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Showing posts from June, 2011

A Business Case For Letting Kids Get Bored

I have kids, but I don't blog about them very often. For starters, everyone knows that we moms never shut up once you get us talking about pacifiers, preschools and potty training. Plus, there are many excellent mommy bloggers who have the space more than covered. I'll leave the mommy beat to them.

But every once in awhile there's a kid-related question worth covering because it impacts the future of the workplace. Something I've been pondering as summer break kicks into high gear is: Are we sabotaging our kids' future careers by not letting them feel bored?

While I've found the occasional day camp or class to keep my kids busy on and off this summer, they will be spending a lot more time at home with me because of the economy. We'll do fun things, but I also want them to have moments of utter, complete, mind-numbing boredom. That's right: boredom. I want them to feel one with it. Embrace it. Endure it. Navigate it.

Sure, I'll put on my Julie McCoy …

Goldman Sachs To Lay Off 230 Workers, Most Americans Probably Not Upset

A slowdown on Wall Street could soon mean job losses at Goldman Sachs, according to a Wall Street Journalarticle.

The bank notified the New York State Department of Labor about a plant layoff that could result in the loss of 230 U.S. jobs at the company, which is less than 1% of Goldman Sachs total workforce of 35,400. The cuts are rumored to affect the operations and equities departments.

Of course, Goldman Sachs appears to be on a hiring spree in places like Singapore and Brazil, so it might not be losing jobs as much as it might be sending them elsewhere. Goldman Sachs was the world's 16th most valuable banking brand in a recent survey.

By the way, a "plant layoff"? What does this mean, exactly? Goldman Sachs has a plant somewhere? It's hard to imagine bankers wearing hardhats and safety goggles, but I guess you never know. Goldman Sachs does like to keep us guessing.

Study: Employees Will Open Disks And Devices They Find On the Ground

You're walking across the office parking lot on your way back from lunch when you look down and see a computer disk on the ground. Uh, oh -- someone must have dropped it.

Do you walk past it or pick it up? And if you pick it up, do you take it back to your desk and open it?

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security wanted to find out, so it placed USB sticks and computer disks randomly around government parking lots just to see what workers would do. Sneaky, sneaky but oh-so enlightening, because 60% of the workers who picked up the USB sticks and computer disks brought them back to the office and popped them into their work computers to see what was on them. If the disk or device had a logo or some other identifying factor on it, the "let's see what's on this puppy" rate soared to 90%.

Just think of the money and time companies have invested in high-tech firewalls and antiviral software and all it takes is one employee's burning curiosity to make it all potentia…

Do You Work With A "Not My Jobber?"

Do you work with someone who never strays from the job description? When you ask them to cover for someone else or to take on a minor task they say, "that's not my job" or "that's not what they hired me to do"?

If you haven't worked with someone who views the average job description as a commandment handed down by Moses on stone tablets, then consider yourself very lucky because after awhile you would realize it's not worth the hassle of asking this employee to pick up something from the copier on her way back from the bathroom, to help cover phones for the receptionist who is out sick, or to file a stack of invoices. Any sentence that starts with "Hey, would you mind taking care of...?" gets these employees all riled up and looking for a fight. Why yes, they do mind. If there's slack to fill, they aren't going to be the ones to fill it. Someone else can replace the roll of toilet paper in the office bathroom, thank you very much. I…

Senate Subcommittee To Vote On Workforce Investment Act Bill Today

A Senate subcommittee will vote today on a bill put forth by U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) to reauthorize and reorganize the Workforce Investment Act, the federal jobs training law that took huge cuts last year amid budget talks. Because when you have millions of unemployed people looking for a job, you should make it harder for them to find one.

Federal jobs training programs were slashed to the tune of $870 million, and now jobs training locations are closing.

I'll keep you posted.

News Anchor Remakes Dirty Laundry

Headline News anchor Robin Meade has a new album featuring a country-inspired remake of Don Henley's Dirty Laundry. Get it? She's a news anchor singing a put-down song about her own profession! Feel the synergies. She even alters the lyrics from "evening news" to "morning news" because she's a morning anchor, naturally. She still makes fun of bubble-headed bleach blondes when brunette tones are most definitely in, though. Kick 'em when they're up, kick 'em when they're down...

