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Showing posts from February, 2013

Toni Morrison Tells Google Employees To Forget Boobs And Butts

When you work for Google, you don't get just any speaker coming to your workplace. No, when you work for Google, you get Nobel laureate and novelist Toni Morrison, who told the company's Manhattan employees yesterday to forget boobs and butts. Advice for living, people. Advice for living. Actually, Ms. Morrison's "boobs and butts" comment was referring to what she views as one of the first lessons of good writing. "When you write about physical attraction, someone falling in love, or making love, it's just so relentlessly boring," she told audience members who, as one article notes, were busy surfing their laptops and emasculating smartphones. Geez, guys. Could you pay attention? Toni Morrison is in the house! Oprah's good friend and mentor! I swear, you guys are so spoiled. Morrison also told the assembled Google employees how she would turn Google into a book character:"It's like a big, metal, claw-y machine in 'Transformers,…

The Envelope, Please: America's 10 Most Thankless Jobs

Seth MacFarlane hosted the Oscars the other night and, with the help of Captain Kirk, accurately predicted his own demise at the hands of critics and the viewing public. It begs the question: who in his or her right mind would ever want the thankless job of Oscar host? Not Seth MacFarlane, who has already announced that he won't host the Oscars ever again after attracting the show's highest ratings in three years. And who can blame him? It's a thankless job! You go out there, you do your bit, and then everyone throws rotten tomatoes at you. Sure, we could debate from here to eternity whether or not a few of MacFarlane's jokes went too far, but that gets too much into the weeds. The point is, hosting the Oscars is a THANKLESS JOB. After scrolling through hundreds of message board comments in my very spare time written by anonymous people who apparently have lost the will to laugh if they ever had a funny bone to begin with, all I can say is good on MacFarlane for let…

Women's Catfights Are the Worst Kind Of Workplace Conflict

Attention, women of the workplace: a new survey finds that your on-going catfights represent the very worst kind of workplace conflict. We need to talk. Right now. Researchers at the University of British Columbia's Sauder School of Business asked study participants to assess three types of workplace fights: man vs. man, man vs. woman, and woman vs. woman. Not only were the "woman vs. woman" fights perceived to be the most negative, they were viewed as the fights most likely to spill over in the office environment to infect everyone else with their bad mojo. Meow. Also, the "woman vs. woman" fighters were viewed as being naturally more negative people who probably wouldn't be able to repair the breach due to their general lack of soft skills sets. Would you guys stop arguing already? Enough with the backbiting and constant bitching. You're really starting to take a toll on everyone else's job satisfaction around here. Just give them each a mouth …

Meaty Meetings: Workers Will Show Up If There's Free Food

The offer of free food is the only reason many employees show up for optional meetings at work, according to a new survey. Stick a fork in that one, managers. Takeout and food delivery service Seamless surveyed nearly 1,100 full-time employees and found the availability of free food was the deciding factor in getting one-third to show up for meetings they otherwise would avoid like the plague. However, one-fifth (20%) need to know what's on the menu first before making their final decision whether or not to attend.Oh, there will be free sandwiches from the good deli this time? Dude, I'm so there. I hope there's drinks and chips, too. That deli has the most killer salt and vinegar chips. So good, bro. What's the meeting about again? Who's going to be talking? Zzzzz, but there's free food. Hmm... And you thought they were showing up to hear what you have to say. Sorry, but don't flatter yourself. They're not so much after your insights as they are afte…

Is Criticism From Our Rivals the Key to Work Success?

