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Showing posts from October, 2011

Say Cheese: Google Is Taking Street View Inside Companies

If you've ever used Google for maps and directions, you've probably happened across Street View, which gives you a 360-degree view of actual streets. But what if Google could do the same for the inside of your workplace?

Well, it can and it is. You'd better wipe the muffin crumbs off your desk and empty all those overflowing recycling bins because 360-degree online views of your office are now a reality. Google is ramping up something called Business Photos, where 360-degree photos are being taken of business interiors and storefronts. Say "cheese" to your trusty, local Google photographer! According to PC World:
"This experience, using Street View technology, includes 360-degree imagery of the business interior and storefront," Google said back in May. "With this immersive imagery, potential customers can easily imagine themselves at the business and decide if they want to visit in person."

Photographs are taken by "trusted" photograph…

Sunday Sillies: Occupy the Fridge

I think this one is 100% funny.

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Americans Rank the World's Scariest Jobs

Which jobs scare you the most?

In honor of Halloween, CareerBuilder/Harris Interactive asked 4,384 American workers to name the world's scariest jobs. Here's what they said:

1. Bomb Squad Technician

2. High Rise Window Washer

3. Armed Forces

4. Miner

5. Police Officer

6. Alaskan Crab Fishing

7. Mortician

8. Firefighter

9. High School Teacher

10. Cemetery Worker

11. Exterminator

12. Stand-Up Comedian

13. Animal Control

14. Stunt Person

15. Politician

High school teacher? Yeah, I guess I can see that one. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Americans apparently like their Deadliest Catch marathons on the Discovery Channel, too. Actually, crab fishing is an incredibly dangerous job. No joking there.

CareerBuilder also asked workers what scares them the most about their own jobs. The threat of pay cuts scares 13% of employees, while roughly 9% of employees are scared by "workload" (more of it?) and the same percentage are scared about "presenting in front of other people." Somethi…

Friday Funnies: Underground From the Outside

You're running to catch a train and reach the subway platform to find the doors are closing and you'll have to wait for the next one. Damn. But not if you're this guy, who decided to latch on and hope for the best. Maybe your boss would give you Brownie points for making the extra effort to get to work on time, but, all things considered, it's probably worth the risk of being a few minutes late.

Young Employees Are Texting While Driving

If you manage any employees in the 16 to 24 age range, you might like to know about a new Ad Council/C+R Research survey that tells us a whopping 82% of young drivers are texting while driving.

The under-30 driver who blew right through the stop light or almost merged into you on the freeway? Yeah, that guy (or gal). He (or she) was probably too busy reading texts to C U. LOL. Not so funny are the other findings in the survey, which reveal that three-fourths of young drivers admit to texting while driving. Nearly half (49%) are texting while driving on a regular basis, while exactly half say they've ridden with a friend within the last four weeks who was texting while driving. OMG.

The survey included 1,004 U.S. teens and young adults in the 16-to-24 age range. The problem is so bad with the younger generation that we may soon be anointing designated drivers for texters:
"For over twenty-five years we have been working with NHTSA to successfully address drunk driving prevention…

Will This Year's Office Holiday Party Ruin Your Career?

November is nigh, which means it's almost time for that dreaded annual ritual: The office holiday party!

Maybe you go to your boss's house every year or the company rents a nice banquet room at a hotel. Maybe your employer prefers to do things on the cheap and invites everyone to the office conference room, which has been decorated to look non-officey but you can still hear the stressed-out receptionist answering phones and the decorations aren't really hiding the fact that it's 3 p.m. on a Friday and you're still at work. Whatever the setting, there's food, forced frivolity and, if you're lucky, some beer and wine. The good beer this time. You know what I'm talking about.

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But don't go too crazy, because a new national survey from Caron Treatment Centers reveals that more than half (52%) of full-time and part-time employees have watched a co-worker audition for Employees Gone Wild with some alcohol-fueled "inappropri…

Herman Cain Gives Us the Best Campaign Ad Ever

Just as I think the Republican primary field can't get any more surreal, along comes this new Herman Cain ad that's all kinds of awesome. The Marlboro Man would most certainly approve. Love the slow smile at the end, too. It'll make you wonder what they're smoking over at Cain's campaign headquarters.

