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Showing posts from September, 2010

Lawyers Are Offering $5,000 A Year In Free Advice To Family And Friends

If you have a close friend or family member who went to law school, it can be very tempting to ask for a bit of legal advice over barbecue dinner.

Hey, you have a burning legal question and they're just standing there with their Juris Doctor and drink in hand, waiting patiently for the grilled chicken to be served. They're relaxed, you're relaxed. What's the harm in asking?

It turns out you're not alone if you've ever uttered, "Hey, you're a lawyer...can I ask you a question?": A full 68% of attorneys in a new Robert Half Legal survey say their friends and family often ask them for free legal advice. In fact, the lawyers surveyed estimate they're offering $5,000 worth of free legal advice on average every year.

The lawyers surveyed see these requests as a mixed bag. 21% find the advice-seekers in their lives rather burdensome, but 65% say they're actually pleased to help. That's right, two-thirds of the attorneys surveyed say they're…

TechCrunch Panel Gets Cringe Worthy

Other than a way to get some free swag and maybe a free cup of coffee, I've found most business conferences to be pretty useless. I rarely attend them. Case in point: This cringe worthy TechCrunch panel discussion on women in technology where the participants spend most of the session attacking each other rather than addressing the underlying trends and issues that keep women from pursuing software careers. It's painful to watch, so of course I have to share it. I found it odd how moderator/TechCrunch reporter Sarah Lacy was so combative and confrontational with the other women on the panel, while also putting out feelers for a new job at the end of the presentation (see 29:12). Rachel Sklar should be prohibited from using the word "dude" in any way ever again. Panelist Leila Chirayath Janah, meanwhile, was easily the most eloquent and impressive member of the group. I particularly liked what she had to say between the 18:10-18:45 mark. She made some very important p…

The Self-employed Continue To Suffer Quietly In the Great Recession

I'm reading data from the new 2009 Census Bureau Community Survey, and it's kind of depressing. Here are just things that happened between 2008 and 2009:

* Real median household income in the United States dropped about 3% to $50,221.

* The number of people in poverty increased in 31 states.

* The median property value decreased 5.8%.

* 2 in 5 home renters paid 35% or more of their incomes to rent.

* The percentage of uninsured increased by 2.2 million people.

* Work hours fell in 46 of the 50 most populous U.S. metro areas.

* Self-employed people suffered the biggest drop in work hours, losing more work hours than any other type of worker.

It's good to see the plight of the self-employed mentioned here, because it's been under-reported. After all, self-employed workers don't receive unemployment benefits and technically speaking they're not unemployed as much as "under-worked" and "short of projects." Every self-employed person I know is under-wor…

CEOs to Applicants: Sales Are Going Up, But We're Still Not Going To Hire You

The Business Roundtable's 3rd Quarter CEO Economic Outlook Survey is out. Here's how the CEOs surveyed feel about the next six months:
79% expect company sales to increase;

50% expect their U.S. capital spending to remain the same;

39% expect hiring to increase, 43% expect no hiring changes and 17% plan more layoffs.

So sales could grow twice as fast as hiring over the next six months.

You can access a .pdf of the survey here.

Tired Of Risky Business? Head For Toronto

What world city is the least risky for employers looking to hire, employ and relocate employees?

According to Aon Consulting's People Risk Index, it's Toronto. The Queen City. Hogtown. The City Within A Park. The Place In Canada That For Some Reason Has An American Major League Baseball Team. I made that last one up.

Aon's index is based on studying the demographics, education, government support, talent development, and employment practices of 90 world cities. Following Toronto on the list of least-risky employment cities are New York, Singapore, London and Montreal.

Wait, Canada has two cities in the top five? Aon offers its reasons why:

Montreal and Toronto are among the five lowest risk cities primarily due to Canada's low level of corruption; strict enforcement of equal opportunity laws; health and retirement benefits; and high quality and broad availability of training facilities. The main difference between the two is due to Toronto's larger population as well …

Monday Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

The owner of Segway dies after his Segway goes over a cliff.

Americans say "hold on a minute!" to the news that the Great Recession is over.

The NASA background checks dispute is going big time.

Online retailers are losing big money because their websites suck. I believe it.

Apple gets more consistently good press than Google. Neener, neener, neener.

Top executives of the U.S. Postal Service return to their jobs with more pay.