Silly Headline Of the Week: Employee Shoplifting Is A Good Thing?

If you believe this story, then an increase in employee theft is proof that the economy is getting better!

Why? Because here in the back in the Great Recession, nervous employees were too afraid to steal from their employers for fear of losing their jobs, but now that the unemployment rate is still the same they can start taking things again. Better bolt down that stapler, boss, because we're on the road to recovery! I'm not sure employers, or employees for that matter, would agree.

Freelance Nation Still Lives, Likes Wearing Dirty Clothes

Elance.com is out with its freelance talent report. Just in time for Independence Day too!

So what does Elance tell us about the work-from-home-without-showering-while-blasting-songs-on-iTunes contingent of the labor force? Elance doesn't reveal how many freelancers it surveyed -- five or 5,000? -- but here are a few highlights:
44% have a bachelor's degree and 20% have a master's degree;

24% of freelancers surveyed live in the South, the most of any geographical area;

92% say they use online job sites such as Elance to find work, but this survey was conducted by Elance so I'm sort of disregarding this statistic;

42% of freelancers are Gen Xers, the highest percentage of any generation;

36% say freelancing is their sole income;

60% of freelancers earn up to $50,000/year;

3% of freelancers earn anywhere between $150,000-$200,000. I'm guessing these people don't work in journalism;

25% say their income has decreased over the last twelve months. I'm guessing these peo…

"Tightsizing" Is Replacing Rightsizing In American Workplaces

Forget rightsizing, because now we're into tightsizing!

"Tightsizing" is a fancy word for smaller cubicles. The roomy cube farms of yesteryear are shrinking right before our very eyes, leaving those of us with expanding waistlines and loaded down messenger bags yearning for more free range exploration.


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Tightsizing is underway in a few federal workplaces, where staff sizes are growing but agencies aren't necessarily springing for more space, according to an article in The Federal Times.

Ah, tightsizing. Because we can't just say, "we're making your cubicles smaller because we need to squeeze five new employees onto the floor so just deal with it." While "tightsizing" is less obvious in its meaning, it is more verbally economical. I'll give it that.

Of course, companies can always go with the cubicle-less open floor plans that are all the rage in the Silicon Valley, but then you have to watch your co-worker eat…

Are Women Worse At Online Networking?

When it comes to pressing the flesh, men win hands down.

Online, anyway. At least that is what LinkedIn is telling us today. LinkedIn analyzed its membership from 13 countries including Germany, France, India, Australia, Brazil, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Britain, Canada and the United States and found that men are much quicker to realize a good networking opportunity online than women.

But women are supposed to be the nurturing communicators who instantly "get" people and can charm themselves out of a parking ticket, so what's going on here? The company posits that women might be less likely to connect with people over LinkedIn because they fear the rejection (awwww....) of connecting with others for business reasons.

Or is it that women are more likely to realize the inherent dangers and weaknesses of online networking with people they barely, or in many cases, don't even know? Let's face it: Women have different safety concerns from men that…

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar For More Work Hours

Gallup released a report this week that looks at the state of jobs women hold around the world, and it turns out women everywhere have something in common: underemployment.

Globally, 16% of men are underemployed compared to 23% of women. Sub-Saharan Africa and Latin America share the highest percentage of underemployed women at 34%. A full 23% of European women are underemployed, and the same goes for 25% of women in the United States and Canada.

Women who live in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), otherwise known as the former Soviet republics, are the least likely to be underemployed at 12%.

Of course, there are many factors ranging from childcare to cultural differences to the recession that can be impacting these numbers, and discussing them would require writing a book. Still, the report offers a ton of fascinating data. You can read it here.

And because I'm a child of the 1970s, here you go. By the way, this song will turn 40 next year. Feel old now?

New Healthcare Law To Remind Workers That They're Fat And Lazy

Do you know that the new healthcare reform law sets aside $10 million to make employees healthier?

Yes, it's true!

