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Showing posts from October, 2010

Is the Doctor In? Probably Not As Often

A new Dartmouth study finds U.S. doctors are working fewer hours than they did a decade ago. According to one story:
The study was led by [Dartmouth economics professor Douglas] Staiger, who also is a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The Dartmouth researchers reviewed U.S. Census Bureau data from 1976-2008. They determined that, though the number of hours doctors spent at hospitals had been “stable at around 55 hours for decades,” in just the past decade the hours physicians spent at hospitals declined by about 7%, from 54.9 hours to 51 hours per week.
Why are doctors working fewer hours? Theories abound, but some evidence points to a generational shift among Generation X and Y medical professionals who demand a better work/life balance than previous generations of doctors. The study revealed doctors under age 45 had a bigger drop in hours worked than doctors over age 45.

Younger doctors are raising small kids, which certainly f…

What Are the Employee Voting Rights In Your State?

I was going to work up a post on employee voting rights and came across this excellent blog post by an employment lawyer who offers a rundown of the voting rules governing employers in all 50 states. It's so well written that I'll just link to it.

It contains quite a bit of fascinating data. For example, I've counted at least 16 states that do not have any laws requiring employees be given any time off to vote. These states include Delaware, Connecticut, North Carolina, Michigan and Oregon.

Of course, voting in Oregon is done by mail-in ballot only, so the employees there just need to find a mailbox. If you live in North Carolina, you can show up to the polls weeks in advance of election day to vote early. But in Virginia, another state without any laws that require employees be given time off to vote, early voting requires a valid excuse and most Virginians will be standing in line to vote on election day. So the voting rules can vary widely from state to state.

If you'…

Wednesday Workplace News Round-up

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Employees won't get as much paid time off this Thanksgiving, but they'll get more holiday gifts. Huzzah!

CareerBuilder finds about 30% of employees have called in sick this year at least once when they weren't really sick.

Note to employees doing business over lunch: The other diners really, really hate it when you text and tweet. It's okay to take pictures of your food, though. Huh?

Meanwhile, a CNET article talks about how to make employees more productive on their smartphones. Just not in restaurants, please!

Stalled debate over extending the Bush-era tax cuts has employers calling their accountants.

As if work isn't stressful enough already, employees are getting fired for using doctor-prescribed drugs to alleviate chronic conditions such as back pain.

A judge rules Connecticut voters may wear wrestling gear to the voting booth. Boy, I'm glad we got that one cleared up.

Wait...employers in Australia can spy on employee…

Overworked Employees Filing More FMLA Claims

Where does the time go? I looked up, and the Mad Men finale was on. That was October 17. Now it's October 27? In between, my kids got sick and I had an article assignment, so I guess I've been busy. But enough about me. I'm boring.

What's not boring -- speaking of sick days -- is a new FMLASource report that finds employee FMLA claims have jumped 10% this year. Here's what a FMLASource source had to say:

"As companies continue to operate with leaner staffs in a slowly recovering economy, many workers are seeking FMLA job protection in order to take time off to care for themselves as well as family members," said Jim Brown, vice president of FMLASource.

In other words employees are saying, "If you insist on working my ass off without hiring anyone new to pick up the slack, I'm going to find a way to take some time off." Whether this is good for their job security is debatable but employers should be aware that what they're saving in salarie…

What Not To Wear To a Job Interview

Would you wear pajamas to a job interview? How about a skirt made out of plastic, or some of your old Goth wear from high school? Don't forget the black lipstick and Cure albums!

Most job applicants have enough common sense to know this wouldn't be a good move, but some people...well, let's just say that Stacy London and Clinton Kelly might give them a dressing down.

A new OfficeTeam survey of more than 650 HR managers finds job applicants are wearing all kinds of crazy-ass stuff to job interviews. All I can say is, save the yoga clothes for trips to the grocery store because the person interviewing you doesn't want to worry that you're going to bust out a downward-facing dog while listing your three best qualities. Just. Don't. Do. It.

Or as Stacy London might say, even a self-respecting, modern-day witch probably shouldn't dress like one for a job interview.

John Sculley Gives the Most Honest CEO Interview Ever

Let's be honest: Most CEO interviews are boring.

Boring in the sense that you read them and walk away feeling like the CEO was on autopilot for yet another interview where his or her handlers requested the questions be sent in advance. Like the CEO was just going through the motions to promote the company without really saying anything. Not all CEO interviews feel phoned in, but way too many of them do.

Then there's the interview with former Apple CEO John Sculley, which is, wow, wow. Here are just a few highlights of what he said:

"Looking back, it was a big mistake that I was ever hired as CEO [of Apple]."

"I came in not knowing anything about computers."

"My sense is that when Steve left (in 1986, after the board rejected his bid to replace Sculley as CEO) I still didn’t know very much about computers."

"My decision was first to fix the company, but I didn’t know how to fix companies and to get it back to be successful again."


Friday Funnies: A Name Worth Scrapping?

Is it Sell Scrap or...?

see more funny videos

Thursday Workplace News Round-up

Like everyone else, I was half way paying attention to the Chilean miner rescue while I went about my day yesterday. It's estimated more than one billion people around the world watched the events unfold on television. Amazing. The rescue effort -- the ingenuity, the teamwork, the safe delivery of each miner -- was also quite amazing. It's safe to say there will be a made-for-TV movie, at least on Telemundo.

