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Showing posts from March, 2011

10 April Fool's Day Pranks For the Office

Are you stumped for a good April Fool's Day joke to play on your co-workers tomorrow?

Don't worry, because this Mashable article offers some great ideas that could make you the Jim Halpert of the office.

This assumes, however, that the Dwight Schrutes in your workplace are able to see the humor in it. Let's face it: humor is wasted on some people. I'll let this Reuters article do the dirty work of splashing giant drops of human resources doom and gloom all over your pranking plans. What would Toby Flenderson say?

I can't wait to see what Google does tomorrow!

For Most Of Us, There's Something About Work

There’s something about work that’s sure to bug us on any given day.

It’s the main finding of the new 2011 Everest College/Harris Interactive Work Stress survey, which finds more than three-fourths of U.S. employees (77%) are stressed by "at least one thing" at work. Low pay (14%) topped the list of workplace stresses, followed by commuting (11%); unreasonable workload (9%); fear of being fired or laid off (9%); annoying coworkers (8%); "the boss" (5%); poor work-life balance (5%); and lack of opportunity for advancement (4%).

The survey also reveals workers in the 18-to-34 demographic tend to have the highest stress levels. The younger generation cites low pay and annoying co-workers as the main stresses at work. Welcome to the club, guys. Unfortunately, no one said growing up is easy.

The most surprising finding? A full 21% of people surveyed said that nothing at work stresses them out. Really? Nothing? One wonders if these workers have a pulse, live in an alternate…

Survey: American Workers Want To Be Invisible, Hang Out In Locker Rooms

I read a lot of surveys as a workplace writer. It's a work-related hazard, and something I do for fun in my spare time. (Why yes, I am this boring.)

Sometimes I come across a survey that leaves me scratching my head, though. Case in point: A new national Nestle Crunch survey (yes, Nestle Crunch, bear with me here) that tries to measure Americans' "fun quotient."

Nestle conducted phone interviews with slightly more than 1,000 U.S. adults earlier this month.

So how fun are we as a nation? Among the findings:
86% of Americans have fun at least once per week. (One wonders what the other 14% are up to...);

36% of U.S. adults would like to have a daily "siesta" at work like their cousins in other countries. In fact, Nestle concludes U.S. workers would prefer a nap to computer games or cubicle chair races;

Adults over age 65 would like an "endless supply" of Nestle Crunch Bars (a totally shocking finding for a Nestle Crunch survey);

If they could be invisible f…

Wednesday Warblings: Market This!

Aren't job seekers supposed to be the desperate-sounding ones right now?

see more funny videos, and check out our Forever Alone lols!

Wednesday Workplace News Round-up

I haven’t done a workplace news round-up in awhile. I’ve been suffering from some editorial ennui amid the cold winter weather. To quote Wayne from Wayne’s World: "I thought I had mono for a whole year, but it turns out I was just bored." Such is life. Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

Goldman Sachs orders its nervous employees in Japan to stay put.

Honda shortens its U.S. production runs because parts from Japan are running low.

The Crocs company donates 100,000 pairs of its rubbery shoes to Japan.

Oregon inches closer to passing an immigrant tuition bill that would let children of illegal immigrants pay in-state tuition rates at the state's public universities.

Uh, oh -- the mergers and acquisitions folks see a lot of good times ahead this year.

Get ready for e-cigs in the workplace.

Connecticut considers extending its workplace smoking ban to very small businesses, including the self-employed.

The NFL lockout means no one is talking anymore.

Don’t worry busines…

Canadian Court: Workers Have Right To Privacy On Work Computers

see more Monday Through Friday

A court in Ontario, Canada ruled last week that employees have a right to privacy on their work computers.

The ruling is already considered a landmark workplace decision in Canada.

The reasoning behind the decision seems simple: If employers expect employees to be available 24/7 and hand out company-issued technology devices to make them even more available, then it goes without saying that employees will use these devices to conduct some personal business, send personal emails, take personal photos, and so on.

Essentially, the court is saying that employers can’t tether employees to technology without giving them some breathing room, a.k.a. privacy.

