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Showing posts from February, 2010

Are Job Applicants Changing Their Online Identities To Throw Off Employers?

Are job applicants altering their names on social networking sites to throw off potential employers?

As this article points out, job applicants are so worried about their e-trail of Facebook photos, status updates and fan groups that they're editing their names and pages to increase their chances of landing a job. They're also "unfriending" people who could make them look bad.

Some job applicants are changing or dropping their surnames to throw off employers. Others might just try to "clean up" their pages by leaving certain fan groups and trying to hide status updates that could make them look bad.

I wonder how employers will react to it. I'm sure they suspect this stuff is going on, but will they get tough with the best applicants by requiring them to verify that their Facebook pages haven't been altered in specific ways within the last year? Will they require applicants to list the social networking pages they've deleted or significantly altered…

Research On Millennials Doesn't Reflect Reality

Another week, another study about how great the Millennial generation is going to be.


Don't get me wrong: There are some cool Millennials out there. I live in a college town, and I can't turn around without bumping into them. I'm just tired of researchers who keep perpetuating the meme that the Millennials will change the world and make the rest of us look like total losers.

Case in point: The Pew Research Center released a study recently entitled "Millennials: Confident. Connected. Open to Change." Among the findings? Well, I'll just paste in one of the first paragraphs from the study summary:

They embrace multiple modes of self-expression. Three-quarters have created a profile on a social networking site. One-in-five have posted a video of themselves online. Nearly four-in-ten have a tattoo (and for most who do, one is not enough: about half of those with tattoos have two to five and 18% have six or more). Nearly one-in-four have a piercing in some plac…

Women Need Work On Negotiating Pay Cuts

A new U.K. study finds female accountants over the age of 45 are earning less than their male co-workers.

Robert Half and the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales surveyed 3,754 ICAEW members. As this article says:

The huge difference in pay between males and females over 45 seems to have been exacerbated in the past year with women aged 46-55 reporting an average 10% drop from last year's [salaries], compared with just a 1% drop for males.

It joins a long list of studies that find pay discrepancies between men and women. But what effect is the Great Recession having on womens' pay packages?

A 2009 RCP salary survey found that mens' salaries were outpacing womens' salaries by an average of 31% in the recession. That's a $28,115 difference in annual pay, the researchers note.

The funny thing is, female CEOs aren't any better at negotiating pay cuts and bonus decreases than their non-management counterparts: A survey last year found pay for fema…

Wednesday Warbles: Market This!

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Wednesday Workplace News Roundup

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

What would Miss Piggy say?: Billboard company in Colorado says "no" to a billboard with Muppet cleavage.

Off the grid: A new FCC survey finds 93 million Americans lack broadband Internet access. That's about one-third of the U.S. population.

Whole host of problems: Sally Quinn's latest Washington post column isn't going over well with readers, who wonder why it was ever printed.

iWantone: Early demand for the iPad is already exceeding early demand for the iPhone.

I want (you off) my MTV: MTV Networks President Van Toffler says the network is "pushing Generation X out" of its coverage because Gen Xers are too cynical and aren't civic-minded enough. Wait - you have to be civic-minded to watch "The Real World"? Who knew?

Working it out: Greece is still on strike amid a financial crisis.

Not off the hook: The widow of an IRS employee killed when a pilot flew his plane into an Austin, Texas office buildi…

There's No Cheeseburger In Paradise For Employers

A new survey from the National Business Group on Health and Towers Watson & Company shows employers are pretty frustrated with the ever-increasing cost of health premiums. No surprise there.

What is surprising is how frustrated employers are getting with employees' health habits.

The annual survey, entitled the "National Business Group on Health/Towers Watson Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care," surveyed 507 companies between November and January. It contains statistical nuggets such as these:

Sixty-seven percent of employers point to employees’ poor health habits as a top challenge to maintaining affordable benefit coverage,with 58% indicating that the biggest obstacle to changing employees’ health-related behavior is lack of engagement, followed by lack of sufficient financial incentives to encourage participation (31%) and lack of an adequate health management program budget (30%).
Employers can take either the carrot or the stick approach with employee welln…

Monday Madness: Catch Us If You Can!