New U.S. Labor Rule Requires "Quality" Investment Advice For Employees

Ah, the 401(k). That Wall Street-inspired ball of confusion for employees everywhere. How does it work? Can you explain what a Lipper average is again? Why are you guys doing this to me? So you're saying I'll never be able to retire, right? And is someone making a huge commission off my confusion?

Never fear, because the Department of Labor's Employee Benefits Security Administration is stepping in to handle the last question. It's just published a new, final rule that requires employee access to "quality fiduciary investment advice." Basically, this means getting rid of a few potential conflicts of interest such as investment advisers pushing stocks and funds that aren't in employees' best interest. Not to sound naive or anything, but we didn't have these rules already? According to the official U.S. DOL press release:
The prohibited transaction rules in ERISA and the IRC generally prevent a fiduciary investment adviser from recommending plan inves…

Companies With the Best Workplace Food

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Does your company give you the munchies or leave you reaching for the Tums? just ranked the companies with the best workplace food, and it's not surprising that some companies -- such as Google with its 25 cafes, organic food and company chefs -- make the list. Here is Glassdoor's rundown of the ten companies where employees just love, love, love the food, with the most-loved food ranked first:

1. Facebook
2. Google
3. Dreamworks Animation
4. Susquehanna International Group
5. LinkedIn
6. TripAdvisor
7. FactSet
8. Bloomberg
9. Zynga
10. Marvell Technology Group

So Facebook ranks better on eats than Google? Who knew. It turns out that Facebook gives employees free breakfast, lunch, dinner AND snacks. The type of food Facebook serves its employees ranges from all over the map from barbecue to Cuban rice and beans, too. This way, Facebook employees can stay at work and think of new and exciting features to upset users when they're not …

Friday Funnies: Joey Quits

It used to be that people created long-winded YouTube rants about their ex-employers, but the hot, new trend is quitting your job in spectacular fashion on YouTube! Hey, if you're going to march your way to the unemployment line, you'd might as well do it in style.

Safety, Sort Of: The Top Ten OSHA Violations

Safety must be the theme of the day, because the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration has just released its list of the top ten U.S. workplace safety violations.

Here are OSHA's ten most frequently cited U.S. workplace safety violations, according to a rundown in EIN News:

1. Scaffolding;
2. Fall protection;
3. Hazard communication;
4. Respiratory protection;
5. Ladders;
6. Lockout/tagout (e.g., warnings about potential for accidental startups);
7. Electrical wiring methods;
8. Industrial trucks;
9. General electrical requirements;
10. Machine guarding (e.g., appropriate barriers and devices to avoid flying chips, sparks, and blades).

So while you're climbing the ladder to success, you might want to make sure it meets mandatory weight-bearing capacity requirements.

U.S. "Misery Index" Highest Since 1983

Feeling a bit miserable lately? You're not alone, because Reuters reports this morning that the U.S. "misery index" -- a bit of simple math where the nation's inflation and unemployment rates are added together -- is at its highest level since Frank Stallone rocked the Billboard charts!

Okay, Reuters doesn't mention Frank Stallone, but things aren't looking so good. According to Reuters:

An unofficial gauge of human misery in the United States rose last month to a 28-year high as Americans struggled with rising inflation and high unemployment.

The misery index -- which is simply the sum of the country's inflation and unemployment rates -- rose to 13.0, pushed up by higher price data the government reported on Wednesday.

The data underscores the extent that Americans continue to suffer even two years after a deep recession ended, with a weak economic recovery imperiling President Barack Obama's hopes of winning reelection next year.
An unofficial gauge of h…

Do You Work With A Negaholic?

Is one of your co-workers a "it'll never work" type of person who spends the whole day complaining? Do you remember (fondly) the days when everyone in the office wasn't so damn negative all the time?

If you've ever worked with an employee who views everything from the glass-half-empty perspective, then you know how depressing and demoralizing it can be. Everything management does is some sort of blanket conspiracy to this employee, whether we're talking about salaries, sales or the dirty dishes someone left in the break room sink. Everything and everyone is out to get them, all the time.

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The danger for employers is that the office "negaholic" can rub off on his or her co-workers until the office is one giant daily diss of both projects and people. No matter how hard a well-intentioned employee tries, it can be almost impossible to avoid falling into this employee's pit of negativity. We have no choice but to interact …

Is This the Most Relaxing Work Music Ever?

