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Showing posts from July, 2011

Former Borders Employees Hold Online Wake For Company

Is this a future trend in corporate layoffs?

Current and former employees of soon-to-be-deceased Borders Books have started Facebook pages that are serving as virtual wakes and confession booths. They're confessing their multitude of workplace sins and sharing all kinds of funny stories, from dragging their feet when helping certain customers to the really weird but amusing co-workers who did stupid things on the clock. OMG, you won't believe what so-and-so did one day in the break room!

Ah, memories...

So if your company goes under in this economy, be aware that your ex-employees might go online to celebrate you whether it's good or bad or bittersweet, and it'll be archived online forever and ever and ever. Let's hope employees aren't using their real names. Oh wait, it's on Facebook so yes they are. Nevermind.

Friday Funnies: The Debt Ceiling Rap

It's Friday, the Washington Post'sdebt ceiling deadline clock is counting down the seconds to economic disaster and no one on Capitol Hill seems to know what's going on but the president can always invoke the 14th Amendment. So what's more American than rapping about the debt ceiling crisis? We may not be able to dance our way out of this problem, but we can watch House Speaker Boehner sweat as we listen to what may be the nerdiest white guy rap song ever.

Breaking News: Workers Are Lazier In the Summer

Are you catching some rays when you should be calculating sick days, or some other job-related task?

Of course you are! It's summer here in the Northern Hemisphere and it's time to slack off at work if you're one of the lucky bastards who still has a job.

And this is exactly what U.S. workers are doing: Slightly more than one-quarter (26%) of employers in a new CareerBuilder survey say that their employees are less productive during the summer months. Nearly half say that their employees are burned out on the job.

I'm not sure the latter number has as much to do with summer as it does with just being tired, since employee productivity has continually increased amid the bone-grinding Great Recession. So maybe managers should cut employees just a little bit of slack over the next few weeks to let them rest up and refuel for Fall, because there is a time limit on these summer nights thanks to our planetary orbit. Summer days driftin' away, we stayed out 'till 2 o'…

Who Will Be This Summer's Steven Slater?

The news dregs of summer are upon us and there's not a lot of great workplace news going on this week. I'm just sitting here waiting for this summer's Steven Slater story.

Yes, it's been almost one year since our everyman flight attendant/employee decided not to take it anymore and deployed the emergency chute with beer in hand, offering an instant story and non-stop, 24/7 analysis for news-starved journalists. At least until September when the news cycle ramped up again. The story analysis streamlined into one, simple message: He's doing what every employee secretly dreams of! He is us, we are him, we're all quickly becoming unemployed. Time sure flies (no pun intended), doesn't it?

The only story that comes close so far is the fabulous rant letter from the ex-Whole Foods employee in Canada. Other than this, it's kind of a slow news day. And week. And as of next week, month.

Oh, South Korean researchers have created a glowing dog. That's...differen…

Thursday Workplace News Roundup

Here are some headlines catching my eye today:

The annual list of the "most beautiful people on Capitol Hill" is out and the profiles are breathtakingly sophomoric and self-absorbed. Hey, this is D.C.

Having panic attacks at work? Here's how to request accommodations under the ADA.

On that note, journalists are suddenly writing about panicky Gen X women turning 40. (Psst, USA Today: Gen X women started turning 40 about five years ago. Just saying.)

Worker aren't wearing their safety equipment on the job, especially safety goggles. Tsk, tsk.

The NFL goes back to work.

Detroit is holding two job fairs today!

A new report finds the majority of U.S. job growth has been in low-wage jobs.

LinkedIn's 1-click job application app ramps up this week, just in case you want to apply for a low-wage job.

From the "a sign of the times" file: A web app that lets you track your hundreds and hundreds of job applications.

People are busy relocating to the hot hiring market called…

Workers Would Give Up Free Office Coffee For More IT Support

Would you be willing to give up free office coffee for more IT support?

A new Sybase/Kelton Research survey of more than 500 employees reveals nearly three-fourths (71%) would be willing to give up perks to have their gadgets of choice and apps supported.