We're here to serve you, except when we're not here.

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Monday Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Cut it out: Boeing is laying off 800 IT employees.

Where's my hot pot?: Millions of middle class Americans feel like they did when they lived on student loans in college, only without the optimism about their future. We can still cook a mean Kraft macaroni and cheese dinner, though.

We're all geniuses: A new Pew study finds the Internet is making us smarter. Who knew Bedazzled and Farmville wield such powers?

Silent killer: A meningitis epidemic is sweeping across Africa. High-risk countries report at least 2,298 cases of meningitis and 13% of the people affected have died.

Tough job: 48 economists in a National Association of Business Executives survey say the job growth will lag but the U.S. economy will grow 3.1% this year. Corporate earnings will grow 15%.

Talking about my multi-generation: 37% of people in a Coldwell Banker survey say they're looking for houses to can fit their kids, grandparents and maybe a few other relative…

Study Finds Hourly Workers Are Happier Than Salaried Workers

A new Stanford/University of Toronto study finds employees paid by the hour are happier than their counterparts who earn a salary.

see more There I Fixed It

The researchers conclude hourly employees are happier because they see a clearer link between their output and their paycheck. From a Stanford press release:

"If you are paid by the hour or account for your time on a timesheet, you begin to see the world in terms of money and in terms of economic evaluation," said Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. "To the extent that time becomes like money and money becomes more salient, the linkage between how much you earn and your happiness increases."

Hourly paid employees know the exact worth of each hour of work. They think about their income regularly and begin comparing the value of their time to the amount of their happiness.
Hmm. The hourly employees I used to work with did think about t…

A New Idea for Casual Friday?

Hey ladies: Here's a new idea for casual Friday, whenever we have jobs again.

I mean, who hasn't wished she could wear her pajamas to work? Besides, nothing says "give me a promotion" quite like breathable, cotton spandex pajama bottoms.

Friday Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye:

No run-of-the-mill guy: The owner of an Oregon business generating more than $20 million in annual revenue gives the company to his employees.

A bonus changes everything: Johnson & Johnson is altering its bonus program to put more emphasis on pay for performance.

Later, Gator: Pepsico is closing its Gatorade plant in Pryor, Oklahoma. 108 employees will lose their jobs within 90 days.

They say it's your birthday, sort of: In other Oklahoma news, the state's legislature jut passed a bill to keep the birth dates of state employees a secret. Journalists see it as an invasion of the public's right to know.

Still at it: Government workers in Zimbabwe are still on strike, seeking a 500% pay increase.

Temporary solution: U.S. Census temps will boost employment rolls by 800,000 later this spring, but the effect on the unemployment rate will be just that: temporary.

All together now: French employees of oil company Total are staging a two-day si…

Tax Collecting Can Be a Very Taxing Job

Yesterday's attack on an IRS office in Austin, Texas isn't the first: More than 1,200 threats and assaults on IRS employees were reported between 2001 and 2008.

The U.S. Government has indicted 167 people and convicted at least 195 people, a treasury spokesman says .

Americans are frustrated and angry in this recession, and some of them are directing their anger at the taxman. The U.S. Government will appoint armed escorts to protect IRS employees who are threatened by taxpayers. Scary stuff.

Update: Authorities have accounted for all of the employees who were working in the seven-story Austin Echelon building at the time of the attack. Good news.

Ignoring Applicants Is the Worst Move Companies Can Make Right Now

Like everyone else, I know someone who is laid off and sending out resume after resume, mostly online. We're talking dozens, often hundreds, of applications.

Then, nothing. Silence. The companies on the other end don't respond to the applicant, even to reject him or her. The applicant is left wondering, "What's going on? Did the company even get my resume? Was it something I said?"

The employer on the other end, meanwhile, could be receiving hundreds of resumes within the span of a few hours if it posted a job on or some other job site. The sheer volume of resumes can be overwhelming, especially for a small to medium size company that lacks the HR muscle to deal with the deluge.

