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Showing posts from August, 2010

What U.S. Workers Want Most This Labor Day Is...A Safe Workplace?

What do U.S. workers want most this Labor Day?

More sick days? No. Family leave? Nope. A new job? That goes without saying, but try again. No, it turns out workplace safety rates as the most important workplace regulation for 85% of employees in a new study, outranking family and maternity leave, minimum wage, paid sick days, overtime pay and the right to join a union.

The survey entitled "Public Attitudes Towards and Experiences with Workplace Safety" was conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago for the Public Welfare Foundation, an organization seeking to improve workers' rights.

You'll find the full study here.

It's Back To School Week

College students around the country are going back to school this week.

Some of them will be starting their freshman year while their grizzled elders who can't unsee what they've seen will be seeking refuge in the classroom to ride out this horrible recession, a condition otherwise known as graduate school. No matter who you are, this one's for you.



A few words of wisdom for the 18-to-22-year-olds: Study hard but don't forget to work on becoming the best person you can be, both for yourself and for others. In the end, people will remember who you were as a person and not a profession. Also remember to have some fun, because no one other than a potential employer will ever ask about your college grade point average when you're 40 and if you're still talking regularly about your college grade point average at age 40 everyone will think you're a total weirdo douchebag.

Best Places To Find a Job? DC & Virginia

So just how hard is it to find a job in your current state of residence?

Search engine Juju.com just released its latest Job Search Difficulty Index for all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Washington D.C. is still the easiest place to find a job, while Mississippi, Nevada and Michigan are the hardest places to find a job.

Juju.com calculates its numbers by taking the number of unemployed workers in each state according to Bureau of Labor Statistics and dividing these numbers by the number of jobs in Juju's online jobs base. Here's the full list. The number following each state represents the total number of unemployed people per advertised job:

1) District Of Columbia 0.82

2) Virginia 1.93

3) Maryland 1.97

4) North Dakota 2.03

5) Nebraska 2.20

6) Delaware 2.28

7) New Hampshire 2.38

8) Massachusetts 2.53

9) Wyoming 2.61

10) South Dakota 2.71

11) Vermont 2.81

12) Alaska 2.89

13) Oklahoma 2.92

14) Connecticut 2.94

15) Kansas 2.94

16) Iowa 3.02

17) Texas 3.04

18) New York 3.06

19) Ne…

Employees Complain About Internet Access

Four in 10 CIOs say the employees at their companies aren't afraid to complain about being blocked from certain websites.

In a new Robert Half Technology survey 41% chief technology officers say it's either "very common" or "somewhat common" for employees to bitch about the lack of internet access at work.

Hey, employees just want to watch cute kittens on Youtube, talk about what they're having for lunch on Facebook and see how many followers have dropped them on Twitter. You know, keep up on all the important stuff. Besides, how can you look for another job online if your current employer won't let you? What is this, 1990?

Robert Half Technology surveyed 1,400 CIOs at companies with more than 100 employees.

Maybe employers ought to block access to wedding planning websites instead, because they're becoming a real time suck for some employees. Just saying.

Meg Whitman Worked Late One Day

Another day, another Meg Whitman ad gets released in California.

I've added the text of her latest ad below because I'm hyped up on caffeine and the chirpy xylophone music in the background of the ad makes me want to dredge out my eyes with a ball-peen hammer.

When Meg Whitman arrived at eBay, they had 30 people and an idea. Meg's job was to turn that idea into reality. It took planning, leadership and guts. The eBay Meg created had an ability to weather storms and seize opportunities. When the servers crashed, effectively putting eBay out of business, Meg gathered her team along with the best technology experts from around Silicon Valley and they stayed there until it was fixed, literally sleeping at the office! And when it was fixed, she went against the advice of some and refunded money to everyone affected by the outage. Named one of America's best CEOs by Harvard Business Review, she grew eBay from 30 people to 15,000 and made small business dreams come true. Isn…

Monday Workplace News Round-up

Happy Monday! Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

A Right Management study finds women are more likely than men to suggest changes in the workplace.