Who are the highest-paid workers in Los Angeles County? The county isn't telling.

Americans are afraid to take sick days right now. Duh.

Get ready to pay 12% more for health care in 2011.

It turns out the phrase "you look stressed out" is more true than originally thought. I'm waiting for the "Great Recession gives workers gray hair" story because that's what I'm seeing.

Chrysler suspends employees caught drinking and smoking pot on the job.

Medicine on wheels comes to migrant work…

One-third of U.S. Employees Depend On Their Morning Cup of Coffee

Well, it's Monday morning here in the States, and if you're like many employees people who have managed to keep a job &trade you're slamming down a big cup of coffee right now.

Or maybe you're enjoying a steaming mug of tea, but tea is like mall walking instead of marathon running. Sorry, but when when it comes to caffeine consumption either go big or go home.

A new CareerBuilder/Dunkin Donuts online survey of 3,600 Americans who have managed to keep a job &trade finds one-third need a cup of coffee to get through the workday. Wow, only one cup of coffee? That's just enough caffeine to keep me from sounding like Animal on The Muppet Show, but okay.

Among the other findings:
Nurses, doctors and hotel workers are the most reliant on coffee (click here for a full list of the most caffeine-dependent professions);

43% of Americans aged 18-to-34 who have managed to keep a job &trade report less energy if they don't drink coffee;

The Northeast United States …

Bloggers To Brave Non-organic Food & Truck Stops In the Name Of Activism

A group of Californian blogger/activists is boarding a "BlogMobile" today in Los Angeles en route to next weekend's "One Nation Working Together" rally on the National Mall in Washington, DC. From the group's website:
The One Nation Working Together Blog Mobile is an RV filled with 7 Californians (plus CA 2 drivers) who are driving across the country in to [sic] Washington, DC — stopping along the way to interview and tell the stories of Americans from different walks of life, highlighting the hopes, struggles and experiences that unite us.

The trip will run from Sept. 25 – Oct. 2nd, 2010 — and will culminate when the RV pulls up to to participate in the One Nation Working Together’s Oct. 2 March on Washington, DC.
They'll stop in seven cities on the way to Washington, DC. These cities are Riverside, California; Phoenix; Albuquerque; Oklahoma City; Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Atlanta, Georgia; and Charlotte, North Carolina. In between, they'll complain tha…

Stephen Colbert Testifies Before Congress

Stephen Colbert spoke before a Congressional committee today on the topic of immigrant farm labor.

Apparently, one committee member asked him to submit his views in writing instead of speaking, but he got the floor for a few minutes. And true to form, he was funny yet serious at the same time. It's worth a watch.

It's the 141st Anniversary Of Black Friday

Friday, September 24, 1869 was a big day for the U.S. economy.

Actually, it was a very, very bad day.

Today is the 141st anniversary of Black Friday, they day when the U.S. securities market went into a panic over manipulation of, and a resulting plunge in, gold prices. It was dubbed "Black Friday." Steely Dan may or may not have written a song about it.

Behind it all were two men named Jay Gould and James Fisk, who wanted to corner the market on gold, drive up the price and make truckloads of money. But there was a problem: The government sold gold. Fortunately for them, they were very well connected, and even convinced a relative of President Ulysses S. Grant to get in on the scheme. But President Grant got wind of it and ordered the government to sell off $4 million in gold, leading to a big drop in gold prices. Investors panicked and started selling all their other stocks, too:

On Friday, September 24, 1869, the price of gold reached between $160 and $162, and Fisk, still b…'s 2011 Consultant Quality Of Life Rankings

People typically think of the management consultant as someone who is paid to offer companies management advice.

Whether or not the advice is good (add perks and work/life balance strategies!), bad (take away perks and cut a few employees!) or evil (cut 50% of your staff and micromanage the survivors to death!) is always a matter of debate. But unless they're self-employed, it might be easy to forget that management consultants are also employees. So how to do they feel about their own employers?

Yesterday released its 2011 Consultant Quality of Life Rankings that rate 50 management consulting firms in terms of culture, compensation, hours, training, work/life balance, and other work-related matters. I wish the study included real insights into how consultants feel about the work itself -- what do they see as the most challenging aspect of their jobs? What are the perks other than pay, etc.? -- but if you're hankering to be a management consultant these company rankin…

Thursday Workplace News Round-up

Happy first day of autumn! My day is going well, except that my cat ate my lunch when I wasn't looking. You snooze, you lose. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Employers should get ready to see some costumes on the job, because consumers plan to spend more on Halloween this year.