58% of employees surveyed said they would give up free coffee. Nearly 40% would give up free food. 30% said they would give up free office supplies. 26% would give up paid parking. One-in-five employees would even sacrifice a vacation day if it meant they could use the latest, greatest gadgets or programs at work without IT telling them it's not supported.

Likewise, only one-in-five employees (19%) said employers are making it as easy for them to work via a mobile device as they are from a desktop computer. But maybe employers are on to something because a recent Google AdMob survey found employees are more likely to use computer tablets for launching gaming apps like Angry Birds instead of Excel spreadsheets. Oops.

I'm sort of…

Is Your Co-worker Passive-Aggressive?

Is your co-worker always "forgetting" things and running late to everything from scheduled meetings to lunch dates? Does he or she say one thing but do another? Are you suspecting this person is angry but you can't quite put your finger on the how, or the why?

Welcome to the wonderful world of the passive-aggressive co-worker, who on the surface seems happy to help but underneath the surface is dragging his or her feet. This employee can't exhibit anger directly and lacks necessary Life 101 confrontational skills, and so he or she takes it out on you in subtler ways. Oh, did I say I'd get that report to you by 3 p.m.? Oh, I must have forgotten. I'm not finding your email anywhere on my computer. Are you sure you sent it to me? You said 11:30? Why did I think we were having lunch at 12:15? Why are you always making me late?

You are quite sure, however, that you said (more than once, by the way) that lunch was going to be at 11:30. Unfortunately, this example i…

Breaking News: The Internet Is Turning Us Into Big Meanies

Did you know that being able to post anonymous comments online is making us forget our good manners? No, it's true!

Unless you've been hiding under a non Wi-Fi enabled rock for the last decade or so, you've probably figured this out by now. But there's a new psychology buzz word in town: "Deindividualization," which in non-technical terms essentially means forgetting our manners and turning into unbearable jerks whenever we're able to hide behind an avatar and screen name. Or a Halloween costume, as researchers have found.

But what about the people who are openly being jerks when commenting on message boards via their Facebook accounts and Twitter, thanks to Open ID? Some of them are right there, out in the open, being insulting. Having to Star 69 someone like the R.E.M. song is so 1990s! Still a great song, even if we can't understand a word Michael Stipe is singing.

The bigger issue here may be that thanks to social media, people just don't care an…

Nobody, Anywhere Is A Skilled Worker Anymore

We've been hearing for a few years now how the United States has a skills shortage. U.S. companies simply can't find the talent they need to fill the jobs they have. We could have hired if it weren't for you middling kids!

Well, the rest of the world seems to be saying the same thing these days.

Canada has a burgeoning skills crisis. Skills "crises" are also looming in Australia, Ireland, Britain, India, the Philippines, Fiji, Spain, Germany, Brazil, New Zealand, Namibia, Vietnam, Singapore, Sweden, the list goes on.

Now the worry is about the emerging work skills we will all need in ten years, and how pretty much no one will have them. Oh, great.

See? It's not just happening here. People all over the world are now seen as pathetically unskilled and not worth hiring. Pretty soon, we'll all be employable as long as we're willing to get a visa, cargo transport and a Fodor's language guide. Or something? Sigh. As they say, the grass is always greener on …

U.S. Employers Laid Off 143,444 Workers In June

Lost amid Friday's dueling debt ceiling pressconferences underneath the heat dome were the June Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs reports.

I'm guessing our political leaders would rather keep arguing over the debt ceiling for a little while longer because otherwise they might have to talk about how U.S. employers laid off 143,444 workers in June and how 28 states (plus the District of Columbia!) registered an increase in unemployment.

Pour yourself a cold drink and read both reports on the BLS website. You might as well crank up the Tina Turner tunes while you're at it, because we don't need another hero underneath the thunder heat dome but we sure could use another air conditioner. And jobs. Don't forget the jobs.

Hold That Thought, Because Managers Hate Interruptions

What bothers managers most about meetings?

Accountemps asked this question of more than 1,000 senior managers, who responded that they don't like unnecessary meetings or meetings that start or end late. They also don't like it when employees tune out on their gadgets.