Some entrepreneurs I've interviewed on this topic will say it's impossible to keep up with the resume volume, and that they simply don't have the time to get back to every single applicant. They'll talk about how their HR department is in survival-float mode, ju…

Survey: Gen Xers Prefer Laptops To Love

A new survey finds Generation Xers are so obsessed with technology that they're willing to exchange the love of their life for laptop lounging.

A full 40% of Gen Xers in a new survey said that if forced to choose, they'd rather give up their significant other for a week rather than live offline. I don't know yet who conducted this survey or how many Gen Xers were surveyed, but it's an interesting sneak peak into Gen X psychology if true.

It is true that a lot of Gen Xers can't live without their electronic gadgets. In fact, if you want to reach Gen Xers, your best bet is to ping them on Facebook. I notice that many of my Gen X friends seem to be logged into Facebook all day long. I think they keep it running in the background as they go about their day. Of course, you get the running commentary on everything they're doing ("left over spaghetti for lunch...yum...") and myriad invitations to join their fan groups, but everything comes at a cost, right?

Wednesday Warblings: Market this!

What's even funnier to me is that some marketing department somewhere worked really hard on these ideas.

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Wednesday Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Biodegradable matter: The strange case of the UAH biology professor accused of killing three colleagues just keeps getting stranger and stranger and stranger.

The grass is always greener: A new survey finds most Americans think environmental conservation is important, but their neighbors should be the ones practicing it.

Extra credit question: Only 48% of Americans are aware of new credit card rules that go into effect next week that will require credit card companies to make sure cardholders have a job. In addition, credit card companies must include a credit card debt helpline on statements and provide a written 45-day advance notice of changes to credit card rates, terms and conditions.

Move over: Teenage girls are now more dangerous behind the wheel than teenage boys?

South Africa is considering legislation that would fine employers 10% of sales for not hiring enough black workers.

Who says dial-up is dead: 40% of Americans don't have …

New Survey: Americans' Sense of Well-Being Has Taken a Beating In the Recession

A new Gallup-Healthways survey takes a look at how Americans were feeling about life and work in 2009.

It's the second year Gallup-Healthways has conducted the survey.

The findings reveal that the overall well-being of Americans in 2009 was about the same as it was in 2008, when it wasn't that great, either.

I was particularly interested in the part of the study that explores Americans' feelings about work, something the survey refers to as the "Work Environment Index." Gallup-Healthways says the WEI measured "job satisfaction, ability to use one's strengths at work, trust and openness in the workplace, and whether one's supervisor treats him or her more like a boss or a partner."

The results reveal American workers' feelings of well-being peaked at the beginning of October 2008, then fell significantly over the following eight weeks through December 2008. (Hmm, I wonder what was happening then.) Worker well-being continued to decline in earl…

Some Silicon Valley Firms Won't Share Employee Race and Gender Data

A story in the San Jose Mercury News discusses how Google, Apple, Yahoo, Oracle and Applied Materials fought the newspaper's FOIA request for gender and race data at their worksites and won.

From the story:

These five companies waged an 18-month Freedom of Information battle with the Mercury News, convincing federal regulators who collect the data that its release would cause "commercial harm" by potentially revealing the companies' business strategy to competitors.
Meanwhile, companies like Intel, Cisco Systems, eBay, AMD, Sanmina and Sun Microsystems have apparently freely supplied their race and gender data to the Mercury News.

Why all the secrecy? I'm not sure I see the connection between race and gender information and a company's evolving business strategy. So race and gender are now trade secrets? Interesting.

Can Plants Boost Employee Productivity?

Employees toiling away in workplaces without indoor plants are taking on the characteristics of, well, potted plants.

So says an Agricultural University of Norway study that followed 305 employees working in three offices that varied in the number of plants. The study concluded that the employees in the office with the most plants had lower stress levels and fewer absences. These employees also had more energy, fewer headaches, and moister skin.

Research co-sponsored by Ambius and Exeter University found employers can boost employee productivity 17% simply by introducing indoor plants to the workspace. There's improved productivity "when you allow employees to have some input and some say into their workspace environment," says Todd Ferguson, managing director at Ambius, a company that sells interior foliage and art displays to businesses.

