Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from June, 2012

Friday Funnies: This Is CNN's Train Wreck

If you were flipping between CNN and other news channels yesterday just after 10 a.m. Eastern, then you were probably more than a little bit confused for a few minutes.The Supreme Court has struck down the individual mandate! No wait, it hasn't! Or did it? Yes, it did? Maybe. First! This just in...we here at CNN have no freaking clue what we're doing! How does my hair look? Actually, I didn't see CNN's 21st-Century "Dewey Beats Truman" moment in real time because I never watch CNN anymore. I can't take it seriously. Too many distracting, crazy-moving background graphics for my brain to process in one sitting. But I did look at CNN.com's "live blogging" of the Supreme Court decision while it was unfolding, and the "blog" was so messy and unorganized that I didn't waste my time wading through it. Maybe the folks at CNN ought to spend less time thinking about election night holograms and laughable "breaking news" twee…

Low Vitamin D Levels Lead To Lethargic Employees

Does it seem like everyone in the office is always tired, cranky and sore? Do your co-workers quietly complain about weight gain, feeling depressed, and how it's getting harder to concentrate? Well, your entire office might just be suffering from something very fixable: low Vitamin D levels. Let's expose this problem to a little bit of sunshine, shall we? Vitamin D, otherwise known as "the sunshine vitamin," is produced through direct exposure to sunlight, and it's one of the most important vitamins we humans need. Vitamin D's main role is to help the body utilize calcium and to keep our bones and teeth strong. You know, all that "bone density" stuff. But we're not getting enough sun now that we're dwelling indoors from dawn until dusk in front of computer and teevee screens. It doesn't matter whether we're job seekers, employees, or teenagers, either. In fact, it was recently estimated that more than three-fourths (77%) of Americans…

Is Your Co-worker Reading E-books On Company Time?

She looks like she's reading a company report on her iPad, but is she really working on Chapter 7 of the latest New York Times bestseller? Hey, that e-copy of 50 Shades Of Gray isn't going to read itself, you know. It used to be obvious when employees were using company time to wade through a page turner, because it required holding up a real book in front of their faces. Ding, ding, ding! So-and-so is slacking off on company time, and we've caught her red-handed! But now, thanks to e-books, employees no longer have to leave a spine-bound paper trail. The paperless book revolution allows them to give the appearance of working at a job when they're actually working their way through the latest steamy romance novel or non-fiction entry. I'll read five more pages and then I'll get back to work. Okay, now I'll just read just two more pages, and then I've reeeeally got to put this book down before somebody notices. Pew tells us that e-reading is on the ri…

Waah: Survey Says We Hate Working With Whiners

You're trying to get something done and all you hear is the blah, blah, blah of your co-worker whining for the tenth time today about whatever. Could someone just make it stop, please?
see more Monday Through Friday A new Citrix/Wakefield Research study reveals the only thing U.S. workers hate more than working with a know-it-all is working alongside a whiner. About half of 1,013 U.S. workers surveyed (49%, to be exact) say they work with a "know-it-all" while roughly 44% work with a "whiner." But the whiner is even worse than the know-it-all: More than half of survey respondents (51%) think that the "constant complainer" is the worst kind of co-worker to have, and no one wants to sit next to one. Of course, anyone who works will eventually work with a negaholic who can turn even the most positive, uplifting person into a total curmudgeon after awhile. The Pollyanna-ish co-worker goes from saying, "Just shut up and get some f*&%#@g work done…

All the Workplace Is A Stage On the Internet

By now, you've heard about Karen Klein, the New York school bus monitor who was verbally bullied by some very mean middle schoolers. A fellow classmate used his phone to capture it all on video and summarily posted it to YouTube, and the rest is YouTube history. Here's the video. I could only watch about two minutes of it before I had to stop. I know junior high middle school is one of the deepest pits in hell based on personal experience, but it's amazing to think that today's kids could be quite this mean and disrespectful toward their elders. What's equally amazing is how fast the Internet can mobilize to either reward or punish people at a moment's notice. The swift Internet reaction is truly remarkable. Karen Klein's vacation fund now tops half a million dollars; the kids who bullied her got their names and personal contact information posted to the Internet. The contact information of their apologetic parents was also posted to the Internet, as we…

The 10 Dirty Secrets of the Office Restroom

Do you suddenly feel flushed whenever you step into the office restroom? If so, you're not alone. Office restroom etiquette -- er, the lack thereof -- is one of employees' biggestpet peeves. Seriously, a dirty office bathroom can send employee morale right down the toilet. Assuming someone bothered to flush -- we'll get to that shortly. Maybe he or she didn't get the memo? Sure, toilet time isn't generally a polite topic of conversation, so that means we have to talk about it, right? Hold on to the hand rail, because this could get a little bit gross. Here are the 10 dirty secrets of the office restroom:1. Someone pees on the seat. You go to use the toilet, and there's pee all over the seat. One of your co-workers wasn't a sweetie about wiping the seatie. You look behind stall door #2 and it's just as bad, or worse (see #2). Stall #3 is passable, so you go in there. You feel sort of like Vanna White pushing open each door one by one, but there's no…

Do Men In Traditional Marriages Dislike Working Women?