The Department of Health and Human Services announced yesterday that it's accepting applications for the "Comprehensive Health Programs to Address Physical Activity, Nutrition and Tobacco Use in the Workplace" program until August 8. The money is coming from the new healthcare reform law's Prevention and Public Health Fund. From the HHS press release:
Project funds will support evidence-based initiatives to build worksite capacity and improve workplace culture in support of health. Examples of such strategies include establishing tobacco-free campus policies, promoting flextime to allow employees to be more physically active, and offering more healthy food choices in worksite cafeterias and vending machines. A core principle of the initiative is to maximize employee engagement in designing and implementing the programs so they have the greatest chance…

Revenge Is Best Served On A 64 Inch TV Screen

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You're a CEO giving a PowerPoint presentation to your board of directors. You click to bring up the next slide, point your laser remote and oh, wow! That's some slide you've got there!

As IT security blog NakedSecurity reports, an ex-IT manager got into his former employer's computer system from his home and stole some passwords. Then one day, he took remote control of his former CEO's PowerPoint presentation to show pictures of porn. Wait, what happened to the month-over-month sales graph!?

A judge gave the ex-employee a two year suspended sentence, 100 hours of community service and three years' probation. The CEO, meanwhile, will probably experience PTSD whenever he uses PowerPoint.

Why Some People Don't "Like" Facebook Anymore

Okay, we all knew it was inevitable. The hot, new trend is dropping our Facebook accounts!

As a CNN.com story points out, people are feeling a sense of Facebook fatigue. Facebook lost more than 7 million active users in the United States and Canada last month alone.

Dissatisfied users say that boring, predictable status updates from other people are a driving factor in their decision to delete their Facebook accounts. They're tired of hearing about babies because babies all look the same, especially when you don't have one. Facebook's ever-changing privacy settings can't be helping matters, either. Plus, what you do on Facebook might hurt your chances of landing a job, which in this economy is a very big deal.


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What these articles don't mention, however, is the "like" button and how it could be turning users off. The "like" button has turned Facebook into an uncomfortable popularity contest that's not much different from the dee…

Wednesday Warblings: Whole Foods Parking Lot

I never thought I'd put "rap" and "Whole Foods" in the same sentence, but here's the latest viral craze: The Whole Foods Parking Lot Rap! My favorite part is where he raps about paying $80 for six items. So funny, and a big part of the reason I've never bought anything at Whole Foods besides a $2 cup of coffee.


Breaking News: Companies Still Hate Lazy Job Applicants

"Do you have any questions about the company?"

If you're a job applicant sitting in front of a hiring manager who asks you this question, then you'd better have a few good questions ready to go.


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Nearly 40% of managers in a new Accountemps survey say the biggest mistake job applicants are making is not knowing anything about the company. Job applicants are walking into interviews without even glancing at the company's PR-contrived "about us" page or searching for helpful articles on Google! They're winging it, and then crashing and burning.

When they're put on the spot, these job applicants ask either really stupid questions -- like asking a service company what products it makes or asking a large, multinational firm if this is its only office -- or they say the worst thing humanly possible: "No, I don't have any questions." Ugh! The only question for the hiring manager at this point is how soon to wrap it…

Do Earthquakes Lead To Workplace Bullying?

The people of Christchurch, New Zealand are still trying to pick up the pieces following the February 22 earthquake. They're also putting up with a lot more workplace bullying.

A story in The New Zealand Herald reports that "horrendous" workplace bullying incidents have been on the rise over the last few months as workplaces of all shapes and sizes try to keep things going:
Organiser Matt Jones said cases of abuse had been reported in all sectors, including retail, fast-food, security and call centres.

"It has been extremely difficult to keep up with the number of cases of bullying we have to deal with. People are incredibly stressed during this difficult time and we're working closely with employers to get the issues resolved quickly."
Call volumes to New Zealand's bullying hotlines have peaked over the last week following two sizable aftershocks.

It raises the question: Do earthquakes lead to more workplace bullying?

It makes sense that living in earthquak…

Incivility Survey: We're All Just Insufferable Jerks Now

We're all just a bunch of jerks.

