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Showing posts from April, 2011

Friday Funnies: Getting Really Mouthy

Are your mouth muscles sagging in all the wrong places? Maybe you need some exercise!

That's where the Facial Flex device comes in to help you tone and strengthen your entire mandibular region. Of course, you may not be able to stop laughing long enough for it to work its magic, but that's the price you pay, right?

Wal-Mart CEO: Our Customers Are Running Out Of Money

Wal-Mart's CEO says the company's core customer base is running out of money faster than a year ago.

Wal-Mart sees the number of shopping trips to its stores falling as the month goes on, a sure sign that there's month left at the end of the money for consumers. Wal-Mart blames rising gas prices for weak end-of-month sales. For many, pay day can't come fast enough.

Whether you love or hate Wal-Mart, the retail giant is a strong barometer of how the average U.S. consumer is faring. Wal-Mart's data suggests the average consumer isn't doing all that well.

Thursday Thoughts: Disney's Kate Middleton Paper Dolls

You've got to hand it to Disney for always spotting marketing synergies, and tomorrow's royal wedding is no exception.

And how is Disney getting a piece of the action? By offering its very own Kate Middleton paper doll online, of course!

But wait, there's more: You can get a taste of her wedding cake, too!

Now your four-year-old can be princess for a day and celebrate a high-profile and historical wedding of which she has no real understanding. Marketing synergy, just like long wedding ceremonies, tends to be lost on the average four-year-old. Sigh. But at least she'll be dressing her Kate Middleton paper doll in dresses from Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Snow White, right? Disney, you are devilishly clever.

Update: Not to be outdone, Nickelodeon has an action game called Royal Wedding Run, where you can help Prince William get to the church on time. Let's hope he doesn't run the wrong way.

Recession Still Hasn’t Beaten Optimism Out Of One-third Of College Graduates

A new survey from The Creative Group reveals more than one-third (36%) of new college graduates are entering the job market with unrealistic job expectations.

The Creative Group asked 375 marketing executives and 125 advertising executives to assess what they’re seeing in today’s college graduates, and they said college graduates need to practice for the job interview. Doing some research on the company beforehand helps, too, as well as being realistic. Message: Don’t ask for the corner office and an outrageous salary when you don’t yet have the skills to pay the bills. This isn't 1999, when job applicants had over-sized egos but companies had to hire them because they needed warm bodies in chairs. If you're a 22-year-old job seeker, however, you were 10 years old in 1999, which means you probably weren't paying attention to the job market, so nevermind.

The Creative Group has a much kinder and gentler way of offering advice:
Researching average salaries and skills in demand …

Working Parents Want Cheap Child Care

It’s almost May. For working parents, it means summer is almost here and they'll have to find a way to keep the kids busy for ten to twelve weeks.

Bring on the summer camps!

A new ComPsych work-life report, however, reveals parents are seeking the most cost-effective options for their kids. ComPsych found parental requests for low-cost summer camps have almost doubled since 2008. Over the same period, requests for babysitters (er, nannies) have dropped from 9% to 6%.

The reason is obvious: In this recession, shelling out for summer camps or a full-time babysitter (er, nanny) has become a luxury fewer people can afford. Salaries have flat lined or plummeted (for those who are currently under-employed), but the cost of living keeps going up. Should we send Junior to a week-long summer camp, or should we buy food and put gas in the car? This is life during recession time, but we still scan the camp brochures and booklets looking for affordable summer camp options. Hmm, we can barely aff…

Wednesday Warblings: Quantitative Easing Explained

It's a big day for Federal Reserve Chairman the Ben Bernanke over at the Federal Reserve. It's rate-setting day! I'll let this CNBC article explain.

Anyway, here's a funny Xtranormal video in honor of rate-setting day that explains the Fed's policy of quantitative easing. Is the video completely accurate? Good question. I'm not a financial writer -- I cover workplace trends affecting the average Main Street employee -- so you might want to ask someone more knowledgeable about the inner workings of the money supply. But if you hang in for a few minutes, you'll realize that "the Ben Bernanke" isn't a typo.

And the New Voice Of the Aflac Duck Is...

