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Showing posts from October, 2015

Half Of Us Have Cracked A Smartphone Screen

Have you ever cracked the screen on your smartphone, but kept right on using it for months? Well, you might be interested in a Motorola global survey that phones home just how often we crack our smartphone screens, how it happens, and which countries have the highest percentages of cracked smartphone screens! The Motorola survey, entitled "Cracked Screens and Broken Hearts" (don't roll your eyes, watching someone scroll through a cracked smartphone screen can be a shattering situation) surveyed 6,000 adult smartphone users in six different countries: The United States, the United Kingdom, India, China, Mexico and Brazil. What did the survey reveal? Of the countries surveyed, India boasts the highest percentage of cracked smartphone screens. While an estimated 50% of global smartphone users have experienced a broken screen, a whopping 65% of smartphone users in India have cracked their smartphone screens. Mexico (64%) and China (63%) round out the top three, followed…

When the Boss's Spouse Acts Like Management

You're going about your work day when your manager's spouse walks in and asks what you're working on today, and tells you to clean your desk. Let's talk about the boss's spouse who acts like management! Increasingly, it feels like there are three people in this workplace marriage: You, your boss, and your boss's better half! The problem is, your boss's spouse doesn't actually work for the company. No, he or she simply shows up on a regular basis to "hang out," say "hi," and tell stories. If you have a great relationship with your boss's family members, then good for you! It's so nice when things work out well. But when it isn't working, it can be a very hard situation to know how to handle. How does this "situation" show up in the workplace? Maybe you're in charge of arranging your boss's travel plans, and his or her spouse is always on the phone telling you exactly how to do it. Maybe you're i…

Gen Why: When Co-workers Try To Guess Your Age

Things are going well at work -- until one day when a co-worker tries to guess your age but is way, waaaay off target. Oh, no! It's considered impolite to ask our fellow working professionals for their age or salary level, but the general rules of workplace etiquette do not stop this particular co-worker from trying to wrestle a life mileage odometer reading from your finely-lined lips. I'm guessing you're in your...mid 40s? Ugh, really? Suddenly, you're feeling defensive and worried, because you've only recently left the coveted 18-to-34 demographic! You're also regretting your decision to invest in a very expensive face cream that apparently isn't helping very much. Why is your co-worker asking? For most employees, trying to guess your age is a way of filling in their wrinkled knowledge gaps. For other employees, however, asking your age might be a way of trying to put you into, for lack of a better word, a "category." In today's youth-…

Five Tips For Making New Year's Work Resolutions

Do you know that today is the 300th day of 2015? This means we have only 65 days left to plan our 2016 work resolutions. Quick, let's call a strategy meeting! Maybe you had Big Plans last December (which is right around the corner again, by the way...) to make this year the Best Year Ever In the Entire History of Your Career. Here's what we were telling CareerBuilder around this time last year, in 2014. No word on whether these workplace resolutions actually worked out, but perhaps your 2015 workplace resolutions have all come true, and how. If so, good for you! Maybe like the rest of us, however, you're 300 days deep into this thing and looking to 2016 to be the Best Year Ever In the Entire History of Your Career. (Again.) You're going to get out there and network, get a new job, get a raise, get a new office, get it together! Before life gets in the way. (Again. Just like it always does.) The question is, how on earth can we make realistic workplace resolutions t…

R-E-S-P-E-C-T: When A Co-worker Doesn't Respect You

You say something, only to have a work colleague offer an eye roll and a dismissive attitude. Oh, no. We have a disrespectful work peer situation on Aisle 9! It's a tale as old as workplace time. You're just doing your job, when a work peer keeps letting you know, subtly or not-so subtly, that you're not worthy of his or her professional respect. All you ever get are blank stares, deep sighs, excessive sarcasm, random smirks, and under-the-breath commentary directed toward your other colleagues when you are still within earshot. You've been on the job for awhile now, and this co-worker's dismissive attitude is really starting to get to you. And rightly so; who deserves this kind of treatment? (Nobody, that's who.) Unfortunately, too many employees will encounter workplace disrespect. It's been estimated that 1 in 5 employees do not feel respected by their work colleagues. That's 20% of the workforce, which, any way you slice it, is a respectable num…