It's pretty much the conclusion of a new Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate/KRC Research incivility poll of 1,000 Americans, in which 86% say they've experienced incivility. One wonders if the other 14% surveyed ever leave the house? But get this: 60% admit to being rude right back. We're turning into Alexis and Krystle fighting in the lily pond and waiting for Blake Carrington to bolt out of his passing limo to say, "What the devil is going on here!? Will somebody tell me?"



Ah, the quaint cute-speak of the older generations that allowed them to sound both classy and coherent even when angry. It's amazing to remember how the Dynasty water fight episode was considered ground-breaking and controversial for its use of the phrase "You miserable bitch." Gasp, get out the smelling salts! Now we have Jersey Shore and Bridezillas. We've come a long way, baby.

Our political discourse seems irretrievable at this point and t…

Friday Funnies: Dads Love Surprises

Happy Father's Day to all the dads!


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How To Take Your Totally Impossible Vacation At the Office

In this economy, pretty much anyone who still has a job will be taking a vacay by the printer tray this summer. But what are the best ways to take some time off while you're on the clock?

Never fear, because CareerCast.com is here to offer some ideas for working in some much-needed "me" time on the job, a few of which many bosses might not like (and so I've added their potential reaction to these sundry tips). Without further delay, here are Careercast.com's tips for your on the clock vacation:

Set the Timer – Check e-mail and respond only at certain times. By managing your schedule, you'll feel more productive and won't get sidetracked. (I'm not going to wait four hours for you to check your email. Maybe I should mention that I received twenty-five resumes this week?)

Hop on the Musical Time-Machine – During your workday, listen to music from your favorite vacation spot or memory. Most radio stations stream live music online all day. (You are not, I r…

Calling In Sick Today? Blame Tweens And Teens

Have a cold or the flu? Well, don't put the blame on toddlers and preschoolers. No, put the blame right where it belongs: On tweens and teenagers!

The American Journal of Epidemiologyreports that cases of seasonal influenza peaked in the 10-to-19 crowd a full week before all other groups. So young kids could be catching the blame for causing flu epidemics when we should be pointing our germ-covered fingers at the nearest iCarly-watching tween or Lady Gaga-listening teen.

As if teenagers don't loathe their elders enough already, they're going to be treated like one, big germ vector looking to infect the nearest person if this story gets picked up in the major media. I can hear every uptight suburban mom already: Matthew, did you wash your hands? Matthew? MATTHEW!! I said to wash your hands so you don't spread germs! Before we know it, mom is making Matthew stop playing video games long enough to squirt a giant glob of hand sanitizer into his palm. Let's hope Matthew …

Thursday Thoughts: Rob Zombie's Woolite Commercial

Dragula rock 'n roller and scary movie director Rob Zombie is branching out into television advertising. Here is his new commercial for Woolite. I'm not sure if it makes me want to buy the product or run and hide. But it sure is memorable, which is more than half the battle with advertising, and it's not just another boring commercial with an actress pretending to be a mom who is pitching detergent. Now I wonder if this is how Rob Zombie does his laundry.


Breaking News: Online Discussion Groups Are Just Like Grade School

If a tree falls in the forest, does anybody blog about it?

A new University of Georgia study in the journal Communication Research concludes that 2% of the people who start discussion threads online attract 50% of the comments. As a result, many participants get left by the wayside:
For those who fancy the Internet as a great equalizer that brings equality to the voices of the masses, however, the findings suggest that it could never meet that lofty ideal. Himelboim said he wasn't surprised to find that online discussion groups tend to become hierarchical. Even in grade school, he pointed out, everybody wants to be friends with the most popular kid.
Essentially, internet users tend to create a "preferential attachment" to commenters who already have many connections, which makes it easier for these commenters to make even more connections, which in turn means the less-popular, less-connected people get left out of the conversation.

So much for digital democracy. Online discu…

One In Five U.S. Workers Taking A Promotion Without A Pay Raise

It used to be that a promotion was accompanied by an increase in pay.

Well, that was then, this is now. A new OfficeTeam study reports that slightly more than one-fifth of U.S. employers (22%) are offering employees promotions without pay raises. These employees are getting a nice, shiny new job title and some cool, exciting new responsibilities with the same, old paycheck.