Having an outsider say you did a crummy job can spur your work performance to new heights, according to new research coming out of Britain's University of Exeter, Amherst College and the University of Stirling. Bring on the smack talk! Or should I say smack down? Either way, getting dissed by an outsider might just be the key to becoming all you can be. Let's go to the press release:During the study blindfolded participants threw darts at a dartboard and then received poor performance feedback either from a university-affiliated researcher or from an external researcher from a rival university. Participants who received this feedback from a university-affiliated researcher seemed to believe it and enact it: if it was discouraging, they failed at the next attempt, but if it was encouraging, they improved. Receiving encouragement from a member of an external team following poor performance did not help individuals improve at their next attempt. Yet those who received the poor p…

Five Tips For Running An Oscar Office Betting Pool

Step aside March Madness, because it's time for the Oscars! And just like March Madness, maybe your office has started a betting pool. Let's roll out the red carpet and take bets on the winners! The Oscars have been referred to as "the Super Bowl for women," but as a woman I have mixed feelings about the Oscars. I love the fashions and the hosts can be quite fun to watch, but there's something vaguely repellent about watching wealthy, highly-connected people in expensive clothes act as if their profession is saving the world. The feeling is even more pronounced given the tepid economy in which far too many people are simply trying to survive. I'm sorry, Hollywood: Films do not save the world. Scientists, teachers, police officers, firefighters, volunteers, nurses, and a far lower unemployment rate do. Very few movies in the history of the world have actually changed the world (I'm trying to think of one). Stop sounding so self-important on Oscar night, H…

Do Business Travelers Fart More Than Other Workers?

A new Danish study finds we're much more likely to fart on an airplane than just about anywhere else, which begs the question: Are employees who travel a lot on business more gassy than their sea-level counterparts? Yes, it's a slow workplace news day, but I'm inspired by my new blog background. Besides, farting affects all of us, every day, especially when we're up at 35,000 feet in a tin can and we can't get away. It's not just your imagination, Mr. or Ms. Business Traveler, if you find yourself ripping a few more farts than usual en route. Why do we fart more when we're up in the air? I'll let Digital Journalexplain:Firstly, the answer is yes, humans fart more up in the air than on the ground. This is because, [the researchers] say, higher altitude causes the gut to create more sulfuric acid, which in turn causes us to emit proportionally more farts on a flight than the 10 a day we normally let go. Women are more likely to rip a super-smelly, eye-wa…

Three In Four Workers Looking For Work At Work

If you visit this blog regularly, then you may have noticed that I changed the background. I wanted a change, sort of like the nearly three-fourths of employees who are actively job searching on the job. A Right Management survey of 360 U.S. and Canadian employees recently asked a question for the ages: How often do your co-workers look at job boards during work time? Not you, your co-workers, because we want a statistically significant response. Just tell us what your co-workers are doing when the boss isn't in the room, okay? Suffice it to say that your co-workers see you acting out your own desperate version of I'm An Employee, Get Me Out Of Here. Half (50%) of people surveyed said that they see their co-workers "often" searching job boards at work, while nearly one-quarter (24%) said that they "sometimes" see it happen. Geez, doesn't anyone remember to dock the screen anymore? Slightly more than one-quarter (26%) said that they "rarely"…

Monday, Monday: Your Public Sector Friends Have It Off Again

Monday is President's Day, the day we celebrate George Washington's birthday. If you work in the private sector, then chances are good you'll spend it at work. If you work in the public* sector, however, then you'll probably spend it doing something fun because you have the day off. Let's gripe about all of the days public sector employees seem to have off, shall we? There you were, telling your public sector friend how busy work will be on Monday -- er, President's Day -- only to find out that he or she has the day off and will be busy hitting the slopes. Perhaps you have this same conversation multiple times a year. Change the name of the holiday and the chosen sporting activity, but your response is still the same. "Oh yeah! You have Monday off for [insert name of Federal holiday you don't have off]! Unfortunately, I have to work," you say. Long pause. "But wait, didn't you just have a three-day weekend a few weeks ago?" Maybe …