Here in the United States, more than 40% of employers regularly scan employees’ computers and 28% of U.S. employees have been fired as a result, according to a 2007 ePolicy Institute survey. Of course, this survey was conducted prior to the Great Recession, so who knows what the numbers look like now.

You can rea…

Breaking News: New Managers Don't Know How To Lead People

Now this probably won’t come as a surprise to anyone who has ever worked for a neophyte manager.

A CareerBuilder survey of 3,910 U.S. employees finds slightly more than one-quarter (26%) of managers didn’t feel ready to lead when they took the job, and 58% didn’t have any training beforehand. So the typical new manager is sort of like King George VI from The King’s Speech, only without the stammer and the very funny speech therapist.

Perhaps not surprisingly, many of the employees they've managed have wanted to say, "f*&%, f^%$, f*$%." I think I've just summarized the second half of the survey. This is such a great scene, but the language is definitely NSFW if you still have a job.

You can get the full survey rundown here.

Workers Keep Slipping Up On the Job

Do you know that South Korean workers are falling down on the job, literally?

The South Korean Labor Ministry reports that tripping has become one of the country's most common workplace accidents. One in five South Korean workers involved in workplace accidents last year had fallen down or tripped on the job, and 97 South Korean employees died as a result.

South Korean leaders are now trying to come up with a campaign to lower the number of tripping accidents in the workplace.

We Americans, meanwhile, are suffering our own fair share of slips, trips and falls: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than one million Americans slip, trip and fall each year, and 17,000 of them die from their injuries. A full 15% of U.S. workplace injuries are the direct result of slips and trips and comprise 12% to 15% of workers’ compensation expenditures, according to the CDC.

OSHA keeps track of employee slips, trips, and falls, and maintains a list of employer regulati…

Do You Have What It Takes To Be the Aflac Duck?


Start practicing your marketing duck calls today, because AFLAC! is seeking a replacement for celebrity Twitter-messer-upper Gilbert Gottfried.

Aflac has announced auditions to find Gottfried’s replacement, and maybe it’s you! The company will hold in-person auditions in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Las Vegas, Austin and Atlanta. But if you don’t live near any of these places, don’t worry because Aflac is adding some geographical equality to the mix with online casting calls. You can audition right up until April 1, 2011 at midnight Pacific time.

Schedule your audition appointment on or

Okay, all together now…AFLAC! And if you go for it, good luck!

Friday Funnies: The Skeptic In the Room

Are you the employee who says, “someone tell me how this project is supposed to work” or “I see a problem going forward”? Are you the person who starts chuckling whenever your friend talks about the selective memory of homeopathy and why you should try it? Are you the unemployed person who thinks “yeah, riiiight!” whenever a politician says trickle-down economics will create more jobs?

Then congratulations, because you’re the skeptic in the room and this video clip is for you! You'll have to wait until October for International Skeptics Day (yes, it does exist), so this video is something to watch in the meantime. [Warning: Some words NSFW, if you still have a job.]

"Invisible Disabilities" To Be Covered Under the ADA

The word "disability" as defined under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) is about to change.

Under the new rules, the disabilities others may not necessarily see, or happen only periodically, will be protected under the ADA.

The new regulations will be published in tomorrow's Federal Register. In the meantime, here's a brief article that offers a pretty good overview of what's going on. The new rules are expected to be retroactive to January 2009.

I'll update this post as details become available.

Update: Here are a few relevant links.

HR Morning

Windy City Media Group

Occupational Health and Safety

The White House Blog

The Federal Register

Do You Work With Someone Who Is Incompetent But Can't See It?

A career is all about developing and using your core competencies. But what happens when you work with someone who can't seem to see his or her incompetency?

This is the fellow accountant who thinks he’s the best bean counter ever but can’t add to save his life, or the receptionist who fancies herself a good writer but can’t spell her way out of a paper bag. It's the fellow co-worker who thinks he’s the next Josh Groban when he's really more like The Office's Andy Bernard suffering his way through Rainbow Connection.

