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Monday, August 26, 2019

How to tell if you’re being ‘breadcrumbed’ at work, by Emily Torres (From BBC Worklife)

πŸ‘‰By Emily Torres
πŸ‘‰GO TO FULL ARTICLE: Are you being ‘breadcrumbed’ at work?

Stop breadcrumbing me!
From: BBC Worklife / Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

🚩Is your boss commitment-phobic?

Our modern dating vocabulary is making its way into our work lexicon, and it’s bringing more life and colour to the way we describe our experiences. Have you ever been ghosted by a potential employer? Or have you ghosted them? Now, thanks to the latest series of the reality TV show Love Island, we have a new word for an old practice: breadcrumbing.

“Breadcrumbing is when you leave little bits of bread for someone. It’s a way of saying when you lead someone on,” explains Love Island host Caroline Flack. These small amounts of communication, encouragement or rewards ultimately might leave the recipient empty-handed.

Whether you’re being strung along in a drawn-out hiring process or your existing employer is leading you on, breadcrumbing gives you “just enough” to keep you on the line. You can see it when your manager drops hints about new projects, raises or promotions that may – or may not – ever materialise.

“Breadcrumbing is really a modern term for what we used to call intermittent reinforcement, which is one of the strongest ways to develop someone's behaviour,” says B Lynn Ware, an industrial/organisational psychologist and the CEO of a leadership consultancy in California. She explains that successful managers use behavioural reinforcement to develop their staff through appropriate and proportional recognition and rewards.

But what if they’re not actually using it for employee development? […]

🚩Red flags to watch for

In a healthy workplace, feedback comes readily and regularly. Take stock of when you receive rewards or encouragement; is it only during times of peak burnout, or right when you’re ready to call it quits? […]

Stay vigilant of how your manager communicates rewards to you, as well. […] Two-way communication and negotiation are essential.

A classic breadcrumbing tactic is giving someone just enough to keep them busy, without taking the risk of doing something totally new. So, consider how your manager reacts to your proposals for new projects or ideas. […]

Finally, one of the biggest red flags is when a company routinely dangles promotions or promises title changes without following through.

🚩Establishing follow-through

Workers continue to expect more from their employers in terms of engagement and development. And savvy employers know that developing their employees’ careers cultivates loyalty. According to LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report, which surveyed over 4,000 employees, managers, executives and talent developers, 94% of employees would stay at a job longer if it invested in their career.

[…] Frequent, transparent communication and commensurate rewards are a must – breadcrumbs, but the right kind.

“I don't think breadcrumbing is necessarily a bad thing, as long as the manager follows through on it,” says Ware. “Managers are trained to recognise talented employees and help them grow, and it should always come with follow through.” (Read full article)

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Tuesday, August 20, 2019

BASIC STRUCTURES 2: PARTS OF SPEECH

In English, like in Spanish, a word is a single unit that has full meaning and can stand alone or be part of a larger structure (spoken or written). 

Words can be classified according to their meaning and function and divided into different categories or parts of speech. Some books list up to 8 or 9 parts of speech depending on whether they take determiners as adjectives or as a separate category. Others divide verbs into lexical verbs and auxiliary verbs. In my posts, I’ll be taking determiners as adjectives and treating verbs as a single part of speech, so the 8 major parts of speech in English grammar are noun, pronoun, verb, adverb, adjective, conjunction, preposition, and interjection.

NOUN: A noun names a person, thing or quality: E.g. boy, John, brick, beauty, decision, etc.

It can be further classified as common (book, chair) or proper (Italy, Mary), abstract (intuition, love) or concrete (house, table), countable (cup, car) or uncountable (mass: advice, work), collective (group: staff, team), compound (father-in-law, coursebook), etc. Moreover, countable nouns can have regular (adding -s/-es) or irregular plural forms.

PRONOUN: A pronoun replaces a noun (to avoid repeating the noun): E.g. he, him, me, it, they, them, you, anyone, who, whom, etc. As a pronoun replaces a noun, which is called the antecedent, proper pronoun usage requires that this antecedent should be clear and agree in person and number with the pronoun if applicable.

Pronouns can also be classified as personal (he, she, them), relative (who, whom), demonstrative (this, those), interrogative (who, which), indefinite (none, some), reflexive (myself, yourselves), etc.

ADJECTIVE: An adjective modifies = describes a noun (or a word working as a noun, such as a pronoun or a gerund). It can either stand in front of a noun (attributive position) or refer back to it (postpositive or predicative position): E.g. a black cat, your story, the quick brown fox, the students present; Tom is clever.