One in 20 people has been fired for hitting "reply all."

The good news? 33 Chilean miners have been found alive in a collapsed mine. The bad news? It will take four months to rescue them.

Is Germany going to ban employers from checking job applicants' Facebook pages? All signs point to ja.

The EEOC, meanwhile, is looking into employers' use of bad credit reports as a tool for weeding out job applicants.

An ex-Sea World employees reveals the secret life of the aquarium's animal trainers.

Airline passengers would rather deal with a drunken passenger than a surly flight attendant.

Oh great, the Undercover Bossspin-off will be even more cloying than the original series.

Disneyland offers a Muslim employee a compromise: You can wear your Hijab on the job as long as you hide it underneath a big cowboy hat.

A MetLife …

Company Policies Fall Flat As A Pancake With Customers

My kids and I decided to go to McDonald's the other morning for a late breakfast. It was a rare and welcome break from the daily cold cereal grind.

We got into the drive-thru line at 10:25 a.m. but by the time we pulled up to the loudspeaker to place our order it was 10:30 a.m.

"I'm sorry, we're stopped serving breakfast," said the voice coming over the loudspeaker. The breakfast menu rotated and disappeared from view as if it had never existed. I'll admit that for a few seconds I wanted to go all Adam Sandler on the employee.



But I was nice about it, even though my young kids started crying in the backseat when they realized the hash brown wasn't happening. Instead of spending around $10 on food and drinks, we left without ordering anything. There were five cars in line behind us, and I wondered if some of those people were hoping for breakfast, too.

Why do you do this to your customers, McDonald's? I understand that you have to switch up your producti…

Wednesday Warblings: Market This!

Someone didn't do very well in Chemistry class.

Monday Workplace News Round-up

Happy Monday! Here are some headlines catching my eye today:


Does emergency-chute-deploying flight attendant Steven Slater want his job back or is he going Hollywood?

An Apple manager is accused of taking more than $1 million in kickbacks.

A big oilfield is discovered in northern Afghanistan.

U.S. troops are saying "don't bother" to a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" survey due this weekend.

A new survey finds Baby Boomers's main retirement income will be Social Security.

Speaking of Social Security, the Social Security Administration turned 75 over the weekend.

Gen Xers have a thing for online retirement planning.

Is Australia about to party like it's 1999?

Case in point: Australian workers under age 30 could be offered $2,500 for keeping a job for a year and $4,000 if they stay for two years. No, really.

The carrot cake at Rikers Island is so freaking awesome it gets a write-up in The New York Times.

Big companies tell their business traveling employees to …

Miami's Jobs Scene Isn't Jiggy With It

How much does it suck trying to find a job in your town?

Job search engine Juju.com has just come out with its August 2010 "Job Search Difficulty Index" that ranks major U.S. cities in terms of difficulty in finding employment. Juju.com arrived at its results by taking the number of unemployed workers in each state according to BLS statistics and dividing it by the number of jobs in Juju's comprehensive jobs data base. I'll let you decide whether or not you like the study methodology.

Juju.com concludes that Washington D.C. is the best place to look for a job, while Miami is the worst place to look for a job. Here's the full list of cities, along with the number of unemployed persons per job opening:

1. Washington, DC (1.18)

2. San Jose, CA (1.23)

3. New York, NY (1.44)

4. Baltimore, MD (1.67)

5. Hartford, CT (2.04)

6. Boston, MA (2.20)

7. Oklahoma City, OK (2.30)

8. San Antonio, TX (2.41)

9. Salt Lake City, UT (2.42)

10. Austin, TX (2.47)

11. Denver, CO (2.63)

12. Ri…

Friday Funnies: Caking It On

Office techies get no respect.

Thursday Workplace News Roundup

Here are some headlines catching my eye this week:

Get ready for interns who remember Mr. Whipple and think Paul McCartney and Wings was the best band ever.

A passenger tells The Wall Street Journal that Steven Slater started it.

Cathy will croak out her final "arrgh!" soon.

Great, now accountants are getting all "Debbie Downer" on the economy, too.