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And right now, a majority of employees are apparently willing to take a promotion without an increase in pay: 55% of the employees OfficeTeam surveyed said they would accept a promotion without higher pay as a way to get ahead in their careers. Plus, it's just nice to still have a job in this economy, right? A simple boost in job title feels like a bonus.

This thinking won't last forever, though. At some point down the road these employees will knock on their manager's door to say they've been doing this job for awhile now and they deserve more money. Secretly, they migh…

One-fifth Of Americans Are Doing the Pretend Sex Thing

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U.S. Congressman Anthony Weiner has brought sexting at work -- and, well, Borat-style sexy times in general -- back into the news.

This could only mean one thing: Companies need to conduct their own sexting surveys, and fast! A new Trojan U.S. Sex Census survey, from a company that might know a thing or two about the topic, estimates that roughly 20% of Americans (19%) have had online sex while 10% of Americans have chatted about it on Facebook and/or Twitter. Men are twice as likely as women to talk about "it" over Facebook and Twitter.

Employers have a lot to look forward to in five years: Other new research finds 70% of U.S. college students have sexted someone casually. More than half (51%) have sent or received sexual pictures or videos. They seem to think sexting is harmless fun, and way easier than walking all the way across campus. Bring on the anti-sexting HR workshops!

The study, conducted for Trojan by a group called StrategyOne, include…

Face Time At Work Hurts Rosacea Patients

Work is still about getting face time with the boss and important clients even in the social media age. But what if you have a facial skin condition that you cannot hide?

A full 60% of rosacea patients in a National Rosacea Society survey think their skin condition is having a negative impact at work. For patients with severe symptoms, the percentage leaps to 88%.

Almost half of the more than 1,110 patients NRS surveyed said they have overheard rude comments about their condition at work. Roughly 40% with severe symptoms said they've lost out on job offers because of rosacea, were passed over for promotion, or were denied new job tasks because of their appearance. As the NRS points out:
"Because the signs and symptoms appear on the most visible part of the body, rosacea is much more difficult to ignore than many other conditions,” said Dr. Boni Elewski, professor of dermatology at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. “Beyond physical discomfort, such as facial burning and sting…

Tuesday Workplace News Round-up

Happy Flag Day! Here are a few headlines catching my eye this morning.

WAPO debunks five myths about the American flag.

It's also Washington, D.C. Flag Tattoo Day. Because nothing says "I love my city!" like an ankle tattoo.

Economy-class doomsday bunkers are now less than $10,000!

No one wants a smart grid anymore.

Arizona lawmakers refuse to extend federally-funded unemployment benefits and now 15,000 long-term unemployed state residents will receive their last checks. Pennsylvania and Wisconsin could be next.

Minnesota's state government could shut down on June 30.

Maine becomes the latest state to pass a bill allowing employees to bring guns to work. Texas is close to passing the same bill, too.

Is Gen Y creating a legacy of laziness?

90% of working Americans say they don't expect a salary increase in 2012, even as prices keep going up.

Let's talk about interview hair!

Cue up "How Soon Is Now" by The Smiths, because an EBRI study tell us the average Gen Xe…

Member of Congress To Host "Jobs Boot Camp"

Looking for a job and live in the greater D.C. area?

U.S. Congressman Jim Moran of Virginia's 8th Congressional District will be hosting a "Jobs Boot Camp" in his district later this month that's free and open to his constituents. From his official website:
The half day event is designed to help you find the job that best fits your skills and experience. Over 20 of the region's top employers are participating. Come speak directly with HR professionals and attend workshops and panel discussions that will focus on maximizing the competitiveness of your job application.
Some of the companies slated to participate include Wachovia, Inova, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Hilton, Sheraton and Deloitte.

Who knows how effective this jobs boot camp will be, but it might be worth checking out if you live in his district and are looking for a job. I wonder how many of his fellow members of Congress are also hosting jobs boot camps of their own. If it helps people find good …

Friday Funnies: Angry Birds Live!