Wait, did you say something?

Blah, blah, blah -- dozens of business advice articles have been written on each of these topics. But here's something semi-interesting: 15% of the managers Accountemps surveyed are getting hot under their starched collars listening to employees interrupt each other during meetings.

We've all been there. Someone is saying something that's going somewhere interesting and then so-and-so throws the person's train of thought completely off the tracks with a totally useless comment or insight that could have waited. Stop interrupting and let me finish my thought! Where was I again? Oh crap, now I can't remember anymore. Nevermind.

Welcome to the modern meeting, where worke…

Social Media "Incidents" Costing Average Company $4 Million A Year

How much is employee social media use costing your company in lost brand reputation, data loss, lower stock price and sagging customer trust?

Symantec's 2011 "Social Media Protection Flash Poll" of 1,225 executives in 33 countries finds more than 90% of companies surveyed have already experienced the major downsides of employee social media use, including proprietary information being leaked online, increased litigation exposure, over-sharing with customers and overall loss of brand reputation. Let's all tweet our way to lower P/E ratios!

Roughly 46% of employers told Symantec that the over-sharing of information on public forums is the most common problem they face. I'll assume that "information" in this context means talking too much about everything from company policies to national politics to pop culture to the over-cooked Hot Pocket the employee just ate for lunch. Or telling cranky online customers that they'll have to hold there horses because…

Cool Job Openings: Assistant Duck Master At the Peabody Hotel

Do you work well with water fowl? Can you roll out a red carpet?

If so, the Peabody hotel in Memphis, Tennessee has the job for you! The Peabody is looking for a part-time assistant duck master to help feed and escort the hotel's five famed ducks from the penthouse suite to the lobby fountain in the morning and then back to the penthouse suite at the end of the day. The job includes some lights, camera, action because the "duck march" as it's billed (no pun intended) is a big tourist attraction in Memphis.

In between marches, the assistant duck master will work as a concierge.

You can read more about the 75-plus-year history of the Peabody ducks on the hotel's website. You can read the job description and apply for the job online here. (And if you land an interview, I hope it goes just ducky.)

Hoarders Are Less Likely To Get Promoted

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Hoarding can hurt your career.

Or so says a new CareerBuilder survey, where verging on one-third of employers (28%) said they are less likely to promote employees who have a messy office or work space.

CareerBuilder surveyed 2,662 U.S. hiring managers and 5,299 employees.

So messy desk, messy mind. At least it's the perception if you have stacks of paper leaning on your desk that are covering the discarded wrappers to granola bars you ate in October. 2009. Oops. Good thing we're not talking about electronic hoarding, because then things could get really messy.

Stock Market Bubble? Just Look At the Nouns And Verbs

Wondering if there's a stock market bubble? The nouns and verbs being used to describe the market could tell you everything you need to know.

A group of computer scientists examined 18,000 articles by the Financial Times,The New York Times, and the BBC and found a link between nouns, verbs and stock market bubbles.

Specifically, the hotter a market becomes -- e.g., bubble -- the shorter the list of nouns and verbs generally used to describe it. In this global word economy, reporters and analysts all start to talk and sound the same in reference to the market in question. "Soared" and "scaling new heights" are just two terms that tend to be repeated over and over as a bubble grows larger. The talk becomes so streamlined, in fact, that the conversation narrows to cover only a small subset of events related to the entire market. Pretty soon, we know the whole conversation by heart because it never changes. You know, like how social media stocks the housing market i…

For Gen X, Space Shuttle Is End Of An Era

I wanted to be an astronaut when I was a kid. Buck Rogers In the 25th Century was appointment television for me -- Gil Gerard and Erin Gray were so cool -- and one Christmas my family gave me a copy of Carl Sagan's Cosmos with the inscription "To the first lady on Mars!" I never made it to Mars obviously, although I'm pretty sure some people who happen across this blog probably think I belong there.

So it feels like a chapter is closing today as the Space Shuttle era ends. Like every other Gen Xer, I remember the excitement of those first Space Shuttle launches and how teachers would wheel a television into the classroom so we could watch them. Seeing this clip of Sally Ride brings back a ton of memories.