...Daniel McKeague, a sales manager from tiny Hugo, Minnesota. Get ready to hear his voice on TV every five minutes. Or get ready to put him on mute, depending on your tolerance level. Either way, it's kind of cool to see a non-celebrity get the gig. Congratulations, Daniel! Hat tip to Gawker.

Breaking News: Gen Xers Have No Money

A new Pew Charitable Trusts report tells Gen Xers something we already know: We're destined to be the first generation in history to end up worse-off financially than our parents.

PCT concludes that unless economic growth increases dramatically and soon, Gen Xers will earn only one-third of the income earned by members of previous generations. The high unemployment rate and all the bogus unpaid internships aren't helping matters. Guess it's time to start watching extreme couponing shows and encouraging our kids to set aside a spare bedroom for us. We promise to do the dishes, kids, and we won't nag you to get a haircut. Okay, we might say something if you let it get really shaggy.

If you haven't seen the Frontline documentary Close To Home, I highly recommend it.

Email Is Turning 40, Employees Still Can't Use Email

It's the 21st Century and you'd think we would have a handle on the whole email thing by now.

But not if you're an employee, according to a new survey by Chicago software company VaporStream that asked employees about their email habits and mistakes.

The survey reveals that roughly 60% of employees have mistakenly hit "reply all" when they meant to reply only to the person who sent the email, and 10% have sent confidential company information accidentally. Jim's going to get fired tomorrow, and now everyone knows! Oh, great. No word on how many employees have followed up with a frantic "I would like to recall my previous message" type of email, or maybe public relations people are the only ones who do that these days. Hey, who said mastering technology is easy?


see more funny videos, and check out our Yo Dawg lols!

VaporStream also reveals that more than 50% of employees have sent sensitive and confidential personal emails that aren’t related to their j…

And Now For Something Totally Different

A contestant named Edward Reid went on Britain's Got Talent and sang a medley of nursery rhymes. It's kind of cool in a strange and unexpected way. The Hoff wasn't too hassled about it, either.

It just goes to show that doing something different can be risky, but sometimes it can pay off big.



Edward Reid Sings Nursery Rhymes to Run backing...by UCANLEARNPOKERdotCOM

Are Bosses Writing Off Administrative Professionals Week?

It’s Administrative Professionals Week!

You know, the time of year employers "recognize" the employees in a supporting drama role. "Recognize" is in quotations because I very much loathe this word in a workplace context. To "recognize" someone, one generally has to either forget him or her (at least temporarily) or the person is a hazy presence in one's mind. Have I seen you before? Ah, yes. You work here, right? Anyway, it’s always felt like the wrong choice of word somehow.

Perhaps "recognize" is the right word choice this year, however, given a new OfficeTeam survey that finds office support staff are the Susan Luccis of the work world, always overlooked when it comes to awards and recognition for a job well done. More than one-quarter (27%) of senior managers in the OfficeTeam survey admit that their administrative employees don't get enough recognition throughout the year. Nearly one-fifth (18%) say that their companies don’t recogni…

Happy Easter To All!

Just a quick note before I sign off for the weekend to wish you a wonderful Easter and Passover. Today is a meaningful day for many, and the beautiful flowers and foliage make it beautiful as well.

On a side note, Workplace Diva turns two this week. I've had a lot of fun keeping up this blog, and I thank those of you who have made this site a regular pit stop on your travels down the information superhighway. Thanks for visiting.

I guess the Workplace Diva will be entering the terrible twos soon. The site is still learning how to talk and the tantrums should be pretty spectacular. Can't wait.

Again, my best to you and yours. See you next week!

Filipinos Friending Their Department Of Labor On Facebook

The Filipino media are reporting today that more than 1,900 job seekers have "friended" the country's Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Facebook, and the number keeps growing in anticipation of a giant DOLE Job and Livelihood Fair (they do tend to go together) on May 1.

As one story reports:
The DOLE's "Labor Day 2011" Facebook page, which keeps jobseekers updated about the May 1 job fair, had gained 1,938 "friends" as of 7:10 a.m. on Thursday.