Adjectives can be further classified as descriptive (large, interesting), possessive (my, our), demonstrative (that, these), quantitative (one, many), interrogative (which, whose, what), articles (a, the), distributive (every, either), etc. They can also be divided into gradable and non-gradable or extreme.

ADVERB: An adverb usually modifies = describes a verb, telling how, where, when or why an action is done: E.g. Tom speaks Spanish fluently. I truly believe he can win. I usually go to the beach in the summer.

However, an adverb
 can also describe an adjective (I’m truly sorry) or another adverb (You speak Spanish very well.)

VERB: A verb expresses an action or state of being: E.g. run, be, become, go, have, etc.

Verbs can be classified according to different criteria and deserve a post of their own (or several) to explain and discuss the different classes. Broadly speaking, a verb can be classified as transitive, intransitive or ergative (labile); dynamic (action) or stative; main (including linking verbs), auxiliary or modal; finite (conjugated) or non-finite (verboid or verbal).

In this post, I’m going to include only finite and non-finite verbs because I think this classification is the most relevant regarding parts of speech:

The FINITE or CONJUGATED VERB works as a verb in a clause, and it has voice (active / passive) + aspect (continuous / perfect) + tense, which shows the time (present / past / future), continuance or completion of the action: E.g. When I arrived (active voice/past simple) at the party, John had left (active voice / past perfect simple.)

A NON-FINITE VERB (verboid or verbal) also expresses an action; however, although it can have voice (active / passive) + aspect (perfect / continuous), it never has tense, i.e. it is not conjugated, and therefore, it never works as a verb in a clause (it will always work as a noun, an adjective or an adverb). Non-finite verbs are:
  • The to-infinitive: to break, to be broken, to have been writing, etc.
  • The infinitive without to, bare infinitive or base form: be, be broken, etc.
  • The gerund: studying, having studied, writing, etc.
  • The present participle: studying, having studied, writing, etc.
  • The past participle: written, studied, broken, etc.
Notice that there is no difference in form between a gerund and a present participle (they both are '-ing' forms); however, they are different in terms of function: the gerund always works as a noun in a phrase/clause, while the present participle is always an adjective or an adverb, or is used in continuous /progressive forms: to be writing

CONJUNCTION: A conjunction (linking word, connector, connecting word, etc.) connects words, phrases or clauses. There are two types of conjunctions:

COORDINATING CONJUNCTION: The action of joining similar structures is called coordination, so a coordinating conjunction joins similar structures, i.e. structures that are at the same level (clause with clause; noun phrase with noun phrase; adjectival phrase with adjectival phrase, etc.): E.g. fish and chips, poor but honest, for better or worse.

There are 7 coordinating conjunctions: For, and, nor, but, or, yet, so; a mnemonic for these conjunctions is FANBOYS.

SUBORDINATING CONJUNCTION: A subordinating conjunction introduces a subordinate clause, i.e. links the subordinate clause to the main clause: E.g. Tom played well although he was injuredI went to bed because I was tiredIf I were you, I’d apply for that job.

PREPOSITION: A preposition introduces a phrase and is followed by a noun or a word working as a noun (such as a pronoun or a gerund), which is the object of the preposition; it also expresses a relation to another word or element in the clause: E.g. the pencil on the table, travelling by air, between you and me.

INTERJECTION: An interjection is a short exclamation or remark, especially as an interruption or as part of speech: E.g. Oh! Ouch! Wow! Aha!

πŸ’‘Notice that some words may belong in more than one word class or part of speech: increase is both a noun and a verb, yet is an adverb and a conjunction, over is a preposition and an adverb, etc.

πŸ‘‰The contents of these posts comply with formal grammar rules. Take into account that, in a language that is constantly changing, there is always some conflict between current usage and established practice. Similarly, there are differences between what is permissible in popular speech and what is expected in formal writing. I’ll be describing structures and full forms as they are used in standard written English.

πŸ“ŒONLINE EXERCISES:
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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Are you heading for BURNOUT?

Here are two excerpts from two reading articles and three videos on burnout: what it is, what its consequences are and how you can avoid it.
Credit: GETTY IMAGES

πŸ‘‰How to tell if you’re close to burning out, by Zaria Gorvett (From BBC WORKLIFE) 

The World Health Organization (WHO) has redefined burnout as a syndrome linked to chronic work stress. There’s a difference between a busy workload and something more serious, writes Zaria Gorvett.

[…] Late last month [June 2019], the WHO announced that the trendy problem will be recognised in the latest International Classification of Diseases manual, where it is described as a syndrome “resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”.

According to the WHO, burnout has three elements: feelings of exhaustion, mental detachment from one’s job and poorer performance at work. But waiting until you’re already fully burned out to do something about it doesn’t help at all – and you wouldn’t wait to treat any other illness until it was too late.