Last week I was at the National Air and Space Museum here in Washington, where a Space Shuttle demonstration was in progress. Kids crowded around the stage as the presenter talked about each Space Shuttle craft. A large group of Gen X parents stood behind the kids, an…

Wednesday Layoff News Round-up

Is it just me, or do layoffs seem to be happening everywhere this week? Here's a small sampling.

Cisco is laying off 9% of its global workforce.

Borders Books is shutting down, leaving 10,700 employees out of work.

Cracker Barrel serves layoff notices to 60 corporate employees.

Lawson Software in Minnesota doles out pink slips after being bought by another company.

Goldman Sachs will nix 1,000 employees.

Electric Boat, Connecticut's fifth-largest employer, ships away 104 employees.

DC Public Schools dismisses 413 employees.

Layoff notices have been mailed to state employees in Connecticut.

11 of 12 San Francisco Superior Court commissioners get their walking papers.

NBA employees are getting ejected from the game.

Lockheed Martin offers buyouts to 6,500 employees.

NASA contractor Alliant Techsystems Inc. starts the countdown clock on up to 100 employees as the Space Shuttle program ends.

Meanwhile, NASA employees will be looking for new jobs at the Space Coast Job Fair. But first, they'…

Breaking News: Social Media Is Making Us Feel Lonely

All the kids are doing it.

Hanging out on social media sites, that is. Twitter, Facebook, texting, Google+ if they get an invite. The younger generation is all over these sites and programs like a gold digger on a rich guy.

But now the younger generation is feeling lonely. The Relationships Australia 2011 Relationship Indicators Survey finds people in the 25-34 age range are the loneliest generation and it just so happens that they're more likely to be using at least four social media platforms at any given time.

With social media, the more isn't the merrier: 40% of people who are everywhere, all the time on social media feel lonely compared to 11% of people who tend to frequent only one social media site. Also not surprisingly, Facebook users who write ten status updates per hour are the loneliest people on the planet. Damn it, will somebody please care about my trip to Starbuck's for once!?

So it turns out that face time and off-line human contact still matter greatly to our…

House Gym As Dirty As Every Other Gym In America

The House gym apparently needs a good wipe down, or at least more members of Congress who aren't trying to relive their 20s on the treadmill.

As The Hillreports, the House gym has been the scene of workout injuries and the occasional Staph infection, which pretty much makes it like every other gym in America. See? You do have something in common with your member of Congress after all!

And like every other workplace gym in America, members of Congress grumble about the lack of up-to-date equipment. As former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.) said of the current equipment: "It's certainly adequate, but it's not gold-plated. It could probably use an upgrade, but I don't think Congress is interested in investing right now while they're cutting benefits."

Yes, yes, yes -- probably not a great idea, especially since we can see the bitter election ads all the way from the sweat-covered locker room door. While your Medicare benefits were being cut, Congressman so-and-so was do…

Employee Morale Tanks When A Co-worker Takes Sick Leave

An employee goes on long-term sick leave. For the boss, it means having to delegate the employee's work and potentially suffering sizable productivity losses. But what do the employee's co-workers think?

It turns out that they don't view long-term sick leave much better than the boss. New Aviva UK Health finds almost one-quarter (23%) think an employee going on sick leave drains all the fun out of the daily grind, and 10% think the employee's extended absence will make the company go out of business. One in five employees gets upset about having to pick up more slack around the office. Only one in five?

Anyway, the next thing it knows, the company has a huge morale problem on its hands. Just a little something for managers to ponder the next time a FMLA request hits their desk.

Children Are Safer With Grandparents Behind the Wheel

Think twice before you chide older drivers because it turns out they're a better bet for keeping your kids safe en route.

New Children's Hospital of Philadelphia research concludes kids are less likely to be seriously injured in a crash when they're riding with grandma and grandpa.