"As we expect thousands of jobseekers, graduates, and displaced overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) to the designated venues across the country for the Job and Livelihood Fairs, we are continuously exerting all efforts and exhausting all means to provide a vast array of productive and matched job opportunities for everyone," DOLE Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz said in a news release posted this week on the DOLE website.
This is a great idea. Why isn't the U.S. Department of Labor doing someth…

Earth Day Business News Round-up

Tomorrow is April 22 and you know what that means: Earth Day!

If you don’t live in Eugene, Oregon or Berkeley, California where every damn day feels like Earth Day, it can be easy to slack off a little bit here and there. You know, like the times you quietly deposited your empty cereal boxes in the trash instead of taking them to the nearest recycling center? Or the days you could have walked to the store but you decided to drive? Or the moments you could have washed out that plastic peanut butter jar to recycle it but you just didn’t have the patience for dealing with sticky peanut butter mess so you threw it in the garbage? Don't worry, I won’t tell. The road to recycling is littered with good intentions. Earth Day is a good opportunity to atone for our personal environmental sins over the last year and to try to do better in the year to come.

But what about companies? Not surprisingly, many of them see a good PR opportunity in Earth Day, a chance to tell the world how lean and gr…

Breaking News: Twitter Users Have No Attention Span

A new OKCupid survey finds Twitter users tend to have shorter relationships.

Um, yes. Have the researchers ever tried using Twitter? Twitter is Exhibit A for non-committal human behavior.

I’ll admit, I’m not a huge fan of the inescapable micro-blogging site. Maybe it’s because I’m a little bit older and (I hope) wiser, but the whole follow-total-strangers-until-you-unfollow-them-five-minutes-later trend sort of creeps me out. At least with LinkedIn and Facebook there’s a barrier to entry that creates some level of commitment. You've put your fragile ego out there by sending a Facebook friend request -- will this person ignore me or "accept" me? -- so you place some degree of value on the resulting relationship. The same goes for the person on the receiving end of the request who thought "do I want this person to see my Facebook page?" and then clicked the "accept" button. As a result, most of us are more likely to "hide" someone who gets annoy…

Wednesday Warblings: Florida's "Cape"able Hires

Reality can be stranger than fiction. Case in point: A Florida TV news report about unemployed Floridians allegedly being handed red capes instead of job leads. From the story:

As part of a new marketing campaign, Workforce Central Florida spent a reported $14,000 on red capes to hand out to jobseekers who visit their offices.

People who are unemployed told WFTV that the capes aren't going to get them a job and they say it's a waste of money. In a promotional video, Workforce Central Florida Board Chairman Owen Wentworth, dons a red cape to take on "Dr. Evil Unemployment" in the agency's comic book-themed campaign.

The campaign which reportedly cost $73,000 includes thousands of red capes. Job-seekers such as Gregory Bryant said the capes are a waste of money and they're offended by the cartoon-like portrayal of being unemployed.
This marketing campaign sounds like something straight out of a Carl Hiaasen novel, doesn't it? Well, I bet Skink would know what …

Employees Change Their Tune On Expense Reports

Do you have an expense account at work? If so, are you seeking every nickel and dime owed back to you?

You’re not alone if you’re leaving some money on the table. Two-in-three employees in a new Concur survey admit they’re not seeking every penny owed to them. In fact, nearly half (49%) of employees think it’s just not worth the hassle of filling out forms and arguing over nickels and dimes.

Of course, this chump change adds up over time: 20% of those surveyed are leaving up to 273 Pounds (U.K.) in employers’ pockets, unclaimed and unacknowledged. A full 22% of the employees surveyed they’re "too embarrassed" to ask for their money back and 5% feel "too guilty." One wonders what these guilt-ridden employees are buying, exactly?

Concur makes expense tracking software, so it has a definite interest in the topic. The survey, however, might reveal a little something about employee mindsets in this economy. I'm sure filling out forms is a hassle for many employees, but…

Friday Funnies: Failure Is Not An Option

Employees should use only three squares of toilet paper per bathroom visit? Hmm. This sounds like the makings of a successful failure to me. NASA might want to run its numbers again, or offer some sort of toilet trajectory course.