This person's co-workers would like to open their mouths to point out what the employee can't seem to see. The tricky part comes at performance review time, or when gently confronting these employees about their productivity-killing ways. “Who, me?! I’m very good at what I do,” they’ll say in an offended, who-are-you-to-tell-me tone. They simply don't see any competency areas they need to improve upon because they're professional prodigies wh…

Wednesday Warblings: Shuttling To And Fro

A cool little video of NASA employees at the Kennedy Space Center forming a human Space Shuttle. One wonders how much geometry, trigonometry and marching band experience was required to pull it off.

Can Kindness Give Your Company A Productivity Boost?

see more Monday Through Friday

It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there, a Darwinian-like survival of the fittest on today’s job front. You’ve always got to look out for Numero Uno, because no one else will, right?

What you might not realize is that small acts of politeness may serve a common purpose that works in your own personal interest.

A Pennsylvania State University study released earlier this month explores the relationship between altruism and motor control. The researchers studied video tape of people walking through a building's entrance to see happens when people hold the door open for each other. They learned that when one person holds the door open for someone else, he or she tends to keep holding it open for the person(s) who follow in quick succession. In return, the people on the receiving end of this kind gesture work with the door holder by picking up the pace.

Essentially, everyone involved works together to lower the overall amount of work that would be required if eve…

U.S. Supreme Court: Employers Can't Retaliate Against Verbal Complaints

Are you a worker who has complained verbally about an employer's labor law violations but didn't write anything down?

Well, now you're protected from employer retaliation even if you failed to take notes, thanks to a new U.S. Supreme Court ruling handed down this morning.

The court ruled 6-2 on the case.

Here are a few other links to coverage:

The Seattle Times

Yahoo News

Is the Business Card Biting the Dust?

The day we all knew was coming is finally here. The business card is going the way of the dodo.

The writer of a new Harvard Business Review article says it all:
I had a lovely conversation with two young entrepreneurs from New York and when it was time to part ways, I used that old line: "Here, let me give you my card." They both paused, looking unsure about whether or not I was serious. Then I saw the understanding wash over them. I was speaking a forgotten language. A business card. How precious. One kindly accepted it anyway. The other craned his neck to copy my email address into his Hashable account and instantly sent me his virtual business card instead. With that small paper rectangle, I'd outed myself as a square.
Oh, how cute! She put her contact information on a business card! People still do that? Wow, that's so quaint!

Email sigs, instant messaging and Twitter handles are taking over the meet-and-greet landscape, and Email accounts long ago became our virtual…

What?! We're All Losing Our Hearing Now

Do you feel like you're always repeating yourself at work? If you think it's bad now, just wait.

A new University of Florida study estimates one in four U.S. college students suffers from hearing loss. As Business Weekreports:
The students' hearing loss occurred in the range of frequencies important for speech discrimination, as well as in higher frequencies.

"With high-frequency hearing loss a person can miss a lot of subtle speech sounds, making it harder to discriminate different vowels or phonemes. It would also be much harder to hear sounds like bird songs or children's voices," explained [lead researcher Colleen] Le Prell.
That's right: One-quarter of tomorrow's workers aren't going to catch what you just said.

Granted, UF’s sample size of 56 students is a bit on the small side, but it doesn’t bode well for the future of the workplace when a University of Wisconsin study of 2,800 U.S. adults released last month found 6% of Gen Xers in the 35 to 4…

Friday Funnies: Yes, I've Moved

Any other questions?

see more Monday Through Friday

Older Workers Need To Stop Taking Unpaid Internships

You’re in your 40s. You’ve worked your way at least halfway up the career ladder – you could get to the top if it weren’t for all those pesky Baby Boomers who refuse to retire – and you’re applying your well-honed expertise and advanced degree. Like Mary Tyler Moore throwing her hat into the air, you’re gonna make it after all.

Or are you? Forget happy 1970s sitcoms about people working paid jobs, because the hot, new trend for 40somethings is working for free! That’s right kids: unpaid internships are all the rage. The lifestyle you haven’t lived since the Gin Blossoms rocked the charts wants you to get back to where you once belonged. That is, fetching coffee, making the lunch run and hoping someone will offer you a real job that pays in something other than donuts and college credits.

