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Showing posts from October, 2013

Boo! A Short List Of America's Most Haunted Workplaces

If asked, many employees would say they feel haunted by their backstabbing co-workers and their micromanaging bosses. At the very least, these co-workers haunt their dreams at night. But what if your workplace really is haunted? Yeah. Then what? While many of us will be walking around saying "Boo!" today, keep in mind that there are real, live employees navigating workplaces said to be rife with strange, paranormal happenings. From being touched to hearing noises to seeing apparitions, these employees have some ghost stories to tell. Whether you're a believer or a skeptic, no one can deny that "ghost shows" seem to be everywhere on cable right now. And where do the duly employed spend the best hours of each day? At work, of course! Put two and two together, and you have the makings of a hastily thought out blog post. Without further delay, here is a short list of U.S. workplaces known for being haunted:Capitol Theater. This old theater is said to be haunted, …

Do You Work With Someone Who Is Never There?

Happy Halloween! Technically, it's time for witches, ghosts and goblins, but let's focus on the ghostly presence of the co-worker who is never there. You're pretty sure that he still works at the company, but somehow he no longer keeps company in the office with his co-workers. Let's conjure up a few theories surrounding our ghostly co-workers, shall we? Working a "desk job" has changed significantly over the last decade, thanks largely to our growing, "mobile" workforce. However, who can leave the office vs. who cannot leave the office automatically sets up a two-tiered system for leaving the office. Some employees can partake of our modern-day, mobile work culture (senior management, outside sales representatives, graphic designers, coders, janitors, interns, the boss's kid who comes in two afternoons a week, etc.) while other employees cannot (the receptionist). Trust me, the average, desk-bound receptionist is WELL AWARE of who is never in …

Your West Coast Boss Hates Your East Coast Smartphone Use

What annoys you the most about your co-workers' smartphone use? Oh come on, don't phone in your answer!A new USC Marshall School of Business/Howard University study just published in Business Communication Quarterly is billing itself as the first empirical study to break down employee smartphone use and business etiquette by gender, geriatrics, and geographical region. So what did the more than 500 employees surveyed view as super-dumb smartphone behavior? Well, let's break it down by gender, geriatrics and geographical region, shall we?Gender. The survey finds that women are twice as likely as men to be annoyed by smartphone use at work, which seems odd, because every woman I run into seems to be yapping away on a smartphone. Slightly more than one-quarter (26%) of female employees think that it's acceptable to take a call during a business lunch, while the majority of male employees think it's okay to answer their phones and check their texts before the waiter ha…

Do American Men Face Facial Hair Discrimination At Work?

Yes, we could talk about today's long-delayed September jobs report that finds our economy once again hasn't created nearly enough good jobs to put millions of sidelined Americans back to work. Instead, let's focus on another modern hairy situation: trends in men's facial hair! The American Mustache Institute's Workplace Mustache Study is lathering up to gain insight into the American male's five o'clock shadow situation. What is the state of play for male-related facial hair in today's workplace? Does the American working male feel the close shave of discrimination for incurring anything from the random bit of stubble to a Magnum P.I.-like mustache to a well-trimmed goatee to a full-on beard? How is facial hair perceived, exactly? As the American Mustache Institute's website tells us:With Mustached American discrimination growing and no research on the perception of facial hair in the workplace since a 1991 study in the Journal of Social Psycholog…

Ahh-choo! 90% Of U.S. Employees Are Coming To Work Sick

Your co-worker's cheeks are red, he looks clammy, and he's starting to worry you as you watch him cough all over the copier and press buttons after wiping his runny nose. Don't tell me he's sick and came to work, anyway! Yes, your curiously contagious co-worker is sick, and not in the Urban Dictionary, awesomely cool kind of way. In fact, 90% of U.S. employees who are technically under the weather are dragging themselves to work to promptly infect their co-workers and customers -- a full 10% increase over last year, according to the Fourth Annual Staples Flu Season Survey. Would you like fries with my hacking cough? Staples finds the majority of employees surveyed know that they're contagious, but yeah...they've got work to do. According to the Staples press release:According to the survey, workers acknowledged that staying out three days when sick with the flu was appropriate. The majority of workers, however, stay out of the office for less than two days w…

