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Showing posts from May, 2011

One-third Of U.S. Employees Feel Overqualified For Their Jobs

You're not alone if your daily commute feels like the only challenging part of your job.

One-third of U.S. employees now feel overqualified for the jobs they currently hold, according to a new survey from HR provider Randstad:
"It's surprising that one out of every three American employees feels over-qualified in their job," said Jim Link, Managing Director of Human Resources for Randstad. "The data suggests that U.S. workers are less challenged by their current jobs. It also raises questions about how this will affect employee turnover and retention as the job market recovers."
Actually, finding out that workers feel overqualified isn't all that surprising in this recession where people have taken survival jobs to pay the bills, occasionally in rather unorthodox ways.

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As for how overqualified workers "will affect employee turnover and retention as the job market recovers," the answer is simpl…

The Human Brain Can Handle Up To 150 Online Friends

Are you one of those people who has 1,600 Facebook friends and follows 20,325 people on Twitter? Well, be aware that your brain can only follow about 150 of them.

A study from the 1990s calculated that the human brain can handle around 150 human relationships maximum. Now more recent research from Indiana University finds our brains work the very same way online with social media.

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So you might think you're cool and hip because you've collected 942 Facebook friends, but your mind got overwhelmed a long time ago and forced you to drop your list of regular contacts to -- you guessed it -- right around 150 people. Isn't that "hide" feature great?

The next time your overly-networked friends start bragging about their social media networking prowess, ask them how many of these online contacts they actually pay attention to on a daily basis and then sit back and watch them squirm. Um, all of them? They're all important to me. They're my friends! W…

37 Million Americans Shouldn't Drive Slowly Even On the Driveway

GMAC Insurance released the results of its seventh annual National Drivers Test survey just in time for the Memorial Day Weekend that reveals nearly one-fifth (18%) of U.S. drivers shouldn't be on the roads because they would fail a driver's test.

The survey included 5,130 licensed drivers ages between the ages of 16 and 65 from all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Some driving decisions are driving us to the edge. For example, 85% of survey respondents don't know what to do when they reach a solid yellow traffic light. Should I stop or zoom through the light just in time? The only thing we know is the driver following us will lay on the horn if we come to a stop, and there's a 50% chance the driver will have either New York or New Jersey license plates.

Among the other findings: Older drivers tend to have better test scores; women tend to make worse driving decisions than men (oh, great); and Kansas boasts the best drivers while Washington D.C. suffers the worst…

Friday Funnies: Revenge Of the Crabby Employee

Well, this takes crabby to a whole new level.

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American Idol? Give Me Some Scientists Instead

"Do you watch American Idol?"

The question came from a relative of mine who is a huge fan. No, I don't watch it, I said. "YOU HAVE TO WATCH IT!!" was the incredulous response.

I started chuckling, because this relative is a 50-something Baby Boomer who wears Jimmy Buffett tropical shirts. I'll confess that I don't understand the whole American Idol fascination. I tried watching it for one season simply so I'd be able to tap into the cultural zeitgeist ("Can you believe so-and-so got voted off last night?") but it was too painful. Why would I want to listen to people putting a Sinatra spin on old Journey songs for months on end? Oh, my ears!

Yes, I realize that such views put me far afield of the cultural mainstream. I'm totally uncool with some friends and family members who would never, ever watch something like Frontline. But that's okay. It's good to be the nerdy oddball who watches Hardball. Someone has to do it so they can b…

Thursday Thoughts: No We Can't (Leave the Parking Lot)

President Obama's limo got stuck leaving the U.S. Embassy in Ireland the other day. I wonder how they got it unstuck? We don't get to see that part. I also like the Irish guys who yell, "Hey, want a push?" It's nice of them to offer, I guess.

The New York Times Realizes That Sitting At Work Makes Us Fatter

Stop the presses, because our jobs no longer require physical labor and it's making us fat, according to a story in the The New York Times.

With fewer farms, mills and manufacturing plants to make us sweat for calories-burning reasons, we've become much softer around the middle than our ancestors. Maybe the lack of movement at work is lowering the number of calories burned on the job and is thus impacting the national obesity rate? Yes, and it's a trend! The workplace is a "new source" of fatness! One expert in the article calls it a "lightbulb, 'aha' moment."

