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Showing posts from April, 2012

Congress Might Ban Employers From Asking For Facebook Passwords

A bill has been introduced in Congress that would ban employers from asking employees and job applicants for their Facebook user names and passwords. Let's take a snoopy look-see at the "Social Networking Online Protection Act," shall we? Democratic Reps. Eliot Engel (N.Y.) and Jan Schakowsky introduced the bill, which would prohibit managers from saying, "...aaaaaand we're going to need your Facebook user name and password. Could you write it down for me?" Employers who dare to ask would face a $10,000 federal fine. As Rep. Engel says on his website:"Social media sites have become a widespread communications tool – both personally and professionally – all across the world. However, a person’s so-called 'digital footprint' is largely unprotected. There have been a number of reports about employers requiring new applicants to give their username and password as part of the hiring process. The same has occurred at some schools and universit…

Snoop Dodgers: Apple To Build Employee-Only Restaurant

A little worried about competitors overhearing your conversations? If you're Apple, then you just seek a permit from the City of Cupertino, California to build your own 21,468-square-foot, employee-only restaurant -- that's a big ass cafeteria to the rest of us -- where employees can talk above a whisper about work-related things. Pass the pepper, and the product specs! As CNET reports:At Tuesday's go-ahead meeting, [Dan Whisenhunt, Apple's director of real estate facilities] declared: "We like to provide a level of security so that people and employees can feel comfortable talking about their business, their research and whatever project they're engineering without fear of competition sort of overhearing their conversations." Just don't lose another iPhone prototype in a Silicon Valley restaurant, and the company will definitely have it made. But what if your company can't afford to build a ginormous, employee-only cafeteria to keep product ta…

Company Without Bosses Flooded With Resumes

Forget bring your dog to work day, because Seattle-based software and game developer Valve Corporation opened the job applicant floodgates when the company let slip that it hasn't had a boss in 16 years. So much for the power of steady corporate leadership, right? Valve Corporation, which has around 300 employees, posted its employee handbook online the other day and well, well, well, what do we have here? A company without leaders at the helm? Wowzers. Now everyone from lawyers to doctors to car mechanics is apparently bombarding Valve, whose video games include Half-Life, Counter-Strike and Left 4 Dead if you're into that sort of thing, with resumes. The folks at Valve believe that having employees "sit at a desk and do what they're told obliterates 99% of their value." Instead, the company relies on its own management theory called "flatland," where employees just sort of get together spontaneously to create cool stuff -- an organic, non-hierarchic…

How Should You Handle An Insecure Boss?

Is your boss angry and insecure? A recent USC Marshall School of Business study is right up your alley, then. It says that being nicer to your boss can make him or her less angry and insecure. Um, let's have a meeting of the minds about this, shall we? First, about the study: Two researchers at the University of Southern California wanted to explore "the interactive effects of power, competency threats and gratitude expression on the tendency to denigrate others." In everyday speak, this means looking at how a subordinate's good attitude and general level of gratitude changes how someone in power (the boss) reacts and generally acts. Maybe, just maybe, if employees would show the boss a little thankfulness and respect for a change, then he or she wouldn't have to be such a bellicose, condescending bitch around the office, m'kay? So does niceness negate negativity and neediness? Annoying alliterations aside, the researchers divided study participants into tw…

Transgender Employees Now Have Workplace Rights, Thanks To EEOC Ruling

While you were sleeping, news broke of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling that gives transgender employees and applicants workplace discrimination rights. It's the first time the EEOC has declared transgendered workers protected under federal law. Via Think Progress: Late yesterday, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) issued a comprehensive ruling giving transgender individuals sorely-needed federal protections against discrimination in the workplace. According to the ruling, employers who discriminate against employees or job applicants on the basis of gender identity can now be found in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, specifically its prohibition of sex discrimination in employment. This ruling is a very big deal for the transgender community because many states still do not have workplace laws to protect them from discrimination.Metro Weeklybroke the story.