Health coverage for government employees turns out to be a big election year issue in Guam.

Another 150,192 U.S. workers lost their jobs in August, and roughly one-third of them worked in manufacturing.

San Jose, California's redevelopment agency lays off 20% of its staff. So much for economic development, I guess.

The State of Connecticut is fighting AT&T's planned layoffs in the state.

Federal employees get a few twists on their Roth IRAs.

The Mayor of Detroit seeks a 10% pay cut for unionized workers and wants to privatize operation of the city's freight airport.

NASA is letting employees get up close and personal with the Space Shuttle as the program winds down.

Macy's plans to…

Employer-based Health Plans Getting Dropped Like They're Hot

The Employee Benefit Research Institute just released an update on employment-based health plans.

EBRI reports that 59% of non-elderly (read: working age) Americans had health coverage through their employers in 2009. In 2000, 68.4% of non-elderly Americans accessed health plans through their employers.

So the number of Americans covered through their employers has dropped almost 10% over the last decade. The Great Recession, with its one-two punch of job losses and workers on tight budgets dropping coverage, certainly hasn't helped matters: EBRI reports nearly 19% of working-age Americans didn't have health coverage in 2009, compared to 17.4% in 2007.

Needless to say, that 1.6% drop represents a lot of Americans. In fact, EBRI concludes the percentage of non-elderly Americans without health insurance is at the highest level since 1994.

Employer-based insurance plans are still the most common way Americans receive health coverage, though.

You can read the report in more detail her…

GOP Plans To Party Like It's 1994

Today is an historic day for health coverage in the United States.

As of today, children in the United States can no longer be denied health insurance; young adults can stay on their parents' health insurance plans until age 26; and insurance companies can't drop people from the rolls as soon as they get sick. Well, unless you're one of these insurance companies, and you still plan to stick it to the sick kids.

Curiously, the Republicans have chosen today as the day to unveil their Declaration of Independence-esque Contract For Pledge To America plan, which isn't written in 72-point type but does call for more tax and spending cuts without cutting any military spending. But they would cut abortion funding, which, as the GOP presents it, would apparently save something like $5 trillion dollars over the next two years.

I'll admit, reading the GOP plan makes me feel like it's 1994 all over again. Put on your Nirvana albums and grungy plaid shirts, and get ready to r…

The Great Recession: The Gift That Keeps On Giving Grief

It's early in the day but you may as well pour yourself a tall glass of something because the Bureau of Labor Statistics has released its August Regional and State Unemployment figures.

Basically, not all that much changed last month.

27 states saw unemployment go up, while 13 states saw unemployment go down. Unemployment stayed the same in 10 states and the District of Columbia. The unemployment rate is still 9.6%. Or 30.5%, depending on which figures you prefer.

This recession is starting to remind me more and more of the chain-smoking distant relatives who came to visit us for a few days when I was a kid but ended up overstaying their welcome for weeks until Mom got so fed up she told Dad they had to go. Unfortunately, the house smelled like cigarettes, even though my cigarette-hating mom asked them to start smoking outside the house. I have a feeling this recession is sort of like these distant relatives: Overstaying their welcome until someone finally works up the courage to la…

Study: Managers Are Total Stress Puppies

If your manager seems cool, calm and above it all, don't be fooled. He or she is probably sitting behind closed doors slamming down the Pepto Bismol and listening to calming nature sounds CDs.

30% of managers in a new OfficeTeam survey say they're more stressed out than they were a year ago, and 28% expect their stress levels to get higher over the next year. Only 11% say their stress is lower.

Dealing with unhappy, overworked employees plays a big part in their stress levels: 37% of employees in a recent Robert Half International study said they're doing more work but aren't compensated fairly.

Well, at least workplace stress is an equal-opportunity offender, right?

Is the U.S. Unemployment Rate Above 30%?

The latest figures from the U.S. Department of Labor peg the U.S. unemployment rate at 9.6%.

Youngstown State University Labor Analyst Dr. John Russo, however, says the U.S. unemployment rate is 30.5% with all discouraged workers factored into the mix. Discouraged workers are people who have given up looking for a job.

Click here for Dr. Russo's economic rundown.