My kids and I are big fans of the video game Angry Birds. Not only is it fun, it's also the product of a Finnish company named Rovio, which as a full-fledged Finnish-American I think is pretty cool.

Anyway, T- Mobile is out with a new ad that brings us Angry Birds in real life. Pretty awesome, and kind of funny.

Study: Employees Who Suck Up To Their Co-workers Are Healthier

They say that flattery will get you everywhere. It might also be good for your mind and body.

Relying on your "coping skill of ingratiation," otherwise known as "totally sucking up to people," tends to lower psychological distress in employees who ingratiate themselves on to others, according to a new study in the Journal of Management Studies.

The thinking is this: When you suck up to others, you make them be pleasant to you even if they don't like you very much, which in turn lowers your overall stress level. Sucking up also keeps people from purposefully ignoring you as often, which means you're less emotionally exhausted, isolated and depressed. Plus, it might help you get ahead in your career if you're lucky.

Hmmm. This study sort of confuses me. I'm not sure I want to advise people to suck up to save their health. Savvy managers come to know "the type," while co-workers clue in pretty quickly to new co-workers who are obsequious, purple…

Members Of Congress Suddenly Tweeting Less For Some Reason

TweetCongress, a website that tracks Congressional Twitter accounts and touts phrases such as "We the Tweeple," is watching to see how Weinergate could impact Twitter patterns on Capitol Hill.

What has it learned so far? Over the last eight days, Congressional Twitter postings are down about 21%. Of course, Congressional offices could be busy with the sausage making of lawmaking, but...oh, who are we kidding? We're talking about Congress. August recess is right around the corner! Anyway, TweetCongress reveals this week has been among the slowest, tweet-wise, on Capitol Hill in recent weeks. I guess it only takes one to spoil all the fun.

The funny thing is that Congressional Republicans have posted 70% more tweets over the last month than Congressional Democrats. Good thing personal character isn't judged based on the number of characters used, I guess.

Average Job Seeker Giving Up After Five Months

Five months seems to be the magic number when it comes to dropping out of the labor force.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports:
By the end of 2010, the median number of weeks job seekers had been unemployed in the month prior to finding work was a little more than 10 weeks. In contrast, prior to the start of the recent recession in 2007, the median was 5 weeks. Unemployment duration also increased among those who eventually quit looking and left the labor force. Unemployed individuals were jobless for about 20 weeks in 2010 before giving up their job search and leaving the labor force. Whereas in 2007, those who were not successful in their job search had been unemployed for about 8.5 weeks before leaving the labor force.
You lose your job, lick your wounds for a day, and then you hit the job hunt HARD and start applying here, there and everywhere. You have so much motivation. Look at you go! Someone will hire you for sure. Look at all the resumes you're sending out!

But no one a…

Mental Health: Many Employees Want Bosses To Mind Their Own Business

Many employees still don't want to talk to the boss about their mental health.

It's the finding of Britain's latest Attitudes to Mental Illness national survey, which reports 43% of employees would feel uncomfortable talking about their mental health issues with an employer.

We're getting better at accepting it in others, however: A full 77% of those surveyed think mental illness is just like any other illness, and 68% said they would be willing to work alongside a co-worker with mental health problems. They don't think people with mental health problems should hold certain jobs such as public service, though.

People over age 55 tend to have the most negative reactions to people with mental health issues and one in six people still believe the real cause of mental illness is a lack of willpower.

You can access the full report here.

Wednesday Warblings No. 2: I Can't Believe I Just Watched This

So today was Meredith Vieira's last day on The Today Show and her co-hosts sent her out in style by lip synching and dancing down the hallways to Journey's Don't Stop Believing. It's sort of cute but sort of cringe-worthy, too. Best wishes to Ms. Vieira, though. I've always liked her.


Wednesday Warblings: My Social Tattoo

This young woman had all 152 of her Facebook friends tattooed on her arm. I guess she has no plans to un-friend anyone any time soon?

NIH: The United States Has Too Many Ph.D.s

Story after story has warned us that the United States is falling behind in science and research. We need to train more scientists, and stat.