Happy Valentine's Day, 70% Of Office Romances Fail

CareerBuilder is out with its annual Valentine's Day employee survey, which tells us that three in 10 offices romances lead to marriage. But wait: This means that seven in 10 office romances...do not. Let's talk about those instead. Happy Valentine's Day! Yes, 70% of office romances fail -- or lead to happy instances of long-term cohabitation, as the case may be. But let's not muddy the waters by talking about office romances that lead to living together happily for the long haul because on this day filled with in-office flower deliveries, flowery proclamations and other distracting fluff there sits Jane and John*, the now-defunct intra-office couple who used to have to work hard to hide their love for each other but now can't seem to hide their hatred of each other's very existence. Forget flowers; Jane just wants John to pay back the $500 he still owes her. He's such a deadbeat! Funny how she wants everyone to know now (on the down-low over lunch, of cou…

How To Survive A Bad Presentation As An Audience Member

If you watched Sen. Marco Rubio stop suddenly to take a sip of water in the middle of his SOTU Republican Response last night, then you may have had the same reaction as the rest of high-information voter America. Did he really just do that? Yes. Yes, he did. This already-classic teevee moment and obvious Internet meme got me thinking: So many thousands of books and articles tell us how to give a very good presentation, but I've never, ever seen an article that tells us how to sit through a very bad one. Not that Sen. Rubio was really all that awful in the entire pantheon of poor presentation giving. Many of us have seen much worse, in person, falling apart right before our very eyes. But in that bobble of a water bottle moment we collectively felt a little bit embarrassed, or perhaps confused, for Mr. Rubio. Or perhaps we saw our past work selves in him. Was he nervous? Was he reading the copy cold without a prior run-through? Was he about to cough and thought that taking a qui…

40% of Ex-Employees Use Former Employers' Data

Don't look now, but the employees you just let go are walking out the door with all kinds of company data. But chances are excellent that these employees already have troves of company data at home from all those hours spent burning the midnight oil. Can we get a "delete" button around here? A new Symantec-Ponemon Institute survey of 3,300 workers in the United States, United Kingdom, France, Brazil, China, and Korea reveals half of employees who were fired or left for new employers took confidential company data with them, and more than one-third (40%) are using their former employer's data on the new job. Hey, but isn't it stealing? No, according to 62% of employees surveyed. Maybe the data they're taking were their idea in the first place, and according to 68% of those surveyed, it's not like the employer is doing anything to stop it from happening. Verging on two-thirds (62%) of employees surveyed regularly transfer confidential company documents …

Let's All Forget To Remember Employee Appreciation Day

It's almost time for Employee Appreciation Day, the one day of the year when managers are supposed to value employees for their importance to the workplace. Can I get an unenthusiastic "yay" and another status update ASAP? This year, Employee Appreciation Day is Friday, March 1. By my calendar that's a little over two weeks away, which gives managers time to plan ahead. Ha ha ha, who are we kidding! Your direct supervisor is going to forget again, just like he or she did last year, and the year before that and the year before that. That is just the way it is, especially in this unenthusiastic economy. Maybe your boss hasn't remembered Employee Appreciation Day since we started celebrating it in 1995. Here's to all your years of no appreciation on Employee Appreciation Day, now get back to your pop-up office and make ten cold calls. Bummer. On that note, perhaps it would be scarier if your direct supervisor actually remembered to "save the date" a…

Great, Recession! Now We All Know Someone Unemployed

If you were to play "Six Degrees of Bacon" using the Great Recession as a flow chart, then nearly every U.S. household would be one degree away from knowing an unemployed Kevin Bacon. A new study reveals something totally not surprising: The deep layoffs of the Great Recession have left virtually no U.S. household unscathed. This deep, dark recession has party crashed nearly every house at this point, and it's given a "How ya doin'? Now get outta here!" back slap to at least one person you know. Now it's just sitting there, grinding its shoes into the sofa and watching reruns. The John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development at Rutgers University released a study yesterday entitled "Diminished Lives and Futures: A Portrait of America in the Great-Recession Era," and let's just say that we're not living the quaint Norman Rockwell experience anymore. Among the findings, as reported by Rutgers University:Some 73% either lost a job …