A lightbulb moment? Really? I mean, many of us have been sitting on our collective behinds in front of a computer screen ever since we saw Wargames and that really cool Apple commercial. Companies specialize in extra-wide office chairs and extra-large business suits these days to accommodate our enhanced figures. At the rate we're going, we'll eventually be floating around on levitat…

Wednesday Warblings: Don't Ever Mess With Grandma

Democrat Kathy Hochul won last night's special election in New York's very Republican 26th Congressional District with at least 48% of the vote -- a victory that's being viewed as a voter thumbs down on the Paul Ryan Plan that would effectively end Medicare as we know it and require seniors to buy their insurance on the open market.

Are House Republicans regretting their Medicare vote yet? This blunt new ad from The Agenda Project isn't going to let them forget about it anytime soon.

Helicopter Parents Continue To Ruin Their Children's Non-Existent Careers

Job applicants' parents are becoming a thorn in the side of hiring managers.

A new OfficeTeam survey asked 1,300 managers to share their recent interactions with job applicants' parents, and as you might guess they had a few stories to tell. Hey, parents: Your kid isn't going to get the job if you do everything for them. Period. Why would a company hire your child if he or she can't show any self-direction or initiative? All you're doing is making managers realize that they would be managing both of you on the job, and that doesn't sound like very much fun. One conversation with you and managers know you would be calling back in six months to ask why Junior hasn't gotten a big raise yet when he earned an "A" in economics and was on the soccer team. And how long will it be until he has a corner office? Ugh. The workplace helicoptering needs to stop, because it's making cynical former latchkey children Gen X hiring managers laugh. They laugh be…

Are You Ready For National Geek Pride Day?

No, I didn't mean to type "Greek." Tomorrow is, in fact, National Geek Pride Day!

Put some tape on your glasses and dig out your pocket protectors because not only will we be honoring the geeks in our lives, a new survey from IT staffing firm Modis reveals that 57% of us think being called a "geek" is a big compliment!

But that's not all: Modis reports that Americans would rather be called a "geek" instead of a "jock" by a 2-to-1 margin! So long, 90210 and hello, Big Bang Theory.

It's one thing to say you would like to be seen as geeky vs. actually being a geek, though. We don't like to admit it, but there's a certain peer pressure that moves from high school into the workplace where the cool clique can still rule the day unless management steps in. You're going to invite Stacy from IT to go to lunch with us!? Are you serious? 1992 called it wants its clothes back! She has a Star Wars figurine in her cubicle! Never underesti…

U.S. DOL Live Webcast: Join the Job Club!

U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis will hold a live, online roundtable later today to talk about job clubs and employment ministries as a way of getting Americans back to work.

The U.S. Department of Labor's Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships will also be launching something called the "Partnerships Community of Practice," a site that connects job clubs across the nation.

What is a "job club," you ask? These are job hunting groups based inside churches and community organizations, as well as online through social media sites such as Facebook. The goal is to offer networking, careers knowledge and a shoulder to sob on peer support.

If you want to watch people on the Internet talking about job creation -- because that's about as close as millions of unemployed Americans are getting to actual jobs right now -- the live, online roundtable starts at 1:30 p.m. Eastern at this link. But remember: The first rule of job club is that you don'…

We Want Social Media To Speak To Us

We like social media better when it speaks to us.

It's the conclusion of new University of Missouri research that reveals we humans respond better to social media when we hear it instead of read it. Because nothing would be better than listening to your Facebook friends' most inane status updates.

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Actually, the study concerns companies and their overall organizational images online. You know, branding, public relations, and so on. That we prefer video to text makes sense because we humans are visual creatures. We like the sound of a human voice; it leads to a feeling of connection. Plus, we're tired all the time in this economy and Twitter is giving too many of us the attention span of a golden retriever. You mean you want me to wade through your heavily-crafted "about us" page? Just show me a two-minute Facebook video clip of your company and let's be done with it! Bonus points will be awarded if your 1:58 corporate video presentation displays…

Is Hand Sanitizer Messing Up Workplace Drug Tests?

A new University of Florida study finds using too much hand sanitizer on a daily basis could lead to a false positive on a drug test.

The lotion sinks into the skin, builds up there and boom! The boss wonders if you have a terrible drinking problem and work on the motto that "it's always 5 o'clock somewhere."

Study co-author Dr. Gary Reisfield decided to do the research after meeting people who had positive drug tests but never drank any alcohol.

Now think about the millions of Americans who use hand sanitizer five or more times a day at work and at home. You can't go anywhere anymore without watching people slather the stuff on themselves and their young children. Likewise, ask business owners how they're warding off cold and flu season, and one of the first things they'll say is how they've placed hand sanitizer dispensers all over the office. It's a cheap, easy and very effective solution for staving off many workplace germs.