In fact, the risk of serious injury to kids is half that of driving around town with their parents, even though grandparents tend to get into more accidents overall and tend to be more lax in making sure safety belts are tightened correctly. What in the hell is a five-point harness? Hey, in their day the kids were doing snow angels on the back seat while Mom blasted her new Herb Alpert and The Tijuana Brass 8-track. Be quiet kids, I can't hear The Lonely Bull! It was survival of the fittest back then.

But things are much different now, and while the researchers don't actually deem older people the better drivers I would imagine they are less distracted drivers because they're probably n…

If You're Unemployed, Companies Still Don't Want You

If you're one of the long-term unemployed, you know this already but I'll say it again anyway: Companies don't want to hire you because you've been unemployed for a long time.

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A new report from the National Employment Law Project (NELP) says that unemployed Americans are having a hell of a time getting a foot in the door. According to NELP Executive Director Christine Owens:
"This practice is a perverse catch-22 that requires workers to have jobs in order to get jobs, and it means highly qualified, experienced workers who want and need work can’t get past the starting gate in the application process simply because they lost their jobs through no fault of their own," Owens continued. "As a business practice, this makes no sense. It is debilitating to workers—particularly the long-term unemployed—and it hampers economic recovery."
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission held a hearing on the problem in February, …

Do You Work With A Food Critic?

You sit down with a few co-workers to eat your lunch. Suddenly, you feel a disapproving glance. "You do realize that what you're eating has corn syrup in it, right?"

You turn to look at your very disapproving co-worker, who goes on to tell you how your eating habits are just this side of all wrong. He warns you about the evils of soda, chips and the national obesity rate. He guesses how much sodium and sugar your lunch must have in it. He suggests gluten-free, free-range breads. He gushes about his five favorite organic products at Whole Foods and expounds on the latest nutritional fads. He raves about a cook book he's reading by Alice Waters. He tells you that you need to start drinking a specific (and very expensive) vegetable drink and proceeds to break down the Nutrition Facts box for you from fiber content to Vitamin A percentiles. He's done the research, and he makes it damn near impossible for the boss to order a catered, in-house lunch. In sum, he's r…

Friday Workplace News Round-Up

Happy Friday! Here are a few workplace headlines catching my eye today:

Rupert Murdoch's right hand woman resigns amid U.K. phone hacking scandal.

Robert Reich wonders if President Obama can pull a Clinton on the GOP.

Here's how to save for retirement if you're severely underemployed. Suspend your sense of disbelief while reading.

Jobs in home health are hot, too bad basic labor laws don't apply to these workers.

IT night shift workers are overweight and undersexed.

College professors are awarding way too many "A"s.

A Samsung study concludes Samsung factory workers aren't getting leukemia.

How's your staycation going?

Surprise! People who use workplace jargon aren't really thinking outside the box.

NASA's Space Shuttle employee headcount dwindles.

Only in Texas.

"Generation Potter" mourns its passing youth. Get used to it kids, it only gets worse.

Case in point: Gen Xers are finally buying mini vans.

Flip-Flops Top Summer's Workplace Fashion No-No List

Thinking about wearing flip-flops to work? Unless you work at the pool or the beach, it's probably not a great idea. Even on Casual Friday.

Adecco/Opinion Research Corporation surveyed 1,000 adult Americans and the vast majority (80%) said thongs flip-flops are just all kinds of wrong for the workplace. Miniskirts and strapless, revealing tops also made the list, but far more women than men disapproved of these fashion choices at work. Go figure. But I do agree that flip-flops do not belong in the workplace. They just aren't professional. Call me an old fuddy-duddy if you will, but I'm standing my ground on this one.

And when exactly did our society make the thongs-to-flip-flops name conversion? I really want to know, because in the 1970s these revealing footwear were called "thongs" and now I have to remind my kids to put on their "flip-flops," which has lead to a few embarrassing moments at the pool when I've had to quickly correct myself. You know …

Politicians On Capitol Hill Are Also Fighting Over Styrofoam Cups

Let's forget the debt ceiling talks for a minute to talk about what really matters: Fights over Styrofoam products in the House cafeteria!