For proof, just scan the job listings. It won’t take long to find a great-sounding job description, click on the link to learn more, and...oh, no –- it’s unpaid and contingent. Damn. Another company tha…

Wednesday Japanese Earthquake News Round-up

Here are the latest headlines regarding employees working in Japan. As you'll see, a fair number of the headlines have to do with employee evacuations and relocations, which makes sense given recent developments. I'll update the list periodically.

Business Week


The Guardian (U.K.)

The Times of India

Radio New Zealand

Voice Of America

The Manila Standard Today

Itar-Tass (Russia)

Advisor One

The Wall Street Journal

BBC News


Finance News (U.K.)


Monsters and Critics

Asia One

Daily News & Analysis

The Straights Times (Singapore)

The Economic Times

PC World

The Korea Herald (South Korea)

The Copenhagen Post

The Scotsman (U.K.)

Stock Market Wire

The Herald Sun (Australia)

Just Means

CBC News (Canada)

YLE (Finland)

Click here for my news round-up from the day of the quake, and here's a report from Indian television on the situation of Infosys employees based in Japan.

And last but not least, last night Rachel Maddow offered a most excellent explanation of how a nuclear …

Wednesday Warblings: Sunday Comes After Saturday

Have you hear this song yet? It's burning up the internets and pop culture gossip blogs. If you haven't heard it, your kids or tween nieces probably have and you can impress them by asking, "Hey, have you heard that Rebecca Black song called Friday?" All of the sudden, you'll be the coolest aunt/uncle/mom/dad ever! Of course, it's a terrible song autotuned to within an inch of its life with laughable lyrics such as "gotta have my bowl, gotta have my cereal" and "gotta get down to the bus stop." My favorite lyric: "We so excited, we gonna have a ball today. Tomorrow is Saturday, and Sunday comes afterwards." It's always good to have a reminder of which day comes next, no?

But Friday comes after Wednesday, and this clip can't wait that long. So here it is, your new "working for the weekend" anthem.

Managers Spend One Day Per Week Dealing With Arguing Employees

If you're a parent, you probably spend a fair amount of your time managing sibling conflicts of the "he took my toy" variety.

It turns out managers are doing the same thing at work.

A new Accountemps survey of more than 1,000 senior managers finds they're spending around seven hours per week -- or nine weeks per year -- listening to employees bitch about each other.

Instead of doing some long-range planning, managers are spending their time telling Dave not to use Susan's favorite pen and telling Susan she needs to work it out with Dave instead of running to management. Damn, no one said management would be this hard. Just wait until the CEO gets home -- er, back from lunch -- because you're in big-time trouble now. Oh crap, I'm the CEO. Sigh. Settle down everyone, or we're turning this carpool van around and going right back to the office! That means no off-site training for you!

So if your boss gets fed up, mutters something about needing a vacation an…

Pretty Much Everybody Thinks They'll Never Be Able To Retire

The Employee Benefit Research Institute is out today with its 2011 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS), and the results are rather depressing.

The employees EBRI surveyed this year are the most pessimistic about retirement of any employee population surveyed since 1991. More than one-quarter (27%) of employees are "not at all confident" about retirement -- an increase of 5% since last year. Only 13% are "very confident" about enjoying a comfortable retirement, the lowest score EBRI has ever recorded.

At this rate, employees will be putting a greeter vest on standby because their 401(k)s aren't going to do the job.

You can read the full report here.

March Madness Outranks Super Bowl As Top Workplace Betting Event is out today with its 2011 Office Betting Survey. finds 71.5% of respondents surveyed have taken part in some kind of office pool. Of these people, 65% said that their workplace gambling has included an NCAA bracket, while 58% have put money on the Super Bowl and 13% have bet on an Oscar pool at work.

The most interesting finding, however, is that March Madness has replaced the Super Bowl as employees' top office betting pool. In 2008, the Super Bowl was the most-gambled on workplace event, with 51% of employees throwing some money into an office betting pool, compared to 48% of employees betting on March Madness. But now, March Madness is employees' top betting event by a seven-point margin.