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Recessions Make People Want To Kill Themselves

The overall suicide rate climbs and falls depending on the state of the economy.

It's the main conclusion of a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study entitled Impact of Business Cycles on the U.S. Suicide Rates, 1928–2007 that examines the relationships between age-specific suicide rates and business cycles.

The CDC finds an association between suicide rates and economic recessions. The overall suicide rate increased at specific time points including the Great Depression (1929-1933); the end of the New Deal (1937-1938); the Oil Crisis (1973-1975); and the Double-Dip Recession of the early 1980s (1980-1982). The overall suicide rate fell, however, during the post-WWII period (1939-1945) and as hiring in the 1990s improved (1991-2001).

Somehow this finding doesn't seem all that surprising, but it's a good reminder that we need to look out for each other more often in tough times. Take the time to say "hi" to a neighbor, to check in on an old friend or re…

Thursday Thoughts: Fly Like An Eagle

The employees at the fish hatchery in Decorah, Iowa have set up a 24-hour live webcam of an eagle's nest.

A nerd friend of mine turned me on to the live stream, and it can be oddly mesmerizing. Apparently, the eagle doesn't notice the camera, and she's a mama eagle who just had BABIES! You can get more information by averting your eagle eyes to this webpage.


Streaming .TV shows by Ustream

Employees Get Ready To Spend Their Tax Refunds

It's almost April 15. Are you done with your taxes?

If you're getting a refund (lucky you...), you'll get the fun of deciding what to do with it. Should you put it into savings? Pay off some bills? Do something fun? Revamp your wardrobe? Spend it on the kids? Or some combination of the above?

CareerBuilder surveyed 3,900 employees to find out what they'll do with their tax refunds this year. Nearly half (46%) of the employees surveyed said they plan to pay off bills, while more than one-third (36%) said they'll put it into savings.

These numbers are an improvement over last year, when more than half (56%) planned to pay off bills and slightly more than one-third (34%) planned to save their tax refunds for a rainy day. CareerBuilder concludes that the trend toward less bill paying and more saving indicates a more stable economic picture.

Still, six-in-ten workers are living paycheck to paycheck. That means they're in trouble if something bad (read: expensive) sud…

Wednesday Warblings: Demi And Ashton's Confusing Ads

These new Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher viral videos seek to raise awareness of child and human trafficking, a very important issue I'll give them credit for highlighting. Too bad the videos don't work. One of them even has a typo. Can you find it?



Survey: British Workers Don't Care About the Royal Wedding

Only 16 days until the British Royal wedding, but British employees just aren't that into it.

U.K. company Maris Interiorscontacted 316 British offices and only four -- four! -- said they're planning to celebrate in some way. This means at least 98% aren't going knees-up over the wedding of the year by putting up tacky "Wills and Kate" decorations or whatever. Workers will get the day off -- creating a sweet, three-day weekend -- so that's something to look forward to, I guess. For many employees it's just another day off.

I'm certainly no James Whitaker, but from what I'm reading a lot of people in the U.K. are sick of the wall-to-wall wedding coverage. Roll on April 30, as the Brits are saying on message boards in the Daily Mail. Let's all red arrow away!

I don't know where I'm going with this post, other than to say that Charles and Diana's wedding feels like a lifetime ago, doesn't it? A lot of people seem to think Diana's…

European Employees Hitting Any Key For An Upgrade

Company budgets have been tight in this recession, and technology purchases are fewer and farther between. For employees, it means using a heavy, outdated and awkward laptop or PC.

But European employees are finding a way around their employers' reluctance to invest in new technologies: Destroy the old gadgets and wait for the IT department to replace them with something sleek, slick and much faster. Goodbye, 2006 and hello, 2011!

A new Mozy survey of 600 IT managers and 3,000 British, German and French employees finds more than one-quarter of these employees think the quickest way of upgrading their old laptops and mobile phones is to damage them beyond repair. Sorry boss! I didn't mean to spill my coffee into the laptop keyboard; it just sort of happened. Oops. May I have an iPad now?