Is work, or the act of looking for it, turning you into a stress puppy? Well, put away the Enya and Coldplay songs because there's a new stress-busting artiste in town.

Musical group Marconi Union and British therapeutic sound practitioner Lyz Cooper say they have created the most relaxing piece of music ever recorded in the history of the world. That's right: In the history of the entire freaking world. Their eight-minute musical effort called Weightless is so calming, in fact, that it can supposedly lower blood pressure and cortisol levels while also getting the heart and brain waves in sync. So what does the song sound like, exactly? Here you go. Don't fall asleep.

Hmm, I don't know. Why does this song make me want a Snapple? Seriously. I haven't had one in years. Why is that? Anyway, if you feel like you just took an entire yoga class from the comforts of your home office chair (namaste), then the song has done its job. Here's a bit about the research into th…

Best Company To Work (And Die) For?

A customer service co-worker in a nearby cubicle appears to be unconscious, and so you rush over to attempt CPR. But your boss tells you to stop and to get back on the phone taking calls. Your co-worker dies at her desk.

This is what one Ohio Time Warner employee claims happened at her office recently:
So why did the employee stop CPR? well, we tracked her down. She wouldn't go on camera, but what she told us on the phone is shocking.

The women tells us, and other employees confirm, that a supervisor ordered her to end her life saving efforts, and "get back on the phone and take care of customers."

The woman who tried to save Julia Nelson tells us yet another boss warned her, she could be "held liable if something goes wrong."
Maybe this boss hasn't heard of Good Samaritan laws that should legally protect employees and employers who attempt to help an employee in desperate need of medical attention? Maybe this story should inspire companies to review emergency r…

Friday Funnies: Facebook Official

Using social media to promote your business or resume seems so 2010 because now we live in the age of the Facebook love song. That's right: Let's make this relationship the real deal by updating our Facebook status!

The video for "Facebook Official" by Heart2Heart, a group that's a cross between The Backstreet Boys and Rebecca Black with a touch of Flock of Seagulls hair thrown in, has gone viral. Suddenly, Debbie Gibson's "Only In My Dreams" never sounded so good. Enjoy.

Report: Workplace Social Media Use Means More Malware Attacks

All the employees are doing it.

Posting to Facebook and opening random links on Twitter, that is. But are employers aware of the potential for malware problems?

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Web security company Websense tells us today that more than half (52%) of companies are experiencing regular malware attacks as a direct result of employee social media use at work, which averages 30 minutes per work day according to the report. "Malware" is shortform for "malicious software," which is basically any program that's bad for your computer, laptop or hand-held device.

Websense surveyed more than 4,600 IT and IT security workers in 12 countries.

So an employee was "just" trying to open a total stranger's Twitpic photo and boom! Oh, no -- where's the IT guy!? My computer suddenly isn't working. For IT people, social media sites must be sort of like a STD, the gift that keeps on giving. I don't think there's a vaccine yet, though.

Surprise, You're Working Longer Hours Now

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Is this economy making you feel like a slave to the clock? If so, it's not all in your head because consulting firm Towers Watson tells us that U.S. and Canadian employees are indeed working longer hours these days.

The Towers Watson Talent Management and Rewards Survey studied 316 North American companies -- 218 of them in the United States -- and reports roughly two-thirds of employees who are still working are working longer hours now than they did before the Great Recession. Not only are they working longer hours, they don't see an end to it anytime soon. Employers are starting to get worried about the impact on productivity, and whether or not employees will be too scared to take risks. Yes, probably. Here's what one expert has to say:
"Employees generally don't mind doing more with less especially when economic conditions are tough," said Ryan Johnson, CCP, Vice President of Research for WorldatWork. "But when this dra…

Study: Non-Compete Agreements Are Bad For Employees

A new MIT study finds non-compete agreements are dearly costing the employees who sign them.