What gives? The Great Recession has altered many of our habits, possibly including employee betting habits. There might also be a generational effect going on here as younger, March Madness-loving employees enter the workforce and want to run bracket pools like they did i…

Kegs Making A Comeback In Silicon Valley

Employees in the Silicon Valley are drinking on the job.

That’s right: kegs at work! Perk-wise, it's a little taste of 1999 all over again.

But this is Silly Valley in 2011, so it can’t be an old-fashioned keg. No, our cutting-edge West Coast tech friends are tapping an iPad-linked Kegarator, a keg that’s hooked up to an iPad that employees must sign in on to receive their frothy brews. This way, employers can keep track of their servings and employees know someone at work is watching.

Companies say the Kegarator is a nice perk when employees are putting in so many hours. Employees can enjoy a smooth nitrotap while coding or whatever, and they’re treated like responsible adults who can manage their alcohol intake.

I enjoy a good hefeweizen and being treated like a grown up as much as the next person, but I’ve interviewed way too many labor and employment lawyers over the years and I can tell you they would see a few problem scenarios here. They would warn employers of the potential …

American Workers Will Try Not To Have Heart Trouble This Week

Happy first day of daylight saving time! Now don't have a heart attack.

A 2008 study in The New England Journal of Medicine found we’re at an increased risk of heart attack for at least three days following the time change, with the Tuesday after the time change being the worst day for heart trouble.

People who are sleep deprived (a.k.a. pretty much the entire U.S. population) have a higher risk of heart trouble when the clocks move ahead, and women are more vulnerable than men. Moving the clocks ahead one hour doesn’t seem like much, but it incurs a significant stress on our bodies and sleep patterns that can take days to restore, especially since Americans average only six hours of sleep per night.

Even worse, our bodies can release powerful chemical reactions in the wake of the time change. From The New England Journal of Medicinestudy:
The most plausible explanation for our findings is the adverse effect of sleep deprivation on cardiovascular health. According to experimental st…

Honest, Humble Employees Have Better Job Performance

A recent Baylor University study finds employees who are more honest and humble tend to have higher job performance:
"Researchers already know that integrity can predict job performance and what we are saying here is that humility and honesty are also major components in that," said Dr. Wade Rowatt, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor, who helped lead the study. "This study shows that those who possess the combination of honesty and humility have better job performance. In fact, we found that humility and honesty not only correspond with job performance, but it predicted job performance above and beyond any of the other five personality traits like agreeableness and conscientiousness."
So while some employees are busy strutting their pretty tail feathers around the office bragging about how much work they’re doing, the quiet, humble employees are the busy beavers getting the work done. These self-effacing employees aren’t going to brag about …

Japanese Earthquake News Round-up

Here are some business/workplace headlines in the wake of the devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake in Japan today.

Seattle Times

Toronto Sun

The Daily Mail (U.K.)

San Jose Mercury News

Stars and Stripes


Yonhap News Agency (South Korea)

The Economic Times (India)

The Hindu (India)

Wall Street Journal

New York Times

The Guardian (U.K.)

WXYZ TV (Mighigan)




Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal


Check out Google's Crisis Response site, too.

Here's a clip from an office in Sendai City, Japan during the earthquake.

And here's a video of the earthquake hitting CNN's Tokyo office. How frightening. Let's all hope for the best, and keep the people of Japan in our thoughts.

What Can the Average Employee Learn From Charlie Sheen? Not Much.

Like a lot of other people, I’ve been following the Charlie Sheen story over the last week or so.

Of particular interest to me have been the Charlie Sheen stories touting a workplace angle. "We can all learn from what is happening to Charlie Sheen for our own personal and professional lives," trumpets Technorati. "How not to be the Charlie Sheen of your office," advises Reuters. "Here’s what Mr. Sheen can teach us about a day at the office," declares Lifehacker. "What can your organization learn from Charlie Sheen?" inquires a Huffington Post headline. "If CBS caves to Charlie Sheen, all bosses will look like wimps," warns a Boston Herald article.

So the shift manager at The Golden Corral will look like a total pushover if CBS “caves” to Charlie Sheen? Wow. Tread lightly, CBS management. Don’t mess it up for every other manager in America.