Or do we? A new piece in BioTechniques reveals that a National Institutes of Health (NIH) working group will be studying the future of the U.S. biomedical research workforce. Among its tasks will be to figure out what to do about the glut -- that's right, glut -- of Ph.D.-trained U.S. research scientists. From the article:
"At the root of the problem is the fact that we are overproducing Ph.D.s," Shirley Tilghman, head of the biomedical working group and president of Princeton University, told the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. "As a consequence, there are too many people chasing too few jobs and too few grant dollars."
So the NIH has too many Ph.D.s on its hands, and now the 12-member working group, the article says, "must either find a way to support Ph.D.s who want to dedicate their lives to biomedical research or…

Another Day, Another Person Ruins Their Career On Twitter

Oh, Anthony Weiner. What were you thinking?

Unfortunately, Mr. Weiner is only the latest high profile example of someone damaging his or her career over some ill-advised tweeting. From Gilbert Gottfried and his tasteless jokes about Japan to the dude who made the bone-headed remarks about CBS reporter Lara Logan, people are making fools of themselves on Twitter.

The saddest part? Most of the people getting in trouble for tweeting aren't in the public eye. A Google search pulls up all kinds of recent examples of every day people getting fired from jobs because of something stupid they did on Twitter. From cussing to ranting and raving, we're losing the ability to edit ourselves.

As much as I like to knock Twitter on a regular basis, this brain-to-keyboard problem isn't Twitter's fault. It's merely providing a place for us to bring the stupid. The fault lies within ourselves and our inability to exhibit proper self-control in this Wild West age of social media. It goes …

Sleepy's Is Looking For "Snooze Directors"

Are you unemployed and good at napping, or vice versa?

You're in luck, because Mattress store Sleepy's is looking to hire a few good "Snooze Directors." Now you can sleep on the job for reals, or at the very least "snooze" will be in your job title! Is this whole post simply an excuse to write "snooze director" over and over again? Yes, you are correct!

Click here to read the job description and to fill out an application.

Among other things, Sleepy's Snooze Director job requires being able to demonstrate "various sleep positions"; an ability to "communicate about sleep, both verbally and in written form"; and a "working knowledge" of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, blogging and vlogging that's presumably good enough that you can do it in your sleep. Just not while you're waiting for the train, please.


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Our Sense Of Morality Changes As We Age

Does our response to moral-laden situations change as we get older?

Yes, says a new University of Chicago/ National Science Foundation's (NSF) Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences study.

The researchers asked 127 people between the ages of four and 36 to watch nearly 100 video clips that showed intentional actions (for example, someone getting shoved) as well as accidental actions (for example, a golfer hitting someone mistakenly with a club). They also viewed inanimate objects getting damaged (for example, a teapot getting dropped).

What did the researchers learn? The younger we are, the more likely we are to see others' actions as always malicious, whether these actions happen to people or objects. But the older we get, the more we distinguish between people and objects and tend to excuse the damage done to objects as a simple accident.

This study could tell us something about the workplace, where it's not hard to picture a 40-year-old old timer telling his 23-yea…

Breaking News: People With Higher Degrees Aren't All That Employable

Most college graduates are leaving school without the skills to pay the bills, according to a new British study.


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Employers complained to Glasgow University researchers that today's college graduates lack necessary skills in problem solving, communication and customer service, and on top of that they tend to be late for work. Ouch. Essentially the employers surveyed said that college degrees aren't helping students become, well, employable:

The latest study shows one in six employers is unhappy with graduate 'skills and competencies' when they apply for jobs.

It says:'Employers are frustrated that higher education courses do not meet their needs,' says the report.

'Employers expect graduates to demonstrate a range of skills and attributes that include team-working, communication and often managerial abilities or potential.'
Ah yes, the dreaded "employability" factor. The Achilles heel of people w…

Gallup: U.S. Underemployment Rate Is Higher Than A Year Ago

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The U.S. underemployment rate remains stubbornly high.

The U.S. underemployment rate was 19.2% at the end of May 2011 compared to a 19.1% underemployment rate at the same time last year, according to a new Gallup employment report.

Gallup conducted telephone interviews throughout the month of May with more than 30,000 U.S. adults who were chosen through random-digit-dial sampling.