Still, you might thin…

The Five Most Annoying Workplace Phrases

The older I get, the more I'm bothered by certain idioms of the workplace, the common questions and ways of phrasing things that we've all heard a million times.

Without further delay, here's my starter list of the five most tired phrases that need to be consigned to the dustbin of workplace history, the sooner the better.

(1.) "Are you still working on that?" I'm sorry, but no one "works" on food. We work on projects. We work on our cars and homes. We work on fixing problems. Sometimes we even work at annoying other people, depending on the circumstances. But we eat food. Do we look like we're wearing hard hats as we work on our fiesta burrito plates? No. Who knows where this workplace idiom came from, but it's like a fork being dragged across a shiny, white plate every time it's uttered in a fine dining establishment. A simple "Are you done with your meal?" would be much more appreciated.

(2.) "Can I put you on hold?" …

Friday Funnies: He's Not Finnished Yet

So Finland beats Sweden to win the World Hockey Championship and the team's (very drunk) assistant coach, Pasi Nurminen, falls and hits his head on the championship trophy while deplaning. It's one of the most popular clips on YouTube this week. It's stuff like this that makes me so proud to be Finnish-American. Sisu!

California Close To Banning Credit Checks On Job Applicants

The lower house of the California Assembly approved Assembly Bill 22 yesterday, which would ban most employers from conducting credit checks on job applicants.

Sensitive managerial jobs, as well as public service jobs, are exempt under AB 22. The bill passed 42-28.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed previous attempts to pass such legislation in 2009 and 2010.

Illinois, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii have already banned employers from checking job applicants' credit histories and at least 17 states other than California are considering it.

Thursday Thoughts: A Beauty Of A Typo

I was tiring of royal wedding coverage on April 29th when I came across this beauty of a typo on I presume someone meant to write "beatification," proving once again that a good proofreader is always worth the investment.

U.S. Companies Still Whining About Lack Of Qualified Applicants

ManpowerGroup's sixth-annual Talent Shortage Survey is out today and 52% of U.S. employers say they can't find enough qualified people for their "mission-critical positions" -- a 14% increase over the same survey last year.

ManpowerGroup surveyed 1,300 U.S. companies.

So no one is qualified to do anything anymore, apparently. In fact, the survey finds the number of employers trying in vain to fill positions is at "an all-time survey high" and "U.S. employers are struggling to find available talent more than their global counterparts."

But what kinds of jobs are so hard to fill? According to the survey, the ten hardest jobs for employers to hire for in 2011 are skilled trades, sales representatives, nurses, technicians, drivers, restaurant and hotel staff, management/executives, engineers, doctors and other non-nursing professions, and customer service representatives.

Okay, hold on a minute, ManpowerGroup: I get it with engineers, doctors and nurses -…

Study: Co-workers Understand Arthritis Better Than Family Members

Co-workers are better about understanding arthritic conditions than family members.

It's the conclusion of a new Flexcin study where more than half of those surveyed (56.3%) said their co-workers offer "a higher level of support and overall awareness" compared to their family members.

Here's a great article that offers employers helpful tips for managing arthritic employees. You can read the full Flexcin report here.

Are You Ready For National Employee Health And Fitness Day?

Put down the blueberry muffin because today is National Employee Health and Fitness Day!

Yes, it's news to me, too. It's the 22nd time we've done this as a nation -- May is National Employee Health and Fitness Month -- so let's all try to stand up and stretch or have shorter meetings today, or...something? Maybe we can skip lunch at the fast food place and buy an overpriced organic salad at the upscale deli instead? But then we'll blow our weekly lunch budget on one crappy salad, we'll be hungry an hour later, and we'll spend the rest of the afternoon hitting up the office snack machine, so forget that idea.

Anyway, the goal of National Employee Health and Fitness Day is "to support and inspire employees to be their best in mind, body, and spirit" and "is a perfect occasion to kick off a wellness or fitness program in the workplace and bring excitement to the workforce."

In other words, get off your butt and exercise! It's exciting and …

White House To Congress: Renew Worker Aid Package Or No Trade Deals

I've blogged a few times already about the Trade Adjustment Assistance Program (TAA), which offers assistance to displaced workers.

The TAA program was originally founded to assist workers who have lost their jobs to imports, but that's so 1970s. The Obama Administration updated the TAA rules in 2009 to include service workers who have been displaced by offshoring.

