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Our first reaction to our bosses talking about changes can often be exasperation or cynicism, which can build to hidden rebellion.

“No one wants to be an obstacle to change, instinctively resisting any new initiatives or efforts. It’s not good for you, your career, or your organization," executive coaches Kandi Wiens and Darin Rowell write in the Harvard Business Review.

The solution lies within you, not those bringing forth the change. They suggest identifying the core of your dissatisfaction and probing the stories that underlie your resistance. “Ask yourself: What is my primary emotion associated with this change? Is it fear, anger, frustration?" they write. "Once you identify the emotion, ask what that’s about? What do I believe to be true that’s making me angry/fearful/frustrated?” Then take ownership for your feelings, rather than just blaming others.

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In terms of feelings, consultant Suzi McAlpine sets forth the SARAH acronym: Shock, anger, resistance, acceptance and healing/hope. You may zip through those stages, or they may take a long time to process – particularly anger and resistance. There is no right or wrong, she stresses, but you need to understand what is happening to your emotions.

Be aware that, in a change, what’s being stressed is all the things that won’t be the same. Part of your concerns stem from how you currently identify and appreciate the organization, academics Merlijn Venus, Daan Stam, and Daan van Knippenberg note in Harvard Business Review. Look for things that aren’t changing as a balance.

Together, those ideas may help you to receive change more effectively.

How to answer the salary question

The hardest question in an interview is “What salary are you expecting?”

A deer-in-the headlights look and some stammering won’t cut it. But how do you answer without potentially tripping yourself up?

“Mistakes made at this point can be costly," acknowledges executive recruiter Gerald Walsh on his blog. “Answering too high can eliminate you from further consideration. And answering too low can result in earning less than you’re worth.”

He suggests trying to put off the conversation until later in the recruiting process, when you will have had a greater opportunity to show what value you bring to the new employer. Say that you are looking for a competitive package but need to learn more about the job requirements first. Then steer the question away from salary by asking a specific question about the job or company.

Another technique he suggests is to turn the question around: “I am interested in this role. Has a salary range been set?”

Of course, if the interviewer is really intent on finding out your expected salary, too much dilly-dallying can backfire. You should have already done some research – or at least begin some before the next interview by checking job postings, online salary calculators and industry associations for reliable information. He says consulting professional recruiters can also help.

Don’t give a specific number; offer a reasonable range without going too high and thinking you’ll be negotiated down to reason later. “You can get ruled out quickly by doing this. Most employers have an approximate number in mind of what they feel the job is worth. While you might be able to move the salary up a bit, it is probably no more than within the 5-per-cent to 10-per-cent range,” he warns.

Quick hits

  • When nearing the end of the day, save an easy task to kick off tomorrow,  says psychologist Jamie Gruman, author of Boost: The Science of Recharging Yourself in an Age of Unrelenting Demands. 
  • A good conversation-starter when meeting somebody new at an event, according to writer Alexandra Franzen, is this: “I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed by the deluge of info that’s being firehosed at us, today. Is there one nugget of brilliance that’s really resonating with you?"
  • All problems have solutions, says entrepreneur Seth Godin. It may involve tradeoffs or expenses you want to avoid, but there still is a solution. If there’s no solution, it’s not a problem. It’s something you have to live with, which might not be fun, but it is reality. If you learn to walk away from unsolvable situations that pretend to be problems, you can focus your energy on the real problems you face.
  • To be a great storyteller, you must first be a great story-collecter. Consultant Esther Choy says doing so will help you become a story connoisseur – understanding stories better and building a library you can sprinkle into your own communications.
  • If you’re stressed at the end of the day or furious about something, actress Anne Hathaway suggests following her practice of lighting a candle and then starting to write everything down – venting – on a piece of paper for 12 minutes, timed by your phone. Don’t read it; just write. Then use the candle immediately to burn it, your energy and angst turning to smoke.

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