Unfortunately, the survey doesn't measure the "smash and grab" tech tactics of U.S. workers, making it an area ripe for research. But given the study results, U.S. managers might wa…

College Professors Are Social Media Animals

College professors are rivaling their students when it comes to social media use.

In fact, college professors are twice as likely as workers in other industries to utilize social media on the job, according to a new Babson Survey Research Group/ Pearson survey of roughly 2,000 college faculty.

The survey reveals that 90% of college faculty are using social media on the job compared to 47% of all employees in the workplace. A full 80% of college faculty use social media in the classroom, and college professors are the most likely of all employees to use Facebook, YouTube and blogs. A full 11% of college faculty access Facebook every day. I'm surprised the Facebook number isn't higher, frankly, since their students spend so much time there poking, updating and tagging.

Summary: In the real world, Professor Michael Scott would be scrolling through Beanie Babies websites and posting awkward thoughts to his Facebook page instead of passing out Snickers bars. Yes, that's what he sa…

Do You Work With An Empire Builder?

Is productivity at your office slowing down? Are employees spending valuable time waiting on the job?

Warning: You may have an empire builder in your midst.

What is an empire builder, you ask? Empire builders are employees who don't like sharing what they know, because withholding information is how they build job security. Knowledge is power. If your company were an episode of "Information Hoarders: Buried Alive," this employee would be the star of the show and just as reluctant to change his or her ways.

The "way" of the empire builder, of course, is to make everyone in the company completely reliant on them in some way, shape or form. It's the rank-and-file employee who is the only one who knows the combination to the company safe and everyone must wait for her to open it, for example. It's the cubicle dweller who is the only one who knows a key detail required to move important projects along. In both cases, productivity stalls until this employee turn…

Workers Using Computer Tablets To Launch Angry Birds, Not Excel Spreadsheets

Thinking about moving into the 21st Century by investing in computer tablets? Well, be aware that employees might have a little bit too much fun with them.

A Google AdMob survey finds we’re more likely to use computer tablets such as the iPad for launching gaming apps like Angry Birds instead of Excel spreadsheets. A full 84% of people surveyed use their tablets for gaming, followed by emailing (74%); reading the news (61%); social networking (56%); watching movies/listening to music (52%); reading books (46%); shopping online (42%); and last but not least, the pretty much useless "other" category (19%).

Perhaps "other" includes using computer tablets to get some work done? Who knows, but only 7% of the people surveyed use their computer tablets at work compared to an 82% usage rate at home. Either companies fear computer tablets could become a time toilet/security risk, or employees think the IT department wouldn't be very supportive. Or both.



Additionally, only …

Friday Funnies: Spousonomics

One good side effect of the Great Recession is that it's given me a little more time to watch stupid cable news interviews. Lately, I keep running into interviews with Spousonomics co-author Jenny Anderson, who thinks we should treat our marriages more like a business.

As if daily life isn't stressful enough right now, we should be ready to whip out John Nash's game theory principles when our life partner doesn't load the dishwasher correctly! Oh, and we should be willing to go to bed angry and then get up and re-fight the good fight in the morning.

I'm sorry, but this recession has left me far too tired to even think about it. If the dishes need to get done, they'll get done by the person who has more mo-jo at the moment. Or the dishes will sit in the sink for a few hours until someone finds the time and energy to deal with them. I think of it as a form of domestic entropy, and it works pretty well most of the time. We all take our turn and help each other out a…

Your Daily Commute Might Give You Brain Damage

Your daily commute might not only make you late, it might give you brain damage.

A new University of Southern California study finds mice exposed to freeway smog suffer symptoms of memory loss and Alzheimer's disease. The pollution could be damaging our neurons as we listen to MEE-chele Norris and let the aggressive BMW driver merge in front of us. Hey buddy, you've already forced yourself halfway into the lane anyway, so just take the spot so we can all get moving.

Well, Tom Cochrane does say that life is a highway. So if you plan to ride the highway for a few hours a day, then roll up your windows and hit the "recycle air" button on the dashboard.

The Rascal Flatts version is good, but I still like the original better. Such a great song.