Today Is World Alzheimer's Day

Today is World Alzheimer's Day, and a new report concludes the costs of dementia worldwide this year will exceed $604 billion.

That's 1% of world GDP. Or to put it another way: Dementia would be the world's 18th largest economy if it were a country and it would beat both Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil in annual sales if it were a company.

Alzheimer's Disease International, just published these findings today. ADI estimates 35 million people around the world suffer from dementia, and the number will double to 66 million by 2030.

Indirectly, dementia has a huge impact on caregivers. Research finds the most likely person to care for someone with dementia is a daughter or female relative. So dementia is a condition that's on employees' minds, too.

Study Finds More Americans Are Living Paycheck To Paycheck

A new survey from the American Payroll Association finds more than two-thirds of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

The "Getting Paid In America" survey asked 31,000 Americans how they would fare financially if their paychecks were a week late. Answer: Not very well. 72% said they would find it "somewhat or very difficult" to pay the bills if their paycheck didn't arrive on time -- an increase of 1% over APA's 2009 survey.

Only 1%? Somehow, I expected a bigger jump given the state of the economy. Then again, savings rates are going up, so maybe Americans are learning how to save for a rainy day. Money, meet mattress.

By the way, "Getting Paid In America" is kind of an unfortunate study title since "P" and "L" are right next to each other on the keyboard. One slip of the finger and the study takes on a whole new meaning. Just saying.

The Great Recession Is Over! The Great Recession Is Over!

Break out the party hats and balloons, because the National Bureau of Economic Research says the Great Recession is over.

NBER says the Great Recession ended in June 2009. It was the longest recession since World War II.

Well, I hope it's true. I don't see a rebound in my industry yet, which is still looking a lot like a 90-year-old woman with a bad case of osteoporosis who has just been hit by a truck going 75 miles per hour. Even Howard Fineman is moving on. Let's just say recovery could take awhile.

Congratulations, Your Traditional College Degree Is Almost Worthless

Warning: You might not want to read any further if you're still paying off thousands in student loans from your days at a traditional four-year college.

Close to 80% of HR people in a new Society For Human Resources Management/ survey have hired someone in the last year who has a degree from a university that's advertised between re-runs of Everybody Loves Raymond.

Apparently, a degree from an online university isn't a deal breaker anymore: 55% of the HR people surveyed think it doesn't matter where two applicants received their degrees if both of them have the same job experience. In fact, 70% said a degree from a traditional college doesn't mean a job applicant is any more motivated or disciplined than someone who received a degree from an online college.

Meanwhile, a recent Wall Street Journal study offers new evidence that an Ivy League degree isn't what it used to be, either. Take that, Harvard and Stanford!

If these surveys are to be believed, a…

And This Little Workplace Piggy Had None

Or at the very least, he or she had the runs.

Lack Of Editing Is Applicants' Achilles Heel

I was speaking with someone who is reviewing resumes for a job opening.

As he's narrowed down the pile of resumes, he's been taken aback by basic errors. In one case, an applicant addressed him as "Mr. insert name here." Another applicant said they were interested in the job...with a competitor. Yes, the applicant wrote the name of a competitor instead of the name of the company to which he or she was applying. Nice touch.

It turns out this bemused resume reader isn't the only one scratching his head: A new CareerBuilder survey of hiring managers finds one of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is failing to customize their resumes to each employer. A full 79% of the hiring managers surveyed said they spend more time on a resume tailored to the company and the job, which makes total sense.

I can see why some applicants are dropping the ball though. Applying for jobs blindly online feels like a total crap shoot. You're sending your resume down a black hole ne…

CFOs Suffering From Recession Depression

The latest Duke University/CFO Magazine Global Business Outlook Survey is out, and let's just say most CFOs would like to crawl into bed, pull the sheets over their heads and wake up when the economy gets better.

The 937 CFOs surveyed say hiring of full-time U.S.-based workers will increase by 0.7% over the next twelve months. Yes, you read that right: 0.7%. Ouch.

Even worse, they reveal that 25% of their recent hires are contract workers and temps, so their confidence in hiring full-time people remains low. In fact, the CFOs indicate they plan to increase hiring of temporary workers by 0.8% over the next year. Work is going abroad, too: They expect hiring in Asia alone to grow by 5% next year.