Bank To Laid-Off Employees: Keep Working For Free

Your employer lays you off and ships your job abroad, but it doesn't stop there. No, your employer also demands that you be "available" to stay on call, for no additional pay, for up to two years after you leave the company. Sounds far fetched, right? Well, reality is always stranger than fiction, as they say: Roughly 100 IT employees at SunTrust Bank in Atlanta are reportedly in the process of transferring their IT knowledge to their foreign replacements, with the additional caveat in their severance agreement that they stick around for a few years in case the company, you know, still needs their knowledge and expertise. Is this for real? Is this a new "consulting" trend? I sure hope not, because it's an absolutely despicable employment practice. Is this a new job category called "outtern," as in, it's sort of like an unpaid internship, only you've been fired? And how is it even legally, and practically, enforceable? I will be very…

What Are the Unwritten Rules of Your Workplace?

You're a new hire who seems to be settling nicely into your new workplace. Good for you! That is, until one day when you break one of the company's unwritten rules and discover what NOT to do at work. Ugh.It's a fact of workplace life that a well-managed workplace will lay out its processes and procedures for a new hire from the very beginning. Do this, do that, make sure this goes there, put that over there. However, each workplace also has a set of unwritten workplace rules. Never do this, never do that, make sure this never goes there, and don't you dare put that over there! Oops, now we've done it. We've broken an unwritten rule at work! Like a sad, frustrated wedding singer, it sure would have been nice to know about these unwritten rules yesterday. Unfortunately, it takes time on the job to read an employer's unwritten rules, because they are just that: unwritten. Meanwhile, new Gallup research reveals many employees do not have a clear idea of what&#…

The Workplace Skill Most In Demand? Social Skills

New research finds that jobs requiring stellar social skills are the fastest-growing job segment in our economy. Um, hello? Yes, I was talking to you. Okay, I'll wait while you finish texting... Oh great, you're done! Thanks for allowing me to finish my thought. I'll make it quick. So, where was I? Oh, yes. I was going to mention how soft skills are becoming harder to find in today's economy, but they're increasingly the most important skill employees need on the job. We tend to think of "smart" as being book smart (i.e., academically talented), but there are different kinds of smarts. There's book smart, and then there's socially smart. Both are equally important (no, really!) and, increasingly, job applicants can't have one without the other to land the very best jobs. That's because managers in our fast-moving economy can teach a new hire basic work skills (e.g., here's how you perform a basic technique in a STEM job), but they…

Let's Think Outside the Box About Business Jargon

You're in a meeting with 15 of your workplace besties when one of them throws out a new business buzzword. Zing! You're momentarily lost for words, because you have no idea what this co-worker means. Ugh. Talk about a lack of synergy. Quick, we need an ideation session where we can do some rapid-fire decisioning! We've all been there, struggling to understand some new bit of business lingo. I still remember the first time that I, as a fledgling business journalist, heard the phrase "eyeballs" during the dotcom era. CEOs and marketing types kept telling me all about these rumored "eyeballs," and man were they ever "sticky" for some reason! Finally, I had to risk looking stupid by asking for a definition. I learned that the word "eyeballs" was trendy business slang for audience. "Stickiness" referred to the amount of time users spent on a website over the course of a week, or a month. For me, it was like filling in a word…

Twitter's Seemingly Unsociable Approach To Layoffs

Twitter announced today that it is laying off 8% of its global workforce. So how did some employees find out they were losing their jobs? Via Twitter, of course!As Gawker reports, one Twitter engineer woke up to check his phone messages, and apparently discovered via tweet that he had "been removed"...from Twitter, Inc.? There's, uh, a problem accessing your account. Access denied, 21st-Century HR style. Ouch. The employee later posted that he received a personal phone call from Twitter, so that's good. I can favorite that part. Of course, we don't know the full story here, but the initial impression is: Really, Twitter? This is how you conduct layoffs? Now that's not very sociable at all! I realize that we're living in a largely automated online work world, but wow. There still has to be room for some compassion, humanity, and decorum around the deactivation and job separation process, even in the Internet age. Perhaps employers can make a persona…

