

Contact us at for any further help around this topic.

Being Kind to Your Emotionally Exhausted Self

So here we are. For many people this is week six (or more) of sheltering in place.

It’s also week six of home schooling, endless meal preparation, social isolation, working remotely, and celebrating almost every occasion we can think of virtually – on Zoom, Google Chat, FaceTime, Skype and whatever other device or platform appeals to you.

For some, the past six weeks have included sudden, tragic losses of family members or friends. For others, the losses have involved employment, income, daily routines, human contact, favorite past-times or any sense of normalcy. It’s been rough.

As a collective population, we are tired. We keep trying to figure out where we are headed, and when we will be able to return to some form of our pre-Corona lives. In the meantime, we have to manage the feelings of loss, frustration, anger, fear, sadness, and anxiety that are “normal” during a pandemic of these proportions.

While we wait for the next phase of this very strange time, I encourage everyone to find just a few simple ways to be kind to your emotionally exhausted self.  

Here’s what being kind to your emotionally exhausted self could look like:

You stop for a minute every day, and give yourself credit for all you are doing to keep your life (and that of your family and friends) intact.

You take time to cool your system down by going on an extra walk, taking a full lunch break, or enjoying a longer-than-normal shower.

You protect yourself from overworking by instating email curfews — no reading or responding to emails after 10 pm. No opening emails in the morning until you’re out of bed.

You take time to reach out to the people who are able to hear you complain and are gifted at making you laugh. 

You make sure to read, watch, or listen to something pleasurable before going to bed.

You help yourself get better sleep by listening to a meditation or relaxation podcast designed for that purpose.

You forgive yourself for being overly sensitive or irritable during the day. And you forgive others for the same thing.

Being kind to your emotionally exhausted self recognizes that this has already been a long haul, that you have done your best to weather it, and that you will surely continue to carry on. I encourage you to try one or all of these tactics as an act of kindness – your exhausted self with thank you.

Katherine Crowley – Career Therapist and co-owner of K Squared Enterprises

Contact us at for any further help around this topic.


#40: Being Nice To Someone You Don’t Like – My Crazy Office, Season 5

Kathi and Katherine talk about being nice on this week’s episode of the My Crazy Office podcast.

First we discuss how to work with or for someone you don’t like.

Then we give advice about how to be nice to people you don’t like at work.

The Kindness of Strangers

Anyone who knows me well knows that I have a penchant for leaving and losing things: Keys, wallets, planners, phones, gloves, hats, shoes, purses, brief cases, even suitcases. I’ve left these items and more in taxis, airplanes, ATM vestibules, on top of cars, outside of buildings, at the edge of swimming pools, on football fields, in stores, on top of deli counters, and any other place you can imagine.

I hate this habit of mine. Honestly, it drives me crazy. I feel horrible when I’m with a family member or a friend and we have to spend time re-tracing my steps because I’ve lost something. And yet, try as I may – and I do try – the tendency to drop, leave or misplace possessions continues.

Recently, I hit a grand slam in the losing category. I managed to step off of my commuter bus (the 166 to Leonia, New Jersey) without my backpack, which contained my laptop (aka my brain), my planner (aka my memory), and all of the important papers of my life. I realized this grave mistake as I walked into the house.

Frantic and furious at myself, I immediately got on the phone and started calling. First, I called NJ Transit lost & found to file a report. Next, I contacted the bus dispatcher, who put out an alert. Then I contacted all the bus terminals. Finally, I stood by the bus stop for an hour, hailing every bus that passed with the hope that some friendly driver had unearthed it. No luck.

By 9:00 PM, I began to surrender. This was it. I’d committed the ultimate blunder. I started to rehearse confessing the mess I’d made to my business partner and my husband.

Then, the miracle happened. “PING!” I received an email, a Facebook message on my blackberry. “Are you missing anything?” the sender asked. Some wonderful, thoughtful, kind person had discovered my backpack under her seat and decided to take it home.

And that’s when it hit me. This ongoing, irritating, pathetic habit of mine once again had given me a gift. I was experiencing The Kindness of Strangers. In fact, I’d experienced the Kindness of Strangers hundreds of times because of my losing habit. Almost every time that I’ve dropped, left or misplaced something, some kind soul has gone out of his or her way to return it to me.

While I still wish that I could stop leaving, losing and forgetting things, today, I have a newfound appreciation for this maddening aspect of my personality. May you also know the Kindness of Strangers. Because of my foibles, I know there are a lot of kind strangers out there.