It's estimated that at least 435,000 U.S. workers have taken advantage of the TAA program since the offshoring provisions were added, but the TAA's offshoring provisions were scheduled to sunset earlier this year unless Congress renewed them. Well, Congress let the renewal deadline pass in February without taking action.

End of story? Nope.

Yesterday the Obama Administration announced that it will hold up pending free trade agreements with Colombia, Panama and South Korea unless Congress renews the TAA's offshoring provisions.

This could get very interesting. Who will blink first, and who will get their way? …

The 10 Least Stressful Jobs For You To Hate

I've spent the last few days flying the unfriendly skies and watching my fellow passengers try to cram full suitcases into the overhead bins to avoid the $25 per bag fees. I'm glad to be home.

I'm catching up on what I've missed, such as's ten least stressful jobs list. Philosopher and mathematician made the list along with dental hygienist and chiropractor. Well, it is hard for people to talk back when you're cleaning their teeth, right? As points out:
"Professions that involve low stress have very little danger and minimal physical demands, both of which can compound stress," explains Tony Lee, publisher, "Job seekers who want a laid back career and a high quality of life should look for professions that involve shorter work weeks, low pressure and little competition, like those that ranked in our top 10 least stressful professions list."
Researchers and the media love to talk about how we should…

Wednesday Warblings: Washington, D.C. Commercial Of the Week

I'm a huge TV fan, and I'll make no apologies for it. I love to see what's on local television when I travel. The local news and commercials are a barometer of the local mindset, culture and economy.

Every so often I like to post a TV commercial that's playing in heavy rotation in the greater Washington, D.C. market. Lately, I keep seeing this General Electric Ronald Reagan Centennial ad. It's everywhere -- or least it seems to be on whenever I walk past the television. I'll let you decide what it says about our local mindset and culture.

Are Banks Nickel And Diming Prepaid Unemployment Cards?

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40 U.S. states have ditched paper checks for prepaid cards when issuing unemployment compensation, and now too many unemployed Americans are getting hit with unnecessary and poorly disclosed fees from banks, according to a new National Consumer Law Center report.

So you lost your job in the aftermath of the banking crisis, and now it looks like the bank has been nickel and diming you for using your prepaid unemployment compensation card. A $3.00 fee for calling customer service here, a $5 junk fee there. Talk about adding insult to injury. Too bad you're not too big to fail, right?

Study: We Live Longer When We Like Our Co-workers

Your co-workers could help you live a longer life, according to a new study from the American Psychological Association.

It's not surprising that co-workers can give you heartburn, but it seems they really can impact your life. In fact, the researchers discovered employees in the 38 to 43 age range are the most likely to suffer, mortality-wise, when they encounter poor social support from peers at work. But their relationships with supervisors have no effect on mortality, which is sort of interesting. Maybe we expect the boss to be hard-driving, hard-nosed and hard to please, but not our peers?

Also, men get a "protective effect" on their health when they feel like they have control and decision authority at work, but apparently the mortality risks for women increase when they're given the same level of control and decision-making authority. So pace yourself, ladies.

You can read more about it here and here. The study appears in the May issue of the APA journal Health…

The Oldest Gen Xers Turn 50 This Year

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If you believe the generational cutoff for Gen X is 1961 to 1981 and you loathe yourself for sort of liking the Katy Perry song "Teenage Dream," then this funny and cynical (we're talking about Gen X here) article is well worth a read. Our teenage years are definitely just a dream at this point. We want to speak to the manager, not an AARP representative. Winona Ryder is turning 40? How did this happen? Will we Gen Xers ever get to retire? Why are painter pants making a comeback? Can't we send them back to the 1980s where they belong? We'll keep the Ray-Ban Wayfarers for sentimental purposes and for future 3 p.m. dinner outings to Baja Fresh, though.

Getting Stiffed On Pay? The DOL Has An App For That

Worried your employer isn’t paying you every penny? Now you can track your hours and wages on your smartphone, because the U.S. Department of Labor has an app for that. And it's free!

From the official U.S. DOL press release:
Available in English and Spanish, users conveniently can track regular work hours, break time and any overtime hours for one or more employers. Glossary, contact information and materials about wage laws are easily accessible through links to the Web pages of the department's Wage and Hour Division.

Additionally, through the app, users will be able to add comments on any information related to their work hours; view a summary of work hours in a daily, weekly and monthly format; and email the summary of work hours and gross pay as an attachment.

This new technology is significant because, instead of relying on their employers' records, workers now can keep their own records. This information could prove invaluable during a Wage and Hour Division investig…

OSHA Wants You To Send It Some Pictures

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration turns 40 this year, and it's celebrating this mid-life milestone with a nationwide photography contest called "Picture It! Safe Workplaces for Everyone."