Mirror, Mirror: What To Do When You Work With A Narcissist

Does your co-worker talk about herself non-stop, boasting about her life and accomplishments? Does she soak up the spotlight while simultaneously never taking a real interest in your life or personal thoughts? Well, poo. Enough about you! Let's talk about her, which is just the way the office narcissist likes it. You were telling this co-worker how your car broke down last night and the mechanic says that it's going to cost a grand (minimum) to get it fixed and, to top it off, you had to figure out the public transportation system to get to work this morning. Instead of saying, "Wow, that sucks! How will you get home? Do you need a ride?" this co-worker looks at you blankly and says, "I'm so glad I bought my new car! I haven't had any problems with it yet, and I look awesome in it. How do you like my new purse? I shouldn't have splurged on it last night, but I had to! Have you seen my picture of it on Facebook?" Before you know it, you'…

Great, Recession! Employees Feel Driven To Unethical Behavior

Does it seem like there are never any paper towels in the company break room anymore? Have all of the "good" pens disappeared from the office supply closet? Do you see your co-workers cheating to get ahead? If so, it's not your overactive imagination. It's the Great Recession. A new University of Toronto Rotman School of Management study concludes that the Great Recession's after effects (wait a second, the recession is over?) could be leading more employees to cheat and steal. Employees could also be more likely to give a workplace wink-wink-nudge-nudge to co-workers who do the same. Why is this happening, you ask? Perhaps these employees have taken a look around -- at their dwindling financial picture, at the company's increasing profitability, at society that still hasn't put one Wall Street banker in jail for the 2008 economic meltdown -- and they think they're getting a bum deal. So they decide to get back at the employer by stealing a few r…

What Bosses Really Want On National Boss Day 2013

Today* is National Boss Day, the day when employees are supposed to show their appreciation for the boss some way, somehow. So how can you do this, exactly? Here's an idea of what managers really want so you can honor the boss like a boss! Yes, I know. Your boss is an abusive jerk, and your go-to plan is to let today slip past unacknowledged as you try to slip out the door ten minutes early. However, there are employees -- perhaps not at your company, ahem -- who do have nice, trusting, understanding and competent supervision as they go about playing in the employee sandbox. They know they're the lucky ones, and they want to show management their appreciation. But how? It's easy to forget, but middle management can also be a thankless job because middle managers get to listen to employees complain all day, every day, all year long:I'll need this day off. Why does so-and-so get that day off? So-and-so called in sick again, why does she always call in sick on Fridays? …

No Kidding: Get Ready For Bring Your Parents To Work Day

November 7 is Bring Your Parents To Work Day. Get ready for some random co-worker's mom to stop you in the hallway to fix your shirt collar while simultaneously asking if you're married. Thanks a lot, Millennials!Actually, you'll have to pin the blame on career social networking site LinkedIn, which has labeled it "Bring In Your Parents Day." LinkedIn hopes to "demystify the world of work" for the parents (and/or grandparents) of working adults. Think parents weekend at college, only with copiers and cubicles. And candy corn. Don't forget the candy corn! Haven't most parents, however, already seen a workplace at some point in their lives so as to get a general idea of what goes on there? I mean, if you've seen one office you've pretty much seen them all, sadly. Alas, a survey finds that today's parents are all sorts of confused about what their grown children do at work all day. It's estimated that more than one-third (35%) of pa…

How Social Media Could Soon Change Performance Reviews

Your work day is ho-hum, and your supervisor hasn't complimented you since last week. Sigh. What's a compliment-fishing employee to do? Well, there's always Facebook, that manna from Heaven for the compliment fishers in our lives. From selfies to soliloquies, these real-life Stuart Smalleys are burning up your news feed by seeking yet another daily affirmation. They're good enough, they're smart enough, and doggone it, people like them! But how does the need for instant feedback about their personal lives jibe with their professional lives? After all, Facebook is able to provide an instant, regular shot of self-validation. It's a built-in, real-time feedback system to tell everyone how they're doing in the moment, even when they're dealing with the most routine, boring aspects of everyday life. You know what I mean.I just took out the garbage. I did the dishes. I went to the grocery store, and used my double-points coupons! I mowed the lawn, here…

Working Soccer Moms Aren't Scoring Many Points At Work

Bad news, working soccer moms: A new survey finds the grueling, non-stop pace of youth sports leagues is making you feel tired, stressed-out and cranky. Even more, youth sports are hurting your chances of landing a promotion at work. Let's all pile into the back of the SUV to talk about it. Stop arguing, or I'm turning this car around and we're going right back home! Youth sports league franchise i9 Sports surveyed more than 400 mothers toiling away under the never-ending stress of carting the kids here, there and everywhere for this, that and the other sport, and concludes that moms are starting to bounce off the rim. In fact, moms' growing attitude toward youth sports is: enough already. We're tired, we need a break, he's only 7 years old, and everyone stop making fun of him for always dropping the ball! This includes Junior's dad, apparently. Go, Lupus! We knew you could do it! Youth sports have mothers dropping the ball at work, too: Roughly two-thi…