CFOs are most worried about company profit margins, low consumer demand, rising health care costs and low employee morale. 30% also say borrowing has gotten more difficult compared to last year.

You can access the full overview here.

Masturbating Bear & Horses Should Worry

Wait, this guy won the New York State Republican primary for Governor? (Warning: This link may not be safe for work, but if you're like many Americans you're sitting at home in your jammies applying blindly for jobs online, so go for it.)

And what about Christine O'Donnell in Delaware's Republican primary for U.S. Senate? Masturbating Bear better watch his back now.

Samsung Sways To The Beat

Samsung filmed a new commercial about a little kid in a daycare who starts dancing. Her teachers join in and eventually she has the whole town swaying to the beat. It's cute. At the very least it's visually interesting. The camera work makes it look like a home video.

Tuesday Workplace News Round-up

I'm so busy I'm not sure what day it is. Tuesday? I think that's right. Well, that's how my week is going. Hope you're having a good one. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Be careful charging things to your employer.

JP Morgan Chase is letting employees test out the iPhone. Let's just hope they don't help create another economic bubble while they're testing it.

Middle class tax rates will go up again at the end of the year unless Congress act soon. Oh crap, that means taxes will go up.

70 employees are asked to hand back bonuses given to them a year ago. But the boss is accused of operating a Ponzi scheme, so...

The average American employee who still has a job has been with his or her employer for 4.4 years, according to new numbers.

Cuba is laying off one million government employees.

More women than men are piling it higher and deeper.

Gay federal workers in the United States can now take leave without pay.

Meanwhile, a vote on repealing "D…

Psst, Bosses: Employees Think They Could Do Your Job Better Than You Do

A new CareerBuilder survey might get managers thinking.

It finds 31% of 4,400 employees surveyed think they can do a better job than the boss, while double the number (60%) think the boss wouldn't be able to do their jobs.

So only 40% of employees surveyed think the boss is capable of doing their jobs? Ouch.

From the CareerBuilder study:

"The workforce has been through a lot during this recession, so it’s important for workers and bosses to maintain a strong and communicative relationship," said Rosemary Haefner, vice president of human resources at CareerBuilder. "As many companies recover from the challenges of the last 18 months, both parties need to listen to each other and be flexible, with a common goal of moving the organization forward."
I agree. By the way, the phrase "moving the organization forward" really needs to leave the business lexicon. Unless a group of employees is physically pushing a building down the street, it doesn't mean anythi…

Unemployment Continues National Tour, T-shirts Available Soon

Here's the July 2010 unemployment chart for major U.S. urban centers with one million or more residents, courtesy of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

For more information, click here.

Wednesday Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Welcome to the age of the credit gap.

Things are looking up in Mexico.

Two-thirds of Texas companies that received taxpayer money for job creation haven't created jobs.

CNBC's Erin Burnett loses her cool over a guest's comments.

East by Midwest are the new coordinates for economic misery.

The narrative that laid-off employees are turning to freelancing in droves may just be a myth after all.

Campaign staffers are yelling at each other over Twitter.

The University of Baltimore now offers a class in zombie studies. But where's the major in Zombie Studies?

Winona County, Minnesota mandates county employees stay at porn-free hotels.

Canadian companies report that layoffs come with a downside.

The Republicans issue a press release claiming U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) is out of touch with voters in the...Evergreen State?

The number of advertised U.S. jobs rose 6.2% in July.

It's almost open enrollment season! Can you feel the excite…

Wednesday Warblings: Hook, Line & Sinker

At first I thought this was a nice little piece of Photoshop trickery, but apparently it's the real deal. Wow.

Have You Hugged Your Accountant Today?

It's National Payroll Week, that magical time after Labor Day when we stop to thank the people who sprinkle us with their own special fairy dust otherwise known as a monthly paycheck.

From the official website:

National Payroll Week celebrates the hard work by America's 156 million wage earners and the payroll professionals who pay them. Together, through the payroll withholding system, they contribute, collect, report and deposit approximately $1.7 trillion, or 71.9%, of the annual revenue of the U.S. Treasury.
Of course, the U.S. unemployment rate means there are fewer employees around to hug the accounting team. So if you're lucky enough to still have a job you might have to offer a few more hugs to compensate. At the very least it's an opportunity to see how much you're paying for health insurance as open enrollment season approaches. Then again, there's no need to get depressed. It's National Payroll Week! Love and light, people. Now get up and shake tha…

Taking One For the Team Could Get You Voted Off the Team

If you've seen the movie "Rudy" you know it's the true story of Dan Ruettiger, a working-class kid with zero athletic skill who works hard to become a walk-on tackling dummy for the Notre Dame football team.