Plants, however, are on the list of things most likely to get weeded from company budgets during a recession. In 2009, "we did se…

Monday Workplace News Roundup

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Irish you would pay me: A survey finds Irish businesses are waiting 11 weeks for payment on their invoices. The average wait now is 75 days, compared to 66 days last fall.

That furloughed feeling: USA Today is freezing the salaries of more than 1,000 employees, who will also have to take a week without pay sometime between March and July.

Hipaa, schmippa: A Florida hospital is investigating whether or not some emergency room employees took photos of a dying patient and forwarded the photos to friends.

Stamp of approval: A survey finds Britons would like the government to set up post office banks that let them do their banking at the post office. Being able to run two errands in one place sounds cool to me.

Boot him up: A Microsoft sales employee is a participant on the new season of "The Amazing Race." In an interview he says CEO Steve Ballmer would make a great contestant because he has so much energy. Um, you mean like this?

In othe…

The Biggest Worry For New Hires? Fitting In

Think the top concern for workers starting new jobs is figuring out the work? Nope. Their main worry is fitting in with their new co-workers, according to a new OfficeTeam survey out today.

OfficeTeam finds one-third of workers (32%) surveyed think adapting to a new workplace and co-workers is their biggest challenge. The feeling of social anxiety is especially tough for newly-hired employees who have been unemployed for an extended period of time and are now re-entering the workforce.

Another 23% say learning new technologies and protocols is their biggest worry in starting a new job right now, while 22% say adjusting to a new routine or schedule is tops on their mind.

It just goes to show that even the most voracious social animals among us are feeling nervous about fitting in with a whole new set of co-workers. We all want to be liked from day one and accepted into the group. What if no one asks us to lunch or laughs at our funny comments? Get it wrong from the minute you walk into …

Date a Co-worker? I'd Rather Keep My Job

On Wednesday I blogged about the latest CareerBuilder office romance survey that finds 37% of office workers have dated a co-worker at some point.

Now competitor is releasing its own office romance survey, one that I think is actually far more trendy and interesting. conducted the survey for Spherion Corporation.

Monster surveyed nearly 800 U.S. adults last month for their thoughts on dating co-workers. The most compelling statistic: 73% of them feel that dating a co-worker could hurt their career advancement and even threaten their current job security.


To me, this makes sense. Employees who still have jobs want to do anything they can to protect those jobs. In the Great Recession, workers aren't as willing to turn an office crush or flirtation into a full-blown office romance. Why take the risk?

This means the workplace of 2010 is more like "The Office" circa 2006. I bet the co-workers of these love-struck-but-gun-shy employees are getting frus…

Undercover Boss: Not a Total Waste of Time

Last week, I blogged about a new CBS reality show called "Undercover Boss," where a major CEO goes undercover at his or her own company to see what's happening on the front lines.

I watched the show on Sunday night, and needed a few days to digest it before posting about it.

I had mixed reactions to the show. On the one hand, it was nice to see the CEO of a big company experience the shit that comes along with being a rank-and-file employee, from arbitrary punch card rules to power-hungry middle managers to the weird and wonderful world of interacting with customers. It was heartwarming to see Waste Management President and COO Larry O'Donnell realize that some management rules aren't working and are actually hurting employee morale. It was great to see employees recognized for what they do every day.

But I had trouble getting past a few things with this show. At the end when O'Donnell switches employee Jaclyn from hourly to salary, makes her eligible for bonus…

Study: Restaurants Serve Workers Raw Deal

A new report from the Restaurant Opportunities Center, a national restaurant workers organization, has some stomach-turning finds on life in the restaurant industry.

ROC examined restaurant labor conditions in four markets: Chicago, Detroit, Portland (ME) and New Orleans.

As this article notes:

The studies show that restaurant workers earn an average $17,844 per year; and that people of color earn a full $4 less per hour on average than whites. They find cooks, servers and busboys constantly come to work sick – putting customers at risk – since more than 90 percent lack paid sick days and employer-provided health insurance and can’t afford to take a day off.

A majority of workers reported minimum wage and overtime, health and safety and other serious legal violations, and more than a quarter reported working “off the clock” without pay. About half reported being burned and cut on the job.
You can access the full report here.