Our elected officials in Congress went at each other yesterday over the use of Styrofoam cups and plates in House employee cafeterias. The House Republicans brought Styrofoam back into House dining areas in February 2011 after former Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had banned it. Take that, San Fran Nan!

So yesterday Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) offered up an anti-Styrofoam amendment in an Appropriations Committee meeting that got voted down 26-18. Apparently, Republicans like their non-environmentally friendly polystyrene foam products. But they hate Minority Leader Pelosi’s Green the Capitol program even more, so they stuck a plastic fork in Rep. Moran's amendment.

So, there you go. Will the 200th Congress find a big stack of dining artifacts buried in a back room someday, since it takes hundreds of years for polystyrene to degrade -- and …

Study: Coffee And Tea Drinkers Are Less Infectious

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Do you drink hot coffees and teas? Well, pour yourself an even bigger mug this morning because a new study finds you're less likely to have strains of yucky (and very infectious) methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) in your nose!

Researchers at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston discovered that drinking either coffee or tea cuts the rate of "nose MRSA" (for lack of a better term) by half. The rate jumps to 67% if you drink both beverages. Highly-caffeinated office workers everywhere rejoice!

The study appears in the July/August issue of Annals of Family Medicine. Click here for the full text or PDF version. You're welcome.

Show your health-conscious co-worker, friend or relative this study the next time they look down their noses at you for drinking coffee. Then ask them to keep their hands away from their own noses, because they probably have some MRSA action going on in there. Okay, okay: I know you'…

Employees Think Co-Workers Are Using Smartphones To Job Hunt

More than one-third of Americans now own a smartphone, those pocket-sized miracle gadgets that let us send email, surf the web and instant message with friends.

But you might be surprised how your co-workers think you're using your smartphone.

More than half (52%) of people in a new Qumu survey think other people are using their smartphones to look for new jobs. Close to half (46%) think other people are using their smartphones to find side jobs. So you might be reading a work-related email on your smartphone but your co-worker thinks you're looking for greener pastures or at the very least, a side job to earn a little extra dosh.

It's not surprising that employees have gotten very creative in how they check these devices on the down low. Hiding their smartphones underneath the table, going to the restroom, obscuring their smartphones behind notebooks and folders, pretending to tie their shoes and "creating a distraction" are all popular ways of taking a sneak peek.…

Would You Like Some Fingerprint Biometrics With Your Pizza?

Do you dine at Pizza Hut in South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee or Virginia? If so, the hands preparing your pizza have undergone fingerprint biometrics.

The Pizza Hut franchisee in these states, Rage Inc., has rolled out something called DigitalPersona Fingerprint Biometrics to reduce unauthorized discounts, payroll fraud and "buddy punching," e.g., clocking in for co-workers.

Quick sidebar: Hey companies, could you start adding a space between the words in your company names again, please? The attach-the-words-together-to-look-cool-and-different-trend is getting old and it makes people have to re-check the spelling three times. Thanks. Anyway, here's how it works.

So there you have it: P'Zone brought to you by fingerprint biometrics! In five states, at least. Biometric devices have been around for awhile, but how are they impacting everything from employee theft rates to overall productivity? States can have strict rules regarding employee fingerprint…

Study: New Grocery Stores Don't Make Us Eat Any Better

Your office is located in a food desert where the nearest restaurant or grocery store is miles away.

But that's about to change, because a new grocery store is going in right down the street from your office building. You can even see the freshly-painted parking lot and glittering signage from your office window! Now you're going to eat better. The path to a new you starts today, or whenever the store opens. You'll be feasting on fruits, vegetables and SnackWell's cookies instead of hitting up the snack machine. You can already see yourself losing weight. Feel the burn.

Well, keep dreaming because a new UNC-Chapel Hill study reveals food desert denizens who suddenly find themselves living in a food oasis thanks to a new, neighborhood grocery store do not necessarily eat better as a result. That's right: The quality of our overall diet and our consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables does not directly correlate to grocery availability. Bummer. But if a new fast-foo…

Is A Co-worker's Carpool Etiquette Driving You Crazy?