The study, which included more than 1,000 engineers who signed non-compete agreements, (NCAs) reveals that one-third ended up seeking new work outside their chosen career field because of the NCA and it's resulting in fairly substantial pay cuts:
"People are highly constrained by their non-compete agreements," says Matt Marx, an assistant professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. "When people leave their jobs, they often leave their industry. Non-compete agreements leave them with a choice of staying where they are, or taking a career detour."
Even more, the study says that many workers don't even know they have to sign a NCA until they start a job. So they're filling out healthcare forms and 401(k) paperwork on their first day of work and there's this other document in the pile to sign. But are employees signing their chosen careers and future income po…

What To Do When An Employee Doesn't Celebrate Halloween

It's October, which means it's time to break out the Halloween decorations and the bowls of candy. But what if one of your co-workers doesn't like Halloween and doesn't want to celebrate it?

This problem isn't actually all that uncommon, and different people have different reasons for hating Halloween. Some might find the holiday too creepy and scary while others might find it too consumer-ish. They might have a thing about corn syrup or candy, or they might shun it for religious reasons.

Whatever it is, you can feel like you're tip toeing around this co-worker as you pass the candy corn. Managers have good reason to be concerned. Are we setting ourselves up for weeks' worth of poor morale or -- worst case scenario -- a hostile work environment claim? What's a good manager to do?

First, talk to the employee privately to say that the other employees want to celebrate Halloween this year with decorations, candy, an office party, costumes or whatever, and tha…

The Twelve Most Overrated Jobs In America

Does your job live up to the hype?

Most people over a certain age would say no, but here comes with its list of the twelve most overrated jobs of 2011 to back you up. Think your job made the list? Drum roll, please, because here are the most over-hyped jobs in all the land:

1. Senior corporate executive. You have to boss people around all day, be told "yes" all the time and make bad policy that doesn't make sense to entry-level employees. Plus, unemployed Americans tend to hate you. Average salary: $161,141.00.

2. Surgeon. Feel like you're living an episode of Gray's Anatomy yet? No? Well, at least you earn an average of $365,258.00.

3. Physician. The patients are grumpy, sick and overweight and you're always running 20 to 60 minutes late on appointments which is partly why they're grumpy. Average salary: $192,065.00.

4. Psychiatrist. It's not nearly as funny as Alan Arkin made it look in the movie Grosse Point Blank. What do you mean you ca…

In Business, Triathlons Are the New Golf

Looking to hob nob and impress someone in the C-suite? Well, stop arranging a tee time and sign up for a triathlon instead.

Today's C-level executives are no longer satisfied with 18 holes on the green. No, they want to beat the crap out of themselves with a lot of running, biking and swimming. As Advertising Age tells us:
According to a study initiated by USA Triathlon, the average triathlete is a married 38-year-old with an income of $126,000. Forty-four percent have kids living at home; 60% are male. They spend in excess of $4,000 annually on bike gear, athletic footwear, race fees and nutritional supplements. Nearly half have traveled more than 500 miles for a race.
And apparently, an increasing number of average triathletes are CEOs, CFOs and other C-suiters who might see golf as too slow, too tame, too much Dad's game, too cliche, too whatever. Who knows. The point is, the business torch has been passed to a new, hyperventilating generation of executives and you'll nee…

Want Better Productivity? Don't File Your Emails

If you're filing emails into folders thinking you're oh-so organized, be aware that you're actually wasting time.

So say the folks at IBM Research, who recently compared people who file their emails away in folders vs. people who just use the "search" function.

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It turns out that email users who use the "search" function are retrieving specific emails much faster. To be specific, about 40 second faster: It takes an average of 17 seconds to find an email using the search function vs. 58 seconds when scanning email folders, IBM Research says.

But the bigger problem may be that employees are spending 20 minutes per work day filing their emails. And there's more and more information to file, from actual emails to instant message conversations. Where should I put this email so I can find it quickly? Under "F" or under "M"? In this folder or that one? Crap, I don't know, I need another cup of coffee. File …

How To Handle Farting At Work

Nancy Grace farted on national television. Or was it a tummy grumble? Either way, viewers heard it and now it's gone viral.

Which brings up an interesting question: How should you handle embarrassing bodily malfunctions at work?