Rudy proceeds to get the shit beat out of him every day at practice but he doesn't seem to mind. In fact, he tells his teammates that if he doesn't get the crap beaten of him at every opportunity he's not helping them get ready for next week's game. His selfless, eager attitude eventually inspires his NFL-bound teammates, who lobby the coach to put Rudy in at the end of the big game with Georgia Tech. Coach puts Rudy in reluctantly and Rudy's so hyped up on adrenaline and dreams that he sacks Georgia Tech's quarterback with only a few seconds left on the clock. It's like watching the Taco Bell dog chase down a Great Dane. He's so little! Who's the wild man now!?

The crowd goes wild and Rudy's teammates carry our everyman-in-…

Americans Plan To Die At Their Desks

2 in 3 Americans now believe they'll never be able to stop working and retire.

This is the main finding of a new StrategyOne public opinion survey of 1,043 Americans. Among the other findings:

46% say their wages or salaries have been reduced over the last few years;

44% still worry about losing their jobs;

48% have had their work hours cut;

78% say they're working to live instead of living to work;

37% would describe themselves as underemployed.
So nearly 4 in 10 workers don't have enough work to do, which means they can't make ends meet, which in turn means they're more likely to access their already meager 401(k) savings, which means they're never going to stop working. Instead, they'll be showing up to the office with their walkers and hearing aids and telling their confused and annoyed young co-workers about the time they saw The Who or R.E.M. in concert. Then one day someone will bring a piece of birthday cake to Oldgeezerwhatshisorhername's cubicle in h…

Americans Think Manufacturing Is A Good Career For Somebody Else

A new Deloitte/Manufacturing Institute survey finds more than three-fourths of Americans think the manufacturing sector is very important to the country's economic prosperity and living standards.

But roughly the same percentage (70%) wouldn't recommend a manufacturing career to their kids. So manufacturing is very important to the economy, as long as someone else is willing to do the job.

The researchers point to current government policy as the biggest obstacle facing manufacturing as a viable career option:

Emily DeRocco, president of The Manufacturing Institute, points out that the public's concerns about manufacturing "do not lie in a poor image of what the jobs are like, as many people seem to think..."

She added, "The public seems to be getting over its negative view of manufacturing as being dirty and dangerous work for unskilled laborers. What the public needs now is stability and certainty from policy makers. Without that, the public cannot commit its…

Come In, Chaka Will See You Now

Cave people? Really?

Thursday Workplace News Round-up

My children start school next week, and I think they're ready to go back. I'll admit that I'm ready for school to start too, because I'm running out of ideas to keep them busy. I adore my children but let's just say as summer winds down I'm feeling a bit like Gabrielle Andersen-Scheiss approaching the finish line at the 1984 Women's Olympic Marathon.

But moving on. I hope you have a relaxing Labor Day weekend. Try to do something fun if you can. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Well, at least we know where the jobs are.

A new Rutgers study finds half of Americans surveyed are nervous about losing their own jobs and two-thirds expect 2011 to suck as much as 2010.

Forget the Betty Basket and a yoga class because Californians want something else instead.

CBS employees enter a Blackberry blackout.

People over age 40 love reading stories that make younger people look bad.

Narcissists spend more time writing Facebook status updates. In other news, the sky…

Employees Spend Most of Their Day Digging Through Useless Crap

Thanks to the internet and social media, employees are spending a lot of time going back through old information trying to find what they need.

All this backtracking doesn't come cheap for companies. Information optimization company Vivisimo calculates the explosion in employee-generated data costs U.S. businesses $1.5 trillion in lost worker productivity every year. Yes, $1.5 trillion.

Companies need to get a handle on this problem because it's one thing to collect a lot of information but it's quite another to sort through it. And most of the information companies capture is useless crap, like going through the boxes in your attic ten years later and wondering why you bothered to keep the stuff in the first place. I really think it's time for a show called "Office Hoarders: Buried Alive" where we follow employees who are buried in company data and can't seem to get through to the boss with extreme digital hoarding tendencies.

I suspect there are many manag…