High gas prices mean employees are putting the pedal to the metal a little less often.

Roughly 41% of employees in a new ComPsych survey say they're driving less or running multiple errands at once to compensate for expensive pump prices, while 13% are canceling trips and vacations. Another 8% say they're more likely to telecommute, to take the subway or bus, or to carpool.

Carpooling is taking on new meaning in our drive-alone work culture. Not only can employees save a few bucks on gas by taking this route, they're also more likely to get to work on time.

Or are they? Anyone who has cruised the HOV lanes with a few of their best work buds most likely has encountered situations of poor carpool etiquette. One employee is consistently running late, making the whole group late for work. The group discovers that it has a backseat driver (or maybe the driver went to the White Knuckle Ride School of Driving and deserves the constant stream of comments). One co-worker's smell…

Jobs Report: Surprise, You're Still Unemployed

I needed the weekend to digest Friday's jobs report. It was that depressing.

So depressing, in fact, that I cranked "My Doorbell" by The White Stripes halfway through reading June's numbers and then went over to Google to find cheap, easy taco salad recipes. I'm not sure what this reaction means either, other than I was hungry. For rampant job creation. For politicians on the national level who really seem to care about the jobs problem and are willing to fight for the nation's jobless. For the taco salads my mom and I used to eat at El Torito after a day of shopping at the mall, back when people had disposable income to spend on shopping and salads. Ah, memories.

The private sector created 57,000 jobs in June but state and local governments cut 39,000 jobs, leading to a net gain of 18,000 jobs. The federal government shed an additional 14,000 workers last month. All together, roughly 53,000 federal, state and local government jobs were lost in June, which is j…

Does Lunch Lead To Workplace Accidents?

Be careful: Your work lunch might lead to injury.

A new Spanish study finds there's a "lunch effect" in which workplace accidents are more likely to happen -- and are more likely to be fatal -- between the hours of 1 and 5 p.m:
"The gravity and mortality rate of accidents are higher in the hours around lunchtime, regardless of who, how, when, where or with what the accident happens," Miguel A. Camino López, lead author of the study, said. The researcher in the Engineering and Responsible Management Group at the University of Burgos focused on the construction sector for this study.
So eat your salad or Lean Cuisine or whatever and then be careful to watch your step like you're watching your calorie intake.

Employee Fired For Eating Hot Dogs Wins Case

You're hungry, and so you eat two hot dogs left over from the company's Fourth of July picnic that are stored in the break room refrigerator. Your employer catches you eating them, calls the police, and then fires you for it.

A former retail employee in Indiana claims this is how he lost his job last year. He sued, and now the Indiana Court of Appeals says the firing was unjustified and that he is eligible for unemployment benefits.

The company says it was saving the hot dogs in the break room freezer as leftovers for Labor Day (sounds like a movie title...) and gave employees instructions not to eat them. Seriously? It was saving leftover hot dogs for two months in the company refrigerator to re-serve to employees over Labor Day? Does the company really need to pinch pennies to this extent? A hot dog is one of the cheapest meals in existence. And who would want to eat a freezer-burned hot dog on a soggy, defrosted bun? Sorry, that's just gross. I think most of us would have…

Hollywood Swims With Horrible Bosses

Do you have a horrible boss?

It's the meme of workplace writers across the land this week amid tomorrow's impending release of the Jason Bateman-Jennifer Aniston movie Horrible Bosses.

I had to check out the trailer online since the movie's theme is right up my alley. Oh look, there's Kevin Spacey and he's playing a horrible, mean boss! Where have I seen this before? Ah, yes. The 1994 classic Swimming With Sharks, where Kevin Spacey plays...a horrible, mean boss! In both movies, younger employees want to kill Kevin Spacey's character, or at the very least they want to cause him severe physical harm. Both movies were also made during recessions. Will Horrible Bosses be the Swimming With Sharks for a whole new generation of movie fans?

Who knows, but it's safe to say that Hollywood keeps Kevin Spacey on speed dial whenever it needs a bad boss to beat up.