Do working men in traditional marriages take a dim view of their female colleagues? Yes, according to a recent study. Oy vey, it's too early in the day to rehash the workplace gender wars but let's just do it anyway. So there you are, a working woman updating your MCIATM (Male Colleague In A Traditional Marriage) on a project or client and the whole time he's sitting there thinking, Why are you here, lady? Why aren't you at home? Don't you have to make cupcakes for your kids or something? Oh, that's right, you don't have kids, and you're not married. Why not? Listening to your overly-aggressive ramble, I think I know why.
see more Funny Graphs Who knows if this is what the typical MCIATM is really thinking, but the study concludes that arguably narcissitic and upwardly mobile MCIATMs not only tend to view working women "unfavorably," they're also more likely to deny them promotions and to perceive their female colleagues as a giant stick …

Are You Ready For Take Your Dog To Work Day?

Friday is Take Your Dog To Work Day. In fact, this whole week is Take Your Pet To Work Week. But let's run with the big dogs on this one since the dog days of summer aren't that far off, shall we? Dogs are fun, and taking Rover to work can be a nice employee perk. Back in 1999, someone decided it would be nice to have a whole day dedicated to our canine friends, and Take Your Dog To Work Day was born. Actually, we "borrowed" the idea from the British, who had been dogging it since 1996, thus proving that we Americans can steal more than their teevee show concepts. Take Your Dog To Work Day has its own song, as well as its own Facebook and Twitter pages. Take Your Dog To Work Day can be a nice stress release and a cool conversation starter, but just like everything else it has its downsides. Here are five ways to approach Take Your Dog To Work Day so it doesn't go to the dogs:1. Remember, not everyone is a dog person. The drool, the shedding fur, the panting, th…

Breaking News: Workers Who Are Always At Work Don't Get Much Done

That guy in your department who always seems to be at work? The one the boss raves about for putting in 12-hour days? Yeah, that guy. Well, he might not be working all that hard. Just thought you might want to know. It turns out that the "hardworking" employee who always burns the late-afternoon oil and seems ever-present at the office might be simply a productivity poser. It's true, people! Harvard Business School tells us so:"So this one guy, he's in the room at every meeting. Lots of times he doesn't say anything, but he's there on time and people notice that. He definitely is seen as a hardworking and dependable guy."In other words, this manager praised his or her employee not for the value that he added to the meetings that he attended, but merely for his physical presence. Given this structure of rewards, it is no surprise that we keep seeing unnecessary and unproductive meetings. More broadly, many professionals use their time inefficiently…

The Whole World Is Getting Fatter All At Once

As you sit this morning, take comfort in knowing that the obesity epidemic is expanding to every nook, cranny and love handle of the globe. The whole world is getting fatter all at once, and work is one of the main culprits. Hey, are there any crullers left? A new University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill study entitled "Time Use and Physical Activity: A Shift Away From Movement Across the Globe" explored human activity patterns since the 1960s and finds a global decline in human movement over the last 20-or-so years. It's not just us anymore! Everyone, everywhere is getting down with their bad, sedentary selves! In fact, the British are now more lazy than we Americans, according to the study -- just another reason to wave a small "Fabrique En Chine" Fourth of July flag this year. Speaking of China, the study finds the Chinese and the Brazilians have "the two highest absolute and relative rates of decline in total physical activity" of anywhere i…

Do You Work With A Bluetooth Headset Wearer?

I was out and about the other day when a total stranger locked eyes with me and asked a question that I promptly answered. But she wasn't talking to me. No, she was talking into a Bluetooth headset that was partially hidden underneath her hair. Damn, I fell for it again. Yes, I got "bluetoothed." I wish I could say it's the first time I've been had by a Bluetooth headset wearer who seems to be talking directly to me but is simply staring blankly as she chats way too loudly with someone who is far, far away from us. "THE TRAFFIC IS HORRIBLE TODAY, ISN'T IT?" Yes, yes it is -- but don't answer the question, because she isn't talking to you even though she's standing three feet away looking right at you. You'll realize your mistake the minute you respond and she turns her back to walk away without acknowledging you, talking all the while. You talking to me!? Oh, you aren't talking to me. You're wearing one of those weird phone …

Are You "Hiding" A Few Co-workers On Facebook?

