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Showing posts from July, 2010

Medicare Turns 45 Today

President Johnson signed Medicare into law 45 years ago today.

The Centers For Medicare and Medicaid Services has released a new ad featuring Andy Griffith to mark the occasion. In the ad, Mr. Griffith talks about the new Affordable Care Act and what it means for seniors. Think of it as a little bit of Mayberry with your Medicare.

For Some Employees, There Is A Free Lunch

Poor punctuation and grammar aside, this sign pretty much sums up what employees across the United States seem to be thinking about their co-workers' break room etiquette.

A new Office Team survey asked 432 office workers to name the break room habits that piss them off the most and here's what they said:

44% Making a mess for others to clean up

19% Stealing a co-worker's food

18% Leaving foods past the expiration date in the refrigerator

5% Co-workers who eat smelly foods

7% Nothing is annoying or we have no break room

7% Other/don't know
Anyone who has worked long enough has dealt with co-workers who lack any sense of break room EQ. It's a fact of office life that there will always be one employee who takes the last cup of coffee without brewing a new pot and explodes a bowl of soup in the microwave without cleaning up the mess. The other employees bitch behind the employee's back and hang signs on the office refrigerator until someone can't take it any…

Monday Workplace News Roundup

Happy Monday! Hope you had a nice weekend. We survived the sweltering weekend storms across DC. The Boy Scouts were in town, too. Lots of 'em. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Turn up your speakers because it's time for another Mel Gibson rant.

Ramping up: If you're jones-ing for some empty management-speak like "core values," "fit," and "takeaways," look no further than this CEO's New York Timesblog post.

Trust me: Half of employees say they don't trust their employers anymore and that's why they plan to look for a new job.

Beat it: Are U.S. immigrants with developmental disabilities getting deported in higher numbers?

Zip it: A new study finds companies lose big money when employees argue with each other in front of customers. I believe it.

Skip it: New Jersey's Supreme Court turns away a gay marriage case.

What a steal: Cybercrime is costing companies big bucks.

Pay? No way: A new study finds people aren't willin…

Adults Now As Annoying As Teens When It Comes To Texting

Recently, I had a "conversation" with someone I know very well.

I write "conversation" in quotations because as we were talking this person was texting away on her smartphone. "Uh-huh" and "yeah" she'd say in response to me as her thumbs moved frantically around the keyboard and her eyes stayed transfixed on the tiny screen. After 30 seconds or so, I stopped talking and concentrated on my cup of coffee. Why bother to continue? She wasn't listening anyway.

After she finished texting, she looked up and changed the subject completely. We got on a whole new topic of conversation. A minute or so into it, she started texting yet again. "Uh-huh, yeah, sounds good, that's great..." she said to me as she typed. I thought about testing her by saying something like, "And so I've decided I'm moving to Brazil to start my own reality show called 'Chris Swims the Amazon With Piranhas...'" just to see if she would …

ADA Turns 20, Still Has Growing Up To Do

The Americans With Disabilities Act turns 20 on Monday.

And like many 20-year-olds, the ADA still has some growing up to do. A new Kessler Foundation and the National Organization on Disability (NOD) survey finds disabled Americans face the same problems they did in 1990 when the law was passed.

The workplace represents the widest disparity between Americans with and without disabilities: 79% of disabled Americans don't have a job right now, compared with 41% of non-disabled Americans. Even worse, the researchers conclude the gap hasn't narrowed very much since 1990. The most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor bear out the disparity: 14.4% of disabled Americans were unemployed as of June 2010 compared with 9.4% of non-disabled Americans.

How does the U.S. Government define "disability," exactly? Here's how the U.S. Department of Labor defined it as of a few weeks ago:

"A person with a disability has at least one of the following conditions:…

What's In Your Shopping Cart?

What do toys and electronics from China, shrimp from Thailand and clothes from India have in common?

Answer: Indentured child laborers might be making them.

An Executive Order released earlier this week lists 21 countries selling products the U.S. Government suspects are made using the slave labor of children.

The U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security updated its list of international products in which there's "a reasonable basis to believe, might have been mined, produced or manufactured by forced or indentured child labor."

Click here for the full list.