A full 46% of the underemployed Gallup surveyed last month said they were more hopeful they would find work within the next four weeks. Curiously, the very same number (46%) said the very same thing in May 2010. So no change there.

Click here to read graphs galore.

Are Long Commutes Driving People To Divorce?

Is your daily commute longer than 45 minutes? Then you might be putting yourself in the fast lane to the divorce attorney's office.

New research from Umea University in Sweden concludes couples are 40% more likely to divorce within the first few years of marriage if one partner has a long commute to work. The risk of divorce-via-commuting decreases exponentially after five years, presumably because by then we've come to terms with our partner's failure to get home 20 minutes after quitting time.

So if your new spouse will be angling for the big country house with the four-acre backyard that would mean a 90-minute one-way commute for you, then you might want to whip this study out of your back pocket. All in the name of love, of course.

Friday Funnies: What Was Paul Ryan Looking At?

House GOP members were taking questions after their debt ceiling meeting with President Obama the other day when Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stepped up to the mic to say something about "if we demagogue each other at the leadership level" blah, blah, blah whatever that means, all the while looking straight up into the sky.

What was he looking up at, exactly? A bird? A plane? Superman? I'm intrigued. My theorizing is driving me crazy, so of course I have to share it. Here is the only YouTube video clip I've found of it so far (see 2:20).

Thursday Thoughts: Washington, D.C. Commercial of the Week

This commercial seems to be running every time I turn on the television here in the nation's capital, so I've chosen it as my Washington, D.C. Commercial of the Week. Let the dominoes fall where they may.

Get Ready For Organic Office Snack Machines

We all knew this day would come. The age of the organic office snack machine is upon us!

The companies that sell organic snacks are already in the schools and now they see emerging market opportunities in the workplace. Say "goodbye" to fingers covered in orange Doritos dust and say "hello" to...a banana and vitamin water. Or how about some organic, free range pita chips?


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Hmmm. I certainly don't have anything against eating things that are better for us. We all need to do more of that, and new research singles out the workplace as new source of fatness. Now we're being asked to use a Food Plate instead of a Food Pyramid. Sigh. Like everyone else, however, I wonder about the taste, selection and price points of these organic snacks because anything organic is usually more expensive. In this era of tight budgets, will employees be willing to skip the 75-cent bag of Sun Chips they've always bought for what might be a pricier bag…

44% Of Americans Want to Leave the Stock Market

How is your 401(k) doing?

Americans apparently don't like this question anymore, because 44% of us are ready to store our money in old pickle jars again just like great-grandpa. Only we won't be collecting nearly as many 1976 Bicentennial quarters and Susan B. Anthony silver dollar coins.

A new Prudential survey asked 1,274 U.S. consumers how confident they are in the stock market, and they said no. Just, no. A full 58% of the people surveyed have lost all their faith in the stock market and think it's no longer worth the risk. 70% don't trust financial firms. But the most startling statistic? 44% say they aren't likely to put money into the stock market ever again. That's right: Ever again.

Wow. We're turning into our Great Depression-era grandparents (or great-grandparents) who told us that the stock market is like gambling and we'll lose our shirts. Why don't we just put our money in a FDIC protected bank, where it can earn a nice, steady 1% interes…

More U.S. Workers Plan To Vacay By the Printer Tray

The official start of summer is only 20 days away (for those of us here in the Northern Hemisphere) and we all know what that means: Employees will soon be complaining that co-worker so-and-so is going on vacation!


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It's a well-known workplace fact that at least one co-worker will resent a fellow employee for taking vacation days, even if the employee has more than earned it. Behind the cheerful chorus of "have a nice vacation!" can be the thinly-veiled sneer of "I have to pick up your slack for the next week and I'm already overworked as it is!" Don't let the door hit you on the way out. Actually, these co-workers might hope the door does in fact hit you on the way out, since you're hitting the holiday road.

Or are you? A new Expedia survey says that American workers as a group left 448 million unused vacation days stacked precariously in the cubicle of unrealized vacation dreams last year. That's a whopping $67.5 bil…