We all fart, we all get stomach gurgles, we all burp and hiccup, and usually at the worst possible moments. Maybe you "sneezefarted," meaning you sneezed so hard you let one rip at the same time. So awkward and embarrassing. Whatever happens, it's how we handle these situations that counts. The first and trickiest step is whether or not to acknowledge the obvious. Rule of thumb: the more obvious the bodily malfunction, the more you should just own it. If you fart in a staff meeting and everyone heard it, point the finger at yourself (or have someone pull it) and have a sense of humor about the whole thing. Maybe you shouldn't have had those Cajun rice and beans. Yes, feel free to reference lines from the Russian Unicorn if you must. Throw i…

Jealous Employees Most Likely To Sabotage Their Co-workers

Blame the green-eyed monster if you suspect a co-worker is sabotaging you on the job.

A new University of British Columbia study says envious employees are more likely to undermine their co-workers if they feel disconnected at work.

"We often hear that people who feel envious of their colleagues try to bring them down by spreading negative rumours, withholding useful information, or secretly sabotaging their work," says Prof. [Karl] Aquino, who conducted the study with colleagues from the University of Minnesota, Clemson University in South Carolina and Georgia State University.

However, Aquino says envy is only the fuel for sabotage. "The match is not struck unless employees experience what psychologists call 'moral disengagement' – a way of thinking that allows people to rationalize or justify harming others."
In other words, you somehow deserve all the backbiting, not to mention the typos this co-worker intentionally added to your report. Or maybe this empl…

Steve Jobs, the Original Anti-MBA CEO

I don't usually get teary eyed over the death of CEOs I've never met, but I'll make an exception for Steve Jobs.

Apple products were manna from heaven for tentative technology users like me. They were, and still are, addictive, attractive, intuitive. A little bit of artistic alchemy sitting on a desk, on our laps, and now in the palm of our hands. Steve Jobs fundamentally understood the average computer user, the person who doesn't speak binary and has no interest in learning to do so. The consumer who doesn't care what's underneath a computer's hood as long as it's fun, looks good and drives well. That Mr. Jobs could view technology so innately from the user's perspective made him seem human. A soulful visionary. A Bob Dylan in a DOS-driven world. Today it feels like there will never be another CEO quite like him. Who will make insanely cool stuff now?

The business press will touch on these points much more eloquently in the coming days, but what mig…

Employment Confidence Survey Finds Workers Aren't Confident At All

Are you confident that your job will around next month or next year? If you're looking for a job, are you feeling good that you'll find one?

If you answered "no," you might be interested in Glassdoor's third quarter Employment Confidence Survey of more than 2,250 U.S. adults that reveals Americans are nervous. Actually, pessimistic is more like it. More than one-quarter of employed Americans surveyed think they'll lose their jobs any day now, while more than three-fourths (80%) of unemployed survey participants think it's going to take even longer to find a new job. Verging on half (well, 45%) of the unemployed are prepared to take a survival job. World Domination, indeed.

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The good news? Employees aren't as worried about getting the axe as they were last Spring, but they're (cough) really, really worried about their co-workers. Roughly one-third (32%) surveyed are "concerned" that their co-workers could get la…

Smile, You Can't Afford Dental Care Anymore

A new report on trends in U.S. dental care probably won't have any of us saying "cheese."

The 2011 Research Survey of Dental Care Affordability and Accessibility finds half of Americans can no longer afford dental care, and it's leading to 164 million lost hours of productivity every year. In addition, 77% of those without dental coverage are delaying regular dental care due to cost.

After you chomp down on this bite wing of economic malaise, consider this: Dental care premiums rose faster than medical premiums last year:
"The recession and high unemployment rates have put more of the burden of dental care on the shoulders of already strained budgets," says Jake Winebaum, founder and CEO of "As a result, our findings indicate an alarming number of people are missing their needed preventative care -- largely due to high cost and lack of insurance coverage. And something needs to be done about it."
You might be one o…

Study: Women Who Wear Makeup Are More Competent

Are you tired of your daily makeup routine and thinking about skipping it for the day?

Besides looking like you've walked right out of a Stars Without Makeup spread, the people you meet in work-related situations might perceive you as being both pale and incompetent.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Procter & Gamble, Boston University and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute showed pictures of women in various states of makeup preparedness to a study group and had the participants rate the pictures on likability, attractiveness, trustworthiness, and just to cake it on, competence level. It turns out the women who wore little to no makeup were judged as less competent while the women who were verging into clown makeup territory were viewed as less trustworthy.

Could your makeup impact your success on the job front?:
"In situations where a perceiver is under a high cognitive load or under time pressure, he or she is more likely to rely on suc…