Oh Great, Everyone Has "Digital Amnesia" Now

Quick! Do you know your work phone number without looking it up on your phone? If so, then count yourself lucky because a new survey finds 39% of working Americans can't be bothered to remember their work phone numbers anymore! It doesn't stop there: Slightly more than three-fourths (77%) can't remember the phone number of their child's school, while less than half can remember their closest friend's phone number. A full 40% of us can't remember our kids' phone numbers. The good news? Roughly 71% of us can still remember our spouse's cell phone number. These are among the findings of a new poll from internet security firm Kaspersky, which concludes that many of us have something called "digital amnesia." We're so used to letting our devices (or The Google, depending) store information for us that we're no longer committing anything to memory.Hey, I should give you my phone number. Why don't I just send you a text? That way, y…

Are You Underpaid? Now There's An App For That

A new app allows employees to post their salaries on a map, along with their gender, ages, average commute times and other details, either anonymously or publicly. Let the 21st Century salary transparency games begin! Like Glassdoor, the new app Wagespot is a way to find out how much people earn, and where. Wagespot's founders are calling it a "Zillow for salary data." The data are only beginning to emerge, since the app was launched on Tuesday. Bottom line, though: It's getting harder for companies to keep a lid on salary and benefits information in our "sharing economy." Not only do we have salary-sharing apps such as Glassdoor and Wagespot, we also have "anonymous intra-messenger" apps such as Memo for venting and sharing all kinds of office gossip. In fact, a new Adecco work trends study finds 65% of job seekers "frequently or sometimes" scan job listings via their mobile devices. A growing number of recruiters are mobile frien…

Let's All Phone It In On Customer Service Week

Do you know that it's Customer Service Week? Okay, let me update that: It's now the middle of Customer Service Week. I know, I know. The service on this workplace blog is too slow, and you'd like to speak with a manager! According to a new OfficeTeam survey, so would a lot of other people. More that four in 10 employees surveyed (42%) told OfficeTeam that they encounter poor customer service at least once a month, and 79% will report examples of poor customer service to a company. The good news? A full 7 in 10 surveyed said they will gladly contact a company to report an instance of great customer service when they see it. The question is, how many times a week are customer service reps circling the bottom of our receipts and imploring us to "take part in a survey" and, you know, to give them a shout out for doing a good job while we're at it? And how often are we taking them up on their offer? Anyone, anyone? Now I understand the hesitancy to go online…

80% of Employees Are Avoiding Their Co-workers

A new survey says that 80% of employees prefer to work alone, because their work environment is either too hostile or largely unhelpful. Oh, no. It's time to call a team meeting, stat! That's right, folks. When it comes to the workplace, we're all a bunch of Greta Garbos wanting to be left alone. Nearly 2,000 U.S. and Canadian employees participated in a survey sponsored/conducted by The Faas Foundation, Mental Health America (MHA) and the Canadian Association for Mental Health (CAMH) regarding workplace bullying and psychological wellness. The findings are, well, kind of depressing. In addition to learning that 80% of employees surveyed prefer to work alone because their current work environment doesn't work very well, 83% also said that their company is "overly focused on trivial activities." Of course, "trivial" can mean different things. Perhaps it means there's too much busy work. Perhaps it means too many molehills are being turned int…

Hey Boss, Here's Why Your Compliments Never Work

Have you ever complimented an employee and felt like it went over like a lead balloon? Gee, was it something you said? Well, maybe. A new University of Greenwich study reveals that verbal rewards (a.k.a., "good job!" and "thank you") from the boss go only so far to motivate us on the job! While employees respond well to compliments regarding inconsequential work matters ("I really like how you sharpened these pencils!"), compliments have less meaning to us the more complex a project becomes ("Overall, I like how the first 250 pages are going"). In other words, we're more likely to work harder when we're complimented for small accomplishments, but compliments regarding large scale projects? Eh, stop it boss, because you're making me lose interest in the work! What is going on here? Who doesn't love the occasional, verbal, "keep up the good work" compliment in regard to a lengthy, in-depth report or project? Being to…