Let’s get real here: Charlie Sheen is the son of a famous Hollywood actor and followed his dad into …

Want To Be Charlie Sheen's Intern?

Charlie Sheen is looking to hire a social media intern!

But this is Charlie Sheen, so calling someone a "social media intern" is way too boring. Let's go with "TigerBloodIntern" instead. (No, seriously.)

If you have a winning attitude, click here to apply. But you'd better hurry: The deadline is this Friday, March 11!

No One At Work Likes Your Creepy Avatar

Do you use an online avatar at work? If you do, just make sure it's not too creepy or scary.

A new Microsoft study evaluated 31 employee avatars ranging from formal to creepy and discovered people like using avatars at work, but they don't like it when other people's avatars look too eerie, frightening or realistic.

The study also found we tend to be most concerned with our own avatar choices instead of other people's avatar choices. Unless, of course, our co-worker is using a very disturbing World Of Warcraft avatar image, in which case we're very put off. The problem is, one person's cute is another person's creepy. Where do we draw the line? The study found people tend not to like avatars that are a very realistic computerized rendering of the other person on a dark background, so maybe that's a starting point. Our brains don't like things that look incredibly human, but are not. It's a little bit too Bladerunner-replicant creepy.

I can see wher…

Are You Ready For Daylight Saving Time?

Ah, spring. The time of year we pull up the dead plants in our yards, stock up on allergy meds, and see a lot of pasty white legs on joggers.

We also get to experience Daylight Saving Time, the wonderful man-made invention that involves moving the clocks ahead one hour (unless you live in Arizona or Hawaii) and then not knowing what the hell time it is for a few days afterward. It's good we change the clocks on Saturday night, because we need Sunday to remember what a Circadian rhythm feels like. The first day of extra daylight is always a slightly surreal experience. How can it be noon already? Why does everything feel so rushed? It’s lunchtime, but we’re not hungry because we just ate breakfast. It’s still light outside at dinnertime, but we’re not quite ready for dinner. So we put on our shorts and go for a jog.

The real fun starts on Monday morning when it’s time to get ready to face the day. 6:30 a.m. feels like 5:30 a.m. Our internal rhythm is totally off, but we have to make …

Friday Funnies: Laughing Off Rejection

This dad tore up a job rejection letter in front of his baby, and it'll leave you smiling. TGIF!

Does March Madness Really Hurt Employee Productivity?

Get your brackets ready because it's time for March Madness, the most wonderful time of the year!

For business journalists, it's time for the annual March-Madness-is-going-to-drain-employee-productivity story. I'm sure you've seen the calculations if you read the business section. Between the brackets, the games and the team trash talk, employers can expect to lose a startling $192 million in employee productivity this month. $192 million!

Message: Let employees track their brackets, and the next thing management knows it'll be filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Journalists have taken this meme to the net and a lot of managers buy into it. A new OfficeTeam survey finds nearly one-third (32%) of managers think the NCAA Tournament shouldn't be allowed in the workplace. Only 11% welcome tournament time, while 57% say a little bit of hoops obsession is okay.

Are the tournament-hating managers running the right play, though? Whenever I see the March Madness productivity …

Are You Ready For National Employee Appreciation Day?

I was talking to a friend this morning and reminded him that tomorrow is National Employee Appreciation Day.

"Really? I didn't know there was such a thing," said my friend, whom I suspect speaks for most Americans.

But alas, tomorrow is in fact National Employee Appreciation Day, the day we've set aside since 1995 on the first Friday of March to honor employees for all they do. In this recession, employees might be doing the jobs of two or three people, so let's take a few minutes to pat them on the back for a job well done, shall we?

If you suddenly feel like you've forgotten your spouse's birthday and find yourself floundering for last-minute ideas to mark the occasion, there are tons of websites ready to help you out.

Or maybe you can simply take a few minutes to think about the things your employees might really see as a nice reward, from a catered lunch (buy the good sandwiches this time) to being able to leave an hour or two early with pay. Marking the …

Survey: Half Of U.S. Workers Want To Quit

My mind is all over the place this morning as I ponder the state of the world.