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OSHA wants you to send photos of your safe workplace to raise awareness of workplace safety and health. With any luck, it will ignore the handicapped-accessible entrance in the background that looks like it could use a little bit of repair work. This recession has put things on the back burner, making now a good time for a workplace safety audit to make sure your office is still firing on all cylinders, or some other mixed metaphor.

Study: Twitter "Barely Registers" As A News Sharing Site

Well, so much for Twitter being the future of news.

A new study from the Pew Research Center's Project for Excellence in Journalism finds that Twitter "barely registers" as a "news referring source" among the top 25 news sites. In everyday speak, "news referring source" means "sharing links to news stories."

In fact, Pew concludes Twitter has almost zero impact on news sharing:
Despite its growth and the amount of attention it receives, the micro-blogging service Twitter appears at this point to play a relatively small role in sharing of links to news sources. Of the top 21 sites for which there were data, Twitter showed up as referring links to just nine. And for all but one of those nine, Twitter sent only about 1% of total traffic.
This makes total sense to me, because how can anyone possibly follow tweets from 9,134 people or 20,121 people or however many people they're following on any given day? I have a sneaking suspicion that people …

Finally, A Computer That Tells "That's What She Said" Jokes

That’s what she said.

Anyone who watches the television show The Office knows the joke. Before long, the world is a series of double entendres.

"That's what he said" works, too. You know, like the time you chortled "that's what he said" as soon as your friend said he bought a $10 hoe. He looked at you, chuckled and said, "hah, hah! Funny." Then he told you he bought the hoe on sale at the hardware store, and that he's going to use it because it's easier than using his hands. That's what she said. Bada bing!

Now researchers at the University of Washington have developed a computer program that can tell “that's what she said” jokes! What would Michael Scott say? He probably doesn't know about it yet. Hey, it's hard for a guy to stay on top 24/7. (That's what she said.)

It goes without saying that you might want to stay away from "that's what he/she said" jokes at the office because sexual harassment lawsuits are…

Friday Funnies: George Clooney's Facts Of Life

George Clooney turns the big 5-0 today. But before he was George "Good Night and Good Luck" Clooney putting his A-list star power behind important global causes, he was "George" with great hair on The Facts Of Life!

Here he is entering stage left at the 4:13 mark as Mrs. Garrett and the girls open their new store called "Over Our Heads." Their foray into entrepreneurship happened during the show's seventh season, when the girls were getting too old for school and the script writers probably felt a little bit over their heads trying to figure out how to keep the show going. So the writers had them start a small business that sold inflatable palm trees and pens shaped like carps. It all made sense in 1985. Sort of.

I hate myself a little bit for remembering all of this.

Americans More Willing To Buy Cheap Food that Tastes Like Cardboard

A new International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation study looks at our shopping habits and finds health ranks third behind taste and price on Americans' list of desirable food attributes. According to Food Safety News:

The results show that, while wallets are increasingly guiding what goes into the shopping cart, healthiness has not fallen by the wayside as a concern, weighing in at third place after taste and price, and before convenience and sustainability.

Translation: Is the price right? Check. Does the product taste better than old cardboard? Check. Is it good for me? Um, the sodium level is higher than Sammy Sosa's 1998 batting average but it's on sale and I'm not paying $5.00 for two organic oranges. Oh, is the wrapper recyclable? I guess so, just throw it in the cart.

This pretty much describes the average American's thought process when it comes to grocery shopping these days. Taste is still the most important factor for 87% of consumers surveyed, …

Study: "Made In the USA" Will Make A Comeback

Have you bought something lately and discovered that it's "Made in the USA"? Well, it's not your imagination. The United States could be on the verge of actually manufacturing stuff again!

Or so concludes a new study out today from the Boston Consulting Group that predicts U.S. multinationals are going to start reinvesting in U.S. manufacturing facilities again. Can I get a whoop-whoop!

But why are they coming back? Here's the depressing part: U.S. companies are starting to look at the United States again because we're becoming one of the world's cheaper labor markets. According to Reuters:
The study, published on Thursday, says U.S. reinvestment will accelerate as the United States becomes one of the cheapest locations for manufacturing in the developed world. If it came to fruition, such reinvestment could speed up a delicate economic recovery that has yet to gain much traction.
There's an "if" in the paragraph, so maybe it won't happen. I…

And I Enter the Age Of the Smartphone

I’ve always lagged about five years behind everyone else when it comes to technology. I blame it on my upbringing.