Survey: CFOs Are Staying Longer

Chief financial officers are staying on the job longer because of the recession, according to a new Robert Half International survey.

The average CFO tenure is now 12 years, compared to an average tenure of eight years in 2000.

The majority of CFOs (57%) say they'll average five to 10 years with a company, a figure that's remained remarkably constant over the last 10 years.

Robert Half surveyed 1,400 U.S. chief financial officers.

Even Top Performers Are Barely Making It

A new report from the Conference Board says employee raises will barely outpace inflation this year.

In fact, even the best-paid top performers will have a harder time making ends meet:

New projections from The Conference Board show that the average company will budget just 2.8% of its salary pool for wage increases, barely exceeding inflation -- the first time in more than two decades that number has fallen below 3%. Furthermore, the business research organization says employers are adjusting their pay scales for all employees downward -- in fact, the 2010 salary structure adjustment for all categories of employees is projected to be 2% or less, far lower than the Conference Board's projected inflation rate of 2.6%.
This isn't very good news when basic costs keep rising across the board, whether we're talking about medical deductibles, dairy products or clothing detergent. Throw in an unexpected expense -- a birthday present, an extra tank of gas, a new part for the stove -…

Survey: Employees Love Office Romances

In honor of Valentine's Day, CareerBuilder has released its annual office romance survey.

According to CareerBuilder, 37% of office workers (four in 10 people) have dated a co-worker at some point. Most of them (32%) married the person they dated at work. CareerBuilder surveyed more than 5,200 workers.

I've written stories about office romance and how managers should deal with it. While it's cute to watch Jim and Pam flirt on "The Office," it's annoying to watch it happen in a real workplace. I've watched lust-struck co-workers pass heart-covered notes to each other like they're in fifth grade, or give each other back massages like they're vacationing in Cabo. But this is a workplace, not a Sandals Resort.

On that note, CareerBuilder ranked the top five ways employees have romanced a co-worker at work:

1.) Had a drink together up on the roof.
2.) Danced to the elevator music in the hallway.
3.) Ate a late night picnic with candles after eve…

Study: Depressed Employees Cost More, Even When They're Being Treated

A new study in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reports that depressed employees have higher absentee rates and higher disability costs even if they're getting medical help for their depression.

Thompson Reuters conducted the study for Sanofi Aventis.

From the press release:
The study, led by researchers from Thomson Reuters, analyzed insurance claims and employee health and productivity data for more than 22,000 patients diagnosed with depression and treated with antidepressants. Researchers compared this study group with a control group of patients without depression.

They found that employees treated for depression were roughly twice as likely as people in the control group to use short-term disability leave. For workers treated for severe depression, the short-term disability rate was three times higher.
You'll find the journal's website here.

Are You Feeling Lucky Today?

Like a lot of people, I watch the Superbowl for the ads. The game almost feels like filler sometimes (although last night's game was great).

Well, it's only been a few hours and the parody ads are already going viral. Here's a hilarious parody of Google's Superbowl ad.

And here is Google's original Superbowl ad.

The Snickers ad featuring the awesome Betty White and Abe Vigoda was my favorite. "Oh, come on, man. You've been riding me all day." So classic.

Monday Workplace News Round Up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Drunk people in New Orleans had a reason to get a little drunker last night.

iDontcare: A new survey finds U.S. consumers are iNdifferent (sorry, can't help myself) about the iPad.

Zimbabwe's government workers went on strike last Friday, seeking a 500% pay increase. Zimbabwe's unemployment rate hovers around 90%.

Horton hears a "F" you: A Tim Horton's location in New Brunswick, Canada has banned a complaining customer for life.

Snack attack: The Fair Work Ombudsman in South Australia plans random audits of fast food chains to make sure they're paying the full wage.

I did this once for a seventh grade Algebra test. It didn't help me much, either. (Hint: Check out the :50 mark.)

Game, set, match: Hewitt says most companies are planning to restore their employee 401(k) match programs this year. Helping employees find ways other than the stock market to fund their retirement years would be great, too. Just saying.


Are You Acting Too Desperate For the Job?

You've been out of work for six months and applied for hundreds of jobs, to no avail. No job interviews, no job offers, nothing. Just silence on the other end.