Wednesday Warblings: White Board Wars

Foxconn's Eight Rules For Hating Your Job

It's being reported that yet another employee might have committed suicide at Foxconn's Chinese factory.

At least 10 other Foxconn employees have killed themselves so far this year.

Foxconn Group assembles the iPhone for Apple as well as Dell's computers. Both Apple and Foxconn Group have denied claims that Foxconn is running a Chinese sweatshop, but a list of employee rules coming to light doesn't cast Foxconn in a very good light. Here are eight rules that Foxconn's Chinese factory employees are allegedly expected to follow if they want to stay employed:
1. Do not join organized crime gangs or activities.
2. Do not engage in illegal gambling, prostitution or drugs.
3. Do not engage in corruption, accept bribes, accept supplier
dinners or gifts.
4. Do not visit shady entertainment venues.
5. Do not engage in improper male-female relations, i.e.
extramarital affairs.
6. Do not participate in speculative, illegal investments.
7. Do not participate in activities that are bad f…

Monday Workplace News Roundup

Hope you had a nice weekend. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Anger management 101: Stanford University's HR people have an angry ex-employee on their hands.

Please go: Utah's governor puts two state employees on leave for allegedly leaking the names of 1,300 Utah residents who are living in the country illegally.

Bad karma: An EMT accused of ignoring a dying pregnant woman while he was on a work break was killed outside a New York City club on Saturday night.

It's the law: New Zealand enacts laws making it easier to fire new employees and harder for unions to form.

Blowing it: A study finds one-third of middle-income workers will blow through all their retirement funds within 20 years. So tempted to make a Mel Gibson joke here.

Feeling crabby: Maryland crab companies are taken aback by a report alleging their shoddy treatment of H-2B visa workers from Mexico.

Bill me: The U.S. House votes 290-131 to require all federal agencies to come up with telecommuting plans. …

Friday Funnies: Se Habla Grande Taco

Gen X Workers Plan To Stick Around

There hasn't been much workplace news worth blogging about this week. I blame summer.

When the lead stories are about Mel Gibson scaring everyone and Bristol being scared to tell Mom she's engaged to Levi, you know the summer media doldrums are here in a big way.

The only work-related report I've read this week with much interest is a Robert Half International study entitled "Workplace Redefined" where 40% of employees surveyed are ready to star in their own reality show called "I'm An Employee, Get Me Out Of Here!" RHI finds 4 in 10 employees are ready to walk at the first sign the economy is waking up after taking a particularly effective sleeping pill supplied by a banker friend.

The idea that 40% of overworked and underdeveloped employees dream of moving on isn't in itself surprising in the wake of a huge recession. What is surprising is that Gen Xers are the most motivated of any generation to stay with their current employers after the re…

Thursday Thoughts: Tread On Me

I suspect a few people will take advantage of this offer if only for the creative marketing.

Wednesday Warblings: Market This!

I wonder if the soup comes with crackers.

Do You Work In a Fear-based Workplace?

I just read a Bloomberg story entitled "Ten Signs You Work In a Fear-Based Workplace." It's an interesting article. Here are seven more signs I would add to the list:

1.) Seeing the problems but doing nothing. Employees are busy backstabbing each other and playing little power games but management doesn't do anything about it. Instead, management ignores the obvious no matter how bad things get. Hey, why work hard at creating a fearful atmosphere if certain employees are willing to do it for you?

2.) Pitting employees against each other. There are managers who like to create a sense of sibling rivalry between employees. One employee becomes the golden child while another employee becomes the problem child who never does anything right. They say the workplace is just like a family but sometimes it can feel a little bit too much like a real family, if you know what I mean.

3.) Putting off performance reviews. How can you know you're doing a good job if no one ever tel…

Monday Workplace News Roundup

Hope you had a relaxing weekend. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Do ask, do tell: The Pentagon surveys the troops and asks questions such as "Do you currently serve with a male or female service member you believe to be a homosexual?" Some groups are not happy about it.

Union label: BLS finds union elections slipped 60% between 1997 and 2009, but when an election happened 66% of employees voted to unionize in 2009 compared to 51% in 1997.