Thursday Thoughts: Let's Get Small

Do you think your place is a shoebox? Try living in a 12 x 7 "microstudio" in New York City. That's right, people: 90 square feet of cozy rental space that's all yours! The owner of this microstudio says she is a writer and a professional organizer. The latter has got to help matters, the former may explain why she's living in a 90-square-foot space. Anyway, it's a fascinating little video.

Does the Road To Higher Productivity Lead Through the Break Room?

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Thinking about ditching the free snacks in the break room to save a few bucks? Think twice, because your break room might just lead to a productivity boom.

A full 57% of employees in a new Staples Advantage survey say their productivity improves when the break room is brimming in snack time goodness. Nearly three-fourths (73%) say the break room makes them happier to be at work. The boss likes us enough to buy us snacks! Awww.

The most interesting finding revolves around employees' feeling about the break room itself. A full 72% see it as a social outlet, a place to hold impromptu meetings, a stress release, and a change of scenery. A pleasant break room makes employees feel better, and if employees feel better they work better, right? Plus, a well-stocked break room keeps employees right where employers want them: In the office instead of down the street standing in line at the deli or the coffee shop.

So stock up on some yummy chips and fruit, buy the …

Get Ready To Stamp Out Hunger

Are you ready to help stamp out hunger?

U.S. postal carriers will be collecting non-perishable food donations on Saturday, May 14 as a part of the 19th annual Stamp Out Hunger Day, the nation's largest food drive.

Last year, U.S. postal carriers collected a record 77.1 million pounds of food donations as they drove their mail routes. For the rest of us, it's an easy way to do good while waiting for our mail. It's estimated more than 50 million Americans live in "food insecure" homes, meaning they don't have enough food to get by from day to day. Food banks are trying to keep up with the demand.

Visit Feeding America's website for up-to-date statistics on our nation's growing hunger problem.

You can also make a virtual pledge to Stamp Out Hunger on Facebook and receive event updates via Twitter.

Click here for the post I wrote about last year's event.

Wednesday Warblings: Market This!

If you live in the greater Washington D.C. metro area and watch TV, you can't avoid these Value City Furniture commercials. They're everywhere, all the time. I can't turn on the television anymore without hearing "I want it aaaaal, I want it noooow..." The worst part? These commercials have forever ruined a really cool Queen song. Now I'll think about sofa sectionals whenever I hear it. I know that's the point, but still. If you want to annoy the people in D.C., just blast this song from your car window because I'll take a wild guess that pretty much everyone who lives here wants it all to stop, now.

Teen Drug Use Is As High As A Kite

It turns out today’s teens aren’t so much high on life as they are high on alcohol and drugs.

The 22nd annual Drugfree.org/Metlife Foundation Partnership Attitude Tracking Study (PATS) is out today, and it reports a 67% increase in teen Ecstasy use over the last year as well as a 22% increase in teen marijuana use.

The national study to measure teen drug and alcohol use surveyed 2,544 U.S. high school teens (grades 9-12) and 831 parents.

The findings are fairly staggering. Almost three-fourths of the teen surveyed (73%) say their friends drink alcohol at least once per week and nearly half (45%) don’t see the problem in getting drunk every day.

Prescription drugs are also popular with today’s teens. A full 23% are using a prescription drug that aren’t prescribed to them. Crack/cocaine is also whack, with 9% of teens using it over the last year.

But let’s get back to drinking! Nearly one-third (32%) of teens drink "to forget their troubles." Almost one-quarter (24%) say alcohol h…

Great Recession Drains the Office Aquarium

Have you sat in an office reception area lately thinking something about the room was different?

Well, it's not in your imagination. Something fishy might have been going on.

It appears the Great Recession has claimed yet another victim: The office aquarium. In the 2001-02 recession, offices found Nemo. In this recession, they're leaving him behind.

Companies have been fishing for cost-cutting ideas for a few years now, and apparently they've decided the calming office aquarium is a drain on the bottom line. As a Tampa Bay Online article points out, employers have been replacing pretty fish with pretty flowers and plants. Flowers are more cost effective on a tighter budget, they're calming in their own strange way, and they don't poop.