What good does a two-week stopgap federal spending measure do when Congress will face the same problem again in fourteen days? How are things going in Egypt? Whatever happened to Almanzo from Little House On the Prairie? (Thanks, IMDB.) What will tomorrow's monthly jobs report tell us? Why do all the radio stations insist on playing the Goo Goo Dolls' version of "Give A Little Bit" instead of Supertramp's far superior original version?

But so much for what I question over morning coffee. Let's talk about something important, such as: What is the average employee thinking?

Apparently, half of U.S. employees are pondering whether or not they should leave their jobs, according to a new survey of 451 adult U.S. workers by enterprise software and service company MarketTools.

Slightly more than one-fifth (21%) of those surveyed have applied for another job in the past six months. To hell …

Are Your Ready For DVT Awareness Month?

There's a news report today that 29-year-old tennis star Serena Williams has undergone emergency surgery for pulmonary embolism. In her case, to remove a blood clot from her lungs.

My best wishes go out to Ms. Williams for a full and speedy recovery.

She is a stark reminder that pulmonary embolism can strike no matter your age, your gender or your physical fitness level.

If you've been following my blog for awhile, you know that I've written about pulmonary embolism before. I've known a few people who have suffered the debilitating effects of DVT, so it's a serious issue for me and one I'd like to help raise awareness of in my own small way. One year ago today, I had the opportunity to interview some amazing people for a post about DVT Awareness Month, which coincidentally happens every March.

If you're an employer, now is the perfect opportunity to raise employee awareness of the risks of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). The above post contains links to warning …

Wednesday Warblings: Well, This Says It All

I'll give human resources some credit for trying, anyway.

see more Monday Through Friday

Want To Make Better Decisions? Skip the Restroom

Do you want your work teams to make better decisions?

Do you feel like you always end up with buyer's remorse?

Hold that thought. While you're at it, hold your bladder, too.

New European (no pun intended) research finds the key to better decision making may lie in our bladders. The researchers wanted to see what happens when people hold their urine until they almost can't hold it anymore. They had the research participants drink a lot of water, wait 40 minutes, and then make some decisions. One of the study's findings: When we really need to ride the porcelain Honda, we tend to delay the big rewards and to put more thought into our decisions.

This finding seems counter-intuitive somehow (how could we focus on making big decisions amid the distraction of a very full bladder?), but if it's true, a thousand future book ideas on corporate decision-making strategy just went down the toilet. Of course, the I-can-hold-it-coach approach may not work if you suffer from incon…

Be Careful Rolling To A Stop On March 13

If you're commuting home on the afternoon of March 13 and see a number of cars parked along the freeway shoulder, don't be alarmed: It's just a conservative group staging its version of a modern-day sit-in, or roll to a stop, or something. Think of it as a cross between a sit-in and a drive-in with the radio on.

Who knows how many people will actually roll to a stop on March 13 -- it falls on a Sunday this year -- but it never hurts to be prepared. If you might be commuting home from work that day (retail employees, I'm looking at you), make sure to gas up the car (as much as you can afford with gas at $3.50 to $4 per gallon, anyway) and watch out for drivers experiencing engine or tire difficulties who might need to pull over to the shoulder quickly but can't find enough space.

I tip my hat to Wonkette for this one.

Be careful out there!

Tennessee Workers Might Pack Heat Soon

Employees in Tennessee might soon be carrying a handgun into the office along with their lunch sacks.

Yesterday the Tennessee Senate passed SB0519, a bill that would allow employees with valid handgun permits to bring a handgun to work. The bill passed by a 30-1 vote.

The Tennessee House Consumer and Employee Affairs Committee will hear the bill later this week.

The bill makes the case that letting employees with handgun permits bring a gun to the office isn't an occupational or health hazard for the other employees. Um, are the bill's co-sponsors sure about that? Anyone who has worked long enough has witnessed some heated arguments at the office, or at least the potential for things to go pear shaped pretty quickly. Do we really need to add guns to the mix?

Click here to read more about SB0519 and to track its status in the Tennessee General Assembly.

Speaking of pear shaped, I think this clip would qualify as an example.