I was born to much older parents who could have been my grandparents, a Gen Xer raised by two people straight out of Tom Brokaw's "Greatest Generation." Modern technology always lagged in our house. My dad owned a 78 record player and a reel-to-reel movie projector that he had bought during the Great Depression, and he thought they were modern technologies.

When I was at my parents' house gearing up to leave for graduate school in the 1990s, my mom called me into the kitchen. I walked in to find a very large, cardboard box sitting on the kitchen table. The letters "IBM" were plastered on the side in big, black letters. "We thought it might come in handy for school," my 70-something mom said proudly.

"Well don’t just stand there, go ahead and open it!" bellowed my very hard-of-hearing dad with a smile on his face. He never liked…

Wednesday Warblings: Uma's Schweppes Commercial

This French Schweppes commercial starring Uma Thurman leaves me with so many questions. Why is she dressed like the Chiquita Banana Lady? How many bracelets is she wearing on her right arm, exactly? Didn't giant hair bows go out with the 1980s? Are all French commercials like this? Why do I suddenly want to listen to Madonna's first few albums? So confused. [Hat tip to]

Six Tips For Surviving A Survival Job

You’ve been laid off. Your job has gone away but the bills keep coming. The job market sucks, and so you take a survival job to help make ends meet.

A "survival job" is a job that's below your skill level and (you hope) is only a short-term, part-time gig to keep you afloat until the economy get better. The job's main purpose is to bring in a paycheck but the job itself – perhaps even the company – feels like a dead end to you. The only place this job is taking you is to the happy place inside your own head, where you're getting paid big bucks to hold down your dream job and you can eat all the cake and doughnuts you want without gaining any weight.

But who said life is fair? Put down the cruller and cue the groovy Soul II Soul song, because it's back to life, back to reality. Back to the here and…now do you want me to mop the floor since the messy diners at table four have finally left the restaurant? At this point in your life, you never thought you'd be …

Breaking News: Managers Tend To Stereotype Employees

How managers see their employees tends to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

It's the conclusion of a new study by Thomas Sy, assistant professor of psychology at UC Riverside and a longtime business leadership consultant. From an article about the study:
In what he describes as the first study to examine leaders' conceptions of followers, the psychologist found that "if managers view followers positively -- that they are good citizens, industrious, enthusiastic -- they will treat their employees positively. If they think of their employees negatively -- that they are conforming, insubordinate and incompetent -- they will treat them that way," he said.
Managers tend to see what they want to see, while negatively-viewed employees know they've been typecast as the bad egg of the office. So these employees stop working as hard -- thereby confirming the manager's initial doubts -- and they also start plotting their exit, which with any luck won't involve a trap …

Are You Ready For Older Americans Month?

May is Older Americans Month, the time of year we honor our fellow Americans who are celebrating their 29th birthday for the 29th time.

And how are Americans over age 65 faring? Put on your bifocals and check out the income statistics:
For all older persons reporting income in 2009 (37.3 million), 19.8% reported less than $10,000 and 37.8% reported $25,000 or more.

The median income reported was $19,167. The major sources of income as reported by older persons in 2008 were Social Security (reported by 87% of older persons), income from assets (reported by 54%), private pensions (reported by 28%), government employee pensions (reported by 14%), and earnings (reported by 25%). In 2008, Social Security benefits accounted for 37% of the aggregate income of the older population. The bulk of the remainder consisted of earnings (30%), asset income (13%), and pensions (18%). Social Security constituted 90% or more of the income received by 34% of beneficiaries (21% of married couples and 43% of …

Employees Call In Sick To Avoid Commuting

Some workers hate their commute so much they’re calling in sick because of it.

Or so says a new survey from the Workforce Institute at Kronos that calculates 4% of U.S. workers –- that’s about 5 million of us -- have called in sick just to avoid the commute. Nearly half (48%) of the roughly 2,000 employees surveyed said their commute has a "significant impact" on job satisfaction.

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Slightly more than one-quarter (27%) said they would like to work from home but the boss won’t let them. Either these workers hold jobs that aren't telecommute-friendly, or they work for a micromanager who thinks they'll sit at home in their jammies texting friends and watching repeats of The Office.

So just how long is our daily commute, on average? Kronos reveals 45% of U.S. workers commute less than 30 minutes, while 32% travel up to an hour. A full 16% commute between 1 and 2 hours to get to work.

I feel for the 16% who are stuck in traffic staring at all the s…