Woman Gives Kidney To Boss, Gets Kick In the Ass

You literally give your left kidney to your boss, take some time off to recuperate, and then get demoted and fired. New York working mom Debbie Stevens, 47, claims this is what happened to her after she donated one of her kidneys to her sick boss, who had been unable to find a donor. But there's more to the claim: Stevens asserts that she was "groomed" to be a "backup" donor, and now she wants her kidney back. No, really. According to the New York Post:The Long Island mother who was fired after she donated her kidney to save her boss' life demanded that the woman return the organ yesterday. "You hate me so much, and I'm so despicable — give me my kidney back!" wailed Debbie Stevens, 47. Her employer at Atlantic Automotive Group, Jackie Brucia, 47, thanked Stevens for the gift yesterday — and then "wished her the best." "I will always be grateful that she gave me a kidney," Brucia told 1010 WINS-AM radio. "I have n…

Are You Ready For National Administrative Professionals' Day?

Wednesday is National Administrative Professionals' Day, the day we thank all of those who keep our days on track, our printers full of paper, and our clients thinking we're on top of our game. But what does the average office worker think of the average administrative assistant? got the skinny. Don't put me on hold, because this ought to be good. Before I go any further, I should say that Blogger has been warning its users for more than a month that it would be "upgrading" its layout and Friday was the day. I logged in, only to realize that I had NO IDEA where anything was on this blog anymore. It was like my local grocery store has been moved suddenly to a secret location, and when I finally tracked it down everything was on a new aisle. There was no amount of coffee to help me cope -- being the technophobe I am -- and so I took the day off. (And Google/Blogger, I'm not a fan of the redesign. Why fix something that wasn't broken? Sorry, pet…

Should You Get Fired For "Liking" Something On Facebook?

I've blogged before about the evils of Facebook's "like" button, but there's just more and more to dislike lately. Case in point: Now employees can get fired for "liking" something on Facebook. Oh, great.

see more Failbook

A Library of Congress employee claims he was fired for liking a Facebook page called "Two Dads," which, as you might guess, discusses issues affecting the gay and lesbian community. The act of "liking" this particular Facebook page essentially outed the employee to his boss, who apparently began sending the employee religiously-laced emails to try to, you know, change his ways.

The ex-employee is now suing the Library of Congress, and has filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunities Complaints Office that will be addressed in the coming weeks. As a show of support, the "Two Dads" Facebook page now touts a large photo of the former LOC employee, Peter TerVeer, as its banner.

TerVeer's case put…

Are You Ready For National Volunteer Week?

I sure hope so, because it's already half over. Yes, this week is National Volunteer Week, and if you'd like to put in a few hours of volunteering there are still many things you can do.

The National HandsOn Network website will key you into hundreds of volunteer projects happening in your area.

Companies are doing their part, too. Roughly 1,000 Texas Roadhouse employees from 47 states helped to renovate a Florida community center the other day, for example. Raytheon is sponsoring events and featuring employee volunteers on its Twitter feeds. The list of corporate endeavors goes on and on. Good on them.

Other ideas: You, or your company, might make a monetary donation to a volunteer organization, or give its staff members a small token of your appreciation for their hard work year round.

You can also tie your volunteer efforts into Earth Day. It's happening this weekend, and there are volunteer clean-up opportunities planned around the country. Just Google Earth Day along with…

Towanda! Science Figures Out What Makes Our Words Memorable

You talkin' to me? Go ahead, make my day, because frankly my dear, I don't give a damn. And nobody puts Baby in a corner.

You're in good company if you know which movies these lines come from without having to Google it. In fact, most of us instantly know where these lines come from even if we haven't seen the movie. But why do we remember them, exactly?

Scientists at Cornell University may have deciphered the science behind memorable wording. They analyzed more than 1,000 memorable movie lines on popular movie database for attributes including length, wording and timing in the movie (e.g., the point in the movie when the line is uttered). For better or worse, the scientists define "memorable" as being listed on, because if it's there it must be worth remembering, right? Right. Moving on. Then the researchers asked people who haven't seen these movies to choose the most memorable line.

Click here to take the test.

So what did the scienti…

Workplace Trends: The "Chinplant"

Could your visage via videoconferencing use some extra verve? Chin up, because the latest trend for career-minded people is getting chin implants.

More than 25,000 U.S. professionals went under the knife last year to improve their chins so they could look good on screen for all those videoconferencing appointments and Skype calls. Career women and Gen Xers in their 40s are the most likely to seek out a stronger jawline.

Experts say the jaw is one of the first facial areas to show signs of aging (really?) and apparently high definition television isn't helping. Great. In fact, "chinplants" grew at a faster rate than boob jobs in 2011 if you believe a story in today's Daily Mail:
Chins are the new boobs according to latest plastic surgery figures.