Broadband growth reaches 2004 levels.

iPhone users get more sexy times.

48% of Americans in a new survey say "hell, yeah!" to the "nakation."

85% of people in a new AARP survey think the government should keep its dirty mitts off their Social Security payments to pay down the deficit.

Forget text books because today's Doogie Howser M.D.s are being trained via video games. Time for a song break!



...And we're back!

One in five Americans is now likely to use Twitter, Facebook or email in an emergency. Maybe I'll try this the next time I run out of coffee beans.

U.S. mortgage rates are the lowest in …

Journalists' Blank Slate Propels Slater Story

Unless you've been trapped under something heavy all week, you've heard of Steven Slater.

He's the JetBlue flight attendant set off by a rude and rule-breaking passenger on a flight from Pittsburgh to New York. Mr. Slater announced over the loudspeaker that he's had enough bullshit and he's done with the job. Then he apparently grabbed two cans of beer, deployed the plane's emergency chute and rode the slide to freedomtown.



The media have latched on to this story like a dog with a bone, painting Mr. Slater's actions as what every employee secretly dreams of doing. You know, getting to tell rude and ignorant customers to shove it up their asses. Getting to leave the boss scrambling. Taking to the tarmac and never looking back. Firing all your guns at once and exploding into space, or something like that.

Mr. Slater did some of these things, and how.

Speaking of guns, the story doesn't involve one, thankfully. It's precisely the lack of Rambo-esque viole…

NASA's Indecent Proposal

How invasive should a government background check be?

That's the question before the U.S. Supreme Court in the upcoming case of NASA v. Nelson.

First, the back story: In 2007, NASA apparently decided to use NACI (National Agency Check with Inquiries) guidelines for background checks on low-level contractors working at the California Institute for Technology and the Jet Propulsion Lab. "Low level" means these workers didn't work on classified projects.

What did NASA start checking contractors' backgrounds for, exactly? According to an Electronic Frontier Foundation Supreme Court filing, NASA's "suitability matrix" for hiring decisions included checking employee backgrounds for homosexuality, sodomy, carnal knowledge, incest, bestiality, indecent exposure or proposals, illegitimate children, cohabitation, adultery, mental or emotional "issues," minor traffic violations, displaying obscene material, acting drunk and making obscene telephone ca…

Thursday Thoughts: Hang It Up, Buddy

Oh, to be a fly on the wall for this "business meeting."


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Thursday Workplace News Roundup

There's something about early August that brings out the lazy in me. I'm not sure if it's the heat, the humidity or the realization that everyone in the Northern Hemisphere is on vacation, even if it's only a "staycation" on the sofa while watching a "CSI" marathon. Hence a Monday Workplace News Roundup on Thursday. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Americans who still have jobs have heavier workloads and bigger money woes.

Water rates have gone up at twice the rate of the consumer price index since 2001 because Americans are using less water. Go figure.

Price-conscious Americans are feeling yellow about buying green products. Hey, the stuff is way too expensive.

Women dig men who wear red clothing.

Obese people are more likely to take sick days.

So employees in Mississippi and Florida must take the most sick days?

Guess who the Tea Party wants as its candidate for president. Yeah, this one is too easy.

A new AMA study finds 95 out of every 10…

Are Job Applicants Getting A Fair Shake?

The satirical newspaper The Onion is running a very timely story entitled "Report: Unemployment High Because People Keep Blowing Their Job Interviews." Typical of The Onion, it's hilarious. Here's an excerpt:

According to the findings, seven out of 10 Americans could have landed their dream job last month if they had known where they see themselves in five years, and the number of unemployed could be reduced from 14.6 million to 5 million if everyone simply greeted potential employers with firmer handshakes, maintained eye contact, and stopped fiddling with their hair and face so much...

"This economy will not recover until job candidates learn how to put their best foot forward," said Labor Secretary Hilda Solis, warning that even a small increase in stuttering among applicants who are asked to describe their weaknesses could cause the entire labor market to collapse. "If we're going to dig ourselves out of this mess, Americans need to stop wearing …