The Way To Work

Here are five basic rules for a plan that won't fail you, no matter what the future workplace may hold.

stand to gain more than you think — loads of stress, exhaustion, and burnout.

What are the best ways to avoid the strain? Set limits at work, and have a life outside of the office. On the job, learn how to say “no” and stand firm when you are asked to take on more work or responsibilities than you can handle. Then, when you physically leave the office, mentally leave the work behind as well. At home, continue to develop your personal passions. Maintain a regular fitness routine and take care of your health. Keep up your friendships. Use your vacation time and personal days. If your company offers them, take advantage of sabbaticals and other extended leaves of absence. Even consider joining the contingency workforce as a free agent, so you have more control over your time.

The 21st century workplace promises to present a host of new opportunities, challenges, and ways of thinking. We’ve showed you how to face it head on and emerge victorious. Whether you do or not lies squarely in your hands.

Tavis Smiley, president, The Smiley Group Inc.
What is a brand? It’s a trademark or distinctive name that identifies a product or manufacturer. Credibility is what distinguishes Brand Smiley. Big Momma always used to say to me, “You can do anything, but you can’t do everything.” When you’re branding yourself, you need to find out what it is you can do better than most other people and then deliver it with quality. Every one of us has a mission in life, a role to play. To be successful, your brand must have a central theme. Brand Smiley focuses on elevating the quality of life for African Americans.

Branding yourself will allow you to attract other quality brands. At 35, I’ve worked hard to get to the point where major corporations want to work with [The Smiley Group]. Be very careful to brand only with companies that will advance your agenda. Start early, look at what others are doing and decide if that’s the kind of company you want associated with your brand. Ask yourself: “Will this advance, protect, or compromise my credibility?” If it will weaken your brand, you’ve got to turn it down no matter how sweet the deal may look. Money isn’t the most important thing all the time. Credibility is important, because it’s all you have. Once my credibility is shot, my effectiveness is over.

No one wants to buy or deal with anything that they think is less than high quality. And because the marketplace is so competitive, everyone wants that value-added component. It’s extremely important to brand yourself positively, but if you misstep or make a mistake that shatters what your brand stands for, all your work will be for naught. Without branding, your product — you — will get lost.

As host of BET Tonight With Tavis Smiley and political commentator on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, a radio program, Tavis Smiley focuses public attention on issues of importance to the African American community. Through these

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