Then one day a company calls you to arrange a job interview. You're excited and terrified at the same time. On the one hand, being asked to come in for an interview is validation that you're doing something right. It shows that you're a contender.

On the other hand, thinking about the interview is sending your stomach into knots. You feel like if you mess it up, you'll be back at square one again, sending application after application into a black hole. Even worse, your confidence could plunge into the toilet and leave you wondering if you'll ever work again.

Dwindling savings increase the pressure to ace the rare job interview that comes along in this horrible job market. If your savings are running out, a job interview could feel like your last chance. It's make or break time.

No wonder so many job see…

Shh! More Workers Tight-Lipped About Pay

A new Glassdoor survey asks people with whom they feel comfortable talking about their salaries.

Salaries are always a touchy subject, but they've gotten even more so in this era of pay cuts and salary freezes. Some employees probably haven't gotten a raise since Amy Winehouse's "Rehab" won the Grammy for Record of the Year (that was in 2007, for those who are wondering).

Glassdoor finds employees have gotten less comfortable talking about compensation with family, friends and coworkers over the last 12 months: 17% of employed adults say they don't talk about their compensation with anyone else - an 11% increase over 2008.

So who are employees seeking out for these conversations? From the survey:

66% will talk salary with their spouse or significant other.

11% of younger men (18-34) share salary information with casual acquaintances, compared to only 2% of younger women (18-34).

49% of single employees will talk salary with a best friend, compared to only 23% of …

Will You Be Going "Undercover"?

This Sunday after the Superbowl, CBS will air a new business-based reality show called "Undercover Boss." The premise is that a CEO will leave his or her corner office for to find out what the company's front line employees do every day.

The premiere focuses on the company Waste Management. Here's a promo video:

Essentially, this is an hour-long advertisement for the company featured. It's supposed to give off a good vibe that says, "Hey, our CEO is a normal, down-to-earth guy (or gal) who's not afraid to get his (or her) hands dirty." But will audiences buy into the concept when so many people have been laid off at the hands of management? I guess we'll find out when we see the overnights. I may have to blog this show.

I find the business-person-as-reality-star a very disturbing trend. Reality TV represents cheap programming for TV networks compared to scripted shows, and that's why TV networks love them. Some networks, such as Bravo and TLC…

BLS Productivity Numbers: Good For Employers, Not So Good For Job Seekers

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its latest productivity and costs update today, and it has good and bad news.

BLS reports that employee productivity increased 6.2% during the fourth quarter of 2009, while unit labor costs fell 4.4%. Productivity of manufacturing employees was even higher, at 7.8%. Unit labor costs of manufacturing employees fell 7.4%.

These numbers are good news for employers, who are getting more work done with fewer employees. These numbers are bad news, however, for job seekers facing a tight job market where employers feel like they can get by with who they have and are able to put off hiring decisions.

These numbers are also not ideal for remaining employees who are working their asses off with double or triple the workload because company headcounts have been cut to the bone. Most of us would rather be swimming in work, though, if we have to choose between worker harder or standing in the unemployment line.

You can access the BLS fourth quarter productivity…

Blondes Dye Out In Great Recession

Here's an interesting side effect of The Great Recession: More women are ditching blond for brunette.

Maintaining blond locks is gut-punching expensive. Blondes who keep up on their hair color typically spend $100 to $180 every six weeks at the salon. Ouch. Being a brunette is far cheaper.

Here's just one story on the topic:

Sydni Guillot, environmental engineering junior, was a blonde for five years until last December when she went back to her roots.

“It was partly the money and partly just because it’s unhealthy to keep bleaching your hair the blond color,” Guillot said.

Guillot said she would usually get her blond touched up every two to three months for about $110. Her mother often paid for it, but she felt being blond was too much of a financial burden.

That is the case for many women, said Greg Metzler, owner of Lux Salon and Spa on Highland Road.

“You’re seeing more roots out there than you did when the economy was good,” Metzler said.

And those roots are creeping up on a grea…

Walmart Rolls Back On Jobs

Even price-conscious Walmart is suffering in this economy.