Breaking News: Status Meetings Are A Waste Of Time

Psst, boss: The project status update meeting you've scheduled for this morning with the sales team is just a big waste of time.

A full 40% of employees in a new Clarizen/Harris Interactive survey think status update meetings waste valuable time and 70% say these meetings don't help them get any work done.

Clarizen/Harris Interactive polled U.S. 2,373 adults online last month.

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Yes, the "let's meet at 9:00 to talk about the project, someone pick up bagels at Panera Bread" ritual is just one, giant productivity drain. Is anyone really surprised by this finding? If you're spending more time talking about doing something instead of actually doing it, then it's not getting done.

And, in fact, not much real work is getting done: 67% of employees in the survey say they're spending up to four hours per week -- four hours! -- getting ready for their next status update meeting and 59% say the preparation lasts longer than the meeting. …

Do You Work With A Compulsive Talker?

You're sitting with a group of co-workers talking shop. But instead of talking about work, you're listening to one of your co-workers tell yet another long-winded story.

This one is about her uncle's cousin in Iowa who has a daughter starting college on full scholarship but she can't move into her dorm until the 10th because there was a water main break on campus and she still has to buy her books and she's going to miss her cat and I did mention what the mechanic said when she took her car in for a tune-up? It turned out her car had a problem with its...

I'll stop here, because it just keeps going. And going. And going. You've never met this co-worker's uncle's cousin's child and you never will, yet now you know all about her and it has absolutely no relation to the conversation at hand. Any effort to guide this loquacious employee back to the main topic is fruitless.

Unfortunately, you and your workmates have been ensnared in the trap of a com…

What Does Workplace Artwork Say About A Company?

It's an interesting question when you think about it. I mean, do you really want Edvard Munch's The Scream inducing fits of anxiety in customers and job applicants as they wait in your office lobby? Probably not. What the hell kind of company is this?

The artwork companies select does say something about them, and helping companies choose artwork has become a bigbusiness. It also explains why you're more likely to see bland, calming watercolor landscapes populating U.S. office spaces rather than frantic, modern artwork that looks like it was finger-painted by a three-year-old. If your company is adventurous, it might go with newspapers glued to canvas, since that's about all the morning paper is good for these days.

Companies are taking different approaches to artwork selection, according to this article:

Some larger area companies are known for approaching the art fairs with even deeper pockets. Much of the eclectic and extensive art collection at Epic Systems is selecte…

Congress Eliminates 1976 Jobless Tax On Companies

Something slipped underneath the radar late last week as we Americans were starting our Fourth of July holiday weekend. No, no, no, not Arnold and Maria. I'm talking about eliminating a 35-year-old unemployment tax on employers!

On Friday while you were at the grocery store loading up on hot dogs and beer Congress let a 1976 unemployment tax on private companies fizzle into the sunset like a Roman candle in a rainstorm. Eliminating this tax will save companies an estimated $14 billion over the coming decade, or about $14 per year per worker.

It looks like the payroll-tax "holiday" could get extended, too.

Meanwhile, newly-minted unemployed U.S. workers keep filing for unemployment benefits. Nothing to see here; just keep grilling. Now if only we could get a heaping helping of rampant job creation to go along with our hot dogs and beer. Light on the mayo, please.

America's Most Dangerous Job: Fireworks Stand Worker

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Every year magazines compile lists of America's most dangerous jobs. Logging, fishing and construction always make the list. But where are the fireworks stand employees?

Google the term "fireworks stand employees" and it'll spark up all kinds of interesting little news nuggets, from fireworks stand hold-ups to angry employees lighting matches. There's the Florida fireworks stand employee who got into a fight with a co-worker and started setting off fireworks. Then there's the fireworks stand employee who was threatened by robbers carrying 2 x 6s. In Portland, Oregon, a gang of four stole $1,000 worth of fireworks while two employees were told to lay face down on the ground. A Tacoma, Washington fireworks stand run by a charity, meanwhile, was robbed of more than $3,000.

And if thieves don't swoop in, the weather might. A fireworks stand in Pocahontas, Arkansas was destroyed by high winds and heavy rain a…