BYODOMG! Your Kids Are Taking Over Your Work Phone

More and more employees are using their personal smartphones on the job as the Bring Your Own Device trend takes over the workplace. But are you sure the employee is the only one using it? Hey, who put something called "Candy Crush Saga" on my work phone?! Big surprise: employees' family members are borrowing their work phones for some online shopping, for chatting with friends, and for downloading their favorite game apps. The new 2013 Norton Report from Symantec, a global cybercrime report based on "the self-reported experiences of more than 13,000 adults across 24 countries" finds the BYOD trend is resulting in a few OMG workplace consequences. Roughly one in 10 survey participants said that yeah, their kids regularly play on their work phones, which means that their work colleagues, other family members, and clients may occasionally receive a text along the lines of this randomly-generated beauty:2309483qlkjoj,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,!;faoiaufealkjgeaoijagadg>…

Employees' Fear Of Layoffs Is the Lowest Since 2008

It's "Jobs Report Friday," the first Friday of each month when we find out just how tepid the national hiring picture remains. We do not have a monthly jobs report today, however, because the Federal employees who put it together aren't at work. Houston, we have shutdown! Remember that scene in the movie Apollo 13 when astronaut Jim Lovell as portrayed by Tom Hanks asks Houston when the wayward, anxious astronauts can expect the re-entry procedure and Houston responds, "Uhhhhhhhhhh, that's coming real soon, Aquarius" and astronaut Jack Swigert as portrayed by Kevin Bacon mutters glumly, "They don't know how to do it" to which his frenemy co-astronaut Fred Haise as portrayed by Bill Paxton says matter-of-factly: "Jack's right"? Tell me this isn't a government operation. Then the astronauts find out that fellow, earth-based astronaut Ken Mattingly as portrayed by Gary Sinise is working on it RIGHT NOW, and for Lovell at …

Survey Finds We Still Can't Find Anything On Our Desks

File away this statistic: we're spending roughly two days per year sorting through stacks of messy paperwork strewn about our desks, looking for "that piece of paper." You know the one. It's here somewhere, because you just saw it a few minutes ago! Technology firm Brother surveyed more than 1,200 employees and discovered we're prone to losing much of the paperwork we've printed out and/or received in the "real mailbox" that is not Outlook Express. We never know where anything is anymore. Everything is going online, except for everything that is leaning precariously in an ever-growing pile on our desks, on top of filing cabinets, and in boxes. That's a lot of paper for us to reshuffle and re-lose everyday. The most unorganized employees spend at least 30 minutes every week just standing there, looking for the paperwork that is hiding somewhere on their desk. The inability to locate the GPS coordinates on various reports, reedits and rundowns i…

Call Me? Study Finds We're Turning Into Telephonophobics

You'd think that having a smartphone in hand would pretty much imply that we love using the phone, but a new survey finds that we don't much like the phone part of the smartphone. Let's go ahead and phone in this blog post! A Jurys Inn Hotels/CrossCountry survey of 2,500 British office employees reveals that many of them do not like having to dial someone up and actually talk to them vox-a-vox. In fact, virtually all of the British survey participants (94%) said that they prefer using email to phone, and 14% would rather ask the boss for a raise via email. Just email me back to let me know if I can get a raise. Thanks! The study focused on British employees in the 18-to-24 age range, of which one in 20 has a severe case of telephonophobia. I have to wonder, however, if telephonophobia is contained merely to the United Kingdom, and to the youngest members of the workforce. Haven't we all known someone who is able to use the phone but simply hates using it? Every time…

Workplace Trends: Is It Ever Okay To Burn Bridges At Work?

By now, you've probably heard about 25-year-old Marina Shifrin's 4 a.m. "I quit" video. It's gone viral, and it will be talked about incessantly for at least the next 24 hours until we forget all about it. An "I quit" viral video is a very public statement declaring that you're done, you've had enough, you're moving on, and you want everyone in the world to know. Shifrin is just one employee who has walked into the public square we call the internet to take a match to the bridge over troubled water that binds her to an employer. No looking back now. Some "I quit" videos are funny, some are angry, a few are very creative, and the vast majority are posted by employees under the tender age of 35. You know, the Millennials or Gen Y or whatever they're called this week. And all these videos lead back to a hot, trending employment question: is it ever okay to burn bridges at work? I've been following the Shifrin story, where s…