The retail giant will lay off 300 employees at its Bentonville, Arkansas headquarters to cut costs. Employees were told yesterday that the lay offs are coming.

This comes on the heels of Walmart's announcement that it's closing 10 Sam's Club locations at a cost of 11,000 jobs.

Competitor Costco just announced that its January comparable same-store sales rose 8%.

Guess we know who's winning the battle of the bulk retailers, at least for now.

Laid-Off People Are Finding New Jobs

A new CareerBuilder survey out today finds six in 10 workers laid off in the last year have found new jobs.

CareerBuilder reports that 51% of workers laid off from full-time jobs in the last twelve months have found new full-time jobs, a 3% increase over June 2009. Another 7% found part-time positions, compared to 3% in August 2009.

The survey was conducted in November and queried more than 1,000 workers laid off from full-time jobs over the last year. From a press release:

"Despite one of the most competitive job markets in decades, nine-in-ten workers say they have not given up on their job searches, and the amount of workers who have found work is evidence that their drive and determination are paying off," said Brent Rasmussen, President of CareerBuilder North America. "The number of laid-off workers who have found new full-time and part-time jobs rose in the last six months. Although this good news reflects a healing economy, it also shows that job seekers are explor…

Internet Users Are Debbie Downers

A new study links Internet surfing to higher rates of depression.

Psychologists at Leeds University in the United Kingdom report that heavy Internet users become compulsive about it and eventually favor online interactions over real-life social interaction. As this article points out:

"This study reinforces the public speculation that over-engaging in websites that serve to replace normal social function might be linked to psychological disorders like depression and addiction," the study's lead author, Catriona Morrison, wrote in the journal Psychopathology.
The researchers tracked the internet use and depression levels of 1,319 British people.

If you're feeling depressed, or know someone who is, NIMH offers some great resources.

Small Business Hiring, Salaries Show Gains

Good news: SurePayroll's latest Small Business Scorecard finds U.S. small business hiring was up in January.

January was also the first month of small business salary growth in more than a year, according to SurePayroll's numbers. In fact, January 2010 was the first time in a very long time that both small business hiring and salaries increased (.8 percent and .1 percent respectively).

SurePayroll's Scorecard relies on hiring, compensation, and optimism information from companies with fewer than 100 employees.

Well, that's the good news. Now for the bad news: SurePayroll reports that even though salaries and hiring are on the rise, small business owners are still feeling pretty pessimistic. In fact, small business optimism is at its lowest level since February 2009 as U.S. small business owners wait to see how healthcare reform legislation and the 2011 federal budget could impact their firms. The suspense is killing them, or at least it's muting their hiring plans.


Got Any Old Blankets To Donate?

If have you have any gently-used blankets you no longer need, you might consider dropping them off at Sears over the next few weeks.

Sears is accepting both new and used blankets as part of "Operation Blanket," its effort in conjunction with AMVETS to provide homeless veterans with blankets. Sears stores in California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin are participating in Operation Blanket.

Sears says customers will receive a coupon for 20% off any one home fashion or home d├ęcor item, or a coupon for 10% off any one housewares, luggage or furniture item (excluding mattresses) for each blanket donated.

Operation Blanket runs through February 18.

AMVETS will distribute the blankets to veterans through its thrift shops and local veteran posts across the country. Sears will also make a $5,000 donation directly to AMVET…

Wednesday Workplace News Roundup

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Say what?: Bailed out insurance giant AIG plans to pay $100 million in bonuses to employees in its financial products division. Meanwhile, millions of Americans bang their collective heads against the nearest wall, door or table.

Looking up: An ADP survey says job cuts last month were at the lowest level in two years.

Stepping up: Conan O'Brien offers 50 of his former Tonight Show employees six weeks' worth of severance pay out of his own pocket. NBC's separation agreement didn't cover these workers.

Middle ground: A new Creighton survey finds the economic recovery is picking up steam in the Midwestern and Plains states. Nebraska, Iowa, Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Oklahoma participated in the survey.

Higher yearning: Donations to colleges fell almost 12% in 2009.

Gang mentality: Officials in Fairbanks, Alaska devise a survey to measure the city's gang activity. The rest of the countr…