How To Deal With Bragging Co-workers On Valentine's Day

I feel like I should drop the sarcasm and be happy-happy-joy-joy about Valentine's Day, but I also see it as my duty to the Internet generation to cover the story angles mainstream business editors might not touch with a ten-foot long red pen. So let's put on our ironic t-shirts and plan ahead for your co-workers' incessant bragging on Valentine's Day!It's February 14 and you're trying to get some work done when suddenly your co-worker yells, "MY HUSBAND JUST SENT ME A STUFFED ANIMAL FLOWER BOUQUET! HOW CUUUUUUTE!" She opens the card, reads it and fawns over her potted ursine garden before snapping a photo to upload to Facebook.But it doesn't stop there, because other women in the office (let's face it, it's usually women) are streaming over to say, "Awwww, how beeeaaaautiful!"

Except for the women who are truly single, just broke up with someone, are in a relationship but don't make a big deal about it, or are in the middle…

Are Asshole Bosses Taking Advantage Of the Poor Economy?

You hate your job. And I mean you really hate your job, because your boss is a mean, manipulative jerk who is getting away with abusing employees in ways he or she could have only dreamed of when times were good. You can't find a new job to escape to, either, because the economy is so bad. Congratulations, you're stuck in a horrible situation, where each (work) day is a living hell and you cry yourself to sleep at night. The feeling of dread is always right underneath the surface, even on your days off. It peaks as your weekend wanes and you realize you have to go back to that dank, dark, horrible place in a few hours. You get even more nervous and depressed as you go about preparing for the next work day, packing your lunch and finding a clean pair of socks. You rationalize your internalized feelings of dread by thinking to yourself Geez, I'm going to work, not to prison. Oh who am I kidding, it feels like a prison. And you can't just quit, because you have bills …

Technology Interns Probably Earn More Than You Do

Warning: If you're an average employee in a non-technology field, then this blog post might make you cry. The average INTERN at Facebook earns $6,056 per month, and Facebook isn't even the best-paying tech company for interns. Grab a Kleenex and despair over your "stable" career path that seems about as bright these days as the lights in the Super Dome. The future's so bright, you gotta wear night vision goggles. An article on BusinessInsider.com offers a rundown of the 20 technology companies that pay their INTERNS very, very well. Click here for the list. Of course, technology companies want to lock down the very best talent, and paying INTERNS very, very well is one way of doing that. But geez, $6,056 per month average pay for being an INTERN? Really? That's roughly twice what the average, full-time U.S. worker earns each month. I know what you're thinking: Can I say "intern" again in bold and in caps just to be even more annoying? Yes. IN…

A Quick Side Note: Can You Read Me Now?

If you've made this blog a regular pit stop on your travels down the information superhighway (thanks!), then you may find that the off ramp to get here is blocked. If you receive a pop-up page warning you that this site contains malware -- the superbug of the internet world -- it's because past posts on this site have included funny workplace photos from the Cheezburger websites, which Google claims is spreading evil malware. The company that serves up Cheezburger's ads, a Google online advertising competitor named iSocket, says that it scans the crap out of its ads for malware (my phrasing). Still, Google's Chrome Browser is blocking iSocket's content on sites ranging from Gawker.com to Blogger.com. If you use the Chrome browser, you could have a hard time accessing the range of sites that use iSocket as an online advertising distributor. From what I hear, the Google-iSocket saga has been going on for about six months. Rest assured, I've got my crack IT sta…

The Job American Women Are Most Likely To Have Is...

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that U.S. employers added 157,000 jobs in January. But what type of job is the average American woman most likely to hold? Lawyer? Doctor? Scientist? Outside sales representative? No. The most common job title held by American women is...administrative assistant. Hey, don't get mad at me, this is the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics talking! Roughly 4 million American women worked as administrative assistants between 2006 and 2010. A whopping 96% of administrative assistants are women, and the profession's ranks are expected to grow 12% by 2020. Good administrative assistants are always in high demand no matter the state of the economy, because a good administrative assistant makes the boss and everyone else in the office look good, all the time. But this isn't Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce circa 1965. Today's administrative assistant is doing a little bit of everything around the office, and she's likely to have a college d…