Feeling the burn ⇒ How can you tell if you’re almost – but not quite – burned out?
“A lot of the signs and symptoms of pre-burnout would be very similar to depression,” says SiobhΓ‘n Murray, a psychotherapist based in County Dublin, Ireland, and the author of a book about burnout, The Burnout Solution. Murray suggests looking out for creeping bad habits, such as increased alcohol consumption and relying on sugar to get you through the day. Also watch out for feelings of tiredness that won’t go away. “So that even if you do sleep well, by 10 in the morning you’re already counting down the hours to bed. Or not having the energy to exercise or go for a walk.”
As soon as you begin to feel this way, Murray advises going to see your doctor.
Depression and pre-burnout are very similar, but as much as there was a lot of enthusiasm recently that burnout has now become a medical condition, it is still not – it is still classified as an occupational phenomenon.” It’s important to get help from a medical professional who can distinguish between the two, because although there are many treatment options for depression, burnout is still best tackled by making lifestyle changes. […] 
πŸ‘‰GO TO FULL ARTICLE How to tell if you’re close to burning out, by Zaria Gorvett

How to Avoid Burnout: Crash Course Business - Soft Skills #17 (10:39 minutes)

[…] What Is Burnout?

Two important definitions are:
"A state of physical, emotional, and mental exhaustion caused by long term involvement in emotionally demanding situations." – Ayala Pines and Elliot Aronson.
"A state of fatigue or frustration brought about by devotion to a cause, way of life, or relationship that failed to produce the expected reward." – Herbert J. Freudenberger.
Between them, these definitions embrace the essence of burnout, with the first stressing the part that exhaustion plays in it, and the second focusing on the sense of disillusionment that is at its core. […]

πŸ’‘13 Warning Signs That You're Heading for Burnout ⇒ Specific symptoms include:
  1. Having a negative and critical attitude at work.
  2. Dreading going into work and wanting to leave once you're there.
  3. Having low energy, and little interest at work.
  4. Having trouble sleeping.
  5. Being absent from work a lot.
  6. Having feelings of emptiness.
  7. Experiencing physical complaints such as headaches, illness, or backache.
  8. Being irritated easily by team members or clients.
  9. Having thoughts that your work doesn't have meaning or make a difference.
  10. Pulling away emotionally from your colleagues or clients.
  11. Feeling that your work and contribution goes unrecognized.
  12. Blaming others for your mistakes.
  13. You're thinking of quitting work or changing roles.

[…] Burnout is a mixture of professional exhaustion, and disillusionment with other people, the organization, or the career, over the long term.

Symptoms of burnout include low energy, a loss of interest in your work, and irritability with colleagues or team members. As such, it can cause low productivity, high absenteeism, low creativity, and even health problems.

πŸ’‘Tips to avoid burnout:
  • Work with purpose.
  • Perform a job analysis and eliminate or delegate unnecessary work.
  • Give to others.
  • Take control, and actively manage your time.
  • Get more exercise.
  • Learn how to manage stress.
Remember, if, at any time, stress and burnout are causing you to worry about your health, seek the advice of an appropriate health professional.
πŸ‘‰GO TO FULL ARTICLE 13 Warning Signs That You're Heading for Burnout (From MindTools)

How stress affects your body - Sharon Horesh Bergquist (4:42 minutes)

How stress affects your brain - Madhumita Murgia (4:15 minutes)

Tuesday, August 06, 2019

RECOMMENDED: Skills 360 – Business English Pod (More than business English)

πŸ”ΊIMPORTANT: This is NOT an advert! This is just my honest (and free) opinion. 

I've already recommended other interesting websites, tools and videos, and I'll keep on doing so in the future as long as I come across things worth recommending. 😊

Why do I recommend this website? Simply because find it useful. Business Skills 360 podcast lessons provide essential tips and language for communicating in English, along with free transcripts, vocabulary quizzes and PDF downloads. (Lessons are listed on the website by the date published, with the more recent lessons at the top.)


πŸ’‘Below is a brief podcast lesson overview:

PODCAST: Skills 360 – Levels of Formality in English (Part 1) There are different things you can do:

🎧You can click on the link above and just listen to the podcast:








πŸ’‘Or you can use the free resources below:
πŸ‘“πŸŽ§Click on "Lesson Module" and listen to the podcast while reading the transcript:


















πŸ“Click on "Quiz and Vocab" for online exercises and a full glossary:


















Or download the audio file or the pdf file, which includes discussion questions, a useful vocabulary list, the full transcript and an exercise + answer key)

πŸ’‘Here are just a few podcast lessons:

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