Will fish and aquarium companies be able to swim upstream and regain lost market share as the economy improves? Will Pixar throw them a life vest by making Nemo 2? Time will tell, but I'll put my money on the office aquarium making a…

Want Your Resume To Stand Out? Volunteer Overseas

If you want to set your resume apart from the others in the pile, then get some international volunteer experience.

It's the conclusion of a new UC San Diego Extension Center For Global Volunteer Service survey of 1,010 Americans. The survey is being released just in time for National Volunteer Week next week (April 10-16).

The survey reveals more than two-thirds of Americans with the ability to hire (67%) tend to look more positively on job candidates with international volunteer experience.

Of course, the survey was conducted on behalf of an international volunteer service organization, and living abroad as a volunteer is probably a non-starter, budget-wise, for many people struggling through these difficult times. But it might be something to think about if you're still fairly young, mobile and the Bank of Mom and Dad is still extending credit to you. Just hope that your future job doesn't decide to go overseas, too.

Are Office Pools A Sure Bet For Higher Stress?

So just how busted is your NCAA bracket this year?

As game time approaches for the national championship game tonight between UConn and Butler (go, Bulldogs!), I'm reminded of an Arizona State University study from awhile back that found workers who bet on office pools (whether for sporting events or reality TV finales) tend to be more stressed than workers who don't have any skin in the game:
"The people who made a prediction always enjoyed watching the shows less than the people who didn't make a prediction," said study author Naomi Mandel, Ph.D., a researcher at Arizona State University in Tempe, Ariz.

Dr. Mandel says from a purely scientific standpoint, the act of predicting causes stress and potentially even unhappiness. "Uncertainty is one thing that's driving it," Dr. Mandel said. "The other thing is anticipated regret, [or] thinking about all the things that could go wrong and all the negative feelings that will result from that."
On …

McDonald's Gears Up For National Hiring Day

McDonald's wants you. As Advertising Agereports today:

Hyping what it calls National Hiring Day on April 19, McDonald's today launches an ambitious campaign to recruit a whopping 50,000 people to its already-massive workforce of 600,000. The push aims to recast McJob -- a derogatory slang for a low-paying, dead-end job -- into a desirable employment opportunity.

"McJob is going to enter the conversation," said Rick Wion, social-media director at McDonald's USA. "Rather than avoid the term, let's embrace it and turn it on its ear."
McDonald's seems to be hitting a trend right on the nose as people turn in their suits and briefcases for visors and hairnets. The U.S. economy gained 37,000 leisure and hospitality jobs last month alone, and more than two-thirds of the jobs (27,000) were in food services and what the Bureau of Labor Statistics refers to as "drinking places." I think the rest of us call them "pubs."

I'm all for &qu…

Friday Funnies: April Fool's Day Around the World

Gearing up to prank your co-workers today?

People are already throwing their office pranking videos on the YouTube. Here are a few of them for inspiration. If you want me to post yours, feel free to send it my way. (But please keep it sort of clean, because we don't need to give this site's HR readers the vapors, do we? Oh come on, be nice!)

























And last but not least, what has to be Google's April Fool's Day joke: A new product called "Gmail Motion." Now you can control Gmail with your body! Hilarious.

Layoffs And Lack Of Job Security, Only Now With Puppets

Your co-workers are disappearing mysteriously, and you have no idea why. Management isn't talking. So you wander around the office looking at your crazy co-workers and lamenting your growing lack of job security.

Sounds familiar, eh?

Well, get ready to relive your impending layoff nightmares with bosses who have bread-shaped heads! Myth Lab Entertainment is putting together a web series called "Human Resources: The Series" that tackles the workplace horror stories too many people know all too well these days, only with puppets and a sci-fi twist. The plot? When employees start disappearing from an office building, everyone suspects layoffs. But there's a sinister backdrop to the whole thing that goes beyond management.

The creators describe it as 'Office Space' meets the 'X Files' with a healthy dose of 'Sesame Street.'" It hits the YouTube next month, but here's the trailer. Let's hope the puppets will make a few crank calls. Whate…