The third annual Weber Shandwick/Powell Tate/KRC Research incivility poll finds the majority of Americans dislike the current state of our political discourse. Yeah, I can see that, especially in an election year. But what do we think about civility in the workplace? Now this is where things get interesting. First, the good news. This year's online incivility poll of 1,000 adult Americans tells us that workplace incivility is on the wane, with fewer people in the poll reporting it. In last year's civility poll, 43% had experienced incivility at work compared to 34% in this year's survey. Maybe all of the troublemakers have been laid off? Anyway, yay! Go America! Fly the friendly skies! Now, for the bad news. We're taking our incivility into cyberspace instead. Cyberbullying is all the rage these days, and it's not just for teenagers anymore. Why bully a co-worker in person when you can unleash a torrent of misspelled snark on Facebook or Twitter? It's happeni…

Workplace Trends: Employers Slack Off On Retirement Planning

By now, you've heard about a new federal report that reveals Americans' wealth dropped a whopping 40% between 2007 and 2010. Now a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey tells us employers are more talk than action when it comes to employee retirement planning. Let's party like it's 1992! BOFA says that roughly 70% of employers feel "some sense of responsibility" in helping employees plan for retirement, but only about 40% are actually helping them do it. Gee, the company would like to help employees get a leg up on retirement planning -- it sounds good, and it's really important and all! -- but we just don't know what kind of help we want to give employees. So we're sort of kind of doing...not much. I'll let BOFA's press release explain:Nearly 70 percent of employers feel some sense of responsibility for helping employees secure the assets needed to sustain them later in life. However, workers nearing or in late stages of their career of…

Westerners Zooming In For Facebook Profile Pics

When it comes to Facebook profile photos, Westerners are more likely to go for the ultra-tight face shot than people in other parts of the world. At least, that's what a new study published in the International Journal of Psychology tells us. Mr. Zuckerberg, we're ready for our close-up. The study, entitled "Cultural influences On Facebook Photographs," finds that people in Eastern cultures, particularly Asian countries, like to zoom out to include a little bit of background scenery in their Facebook profile photos. People in Western countries, however, like to zoom in for the tight shot, the closer the better. Who is that half of a face with a visible blackhead behind those Foster Grants? The researchers suggest the tightness of the shot could have an impact on hiring managers:Worth thinking about next time you're updating your online profile pictures - for example, on your LinkedIn profile, what impression are you giving of yourself? Are potential employers se…

Flip-Flops Need To Take A Flying Leap

Maybe it's just me, but the "thwack, thwack, thwack" sound of flip-flops is just about the worst sound on earth. I must put my foot down on these Y-shaped harbingers of horror. Flip-flops are on my mind this morning because I spent part of the weekend trying to find a pair of semi-toe-covering summer sandals that are not flip-flops but still look feminine instead of like Clarks. I know what I'm looking for in my head, but my search came up empty. No matter where I looked, it was flip-flops or some other version of flip-flops. I couldn't get away from these synthetic little strips of podiatric purgatory that I've had it in for ever since I was 10 years old and wore thongs* too long one summer day and rubbed away the skin between my big toe and second toe. It was painful and seemed to take forever to heal, as foot injuries often do. That's one of the reasons I've set a rule with my own kids: flip-flops are fine for the pool, the beach or the locker r…

OMG! One In Seven Employee Emails Is Office Gossip

Did you hear what so-and-so did? Well, you're going to find out later today when your co-worker emails you about it, because one in every seven emails sent at work is comprised mostly of office scuttlebutt, according to a new Georgia Tech study. Ding! You've got mail! Georgia Tech researchers went back through Enron's old internal emails and found nearly 15% were based purely on office "gossip" -- e.g., email that was primarily about a co-worker who was not included in the email conversation. And everyone was doing it, from the CEO to the entry-level customer service employee. Lower-level employees were a little more into e-gossiping, though. The researchers distinguish between "positive" and "negative" email office gossip. Negative gossip is nearly three times more likely than positive email gossip, but gossip itself isn't always bad:"Gossip gets a bad rap," said [Georgia Tech Assistant Professor Eric] Gilbert. "When you …

The 55 Kinds Of Summer Interns

The rug rats are leaving campus for a workplace near you. Or maybe they're coming to a cubicle near you. Next week. Oh, no. Hope you have the orientation packets ready!
see more Monday Through Friday If you've ever worked with college interns, then you know how they can vary in personality, temperament, skill level, age and pay scale. Now a Washington Post writer has amassed individual rundowns of the 55 kinds of summer interns for your reading pleasure. A few of these "profiles" are D.C.-specific (e.g., the D.C.-Native Intern, the Instant Washingtonian Intern, the Escalefter Intern) but you might still enjoy them. If you're gearing up to welcome interns soon, are already feeling annoyed by certain interns, or you just want to partake in some blatant stereotyping of today's youth, then these write-ups are definitely for you. Have the intern fetch you a latte before reading.