By the way, Jon Stewart did a spot-on send up of the cable news coverage last night, and it is definitely worth a watch.

But moving on. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

One in five American adults have done the Skype Internet video thing on their desktops or cellphones.

El Paso, Texas has had the highest income growth over the last two decades, at least that's what claims.

A new study finds the cost of a pack of cigarettes in the United States is more than $18 when you factor in lost workplace productivity.

Crime in the United States is the lowes…

Are You A Good Boss Or A Bad Boss?

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to interview Stanford professor Robert Sutton about his latest book, Good Boss, Bad Boss: How To Be the Best and Learn From the Worst.

Along the way he offered some great leadership tips for entrepreneurs leading small companies. His advice is useful to anyone in a leadership position, whether you're leading a Fortune 500 company or running a PTA meeting. At the very least, you'll never look at water boarding the same way again.

Here's the Q&A interview.

Sorry Bosses, Your Employees Just Aren't That Into You

There's a new study from staffing company Adecco Group that reveals 7% of U.S. employees have slept with the boss to advance their careers.

Another 17%, meanwhile, would consider sleeping with the boss.

Needless to say, the U.S. media are going bonkers today over these statistics. But if 7% of U.S. employees have slept with the boss, this means 93% of them prefer to advance on the job the old-fashioned way. You know, through hard work and good personal ethics.

Also, if 17% say they would consider sleeping with the boss, you have to keep in mind that they're thinking in the hypothetical tense. Hey, I "would consider" going on a three-mile run, but when push comes to shove I'll probably decide that I'm tired and that I can't miss the great guest Chris Matthews has coming up on Hardball. Something that sounds great in theory can lose its luster as soon as reality sets in. We've all been there.

So calm down reporters, because most U.S. employees aren't l…

The Perils of Employees Talking Politics

My last post made me remember this short June 2008 news bit I wrote for Entrepreneur magazine on the topic of how managers should address political talk on the job.

I'll have to see if the American Management Association has conducted a more recent survey. Anyway, I thought I'd repost it since the midterm elections are only weeks away.

These Costumes Should Scare Employers

Halloween is only a few weeks away. Oh, the candy, the decorations, the costumes. It's a great time of year. Oh, and don't forget the pumpkin pie!

But if you're an HR manager, Halloween probably sends a few shivers down your spine. Should we have a Halloween party? Should we let employees wear costumes? Will we put "The Monster Mash" and "Thriller" on repeat play? What if a religious employee frowns on a Halloween party? But if we don't do anything for Halloween, will employees think management doesn't know how to have fun? Will we kill employee morale if we skip the candy corn? Keep in mind that the U.S. midterm elections fall a few days after Halloween this year. Politics could be on employees' minds even more than usual.

With many employees doing the jobs or two or three people, however, it's not a bad idea to let them have a little bit of Halloween fun. But where do you draw the line? The hardest part for employers is mixing a party at…

Wednesday Workplace News Round-up

Hope your day is going well. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Gold prices hit a record high as investors fret over the weak U.S. Dollar.

Plantronics conducts an online survey to see how online communication is making people less productive. I refuse to see the irony here.

Gen Xers love email, but their younger co-workers think they're old geezers for using it.

Canadian employees are ready to bolt just like us, eh.

The jobs of Canadian sex workers just got safer, but life must suck for this spammer.

The U.S. Supreme Court debates the limits of government background searches.

If you've hoped for a handy graph that shows which tech companies are suing each other, look no further.

A loud workplace might tick off your ticker.

A woman sues Hyatt Hotels after she catches a male employee wearing her underwear.

The California Supreme Court says state employees still have to take unpaid furloughs.

Don't tell them the mailbox is full. Just don't do it.

Is Groupon giving comp…

One-third of U.S. Workers Still Have A Problem With Their Gay Co-workers

The new 2010 Out & Equal Workplace Survey highlights progress on the work front for GLBT employees.

This year's survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive and included almost 2,800 U.S. adults, 386 of whom identified themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transexual. So the whopping majority of survey participants identified themselves as heterosexual, at least on paper.

78% of heterosexual adults in the survey said that job performance should be the standard for job reviews and not their sexual orientation. About 62% of heterosexual adults agreed that all employees are entitled to equal benefits on the job, regardless of their sexual orientation.

Sounds great, but the results look a bit different when you consider them from another angle:
* Slightly more than one-fifth (22%) of those surveyed thought someone's sexual orientation should factor into how the boss assesses their job performance;

* More than one-third (38%) thought gay and lesbian employees shouldn't r…

America, Land of the Free and Depressed

Well, this is kind of depressing.

The CDC's latest Mortality and Morbidity Report is out, and it says 1 in 10 Americans is depressed.

Looking for work has something to do with it: About 10% of unemployed survey participants showed symptoms of major depression. The rate rises to 22% among those who are unable to work.

Only 2% of people with jobs, however, showed any symptoms of major depression. As the old saying goes, "Busy hands are happy hands."

By the way, October 7th is National Depression Screening Day. You can get more information here.