No lawyer joke: Female lawyers at top law firms earn $66,000 less on average than their male counterparts, but that's pretty much on par with women's earnings overall.

Whatever works: The Obama Administration focuses on underused stimulus programs to spur job growth.

You're grounded: Employers in Finland worry that employees are abusing frequent flier mile programs and they're watching more closely.

Calling Inspector Gadget: A new survey finds 95% of employees use at least one mobile device on the job that they'…

Friday Funnies: Rollin' Along

Well, a good roll will come to an end eventually.

Tips For Working From Home When Your House Is On the Market

Your house is on the market. You're hoping the next person who stops by for a showing could be the one who makes an offer.

But what if the house you're trying to sell is also your place of work? It's getting more common with millions of Americans working from home as freelancers and independent contractors. Some of these Lone Rangers are going it alone because they can't find a "real job" in this recession. Home-based telecommuters who work at home either full-time or part-time also fall into this category.

Putting a house on the market is a challenge for anyone, but home-based workers face a unique dilemma. After all, their place of business -- their private sanctuary -- is now open for any and all to see at a moment's notice. If a real estate agent wants to stop by with a potential buyer in 45 minutes, the home-based worker has to wrap up what he or she is working on and make a beeline for that office on wheels in the driveway. This routine, when repeate…

23.4 Million Americans Are On Medicaid

It's a sign of the times: 23.4 million Americans are now on Medicaid.

2.3 million Americans joined the Medicaid rolls in 2009, and some groups project anywhere between 16 and 24 million more Americans will be added in 2014 when the new health care law kicks in.

Roughly 72% of Americans currently on Medicaid are enrolled in a managed care program compared to 55% in the year 2000.

You can find more information here.

USDOL Goes Postal On USPS

The U.S. Department of Labor filed a complaint against the U.S. Postal Service yesterday claiming USPS isn't providing a safe workplace for employees.

The problem centers around dangerous electrical wiring at 350 USPS mail processing and distribution centers:
OSHA's inspections have revealed numerous violations of similar worker safety standards at USPS facilities throughout the nation. The complaint alleges that USPS's actions demonstrate an enterprise-wide policy that resulted in ongoing systemic electrical work safety violations. USPS failed to adequately train workers in recognizing electrical hazards and how to work safely around such hazards, and did not provide workers with the appropriate tools and personal protective equipment to avoid injury or death while working around and on electrical equipment. The complaint also seeks $558,000 for the eight willful and four serious violations discovered in Rhode Island.

"Even though it was aware of the hazards, USPS faile…

Here Comes BP Oil Leak, The Game

Did you know that BP endorsed a board game called "Offshore Oil Strike" in the 1970s? Here's an overview of the game, courtesy of

Two to four players compete at exploring for oil, building platforms, and laying pipelines to bring the offshore oil back to the player's home company. Players take on the roles of either BP (Hull), Amoco (Bergen), Chevron (Rotterdam) or Mobil (Dieppe) in their quest for oil. As with other games focusing on offshore oil exploitation (e.g., Omnia's North Sea Oil), there is also the risk that storms will reduce production on, or eliminate, one's oil platforms. The first player to make $120,000,000 in cash is the winner.
Players also try to keep from drawing cards that say "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick clean-up costs. Pay $1 million." Well, try more like $20 billion just for starters.

Monday Workplace News Roundup

Hope your Fourth was fabulous. We went to the National Mall to be among the thousands of sweaty, cranky tourists in firecracker hats being honked at by sweaty, cranky local drivers who hate tourists. Happy birthday, America!

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

He's my hero: U.S. Postal worker Chester Arthur Reed just retired at age 95. His co-workers say he was never late and never took a sick day since he was hired in 1973. He's now planning to do some more para-sailing, this time in Rio de Janeiro. Go, Chester!

What a fraud: A new PricewaterhouseCoopers Fraud in the Public Sector report says public sector employees around the world are turning to fraud amid budget cuts.

Drop outs: Gen X women in Australia are sacrificing their careers to raise their kids and it's leaving them with shattered dreams. Oops, wrong link. Try this link instead.

Tax ax: Google announces it will cover the extra federal health benefits tax that gay and lesbian employees must pay every year…