Chin augmentation - coined a 'chinplant' - is the fastest growing cosmetic surgery trend, according to statistics released by the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) and grew more than breast augmentation, Botox a…

Friday Funnies: The Dadversaries

Amid the reignited mommy wars, let's not forget all the stay-at-home Dads.

At last count, there were roughly 1.8 million American stay-at-home Dads, and there are more and more of them on the horizon thanks to generational shifts and the Great Recession. And they don't always have it easy, either. Even Facebook's COO recently said that women should just go ahead and marry other women to lower their overall burden. Thanks for attempting to fold the towels and load the dishwasher guys, but no thanks.

So stay-at-home Dads, this one's for you, wherever you are. You have not been forgotten, at least on this blog. Sorry for the Barry Manilow reference. See you at the park!

Let's All Rap Our Way To Workplace Recognition

OfficeTeam is out today with an employee recognition survey, so why not back it up with a workplace recognition rap?

OfficeTeam says that it "recently launched 'Recognition Gone Wrong' video bloopers to highlight funny examples of what not to do when acknowledging colleagues." I don't know. It's still early and I haven't had enough coffee to help this song make sense. But I do feel a sudden urge to listen to The Offspring's "Pretty Fly (For a White Guy)," followed by "Why Don't You Get A Job?" Ah, there's a future blog post somewhere in that second song. I can feel it.

The Future Of Hotel Workspaces Will Look Like This

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the future of hotel workspaces and how IDEO, Steelcase and Marriott Hotels and Resorts are collaborating to drag them across that bridge to the 21st Century. I promised you a few pictures. Well, here they are.

It's certainly an upgrade from the storage closet environs of the average hotel lobby workspace, no? I'm not a huge fan of workstools backless chairs and sofas, though. I know they're very "IKEA" and they look great, but they're totally impractical for long sits. I love the color red, though. Very nice.

Anyway, a big thanks to the fine folks at Peppercom, Inc. for taking the time to send these pictures my way.

Breaking News: Showbiz Is Based On Nepotism

Can kids from lower-income families make it big in showbiz? No, according to a new British study that concludes the entertainment industry is full of rich people who were already well-off and connected before they hit the big screen. Who knew?

Anyone who's ever watched teevee or a movie and then gone to IMDB to glean an actor's family tree, that's who.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at Britain's Durham and St. Andrews Universities, finds that people from poor and lower-income backgrounds rarely, if ever, succeed in the entertainment business because all the opportunities are "hoarded" by the scions of the connected. As the Hollywood Reporter reports:
The study, presented at the British Sociological Association's annual conference on Tuesday, found that women, minorities and people with working-class backgrounds were "discriminated against because they were not trusted insiders."

Members of the working class who work in the production …

Workplace Trends: eHarmony For the Workplace?

Online dating is the scourge of the dating world, so why can't we use similar algorithms to assess our compatibility with our co-workers? Well, now we can!

Thanks to a soon-to-be-launched website called Tidepool, co-workers who have zero privacy thanks to open work environments can see if they're truly MFEO (made for each other). What's your sign, baby? I'm a Pisces! According to a Forbes article, the chief scientist behind eHarmony, Dr. Galen Buckwalter, wants to make our work personalities work well together. Tidepool offers a "visual assessment" that's different from the Myers-Briggs test or the SAT so we can finally talk right down to Earth in a language that everybody here can easily understand. Good, because filling in ovals completely with a dull No. 2 pencil can get sort of tricky.

Buckwalter claims that there are 60 types of workplace personalities ranging from the "Freeverse Poet" to "the Maverick." Personally, I've always …

Say Cheese! Your Boss Is Afraid Of Your Smartphone

I'm back like a bad case of shingles after a week-long Spring Break trip to the West Coast to visit family. For people on the East Coast, "West Coast" automatically means "California," which just so happens to be where we went. Go figure.

Sun, fun, fish tacos. But now it's back to our regularly-scheduled programming. What's going on in the world of work today? Well, your boss is very, very afraid of your smartphone, that's what. Specifically, your boss is paranoid that you'll use it to make YouTube clips and other career-imploding bits of digital magic that could be uploaded for the whole world to see.

Smartpho-oh-ohne, give us those nice, bright colors, give us the greens of summers, makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah! Worrying about surreptitiously-filmed spates of career-killing on-camera work is apparently taking up quite a lot of managerial brain space, if a new Qumu survey is to be believed. It finds 12% of business exe…