Sit On It: Judge Denies Cashier's Request For A Chair

Should store clerks be able to sit down while ringing up customers? One cashier thought so, but a California judge has tabled the motion, effectively forcing the employee to sit down and shut up. Er, make that stand up and shut up. Yes, you read that right: a California judge. This decision was handed down in the land of top-shelf, forward-thinking employee rights! As California's Press-Enterprise reports, cashiers are not entitled to seats:Late last week a judge ruled that a cashiering job at CVS does not "reasonably permit the use of a seat." For its part, CVS claimed a cashier who sat down couldn't provide the same level of customer service as one on her or his feet. Cashiers in Europe regularly perform their jobs while sitting. Ah, those crazy Europeans with all their socialistic sitting-while-working and dysfunctional monetary unions. Who thought that getting a group of distinct European countries to give up their currencies and to agree on ANYTHING would work…

Are Company Workspaces Trying Too Hard?

From tube slides in the middle of the office to using capsized boats as sofas, innovative companies are trying to make their workplaces more fun and "playful." But scanning the photos begs the question: are companies trying just a little bit too hard? A PSFK.com article tells us how innovative employers are creating "fantasylands" for their employees that are sort of like small versions of Disneyland. Companies from LEGO to Zynga to Google are taking the concept of the "playful workplace" to the extreme. And by playful, think being a kid again with ball-shaped pillows, swings, jungle gyms, blank canvases for finger painting -- you name it. Juice boxes and fruit roll-ups are not included. Or maybe they are? I don't know. I just hope there's Ibuprofen, because the glow tunnel would give me a headache. These "playful workplace" designs are meant to spur employee creativity and innovation, of course. Maybe I'm getting old, but using a …

Brrr! Employees Get Ready For the Big Chill

There's a fast casual dining establishment we like to frequent, especially in the summer. Er, make that used to frequent in the summer, because the steady, Arctic blasts coming from the franchisee's air conditioning system made chilling out next to impossible without gloves and parkas. It always made me wonder how the employees could stand it. Summer's almost here, which means it's time for another edition of the office thermostat wars. It's getting hot outside, so the company cranks up the air conditioning only to have some employees complain constantly that the office is still too hot, while other employees complain constantly that it's gotten too cold. No one is happy, and this includes management after reading all of the tersely-worded musings employees have stuffed into the suggestion box regarding the company's faulty temperature settings. It's waaaaay too cold in here! PLEASE adjust the temperature! We're all shivering!!! Management might …

10 ways your workplace is like high school

You thought you left it all behind years ago. Then one day, you have an epiphany at the printer: this workplace makes me feel like I'm back in high school, only without the tardy bell and bad acne!You used to think that junior high middle school was the deepest pit in hell, but you were wrong. So, so wrong, because you're still living scenes from The Breakfast Club every day on the job at age 25/35/45/55/65. If only your office would spring for senior benches in the break room so the cool people could mock their less-cool co-workers, then your life would come full circle.It was time to grow up a long time ago, but some employees act like they've never left high school. Adolescent behavior -- from cliques to cool kids to caste systems -- can follow us into the workplace and infect an office like a bad case of head lice. Maybe your workplace suffers from only a few high school-related behaviors, and if so, count yourself lucky. Without further ado, here are the 10 ways the w…

Friday Funnies: Still Unemployed

The U.S. economy created a measly 69,000 jobs last month, and unemployment benefits are about to run out for 70,000 long-term unemployed Americans who will join the ranks of nearly 500,000 long-term unemployed Americans who have lost their unemployment benefits so far this year. Ouch. Good thing the Facebook IPO will keep our tepid recovery afloat, right? Oh wait, nevermind. Amid our crazy rollercoaster of economic hope and despair comes this little video clip about all the things to do when you've been out of work for a long time. Actually, I can't decide if this clip is all that funny, because it just might hit a little too close to home for many long-term unemployed people. After all, you could probably be in the running for the minimum wage job of your dreams today if you would just get yourself some motivation, even though your last job (two years ago) paid $75,000 a year and you have a master's degree. Or a doctorate degree. But an advanced degree would make you way…

Telecommuters Love It When Bosses Forget About Them

Companies think telecommuters need constant attention to feel connected and included, but new research tells us how much this "in sight, in mind, all the time" approach is stressing them out. Back off managers, will ya? After years of articles about how to "engage" telecommuters, we finally get a research study that says in-your-face, constant contact isn't working so well. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukie studied telecommuters to see how communication with the mother ship affects them. And you know what? Constant communication isn't making telecommuters feeler "closer" to the company. In fact, the disruption caused by the unending stream of emails, instant messages, phone calls, Skype conversations, and faxes (if anyone still faxes) is spiking telecommuters' stress levels and making it harder for them to get the work done. It turns out that telecommuters aren't feeling Simple Minds' Don't You Forget About Me…